Due to a network issue, the AI kept lag warping just as we got into gun positions, which made for some very frustrating dogfighting, but I’m glad to say I didn’t get shot down. I didn’t get any kills, either, but I did finally land some hits after setting my wingspan selector accordingly (33ft - thanks, @near_blind).
We started off in singles - everybody was taking off/cruising in/fighting solo. Or at least, we were when I joined the server. After a reset to address the time-space-continuum-hopping MiG behavior, we more or less took off as a team - Fridge ate tarmac and rage-quit (not really, it was 1:30am his time!) after his nosewheel steering went sour on him, but near_blind caught up to me and we flew into combat as a section.
As flight lead, I got spooked too quickly by enemy contacts - I don’t know if it was the model enlargement or just my underdeveloped ability to visually judge distance, but I thought 6 different contacts were on top of us when, in fact, they were either way far away, or turning away from us. As a result, I dropped tanks too early and maneuvered our flight ineffectively for combat.
Once we did engage, however, near split into a perfect bracket and we started working the lone contact, the old hi-lo, in-out procedure. Near got some good hits on him, but I couldn’t seem to land anything - until I fixed my wingspan input to the radar gunsight. Even after that, although I landed some shots, that MiG seems to just soak up the .50 cal shells and soldier on. Gotta love that Russian do-or-die mentality!
During the fight, Dead flew top cover, keeping an eye on other contacts in the area so near and I could focus on our Russian ballet.
Near and I swapped shooter role on the bandit a few times to good effect, but I eventually ran Winchester, so I broke out of the fight and went high to take top cover from FridgeDead Meat so he could jump in and help near blind.
But, somehow, we all lost sight of the MiG. He just vanished. I’m still not sure if he succumbed to his injuries or if time-warped back to his home planet, but I’ll chalk it up as a partial kill. “I don’t care if there’s no gun camera confirmation, paint that MiG on my canopy, Chief”.
I returned home while Near and Dead pressed the battle to some other MiG contacts. I was completely absorbed in trying to fly the Sabre in the gusty/windy/snowy conditions at Vaziani, so I didn’t pay attention to their battles. Hopefully one of them pops in here to fill us in.
The F-86F is just so fun to fly in combat. It’s sloshy and wallowy at low speed – e.g., final approach – and the ground handling is a disaster. Not just the fact that the push-to-activate nosewheel steering isn’t exactly intuitive, but the switch seems to work intermittently, even when using the keyboard command. We had one fatality on takeoff and lots of Keystone Kop Kapers on the taxiways.
Other than that (and some more trigger and script tweaking!) the mission seems good to go for the Fly-In! Someone needs to come up with a wingspan chart cheat-sheet.
And a cheat sheet for the default F-86F radio list.