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XyZspineZyX
09-03-2003, 02:08 AM
It's dangerously easy to focus exclusively on the quantifiable specifications of the airplanes, and to ignore qualitative factors like ruggedness, reliability, maneuverability, ease of handling, stall characteristics, simplicity, ease of maintenance, etc. But these "softer" factors were at least as important as the quantifiable specs. Suppose one is trying to compare an American and a German fighter plane. Which one is "better?" If one supposes that all that mattered was what would have happened if Erich Hartmann flying a factory-fresh, well-tuned aircraft had encountered Robert S. Johnson flying an equally pristine U.S. plane. Ah-ha, two superb, let's say equally skilled, pilots, both flying machines that were "up-to-spec," presumably in that hypothetical confrontation, the pilot of the more capable aircraft would have prevailed.


But actually waging aerial warfare involved so much more: training, maintenance, reliability, etc. Let's take another hypothetical case. Suppose an American commander had a certain airplane at his disposal, 100 of them to start with, with 100 pilots. And a German commander also had 100 planes and pilots. Further, suppose that the "specs" of the opposing airplanes, were roughly comparable, or that the American plane was somewhat superior - faster, more firepower, longer range, etc. But now suppose that the American plane was weaker in all the subjective categories. It was "hard to fly," which meant that 10 pilots and planes were lost in training exercises. Suppose that it was "difficult to maintain," which meant that, on any given day another 10 planes were "in the shop" or would abort just after take-off. Further suppose that the cockpit layout was confusing, and that the aircraft was demanding to fly; it just required all of the pilot's attention and strength to keep the damn thing in the air. To cap it off, let's assume that the American plane was less rugged (a very counter-factual assumption; U.S. planes were almost always more rugged than their opposition), so in some huge dogfight, they're going to take more hits.


So on the day of the big theoretical dogfight, the American commander could actually only put up 70 planes, with distracted pilots, likely to break up when hit by gunfire. It's a totally unrealistic scenario, but demonstrates how important the qualitative factors were. The challenge of the aircraft designers and manufacturers was to deliver planes that had the specified capabilities, but also met the qualitative requirements.


This thread is intended for all those people who post the what plane can beat what plane threads. It's kind of a redundant issue. What do you think?
S!
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http://www.ultimate-gamers.com/sigs/lulubelle3.jpg


Message Edited on 09/02/0309:13PM by VMF-214_HaVoK

XyZspineZyX
09-03-2003, 02:08 AM
It's dangerously easy to focus exclusively on the quantifiable specifications of the airplanes, and to ignore qualitative factors like ruggedness, reliability, maneuverability, ease of handling, stall characteristics, simplicity, ease of maintenance, etc. But these "softer" factors were at least as important as the quantifiable specs. Suppose one is trying to compare an American and a German fighter plane. Which one is "better?" If one supposes that all that mattered was what would have happened if Erich Hartmann flying a factory-fresh, well-tuned aircraft had encountered Robert S. Johnson flying an equally pristine U.S. plane. Ah-ha, two superb, let's say equally skilled, pilots, both flying machines that were "up-to-spec," presumably in that hypothetical confrontation, the pilot of the more capable aircraft would have prevailed.


But actually waging aerial warfare involved so much more: training, maintenance, reliability, etc. Let's take another hypothetical case. Suppose an American commander had a certain airplane at his disposal, 100 of them to start with, with 100 pilots. And a German commander also had 100 planes and pilots. Further, suppose that the "specs" of the opposing airplanes, were roughly comparable, or that the American plane was somewhat superior - faster, more firepower, longer range, etc. But now suppose that the American plane was weaker in all the subjective categories. It was "hard to fly," which meant that 10 pilots and planes were lost in training exercises. Suppose that it was "difficult to maintain," which meant that, on any given day another 10 planes were "in the shop" or would abort just after take-off. Further suppose that the cockpit layout was confusing, and that the aircraft was demanding to fly; it just required all of the pilot's attention and strength to keep the damn thing in the air. To cap it off, let's assume that the American plane was less rugged (a very counter-factual assumption; U.S. planes were almost always more rugged than their opposition), so in some huge dogfight, they're going to take more hits.


So on the day of the big theoretical dogfight, the American commander could actually only put up 70 planes, with distracted pilots, likely to break up when hit by gunfire. It's a totally unrealistic scenario, but demonstrates how important the qualitative factors were. The challenge of the aircraft designers and manufacturers was to deliver planes that had the specified capabilities, but also met the qualitative requirements.


This thread is intended for all those people who post the what plane can beat what plane threads. It's kind of a redundant issue. What do you think?
S!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.ultimate-gamers.com/sigs/lulubelle3.jpg


Message Edited on 09/02/0309:13PM by VMF-214_HaVoK