In depth guide to recreating real world sorties
Splash One: Knight of the Cold War kindly provided this in-depth appraisal and guide to the sim.
As far as I know, this was the only computer simulation based on the Lightning aircraft.
Had it been fully developed much earlier, it might have been a useful training aid for the RAF. It could have helped ground radar operators and controllers appreciate the pilots problems, etc.
The RAF did make use of Mullard Trainers which provided synthetic radar tracks on the radar screens. However, the trainers were located in a dedicated room and each trainer required one man to operate it. Each track could only be controlled in direction and speed so it was not very realistic, although I do recall one night when a supersonic 'runaway' Mullard track suddenly appeared on the edge of the display tracking north to south. As it disappeared of the bottom of the screen another appeared at the top! We could not get anything on the height finder which made matters worse!! Eventually we worked out what it was causing the problems but there was more than a little panic till we did!
By comparison with simulations like FSX, JetPilot is lacking badly in presentation. However, the A1200 computer just didn't have the power to cope. For the casual player, the requirement that all players must complete a series of exercises before being allowed to fly combat must have been very frustrating, especially having to complete a pairs landing at night in very poor weather conditions!!"
The year is 2001 and JetPilot is about five years old. In the hope that there are still would-be aviators out there looking for an exceptional simulation that could keep them enthralled for the next five years I feel urged to give you some idea about what youre missing OK, so you don't have an Amiga A1200, but they are out there!
A complete A1200 system (including hard drive, boards, monitor, etc) was advertised in a local paper this year for 50 pounds!!!
OK, so it's hard... frustrating... the earth is flat... explosions aren't pretty and smoke doesn't come out of the missiles... but... when you've screwed up and hit the deck or had your posterior reshaped because you hadn't checked your six o'clock for 20 seconds do you really give a damn what colour your remains are ? ! !
This is a simulation for those who are prepared to work, who enjoy success and the feeling of pride in achievement. For those who only enjoy a shoot-em-up that's fine, this you will not enjoy.
Following another Lightning at dusk, near RAF VALLEY, North Wales.
Same location, low level pass in full reheat.
Airfield radar display at RAF AKROTIRI in Cyprus. Display shows 1 aircraft track, range 22NM.
View of Lightning cockpit approaching RAF AKROTIRI, the salt lake is clearly visible. Aircraft at 11,000ft, 511 knots TACAN 8NM.
Final approach at AKROTIRI, 200ft, 181 knots, heading 286, gear and flaps down, airbrakes ou
Vulcan bomber tracking south, approaching HULL, Lincolnshire, The airfield below is RAF LECONFIELD.
Just about to collide with a VULCAN!!
Low level visident at dusk, 300ft 375 knots.
9 ship fly by.
Dusk tail chase near RAF VALLEY, two Mk6 Lightnings with overwing tanks.
JetPilot is lacking in four main areas:
1. The Manual
a. Part 3 Section 5. Radio Communications. - No text
b. Part 3 Section 6. Navigation Equipment. - No text.
c. Part 3 Section 7. Auto Pilot. - No text.
A description of tactics and equipment use would provide the player with a sound footing from which to complete the training sorties with a degree of confidence.
The ultimate scenario should have been one in which the player could be scrambled to intercept raids of various types inbound to attack the United Kingdom! That would have been fantastic!!
4. In Fight Refuelling
The icing on the cake!
Unfortunately, for various reasons, these facilities could not be provided . Let's just be thankful for what we have.
The player has the choice of 20 demonstrations including:
- 9 ship Lightning take-off - Farnborough style
- 9 ship Lightning formation over Coltishall
- 9 ship Lightning recovery to Coltishall
- 9 ship F-104 recovery to Leuchars
- NATO fly-in (various aircraft types/nationalities land at Coltishall and taxi to their parking areas)
- Vulcan escort (2 56 Squadron Lightnings join and briefly formate on a Vulcan over The Wash before recovering to Coltishall)
- Battle Flight scramble (including the interception and destruction of 2 targets plus recovery to Coltishall)
The player has the choice of :
- 4 seasons, 5 time blocks
- 5 temperatures, 5 pressures and 5 troposphere height settings
- 6 airfield colour codes and 5 wind condition settings (weather states)
- 3 aircraft types to fly:
- EE Lightning
- F-104 Starfighter
- MIG-21 Fishbed (the latter aircraft does not carry weapons and can not be flown in Combat).
- 4 aircraft fuel configurations (including over-wing tanks for the Lightning F-6)
- Aircraft can be on the servicing platform with engines off, on platform with engines running or on the runway ready for take-off.
- Selectable weapons fit.
- 21 Practice scenarios designed to give the player experience in many aspects of Lightning operations.
- 21 Exercise scenarios designed to ensure that the player has sufficient knowledge and skill to be able to succeed in the Combat scenarios.
- 7 Combat scenarios in which the player can fly a Lightning or F-104 against MIG 21 aircraft.
- 1 Combat scenario requiring the fighter to complete a visual identification sortie against an Unknown target.
In the scenarios involving 2, 4 or 6 defending (Lightning/F-104) aircraft, the actual numbers participating can be reduced by instructing your wingman to return to base before he becomes involved in combat. It changes the odds!!
In Combat scenarios, instructing your wingman to go to loose formation will result in the wingmen in other defending pairs (if not already in combat) coming to formate on you!! In this way, if you so desire, you could allow the other wingmen to join and then take them out of the battle on a trip of your own.
Before starting the mission you could select Ferry on the SITUATION display and Combat and 6 v 12 on the MISSION display. Once all defending aircraft are airborne, you could then instruct your wingman to go to loose and take your resulting 4 ship formation on an even longer trip!! An interesting bug ! !
Note: Combat targets have unlimited fuel and can therefore do anything!
The following comments are added to give some idea of the depth of thought that was put into producing this amazing simulation and as a salute to the people who brought it to life. If only they could have had the chance to fully develop it.
In the Combat scenarios, seven special airfields are programmed from which target tracks could be produced. They are not listed in the Airfield list on the SITUATION display but the airfields do appear on the ground, both by day and night. They may be referred to on the fighter airfield AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS display.
However, the player can only see this display if he takes-off, lands, returns to a suitable dispersal and stops with ground services connected!!! This was done to simulate a Blind Scramble in which the pilot would be forced to take off with little, if any, information about incoming raids. In these conditions the pilot would receive no guidance and would be forced to look for targets of opportunity.
After recovery, and whilst his aircraft is sitting on the ground being tanked up, the player can make use of the airfields radar and AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS display to locate remaining targets and calculate their future movements. On once more setting off for battle, the outside assistance will no longer be available. Note: Whilst on turn-round the aircraft will only be refuelled.
... this was done to simulate a Blind Scramble in which the pilot would be forced to take of with little, if any, information about incoming raids.
Whilst on the ground with ground services connected, pressing F10 will show the SURVEILLANCE RADAR display. Pressing 3 on the numerical keypad will then show the airfield AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS display which will include details of all combat aircraft in the scenario. The players aircraft, 001, will be shown on the top line with all other participants on successive lines.
Details will include which aircraft have been destroyed and by whom, and the current situation for every participant. The current radar position of all remaining aircraft within ground radar cover can now be seen by pressing 1 on the numeric keypad and clicking either of the range buttons to select the required range display. Tracks may be identified by comparison of radar track behaviour with heading and speed information on the AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS display.
The position, approximate bearing/distance from specified friendly airfields, and main runway directions for each of the target airfields is as follows:
from GUTERSLOH from NEUBURG RWY
ERFURT 50deg 58N 010deg 59E 119deg/121NM 357deg/135NM 28-10
GDANSK 54deg 22N 018deg 28E 070deg/422NM 040deg/442NM 11-29
HALLE 51deg 25N 012deg 13E 102deg/156NM 014deg/167NM 10-28
PRAGUE 50deg 06N 014deg 16E 115deg/257NM 055deg/145NM 04-22
PRESCHEN 51deg 40N 014deg 38E 094deg/247NM 037deg/221NM 07-25
POZNAN 52deg 25N 016deg 49E 085deg/333NM 045deg/311NM 11-29
TALLINN 59deg 25N 024deg 50E from AALBORG
It is possible to fly to these airfields by selecting the required departure airfield on the SITUATION display, followed by Practice, and Single or Pairs Take-off on the MISSION display.
Target airfields have no navigation or airfield aids so a visual landing is required.
Approach lighting is displayed in daylight plus runway and taxiway lighting at night.
It is possible to refuel at these airfields at any time, including during combat sorties, but ones aircraft must be on a suitable dispersal or a warning message will be displayed stating that no services are available.
For speed and fuel economy reasons, high level transits are recommended with cruise descents from about 65 nm from estimated position of the destination airfield.
One must fly very accurately when looking for these airfields as some have no scenery associated with them. This is especially important when planning to fly to any of the inland airfields and correct use of the Autopilot is essential.
The player must decide on the fuel configuration required for the trip. (Even with over-wing tanks fitted, a fast trip to TALLINN will probably require refuelling at GDANSK. Does it ?!!)
To help with visual detection of the airfield (about 8 nm max), the fighter should descend to about 5000 to 10000 feet.
GDANSK and TALLINN are very close to the coast so using the aircrafts AI radar in the ground mapping mode can be a useful asset for navigation, especially at night or in cloudy conditions when the surface is not visible.
A trip from GUTERSLOH to TALLINN, stopping to refuel at POZNAN on the way, is an excellent test of ones ability to navigate !!
At the start of Combat sorties it is not possible to see targets taking off from these airfields since the software has them already airborne when the fighter(s) take off. However, when the situation permits, one can follow a target back to ERFURT for example.
Targets will also land at friendly airfields, especially NEUBURG, so one should not be surprised to see a MIG 21 in the circuit!!! It is not unknown to be taxiing to a parking area, suddenly to be banned from parking because a MIG 21 has beaten you to it ! !
During one 6 v 12 scenario when four of the six Lightnings defected to WARTON, the remaining two Lightnings were very rapidly shot down. On parking at the WARTON dispersal with ground services connected, it was possible to select any airfield symbol on the simulation Map Display (F9). Pressing F10 then allowed access to the airfields radar and AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS displays.
By this means, it was found that of the 12 MIG 21s, 6 landed at GUTERSLOH, 2 landed at AALBORG, 1 landed at PRAGUE, 1 landed at ERFURT and 1 at GDANSK. The 12th was found on the AALBORG radar at 70 nm at 34500 feet, heading 250 at 200kts IAS."
The software allows some unexpected things to happen as the following sortie description will illustrate.
1532Z 2 Lightnings (001/002) airborne from GUTERSLOH to intercept 4 incoming targets.
Shortly after take-off 002 reported AC Failure and was instructed to RTB (he didnt really say this, but he was sent home to increase the odds!).
001 continued outbound, soon making radar and visual contact with a pair of targets at a similar level. Target pair split and 001 quickly got a good lock and missile kill on one.
Whilst manoeuvring for the second target another pair appeared in the distance. Radar and missile aquired on second target and kill followed. Second pair of targets no longer visible but radar contact made shortly after. 001 chased the pair and visual contact followed.
After some hard manoeuvring a gun kill was completed. The last target was no longer visible so 001 made rapid recovery and landed.
Whilst being refuelled, the SURVEILLANCE radar and AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS display indicated that the fourth target was recovering to ERFURT. As refuelling neared completion 001 was given clearance to start and was soon airborne heading for ERFURT.
A reheat climb was made to high level and high speed cruise of 1.7M was maintained until reaching 40 nm from ERFURT where rapid descent started. Radar contact gained on target aircraft at 15 nm with visual following shortly after.
Attacking position could not be achieved before target landed.
Remaining ammo fired at target without effect.
Target overshot end of runway before taxiing to parking position. 001 landed, eventually parking beside the target to refuel.
On completion, 001 took off, holding over the airfield for a few minutes before climbing out on heading 295.
On passing FL 220 GUTERSLOH TACAN picked up indicating range of 100 nm approximately 2 degrees starboard.
Full reheat climb through FL 350 at 80 nm TACAN (629kts/1.72M).
At 38 nm 001 level at FL 540 (429kts/1.72M) 96% cold power.
Ventral tank just about empty.
Decided for practice diversion to WILDENRATH.
Switched TACAN to 126X and picked up WILDENRATH TACAN at 100 nm, left of nose.
Turned to heading 247 degrees at 92 nm.
At 40 nm, IDLE/FAST IDLE descent initiated changing to fast descent from FL 437 at 25 nm.
Through 26000 at 10 nm, continuing down to complete one circuit and roller at WILDENRATH before recovery and landing at GUTERSLOH❞
Trim and systems modelling
On the SYSTEM display, in the OPTIONS box against Control de-select TRIM.
Without automatic Trim Control, elevator trim will not be adjusted during acceleration or deceleration, neither will stall and spin prevention be activated. In this situation one has to fly carefully to avoid loss of control.
On the SITUATION and MISSION displays set up for a practice mission with a single Lightning F-6.
- Take off carefully and climb to 36000 feet.
- Select full reheat and at 1.7M or thereabouts, pull up to vertical.
- Speed will decay and when airspeed drops below 100kts press CTRL+Q+W to switch off both engines.
- Select outside view from stern (F6 then 5 on the numeric keypad) and turn up the volume.
- The aircraft will stall and nose down.
- Hold down Tab till throttles are fully closed and listen to the engine sounds.
- Manipulate the aircraft controls to achieve full control loss and observe aircraft gyrations from cockpit and outside views.
- To recover, ensure airbrakes and flaps are in and undercarriage is retracted.
- Push down nose to increase airspeed and control rotation with ailerons.
- As airspeed increases, turbine RPM will increase and be displayed on the RPM Gauge.
- When RPM readings reach 20 or more, press CTRL+1 to relight No1 engine and CTRL+2 to relight No2.
- If unsuccessful, reselect.
- When relit, open throttles to about 80% and ease back to regain level flight.
- Adjust throttles as required and continue with sortie.
- The Artificial Horizon will have toppled and the Navigation Display will be indicating false headings.
- The Standby Artificial Horizon may be used till the main instrument recovers.
- Similarly, the Standby Compass may be used till the Navigation Display recovers.
- Take it easy and, if you do a run and break - make it gentle!!!
The Lightning radar was reputed to have a range of 60 nautical miles and be capable of guiding the pilot to a point in space from which a successful attack could be made.
Neither of these claims were accurate. In practice the radar's maximum range against airborne targets was considerably less than that claimed and it was necessary for the pilot to mentally calculate a required tactical approach from target behaviour observed on the radar display. This simulation very closely follows the real life performance of the radar.
To operate the Ground mode:
- Press CAPS LOCK followed by Backspace, this will show the radar display.
- On main keyboard, press - or [ until the range scale reads 2 to 6 (20 to 60 miles) on the vertical scale to left of radar display.
- On main keyboard, press = or ] until 4 (4 bar scan) is shown in the 12.30 position above the radar display.
- Using the P or 0 (zero) keys, move the scanner elevation angle fully down (elevation display is the narrow vertical window to the right of the radar display.
- The elevation marker is the small horizontal bright-up that appears in the window).
- The radar will now display surface returns from 20 to 60 miles when the aircraft is flying at medium level, giving a good picture of the coastline to which the aircraft is pointed.