Falcon 4.0 Falcon 4.0 Falcon 4.0
Exhibit - Falcon 4.0

SuperPAK 2

Flight Model Progress Report 12/02/01

Author: Tom "Saint" Launder

"I am sitting in the cockpit of the A-10. The flaps are set for takeoff. When I entered the cockpit, I could hear them lowering to takeoff position. I advance the throttles to military power and look down at the fuel flow. I'm showing 5600 and acceleration is smooth. I rotate around 130 knots and raise the gear to continue acceleration on climb out. Around 180 knots I raise the flaps to neutral. The aircraft feels solid and responsive.

Today's flight is to test the new gun position. I spot the first target group and roll in. Lining up the first target, I squeeze the trigger and see tracer fire come from the center-bottom of the nose. Success! I pull up and off the target and A-10 bleeds speed smoothly. I cruise home and set myself up for landing. I slow to 250 and then begin to deploy the flaps. As the speed continues to slow and I turn toward final I lower the flaps to the full 20 degree deflection. I hear the flaps lower and the nose raises slightly. Gear down, lined up, I touch down.

This is just a taste of what is in store for virtual pilots with the release of SP2. The A-10 model described above is made from the lift and drag of the real aircraft. The engines on the A-10 are based on the real thrust curves for the TF34 and include such realism points as installation thrust loss. The model has also benefitted from an A-10 pilot's input. But what matters most is the cake, not just the ingredients! The A-10 flies in a believable manner. The overall product is an aircraft that will give the virtual pilot a good sense of what it is to fly the A-10. The goal is immersion.

The good news is that the A-10 is not the only aircraft that will fly in a more realistic manner. SP2 will introduce new flight models for every aircraft in Falcon 4.0 (hopefully including some models yet to be seen in the F4 world). Each aircraft is undergoing a thorough review and each model is receiving realism improvements. When Falcon 4.0 was first released, the non-F-16 aircraft shared the F-16's wing and thrust tables.

There were obvious gross errors in performance and top speeds. SP2 will not suffer from those same problems. We currently have ten different aircraft wings to work with and each aircraft has the proper engine thrust. Along with that, each aircraft will model proper fuel flows based on the Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption (TSFC) values for each engine. Aircraft will model correctly specifics like leading edge flaps (LEF's), trailing edge flaps (TEF's), flaperons, and slats. These can be set to manual, automatic, per AOA, or per Mach.

Falcon 4.0 - SuperPAK

The Up Front Control Panel has had a face lift.

Falcon 4.0 - SuperPAK

Hey - that wasn't there before! SuperPAK adds more cockpit panels.

Falcon 4.0 - SuperPAK
Click the pictures for a bigger image

The SuperPAK team has benefited tremendously from the input of experienced people in the industry. We have input from pilots (both former and current), engineering students (undergraduate and graduate), and professors. The list of names is impressive, but the point for the virtual pilot is that your experience in SP2 will be a further step in realism. For many virtual pilots, SP2 will be a paradigm shift. Some aspects of flying the aircraft that you may have been able to previously ignore will now require your attention or you will need to think differently. This will be apparent just by flying a MiG-21 after flying the F-16.

Some might comment, "This is great for the human pilot, but what about the AI aircraft?" The FM team is absolutely committed to proper AI performance along with the realism enhancements. The AI is currently examined for takeoff, climb, cruise, combat, descent, and landing behavior. The new fuel flow rates have not proved to be a problem, but this particular area continues to receive scrutiny. The campaign will also receive all new fuel values so that aircraft are properly given fuel tanks when necessary. Overall, the project is moving forward well and the virtual pilot is in for a great experience with SP2.

The flight model project in SP2 is an ambitious work and one that will continue to push the envelope in realism. Whether you fly the F-16, the A-10, the B-52, or the C-130, you will absolutely enjoy the changes we are making.

For SP2 and the flight model team,
Happy Flying
Tom "Saint" Launder
and the entire SuperPAK team