I know, I know this has been posted thousands of times before, sorry! But I have read everything I can and I am still really struggling with this so I need to find out what I am missing.
I recently bought il2 1946 and I love it but I'm having real trouble getting my speed up. I have been using the Singapore Hurricane 11b mission as a benchmark to see if I can increase my speed with different engine settings but to no avail, my flight always scream off ahead and above me and I cannot catch up in any way, even taking off sooner and cutting corners doesn't help, this is infuriating especially as they are only flying at cruise speed!
I know a bit about complex engine management as I have played other flight sims so I have been trying to keep the plane on the best cruise RPM setting of 2650RPM and then adjusting the throttle from 75%-100% to try and gain speed but neither setting nor anywhere in between speeds the plane up any, I also make sure to change to supercharger stage 2 at the proper altitude of 2800m. I have tried flying level to gain speed then popping up for a quick climb then gaining speed again and I have tried long slow climbs but neither allows me to catch up.
What am I doing wrong? I have seen mentioned a couple of places to 'check trim' to fly faster, this seems a very vague suggestion but I assume it means to make sure the plane is coordinated with rudder trim, I do this as best I can but there needs to be a slight element of slip to allow the plane to fly straight and level because of the lack of aileron trim!
So does anyone have any ideas how I can speed this plane up to cruise speed? And then from there to combat speeds?
The in game AI tends to be a bit fast, especially at the start of the mission, if the mission builder (and I think DGEN as well) just lets them go at full speed, full climb around the waypoints.
Nothing you can do to speed up and catch them, but there is one trick that usually gives reasonable results: Try and follow them, but speedwise only. Do not try and climb with them, but keep their speed, and stay close, but lower in altitude. Eventually, they will slow down / stop climbing, and then you'll have the change to really catch up...
That particular campaign is notorious for unrealistically high cruise speeds, pretty much flat out in fact. The default speed in the mission builder is 300km/h and for the early Hurricanes in the tropics, this is impractically fast. It is possible to stay reasonably in contact (just flew the first mission for the first time myself, v4.11.1) but it's a challenge. Strategies to use:
Takeoff: Don't wait for the guy in front to clear the runway, get moving as soon as the dust clears enough to see where you're going. This will save you anywhere from 1 to 3 km that you don't have to try and catch up. Don't heave the aircraft into the air at the lowest possible speed, let it accelerate an extra 20 - 30km/h before very gently easing it off.
Landing gear: get it up as soon as you're off the ground.
Flaps: Don't use 'em for takeoff, don't need 'em if you're not on a short runway and they slow you down / reduce your acceleration.
Climbing: Don't try to match altitude with your section leader, use the steepest climb that allows you to at least maintain the current separation. Preferably you'll choose a shallower climb that gives you some closing speed. When you catch up, don't steepen your climb to try and match altitude, only steepen it enough to match speeds. You'll eventually reach their altitude.
AI Climb pattern: Each waypoint has an altitude for the following leg. If the waypoint just passed has a higher altitude than the previous leg, the AI will promptly change from cruise speed to best climb speed and climb steeply but comparatively slowly. Don't be tempted to slow down to their speed if they're still some way in front, they'll only maintain the climb until they reach the altitude for the new leg then return to their unreasonably fast cruise speed. Stick to your higher speed shallow climb and take advantage of the opportunity to close the gap. They'll level off soon enough, giving you a chance to make up some of the altitude difference.
Trim: Make sure all available trims (for the Hurricane, both rudder and elevator) are set as close as you can get them to hands free flying for the current cruise, climb or descent. This game gives much higher drag penalties for a small input from the joystick than it does for the same input through the trim control, so it's extremely beneficial to be trimmed properly. In faster aircraft I've seen beginner pilots unable to get within 150km/h of the top speed of a more experienced squad mate in the same aircraft with the same fuel and weapon load (both human pilots) when the beginner first starts flying, a couple of months later they're having no issues. This varies a little depending on which game / patch version you're on, but has been true to some degree through the whole series. Every little movement of the joystick is a speed penalty, keep inputs as small as possible for as short a time as possible. A very small slow correction is better than a big jerky correction, keep your eye on where you're going so you can correct early and avoid large corrections.
Overheat: The AI never overheat ('cept maybe in 4.11.1??). Their flight model is the same as yours (if certain control inputs cause the aircraft to stall when you do them, they'll do the same to the AI) but other aspects of the model are simplified. Engine overheat is one, the AI always have the difficulty setting "Engine Overheat" turned off. Don't fry your engine just because the AI seem to be able to hold a certain speed or rate of climb, there's no point catching up if you have to abandon the mission with a dead engine as a result.
"Follow your leader, stay on course": Ignore the mouthy git, he'll tell you that any time your separation exceeds a certain distance even if you're at exactly the same place on the map but he's that distance or more above or below you. There's no penalty for ignoring him, I turn him off in settings first thing every time I re-install. If I recall correctly the message triggers at 3km, but it might be 5km.
As for engine management, I opened the radiator all the way and used the highest RPM and manifold (throttle) settings that didn't put me in to engine overheat, around 90% for each with a bit of jiggling to keep the temp gauge from climbing too high. Once you have a bit of altitude it's pretty easy to keep the engine out of overheat this way, especially if you're keeping your climbs shallow and your speed high. There's not that much speed difference between these settings and flat out and with careful management of the factors listed above and a bit of cutting corners I managed to stay within a couple of kilometres of my section leader throughout the cruise phases of the mission.
Though not direct solutions to the problems you're having, here's a couple of other strategies you might consider:
If you're flying in this sort of campaign where the speeds are unreasonably high, consider turning off the "Engine Overheat" difficulty setting so you're flying under the same conditions as the AI
Start the campaign with a very high rank so you're the flight leader and the AI have to match your speed and rate of climb.
Thanks for the tips guys, especially Tully! I have taken them all into account and my flying is better now, I had already not been using flaps for takeoff and getting gear up ASAP etc. but the more technical things about little issues with the game were useful! Mostly about the British campaign being super fast, I started a German one and found I was able to keep up much easier and often found myself overtaking above 70% throttle. Thanks a lot!