View Full Version : How To Stay In Formation?

SFC Ross
09-12-2004, 07:11 AM
Does Anyone Here Know How To Stay In Formation In Single Player WITHOUT Usining Autopilot?

Could anyone give me the speed I need to go at or some tips and tricks that Could help me to stay in formaiton? I would very much Appreciate It.

Thanks In Advance,


SFC Ross
09-12-2004, 07:11 AM
Does Anyone Here Know How To Stay In Formation In Single Player WITHOUT Usining Autopilot?

Could anyone give me the speed I need to go at or some tips and tricks that Could help me to stay in formaiton? I would very much Appreciate It.

Thanks In Advance,


09-12-2004, 07:20 AM
match throttle/ speed and prop pitch settings withe the leader. Use flaps to speed slow when necessary, not the throttle.
Without the benefit of peripheral vision, guess work helps when flying wingtip to wing tip.

Outside views is very helpful, as well as the leader calling any variations that are made.

09-12-2004, 08:02 AM
In real life and to some extent online, pilots can fly formations by the numbers, i.e. communicate desired speeds, throttle, pitch and mixture settings etc. but the AI pilots seem to have a telepathic understanding of these things to which offline fliers are not privy! Don't get too concerned with exact speeds...

If you're taking off with your flight, remember that it takes max power (throttle, boost/WEP, fine (100%) prop pitch) to even keep pace with their climb so if you start lagging behind it becomes extremely difficult to catch until they're cruising. Keep in touch with the guy immediately in front of you until your flight settles into the first hint of a formation.

You can sense when the AI are entering cruise because they'll power back and you'll start to close on them, but this is very much a matter of experience. More often than not at the beginning you'll overshoot them and then have to pull some unsightly manoeuvres to hook up again. Which leads to the most important part of formation flying with AI...

THROTTLE JOCKEYING!! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Be ruthless when commanding the throttle. In my own experience I keep prop pitch at 100% but make some drastic changes to throttle setting until I'm confident that the AI are settling into formation. Identify your position in the flight (easiest method is to do a few practice runs with the autopilot on and see where it puts you in relation to the other planes, and again it's different for each formation), then bring prop pitch back to a cruise setting, different for each plane but typically around 70-80%.

I use TrackIR so it's easy to keep everything in visual relation to the other planes. They WON'T keep the same speed for long so don't fixate on the guages. If you use TrackIR then great, if not then get handy with rapid view switching. There's no substitute for experience but basically you have to adjust from instinctively controlling your aeroplane when looking straight ahead to instinctively controlling your aeroplane when looking 40-90 degrees to one side (sometimes even more to BOTH sides http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

First of all, get close, but not too close. Don't try and match speeds straight away, rather visualise a virtual plane in relation to the rest of the formation and aim to have your own crate occupying that space within half a minute. Become comfortable maintaing straight and level flight while keeping your eyes fixed on the plane to your side/front. When you can do this easily and at will, concentrate not on your airspeed but on your closing speed. Experiment vigorously with the throtte and after a while you'll find a narrow range of throttle settings around which you closely match the other aeroplanes.

It's a bit like artillery spotting I guess - first few shots long, then short, then a bit long, then a bit short, then bang on.

Now that you can enter into formation easy enough the hard part is staying there. Keep your eyes locked on the rest of your flight, especially the closest aeroplane, at all times. Well, maybe quickly check ahead once in awhile to orientate yourself if you lose the horizon. While crusing (in most cases), the AI will be flying straight and level. For the time being, you can take it for granted that they won't be making any major changes, so don't overreact to the slight ones. BTW if they DO make major changes, they're usually pulling a horizontal 360* to stay with an escort, which means you'll have to chop the throttle, lower flaps, and hang on for dear life, but anyway...

Imagine you are #4 in an Echelon Right formation. Draw a mental line from the leader's cockpit through his wingman's cockpit and on through #3's cockpit. Bear in mind the distances between each plane and then extend this line past #3 to the point where your head, your Point of View, should be. Always keep this bigger picture in mind as opposed to over-focusing and over-compensating for micro-changes that the AI make. When you do make changes to your own speed, heading or atitude, make TINY CHANGES. Make a tiny adjustment, then observe and understand where that puts you in relation to the rest of the flight. The process demands concentration and CONSTANT inputs, even if those inputs are very small. It's easy to say or to read this but the only way it can be learned is by developing these relationships as second nature. As with most things IL-2, the three P's will lead to success.

Practice Practice Practice http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-mad.gif

It's supposed to be fun though, so if you're having a hard time then stop for a while and forget about it. Or better still, let those AI f**kers fly straight and level while you hover in behind, close to fifteen yards, and tear them a new one http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Hope it works out for ya

Play It Cool


09-12-2004, 08:04 AM
Hmm, posted right after moog, but still I´d say, never use flaps and only use throttle.. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif And ofcourse AI never tells you what speed and when to change direction, so you need to be quick in reacting to the AI. By playing with your throttle all the time its very well possible to stay in position, but be carefull for the sudden changes in direction and speed at waypoints and when meeting the enemy. In those sudden movements its impossible to stay in formation ofcourse. But you can limit the separation. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

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09-12-2004, 08:16 AM
Aye, Arnie's point about flaps is very important... combat flaps at cruise speed is okay, but anything more and you significantly increase the risk of your flaps jamming. Needless to say, the ace pilots push the aeroplane's envelope to it's maximum and there are exceptions to this, but while you're learning, don't do it! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I was flying a mission from Extreme_One's Two Little DUCs campaign late the other night. I was #4 and my AI wingmen kept circling because the flight of P-51s we were escorting/overwatching were flying much slower than us. I was half an hour into the mission when I got too flap-happy in a tight turn, jammed my flaps almost at landing setting, and thereby essentially elimitated my combat potential before even seeing an enemy plane.

Formation flying with the AI is good and all, but sometimes they do things that no human pilot can match... especially pulling out of high altitude diving attacks! They don't black out like the good people of reallifeville...

09-12-2004, 08:26 AM
Staying in formation is reasonably easy (with a little practice) if you're the primary mission flight, but if you're escorting it's a real pain as the AI fly in circles around the escorting group, constantly changing speed, altitude and throttle heading. In those missions I just gain an extra 1000m or so of altitude and keep visual contact with the escorted group.

When your flight are flying straight and level, it goes something like this. I'm assuming you have a throttle axis on your joystick for this too.

From takeoff, don't try to match altitude. Moderate your climb rate so that you can maintain sufficient speed to keep up. Once your flight settle into cruise it's reasonably easy to climb to their altitude.

The speed at which they're flying isn't so important as throttle setting. Cruise throttle varies considerably depending on aircraft type from around the 90% mark for the slower aircraft like the I-16 down to little over 50% for some of the later war fighters. Find roughly at what throttle setting they fly before you even try to form up.

Once you have a rough idea of the throttle setting (+/- 4%), match altitude, trim for cruise speed (if available) and ease your way into the formation very gently. If you find your speed is ok but you're climbing or descending, decrease or increase your throttle one or two percent to level out your plane.

If you find your altitude is steady but your speed is a touch high or low, trim your nose up or down slightly (or adjust your joystick slightly if trim is not available) to match speed, then adjust the throttle to get the altitude steady again.

It sounds a little odd using throttle for altitude and trim for speed control, but trust me, it works http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif.

If you don't have a joystick throttle axis, you may have to get creative with flaps to help keep your altitude and speed matched, as keyboard throttle control is not fine enough for proper formation flying.



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09-12-2004, 03:06 PM
I let the auto pilot do the work for me most of the time, as I'm in a hurry to get to the action so I just hit the 8X button and watch the mission whiz by till the fight starts. If it is a straight and level mission I'll fly along with 'em using flap and throttle adjustments to try to stay in the same block of airspace that they do. I've given up trying to anticipate their bewildering variety of moves about the bomber formation. I have noticed on several occasions that when I take over control and they are flying at high speeds. (over 400kmh) that I end up with jammed flaps........ WHY didn't the flaps jam for the AI ****** that was driving in my absence? http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/crazy.gif

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SFC Ross
09-14-2004, 02:36 PM

I Very Muched Appreciate Your Help.

I see we have some real good pilots here! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Anyway if anyone else wants to post there tricks feel free!

Thanks Again!

09-14-2004, 03:18 PM
I like flying at 8x speed. It saves me the trouble of buying LOMAC.


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