I’m very pleased to be able to offer some of my first impressions of 1CGS’ IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte Me262 being flyable for the very first time by the public this weekend at Flight Sim Expo 2019 in Orlando Florida. What a ride it is!
The big picture
First, flying the 262 is completely unlike anything else in IL-2 thought it does feel a bit like some of the early jets I’ve flown in DCS. The 262 is fast. Very fast. It picks up speed rapidly with power on in a dive.
It’s absolutely terrible in a turn fight as the 262 bleeds speed, doesn’t particularly like high angles of attack, and once speed is lost takes some time to get it back. Flying the 262 is an exercise in fine balance.
The four 30mm cannons, as you’d expect, wreck anything that the touch. I blew apart some A-20s in one flight and a P-47 and Spitfire in another. The firepower is immense.
Visually the Me262 is impressive and beautifully detailed. 4K textures really are sharp. Especially on the 4K display I was looking at today. Nice details include the heat blur from the engines and changes in exhaust smoke under different throttle and flight conditions.
The small details
One of the things that I was very thankful for today was Requiem whose YouTube channel has some incredibly detailed video tutorials for IL-2 that everyone should watch. He’s been testing the 262 for a while now and was able to show me a lot of the nuance today in person!
Startup is an interesting process as the engines start, reach an initial RPM, and then after a couple of key holds, come fully to life. Engine RPM goes up to quite a high level with very little thrust being initially generated. I recall 7,000 rpm before we moved.
Nose wheel brakes are toggle-able.
At higher speeds you’ll notice that Mach tuck is definitely modeled. This is where the jet reaches close to the sound barrier begins to tuck under (or nose down). It can quickly become unrecoverable.
What about those sensitive engines?
Well… they are sensitive. The Me262 was famous for being a difficult aircraft to master with its jet engines representing the bleeding edge of power plant development at the time. They we’re notorious for having issues like flameouts.
There’s an available modification that uses the revised fuel flow system that improves some of the worst traits but doesn’t completely solve them.
The modelling here is nuanced. Depending on the conditions (altitudes, rpm, etc.) the engine may simple shutdown and die. It is possible to restart but it’s a hit or miss process. In the worst case, the engine will light on fire and a speed dive will be your only way out.
Now comes the coolest part. Compressor stalls are modeled including compressor stalls caused by high angles of attack like a spin. You’ll hear a banging noise that is characteristic of a compressor stall (think “bang bang bang” followed by a delay and then repeat).
My take on what the 262 is going be like online
This is only a guess but the 262 is not going to be the wonder weapon that some think it will be. We’re going to find out soon but given everything that I saw there’s some big things that are going to hold the 262 back.
First, just starting up and taxiing to the runway is more involved than most IL-2 aircraft. Second, flying is a careful and engaged process when it comes to changing throttle settings. Third, it’s beautiful to fly but turns lead to loss of speed and that makes the 262 easy to shoot down. An expert pilot might be able to get some excellent surprise attack in but most are going to struggle with this as a fighter. As a bomber… now that might be fun for me and other mud mover types.
This is going to be an aircraft where every kill is earned through careful pilotage and patience. It’s no easy button that grants automatic victory. But do watch out for those cannons!
Everyone will find out for themselves in just a few days.