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How realistic is the Hornet model?


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As far as I know the Hornet F18 is the most detailled model in DCS at the moment, but surely even this model has its limits in terms of realism, which I would like to know.

E.g. the "professional flight model (PFM)" is probably very realistic in most situations, but maybe it starts to fail in some extreme situations.

Also I wonder how well the material fatigue is modelled in the Hornet like when you disable the G-Limiter and then go over its limit. I tried this, but I could not notice any damage to the airplane due to extreme maneuvers.

Until now I could only find some vague informations about the level of details of this model, so I hope to find some further answers here.

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It's as realistic as ED is comfortable getting. As Wags stated in the fighter pilot podcast (worth a listen) they have to alter some stuff due to classified material.

 

 

Also the damage model is still a WIP. I am sure eventually we will have damage due to overstress.


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As far as I know the Hornet F18 is the most detailled model in DCS at the moment, but surely even this model has its limits in terms of realism, which I would like to know.

E.g. the "professional flight model (PFM)" is probably very realistic in most situations, but maybe it starts to fail in some extreme situations.

Also I wonder how well the material fatigue is modelled in the Hornet like when you disable the G-Limiter and then go over its limit. I tried this, but I could not notice any damage to the airplane due to extreme maneuvers.

Until now I could only find some vague informations about the level of details of this model, so I hope to find some further answers here.

 

 

regarding damage to the plane if you disable the G-limiter and go above the limits.

Well i dont think its implemented yet in the game, since i never had any damage to my plane due to the g-limiter all though i only use the g-limiter in A/A combat.

 

And i think in real life once a pilot uses this feature and goes above a g-limit then its not like the wings fall off. Actual it would be the best way to design a plane that the plane protect it self for extreeme user input to prevent damage.

When we speak about damage from the g-limiter and high G forces i would imagine that the service crew now need to do some extended inspections of the wings/pylons/structure integrity for damage and such once they get back to the ship. That is why the pilots in peace time should not go above a max peacetime g-limit simply to avoid the extended service inspection or even worse reduction of the life time of the plane due to "stress/cracks" ect ect.. its expensive planes and a new wing is very expensive ect.

 

 

 

Also keep in mind there is a difference inbetween peace time and war time servicing of things in the army/airforce/navy.. In war there are less "high" service standards than in peace time.

( example helicopter A in peace time need extended service every 50 houres. In peace time the helicopter are grounded until the service have been done and it wont fly.. In wartime they might just command the heli in the air anyway or extend service to 60-70 houres instead and even in some cases with systems not working 100%.). ect ect.

With other words lower standards.

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I don't know for the Hornet but for others plane (personally tested MiG-29, Su-27, Bf-109, Spitfire) damage from G limits are present. I just before writing recheck with the 29, climbed to 35k feet, dived in full AB, levelled a 1k feet and 1700kph and then push the limiter override and pulled the stick all the way... 3 seconds and some climb after the wing snapped off and I became a fireball

 

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The 7.5G limit is not there to keep the wings from ripping off. It's there to extend the life of the airframes and allow them to fly for 1000s of hours.

The override switch gives you about 9g which will still not approach the yield limit of the plane. It will however probably be causing significant fatigue to the airframe which will shorten the life of the plane.

Due to the nature of DCS however, where we are given a new airframe every time we spawn this is completely irrelevant for us.

In real life you would probably have to have a good explanation for why you pulled the switch when you land.

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The 7.5G limit is not there to keep the wings from ripping off. It's there to extend the life of the airframes and allow them to fly for 1000s of hours.

The override switch gives you about 9g which will still not approach the yield limit of the plane. It will however probably be causing significant fatigue to the airframe which will shorten the life of the plane.

Due to the nature of DCS however, where we are given a new airframe every time we spawn this is completely irrelevant for us.

In real life you would probably have to have a good explanation for why you pulled the switch when you land.

 

The control system adapts the limit depending on loaded weight. The 7.5 G-limit is the max and only for a very light load, so in most cases the limit is lower.

 

The override provides some 33% extra to whatever limit the FCS imposes, so the max is about 10 Gs for a very lightly loaded aircraft.

JJ

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As far as I know the Hornet F18 is the most detailled model in DCS at the moment, but surely even this model has its limits in terms of realism, which I would like to know.

E.g. the "professional flight model (PFM)" is probably very realistic in most situations, but maybe it starts to fail in some extreme situations.

Also I wonder how well the material fatigue is modelled in the Hornet like when you disable the G-Limiter and then go over its limit. I tried this, but I could not notice any damage to the airplane due to extreme maneuvers.

Until now I could only find some vague informations about the level of details of this model, so I hope to find some further answers here.

 

As people have said, this module is not complete yet, so there are things that are missing now but will be added in the future.

 

As far as complete DCS modules go:

 

I think ED make their modules as detailed and close to real life as they can without violating any laws or straining corporate friendships. ED's brand is built on the idea that they are bringing the most realistic product they can to the entertainment market. Some systems or effects might not be simulated due to legal reasons. Sometimes there are minor effects and features that the developer believes will have little to no impact on user experience and would require a disproportionate amount of work, so those may not be simulated.

 

ED appear to be very conscious of an aircraft's edge of envelope or out of envelope behavior, and I'm sure that is something that will be simulated as faithfully as it can be once the module is finished.

 

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The control system adapts the limit depending on loaded weight. The 7.5 G-limit is the max and only for a very light load, so in most cases the limit is lower.

 

The override provides some 33% extra to whatever limit the FCS imposes, so the max is about 10 Gs for a very lightly loaded aircraft.

 

I am pretty sure I could pull up to 14+ Gs in the F/A-18C a few months ago, although I haven't tried again recently. And nothing bad happened.

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The G-Limiter can actually be quite dangerous if it does not allow you to pull up at a higher rate when you want to avoid a crash on the ground. But that is probably another topic.

Btw. I have asked another question about the realism of the Hornet, but I accidently posted it in a wrong subforum:

 

I know that DCS is mainly a flight simulator, but does it also simulate damages on your airplane if you do not land on a proper runway? E.g. if you land on some unpaved desert field or on a bombed runway.

 

 

 

 

Edit: I have tried it myself now after bombing an airstrip with Mk83 Snakeyes bombs, but even when I was rolling with 120 knots over one of the bomb craters my Hornet could still takeoff without big problems. So it is a little bit disappointing that bombing an airstrip in DCS just adds small bumbs on it instead of making it totally unusable.


Edited by Tiramisu
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  • 1 year later...

F/A-18C is very good. Most detailed in DCS? It's in the top for sure but I don't know...

 

One of the biggest gripes I still have with the Hornet is the reverse ground effect. It is flight model error. Flying extremely low you will get sucked into the ground. From what I understand this effect came about as a fix so that the Hornet wont slide around on the carrier deck. But very annoying when flying. Especially "Viggen type" missions in the weeds.

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Edit: I have tried it myself now after bombing an airstrip with Mk83 Snakeyes bombs, but even when I was rolling with 120 knots over one of the bomb craters my Hornet could still takeoff without big problems. So it is a little bit disappointing that bombing an airstrip in DCS just adds small bumbs on it instead of making it totally unusable.

 

Can't say about 83s, but I have had a plane fall into a "crater" left by a Mk84

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I don't think I see anything wrong here. I expect the wings on the real thing can take more than 14g without snapping. And the FCS isn't foolproof either. Abrupt stick commands can exceed the capability of the G-limit system.

 

With 14G you may expect to see some serious damage. Plus, even if the wings dont come off right away, they still have to withstand the airload and flow for the remainder of the flight with their possibly severely weakened internal structure. They might still fold later in the flight.

Its not like you pull 12+ G and all the maintenance crew has to do is an extended check and off it goes again.

You likely have to exchange entire parts of the aircraft.

 

 

Regards,

 

Snappy


Edited by Snappy
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With 14G you may expect to see some serious damage. Plus, even if the wings dont come off right away, they still have to withstand the airload and flow for the remainder of the flight with their possibly severely weakened internal structure. They might still fold later in the flight.

Its not like you pull 12+ G and all the maintenance crew has to do is an extended check and off it goes again.

You likely have to exchange entire parts of the aircraft.

 

 

Regards,

 

Snappy

 

I never said there wouldn't be any damage. I was responding to the idea that exceeding G limits would definitely result in wings snapping off. Nothing more.

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There is a point where enough G will snap the wings like toothpicks. I forget the exact amount required in DCS but it is possible if you pull a few breakers.

 

Behold

 

 

Don't mind the part where I landed and took back off without wings :D

 

It appears that I recorded a max G of 12.1 in that video. Perhaps this has been upped or changed since I recorded that?

 

Edit:

So I just messed with it in the ME and I can get them to snap with a max recorded G of around 11.1 with breakers off. It seems to depend on aircraft weight (which makes sense) as with a full tank and no stores 11.1G and the wings come off. With a near empty tank I was able to pull a max recorded G of 16.7 and the wings stayed on. Also it seems to matter how long you pull those Gs because I got 17.8 for about 1 second before it dropped down to around 13.5 and after about 3 seconds the right wing came off with around 200lbs of fuel onboard.


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Sure, wings may or may not break off, but overstressing an airframe might mean putting more effort into NDT inspections for stress cracks (Non Destructive Testing, where they inspect using things like X-rays, or magnaflux, and more, to see flaws in metals), to more reinforcing plates, to much more serious efforts like replacing the wing box (see A-10 upgrading) or even scrapping the airframe entirely.

 

I remember reading somewhere that when many modern fighters are fully loaded to the maximum, that is, very heavy bomb load, loaded external tanks, their G-limit is MUCH lower than the official stated G-max. I think one suggested the F-16, with Mk.84's and drop tanks, would typically be limited to a G max of just 4.5 or something, and that the Hornet was similar. No, I've no proof of this, just read something that suggested it, a very long time ago. But it kinda makes sense, in the fact is, if you are pulling G's for a maneuver, your essentially putting force to counteract inertia of it's forward movement. So if you double the weight you are trying to change it's direction, the force required to do this goes WAY way up. And the result is you are flexing the airframe and control surfaces' hinges, actuators and such.

 

Now... the impression I got, was that on at least one such jet, they would actually put a temporary G-limit into the fly by wire system, when you were loaded heavy, of say 4.5g or 5g, and that either on the next flight, or even same flight but when you no longer have yer bombs, and your drop tanks are empty, you could then have your max recommended G-limit back, of say 8.5 for Hornet, and whatever a Viper is allowed to pull (9.5 ?? I dunno). But... this might be inccorect info. Can anyone who actually knows, confirm if this is correct or not?

 

Which brings another question: do the pylons on newer generation fighters feature strain gauges to sense the weight?

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Sure, wings may or may not break off, but overstressing an airframe might mean putting more effort into NDT inspections for stress cracks (Non Destructive Testing, where they inspect using things like X-rays, or magnaflux, and more, to see flaws in metals), to more reinforcing plates, to much more serious efforts like replacing the wing box (see A-10 upgrading) or even scrapping the airframe entirely.

 

I remember reading somewhere that when many modern fighters are fully loaded to the maximum, that is, very heavy bomb load, loaded external tanks, their G-limit is MUCH lower than the official stated G-max. I think one suggested the F-16, with Mk.84's and drop tanks, would typically be limited to a G max of just 4.5 or something, and that the Hornet was similar. No, I've no proof of this, just read something that suggested it, a very long time ago. But it kinda makes sense, in the fact is, if you are pulling G's for a maneuver, your essentially putting force to counteract inertia of it's forward movement. So if you double the weight you are trying to change it's direction, the force required to do this goes WAY way up. And the result is you are flexing the airframe and control surfaces' hinges, actuators and such.

 

Now... the impression I got, was that on at least one such jet, they would actually put a temporary G-limit into the fly by wire system, when you were loaded heavy, of say 4.5g or 5g, and that either on the next flight, or even same flight but when you no longer have yer bombs, and your drop tanks are empty, you could then have your max recommended G-limit back, of say 8.5 for Hornet, and whatever a Viper is allowed to pull (9.5 ?? I dunno). But... this might be inccorect info. Can anyone who actually knows, confirm if this is correct or not?

 

Which brings another question: do the pylons on newer generation fighters feature strain gauges to sense the weight?

 

 

Yes, the Viper has Cat l and Cat lll. Cat lll is for A/G loads and restricts the G's you can pull. Cat l is for A/a loads and gets full G's.

 

It's a switch the pilot can flip. So, I guess the systen can still be abused. You'd think it would be automatically be set to save the plane.


Edited by BuzzU

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