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Question: How do you maintain the F-16's airspeed in BFM?


Doc3908
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Hi everyone,

I've watched enough videos and read tons of threads that all say the same things: "The F-16 likes to be fast", "Keep the airspeed up" (some recommend 400-420kts, others recommend 450-500kts...), "The F-16 will outrate anything in 2C fight if you keep the airspeed up", etc.

Well, I routinely get my butt kicked by the AI (set to "veteran") in guns-only engagements against a Mig-29 if I try to stick purely to a 2C horizontal fight. For the most part, it seems to outrate me anywhere from 15K down to the deck regardless of whether I maintain 350kts, or 450kts or 520kts. The other thing that bothers me is that pulling just a tiny bit on the stick (I'm using a Trustmaster Warthog) bleeds airspeed like crazy and then it takes forever to regain it unless you completely unload the aircraft (but then the bandit is on your six). I am not a complete newb - I have no problem with most of the other DCS mods - but for whatever reason, the F-16 just doesn't want to click with me. And, yes, I can defeat the Mig-29 if I throw away the whole "keep it in a 2 circle fight and keep the speed up" mantra. How do you guys BFM with this thing? Suggestions for improving my BFM skills in the F-16 are much appreciated. 

Doc

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Veteran AI MiG-29 is near unbeatable 2-C.  I end up in a descending scissors and hope he has to transition first and get him then, when using the F-16 at least.  FM is under review right now.

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Turn less tight. Don't bleed energy and don't be in a rush. Also don't turn horizontally. Turn with your nose slightly up if you need to lose speed, and your nose slightly down if you want to gain/keep speed.

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The F-16 can accelerate in a turn if you pull gently enough. Practice some precision with the stick to hold speed or accelerate if necessary. Also if it's guns only don't be afraid to extend and reset. Accelerate out of gun range, then climb and turn back in. The first turn in the merge with the AI is usually important. You want to pull hard, but not so hard that you bleed your energy. Maybe in the 5-6.5 g range?

 

Also remember that the AI flight models are a bit off. Common advice I hear to fight Veteran AI at the most, but if I'm honest I think even that level pushes aircraft beyond their actual flight envelope. Trained for a good pilot/plane, Rookie for an average plane/pilot.

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Airspeed for best sustained turn is a good number to know, but in a 2C fight where you're anything except horizontal, you are going to be exchanging altitude for airspeed and back. You might be 350 or less (even less if your opponent is low on energy and you're trying to prevent a flight path overshoot) over the top of the turn and 450 at the bottom of the turn as your nose crosses the horizon. You should be constantly reacting to what your opponent is doing and not flying a set airspeed.

 

Against Ace AI MiG-29 with pylons removed (not just the "empty" loadout but pylons completely removed) and 50% fuel against an F-16 with pylons removed and 100% fuel and a guns only neutral merge, I end up defensive quite early in the fight, but he ends up running out of fuel and crashing just as I'm getting to 2500-3000 lbs remaining. If I bump him up to 75% fuel then I can get to the control zone using 2C tactics and kill him as I'm reaching 2000-2500 lbs remaining. So it's a tough fight but depends on initial fuel levels.

 

OP what are your starting conditions, specifically fuel levels and whether your and your opponent's pylons are attached?

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The F-16 flight model is a work in progress, so any force on the stick bleeds energy with a heavy loadout.  As @Xavven mentioned, right now try it with no pylons and low fuel.  The envelope is 350-550, so stay inside that zone.  If you recall, ED mentioned they were working on their rudder coordination in the flight model to bring out the full fidelity Mig-29.  The F-16 likes a small amount of rudder now to bring the nose around nicely.  I hope this helps.

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You don't need to pull 9G every time.  Try to keep the G loading lower.  I spent ages practicing BFM without using the afterburner.  Just stick the throttle in mil and leave it there.  Forget you have an afterburner and keep a close eye on your speed.  This will force you to learn how to conserve energy, as once lost it will take a long time to regain.

 

But remember, the FM is still WIP.

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Corner speed is from 330 to 420kts and after the FM rework it will be possible to beat the 29 at above angels 10. At the moment, the 29 has the upper hand in almost every situation. Best bet is a heater across the circle or making use of a pilot error which the AI does luckily. 

If you see him pulling lead, pull and jink to create problems for him. When he is lagging behind, ease off the stick to gain speed. 

The AI often pulls up when it should not, bleeding a lot of energy which then gives you the opportunity to get a heater shot off after a couple of weird loops. 

The AI is not very sophisticated, but it is also an incredible task to create one that can fly props, helos and fast jets and succeed. 

Until then, let's hope that the FM rework part that includes the lift coefficient fixes on lower speeds drops in the next patch and make use of the plenty of pilot errors that the AI makes in BFM. 

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Posted (edited)

Here's a video of today's practice session against a MiG-29. I just can't keep the speed above 350kts and maneuver to stay out of his nose (which is my primary concern).  Many mistakes (like that stupid premature turn at the merge in the second round). "Veteran" as this MiG may be, it still flies pretty simplistically, which is why I can get away with this type of flying. A human player will punish me quickly for these mistakes. Need more practice...

 

 


Edited by Doc3908
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I only got to the 5:30 mark in your video but I think I get the idea. It's hard to tell definitively because you don't have your helmet mounted display on (or at least it's not being captured in your video) so I can't tell your indicated airspeed or the G you're pulling, but my general observation is that you're spending all your energy pulling as hard as you can to get nose-on and taking high-aspect gun shots (HAGS). I am guessing your other car is a hornet?

 

That works when you are 1-circle and you want to get your turn radius down (which necessitates spending as much airspeed as you can as fast as you can). But that's not as good in a 2-circle fight until very specific circumstances, like the final pull into the control zone on the offense, or guns defense.

 

Regulate how hard you pull on the stick to keep your airspeed in certain parameters, and for turns that have a vertical component you will be pulling harder over the top of your turn to get your nose started downhill, then relax to build airspeed, then as you approach 450 knots you'll bring the G back on. This means that your target will seem to gain angles on you while you're unloading, but then you make it back up during your hard pull as you cash in your altitude. It takes patience and reading your opponent's energy state to win a 2C fight with a low-aspect gun shot.

 

I'll see if I can upload a track if I have time tonight.

 

Edit: other observations -- you pull pure or lead pursuit too soon to get snap shots and this causes a flight path overshoot. It doesn't look like you're getting radar lock in time to get to EEGS L5 a lot of times.

 

And I just skipped to 8:00 and it looks like your helmet mounted display is up. Yep, it's just that you're pulling on the stick too much and bleeding all the energy out of your plane before your first 300 degrees of turn.


Edited by Xavven
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Okay, here are two tracks, one against Veteran AI that has 100% fuel and pylons, and another against Ace AI that has 70% fuel and no pylons (which was much harder!). In both tracks I'm 100% fuel with no pylons.

 

I had to restart a LOT of times until I got tracks that were all 2-circle, since the AI likes to climb at the start and force a 1-circle fight, and also dogfights are messy and the AI can reverse the turn and force me to use tactics other than 2-circle, which is fine by me but defeats the purpose of this -- which is to demonstrate where in a 2-circle fight to pull maximum G and when to relax G. You'll see I'm pulling when I'm losing altitude and at 350-450 knots, or when I'm pulling into the control zone, and relaxing when I gain altitude and/or when I'm low on energy and trying to get back to 450.

 

Also not depicted:

  • Me losing sight and restarting
  • Me accidentally letting my airspeed run away to 550+ knots and restarting
  • Bad gunnery worthy of internet shame and restarting

F-16 100 Fuel No Pylons vs MiG-29S Ace 70 Fuel No Pylons.trk F-16 100 Fuel No Pylons vs MiG-29S Veteran 100 Fuel with Pylons.trk

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9 hours ago, Xavven said:

 

 

Also not depicted:

  • Me losing sight and restarting
  • Me accidentally letting my airspeed run away to 550+ knots and restarting
  • Bad gunnery worthy of internet shame and restarting

 

That second one is a REAL problem.  I let off to build speed from 300 to 450 and next thing I know I'm blacking out at 600.

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On 8/21/2021 at 3:34 PM, Doc3908 said:

Hi everyone,

I've watched enough videos and read tons of threads that all say the same things: "The F-16 likes to be fast", "Keep the airspeed up" (some recommend 400-420kts, others recommend 450-500kts...), "The F-16 will outrate anything in 2C fight if you keep the airspeed up", etc.

Well, I routinely get my butt kicked by the AI (set to "veteran") in guns-only engagements against a Mig-29 if I try to stick purely to a 2C horizontal fight. For the most part, it seems to outrate me anywhere from 15K down to the deck regardless of whether I maintain 350kts, or 450kts or 520kts. The other thing that bothers me is that pulling just a tiny bit on the stick (I'm using a Trustmaster Warthog) bleeds airspeed like crazy and then it takes forever to regain it unless you completely unload the aircraft (but then the bandit is on your six). I am not a complete newb - I have no problem with most of the other DCS mods - but for whatever reason, the F-16 just doesn't want to click with me. And, yes, I can defeat the Mig-29 if I throw away the whole "keep it in a 2 circle fight and keep the speed up" mantra. How do you guys BFM with this thing? Suggestions for improving my BFM skills in the F-16 are much appreciated. 

Doc

I think you forgot to remove external pylons? (even it is shown "empty", pylon is still included by default. You need to remove them manually)

After 2.7.2 patch F-16 can out-rate fulcrums and flankers comfortably, without pylons of course.

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Things to consider:
The F16 FM is under review.

The AI does not obey the laws of physics as real players do. AI can cheat to save processing power I guess.

You can beat an AI Mig29 if you are not tempted to lose airspeed, although it starts pointing at you. If he points at you dont be scared, stay in your 2C game plan. A real player would have fired 2000 rounds at that moment, when the nose starts to come around. The AI Mig wont. Just a tiny jink distracts him.

When you setup missions by yourself you start with 100 % fuel. On a MP server and in real life you will have burnt some amount of fuel until you start a dogfight. Consider a setup with 50 % fuel and see how that feels.

The F16 pilot in DCS is not fit for the F16, so the only thing you can do is speed up to 450 kts pull until he almost blacks out after ridiculous little time, but that time is enough to bleed down to  400 kts. And you gained angles. Now rebuild speed to 450 kts and repeat when you get the chance to.


Edited by darkman222
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^All good tips

 

If I may nitpick, it's possible to enter a merge with 100% fuel if you had taken 2 fuel tanks and weren't all the way through them by the time you jettison them shortly prior to entering threat range.

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Hi @Doc3908

I'm by no means an expert and I am constantly learning under the same situations shown in your video, however a few observables worth noting.

 

Your turns inside the bandit are extremely tight pretty much cutting across the circle, you need to aim to fly into the Bandits control zone by observing when the bandit initiated his turn and then try to fly to that point in space and time and then making the turn. Assuming the bandit continues to turn you want to make your bid to lag and hold him about 30deg above the HUD on the lift vector, when the situation develops to the point you think you are ready to make a shot pull the bandit into the HUD for a guns kill.

 

-Timing is everything, a pull to guns kill can expend a lot of energy (airspeed) the slower you are the more the leading edge flaps will schedule adding drag as it tries to gain more lift while AOA increases.

 

-Turns made across the circle also close range rapidly ending with very high crossing angles and a risk of overshooting, pulling harder will give you a snap shot at best and not a good tracking guns kill.

 

Judging when to cash in speed for nose position is a skill born out of repetition, it matters less about speed and more about recognising when to exchange energy for nose position in order to employ weapons. Reacting to airspeed changes made by a bandit sometimes leaves you outside ideal performance envelope's so sometimes you have to work what you got.

 

The "when" is sometimes more important than the "how fast" being the difference between a snapshot and a good tracking guns kill. Don't get to hung up about airspeeds.

 

I'm still learning this myself...

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I uploaded a pretty good 2 circle fight with an F-14 ace ai.

(I call it nose-to-tail though)

 

I feel like I narrate pretty well how I'm keeping my speed and positioning up. I really want to make youtube videos to help people with thinking about their dogfighting, let me know if it is clear or confusing or what I could talk about to make it more clear:

 

 

Notice how much time I spend above 15,000ft and how I'm getting above 30,000 commonly. Angle fighters like blowing their speed for angles and that is harder to do in thin atmosphere. Also the F-16 sustains speed well, so an aircraft that has to unload to accelerate after every turn will get really inefficient against an F-16 that can do everything it wants to do without losing speed.

 

As you can see I put some rails and missiles on. This is my way of calling everyone complaining about the FM a pussycat.

 

Also, this is an AI, yes a human player would have been more herky-jerky, but that would just result in him losing MORE energy and becoming an easier kill.

 

18 hours ago, RuskyV said:

-Turns made across the circle also close range rapidly ending with very high crossing angles and a risk of overshooting, pulling harder will give you a snap shot at best and not a good tracking guns kill.

A thrust-to-weight ratio fighter will often be stuck making snap-shot kills when the enemy isn't in a 50yo airplane (F-14). But as you said, "Timing is everything,"  Get yourself in a snapshot position when the enemy is in a low energy state (like near an apex) and it will be like shooting fish in a barrel.

But something like an F-14 you can just dominate with a beautiful tracking kill shot. As long as you don't miss! (something I've been known to do)

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You'd be surprised how much having your HMD on will help you maintain speed. The video above by @Theodore42 illustrates how to hold you E in a turn, it's basically what I do as well but I fight the AI much lower. Mostly below 10K.

 

You want to pull gently around 4-6 G's, it seems like the bandit is getting away but you will come around or he will slow down. Something will change with the geometry of the fight and you will have energy for an excursion which you can then recover quickly but fully unloading and then quickly loading on 4-6 G's. It takes a bit of practice though.

 

This series below is pretty awesome for entries, 1C / 2C, sight lines etc, I would suggest watching the whole series if you have the time. Hopefully some of this helps a fellow Viper jockey. 

 

 


Edited by SmoglessPanic
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That series is pure gold. Watch and learn what he is illustrating. Especially how lag pursuit looks from the cockpit perspective. I had it wrong for such a long time. Unfortunately the video series seems not to be continued by the creator.

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On 8/28/2021 at 11:56 PM, Theodore42 said:

This is my way of calling everyone complaining about the FM a pussycat

Wow really? What's wrong of complaining an underperforming & buggy flight model? ED confirmed the problems with the current FM and they are working on it. It's a fact. 

 

Or are you just so proud that you beat an ace level AI F-14 with pylons and missiles so you think you can start saying insulting words to people in this forum? Should we call you the GOD OF DOGFIGHTING? 

 


Edited by SCPanda
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8 hours ago, SCPanda said:

Wow really? What's wrong of complaining an underperforming & buggy flight model? ED confirmed the problems with the current FM and they are working on it. It's a fact. 

 

Or are you just so proud that you beat an ace level AI F-14 with pylons and missiles so you think you can start saying insulting words to people in this forum? Should we call you the GOD OF DOGFIGHTING? 

 

ED has been saying that the current problem with the FM is that the AoA is too high for the Gs being pulled, which means that there is more drag while pulling Gs, something the F-16's thrust-to-weight ratio style requires a lot of.

What ED didn't say was that they were increasing the turn rate. Interesting, because when pulling equal Gs but less drag, how can that NOT increase turn rate?

 

It could be that the FM is accurate near corner speeds but is being buffed above or below corner speed. This wouldn't show up on some guy's rate-turn-fight experiment but would be apparent to people actually dogfighting the F-16 as intended. Less so under corner speed but very much so above corner speed if that's the case.

 

Or, it could mean that there is too much AoA only in a specific G range. Maybe when you're pulling Gs in a sustained rate turn the FM is correct but when you get above or below then there is too much AoA. If so, the new FM will let you sustain these Gs with less drag. Now THAT would be the biggest buff the F-16 could possibly get. People flying the F-16 correctly would feel like the GOD OF DOGFIGHTING while people doing turn-rate-tests will discern nothing.

 

The OP asked how to keep speed up during dogfights, and the answer is mainly to sustain Gs for long periods of time rather than to be baited into yanking on the stick and pulling 10Gs to get your nose on a guy. In the video I posted and the other, the amount of time spent between 3 and 7Gs is ridiculous. If anywhere in that range is getting buffed with less induced drag, then F-16 dogfighters are going to become VERY happy. The rate-turn-testers will remain dubious.

 

Oh, you know what? ED might only be buffing the F-16 FM above 10,000ft. Then I would be the only one to notice (LOL!)

I say this in jest, but there are a lot of interesting FM interactions at altitudes above 10,000 feet.

 

Anyway, I could be totally wrong, but when ED is saying something as oddly specific as "too much AoA for the Gs" (paraphrasing) then it makes me think they're trying to figure out how to break it to people that the standardized tests players do on the F-16 won't be affected but the dogfighting players will notice.

 

Anyway, the answer to the OPs question might be much more apparent after the patch.

 

Oh, and they're updating the Viper's ability to onset Gs faster as well. I think this is what most players are going to notice, and I bet it's gonna feel real good.

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vor 28 Minuten schrieb Theodore42:

 

ED has been saying that the current problem with the FM is that the AoA is too high for the Gs being pulled, which means that there is more drag while pulling Gs, something the F-16's thrust-to-weight ratio style requires a lot of.

What ED didn't say was that they were increasing the turn rate. Interesting, because when pulling equal Gs but less drag, how can that NOT increase turn rate?

 

It could be that the FM is accurate near corner speeds but is being buffed above or below corner speed. This wouldn't show up on some guy's rate-turn-fight experiment but would be apparent to people actually dogfighting the F-16 as intended. Less so under corner speed but very much so above corner speed if that's the case.

 

Or, it could mean that there is too much AoA only in a specific G range. Maybe when you're pulling Gs in a sustained rate turn the FM is correct but when you get above or below then there is too much AoA. If so, the new FM will let you sustain these Gs with less drag. Now THAT would be the biggest buff the F-16 could possibly get. People flying the F-16 correctly would feel like the GOD OF DOGFIGHTING while people doing turn-rate-tests will discern nothing.

 

The OP asked how to keep speed up during dogfights, and the answer is mainly to sustain Gs for long periods of time rather than to be baited into yanking on the stick and pulling 10Gs to get your nose on a guy. In the video I posted and the other, the amount of time spent between 3 and 7Gs is ridiculous. If anywhere in that range is getting buffed with less induced drag, then F-16 dogfighters are going to become VERY happy. The rate-turn-testers will remain dubious.

 

Oh, you know what? ED might only be buffing the F-16 FM above 10,000ft. Then I would be the only one to notice (LOL!)

I say this in jest, but there are a lot of interesting FM interactions at altitudes above 10,000 feet.

 

Anyway, I could be totally wrong, but when ED is saying something as oddly specific as "too much AoA for the Gs" (paraphrasing) then it makes me think they're trying to figure out how to break it to people that the standardized tests players do on the F-16 won't be affected but the dogfighting players will notice.

 

Anyway, the answer to the OPs question might be much more apparent after the patch.

 

Oh, and they're updating the Viper's ability to onset Gs faster as well. I think this is what most players are going to notice, and I bet it's gonna feel real good.

It affects the low speed and high AOA turns and therefore landing speeds. Due to the reasons you have mentioned, the landing speed is higher than in the books and this will be notable. 

They mentioned the rework above angels 20 as one of the major issues delaying a patch somewhere, the other part is the AOA being too high (read: lift coefficient too low). 

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10 hours ago, SCPanda said:

Wow really? What's wrong of complaining an underperforming & buggy flight model? ED confirmed the problems with the current FM and they are working on it. It's a fact. 

 

Or are you just so proud that you beat an ace level AI F-14 with pylons and missiles so you think you can start saying insulting words to people in this forum? Should we call you the GOD OF DOGFIGHTING? 

 

 

 

I tested this for myself over my lunch break and my conclusion is the F-14B Ace AI is fairly tame. I will say that the F-16C handles like a wallowing pig if you keep 4x AIM-120 and 2x AIM-9X on it, compared to clean. The added weight and drag prolonged the fight but the result was always the same -- the F-14B Ace AI loses in both 1C and 2C flow.

 

This isn't meant as a dig at anyone, just that I agree that beating the AI says nothing about whether DCS's F-16C's flight model is correct or not.

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While I read these with great interest, until we get the new flight model, it's all kinda moot.  I'm waiting for the dust to settle before getting too Viper serious, but that's just me.

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