Flying Nightmares for the Macintosh

General advice

Take-off
I doubt too many people are having trouble with this. A nozzle setting of 40-50 works well for a short roll. Right after liftoff raise the gear, select the camera view, and hit autopilot for a nice visual. I also enjoy flying with another Harrier to a target. Take-off behind them, join up, select autopilot, and select the camera view.

Landing
This is where this sim shines. This is not easy, however it's VERY realistic. Start with "Landing" in the acclimation room. Your lined up on the Tarawa. Turn off the autopilot. Pay very close attention to your altitude. This is one place the sim could use some improvement, there are no good visual cues before you hit the ground/water so you have to get in the habit of checking the altitude in the HUD often. Also be sure that you've hit the "R" key at some time so that your reading radar altitude. Set the power to about 60%. Lower the gear. Set the nozzles to 80 degrees. When the airspeed decreases to around 100 increase the power to 80%. When the airspeed decreases to 95 the velocity vector in the HUD, will change to a vertical velocity vector. You will notice an inverted V. Visualize that inverted V as your landing gear. Make changes in the power so that that inverted V does not go below the Tarawa deck.

Remember that when the velocity vector changes to Vertical velocity vector that the wings are no longer supporting the aircraft. Keep the pitch level. The forward speed is controlled for all practical purposes by the nozzle angle and the altitude is purely a function of throttle. Any change in pitch is basically the same as changing nozzle angle. Your airspeed should be somewhere between 50 - 80. Swing the nozzles forward to 90 - 100 as you approach the ship to slow you to around 20 - 30 kts airspeed. When you get the speed you want reset the nozzles to 80 to hold that speed. 77 - 80 degree nozzle angle is your Hover nozzle angle. When over the deck judge your speed by the Tarawa tower. I find that if I'm 15 kts or so a small pitch increase to around 3 degrees up will slow me enough to hover. You may also need a very small forward movement of the nozzles. From here just squeeze a little power off and descend to the deck.

Also you can switch to "Camera View" as you approach the end of the deck and land the Harrier just by using the outside view. It's actually easier to get an idea of where your located in relation to the ship. Try and keep the pitch and roll to minimum at first. Think like you are balanced on top of a ball. If you move toward the front the ball will start to roll forward and now you have to move back to control your speed or just stay on top of it. Same goes for any other direction you move. The Harrier's not much different, in a Hover it just sits on a bubble of air. I've been able to hover around the deck, turn 180 degrees and land again. The biggest problem is the limited visibility. I do all my landings in the lookup view. All the information you need (other than the gear down light) is in the HUD. If The ship is under sail in a mission, you'll have to match the speed of the ship for landing. This seems to be around 20kts. Watch how the autopilot approaches the ship. This is easy to copy manually, and stay oriented. Try to line up on the ship before your speed drops below 110, this makes everything easier for the final approach.

Ground attack Advice

  • Use recon flights to locate the SAM sites. Load up with ECM and HARM's and make flights just to clear these areas. Before going for the main targets. The Radar Warning system works well for locating SAM sites and also to show radar spikes from other aircraft before they fire some missiles. SAM evasion is standard. If your close enough you can see the SAM launch vertically, turn and come for you. Make a 30 - 90 degree turn, look left or right as needed, when you see the missile coming in drop chaff and turn into it.
  • When convoys reach their destinations they will set up SAM's so get them on the road if possible.
  • Take out any airport in an area that your starting an operation. This will eliminate fighter support in that area and let you carry a full air/ground load to other targets.
  • When attacking airports, take out the red hangar first, that will keep more fighters from coming up after you.
  • Use helicopters to drop Special Forces troops at targets well before you hit the target with your Harrier. This will allow you to use more of a laser guided load, as they'll designate the targets for you.
  • If your out of HARM's you can make a run on a SAM site as long as you stay below 300ft. The SAM sites will appear as white dots as you approach them. AAA appear as yellow dots from a distance.

Air attack advice
  • The enemy fighter AI is pretty good. For a positive kill wait until you can see their tailpipe before firing your missile. If your using guns it takes 2 hits to take one out. Also the unguided rockets work well in air to air if your close enough. Use the "Camera View" if your running back to the ship and AWACS reports a bandit behind you. After you see yourself fly by stay in that view, in a short while anything chasing you will also fly by. This gives you a good idea of how close they are and if you need to turn and fight. It also seems that after dark fewer fighters will come up after you.
  • If the HUD is knocked out read-outs on the upper left of the instrument panel will show you what weapon is selected.
Author: Ron Hunt


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