During spring of 2008, while cleaning out the closets of The Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Indianapolis or AIM, I happened to pick up a magazine publication, “Flight Journal; April 1998, issue 48130. On the cover was one of the most beautiful F-86E examples, I had ever seen, with the caption, “Flying the F-86″by Steve Snyder, so naturally I did what any red-blooded -airplane-lover would do; I took it home, read it all the articles, including the cover article, put it with the rest of my collection.( The wife calls it something else!),and for all intents and purposes, forgot about it. Fast-forward to 2016. I have had Belsimtek’s F-86F , since it was first released in beta. Now guys, I have a fair number product modules for DCS World, and there are some I spend more time with than others ,not necessarily because I like it more, but because it challenged me more. Such was the case with the Mig-21Bis. At the onset , she was a beast, particularly on landing for me so that’s the one I focused on and many crashes later it all clicked. Purchased another couple of modules, before I went back to Sabre. The F-86F, seemed pretty well behaved for the most, although the pitch-trim changes took some getting used to, she was pretty fast and could easily go faster than was practical or safe. Down low, the Sabre had a pretty wide margin on the old ‘speedo’ between 130KIAS on up to nearly 700 kts. At altitude, on the other hand, one can find oneself nibbling at the ‘sound barrier’, before you know it, the needle is pegged against the ‘barber pole’, and the airplane is rolling to the left and flight controls are unresponsive. Coffin Corner. You know, that region, where because of decreasing atmospheric pressure, the speed of sound gets slower. So slow in fact, that the margin between maximum mach (Mmo) and minimum airspeed(Vmo) nearly intersect. You have get pretty high up to get there though. As one might reasonably expect, pulling back on the throttle and deploying the speed brakes would slow us down, although trying to dive AND slow down were sometimes easier said than done. So a couple of weeks ago, I come across that Flight Journal issue, mentioned earlier and so I picked up grabbed a cup of coffee and read it again. Boy Howdy; it was like the heavens opened(angelic sounding music, insert here) All the things I’d read before in that article clicked in a way it hadn’t before. When I brought this mag home, I didn’t have an f-86, so it didn’t seem relevant. Now it did. The fact that the plane in the article was in fact a Sabre Mk.6, somewhat more powerful than the ‘F’ variant, in no way subtracted from the usefulness contained therein. Mr Snyder, who by the way fantasized about flying this plane for 40 years, before he actually did it( After buying his own), relates how had to become familiar with the pilots manual with all it’s warnings and limitations, the consequences of high speed stall could damage the airframe, a low-speed stall could lead to spin, which he cautions, if such a thing occurred below 10,ooo feet , eject , eject , eject . No chance of recovery. I also found out about a ‘wing roll. The Article explained that if the Sabre goes supersonic, you’ll get a ‘slight roll’, that when you attempts to correct by moving the ailerons in the opposite direction, the roll gets worse. It seems that at high-speed, the ailerons twist the entire wing causing it to behave like a trim-tab causing reversed controls. Moving the controls ‘into’ the roll straightens it out! Well, it turns out that is also what happens in the simulation as well. It seems the folks at Belsimtek, did a fantastic job on their flight model. With the new texturing and all, it’s a beautiful rendition; it’s pilot figure and crew gear , beautifully executed. The pilots “aviator” sunglasses a nice touch. Such detailing , adds “personality”, not typical of most pilot figure. Nice work, guys. And it’s now in full release( See Pierre’s post), and, eventually, I’m sure we will see a few more liveries added. Now, we just need the appropriate Theater. Korean Peninsula Map; Maybe?
One of the items, Mr. Snyder (quoted in italics) mentioned was an accelerated checklist that simplified things , went as follows:
“H”- harness & hydraulics. ( “I sweep the stick in a rapid circle, checking both hydraulic systems”.)
“T”- trim(“:a blue light for each of the three trim axes.”)
“F” – fuel & flaps (“all takeoffs use at least half flaps..”)
“G” – gyros (“…set gyros”,)
“S” – switches (” all switches, inverters, etc. are checked to make they are right.”)
“C” – canopy (“…I toggle the canopy closed.”)
“O” – oxygen (“…a deep breath, shows the oxygen regulator winking at me.”)
“P” – pitot heat (“…there are two heaters. I check them both.”)
In flying the DCS: F-86F, I have tried to draw comparisons between Mr. Snyder’s experience with his Sabre and my experience with Belsimtek ‘s virtual one. Like him, I found F-86F to be ” ..a gentlemanly”, airplane. Nose wheel steering seemed a little sensitive, at first impression , but easily managed and like the real life article can be disengaged at speeds above 60 KIAS .Acceleration is brisk, considering there’s no afterburner. Like the Mr. Snyder’s Canadair’s CL-13 Sabre 6, does not require full power to get airborne. Ease of handling seems as exceptional as one would expect, and were pretty much in the ball park, with Snyder’s own assessment, which in my estimation , speaks to the attention to detail, paid by the developers at Belsimtek . Definitely makes me look forward their next product, DCS: F-5E, which expect will be as close to the “real Mc Coy” as possible. Since it would seem odd , not to talk about the Sabre without at least mentioning it’s erstwhile opponent, the Mig-15Bis, I’ll have to save that for a pending article, since at this point in time I don’t have it, but never fear, I will get it. Till then, a little patience. As for me; I’m going to keep my copy of “FLIGHT JOURNAL, April 1998” ; handy for the purposes of quick reference. Besides, it looks great by my coffee table.