Using Rudder To Adjust Weapon Aiming
A third specific application of rudder is its use in adjusting weapons aiming, in particular, the gun. Two main points on this…one, while the concept is technically valid, its execution requires considerable skill. Two, because of this, I strongly suggest that you do your gunnery with your feet on the floor! It is possible to correct an A2G firing pass using rudder. If I had to fire with a rudder correction in, I suppose I would rather than not fire at all. In an A2A situation, the same would apply, but only from a very low angle off firing position and from short range. Could you rudder the nose over to get the pipper right on the desired aiming point? Yes, you could…but I suggest a better approach is to make a good pass rather than learn how to correct a bad one!
But, despite all my statements to the contrary, you decide to press on and mash a little rudder to improve your aim! Here’s what happens. The gunsight is “lying” to you. Your rounds are not going to hit where the pipper is. Why not? Because your flight vector is not aligned with the relative wind…this results in your bullets taking a displaced vector in-between your flight path and the gun line. It looks like this:
How should you account for the error that is inherent in this? Here’s a simple technique. Take the distance that you want to move the pipper and move the pipper by 1/3 of that amount further away from the target. In other words, if you want to yaw the nose right to move the pipper back on to the target, then continue to yaw the pipper right until it is about 1/3 of the original distance further right. Now this is only a WAG…and a pretty gross one at that, but it will get you pointed in the right direction, no pun intended!
Rudder and weapon aiming has one other application that you can take advantage of in your sim, but, instead of helping you aim, this time rudder is going to help you avoid the other guy’s aim! We’ve mentioned how rudder is used to coordinate a turn and how misuse of rudder results in an uncoordinated turn…a slip or skid. If an attacker is looking to aim and place rounds into your future flight path, it might be helpful to fly in a path that the attacker cannot predict…or one that he incorrectly analyzes. Do this by skidding your aircraft to cause a lateral displacement that takes you out of the predicted flight path.
How do you do this? By using rudder…perhaps full rudder…to skid yourself sideways. Remember, when in a turn, a skid occurs when you use too much rudder in the direction of bank. Therefore, if you were turning right to spoil an attacker’s gun attack, you can push and hold right rudder to skid the aircraft to the outside of the turn. If you were in straight and level flight, rudder in either direction would achieve the same result.
Well, there you have it! Time to put on your size 12 clod-hoppers and head out to try all of this out! If you don’t have a set of rudder pedals, try to find a way to get one. You’ll find they make the immersion factor soar as well as make your aircraft control more precise. Stay tuned for Parts Two and Three where we get into the finer details of flap and trim use.