Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Over Italy with an Italian

My Polish squadron having transferred from Scotland to Traperi in Southern Italy, I have been enjoying the sunny climes of the mediterranean skies recently. Tonight I flew a P38 lightning, and several spitfires. Not a lot of success with either.

Lightnings are difficult planes to fly. They are also, in their own way, a pleasure. These are the allied heavy fighters which had a twin engine setup, with the pilot inbetween in a fusealge which rests upon the single big wing. There is a twin tail type configuration also. Perhaps I need to get a photo of it? Anyway...

I've been reading a book about the history of this type of plane. It speaks of an early problem which earned it the reputation of being a 'pilot killer'. The problem is called compressibility, and it occurs in very high speed dives. Apparently, some of the air flowing over the flight surfaces cracks the sound barrier (though the plane never does), creating situation where airflow over the wings alters in its characteristics with a consequent almost total loss of lift. Thus the plane goes down. At same time, the consequent effect of the altered airflow over wings leads to almost total loss of tailplane (elevator). Thus one can't pull out of the dive.

I'd wondered whether compressibility was simulated in IL 46. I learnt that it is. Long steep dive into a vertical meeting with the ground was the result. At least there was Adzel in the air nearby in a Machi fighter to get a laugh out of it.

Flight two and three were in spitfires. Adzel shot out my controls on the second mission. I was able to bail out just before my left wing broke off. I watched the wreckage plummet to the earth beneath.

Flight three was an attempted tutorial with Adzel in a spit also, him trying to get me to fly formation. No chance, I'm only just getting to the stage where I can learn basic maneuvers, and probably need to put a bit of effort into learning to see the skies around a lot better. I seem to be losing other planes visually too often for comfort. I put the plane into a pancake landing before exiting.

No comments: