by Frank “Dart” Giger
Everyone who has been a regular on a flight sim forum has seen and read the Great Flight Model / Damage Model (FM / DM) thread. Not everyone, however, knows the difference between a laminar wing and a regular airfoil, and so they can feel left out of all the fun.
Despair not! I will help you learn how to not only participate meaningfully in such threads, but not come off as the ignorant hayseed you are. Or, at least, the ignorant hayseed that I am.
There are a few rules, however, that one must be aware of before diving in to help stir it up:
- Some take FM / DM debates very seriously, and when we begin to muddy up the waters, great care must be made not to offend. When the thread turns to personal attacks, either ignore it or gently withdraw for a few pages. Don’t worry, a healthy FM / DM debate will go on for a solid week or two.
- Don’t make things up out of whole cloth. You’ll soon be unmasked and blow the whole deal. Worse, if you’re clever enough, someone will believe what you’re writing is true, and you’ll see your fiction quoted six months later as a fact.
- Remember that part of the enjoyment of FM / DM discussions is that one can learn something, usually accidentally.
- Google is your sword and shield, and Babblefish your alibi.
The way we’re going to participate is to add in variables that generate further discussion in defense of the many Authoritative Opinions and give ourselves a series of points based on the outcome.
Fundamentals of an FM / DM Debate
The First Expert will announce an Authoritative Opinion, usually in the negative, about the flight or damage model of the simulation. He will usually cite a reference.
The Second Expert will retort with an Authoritative Opinion of his own, also in the negative, but either against the First Expert or against the simulation in a different way. He will usually disparage the First Expert’s reference, supplying one of his own.
Additional Experts with either their own Authoritative Opinion or support for one of the first given, supplying helpful hints and references of their own.
Eventually the thread is locked by a moderator because it’s degenerated to name calling. Name calling can be in the form of personal, nationality based, player preference slurs, or anything else. You’ll see it all in a really successful FM / DM debate.
How, you ask, are we going to jump in when we barely know the term for the thing in the front of a Mustang that goes round and round is?* Simple! We’re going to learn some real quick facts about World War Two aircraft testing, and some easy to remember terms and acronyms!