View Full Version : The rolling scissors

12-07-2007, 01:44 AM
Without a doubt, I'm terrible at it.

Perhaps it's because I have difficulty keeping track of the bandit with the hat switch, or perhaps it's because I don't fully grasp what is supposed to be happening, but every time I attempt the rolling scissors I end up on a one-way flight into Screwed-town, and the bandit behind me seems to be the mayor.

Does anyone have a track showing the rolling scissors that's good for learning purposes? Are there any guides/tips for this sort of BFM?

It would be much appreciated.

12-07-2007, 03:10 AM

is excellent for explaining this

here is an edited track made into a film


I use throttle and flaps control to try to aim for his high six , trying to stay behind his 3-6 line - at the end I pull too hard for a shot and stall out.

12-07-2007, 03:16 AM
Does anyone have a track Do you have a track (of your one-way flight)? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif A lot depends on the circumstances, especially on the types of planes you and your opponents are flying.

12-07-2007, 04:22 AM
Originally posted by na85:
Without a doubt, I'm terrible at it.

Perhaps it's because I have difficulty keeping track of the bandit with the hat switch, or perhaps it's because I don't fully grasp what is supposed to be happening, but every time I attempt the rolling scissors I end up on a one-way flight into Screwed-town, and the bandit behind me seems to be the mayor.

Does anyone have a track showing the rolling scissors that's good for learning purposes? Are there any guides/tips for this sort of BFM?

It would be much appreciated.

I do it all the time, great tactic, although admittedly hazardous due to stall. Effective mostly in fighters with good roll rate and heavy armament to fire short bursts from extreme angles in slashing attacks.

I guess a more difficult tactic is the vertical scissors, although I never tried it.

12-07-2007, 05:28 AM
G'day na85,

Try this topic here:


It discusses combat tactics in the Fw 190, and it's got links to other topics that cover the same stuff. There's some tracks linked, too.


12-08-2007, 01:24 AM
Originally posted by rnzoli:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Does anyone have a track Do you have a track (of your one-way flight)? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif A lot depends on the circumstances, especially on the types of planes you and your opponents are flying. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't have one, but I'll remember to take one the next time I try it.

This whole issue came up while I was playing one of FSM's campaigns.

I'm flying an emil against hurris and p40s in those missions.

12-08-2007, 01:25 AM
Thanks to all for the links, I'll check them out.

12-08-2007, 01:29 AM
Hey NA85- just posted something here you may be interested in.

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=65710...691095516#8691095516 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=65710358&m=8691095516&r=8691095516#8691095516)

Hope it helps somehow.


12-08-2007, 01:47 AM
Thanks again for the vid.

This one goes out to everyone: Something I've never understood is why a pilot who's losing the rolling scissors doesn't just roll a little and do a loop. Isn't that the point? To reduce your forward velocity by corkscrewing around that vector?

12-08-2007, 03:23 AM
As I understand it- its all about E management-

you are wishing to shed forward motion so that the bandit overshoots, however sometimes you just havnt enough E left for a verticle loop- that why you roll - taking the longest route to go the shortest distance - while still trying to protect as much e as possible to allow you to manouver

If you break and turn too hard or pull in the vertical too much then you bleed E too much and you stall

the roll can be tight or wide- again depending on your E and the roll capability of your plane

hope this helps

12-08-2007, 03:43 AM
The objective in any scissors is NOT to "To reduce your forward velocity".
The trick is to take a longer route than your opponent whilst maintaining your forward velocity and keeping out of sync with him and his guns.

12-08-2007, 08:24 AM
actually i'd say the trick is pretty much to reduce your forward velocity as much as possible while still having total control of the plane.

the hardest part about the scissors is precisely that: comparing your relative E state to the other guy. If you're going a tad bit slower forwardly, you're doing great. If you're going way slower forwardly, you're screwed since the other guy can just go vertical and wait for you to stall out.

"Take the longest route" is a dangerous advice to give. Generally when doing scissors you're both turning as hard as you can. If you take a long route, the other guy will outturn you and get a quick shot at you.

I'd say the trick is to cut the turn as much as possible while leaving just enough time to your opponent to get to the point where you know your nose will be pointing. So i'd say, take the shortest route, take the longest time http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif That's the whole concept behind what we call the scissor reverse.

The scissor reverse is our main killing trick behind the scissor, and it most of the time baffles our opponents (specially on maps when the time is near 12 midday and the sun is up).
Basically the scissor reverse is a break in the cycle of the helix. It can in turn create another cycle that will evolve into a vertical scissor. But I digress.

The scissor reverse must be done when the helix gets up very close and personal. You're twisting and turning directions. Try to imagine this with me. Right in the part where you start to turn back onto your opponent, for an instant of time your plane faces the general forward axis of the helix before you keep pulling towards your opponent and cross paths with him. Instead of keeping your turn towards his direction, pull up vertically. You don't need much speed to do this. You have to practice your timing to know when you can do this so that your opponent won't be able to get a shot while you go up.

As you start going up, reverse your turn. If you're going up and slow, nose hopefully pointing above 60 or 70 degrees of attitude, a flick in direction is instantaneous. You've broken the helix and if you time it right and predict where your opponent is going (you'll have to lose sight of him under your cockpit for a couple of seconds) you'll end up on his tail.

Here's a couple of videos of the dogfight club when we used to train extensively on the scissors.



We figured out the reverse while filming the first video I believe, so it doesn't get much in that one, but you can see it in action a lot on the 2nd video. Basically you want to look out when instead of following the same pattern of turns we decide to turn the exact opposite way. Try to figure out what we're doing there.

The reason I say it baffles your opponents specially on maps with midday conditions is that when you go vertical and flip over the opposite direction, you go against the sun. If they're keeping eyes on you, they'll see you going up in one direction, going against the sun, and then coming down a whole different way an onto their six! Usually the replies i've gotten from that move is "how did you turn so hard while going so slow?" "we're flyign the same plane, no way you outturned me so hard!"

The thing is, you're not outturning them at all! You're letting them "take the long route" while you take the short one leaving them enough time to be where you'll face. Going slow and almost vertical is the quickest way to flip your plane around in any directino you want it to go.

A couple of other pointers you must also remember everytime you enter a scissors:
1. If you stay on 100% throttle all the time, you will die.
2. If you keep doing the same thing over and over in a vicious cycle, and your opponent knows a bit of what he's doing, you'll become predictable, and you will die.
3. Learn to predict the flightpath of your opponent. MANY times the key to a successful scissors fight is to cut his moves. Most of the times you cut his moves, you will have to lose visual, either behind or under your cockpit. TrackIR does WONDERS in this aspect.
4. Your plane's characteristics don't play the major role. It's your wit. Don't be afraid to go in a rolling scissors against a plane with a better roll rate than yours. There's always a way to cut his turns with as minimal movement as possible, thus negating his advantages.

BTW everything i've said, I feel it applies vs human opponents. I have no idea how the AI reacts to those moves.

12-08-2007, 11:28 AM

Once you 'get it' I think you can make your own examples of 'it' on a track file.

When someone uses the term ˜rolling scissors' the designation (if I am not mistaken) merely points out a vertical component to the ˜scissors' maneuver.

In any case the idea is defensive because the term ˜scissors' designates a defensive maneuver. See this?

An attack that uses a roll to slow down forward progress and AVOID and overshoot (avoid passing by a target and showing your tail end to the target) is not called a scissors (unless I am mistaken). John Boyd's Barrel Roll Attack and Robert Shaw's Lag Displacement Roll (attack) are two examples of using geometry to go around a target and control (avoid) an overshoot to shoot down a slower target (turning a smaller radius).

That is an aggressive maneuver.

The scissors designates a defensive maneuver used by a fighter pilot being attacked from the rear hemisphere and the attacking fighter pilot is faster (attacking).

Horizontal scissors (normal or NON VERTICAL scissors) can be seen as a maneuver used when speed is below vertical maneuvering speed for the defensive (scissoring) fighter pilot. Horizontal scissors is more or less, very simply, a series of brake turns, left and right, done to avoid being shot and force the attacker to overshoot.

In any case of scissors the obvious ˜counter' to the defence of ˜scissors' is to slow down even faster than the target and park behind the flopping defender who ˜thinks' that the scissors works in any case.

The scissors does not work when the attacker predicts the scissors and ˜counter's' the scissors. The scissors is a last ditch, sucker, defense and any other maneuver that could work should be used instead of the scissors.

The scissors is an ˜overshoot' maneuver.

If you are attacked by a faster pilot and you manage to avoid being shot and then the target passes right in front of your plane and you shoot down that faster flying attacking pilot, then, you have performed an ˜overshoot' maneuver.

How did you do it?

If you were too slow to go vertical, then, you can't go up vertically. If you dive and turn, then, chances are you speed up even if you turn hard. If you speed up while the attacker is closing behind you, then, you decrease the closure rate and allow the fast moving attacker the opportunity to slow down fast enough to park behind you and shoot you down.

If you turn left, level, and then turn right, level, and the fast moving attacker cannot slow down fast enough to avoid overshooting you, then, you have performed a scissors. The opponent may or may not be turning with the throttle off, the flaps down, and also ˜doing the scissors' and the result may or may not be an ˜overshoot'.

If you are defensive against a fast moving attacker in your rear hemisphere and your speed is above vertical maneuvering speed, then, what is the fastest method of slowing down to force the attacker to ˜overshoot' and pass in front of your forward hemisphere?

The answer is; go up.

If you go up with the flaps down, the engine off, and the g force (induced drag force) maxed out on the edge of blackout, then, you are slowing down as fast as you can. Well...how much faster can you slow down if you add a lot of rudder?

What does that maneuver look like if the smoke is turned on and you see that maneuver from the attacker's viewpoint?

It would be a vertical spiral no?

So...the attacker is bearing down from your rear hemisphere and the attacker is lining up a shot on a level target when, suddenly, the target begins to go up vertically in a spiral at a maximum rate of deceleration just at black out (for the defender employing the vertical scissors overshoot maneuver), and, the attacker (at that moment) is going faster (because he is closing on the target = going faster), so, the overshoot is inevitable (because the attacker was suckered into this), and, the attacker has two options now:

A. Keep going fast and make sure that the overshoot does not include a shot opportunity for the defender.
B. Try to slow down faster than the defender and park behind the defender, saddle up, and shoot down the defender as quickly as possible.

There may be another option; control E – hit the reset button – cry a lot – whine – etc.

If the defender can slow down faster and the attacker is forced out ahead of the defender (forced from a rear hemisphere position into a forward hemisphere position by the defenders ˜overshoot' vertical scissors maneuver), then, a shot may be possible even if the defender tried plan B too late.

When things get really close (the defender is not slowing down much faster than the attacker), then, the shot opportunity may present itself very close to the overshooting attacker.

Like this:


Overshoot track file (http://4jg53.org/components/com_joomlaboard/uploaded/files/overshootA.rar)

When attacked by a faster opponent (from the rear hemisphere) the fight can often turn into something that can be called a vertical scissors fight or ˜stall fight' while both ˜fighters' are trying to get the other ˜fighter' to move from the rear hemisphere to the forward hemisphere. The fight can tend to be a race to see who can hang onto the prop and position around and behind the other fighter while rolling around going up.

If you are looking at nine or three o'clock and the opponent is almost at the same exact speed (decelerating into a stall where no more control is possible other than going backwards or letting the nose drop) and you have the throttle at full power, then, you may have been in a better position of you had pulled the power sooner or you may be in a worse position because you pulled the power sooner because your plane is already stalling while the opponents plane is not stalling. See this?

If you try to overshoot and your attacking opponent does overshoot but you are out of energy while the opponent overshoots, then, your opponent may have ˜out-positioned' you by maintaining a larger radius barrel roll around yours.

So...the first consideration is the rate of closure (rate of overtake) and a race to slow down faster (force an overshoot) by maximizing deceleration rates sooner.

The second (or at the same time) consideration is geometry because the ˜barrel roll' scribes a longer distance ˜rapped around' a shorter distance (forward progress going up to a higher altitude).

To see this clearly consider a defender going exactly at vertical maneuvering speed who performs a simple break turn left and up to a stall hanging on his prop (before a hammer head to drop the nose down and avoid the spin).

The defender will not gain much more altitude during the vertical ˜almost' scissors; meanwhile – the attacker is arriving on the scene with more speed and therefore a potential for much more altitude gain. If the attacker merely pulls lead for a snap shot (and doesn't watch where he goes up relative to the defender), then, it is possible that the attacker misses the passing shot (during the overshoot), pulls up vertical, and hangs is plane right in the sights of the defender so the defender takes a quick shot before stalling out.

On the other hand the attacker can ˜guess' what the defender is doing and avoid the shot to lag roll around in a wide turn with the nose slightly above the horizon. That would end up being a short stubbly and fat barrel (and it would be a decreasing radius for the attacker).

So...the defender goes a short distance up the center while the attacker goes around a long distance around the short center ending up (if the attacker manages the geometry right) with a stalled target avoiding a spin on its way down (the attacker takes about the same time to go farther because the attacker is going faster), which, brings up the ˜power on or power off' dilemma.

If the idea is to slow down quicker (force the overshoot) or the idea is to slow down quicker and avoid an overshoot, then, power on does not make sense. If the decision to power down is delayed while the opponent powers down, then, the opportunity is past; which brings up a third consideration.


This can be seen as ˜the fake' where the defender acts like a defender seeking to run away from the fight. The defender can see the attack as the attacker closes range quickly. The defender points the nose down hard and accelerates to reduce the closure rate and delay the impending shot. Now the attacker may push the throttle forward to counter.

Now the rate of closure is back to an imminent shot for the attacker who expects a breaking turn – of course. The attacker may move into lag pursuit and here the timing is very important. The TIME to force the overshoot must occur when the attacker least expects it and that can happen just before the attacker shoots. The idea is to fake like an easy target just before becoming an impossible target.

There is a reason why the rolling scissors or any ˜overshoot' maneuver is a desperate and last ditch maneuver. The attacker can read the whole mess and simply throttle back to saddle up on the slower target out ahead.

Supposing that the attacker does not ˜see it coming' there is a TIME when the attacker goes from lag to lead ˜in range' and at that time the defender can pull the throttle (from the full power dive) and begin a vertical rolling climb with flaps and rudder at grey out. The attacker cannot get inside that turn when the attacker is already too close to ˜cut the turn' (again TIMING) because both planes are limited to 6 g black out and the faster plane will go around a larger radius – end of that story.

What is seen in the track file is a Spitfire going around the outside of the 109s turn. That is what it looks like when it is close and when it works. When it does not work – it does not work. It is a defensive last ditch effort to avoid being shot down by someone with more energy and better position.

The ˜barrel roll attack' is what the attacker does.

12-08-2007, 02:55 PM
I think that, generally, I understand when and when not to try the scissors (rolling or flat).

If I see a bandit crossing my 6 in a dive, and his wings are out of plane with mine, he's probably going to yo-yo up to avoid overshooting (or similar). To counter I'd unload and extend to gain separation and recover some of my E.

If his wings are more or less parallel to mine, he's trying to match the turn, so I pull up and in to his turn.

Let's assume that since he's diving from above, he has enough E to complete a loop.

My question is this: If we're both trying to kill our forward velocity (but not our airspeed) why wouldn't the other guy just do a loop? That puts his velocity along our original flight path to 0, guaranteed. What's stopping him?

12-08-2007, 03:03 PM
IMHO a loop may put one in less than advantageous position. I think throwing out flaps would be more a benefit. Anyone else?

I feel like I'd learnt something here as well.

12-08-2007, 05:10 PM
Originally posted by triad773:
IMHO a loop may put one in less than advantageous position

Why, though?

12-08-2007, 05:58 PM
Well looping commits you to a specific manoeuvre once you start; My experience shows me that when I commit to such a move it allows my opponent to recover his composure if I am not careful.

Would be interested to know what others believe http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

12-08-2007, 06:19 PM
My question is this: If we're both trying to kill our forward velocity (but not our airspeed) why wouldn't the other guy just do a loop? That puts his velocity along our original flight path to 0, guaranteed. What's stopping him?

Scissors in here (http://www.d-n-i.net/boyd/pdf/boydaerialattack.pdf)

If you read the above (scissors part) the whole move and counter move scenario is explained in detail.

Supposing that the attacker is not bearing in for a shot supposes that the scissors is not needed – I think.

If the scissors is not needed, then, why use it?

A scenario where the scissors is needed is a scenario where the attacker will get a shot if the scissors is not done (or a break turn). The scissors merely reverses (or rolls around) to follow up the overshoot (the overshoot is the reason for doing the scissors) with a shot opportunity. The attacker either slows down faster (to avoid the overshoot) or the attacker overshoots and avoids the follow up (reverse or roll around by the defender = scissors) with something (loop, roll around into a dive, barrel roll attack, lag displacement roll, whatever is going to ˜counter' the defense of the defender).

The question asked appears to already have an answer; like this:

The attacker can see a possible scissors (break turn, roll, overshoot, follow up, roll around, shot opportunity after the overshoot), so, the attacker abandons the attack and does a loop.

If the attack is conducted at a much higher speed over the defender than there is a whole lot of energy for a loop and roll or whatever avoids or defeats (counters) the reversal (scissors) or roll around (vertical scissors) performed by the defender, and, having that excess energy could have the defender stalled out looking for a shot while the attacker (who did a loop) well above, out of range, or at least not in the sight of the defender which sets up the ˜rope a dope' as the defender is out of stuff to work with while the attacker can maneuver down into a follow up attack.

Like this:


12-08-2007, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by JG14_Josf:

If the scissors is not needed, then, why use it?

because it's hella fun http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif