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|BASIC ACM RULES
|SOME QUICK ACM AXIOMS: "LITTERALLY WORDS TO LIVE BY!"
If you follow these rules while flying you will live to get home and land those kills the better part of the time.
|1. NEVER FLY ALONE
This is the first and most importaint rule of Air Combat. NEVER leave the ground without a wingman. The ability to cover each other and provide an enhanced level of SA cannot be over emphasized. The best pilot with the finest aircraft is still no match for an effective pair of wingmen and two pairs of eyes are ALWAYS better than one.
The best way to remember it is - YOU FLY ALONE, YOU DIE ALONE.
|3. ATTACK FROM A POSITION OF ADVANTAGE
Air Combat is WAR! Arena combat is not the place for genteel dueling or gentlemanly "level playing field" flying. The Dueling Arena is a better place for that for those so inclined. The Combat Arena is not the place for that kind of flying philosophy. It is about useing all the advantages & skills you have learned to shoot down other planes without being shot down yourself.
Plan your attacks carefully. Move into a favorable attack position first - don't just "jump into that furball guns blazing!" Take advantage of "blind spots' and distracted opposition to score quick kills. Never give the opposition "an even break", because he certainly wouldn't cut you any slack if the position was reversed!
|2. DON'T CLIMB INTO A FIGHT
If you find yourself climbing into a fight you are almost always making a mistake. The enemy is almost sure to have the advantage in energy-state, and therefore have the initiative. It is generally very unwise to "force" an engagement from an inferior energy state.
|4. ATTACK WITH SURPRISE ON YOUR SIDE
There is no law against cunning. Look for setting up a surprise attack on a target whenever possible. Look for situations where the target may have poor SA; move into blind spots, use the sun (just like reall WW2 fighter pilots did) and sneak up on the target. The best kill is always the quickest before a bandit can take defensive measures or bring his guns to bear on you.
|6. WHEN IN DOUBT - GO VERTICLE
In air combat, especially in WW 2 aircraft, it's almost always a good idea to use the verticle as much as possible. The Bf-109 with it's high climb rate is especially suited to it. If you have the energy level to "go high", it's rarely a mistake to do so. Don't stick to "flat turns" in a dogfight. They are very predictable and quickly bleeds your speed down making you vulnerable.
|5. WITH A SUPERIOR ENERGY STATE GO HIGH - WITH AN INFERIOR ENERGY STATE GO LOW
If you have the better energy state you have the advantage. Stay above your opponent if at all possible. After completing a gun pass it's usually a big mistake to 'go low' to reengage. Going high conserves energy.
Going 'low' is good when on the defensive. When you are in trouble, the most importaint factor is to keep your airspeed up. If you are in a inferior energy state and by attempting to "go high" you will be cutting your airspeed - you are a sitting duck! NEVER follow a con into a climb in the middle of a fight - you will get killed for sure.
Keeping up your airspeed allows you to manuver more crisply. And who knows - your opponent could make a mistake which you could exploit with a bit of manuverability.
|7. ETERNAL VIGILANCE OR ETERNAL REST
The most importaint factor in Air Combat is to see the opponent. Spot him first (and any of his friends), keep him in sight at all times. Scan your views at least once every 15 seconds even in a "quiet" sky. Swing your plane from side to side to look in the blind spot under your tail - they don't call it "Dead 6" for nothing. Otherwise the first indication of danger could be bullets ripping through your aircraft.
|8. LEARN TO COUNT
Don't attack outnumbered unless you have the energy and altitude advantage. The worse you are outnumbered the bigger the advantage should be. If you are badly outnumbered you only have to miscalculate the energy state or position of one of the enemy gaggle to end up going home via parachute.
|9. CALCULATE FIRING LEAD BEFORE FIRING
Don't fire first and ask questions later. Try to gauge the "Kentucky Windage" before you pull the trigger. You want your bullets and the bandit to meet in a specific spot at the same time. Otherwise you might find yourself flying around without ammunition real
|10. SHORT RANGE - SHORT BURSTS
When shooting, leave the water hose in the garden. If you missed the target, get over it. Don't try to "walk" the tracers into the bandit, because you have a limited supply of ammo. Short bursts initally, then when you have the range down fire for effect.
Generally shots over 300 yards are a waste of time with the armament on the German aircraft against fast manuvering aircraft. Get in close and hit hard! Close to 250 or less before you let him have it. If the target is flying straight and level, shots to twice your convergence setting is allowed. Outside of that you are most likely wasting ammo unless you are flying a plane like the Bf-109 which has no gun convergence as the guns are all in the nose.
Remember, cannon rounds will "drop" faster than machin
|11. THINK IN 3 DIMENSIONS WHEN BEING FIRED ON
Get "out of the plane" when being fired on. When evading fire think aileron and rudder - not just elevator. The "infamous" flat break turn is the easiest defensive move to track with guns. That is an "in plane" manuver, the easiest manuver to maintain a gun solution on. Make the guy on your tail work for it if he wants the kill. Use jinking rudder moves and aileron rolls to evade fire. If you can force the guy to pull negative G's to fire, so much
|12. AVOID "DEAD" 6 CO-ALT ATTACKS
It is generally wiser to attack slightly from the side or underneath than from a dead-on Six O'clock position. The bandit presents a very small cross section from "Dead 6", which makes for a difficult shot except at point blank range. At ranges over 150 yards, try to attack slightly from the side. This presents a much larger cross section and involves a minimual gun diflection angle. It also helps avoid collisions.
|13. THINK ENERGY - NOT STICK
There is an old saying that "Colonels think Tactics - Generals think Logistics". Well Fighter Pilots have a similar addage. "Average Pilots think stick - Good Pilots think Energy." Even when a tight furball always keep relative energy states in mind. This will allow you to evaluate what the enemy can do, and what you can do with more accuracy. Always try to keep that last ounce of energy in your back posket as your "Ace in the Hole". You may need to play that card sooner than you think!
|14. TURN INTO THE ATTACKER - NOT AWAY
This one goes back to the WW 1 German Ace Boelke. By turning "into" the attack you are manuvering so as to avoid allowing the bandit to get on your "six".
By turning "away" from the attack you are making it easy for the bandit to gain angle on you for a gun solution.
|15. LEAD TURNS
Many pilots know that in the eternal battle for "angle", the "Lead Turn" is a useful tool. But they forget that lead turning is also permitted in the horizontal, not just the verticle. That is: lateral seperation can be exploited just as easily with a lead turn as verticle seperation.
|17. REMEMBER THE RULE OF 45
When making a energy based attack with a fair amount of closure on a bandit, only follow the bandit for about 45 degrees of "break". If you havent killed him by then it's time to zoom and setup for another pass. Following that break turn too much will surrender your energy advantage, and could lead to overshoots. It's generally a poor idea to follow a enemy plane in a hard breaking turn if you have a fair amount of closure on target.
If the target breaks with a Split-S or similar manuver (such as a slice-back) it's usually a bad idea to follow, since your high speed will actually work against you as the target breaks low. Instead establish a lag pursuit situation or go verticle to establish a dominant altitude advantage with verticle seperation. Then close in for another pass. Remember it often takes several energy passes to "wear down" the targets energy state to the point where the kill is assured.
|16. LAG PURSUIT WITH SUPERIOR ENERGY - LEAD PURSUIT WITH EQUAL OR INFERIOR ENERGY
When attempting to gain gun angle on a bandit use geometry to close on the target that has eaqual or high energy by "cutting the corner" of his turn. That is, anticipate his flight path and "lead" it.
Lag Pursuit avoids problems with gun deflection and closure. Instead of flying straight at the target and taking a high deflection shot at his turning plane, simply "lag" outside his turn. That is, often you deliberately turn outside his circle, going high. This conserves energy advantage and sets up a more promising shot when you re-engage.
|18. ALWAYS FLY AGGRESSIVELY
When in the Air, always think aggressively - even when you are on the defensive. One of the skills of all successful pilots is a basic killer instinct. Flying in a tentative or indecive fashion will just get you killed. A good pilot will use your hesitation against you. While foolhardy recklessness is pointless, the good pilot is the master of the calculate risk. Building the judgement to know when a risk is justified is the key to success.
|19. KNOW YOU AIRCRAFT AND THE ENEMY'S AIRCRAFT
Understand the strengths of your plane, and also the aircraft you are flying against. Their strengths and weaknesses should be etched in your mind. A good pilot knows how to exploit the strong points of his ride, and exploit the weak points of the enemy aircraft to get the victory. Don't fly "against" your plane by asking it to do something it's not capable of or you will die.