View Full Version : AP historically Correct on Luftwaffa fighters ?

10-31-2007, 07:51 AM
I've googled this and have done a number of searches to see if German Fighter aircraft actually did have auto pilots...
Of course if they did I'm sure that the device wouldn't support all of the fuctions that it does in the single player mode... such as actually lineing up your shot and pulling the trigger for example.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif
But it would come in handy on some of those longer missions ....
When ever I do use the AP, normally it's to get from point A to B.. although I always feel a little guilty, as I'm not sure if this is historically acurate...

Does anyone have information concerning this issue, and maybe you could provide a link..



10-31-2007, 08:04 PM
No, generally fighters did not have autopilots but
some bombers at the time might have had crude autopilots, but they weren't anything like we have today in level of sophistication. Now they have computerized 3-axis autopilots that control elevator, rudder and aileron movement and associated trim tabs. They might have had some crude stuff back then to help keep the plane level at altitude.

I don't know for sure if any WWII aircraft utilized them but I know that the first autopilot was actually invented before WWI broke out!! And it was tested and demonstrated in 1914, by the Sperry Corporation.

10-31-2007, 08:08 PM
Do you have any info on that, mort? Sounds fascinating. I'm always interested in early/pre-war tech.

10-31-2007, 08:26 PM
The Norden bombsight was tied into an automatic pilot. The bombadier, through the AP was in control of the a/c during the bombing run.

Makes you wonder how the pilot felt, no control, no input, not even a Ma Deuce to fire. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

I think the -5 P-47Ns and on were equipped with an autopilot, but the pilots considered it unreliable, IIRC. However, the fold away rudder pedals were a big hit. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

10-31-2007, 08:27 PM
If you look at the nose of the Bristol Beaufighter in the sim you will see some odd bulges on it.
Those were made necessary because the Australian Beaufighters were equipped with Sperry autopilots.

Something our model in the sim does not have operable.

10-31-2007, 10:45 PM
For some late-war fighters there were conversion kits with the designation R11 to make the plane an all-weather fighter. It included a Patin Kurssteuerung, a device to help the pilot keeping the aircraft on a certain heading. While it was no true autopilot it was probably the closest thing to one in a german fighter.

11-02-2007, 08:06 AM
Thor thanks for your reply... I have managed to find a little more information concerng the radar application of wartime Luftwaffa air craft, after reviewing the data that you supplied....
It appears that the only single seat Lufftwaffa fighter a/c fitted with radar was the late model FW 190's, allthough apparently the BF-110's had it installed but with varied applications... http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/2072/thun.html
This was very important for night fighter operations...
Although my basic question is regarding the BF-109.. If no radar was implemented here, was there at least an altitude hold system installed?
I'm hopeing that some one will be able to shed some light on this subject.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif



11-02-2007, 10:06 AM
Nope. The only thing Bf 109's ever got in the sense of bad-weather/night operations was an additional instrument panel with blind-flying instruments (which exactly is unknown to me). Even the radar installations in Fw 190s were no more than test examples to supplant the newborn "Wilde Sau" units with more chances to actually encounter the enemy, but research showed that staring at the dials and the screen pretty much killed the pilot's ability to see in the dark for the critical minutes of engagement (research was killed when the "Wilde Sau" units were turned into ordinary day-fighters). Mind you the R11 kit (which did NOT include the various radar systems tested on Fw 190s but simply additional blind-flying instruments and said Patin Kurssteuerung) was by no means ubiquitous but very rare.

11-02-2007, 10:09 AM
I think a point of confusion for many people is that they call turning over the control of the aircraft in this game to the computer "autopilot". This is somewhat of an unfortunate and misguided misnomer. The term for it should be "AI control".

Think of it this way. If you are flying offline ( and even online sometimes ) and there are AI controlled aircraft in your scenario, they are supposed to be emulating real pilots and trying to kill and survive, making decisions. We all know that in game AI are not good at any of this but that's entirely beside the point I'm trying to make here. Those other AI controlled aircaft in the scenario are not supposed to be emulating aircraft on autopilot, they are posing rather poorly as human pilots.

In the real world, true autopilots are there to reduce cockpit workload and make a plane easier to fly while flying from point to point. Usually they only maintain altitude and heading. Or sometimes an approach to a runway. Also the modern ones can execute a turn from one heading to another or change of altitude and speed.