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Snowfalcon

Landing the F-18 on a carrier is costing me a fortune!

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I am having a difficult time flying a pattern and landing on a carrier. Are F-18's very expensive? So far I have made one successful landing out of 15. Trimming the plane is difficult (for me). I have not tried flying the pattern and approach with auto. That doesn't hit me as a manly fighter pilot thing. :) Or is that how it is done?I spent several days practicing landings at Naval airports, but carrier landings are a bit harder. :) I did watch a video of an approach and landing posted here, but my movie consistently ends poorly. Could some of you who have mastered the carrier landings provide me with your techniques as it applies to FSX. Thanks.Bob...

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Some basic things.1. Maintain 135 knots on approach.2. Don't flare on landing like we do at normal airports. There is no room to bleed off speed.3. aim for the 3rd chord. The trap line. counting from the outside/nearest to you as one...4. setup properly for approach... no last minute wild maneuvers to make it.

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For training use slew [Y] key. If you get bent out of shape,slew the plane back,line it up and try again.Also turn off or way down damage in realism.Use a low fuel load to reduce planes weight.Most Ive seen come in to fast and try to slam it on.Or to slow with the nose comes up and you cannot see anything.I programmed elevator trim into my Saitc x52 on a hat switch and can almost hands off a landing.Also raise your perspective in the vr cockpit up so you can see over the nose.Hope these tips help.

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Yes, these are good hints.I've found the following common mistakes will cause a failed landing, and a trip to the captain's quarters for a good chewing (ala Maverick):1) Too much speed (snaps the cable) or causes you to miss the cable (bolter)2) Descent rate over 500 fps (this is the biggie right here ... causes your gear to collapse)3) Maneuvering immediately prior to hitting the deck... for example, if you land on the right-rear wheel because you corrected at the last moment, the cable will snap you back left and send you over onto your side (or even over the side)4) Nose up attitude ... causes the cable to snap your nose down on landing, collapsing the nose gear. You want all 3 gear hitting very close to simultaneously.5) Not enough speed ... causing you to detour into the spud locker.6) Bolter failure - that is ... when you bolter (miss the cables) you forget to throttle up for the inevitable takeoff you are about to perform.Line up ... watch your speed and especially pay attention to your descent rate, using the meatball to guide you. It's ALWAYS better to go around than risk it.On the Carrier IMC mission, I had to go around 3 times (on low fuel) before I had everything lined out and could put her on the deck successfully.

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The attached jpegs describe the carrier landing pattern. I would say to forget airspeed and fly the Angle of Attack that puts a lone yellow donut on your AoA Indexer. (Those are the 3 little lights left of the HUD glass.) I also wouldn't worry about the vertical speed with which you hit the deck. It could easily be over 700 fpm, and that landing gear is made for that.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179869.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179871.jpgI will also soon be uploading a revised HUD, very close to the real F/A-18's, that makes landings much more realistic, as it has an accurate velocity vector and pitch ladder, plus other carrier pattern essentials. I've also made it more framerate friendly.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179872.jpgAs you can tell, I am just THRILLED that we now have moving carriers and a proper "meatball"!!!

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In my experience in FS9 ( non-moving CV's ) and FSX ( moving CV's )the one thing that made a huge difference was having the windover the deck from bow to stern.For that reason alone, I deleted the default CVN off San Franciscoin FS9 and placed one "steaming" out from the Golden Gate as theprevalent wind in SF if from the west. The default FS9 ( and FSX )fixed CVN's are "sailing" east....with the wind most of the time( I use real world weather ).In FSX I have downloaded the "aicarriers1.zip" and "aicarriers2.zip" as well as another package by the author of those two called "AIBoat Utility", available on his site.That let's me place moving CVN's in FSX wherever I choose and settheir courses to sail "into the wind" for that region.If there is a cross-wind over the deck you can pretty much beassured of a botched landing attempt. Paul

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>I will also soon be uploading a revised HUD, very close to the>real F/A-18's, that makes landings much more realistic, as it>has an accurate velocity vector and pitch ladder, plus other>carrier pattern essentials. I've also made it more framerate>friendly.An accurate velocity vector alone would be very nice. I don't suppose you can give it autotrim too? ;-)

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That looks awesome, can't wait!As far as the OP's problem goes: fsxmissionguy pretty much covers all the problems most people have. My main issue was nailing the descent right, 800-900 FPM was just too much, but practice practice practice and you'll get better. My record now is 10 traps in a row.

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A nice HUD with all the real info would be great-BUT--I am yet to see one that did not slaughter FPS.Those were for FS9.The few Ive seen for FSX were basic and ate fps.However, the f-18 hud from MS is basic but Im getting good performance.

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Thanks everyone! I have been flying the "FS" series since Sublogic and consider myself accomplished in non military aircraft. Rarely have I not been able to quickly learn a new plane's procedures and systems, however, carrier landings are quite a challenge. (read kicking my butt:)). Great!! Thanks again to all for the detailed suggestions and procedures! And I look forward to upgraded HUD displays! I have much room for improvement. LOL.Bob...

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>The attached jpegs describe the carrier landing pattern. I>would say to forget airspeed and fly the Angle of Attack that>puts a lone yellow donut on your AoA Indexer. (Those are the 3>little lights left of the HUD glass.) I also wouldn't worry>about the vertical speed with which you hit the deck. It could>easily be over 700 fpm, and that landing gear is made for>that.>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179869.jpg>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179871.jpg>>I will also soon be uploading a revised HUD, very close to the>real F/A-18's, that makes landings much more realistic, as it>has an accurate velocity vector and pitch ladder, plus other>carrier pattern essentials. I've also made it more framerate>friendly.>>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179872.jpg>>>As you can tell, I am just THRILLED that we now have moving>carriers and a proper "meatball"!!!>>>Thanks for the information.Looking forward to a realistic HUD. Remember, MS$ modelled an A Model and CaptainSim a D. The avionics, including HUD are diffrent than the C/D E/F/G models ;)Wonder if anyone can get me that RWR setup in my D :)CheersMartin

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Yeah, I feel your pain JimJam, believe me. But there's very little framerate loss in this instance. I just did a side by side comparison, swapping panel.cfg's and comparing identical FSXRecorder replays. Maybe a 10-15% hit... maybe... but hard to tell, as my system shows 12 to 15 FPS pretty consistently for both. Anyway, that possible 10-15% may be too much of a hit for some, but for the accuracy and quality of info a good HUD gives, I think a lot of people would be willing to make that tradeoff. And of course it's just more realistic. I personally could never go back to the old-style FS HUD's. Here are a few videos of what it should look like for a Hornet pilot:

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...eoID=1353947019Some of the above (courseline steering arrow and dots, ILS needles) can't be reproduced with the new Acceleration moving carriers, since a VOR would be needed on the carrier, and moving navaids are not possible. Everything else can be.Oh, and a better look at the Hornet symbology:

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Does anyone know if you can bring up ILS data in the HUD in the F/A-18 in FSX Acceleration? AOA bracket? I haven't seen either, although it looks like you should be able to enter an ILS freq in the UFC. I can't find any info on this anywhere.Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!Terry

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As to the AoA bracket, there simply isn't one on the default HUD.As to navaids... the carriers now move, and there is (so far) no way to add moving navaids to the sim. However... there are lots of clever freeware and payware developers out there, and I suspect that someone will eventually find a way to SIMULATE a moving VOR, since you'd just have to compare the aircraft's lat/long coordinates to the carrier's, from which bearing and course deviation could be easily determined. It would be some pretty standard great circle trig. To simulate a moving ILS beam... the trig would be worse, but as long as very precise heading, position, and speed data were available for the AI carrier, I can't think of any reason it couldn't be done. (Sim variable update rates, or too taxing on the framerates?) Someone just needs to pull that data from the AI, which I know can be done for AI aircraft (as in some radar gauges), but am not sure how or if it can be done for AI boats. And I suppose there'd have to be a (simulated) radio frequency set aside or something, just for the carriers. I think someone will find a way to tackle this. Acceleration has only been out for a month, after all.>Does anyone know if you can bring up ILS data in the HUD in>the F/A-18 in FSX Acceleration? AOA bracket? I haven't seen>either, although it looks like you should be able to enter an>ILS freq in the UFC. I can't find any info on this anywhere.>>Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!>>Terry

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Hi Bob.... Here is one of the simplest ways to land on a carrier. I will assume that you have a carrier with the arrestor cables installed. Here is what I do. First set the altitude on the autopilot system to 1500 feet. Set the rate of climb to 2000 fpm. Set the flaps to about 30 degrees. Set your heading control to 180 degrees less than where you are pointed. Set the radio NAV1 and NAV2 to the proper frequencies. Arm your launch speed to 170 MPH and set your aircraft speed to about 180 mph. Now the aircraft is ready to be launched. When you hit the period key to catapult the aircraft, immediately click on the autopilot and the altitude button. When the aircraft is airborne, pull the wheels and flaps up and then hit the hdg key for the heading control. The aircraft will fly parallel to the carrier under the automatic pilot until you are out about 10 miles, then set the altitude to 1000 feet, slow the aircraft to about 180 MPH and set the heading to 90 degrees to either the left or right of the heading. Look at the GPS map and try to intercept the glideslope at about a 30 degree angle to the feather by using the heading control and click on the approach button. When you are at 1000 feet you will be beneath the glideslope feather but you will be able to lock to the ILS for carrier alignment. Watch the distance from the carrier by the radio or some other means. When you are at 1000 feet, set the altitude to 900 feet and set your flaps and speed for proper landing, usually around 140 to 160 MPH. When you are at 900 feet, set the altitude to 800 feet and so on. When you get to 100 feet and are about half a mile from the carrier, disengage the autopilot and manually drop the aircraft slowly and aim directly for the arrestor cables. After a few tries you will become very competant at landing on the carrier. The reason we use the autopilot for takeoff is this, if you take the aircraft off manually and use the elevators or rudder, unless you set your rudder and elevator for level flight, the system will remember the last settings and when you switch off the autopilot for landing the aircraft wlll veer off in any direction, left, right, up or down. Hope this helps. George

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I'm sure that Bob will appreciate your help - finally a solution to a problem he's been struggling with for almost four years smile.png

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Let me add two additional points. These have nothing to do with airmanship, but the way FSX sets things up. 1. Be sure you're not landing over maximum trap weight. By default FSX gives you 100% fuel which usually places you over the maximum landing weight. The designed approach speed of 135 kts is for the maximum landing weight and at full fuel loads you may be up near 160 kts to maintain proper AOA. Carrier aircraft will refuel to the "ladder" which basically means they always trap very near maximum trap weight, but never over. 2. Turn off crash tolerances. MSFS has a default setting that a plane has "crashed" if the vertical speed at touchdown is >1,000 fpm. F/A-18's supposedly (haven't seen it in writing, but seen videos and been told by naval airmen) are cleared to touchdown speeds up to 1,500 fpm. You should be landing around 700 fpm, but a little less wind, needing to correct a little, etc can put you over the 1,000 fpm limit in FSX. That limit is all well and good for Cessna's and 747's, but has no place for the F/A-18. On this one you'll just need to be honest with yourself whether you were over or under 1,500 fpm (or other "crashes"). As others have mentioned, also make sure you have wind over the deck. Carriers will travel forward at 25-30 kts, so even in 0 wind conditions you still actually have at least 25 kts. This is about 20% of your speed and nothing to laugh off.

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I am surprised that the VRS Superbug wasn't mentioned here. I haven't got it myself but it really looks good. I thought this was a PMDG level of quality add-on, so how come that so few people use it? Is it the performance hit?I'm interested in your opinions because I am looking for a really detailed fighter add on for FSX.Best regards,

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I made a saved flight (Carrier_Training) with a F-14 ready for takeoff at NAS Oceana, Va. The date/time ia: Oct. 16 2010 11:00 Local. Takeoff and climb to 1,000 feet and turn to a heading of 158. In a few minutes a carrier will come into view heading North to dock at Norfolk Naval Station. Enter right downwind and trap. Taxi, or slew, to cat and try it again. If you crash, it's a short flight back. The best aircraft to use is the Dino Cattaneo T-45 V2. It has a great HUD with AOA Bracket, AOA Indexer and indicator. It has a great manual that explains the carrier landing procedure. Thay don't get any better than this one! Check videos at Youtube. Have funDaveIntel Core I7 975 Quadcore OC @ 3.75 Ghz (Air)Asus P6T DLX V2 X58 1366, BD Combo Plextor B310SA6GB (3x2GB) Corsair Dominator DDR3 1866C7GTHIS ATI 4890 1GB, Samsung 24", Saitek X-52 ProLogitech Z680 5.1 Speakers, G15 Keyboard, G5 MouseThermaltake Element S Case, Corsair 850HX PSUC: Intel 80GB SSD w/Windows 7 Home 64D: WD 300GB Velocity Raptor w/FSX+Accel+GEX, F4AFE: WD 1TB Caviar Black w/Data SH4

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I am surprised that the VRS Superbug wasn't mentioned here. I haven't got it myself but it really looks good. I thought this was a PMDG level of quality add-on, so how come that so few people use it? Is it the performance hit?I'm interested in your opinions because I am looking for a really detailed fighter add on for FSX. Best regards,
VRS F/A18 surpasses PMDG in FS innovation--they're 1st with the best collimated HUD with NAVFLIR. Performance? Zero issue, runs better than RA turbine Duke. Carrier ops with Dino's T45C and the F/A18 totally justify the existance of FSX.

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VRS F/A18 surpasses PMDG in FS innovation--they're 1st with the best collimated HUD with NAVFLIR. Performance? Zero issue, runs better than RA turbine Duke. Carrier ops with Dino's T45C and the F/A18 totally justify the existance of FSX.
Thanks for the intel, I am glad to hear that there are no performance issues. Does the superbug come with its own carrier or do you need another add on for that? Regards,

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Thanks for the intel, I am glad to hear that there are no performance issues. Does the superbug come with its own carrier or do you need another add on for that? Regards,
There's a freeware Nimitz carrier by Javier Fernandez (amazing). You'll also need do download 'aicarrier' utility that allows you to place this carrier wherever you want it (and land on a moving carrier or keep it static). Freeware support to enable carrier ops is just awsome. You have to install FSX acceleration pack to use the catapult, FLOLS, and arresting cables. The VRS site accesible to customers has all the info on these things, help is also there as well. You'll not regret getting the F/A18.

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