Flight Simulators

In the words of Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron of WWI fame), “The great thing in air fighting is that the decisive factor does not lie in trick flying but solely in the personal ability and energy of the aviator.” Thus we have the basic concept of dogfighting, or aerial combat first seen during WWI but very prevalent with WW2 fighter planes.

Early theories of dogfighting consisted of approaching an enemy plane from the direction of the sun thus blinding the opposing pilot, or to always try to fly at a higher altitude than the opponent. Later pilots advised to get behind the enemy aircraft, in the six o’clock position, to achieve optimum firing position. As dogfighting progressed over the years actual theories of physics came into play as angles, plane speed, enemy speed, and firing rate had to be calculated. But still, at its very basic level, aerial combat came down to the human element and the ability and energy of the pilot.

As fighter planes improved and technology came more into play, dogfighting tactics had to change by necessity. The most important of these was to always keep the enemy within sight. In pursuing an enemy plane, three choices are available. Lag pursuit involves keeping the nose of the attacking plane pointed behind an enemy’s tail. Lead pursuit involves keeping the nose pointed ahead of the enemy, and pure pursuit is the classic six o’clock position where the nose of the attacking plane is pointed directly at the tail of the enemy. All positions have to do with airspeed, turn radius, angle of flight path and firing speed. During WWII fighter pilots had to essentially learn on the fly as they re-wrote the basic manuals of dogfighting techniques during actual combat. Put another way, despite the physics inherent in the situation, it still came down to the reactions of the pilot based on learned and conditioned response.

About the closest we can hope to come to that kind of experience today is by playing combat flight simulator games like Aces High. Using advanced online technology we can climb into the cockpit of our WWII fighter plane and use the lessons learned by former combat pilots as we take on the best gamers the world has to offer over simulated World War II arenas. If you have never tried one of these online flight simulators, go to the Aces High website and try the free two-week download. Fire up your plane and then try to remember the words of the Red Baron as you test your ability and energy against other gamers.

Flight Sim Screen Shots