I haven’t ventured into warbirds since they are all tail draggers and I struggled landing even the simplest tail dragger. However, since I’ve improved that skill, I’m considering the Got Friend’s Wildcat while it’s on sale. How hard is it to fly? Are there any others you’d recommend?
This is one category of plane that I’m willing to sacrifice realism for fun. I don’t want to get one that is so complex or hard to fly that I don’t enjoy flying it.
The Wildcat is pretty easy to fly while still having a great flight model.
If you want to stay away from difficult planes to master, avoid FlyingIron. When you want to have a challenge, you can’t go wrong with them. They are hard to tame but are some of the best planes in the sim.
Compared to the Flying Iron Bf109 and the Flying Iron Spitfire, the Wildcat is rather benign but still needs some attention. I don’t have the FI Hellcat, so I can’t comment.
If you want less realism you can always go to the Flight Replica and Aeroplane Heaven Spitfires. But those have clearly low end flight models.
The Milviz Corsair is also not too difficult on the ground, but engine management is important. If you don’t treat her right she’ll spew oil across the windshield in no time.
A good middle way is one of the earliest warbirds: the Big Radials P-40N Tomahawk. It’s quite easy to fly and engine management is also quite easy. I like to take her up for a casual spin from time to time.
Right. Completely forgot that one. It’s not a taildragger AND has counter-rotating propellers, so it’s very stable both on the ground and in the air. Basically the best long-distance warbird while still being very maneuverable and very fast.
Another vote for the Wildcat - especially at the sale price. Handling is benign compared to others (on landing it’s maybe just a little too stable, but not by much).
Grumman was known for making its WWII airplanes easy to fly - they designed them with young 200-hour pilots in mind. For that reason, the Flying Iron Hellcat is also a good choice. Its wide-track landing gear makes ground handling slightly more manageable than the Wildcat and much more manageable than it is with the Spitfire or (hardest) the Bf-109G. On the other hand, the Hellcat is more powerful than the Wildcat and needs more trimming in flight - especially aileron trimming as you change power settings.
The P-38, as others have noted, is easy to deal with on takeoff and landing - it’s a great fast cross-country tourer. It is more complex to manage than the others - sort of a single-seat airliner with two fuel valves and four sets of pumps to manage - again, a characteristic of the real airplane. And ground visibility isn’t as good as on some others because of those two big nacelles - though the view forward is hard to beat.
The Corsair is tamer than it was - but it’s still a bit of a bear on takeoff and landing.
The FI P-38 is super easy to fly, and it’s higher fidelity on visuals and sound than the Wildcat if you value that. Otherwise, the Wildcat is one of the easiest to fly of the higher end Warbirds.
Personally, I would jump straight to the FI Spitfire. It’s basically the crown jewel of Warbirds and it’s not hard to fly like the FI Bf109.
I don’t recommend Flight Replicas or Aeroplane Heaven, I bought one Warbird of each and won’t buy another because I value excellent sound and engine/flight characteristics that behave as they should. They do have simple flight models which might suit you and Flight Replicas does have excellent fidelity in their visual models.
Strapping on the performance of a big V-12 or radial and hearing that sound is to me the ultimate experience.
The FI Spitfire is the warbird I’d choose if I was forced to choose only one. Compared to the Wildcat or Hellcat (or the P-38), it does take a bit more care on takeoff and landing - though both takeoff and landing have gotten considerably easier over the course of several updates. Maybe an interesting lesson in the difference between simmerism (“if it’s not impossible, it’s not authentic”) and genuine authenticity.
I admire the quality of the Bf109G and loathe flying it.
Another vote for the flying iron spit, it’s by far the most polished warbird out there amazing sounds and visuals with solid systems depth and nice flight model.
I think it’s important that the flight model captures the difficulty in handling these overpowered beasts on the ground it’s part of the fun of flying warbirds in a civil flight sim.
I’d also recommend the ants aircraft tiger moth as a good trainer plane. It’s much more sedate but still teaches good tail dragger skills.
My tips for the spitfire is to trim properly hold the stick back and across to the left to counteract engine torque and raise power very slowly to around boost 4, relax the stick back to slightly left of centre as your tail comes up. Once your tail is up and you’re balancing on the mains you can increase to takeoff power to get off the ground.
Agree - except I think you mean “stick back and across to the right.” The airplane wants to veer off and also roll to the left during the takeoff run under power. Right rudder trim, right pedal and right aileron (plus stick back) is the way to start the roll - then walk the stick slowly toward the center as the tail comes up.
In the Bf109G, you need full right aileron all the way though the takeoff roll until you’re airborne.
BTW, I often have right/left confusion. Would’ve made me a hazard as a pilot IRL.
Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and reviews.
I had quickly ruled out the P-38 initially because I thought the visibility would be really low with the twin engines, but it doesn’t seem as bad as I expected. It does sound fairly easy to handle and I like the performance and range.
As a twin, it might be a little more complex than what I want right now. It is probably my second choice and something I’ll strongly consider as a more advance warbird if I decide to get another one.
I decided on the Wildcat. Having been reassured that it’s fairly easy to handle and being over half the price of the P-38 right now it seems like the right entry level for me.
The Flying Iron Hellcat and the Got Friends Wildcat are best to start with, unless you have a preference - or ‘pre-existing condition’
Mine is the Republic P-47 but we ain’t got one of them yet.
Both of the Grumman planes listed above are easy to use, just as the originals were built to be, and a lot of fun. You won’t regret either of those, but I would pick one of them if I was new to flight sim and or just wanted to see what a WWII fighter plane was like to fly.