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Why do i hate flying the F-5?


twistking

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*somehow posted in the wrong subforum. thanks for moving me, unknown mod!*

Ok, calm down. Maybe the title was a bit clickbaity. I do like the F-5. I think it's just a cool aircraft and i appreciate that it's not just a flying fire control and navigation computer. However i really do not like the handling characteristics of it and i would appreciate feedback to pin down what exactly it is, because i fear that there are other iconic aircraft in development that could handle similarly.
Maybe i could also learn to appreciate the handling of the F-5 more, but that's not my main concern. I'm honestly interested in better understanding, what exactly it is, i do not enjoy...

So what am i talking about? Well, it's too seperate aspects:
The first thing is the instability in roll. The good roll rate is fun indeed, but if you want to just cruise it feels extremely fiddly to the point that i will eventually open the axis control menu to check if my flightstick needs more deadzone (it doesn't... but it feels as if it did). This would probably less of a "problem" if the F-5 had AP functionality... maybe a better flighstick would help? Mine has a very light feel and since it doesn't center perfectly anymore, i have indeed a very small deadzone set (nothing major though. i think i've a DZ of 4 set in DCS which makes it (virtually) center 100%).
The second aspect i don't enjoy - and that's the biggy for me - is the feeling of piloting a rocket instead of a plane. That feeling that when you pull on the stick, you point your nose up, but the aircraft's vector does not change with it. It's like you're always drifting n the vertical axis. It does feel as if the AC does change it's flight vector not by aerodynamic effects on the wings and control surfaces, but by pointing the vector of thrust somewhere else and brute forcing flight in that direction by thrust alone...
Related to that is the notion of loosing a lot of airspeed in turns.

Am i just describing an aircraft with high wingloading, high roll-rate and basic stability augmentation? If so, will i also feel similar about the F-104 and similar designs?
Do you think that my "disappointment" with the F-5 handling could also have to do with bad audiovisuell feedback from the sim? No overwing vapor, bad buffeting effects, nearly no audio feedback on super high wing load etc. ... I was thinking about this, because the F-16 has similar characteristics to some extend... yet when you pull the stick hard on the 16, the module communicates better that it does some heavy aerodynamic lifting, which makes you feel more in control of the aircraft. The only feedback you get on the F-5 that indicates the airframe is "doing something" aerodynamically on stick pull, is the airspeed indicator steadily approaching 0.

Aircraft that i love for handling quite the oppsite (from the limited selection of modules, that i've actually flown) would be the A-10c (feels like you're literally cheating Newton's laws when pulling on the stick), Mig-29 (basically an angry kite), F-14 (well.. yeah!)... P-51, P-47, BF-109, Yak-52...
It seems that those aircraft all have significantly lower wingloading than the F-5... so is it just that then?


Edited by twistking
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Yes, half of "your problem" is high wing loading and yes it's going to be much worse with F-104 🙂 You may also be 'always too slow.' There's a 5 vs 2000 dogfight video by Longshot on Youtube. Take a look what F-5E can do if you feed it well with airspeed. Almost the entire fight Longshot kept the 5 in vertical plane!

Buffet feedback:
I'm not a fan of head bobbing effects but I think it may help. https://youtu.be/hvU4PiR888M?t=123 And you are right. No audio feedback.

https://forum.dcs.world/topic/333449-no-audio-feedback-on-buffeting/

 

Stick - roll:

 

Yes, it's touchy and yes a good centering helps. Both in case of precision and centering I learned that X-Box controllers are of better design than most of cheap/medium-price joysticks on the market. While I use only about 2% of deadzone, I did go for saturation tuning, subtracting some 15% of roll authority. Also note F-5E doesn't give you full range of stick motion with landing gear up. I describe it in detail here https://forum.dcs.world/topic/318106-f-5e-simpit-cockpit-dimensions-and-flight-controls/

 

 

Here's my empty F-5E flight

DCS low GAMMA setting and Xbox controller - F-5E leisure flying and landing - YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErPZtSwVsgM

 

 

EDIT:
The screenshot shows my current Xbox controller settings. You can achieve a lot with a combination of curvature and saturation. Try with 15% curvature, 90% saturation, 1% dead zone for Roll axis and see how it feels then.

xbox dcs.jpg


Edited by Bucic
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It can be a really fun aircraft to fly but it definitely gets a bit fussy at lower airspeed and an attention hog at high speed.

Honestly best advice I can give you is never go below 330 KIAS. Ideally stay around 380-400 most of the time. Below 330 the tiny stub wings become giant airbrakes. Stay around 380 and she really becomes quite zippy.

That's also the region where the controls get quite touchy for stuff like flying formation. To which I say:

  • The engine response is very slow. It will never be perfect. You're almost never not moving the throttle handles if you want to stay ahead of the airplane.

However, that means you're also constantly out of trim... so...

  • Trim, trim and trim again. Basically never. stop. trimming. Apply a curve if you need to like @Bucic recommended!
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12 hours ago, MAXsenna said:

Force feedback solves that. 😉

Unless there's something I don't know, FFB doesn't change the stick travel range. FFB can't give back what DCS didn't take 😉 DCS doesn't do any re-mapping based on landing gear position. No matter the gear position 20% of joystick deflection gives the same in-game command.

 

EDIT: I was wrong. Read on below.


Edited by Bucic

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Sometimes things take a while to get used to. I know everyone says it's one of the easiest modules to learn, and for the basics that is probably true, but it takes a while to learn how to fly it well.

If you really are interested in flying it, just take your time and get used to the quirks. If not, there is nothing wrong with being disappointed with the F-5. Maybe it's not your jam? Nothing wrong with that.

As you noted, it's not very forgiving. At higher speed it's twitchy. At lower speeds and high AoA rudder is essential. It has a high approach speed. And while it has the potential to carry a metric *** ton of ordinance, it's a brick when fully loaded.

Personally, I love the f-5. If you look at comparable modules like the MiG-21, I find the F-5 to be the best of the bunch. She is not perfect, but if you learn to treat her right she will show you a good time.

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On 9/7/2023 at 7:14 PM, twistking said:

The second aspect i don't enjoy - and that's the biggy for me - is the feeling of piloting a rocket instead of a plane. That feeling that when you pull on the stick, you point your nose up, but the aircraft's vector does not change with it. It's like you're always drifting n the vertical axis. It does feel as if the AC does change it's flight vector not by aerodynamic effects on the wings and control surfaces, but by pointing the vector of thrust somewhere else and brute forcing flight in that direction by thrust alone...

I totally agree with you, this is really annoying. Of course it's a high wing load aircraft, but I think the effects in AOA behavior are exaggerated in DCS. With the F-5 I think it's tolerable, but with the MiG-21 and lately the -19 it's really bad.

 

Something I'd like to add why I "hate" the F-5E in DCS: Take-off and landing characteristics. You can't do a proper, smooth rotation on take-off, the plane is glued to the ground and then suddenly jumps into the air. You also can't do a smooth two-wheels touchdown with aerobraking, the nose will always fall down the instant you touch down.

Both of these things can be done with the real F-5E, as several videos show on the internet.

 

In general it's a cool aircraft, but these aerodynamic flaws combined with the ever-lasting RWR bug (where ED stubbornly refuses to change it) make it unattractive.


Edited by Volator
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9 hours ago, Bucic said:

Unless there's something I don't know, FFB doesn't change the stick travel range. FFB can't give back what DCS didn't take 😉 DCS doesn't do any re-mapping based on landing gear position. No matter the gear position 20% of joystick deflection gives the same in-game command.

Well. In the special settings you can choose this.

image.png

Which physically changes the the deflection of the stick in pitch. (I could make a video, but it's just easier if you trust me).

image.png

Now, I either remember incorrectly, or they have removed an option for the "break out forces" for full stick deflection in roll.
I was so sure there was an option that you could enable this. Maybe I just read it  in the manual and it's enabled by default if you use FFB.
In any case this is how it works with FFB. When you roll, about 50% travel, the stick gets "heavier"/you feel more resistance. You can push through it and get 100%, and the aircraft will roll about twice as fast. At least it feels that way, didn't bother to time it. (I was so sure this was also shown in the controls Indicator before, like the "bar" you see in pitch). Apologies if I misunderstand, and this is not what you're talking about. Will test with landing gear down now.

Cheers!

 

image.png

image.png

 

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6 hours ago, Volator said:

I totally agree with you, this is really annoying. Of course it's a high wing load aircraft, but I think the effects in AOA behavior are exaggerated in DCS. 

 

Something I'd like to add why I "hate" the F-5E in DCS: Take-off and landing characteristics. You can't do a proper, smooth rotation on take-off, the plane is glued to the ground and then suddenly jumps into the air. You also can't do a smooth two-wheels touchdown with aerobraking, the nose will always fall down the instant you touch down.

Both of these things can be done with the real F-5E, as several videos show on the internet.

 

In general it's a cool aircraft, but these aerodynamic flaws combined with the ever-lasting RWR bug (where ED stubbornly refuses to change it) make it unattractive.

Negative AoA in the takeoff stance causes the inability to smoothly rotate and is correct for the F5. 
 

I have experienced this in other jets IRL. You yank the aircraft off the ground and then apply forward stick to stop the over rotation. 
 

The DCS F-5 can be aerobraked with correct technique. It does feel like it has autospoilers deploying at wheel spin up which is an odd quirk in the DCS FM. 

As to roll sensitivity, an extended stick is the cure. The longer, the better. 
 

In general, induced drag at high G seems a bit underwhelming throughout DCS. 
 

The F-5 has some FM weirdness that make it feel strange. The ability to generate high G without any visible nose movement is an example. You can crack off the wings with very minimal pitch change, which defies the laws of physics. 
 

Its fun to fly as a trainer and PvE but its flaws and frailty make it a bit frustrating in PvP. However, there is nothing similar for a Guns and Poppas scenario so we are kinda stuck in it. 
 

I enjoy flying it PvP a great deal but wish it were more accurately modeled. 


Edited by =475FG= Dawger
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36 minutes ago, =475FG= Dawger said:

The F-5 has some FM weirdness that make it feel strange. The ability to generate high G without any visible nose movement is an example. You can crack off the wings with very minimal pitch change, which defies the laws of physics. 

Wing damage issue will be fixed soon.

 

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Apologies, I have mixed up my reports, we have an issue regarding wing damage open for the F-5E currently. We will share news when ready. 

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57 minutes ago, =475FG= Dawger said:

Negative AoA in the takeoff stance causes the inability to smoothly rotate and is correct for the F5. 
 

I have experienced this in other jets IRL. You yank the aircraft off the ground and then apply forward stick to stop the over rotation. 
 

The DCS F-5 can be aerobraked with correct technique. It does feel like it has autospoilers deploying at wheel spin up which is an odd quirk in the DCS FM. 

 

Negative AoA at nose wheel strut extended?

 

The Dash-1 doesn’t mention any yanking the aircraft into the air. It says you apply (full) aft stick at t-o, and I assume from that point on you are able to control a smooth rotation speed with slightly releasing back pressure, otherwise those smooth formation take-offs seen on the internet would hardly be possible. In DCS on the other hand F-5 pilots are all over the place on take-off.

 

Since you mentioned it, what is the correct technique to two-point land the DCS F-5E and aerobrake without the nosewheel touching the rwy first? I have yet to see this executed in DCS, and even jf it really was possible, it seems overly difficult compared to the real thing.

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as always if anyone thinks something is wrong and you have unclassified evidence make a thread with a track replay. 

thanks

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Just a note, regarding take off, it is important to set trim correctly for optimal take off and extend the nose gear, often people overlook this. 

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40 minutes ago, BIGNEWY said:

Just a note, regarding take off, it is important to set trim correctly for optimal take off and extend the nose gear, often people overlook this. 

Testing hands-off at rotation speed I found the "by the book" (the DCS manual) trim numbers to be a tad too aggressive. I do take into account though that with poor controls trimming too far nose-down makes up for joystick centering mechanism inadequacy.

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@Bucic

From your linked post, I understand that the travel is actually correctly implemented when you press "L"?
To me is only the Controls Indicator that's incorrect, and it differs from the Quick Start manual.

image.png

What's new is also that those of us with cutoff/idle detents seem to loose some travel on the throttle on the new version. Who knows! 🤷🏻‍♂️

@BIGNEWY Should a make a new bug report about the incorrect Controls Indicator?

Cheers!

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15 minutes ago, MAXsenna said:

Should a make a new bug report about the incorrect Controls Indicator?

yes please

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21 hours ago, Volator said:

Negative AoA at nose wheel strut extended?

 

The Dash-1 doesn’t mention any yanking the aircraft into the air. It says you apply (full) aft stick at t-o, and I assume from that point on you are able to control a smooth rotation speed with slightly releasing back pressure, otherwise those smooth formation take-offs seen on the internet would hardly be possible. In DCS on the other hand F-5 pilots are all over the place on take-off.

 

Since you mentioned it, what is the correct technique to two-point land the DCS F-5E and aerobrake without the nosewheel touching the rwy first? I have yet to see this executed in DCS, and even jf it really was possible, it seems overly difficult compared to the real thing.

 


Edited by =475FG= Dawger
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