We left off after Rock threw Storm and I around like rag dolls over Sukhumi, shortly after this flight Rock and I decided that we needed to move the server base from Sukumi to somewhere with more slots as the server is getting more and more popular so that took up quite a lot of our time this week, After trying a couple of different bases we settled where we are now, Mission made and setup we decided to fly for what was left of the weekend.
Rock had another idea (ah crap…) we normally do takeoffs with the flaps down, extend on runway heading before a left turn round for a photo op pass over the ramp, A pass over the ramp with top of the aircraft showing so in this instance it will be a left turn off runway heading reversing for a right turn over the ramp extending past the end of show center. However this time Rock fancied just throwing something else out there, Rock had identified that when taking off there is a major bump in the Su27 when the flaps come up. This can be unsightly and difficult to predict with accuracy, so the obvious answer is that we need to take off without flaps. So we did this a couple of times to get the feel of it. Now this is where it gets interesting, Previously Rock had been playing around with things we can do in the Su27, one of these was a loop on take off, Now previously we had only really been able to do this with the afterburners lit. You can see where I am going with this right? Yeah you guessed it, Loop on take off without the burners on, the key was staying low on take off to build up speed before the pull otherwise we would stall at the top of the loop, but not to stay so low that I can’t slide into slot.
So here we were lined up on 06, I’m lined up on Rocks right wing and we power up and thunder down the runway before a very slight pitch up with the gear coming up before the wheels even finish spinning, I have just about enough space to slide into slot without decapitating a mustang pilot who had rolled out onto the end of 24 without seeing this pair of flankers storming at him like rhinos on the charge. We managed to get about 500kph before the end of 06 and started our pull up, As the airspeed as a lot lower we had a lot more pull in the loop then I had experienced before and to be honest with you it could have gone a lot worse! but it could have gone a lot quicker. Not happy loosing position in the initial climb up I was determined to do it right we so did it again, not perfect but it would do for now. Something else for me to add to my list of things to work on, Sadly this list is getting longer day by day!
After doing some more rolls and low passes as we had been doing for a couple of weeks now Rock and I really start to throw some weight behind the rolls and pulls. It was very satisfying to be able to get a lot close for a lot more of the time then before. Although slot is probably the easiest of the formation positions it is still a tough one to learn as you have to be comfortable with having another aircraft in that tight with yours, The leader also has to have a certain amount of faith that you are not going to hit them, well not too often anyway heh!
Getting lower and lower on the deck, Rock is testing me to see where my whelp point is, 50ft, 30 ft, 15ft…. 400kph, 450, 500, 550 …. “Crap thats a truck…” That was the end of my Su27, with a quite frankly obscene amount of swearing coming from me I get drowned out by the maniacal laughter from my instructor, Only to hear the comforting reassurance from him “there was plenty of room, bloody girl” Cheers for that Rock, I’ll get ya back for that…
So just for abit of a change we swap out to Mustangs, now for anyone who is any doubt about these aircraft they are part of the DCS series of simulators are are highly detailed and so so fussy on the way that you fly them. I have very little experience of flying them at this point with the exception of the fact that I am the Grand Master of burning out starter motors. Expecting a repeat of our last outing together in Mustangs Rock wastes no time mocking me before I even try to start the engine. Luckily for me I had been having a little practice when we had not been flying together and managed to start it on the 2nd go, Hahah! Rolling out to the end of 24 Rock pitches up first in a very slick take off, When I pitch up however I look like a drunk teenager after a rave, Blind and with no sense of direction. Luckily after I trim the aircraft out it starts to come back to me. I am quite a competent pilot in the mustang for normal daily flights or combat, controlling the engine so that I can stay in formation is something else altogether!
We start heading West up the coast with me trying to get into position with Rock, unable to catch him Rock gives me a few pointers to close the gap, Which I manage to do. Unable to hold a very close formation without endangering Rock I think he just knew that we had a tough day already and that flying close in the mustangs was beyond me at this point so we turned this into a tail chase! Now we were going to have some fun! …
For this to make sense you really need to have a little knowledge about the area around Sochi to the southof Sochi there is a town with several high buildings and a main road down it with a bridge going over the road. To the north west of 24 there is a river with a small bridge and due west of Sochi there is a large road bridge 2 valleys over. Next to 33 there are the hangers which are also the spawn points.
Right so we turn right off runway heading so we are travelling west up the coast to the big bridge up there, I am approx 100ft behind Rock with our engines roaring like T.rex on the hunt we roll in to go under the bridge, I can tell Rock is increasing the effort on this as I am battling wing stall on a lot of the turn. Knowing that he must be pushing his aircraft as hard as I am it pleases me to have not been dropped already. Coming back around we dive under the bridge again and head to the town south of Sochi, running down the road with the bridge in sight we both duck under it clean and start a left hand turn. I misjudge the turn and clip my left wing tip on a building and spiral to the ground. Again with the evil laughter (I think I need to buy him a white cat…) Rock calls one nil, Oh so thats how its going to be is it!
Back up in the air I am again behind him running down runway 33 heading for the small bridge, we both make it clean under the bridge before doing a hard right hand turn and heading back towards the hangers, flying low and at over 400mph we are below the height of the hangers and screaming through like banshees on the charge. Starting a right hand turn we go back down the road through the town and head for the bridge, Rock pulls up too early on the bridge and slams into it destroying his aircraft, I slip straight through to even the score… “One all” is all I can manage on teamspeak haha! Again we formed up and were throwing each other around the airfield seeing who would make the first mistake to take the lead, flying at a right angle across 33 we pulled up into an immelman and headed back for the deck when I lost sight of Rock. The next radio call said it all, “Bugger I needed that bit” It soon emerged Rock had clipped his left wing on a hanger and spread himself over the floor like a lego set. Two vs one, victory was mine! What an end to a long weekend! Huge amounts of fun was had by us both and I cant wait to do it again!
Next time, we try something no one else has done before and just to be different we change our rides…
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