Been testing the Su-33 for a few hours. The take-off mass to be exact. And to be even more exact, the max amount of fuel you can take off with considering a full compliment of weapons (8x R-27ER + 4x R-27). Here are the results!
First things first. I tested the effect of the FOD fence and it seems to be affecting the take-off power by quite a lot. Having the FOD fence down meant I had to reduce the fuel percentage by about 20 before being able to take-off. Unlike other Russian FC-3 fighters, the FOD fences are under direct pilot control. The default key combo is LALT+I (India). They are up (active) by default when choosing a hot runway start.
You can check the FOD status on this indicator. Green lights mean the fences are up and active, so you don’t want greens when taking off from a carier here!
New in the Su-33 is acces to wartime emergency power (WEP). I did all tests with full AB/WEP active. You can see WEP both in the cockpit and in the RCTRL-Enter controls indication.
On the left, you can see the controls indication with full AB. On the right, you can see the indication for full AB+WEP. You can’t activate WEP without being in AB. The way this works is by powering up to full AB, then pressing the WEP key to enter WEP mode. Just the throttles maxed seems to currently work, No need to wait for the engines to spool up into full AB before this works. You can also see WEP on the throttles as they are pushed a few cm extra forwards.
The cockpit indications for active afterburners and WEP. Note that the WEP light does not light up until it is active (engines spooled up into AB).
My percentages are absolutely not safe percentages, as I had to use copious amounts of ASC disconnects to get the required amount of pitch authority to not splash into the sea. An observation I made is that the pitch authority decreases significantly when the gear is retracted, so either leave the gear down for a couple of secs after leaving the ski-ramp, or use the ASC disconnect (S) like I did. My modus operandi has been to pump the brakes and letting the engines spool up to 85%, the apparent maximum thrust force the brakes will hold. then Smash it to max, hit WEP and then taking off, using large amounts of AOA, ignoring the indications on the left of the HUD but allowing the nose to drop when the stall warning light comes on.
For my experiment I started with the Kuznetsov moving at 11kts (the default speed). The fuel% I could get the Flanker-D reliably and repeatedly up and in the air safely was 85%. I then added a head wind of 5kts. This allowed me to increase the fuel percentage to 94%. I started looking for the amount of headwind needed to take-off with 100% fuel. After trying numerous times at 7 knots, and failing every time, I tried 8 knots wich produced reliable results.
If we add the speed of the Kuznetsov to the wind, and then plot the data, we find a fairly linear line (although only 3 datapoints) that has the following function: 1.8673x + 64.367. This means That at 0 knots the take-off fuel percentage should be 64.367% and that for each knots of (perfect) headwind you get, you can add 1.8673% of fuel. I’ve put this formula to the test, but it doesn’t seem to hold up. Taking off at 0 knots with the Kuz at a standstill with 65% fuel was fairly easy. The tested max take-off percentage was 68. I’ve added this to my graph, and after finding the trend, the new formula is 1,6675x + 67.574. Hope to be able to put this to the test soon