Air refueling, axis curvature and joystick model - ED Forums
 


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Old 08-13-2019, 01:22 AM   #1
Sylosis
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Default Air refueling, axis curvature and joystick model

I haven't been writing on this forum for sometime, hopefully because I'm getting better at DCS and don't have to ask as many questions as before!

That being said, some time ago, I asked for tips when it comes to air refueling. Many people asked, with good reasons, what kind of curvature I was using for my axis, and also other axis custom settings.

At the time, I said that, with the Mirage, I was using a curvature of something between 25 and 30 (don't quite remember) and a deadzone of 3. Everybody turned apeshit, saying how crazy I was to have such a curve.

I argued that I was using a very sensitive joystick, the ThrustMaster T16000M, and that it was unflyable with anything less than 20 (it's a lot more for the F-5). Most people, if not all people who replied, said it had nothing to do with the joystick and it was a question of practice, etc etc.

I did try lowering my curvature and it was just insane. It made no damn sense. But I still believed I was wrong, and that you guys were surely right, as I am not a top expert when it comes to DCS.

BUT! I have now changed joystick for a VIRPIL and mother of god! It did prove that I was kinda right! With the Virpil, using curvatures as high as 20 or 30 is just unflyable. I just need to use something in the range of 10, depending of the aircraft, sometimes a bit less, sometimes a bit more.

I haven't practice refueling yet, but I thought I would post this here anyway, for anyone who might be trying to understand why they can't succeed at air refueling.

I'm not trying to rub it in anyone's face, like "see how right I was!". It is really just that I have the proof that the joystick does matter and it might help others to know that. The sensitivity of some devices is very high, forcing you to use a high curvature value.

I hope this post might help someone that has/had similar issues.

Cheers
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:43 AM   #2
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Spot on. Think you've really hit the nail on the head.

It's all about how you feel.
I was using a buddy's setting for my HOTAS. Partly because I was lazy setting one up myself
Felt ok flying, but refuelling was just too twitchy.

Since modifying my own curves and deadzones, it feels much easier.
Don't get me wrong. I still need practice, but at least i don't feel like i'm constantly fighting the controls now.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:35 AM   #3
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Virpil and similar joysticks with steel mechanical gimbals don't have this play around the center. In 16000M or Warthog plastic ball gimbals you have to push hard to make some adjustment from the center position and this make your movement big or nothing. And the stick is constantly trying to fight you and return to the center position.
Mechanical gimbals, like i.e. Virpil, with added extension are even more precise due to longer lever.
For me two things made air refuel rather easy - VR with depth perception and joystick with mechanical gimbal and extension.
But for classic plastic ball gimbals aggresive curves will help a lot and there is no reason not to use them - if something looks stupid but works...
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylosis View Post
At the time, I said that, with the Mirage, I was using a curvature of something between 25 and 30 (don't quite remember) and a deadzone of 3. Everybody turned apeshit, saying how crazy I was to have such a curve.
Pretty sure I didn't respond back then.

It's always been a mystery to me why some people would be so adamant that a curve of exactly 0 with a deadzone of no more than 1 and absolutely under no circumstances ever more than 2, would be the way to go for all players with any joystick in any module.

Curves can do wonders to overcome some of the problems of our consumer grade joysticks, like very short travel and crappy pots and a completely unrealistic translation from stick movement to controls deflection.

What you said mirrors my experience: if it works for you, use it.

The only thing I think is really important about curves is knowing how they work: the added control near the center will be sacrificed around the edges, and so high precision flying with high controls deflection, like in aerobatics, might become a lot more difficult the stronger the curve gets.

With the TM Warthog, I think I started in the Ka-50 and A-10C with curves around 25 in roll and pitch, and gradually lowered them to 15. This has since been my standard curve setting for all modules and has served me very well. If I ever get an extension, I'll probably set curves to 0, but until that time, I really don't care what others think of this setting, because I know it suits me very well.
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Old 10-31-2019, 12:07 AM   #5
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Default Axis curves - Saitek X-55 HOTAS

For the longest time, I've flown solo, mostly FSX, but now DCS. I believe in learning the aircraft inside and out, and end up doing as many of the built-in tutorials as I can. First A/C I got on DCS was the A-10C, which was fairly forgiving, but since getting the F-14, I'm going nuts.

I didn't know how bad it was until I finally went for it and joined an online group. Gawd! Now I'm flying with others, and my first real problem pops up - I'm all over the sky. Embarrassing, to say the least! I've got the X-55 HOTAS, and never really dug into the axis curve tuning, so everything was straight-line. No curves, no dead zones. First several attempts at formation flying was sick! So bad that I backed off and went back to solo to try and improve without making an idiot of myself.

Now I'm picking up the F-18, and the pit is a little easier on the eyes (and I don't have to listen to Jester), but I'm now determined to get this right finally. SO -

I did some jiggling of the joystick, and found some looseness, so I did manage to remove the jiggles with dead zones. There is absolutely NO movement when the stick wiggles - I have to give some real input. Now I need to find out how these curves work, because the A/C is just way too responsive. No way I'm doing formation flying. I'm reading anywhere from 25-30 on the pitch and yaw axes, no idea about rudder.

Then there's the throttles. Once again, no way I'm doing any formation flying when the throttles are all over the place. I've been watching tutorials about air-to-air refueling, and it looks impossible the way I've been flying! With the F-14, I try to slow down to approach at around 250, and need the air brake because even notching it down to idle doesn't seem to work. Then I get down to around 200, and next thing I know I'm in the weeds at 110 knots. What is the frikkin' trick? Jet engines don't instantly throttle up or down, so...?

Anywho...I want to get back online and enjoy flying with company, but not until I can control these things. Any help in setting up my X-55 would be greatly appreciated, from someone who has one. I'm not ready to go back to my FSX King Air and the big iron. Yet!

TIA,
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpbarth View Post
I didn't know how bad it was until I finally went for it and joined an online group. Gawd! Now I'm flying with others, and my first real problem pops up - I'm all over the sky.
I think we've all been there. I certainly have.

Until I joined a squad, I couldn't even keep my wingman/lead in sight.

There's a few ideas how to improve, though.

I'd set up a very simple training mission with an AI aircraft that just flies straight and level. A C-130 or something of that kind is perfect, because it's very easy to spot and fairly easy to rejoin on it (some of the jets, like the MiG-21, have such a tiny signature, they'll blend right into the background if you get just a tad too far away). And then try to fly in a very relaxed formation. Either left or right, a bit aft, slightly below.

The important thing about formation flying is establishing a sight picture. In the A-10, I'll try to align the lead aircraft's forward wingtip with the "Danger - Ejection Seat" triangle just below the canopy (granted, that doesn't work in a relaxed formation). Try to pick some reference on the lead aircraft and try to hold that position.

Then, gently and over time, try to get a little closer. And a little closer. And a littler closer. If you start oscillating too much, relax, fall back, and try again with a more relaxed spacing.

It really takes practice, practice, and more practice. No two ways about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpbarth View Post
I've got the X-55 HOTAS, and never really dug into the axis curve tuning, so everything was straight-line.
Only you can tell how much of a curve you need. Some fly without, some fly with a heavy curve.

In my opinion, curves definitely help. You could try if a 25 curve works for you. That's what I started with, and then gradually worked my way down to 15, but maybe 30 and then 20 would work better for you, or maybe you try 10 and stick with it for the rest of your virtual career - it's totally up to you, and what you feel comfortable with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpbarth View Post
Then there's the throttles. Once again, no way I'm doing any formation flying when the throttles are all over the place.
In the beginning, the problem is that everything is all over the place. Pitch, roll, thrust, it's all going crazy all the time and there just doesn't seem to be a sweet spot where any of these axes would finally settle. It's natural.

I think most virtual pilots don't use curves on the throttles. In the F/A-18 more than in most of the other jets, I find the engines to be particularly slow to react to throttle changes. So you'll have to learn to anticipate slowing down and speeding up, and you'll have to apply the throttle before you get too slow or too fast. Sounds crazy? It is.

What's more crazy is that, at some point, it just clicks. The previous day you may have bashed your head against the wall after 3 hours of intense training and no damn progress whatsoever, and the next day, all of a sudden, your hands start to do the job for you. It's like a miracle, and when it happens, it feels massively rewarding.

But, again, the real magic is: practice, practice, practice.

If you post a track, we could try to give more specific pointers.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:17 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot, Yurgon! I've been so frustrated that I was about to give up. But I love this online flying-with-others thing, and I want to get good at it, enough to do AA refueling and carrier landings with some confidence.

Gonna work on the curves, and see if I can get the throttle worked out.

Been watching mission setups for refueling practice, and one of the F-14 missions is a take-off with a tanker rendezvous. So...back to practice! I needed a little pep talk and you provided it. Not gonna give up!

Let me see if I can record some of it and upload it!
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:33 PM   #8
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How you set the curve depends on the length of your stick. A longer stick needs less curve.
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Old 11-01-2019, 02:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzzU View Post
How you set the curve depends on the length of your stick. A longer stick needs less curve.
I have the X-55 stick, so no extensions. The most important part was discovering the looseness in both axes. When I jiggled the stick - no movement, just touching it - there was some movement. So I adjusted that out with a very small dead zone (in the Saitek app). Once that was gone, I started playing with the curves.

I'm just now starting to learn how they'e working. I will report back when I play with different settings! Thanks!
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