General Instruction

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General Instruction

New to air combat? Start off by reading "In Pursuit", an excellent (free) resource for both beginner and intermediate pilots.

Fighting in the air seems deceptively easy: all you have to do is motor up to the bad guy and shoot him down, right? You wish! There’s a whole lot more to fighting than pointing your nose at the enemy – you have to manage your engine, keep the aircraft trimmed properly, look about you, maneuver, plan ahead, keep your speed up, navigate, communicate, stay calm, and fly your aircraft so as to engage with a number of advantages instead of always fighting at a disadvantage.

Three major concepts encapsulate all of the above, and the pilot who acts to maintain a high level in all three categories will meet with success, while the pilot who fails in every category will likely not survive more than a few minutes in any combat. You need:

There are two important multipliers which interact with the above: Numbers and Organisation. If you outnumber the enemy you can usually get away with having a low awareness and low energy, and if you fly with an element of organisation (which implies communication) you will also benefit materially and get away from situations where you would otherwise be stone dead.

First of all you need to increase your Awareness – which means careful study of all the details that pertain to aircraft and aerial combat. Keep reading!

Ten Easy Rules

  1. Before you take off, check the map (M) and determine where the action is and where to find friendly aircraft. In the left hand column you’ll find a "target" symbol. Click on it to activate the Air Warning System (AWS) grid, which gives a rough outline of enemy activity. Red means 5+ enemy aircraft, yellow means less than 5 enemy aircraft. Note that intel is delayed with anything from 30-90 seconds. Friendly aircraft on your mission are shown as white plane icons.
  2. Climb! Pilots found below 2 km (6000 ft) are easy prey for seasoned veterans who lurk above, and for the very deadly anti-aircraft gunners who abound on the ground. You will want to be flying at 4-6 km (12000-18000 ft) when entering a hot zone. Only if that altitude is clear should you go diving down to try your luck.
  3. Friendly aircraft have blue halos and name tags. Don’t shoot at them (it will not hurt them but annoy them immensely) – save your ammo for the aircraft with red halos and aircraft type tags.
  4. Look around you at all times. The enemy has a tendency to park behind you before shooting you down, so look behind your tail every 5 seconds.
  5. Fire only at short range. You will want to fill the gunsight with enemy before letting rip. If the EA is but a small dot, forget it.
  6. Do not fly directly at the enemy which comes straight at you. Head-on attacks are extremely detrimental to your health. Check out the ACM section for tips on how to fly and fight.
  7. Keep your speed up. Low, slow and turning is a free ticket to the nether regions.
  8. Fly gently. If you pull too hard on the stick, you will black out and possibly crash.
  9. If you manage to shoot down an EA, flame a truck or bomb a bridge, return immediately to base to collect your mission success points. So doing, you will rapidly gain rank and access to better performing aircraft.
  10. Stay civil. No amount of moaning, cursing or belly-aching will help you improve. Learn from your mistakes and keep your chin up.

Essential Game Controllers

To fully appreciate the fabulousity of WWII Online in the air you will need a decent joystick. The game can be played with any USB game controller or even with the mouse – but trust us, you will not be successful. You might be able to get airborne with keyboard/mouse control but you will be easy meat for the seasoned pilots and only pad their stats. If you are serious about flying, consider investing in a state of the art joystick with separate throttle and rudders. Your gear will come in handy for all sorts of ground vehicles and naval units as well, so you will not be sorry. The minimum requirement is that your joystick has a throttle lever/wheel and preferably a twisting handle to give rudder control. Your stick needs at least one trigger and three to four other buttons/toggles to accommodate all the necessary controls. Typically you will also appreciate a “coolie hat” for view control. If you have a separate throttle unit it will likely have more buttons/toggles for additional controls and macros. Rudders are not essential but highly recommended. Flying without rudder control is like trying to ride a bike on rims – you can turn, though not very well.

Essential keymapping

  • View hat – level views and forward-up view (POV N)
  • Trigger – primary fire (F)
  • Secondary trigger or button 2– secondary fire (B) for cannons and bombs
  • Button 3 – upview, to be combined with level views
  • Button 4 – gunsight/bombsight view
  • 2-way toggle 1 – elevator trim up and down (K, I)
  • 2-way toggle 2 – RPM up and down (‘ and ;)
  • 2-way toggle 3 – flaps up and down (W, Q)
  • Additional buttons if you have them: WEP (F8), map (M), voice comms transmit button (user defined), landing gear up/down (G), crew stations (1-6), Instrument view

Cockpit Instruments

What instrument is that? What is it good for? Why should I bother looking at it at all?
Situational Awareness starts with being aware of the speed, altitude, heading and general performance of your aircraft at any given time. Throw a glance at your cockpit instruments every now and then to determine your status. At first the array of dials and readouts may seem intimidating and difficult to read, and sometimes hard to find – however, with experience you will soon learn to find the correct gauge in the blink of an eye, and learn that there are primary and secondary instruments.

  • Primary instruments: altimeter, airspeed indicator, compass
  • Secondary instruments: engine and fluid gauges, attitude indicators, landing gear indicator

Once you are familiarized with the instrumention in one type of aircraft you can be fairly certain to find your way around any other aircraft type, for they are largely similar in appearance.

Trim and Engine Management

Learn how to fly a lean, clean and mean aircraft! Here


The concept of Energy is fundamental to air combat and requires more than a cursory study. Understanding Energy is not complicated but keeping a close tab on your energy state, as well as the energy state of all aircraft around you including those beyond visual range, is extremely complex – because the energy situation changes constantly with the multitudes of moves and vectors and positions involved in the overall air combat equation.
Energy is more than that gruesome piece of chocolate you find in your lint-filled pocket. Here

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness (SA) is a catch-all term for “knowing what goes on around you and adapting to it”. SA is what matters in the fight – it is not the aircraft, not the numbers, nor the situation itself. You have heard the saying “it is the one you do not see that kills you” and that is very much so. If you do not see the threat, if you are not aware of it, then you cannot manoeuvre profitably against it. Lose sight, lose the fight!
Pilots wear silk scarves for a reason. Look inside! Here

Understanding the Range Indicator

Quickly determine distances from friendly and enemy aircraft.

Guns and Gunnery

The idea of launching a fighter into the air is to find and destroy the enemy in the air (and sometimes to blow stuff up on the ground). This can only be achieved by closing to the appropriate range, there to open devastating and destructive fire with your forward-firing armament. This seems straightforward enough but is indeed a rather daunting task, as you will certainly experience. For there is more to air combat than merely pointing your guns at the enemy – you will first have to fly your aircraft to a promising position, and avoid countless dangers on the way to that position, and then stay there long enough to deliver effective fire.
Having trouble reaching out to the dear old enemy? Help is nigh! Here

Air Gunners and Bombardiers

Some Fighters and all of the bombers (and Junkers Ju-52) have single or multiple air gunners trained to various aspects of the sky. You the pilot may switch freely between the pilot seat and available air gunner positions using the numbered keys (1-9).
Learn more about the Gunner and Bombardier and their work environment. Here

Finding action and gaining rank

At last, the important piece of advice! Here

Aircraft Max Speeds

Hers listed is the Maximum Airspeeds of all Fighters, Bombers and Transport Planes. Here

Continue to Basic Flight Maneuvers

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