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Military Maneuvers

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It was always my plan, once I reached McGuire AFB (KWRI), to hop into the cockpit of the F/A-18 for a joyride, however the other weekend PC Aviator had a 24-hour sale that dropped the price of one of their store items way down - it was the Virtavia MV-22 Osprey, the military version of the Bell tilt rotor aircraft.


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But first I still wanted to take out the F/A-18. I had to do a bit of reconfiguring on my joystick/throttle to enable controls for things like landing gear, elevator trim, flaps and speed brakes, but after that I was all set to go. I took a few minutes to peer closely around the cockpit and figure out as much of it as I could - I'm sill used to gauges, which aren't a prominent feature of a digital cockpit like this. The MFDs (Multi-Function Displays) were the real gauges, allowing you to flip between views that showed you various aircraft status screens and navigational views. But you can't rely on screens, so there are also analogue versions of all the vital stuff. With everything located (that I needed) I took off and headed out over the ocean to play around without having to worry about pesky residents complaining about the noise of my afterburner. I pulled a couple of G's and almost blacked out a few times, and climbed all the way up to 40,000 feet. Barrel rolls were obviously performed multiple times. My love for the afterburner however cut things rather short, since that thing gulps fuel. I had no idea how to navigate with the craft, so I dead-reckoned my way back to the area of McGuire and had the tower guide me in. On approach, not knowing the necessary landing speed or anything, I went full flaps and throttle way back, but when I touched down  - I must have been on only one rear wheel or something because I practically flipped over. Or at least I would have if FSX modeled damage. As it was my right wing just buried itself in the ground and the sim registered a crash.


Second flight was in the V-22 Osprey. Very cool plane. I actually lowered the blades to full forward while on the ground, not realizing that you can't do that cause they're so big they cut into the ground. It's surprisingly responsive on the throttle too - I pushed forward to taxi and ended up at 20 knots before I realized what was happening. You can't actually fly this craft like a helicopter when the blades are raised full up, the airplane is capable of VSTOL, or Very Short Take Offs and Landings. The smaller civilian version can probably do VTOL (Vertical Take Offs and Landings), but not this baby. You only need about 100' of runway though. Once airborne, the transition to full-forward flight is done slowly to let you build up speed - the manual says you want 100 knots before lowering the blades all the way horizontal. I flew something similar to a traffic pattern (first flight, gimme a break) and came back around to land. I treated the descent like a normal approach, but as I got closer I went to tilt the blades up a notch to begin transition to a slow hover. Woah!! Bringing up the blades just one notch dropped me from like 120 knots to 80 knots in about 6 seconds. I can wait to do this much closer to the runway than I thought. I gradually brought the blades vertical and used the throttle to lower myself down (you go about 30 knots with the blades full up). I ended up coming down way too fast - I thought for sure another crash was imminent. Instead when I touched down I just heard this huge SCCCRRRAAAAPPPPEEEEEE and kinda spun sideways a bit.


I had forgotten to lower my landing gear.


Of course, in my defense I'm not used to having retractable landing gear, and I did remember to lower them in the F/A-18. But still. *Facepalm* The sim didn't really register it as a crash per se, but my engines completely died :P


I think I'll save the F/A-18, while fun, for a time when I have an aircraft carrier close by to travel to. In the meantime next flight I'm going to get used to the MV-22 some more as well as take out the AgustaWestland AW101 chopper.

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