FirePower (for Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3)

$9.99

With FirePower for Microsoft Combat Simulator 3, you experience air combat like never before in over 50 missions. We have added fourteen new aircraft that were designed with the help of over thirty real Warbird pilots.

You will also experience revolutionary, explosive, special effects like never before. Witness towering explosive blasts, aircraft being torn in half, and smoke drifting thousands of feet above the battlefields.

Purchase this product now and earn 10 A2A Flying Hours!

Description

With FirePower for Microsoft Combat Simulator 3, you experience air combat like never before in over 50 missions. We have added fourteen new aircraft that were designed with the help of over thirty real Warbird pilots.

You will also experience revolutionary, explosive, special effects like never before. Witness towering explosive blasts, aircraft being torn in half, and smoke drifting thousands of feet above the battlefields.

Using authentic military test data and combat footage was the design team’s primary focus. Under the hood, you will find every aircraft, building, and vehicle reacting precisely as they did when you unleash all of the newly designed weapons. Specific targets will require specific weapons, just like the real thing.

You will also get to fly the famous B-17 Flying Fortress, man all of the gunner positions, and even attack those bomber formations from the cockpit of some of Germany’s most ingenious, flying machines.

Shrapnel will fly, tanks will blow, and guns will shred their targets to pieces. In fact FirePower is so real, you may find all you ever do is attack anything that has the misfortune of crossing your sights.

FIREPOWER SERIES CERTIFIED AIRCRAFT:

  • Arado AR234
  • B-17
  • B-29
  • D520
  • Do217n
  • He162
  • Lancaster
  • Me334
  • Me410
  • P-40
  • Ta152
  • Ta154
  • Ta183

The Firepower Certification Process:

The flight models for the Firepower Series Certified Aircraft were developed through an exhaustive process of research and testing.  A great deal of information about each aircraft was gathered and assessed during the development of its individual flight model.  Multiple historical references were used to confirm the vital statistics of each plane.  The most critical part of the research was the time spent with actual World War II aircrew.  We interviewed and had round table discussions with over 30 World War II pilots and aircrew, many of whom flew the types of aircraft included in Firepower.  These pilots came from the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, and Luftwaffe.  We also interviewed current warbird pilots who fly a wide range of aircraft, from Boeing’s B-17G Flying Fortress to the P-51D Mustang and Yak-9.  Finally, we flew in a number of World War II warplanes, including the Collings Foundation’s B-17G Flying Fortress and B-24D Liberator, the Chino Air Museum’s P-51D Mustang, and a T-6 Texan trainer in order to get real-life experience of just what it’s like to be in these aircraft.

The conversations we had with these pilots — and our experiences flying with them — were enlightening.  Every pilot we queried confirmed that just going with numbers from a book tells just part of the story.  In the heat of combat, pilots related that they were able to extract different types of performance from their aircraft than the textbooks showed.  As a result, the flight characteristics of Firepower Series Certified Aircraft not only take into account authentic flight test reports, but also reflect the accounts of the men who flew these kinds of aircraft in the heat of battle.

Flying by the Numbers

Every aircraft in the Firepower series must meet its FirePower certified specifications created from published data, pilot reports, and our own in-depth interviews with the pilots.   Because published data varies widely, we carefully considered the information presented.  When there was a valid conflict or missing information, we used our best judgment based on all information available to us.  One example is climb rates.  Many sources publish either an “initial climb” or “time to climb” but rarely both.  And very few sources publish the test weight of the aircraft or the power settings.  So we had to determine what the power settings and weight would most likely be for a normal climb, based on best practices.

In some cases this was not too difficult.  We were able to find accurate information about power settings for most of the engines used in the Firepower aircraft, and in some cases the climbing speed.  The power curves were set to exactly match published information on these engines wherever it was available.  If it was not, we made estimates based on best practices and standard conventions.  For example, here are the power settings for the Daimler-Benz DB603G engine used in the Messerschmitt Me 410B:

  • Takeoff power: 1900 HP @ 1.4 ata/2700 RPM
  • Climb (rated) power: 1580 HP @ 1.3 ata/2500 RPM
  • Max cruise power: 1375 HP @ 1.2 ata/2300 RPM

Firepower certified aircraft include engines that are tuned to produce exactly the correct power at the proper RPM and manifold pressure settings at sea level.  As a result, the acceleration and climb performance closely mirror the real aircraft.

Each and every Firepower aircraft is extensively and thoroughly tested and will match its real-world counterpart’s performance numbers exactly if flown with precision.  All testing was done in real time, with no autopilot or any kind of automation.  This means when we test the B-29A Superfortress, we hand-fly it all the way to 25,000 feet, which takes over 55 minutes.  We do the same for every aircraft, to confirm that the time to climb is exactly what it should be.  The same goes for top speeds at both sea level and rated altitudes.  Our aircraft will fly within one mile per hour of the published figures for their real-world counterparts.  Even the most detailed specifications in the help file for each aircraft are certified for each FirePower aircraft.  The weights at which these aircraft were tested are also noted.  In most cases, different weights were used to test for stall speeds, climb rates, and top speeds.  These weights are noted on the data sheet for each aircraft, which is accessed by pressing F1 while flying.

In addition to top speeds, all the other important numbers a pilot needs to know are right at his or her fingertips.  Rotation speeds, liftoff speeds, stall speeds under various conditions, flap and gear extension speeds, and cruising speeds are all there.  So is the fuel consumption rate.  And the range provided is the actual range of the Firepower aircraft, based on the actual measured fuel consumption in the simulator.  Fuel consumption rates were tested to confirm a match with published information, and where there was a discrepancy, adjustments were made to the flight model.  For example, the DB603 engine’s published fuel consumption rate is 0.474 pounds per horsepower per hour; we found that the actual consumption rate in the simulator was slightly greater than that, and adjusted the fuel flow scalar to a value of 0.966 to get the exact value.  This was especially true with the jet aircraft, where we had available the exact fuel consumption values for both the BMW and Junkers Jumo jet engines.  The fuel flow scalars were carefully calibrated to reflect the actual fuel consumption of these engines.

Stalls and Spins

The slow flight and stall characteristics for each aircraft were very carefully developed, and each aircraft is unique.  We did not use stock airfile information; rather, each airplane was fine-tuned through many hours of testing.  For example, the stall and handling characteristics of the Curtiss P-40N are much different from those of the Me334, and the Ta 152 C and Ta 152 H have very different qualities even though they are similar aircraft.  (The Ta 152 H’s greater wing span, aspect ratio, and wing area give it more forgiving qualities, where the C model can still be as vicious as its radial-powered older brother, the Fw 190).  The big Boeing bombers have quite gentle stall behavior, where the German twins fall somewhere in the middle and the jets are in a league of their own.

Some of the aircraft, such as the Me 334, Me 410, and Ta 152 C, have very unforgiving stall and spin qualities and may be a challenge at first.  These aircraft tend to give very little warning before the stall and will snap roll and go into a spin almost immediately.  These planes have been very thoroughly tested, and it is possible to recover from a spin if you have enough altitude and use the proper spin recovery technique.  It’s also possible to hold the aircraft on the edge of a stall, given some practice and familiarity.  The stick response for the fighter aircraft in this series may seem quite sensitive at first, but allows for very subtle control of the aircraft and is consistent with high-performance aircraft of this type.  However, these aircraft will be more difficult to fly than the stock aircraft, so take some time to get used to them.

Power Settings

There are a number of power settings used in World War II-era aircraft that are reproduced in Firepower aircraft.  The Firepower Certified Series adheres to a standard we feel best represents the actual manner in which power settings were used.

For supercharged engines without chemical injection and with no published setting for “war emergency” power, no WEP setting is used.  These engines have standard settings for takeoff, climb, and maximum cruise.  The settings for each aircraft are clearly indicated in each aircraft’s help file.  In the real world, most supercharged aircraft simply use specified manifold pressure and engine rpm settings for takeoff, climb, and cruise.  The pilot is expected to know these and to adhere to them.  There is nothing, however, to prevent a pilot from using more power than recommended, or using it longer than recommended.

The Lancaster and the P40N use the WEP function to obtain maximum power, which is limited to a duration of 5 minutes.  For the German V-12 engines with methanol/water injection (MW50) or nitrous oxide injection (GM-1), a WEP setting is used to enable the boost provided by these chemicals.  The total amount of boost time available was calculated for each aircraft based on published injection rates and the amounts of these chemicals known to be on board the aircraft.  In general, boost was used for not more than ten minutes at a time.  This was followed by a five minute “cooling off” period.  Another feature of the German V-12 engines was a completely automatic, “single lever” power control system which controlled mixture as well as manifold pressure.  The automixture feature has been enabled on these engines to more accurately duplicate this system.

 

External Stores and Ordnance

Firepower aircraft use external drop tanks, rocket tubes, bombs, and other stores, which have been modified to model drag.  The top speed of these aircraft while carrying external stores will be noticeably lower.  The more items the aircraft carries, the more the performance will be impacted.  The Firepower add-on package also modifies the stock weapons to create the same drag levels, so the stock aircraft will be equally affected.  During our research, we found some interesting facts when it comes to drag.  Check out these actual figures German engineers extracted from flight-testing a Me262 jet:

Me262 A-1a Jabo

Bomb load Loss of speed test

Load                                        % loss of speed

1 SC250 bomb                        3.6% loss

2 SC250 bomb                        7.3% loss

1 SC500 bomb                        4.6% loss

You will notice that, carrying fewer large bombs will result in far less drag than carrying twice as many smaller bombs.  Know this when you pick your ordinance for any CFS3 plane after FirePower has been installed, because we modeled the drag figures based on real tests above and calibrated them to the in-game performance.

 

Force Feedback

Firepower aircraft are set up to get good results from force-feedback joysticks.  The stick response and force feedback factors have been tuned for each aircraft.  Forces will realistically increase and decrease with airspeed, so at landing speed there may be very little stick force for smaller aircraft such as fighters.  This is accurate; at low airspeeds and high angles of attack, full or nearly full control deflection is often needed to control the aircraft.  One pilot we interviewed characterized the stick response in this configuration as “like a wet noodle.”

Some, if not all, FFB joysticks in CFS3 will “kick back” if the stick is moved too abruptly from side to side or front to back.  If you find this happening, make sure all your control movements are smooth.  “Yank and bank” sounds great, but precise, controlled movements are much better and will give greater control of the aircraft and all but eliminate the “kick back” issue.

Testing Firepower Aircraft

For those wishing to do their own FirePower flight tests, please keep in mind the following points:

  • All aircraft were developed on the “Hard” skill level setting with “normal” weapons effectiveness.
  • Test the aircraft at the proper “test weight” which is listed in that aircraft’s help file.  Aircraft are tested at a normal takeoff or combat weight, which is often less than a full fuel load.
  • Do not carry any external stores; these create drag and will affect the top speed and overall performance.
  • Do not use the autopilot for any test purpose.  The autopilot also controls the throttle and depletes fuel rapidly, thus invalidating any test results.
  • When performing a climb test, the proper climb power as listed in the help file must be set at an altitude of 1,000 feet AGL.  The climb speed should be set as soon as possible after takeoff and the aircraft should be cleaned up by 500 feet AGL (1,000 feet AGL for bombers or as stated in the checklist).  The climb speed must be maintained within a range of +/- 3 mph.
  • The aircraft can take up to 15 minutes or more to stabilize for top speed tests.  The VSI must be kept exactly on the zero mark or the speed will vary.
  • Roll rates were tested in a level flight attitude or slight dive to gain the proper airspeed.  Use of the rudder or a nose-up attitude will affect roll rates.
  • G forces were measured in an “elevator” turn at an 80-90 degree bank, entered at an airspeed slightly above the test speed.  The stick was pulled smoothly but firmly back until obtaining the maximum g force just before the stall, which is indicated by the yellow warning text.
  • 1 g stalls were tested by flying the aircraft in slow flight, maintaining the VSI needle on zero, and slowly reducing power and trimming the aircraft until onset of the stall.
  • Fighter aircraft were extensively tested by dogfighting various stock aircraft and each other to confirm handling characteristics.  The AI aircraft were set to the “Ace” skill level for these tests.

References

A partial listing of references used to create Firepower Certified aircraft follows.

  • American Warplanes of World War II, by David Donald.
  • Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II
  • The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, by Paul Eden and Soph Moeng
  • America’s Hundred Thousand, by Francis H. Dean
  • German Jet Aircraft, by Hans Peter Deidrich
  • German Warplanes of World War II, by Chris Chant
  • German Aircraft of the Second World War, by Antony L. Kay and J.R. Smith
  • Wings of the Luftwaffe, by Captain Eric Brown
  • Report of Joint Fighter Conference, by Francis H. Dean
  • Major Piston Aero Engines of World War II, by Victor Bingham
  • The Complete Book of World War II Combat Aircraft, by Angelucci, Matricardi, Pinto

Other invaluable assistance was provided by the following people:

  • Steve McDevitt, Collings Foundation B-17G captain, airshow/warbird/airline pilot
  • Lt. Fred Blechman, U.S. Navy Corsair pilot and author of “Bent Wings”
  • Chuck McClure, U.S. Army Air Force B-29 Aircraft Commander
  • Col. Ernie Bankey, U.S. Army Air Force P-51D/P-38 pilot/Ace-in-a-Day
  • Harry Goldman, U.S. Army Air Force B-26 pilot/First Pathfinder Division
  • Gene Koscinski, U.S. Army Air Force B-24 Bombardier
  • Bud Lindahl, U.S. Army Air Force B-24 Navigator/Bombardier
  • Judge Donald H. Foster, U.S. Army Air Force Instructor and Ferry Pilot
  • Roy Test, U.S. Army Air Force B-17G co-pilot (32 missions)
  • George Muennich, Luftwaffe pilot (He 111, Do 217, Ju 52, Fw 190, He 177)
  • Lt. Clyde B. East, U.S. Army Air Force F-6C/D Mustang pilot/Ace (13 victories)
  • Michael Karatsonyi, Luftwaffe Me 109 G pilot
  • Mike Dornheim, Aeronautical Engineer and aviation journalist

In addition to these people, we wish to thank everyone who has provided so much invaluable information during the development of FirePower.

 

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