Posts by aero4428

    So I've made some good progress and have learned a lot about the physics model after experimenting with many settings. The ground handling in my opinion is pretty much as good as you could ask for and that was simply done by turning the tailwheel spring constant down. I increased adverse yaw by reducing the lift coefficient of the vertical stabilizer. This generally destabilizes the yaw axis which also feels a bit more real. Has the additional benefit of making the high speed landing and takeoff roll slightly more realistic. I also slightly reduced the lift coefficient of the rudder (flap) to balance with the decreased vertical stabilizer effectiveness. I increased propwashrotation slightly on the vertical stabilizer which gives a slight left turning tendency on the ground. However, nothing I have done is really giving a sustained yaw in the air. Even a fairly massive increase to propWashRotation will make ground handling uncontrollable but once in the air everything flies pretty much the same. Same goes for crosswind.

    I also found this in the aerowing documentation:

    "... P-Factor which can also be modeled with the AeroPropeller class using its .LateralDragCoefficient, .LateralForceCoefficient, .SideThrust and .DownThrust attributes."

    Would be curious as to who wrote this and if its accurate, if an example of modeling p-factor could be provided? I do not see a way to do it if I understand these settings correctly but hoping I am wrong ; )

    Other things I am trying to figure out are: 1) getting prop speeds and airspeeds closer. 2) forward slip. 3) getting the bounce on landing slightly more realistic. If you touch down slightly on the main, the oscillation is too high a frequency. No questions on these latter parts yet as I haven't experimented enough.

    RoyPettit I have done transition training into the Pitts but not anything other than basic aerobatics so don't want to comment on the knifeedge as it would be just speculation. That's why I have limited my Aerofly efforts to basic ground handling, adverse yaw, etc. Having said that, most of the low and slow knifeedges you see (Skip Stewart) are in planes that have much more horsepower and also not at 90 degrees as JetPack mentioned. Four point rolls at speed seem reasonable in Aerofly. But again, don't take my word for it!

    Had a couple initial questions regarding yaw in the Aerofly model:

    1. There seems to be excess stability in the yaw axis in the air. The plane will react to a change in rudder position but then decay back to neutral rudder even if rudder is still pressed. I tested moving the y position of some things (like airbrake and prop) to create yaw. Then tried correcting for this yaw with the rudder. The two things that seemed apparent is that it is sort of hard to create sustained yaw and it is also sort of hard to correct for any sustained yaw with the rudder. Is there some sort of yaw stability augmentation or auto-trim currently in place? If so, is there a way to reduce?
    2. On a related note, is there a way to significantly increase adverse yaw? The documentation says induced drag is modeled entirely inside the aerowing class. So was thinking there isn't an easy way to increase it. As an alternative, I had considered putting two airbrakes (one out on each wing) and having their input tie to aileron.output. Is this doable and can you have more than one airbrake per TMD file? Also, I see there is an AeroDrag class but it isn't documented. Curious if that could be used.

    Thank you!

    Thanks for the comments everyone. Foilsim looks pretty neat too. So, I found in the real plane the rpm doesn't drop much when power is reduced to 11 inches. More the deceleration that is noticeable I guess. Flying a pattern I have 21 inches on downwind, ~120mph, 2,700 rpm. Abeam the numbers, 11 inches and RPM is still at 2,700 but plane is decelerating fast at this point. RPM stays pretty much between 2,500-2,700 while pitching for 105-110 until power is reduced to idle in which case rpm drops to 2,100 at ~100 mph. This is in the S-2C which has the 3-bladed Hartzell Claw. I believe the Extra 330 has the same prop.

    Regarding using the airbrake to fine tune the prop, seems like it would be useful if the drag from the airbrake could be set proportional to the magnitude of propeller alpha for negative alphas but then zero for positive alphas. I think it would help dial in the deceleration without affecting normal flight and also be more true to what is actually happening, albeit still a hack.

    I should have time this weekend to play around a lot with the sim parameters and will report back with any questions / findings.

    Thanks! The airbrake works pretty well. Slows down cruise slightly which I can adjust. Just requires some thinking about parameters to prevent each change from having unintended consequences on something else.

    W.r.t. props, I tested lowering the governor minimum pitch to 0 which made the plane sink like a stone at idle albeit with the engine maintaining cruise RPM. So the negative alpha of the prop blades w.r.t incoming air in this case is properly working to slow the plane down rapidly. At least thats what i'm assuming is happening. I also tried increasing the lift coefficient of the blades thinking this would also increase negative lift in this negative alpha scenario. That also seemed to work. But, it would be useful if the lift coefficients for airfoils had optional separate values for positive and negative alpha. What I did also was influencing the lift in positive alpha cases.

    My sense is part of the issue is related to what you mentioned -- the RPM is staying too high even at relatively low manifold pressure settings. I.e., the engine in real life has more of a braking effect than what is currently being modeled. I am going to see what RPM the actual plane drops to at 11 inches MP and 110 mph -- the conditions from abeam the numbers and base leg.

    2. Related to my second question, I found that lowering the tailwheel spring constant to ~200 makes the ground handing fairly realistic at ~30-45mph, a little too squirrely below that, and a little too stable above that. So I thought it would be useful to have the spring constant a function of speed.

    Jet-Pack (IPACS) This is terrific. I actually got the ground handling to a pretty good spot by reducing the spring constant. Had a couple more questions if you have time.

    1. What is the best way to model propeller drag in the x-direction associated with the blades flattening out? If so, what's is a parameter that would increase this? In the real plane, when you reduce power and the blades flatten, there is a pretty rapid deceleration due to the drag of the flat blades hitting the air. I can sort of fake this by increasing Cdx of the fuselage but then that affects all other air speed and climb rate metrics (which are actually already pretty good). I really need to add drag that only occurs when the propeller blades flatten (go to negative AoA with respect to the air hitting them). The one setting I think is CdAlpha for the propeller blades. Any other ideas of how to best accomplish this?
    2. Is there a way to make any of the parameters in the tmd file a function of other parameters. For example, making a spring constant some function of forward velocity, etc?


    Thanks Jet-Pack (IPACS). Now, if I make adjustments to this file, but then Aerofly makes enhancements to the Pitts in the future, will it overwrite the file and my adjustments? Or, will my adjustments "break" it from updating in the future? I guess neither would be ideal.

    Is there a way I can copy the whole Pitts folder into a new folder called "Pitts Experimental" and have the plane display? I tried this before but the copy of the plane never showed up in the main menu allowing me to fly it.

    In our pitts the spring for the tailwheel might be too high, this way probably done intentionally to help users takeoff and land this aircraft with all sorts of devices. Imagine taking off the real pitts but all you have is the aileron stick, no rudder.

    Just curious if the spring rate is something that's easy to adjust in the model? I suspect that a lot of the ground stability that doesn't match real life could be due to this. Not saying you should lower it for everyone, just curious if this is something that's easy to change if I figured out how to mess with the flight model?

    Thank you Jan!

    Aero4428 is the Pitts so hard to do a wheeler (main wheels only and not bouncy) landing in real life?

    Hi Overloaded,

    I have not done a wheel landing in the plane and the instructor doesn't teach them. The general consensus is they aren't commonly done in the Pitts for a few reasons. First, the plane sits in three point at less than stall attitude. So, you don't really do full stall landings anyway and as such your touch down speed is already fairly high ~75-80mph. I believe it is the high touchdown speed more so than the short wheelbase that makes it difficult to control on the ground. A wheel landing would have the mains touching down at near 100mph which I believe would make everything that much more sensitive. Also, the Pitts from what I understand is naturally a very good crosswind plane (presumable from the high touchdown speed, short wings, and lower than normal 3 point attitude) so from what I am told there isn't a good "reason" to do them in the Pitts and those two points make it not that common to do. However, I have seen youtube videos of people doing them in Pitts so its obviously done.

    I did a lot of them in the real Super Decathlon and the behavior was very similar to doing them in the DCS Mustang. Was actually easier in the real plane for me which again is why is see so much value in simulation even for stick and rudder training.

    Hi Jan,

    Makes sense. I am not trying to question to validity of the modeling. I also understand that it is arbitrary what the "Profi" check box is called. I guess here is my main point:

    You had mentioned earlier that you add stability to some planes including tailwheel aircraft so they can be used by all users. In the R22 you add stability but then give the users a Profi checkbox to remove it. The R-22 is the only craft that has that checkbox. Do you foresee ever adding that to other aircraft?

    Thank you!

    Hi Jan,

    The "professional flight model" vs. "easy flight model" option is a myth. The flight model is always the same highly realistic and fine tuned one, we just activate an assistance when you don't select the profi mode.

    Yes, that makes sense that they are the same flight model and thanks for clarifying that. I guess to restate, if there is a raw underlying flight model that drives planes like the Pitts, but stability assistance is built in to some planes by default to make them more stable, perhaps there could be a setting to turn off the assistance similar to the R22 Profi button. Just a thought and maybe something for the future.


    Hi Jan,

    Thank you very much for the prompt reply and happy new years eve! I am surprised you didn't have more input on the Pitts as the main stuff is generally right. The 3d model is perfect, the roll rate and general feel of the plane in the air is really good. Speeds are pretty close -- in actual plane I fly 16" MP on downwind and that's about 115-120mph. Same in the sim. Just the yaw and ground handling that could be enhanced. I'll see if I can research any stats you mentioned. A convenient thing is the Pitts I am training in is owned by a family member so easier access. Granted much of the info would need to come from Aviat or Hartzell. Also the 3-bladed prop has more drag when power is removed than the two blade in the Aerofly Pitts.

    I tried the Extra and the ground handling is still overly stable (i.e., turns don't want to stay turning). Having said that, as you mentioned above, without good rudder pedals it would be very difficult to handle tailwheel aircraft on the ground which would be frustrating to a lot of users. So I assume a lot of the stability was built in on purpose for that reason. As such, any changes to that would probably have to fall under an optional professional flight model or something like that.

    I am a private pilot (and fairly avid VR flight simulator user) and have been taking real-life instruction in a Pitts S-2C (and have some time in a Pitts S-2A) out of KSDL. I have been using the AeroFly Pitts S-2B as a training aid to supplement real-world flying. Site picture is perfect in VR, control response, and speeds are pretty close but there are some gaps that exist that I have identified going back and forth between real plane and simulator. These probably apply to other planes as well but I am limiting discussion just to the Pitts because that is all I have been using in Aerofly.

    In the air:

    1. Adverse yaw is very understated in AeroFly especially at slow speeds. Real Pitts has a lot of it.
    2. P-factor doesn't seem to be modeled in Aerofly. During climb at 110mph in real Pitts, if you take your feet off rudder pedals, plane will yaw by ~5 degrees per second to the left requiring constant right rudder. In fact, in a left climbing turn, no left rudder is needed - you only need to reduce right rudder pressure to stay coordinated. In AeroFly you need no rudder input, and you still track perfectly straight. The converse of this is when pulling power (for example abeam the numbers on landing) in the real plane the nose will move to the right requiring momentary left rudder input due again to p-factor.
    3. The model will not forward slip. Anything more than a mild aileron input and there isn’t enough rudder authority to prevent the aircraft from simply turning. The real Pitts forward slips incredibly well.
    4. In flare, the Aerofly Pitts floats a bit long. Even with the two-blade prop it should decelerate a faster and touch down.

    On the Ground – Landing Roll and High-Speed Taxis:

    The real Pitts is very sensitive on the ground during rollout and is easy to overcontrol. To get students used to this, the instructor has you perform high speed taxis on the runway (with tail down) at about 30mph. Goal is to first track straight down centerline which is surprisingly hard the first few times. The plane is easy to overcontrol with rudder. So, a slight deviation will result in you putting too much rudder in (and/or leaving it in too long which is probably the bigger issue) giving you a slightly bigger deviation the other direction, and so on. By swerve 3 you are on your way to running off the runway. Anyway, you eventually get the feel of this. Then he will have you move left of centerline 10 feet and then right of centerline, etc. Until you can do it without getting into any swerves. This whole procedure is performed with the stick completely back. In Aerofly, with the stick completely back, it is as if the plane is on rails. It is perfectly stable and the tailwheel is basically locked to the ground. This isn’t accurate. I have found you can sort of recreate the real instability in Aerofly by keeping the stick 3/4 of the way forward of neutral and keeping the speed low. In Aerofly, this will sort of recreate the swerve tendency that exists in real life. However, when you start picking up any speed in Aerofly, the stability increases regardless of stick position (for example, when you are still moving fast on landing roll). In real life, this swerving tendency also exists at higher speeds especially when decelerating on rollout. (The plane is obviously easier to control on takeoff with full power pulling the nose forward giving the plane more stability.)

    On the Ground – Regular Taxi

    In a real tailwheel plane when doing s-turns for example, once you input rudder and get the turn started, the plane continues to travel through the arc even after you neutralize rudder. In Aerofly, the turn stops as soon as you neutralize rudder.

    On the Ground – Takeoff

    Real-plane – Smooth full power with stick initially fully back combined with very gentle rudder inputs to keep tracking straight. Requires some constant right rudder presumably due to p-factor of the plane sitting at a high angle of attack in three point attitude and engine torque putting more weight and friction on the left tire. About the point you get to full power, release back pressure on stick slowly. The stick will move forward on its own through about the midpoint between full aft and neutral which will require a gentle forward pressure to push through this. If you push too hard through this (which I have done), you get a very pronounced and startling swerve to the left due to gyroscopic precession of the tail coming up which you inevitably overcorrect for giving you a swerve to the right! Anyway, get the plane in slightly nose high attitude and then keep tracking straight until it flies off. (When first learning, there is a very strong urge to just lift the plane off too early. This is because once the wheels get light, they sort of start hopping and skipping across the runway giving you the urge to just get off the ground and into the safety of the air!). This is obviously wrong, but I had a lot of mental trouble with this.

    In Aerofly, from the start there is still too much stability in the takeoff roll. Also, in Aerofly if you push the nose forward too quickly it doesn’t show the exaggerated gyroscopic forces. In fact, a while ago Aerofly actually had the force going in the wrong direction. When you would push the tail up, the plane would yaw to the right. I had submitted a bug and it seems like it was sort of fixed. But either way, the stability on takeoff in the sim is too much and the gyro force is understated.


    I am by no means an expert in the Pitts. I am a student learning. But I have had the unique perspective of going back and forth between the real airplane and the simulator and trying to closely document the differences. I saw there is a professional flight model for the new R-22 helicopter. I was hoping there might be a professional flight model for fixed wing aircraft and also hope that this post may be useful. I would be happy to provide any more input and perhaps can take some GoPro video of the next flight to demonstrate some of the things I have mentioned in this post. Aerofly is a really great sim and I would love for it to get to an even more advanced place.

    One final note, the most accurate tail wheel sim I have used so far is the DCS P-51 Mustang. I obviously have never flown a real Mustang but prior to getting my tailwheel endorsement, I practiced heavily in the DCS Mustang – takeoffs and landings (normal and crosswind), high speed taxis, and wheel landings. I flew in a Super Decathlon for my actual tailwheel endorsement and found it very easy and intuitive. To me that is proof that the DCS flight model is done very well. It is mainly a military sim though. If Aerofly could recreate that on the civilian side it would be fantastic. For reference, my hardware consists of Warthog flight stick and throttle with 10cm extender on the flight stick to match real plane dimensions better. I have slaw device rudder pedals which was an upgrade from MFG Crosswinds. All of the tailwheel stuff I mentioned requires good rudder pedals to get value out of a good flight model.