Trim and Engine Management
Trimming your aircraft – a vital and ongoing task
As a rookie pilot you will probably find it difficult to keep your aircraft steady in the air and especially difficult to keep a bandit steady in your gunsight when you attempt to gun him down. In fact, you will probably be fighting your aircraft’s tendency to climb or dive more than anything – requiring you to push or pull on the stick just to fly a straight line through the air. There is nothing wrong with your aircraft, you just need to trim it properly.
As you spawn in your aircraft is trimmed by default to its max level speed at sea level. The problem is that you are not always flying at maximum level speed on the deck – you may be climbing, turning or diving at various altitudes, and because of the difference in airspeed your trim will be more or less out of whack.
- In order to fly a clean path through the air, that is, with minimal stick pressure either fore or aft, you must trim your aircraft to a neutral state – which is always relative to the airspeed you are currently at.
Trim (or balance) is affected by manipulating small control surfaces on your elevators (pitch), ailerons (roll) and rudder (yaw). Of the three, elevator trim is the most important. Changing aileron and rudder trim is useful for regaining a measure of control when you have taken battle damage to said control surfaces. Elevator trim is manipulated with K (elevator trim up) and I (elevator trim down) keys. Remember their action as KLIMB and INININ.
- You will notice that takeoff becomes a lot easier by trimming elevators up (K): punch the K key some 10-15 ticks to adjust to the low airspeed.
- When you engage in a turning or climbing contest (from a neutral max speed trim setting) you will notice a huge improvement in turn and climb performance when you aggressively trim elevator trim up (K for KLIMB remember).
- When you exceed your default max sealevel airspeed, or your current level trim setting, by diving, you will notice that a certain amount of elevator trim down (I for INININ) will assist to keep the nose pointed down without excessive forward pressure on the stick.
The benefits of always flying a well trimmed, balanced, aircraft are:
- Less drag = more speed
- Less stick input = you will fly a straight line without effort, and can climb and dive with greater fine control
- Increased manoeuvrability = you get more stick “throw” in turning contest, and can out-turn an ill-trimmed opponent
- Improved gunnery = a stable platform yields more concentrated fire
If unsure of your current trim state, simply let go of the stick. If the aircraft tends to climb, input elevator down trim (I) to attain a neutral level flight. If the aircraft tends to nose down, input elevator trim up (K) until you fly level and true.
The WWIIOL aircraft have simplified engine and propellor controls in comparison with real-world aircraft. In real life, propellor and engine manifold settings are separate whereas in WWIIOL they are interlinked for ease of play. Still, there are some tasks that you must perform, and certain settings to manipulate to get the most out of your crate. And when the proverbial manure hits the fan, engine management may spell the difference between a successful return and an ignominious prang.
Your engine settings are:
- Economy RPM
- Continuous RPM
- Maximum RPM
- War Emergency Power
These settings correspond to the speed you may produce, and indicate the amount of strain on your engine. They also indicate the attitude of your propellor blades – i.e. at which angle they bite into the air.
The higher the setting, the more speed, the more wear and tear, and the greater the angle of attack (AOA) of the propellor blades.
Increase RPM with ' (default)
Decrease RPM with ; (default)
- Use Economy RPM to save gas on long cruises and to increase velocity in a dive (a low AOA produces less drag and consequently increases speed in the dive). Also use Economy to cool down an overheated engine. If the engine is severely overheated you will also benefit from reducing throttle.
- Use Continuous RPM as a happy middle ground between high speed and low gas consumption. When operating at corner speed you may also gain angles on a turning bandit in comparison to a max RPM setting, though this is highly dependent on the circumstances.
- Use Maximum RPM for takeoff, aggressive ascents, combat and landing.
- Use War Emergency Power – WEP – (F8) when you need an extra boost of energy.
Be advised that WEP is most effective at sea level for normally aspirated engines (if your engine is turbocharged WEP is effective at higher altitudes too), and that WEP considerably increases wear and tear. In most aircraft you can only use WEP for so long until the engine starts to chuff and chug and finally seize. Keep an eye on your temperature gauges!