Fighter Performance Comparison
Includes rank shift by tier and basic combat attributes pulled from windtunnel test results, this is the order in which they perform in game based on the physics driven windtunnel simulator, which actually flies the aircraft to their best performance in the attributes listed without pilot variation or error. All performance tests are done without WEP, ie: at standard military power, or "max" as you know it from game.
Note: Where summary differences are very small (+/- 2% or less) between aircraft they share a rating. Performance which varies at different altitudes (all aircraft) is averaged for rating purposes.
SUMMARY: Tier 0 attributes
German *Recruit* ride is best performer roughly equal with the British *VETERAN* ride and the German vet ride (Bf109E-4), but lacks hitting power. This is the reverse of the general trend in game, reinforcing the NON RED vs BLUE nature of the game. In addition, as a reflection of the historical nature of the game, the Germans have the high firepower but sluggish handling Bf110C-4 in their available list also.
SUMMARY: Tier 1 attributes
3rd. Curtiss H-81
3rd. Curtiss H-81
2nd. Curtiss H-81
1st. Spitfire.IIb/Curtiss H-81
OVERVIEW: British RAF get their first 20mm cannons but Germans still hold the climb card against all comers in the 109s. Turning fights are a wash depending on pilots skill. Luftwaffe recruits still have the performance edge but newly ranked (one level up) players in all countries now get the previous Tier 0 VET rides with all the abilities these bring.
SUMMARY: Tier 2 attributes
2nd. Spitfire.Vb/Curtiss H-87/Bell Mle.14a (below 4km alt. only)
3rd. Curtiss H-87/Bf110F-B
4th. Bell Mle.14a
3rd. Hurricane.IIc/Curtiss H-87
4th. Bell Mle.14a
1st. Curtiss H-87
4th. Bell Mle.14a
2nd. Bell Mle.14a
OVERVIEW: Everybody now has at least 2 recruit level rides and have a "newly ranked" can now select the improved ride ... in addition to 2 x VET rides one of them being a CAS unit and the other a "top vet rank" ride. Performance differences are becoming more varied but the German rides always have the climb advantage and are generally faster in level flight (with one exception) .. with the greater variety of available aircraft types in the later tiers the playing field is broadly even. With a fairly similar paint scheme employed in each countries service there is a reasonable chance a pilot may not by this stage of a campaign always be aware what type he is in combat with ... as aircraft leave and arrive within a contested region and where he may be otherwise occupied defending his life or taking someone else's.
SUMMARY: Tier 3 attributes
The Germans are the only country that get two aircraft introduced in the (currently) final equipment introduction tier. Both are fairly narrow focus where the two Allied countries get a single aircraft of generally broader combat capabilities, covering a wider performance envelope of both speed and turning ability. The Allied air forces also gain some ability in their previously inferior climbing performance. Since ALL aircraft types are now in game by this stage, it tends to be moot that the Germans get 2 types in introduction and the Allies only the one each (which amounts to 2 functionally speaking) ... the abilities of the aircraft in question provide the parity that needs to be found given it isn't a red vs blue game and there needs to be acceptance of the differences to be dealt with as part of the broader war. The previous similarity in color schemes each countries aircraft are painted is continued to make fast action in combat less likely to have you totally sure of what you're facing at all times ... as the range of aircraft types in action is now at it's most varied. Bf109s are all similar to enemy pilots at longer ranges as are Spitfires/Hurricanes to their opponents, while you are relying on long range identification. Up close you can begin to recognize individual variant types.
The early tier 0 and lower end tier 1 aircraft are generally being stripped out of supply by the late tier3 and post tier 3 stage of a campaign (particularly so with the low end tier 0 types) but there is still a very wide range of types to be found in combat at this latter stage of a campaign, making for a wide variety of encounters and the need by all pilots to work together and develop and exploit combat tactics to favor this range of differences in performance of all their different aircraft types, and those of their opponents.
As the campaign moves on to even later stages, and earlier types tend to be removed from the equipment inventory in favor of the new types of aircraft, some early types (tier 1 vet rides for the most part) will probably always be available in some numbers for the sake of both variety and for those that still favor the lighter more nimble types even in the latter stages of a live campaign. Rank access to the lower currently available aircraft types (which changes as the campaign continues on) will dynamically shift downwards to accommodate the need to have n00b equipment available for newer players who previously didn't have the rank to fly the better types when they were top tier aircraft in earlier tiers but are now no longer the top dogs of the equipment list. Thus n00bs in later stages of a campaign will be able to fly what were vet rides earlier on, like the D.520/Bf109E-4/Spitfire.Ia combo, or the H-81/Bf109F-2/Spitfire IIb combination at your first rank achievement.
We now have an excellent use of rank from the highest rank down to the lowest, and a transitional equipment access (through rank) that much better reflects the pilots ability to progress in skill and experience to climb the ladder of success, while not being stuck at the earliest equipment level from the beginning to the end of their campaign. This represents the best of both what is available and what one can experience in terms of roleplay to "rise through the ranks" and expand your choices as you gain experience and skill, and as the campaign progresses to it's later stages.