Any time a flight sim says they are changing the flight model there are a series of emotions I run through from delight to terror. History has taught us that what improvements we gain sometime we loose too. Patch 2.012 for IL-2: Battle of Kuban may be an exception.
After having a few days with the new flight model I’m forming some general impressions of what the changes bring us on a general level.
Aircraft stability, an issue that has long been an issue in the IL-2 community, seems to be the biggest change. Noses wander less, aircraft bob up and down from maneuvers less, using the rudder to aim is a much more reliable option. The Bf109, possibly the worst offender of this effect in past iterations of the flight model, now feels like a much more stable aircraft and one with some weight to it.
Nearly every aircraft feels heavier too. Roll rates, particularly the instant response, feel slower, rudder causes far less roll than before (the so-called ‘roll coupling’ issue), and most aircraft tend to have heavier controls at higher speeds.
Tactics are going to have to change for Yak and Bf109 drivers especially which seem to have lost some of their high speed maneuvering power. They make up for it in great controllability and precise maneuvering.
Other aircraft that had more historical advantages at higher speeds like the FW190 and La-5 seem to have gained the most from this.
Specific aircraft impressions
Here are some of my specific impressions of aircraft. Note: I may change my thoughts slightly as I get more stick time.
I-16 Type 24 – This aircraft hasn’t changed much at all. Fast roll rate and quick maneuvering are still the hallmark of this fighter. Elevators are heavier at speed.
MiG-3 – Definitely more sluggish to maneuver at high speeds. Roll rate is a bit slower too.
LaGG-3 Series 29 – Though heavier at high speeds than before, the LaGG-3 seems to have benefited by retaining good roll rate control at most speeds versus some opponents that have been decreased in some areas.
La-5 Series 8 – The La-5 has benefited from handling improvements with a reasonably effective elevator at speed and its roll rate is quite good.
P-40E-1 – The aircraft that benefited the most from the update is the P-40. Handling is now reasonably good with an effective rudder that no longer does the death spin with a bit of overuse. The aircraft now maintains its energy through maneuvering that used to cause huge amounts of drag.
Yak-1 Series 69 – A slower roll rate and far less help from the rudder in kicking this fighter around like a kite. The Yak-1 turns tight and effectively but as speed increases that elevator becomes heavy.
IL-2 (All Models) – The IL-2 feels remarkably similar most of the time. Rudder control better allows you to walk the nose onto targets than before. Also high speed dives are a bit more risky as pullout is a bit less effective. Watch out!
Pe-2 (All Models) – The Pe-2 feels about the same as before although it does seem to be a bit ‘heavier’ in all aspects.
Bf109 (All Models) – The Bf109 has changed a fair bit in this update. The nose wobbles far less from both elevator and rudder inputs. Precision aim is now much easier than ever before. Roll rate is slower at higher speeds and the elevator becomes progressively heavier. The trade-offs are a net benefit to my mind but some Bf109 pilots will struggle to adapt. Bf109E-7 and F-2 are about tied for the nicest handling as they were before.
Bf110 (All Models) – These haven’t changed too much although they generally feel a bit heavier than before. The G-2 model remains more responsive while the E-2 variant is a little more sluggish thanks to weaker engines.
FW190 (All Models) – The FW190s roll rate is about the same as before but relative to other aircraft is now much quicker making enemy attempts to roll away more difficult. Elevator is effective at high speeds, a marked difference versus the opposition now. Very few differences versus before although the snap stall at high AoA may be a bit more violent when it does come on.
MC.202 – Not too much is different here. The MC.202 has more stability when using the rudder like the Bf109 but it otherwise feels to me like the same old MC.202; able to crisply execute maneuvers at medium and high speeds with no trouble.
Ju87D-3 – Though feeling a bit heavier on the whole, the Ju87 doesn’t seem all that different. Walking the nose onto target while doing strafing runs and precision bomb releases is a whole lot easier!
He111 (All Models) – There’s not a lot different here. The elevators are a bit heavier here but the aircraft otherwise retains its character.
Ju88A-4 – Some say the Ju88 flies better than before. I haven’t noticed much although it does handle very well, particularly when unloaded of bombs and maximum fuel.
The general consensus that seems to be emerging is that this global flight model update along with an update for a huge list of aircraft have really shaken things up in a good way. Some people are going to be talking about the heavier elevators on some types for a while. That conversation will be particularly relevant for Yak and Bf109 pilots both which have heavier elevators than they did before.
Even aircraft that are a little more “difficult” to handle in the old way seem to have gained in areas like stability and overall control authority even if at certain speeds they become more bogged down.
Strategies and tactics will change for pilots who will ultimately get used to the new handling of these aircraft but I think the real net benefit is towards aircraft that seemed to have some unrealistic issues with the P-40 being the biggest beneficiary of some serious flight model work.
1CGS continues to pull out all the stops on making IL-2: Battle of Kuban a worthy update to the series and with it simultaneously improving Battle of Stalingrad and Battle of Moscow too.
This patch won’t put an end to flight model debates. Nor should it. But I personally feel like this was a big step in the right direction solving issues and seemingly creating few problems.