I really liked the P-40 when it was initially added to the series but I recognized that it was a little troublesome to fly. I’ve learned since its release just how off the P-40 seems to have been from its real life version. There are a lot of reasons for that but it appears that the P-40 is getting some extra attention from the 1CGS development team and I’m hopeful that it will get a second lease on life.
Flight model updates
As many of you know, a global flight model update is imminent with the next 2.012 patch. This update should make some pretty big changes to the global flight model and to every single aircraft in the series. Perhaps none are more anticipated than updates to the P-40.
A few weeks ago on the Russian forum, flight model engineer and IL-2 developer AnPetrovich, the guy who is responsible for making some pretty incredible things happen in the IL-2 flight model department, responded to several questions from Russian fans of IL-2.
Thanks to Google translate here is some of what he said:
I finished the work with FM reconfiguration (although Jason asks to do a review of P-40), and now the final stage is about the reconfiguration of slot machines. I hope to have time for this.
Translations aren’t always perfect but this does give us an insight into the process and that Jason Williams had asked for some extra review of the P-40. AnPetrovich also said this to say:
According to additional calculations carried out in the winter, our P-40 has significantly higher inductance resistance (in terms of speed and speed), which affects the energy loss during maneuvering. Accordingly, after correction, it should be better to imitate. And after correcting the reaction to the PH – it became, firstly, much more stable, and secondly – does not buck and does not go into a spin when you press the pedal, as now in the user version.
In short, it appears that the P-40 will have less speed/energy loss while performing a turn and other maneuvers AND that it will be much more stable when using the rudder. At the moment its easy to over-control and spin the aircraft out. Probably too easy.
This should go a long way towards making the P-40 a better fighter. Able to handle more maneuvers before the speed runs out will be helpful as will not spinning and crashing into the ground because of a little extra rudder.
Ultimately this should also be a pretty good effort towards making the P-40 a more historical recreation of the real aircraft.
Engine model updates?
Discussions still rage in the forums over the modeling of the P-40s Allison V-1710 engine and how IL-2 manages engine damage when engines become stressed.
To summarize the arguments I must first start with how 1CGS does engine modeling. Basically the engine model has been setup so that engines perform according to how they are restricted by their respective manuals. Nearly all aircraft from the era had restrictions on use depending on throttle, engine boost settings, RPM and other factors depending on the aircraft. 1CGS has applied these restrictions across the board to prevent players from running at 100% power all of the time.
It’s a pretty good system most of the time as both Russian and German sources list fairly realistic values for keeping the engines running.
The Allison engine fitted to the P-40E-1 is a little different than its Russian and German counterparts. Typical to American aviation engineering of the era, engine restrictions were strictly laid out while the engine itself was capable of far more. From what I’ve read the reason for these strict engine limitations was really a peacetime effort to preserve the amount of time an aircraft could fly before needing an engine replacement. Good in peacetime but less of a consideration during wartime.
The reading I’ve done and the much more in-depth research done by community members suggests that these engines were capable of far higher throttle, boost and RPM settings than is currently allowed in the engine. The proof of that shows 1943 and 1944 manuals for same engine being allowed far higher settings.
Beyond that, anecdotal reports suggest that Russian pilots flew their P-40s at far higher engine settings than recommended in 1941 and 1942 because they realized the engines could sustain more. Their lives also depended on getting as much performance out of the P-40, an aircraft that was available although not necessarily ideal, and burning through engines was more preferable than possible death.
To truly summarize, historical precedent for the theater as well as engineering data on the engine at later dates both suggest that this Allison V-1710 can do much more and shouldn’t be so restricted as it is in-game. But making the change does mean breaking the rules compared to other aircraft – an exception I’m willing to tolerate but perhaps not everyone is.
Alternatively its been suggested that a 1943 engine modification be offered to the P-40E-1 making it useful in later scenarios including in the Kuban.
I should also say that I’m not a mechanical expert on WWII aero engines so I’m relying on some of the good work that the IL-2 community has done to write all of this. I’m summarizing a lot of different discussions and threads to bring this to you. There may be something I’ve missed so feel free to add in the comments section!
We’ll have a good idea soon
With the latest patch update coming before the end of the month we should have a good idea at how well the P-40 will handle with the new flight model updates.
We don’t have any confirmation that anything is changing on the engine front. Still, reduced drag in maneuvers and greater stability should go a long way towards making the P-40 a more historically accurate as well as a more effective aircraft.