F/A-18C Update

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16 feb
F/A-18C Update
The F/A-18C has been one of our most popular DCS aircraft as it provides a wealth of game play options and is nearly feature-complete. There are though a number of items that we continue to address that will further improve  the realism and attention to detail of this DCS flagship aircraft.

Flight Model
For the past several months, we’ve been improving the flight dynamics of the F/A-18C to represent this aircraft’s unique flight qualities even more accurately. Much of this has been focused on expanding the F/A-18C’s high Angle of Attack (AoA) capabilities by adjusting the stabilizer scheduling. These changes will allow maneuvering up to 50 to 55 AoA, compared to mid-30s earlier. This expanded AoA capability will better allow players to take advantage of the F/A-18Cs outstanding low-speed, high-AoA maneuver capability. Note that this expanded AoA capability can result in a dramatic loss of airspeed, if not careful.

Another important improvement is the handling characteristics in Powered Approach (PA) mode when landing. During landing, you will find achieving and maintaining on-speed AoA easier. This is tied to the flight control system changes.

Nose pitch effects have also been added when the speedbrake is extended and retracted to match the real F/A-18C. Overall aerodynamic damping has also been improved to better match F/A-18C handling characteristics.

Flight Control System
The Flight Control System (FCS) has been completely reworked in all channels, and it provides much improved behavior when switching the control logic system between AUTO flaps mode to HALF\FULL flaps. You will find the transition much smoother with little to no un-commanded pitching moments. This will also make getting on-speed during landings much easier.

Roll characteristics have also been improved to better match the real aircraft with greater stability in the roll and yaw channels. This also applies to improved behavior around the longitudinal axis when taking off.

The yaw channel FCS in PA mode has also been adjusted to improve landing control in a crosswind. In total, the improvements in the FCS will make takeoff and landings much easier.

Landing Gear
The landing gear shock absorbers were adjusted to match documentation and reference videos. The F/A-18C landing gear articulation is a complex and dynamic process that is accurately modeled for carrier recoveries and touch-and-go. This change also provides improved landing control in a crosswind and addresses excessive G loads when landing. Whilst greatly improved, we will continue to tune this mechanic to allow even more accurate nosewheel touch-and-go behavior to allow lower airspeed rotation.

In addition to the landing gear mechanisms, the tires have also been adjusted to provide more authentic friction forces that will be apparent in crosswind takeoff and landings.

Engine transition thrust time was adjusted to be more accurate between afterburner and MIL thrust modes. The engine transition time is now faster from afterburner to idle. This allows you to reduce airspeed when cutting the engines to idle more quickly.

F/A-18C autopilot operation has been improved by tuning its behavior when initiating an altitude hold mode whilst the aircraft is unbalanced. The updated autopilot also improves holding the set altitude when in a roll and initiating an altitude hold mode. Before, you would often lose or gain hundreds of feet. Last, the autopilot control is much smoother when transitioning through waypoints in coupled mode.

Automatic Carrier Landing System
When activating the Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS) in coupled mode, the autopilot will use smoother and improved approach behavior.

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