Ok, so you are all set and ready to go. You have a good picture of what you want to hit, you are on target, your altitude and speed are good and you are ready to dive in and hit your target. All you have to do is deploy dive brakes and go, right?
Well, not exactly. Now there are a couple of different lines of thought concerning how to take a dive on that target. My advice is based upon the hardware that you have.
The first method involves rolling and diving in on the target. In this method you roll 180 degrees and then take your plane in a dive down onto the target. This method is a little trickier, but it bleeds air speed faster and keeps your eye on the target for the entirety of the bomb run. But, it requires you to flip a plane over and to potentially lose control over the target.
I recommend this method if you have the equipment to keep an eye on your target at all times. In other words, if you have a TrackIR system, then flipping your plane over and keeping an eye on the target for the entire dive (at least to me) is a good idea. I like the idea ofnever letting a target out of your site.
The other method is the simple dive straight down method. I recommend this attack method if you don’t have the ability to track the target from start to finish. I hate the idea of taking your eye off the target but by simply diving you have the best chance of reacquiring the target and making small adjustments if you are off a little bit.
Either one will work but it is personal preference as to how you dive on the target. I actually can use both methods with equal ineptitude. I tend to rotate and dive using the Val and sometimes with the Dauntless. The Val has no dive window in the floorboards and the SBD seems to have a pretty pathetic one. I like the idea of diving on a viewed target with these aircraft. You can get a good idea what the TrackIR can do when you are flipping in these photos of me in a Val.
Now I tend to dive straight down in the Stuka. I love the Stuka as a dive platform and the view from the floorboards is the best of all of the aircraft. As I said my goal is to retain view of my target at all times. In this instance you get a good sight view from the bottom of the floorboard window so diving on a target is fairly easy.
Dive angle is also something that some people will debate. Most manuals suggest somewhere between 60° and 90° on your dive. The closer to 90° you get the better your chance of success. Remember that it isn’t the goal of your mission to put the aircraft on the target (although I have accidentally “kamikazeed” a few more times than I would like to admit). The goal is to put the bomb on target and the more vertical you are the more likely you will be able to do this without trying to figure out where the bomb will be once you release it.