Sunday, July 29, 2007

Flying hours

I've continued to regularly fly over various virtual WWII battlefields in the online IL46 flightsim universe. Over the last few days I've concentrated on flying the beaufighter. I have flown them over Norway and New Guinea, as well as several pacific islands. I have carried bombs, rockets and torpedoes. I have gone in low and I have gone in high. I have had mixed success.

Norwegian server's Norwegian campaign had a couple missions where, taking off from northern scotland, the idea was to find and sink prowling u-boats near the coast of Norway. Trouble was, there was a lot of flak from both surface ships and the Norwegian coast. I flew two missions with rockets, and was shot down by flak both times. Didn't sink anything. The first time I went in at about a thousand feet. I managed to get rockets close to target and only got hit by unlucky shrapnel at extreme range on my way out over the waves. Second mission, I went in (stupidly) at 8000 ft, dropping to 3000ft near target and getting shot down before I had got any munitions off. I think I was gliding long and straight at the various gun's ideal height to shoot at sitting duck bombers.

I let it go for a couple days, and decided I'd give a go to wave hopping out to the target at high speed. When I went onto server this morning, there were over half a dozen flyers online, but they were flying over pacific islands. Luckily, there was a base with beaufighters I could fly, so I took one out for a raid on japanese airfield (while everyone else was (I hoped) busy dogfighting elsewhere).

I navigated by map to my IP ('initial point') and banked onto rocket run over island at under 2000 ft. I flew over enemy airfield and flak destroyers at about 400 mph and under 200 ft. Not low enough, I think, none of my eight rockets damaged anything. I circled up over a bay, and had a fuel tank punctured by ship anit air. The resultant fuel leak decided me to head straight back for base, so I continued my sweeping bank up and away from the enemy aa, coming back onto course several miles to the west of my approach at about 4000ft.

Just, however, as I put a few clouds between myself and the enemy island as I departed out of the range of their flak, I noticed some tracer bullets passing over my right wing. There was a jap plane somewhere behind me! I sideslipped off to the left, converting into a sliding, rolling undulating dive to under a thousand feet on full throttle - all the time heading towards my own fleet to the South. Several more times I saw tracer bullets miss me narrowly as I weaved in the sky. A couple times I felt something hit, but I trusted to the sturdy construction of my plane and my two powerful engines to pull me through if I could only put off the enemy's aim. Before long, I was under the AA umbrella thrown up by my own fleet, and my opponent gave up the chase. I eventually landed on my own field, damaging the propellors but otherwise bringing my plane home sound and on all of its wheels.

Finally, I constructed a brief training mission for making a torpedo run against a group of japanese destroyers. I have got the knack of this (high speed, low altitude, sense of timing) and look forward to trying out some sneak raids online.

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