Manual:Advanced flight

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Advanced flight instructions by Major Dwight Somlen

... fade in on Major Dwight Somlen (ret) of the Confederation of Inhabited Worlds military...

(low volume) "... and these nuts want to know more about how to kill themse-" (full volume) "Will someone please tell me when we're on?"

"Welcome back pilots! Since I see you're all here, I'd say everyone survived their first piloting experience? Fine, so let's learn about some more advanced flight techniques.

Flight modes

In the last lecture we learned about setting your velocity. Anyway, to get greater velocity than the Combat Mode, use the Y_EN.png key. This key changes the mode from Combat Mode to Flight Mode. Flight Mode allows you to increase your set velocity by one-hundred times. So, why aren't we all jetting about in this mode? Well, there are a few reasons. First, since we must still deal with inertia, your craft will drift in your prior direction a bit before going the way you want it to. If, say, you wanted to fly around a capship and kept drifting towards it at high speed... yes, I can see you all wincing. Secondly, try to imagine combat at such velocities. Your opponent would be out of range by the time you got your weapons aligned and fired.

Now, all these flight commands deal with inertial movement. Most small craft can pull 10-20 gravities (G's) of acceleration or deceleration, and have a flight system designed to account for inertia. At combat velocities, your craft won't be going fast enough for you to easily notice the effects of inertia. Larger craft, however, are not designed with large G's in mind; the effects of inertia will be more prominent. Similarly, travelling in Flight Mode (at a higher velocity) will result in the same problem: changing direction or velocity will require longer periods of time.

Shelton slide

Intertial drift, however, can be in some cases a windfall. The following maneuver is called the Shelton slide. Approach your target at high velocity and a little off center (i.e. not head on). When level with your target, quickly turn to face it while reducing your velocity. Your ship will continue in its prior direction until your computerized flight control can compensate for the change in direction. That brief period allows you to strafe the side of your opponent, often hitting the weaker side or rear armor.

A controlled version of this maneuver is available by using the tilde key TILDE_EN.png. This command disengages the ship's flight system from flight control - so your ship will not try and correct velocity or direction (Press TILDE_EN.png again to reengage flight system). While it doesn't give you six degrees of freedom of movement, you can spin around to face elsewhere while still moving in the your original direction and velocity. This is definitely a handy maneuver in battle.

Now, what we've talked about so far are the settings you would have when flying around a base, station or planet, or when you're in combat - yes, I've heard all of you boasting. We'll just see who turns up for your reunion, right?

SPEC drive

A better way to move around from base to planet to station is to use your SPEC drive. You should read the intrument docs that came with your ship for specifics on how the drive operates. Activate the drive and obtain high velocities - dependant on any nearby gravity wells. That is, the further you are from a gravity well, the faster you move. A SPEC drive allows you to point your ship in the appropriate direction, hit the A_EN.png key and activate the drive, enabling you to cross inter-planetary distances in only a short period of time (rather than weeks or months). On approach to a destination, you will normally re-enter a gravity well, thereby reducing your velocity. Use the same key to deactivate the drive. You should also realize that incompatibilities between the technologies used in the SPEC drive and your shields result in shield power drains, reducing combat effectiveness until they regenerate.

Matching velocity

The last point I want to raise is matching velocity. Now, this requires knowledge of targeting, so I'll only touch it briefly. Our calculation of velocity in space is calculated relative to a single point in space, usually the local sun. At times, you may want to match velocity with another non-hostile object, like a ship. The use of the HOME_EN.png or keypad NP_7_EN.png keys matches your velocity to your target. Your set velocity becomes zero relative to your target. Using the END_EN.png or keypad NP_1_EN.png key resets velocity against the local sun.
FIXME what about Manual:Match_velocity? Do we keep the (nearly) redundant entries?

Well, that's it. You should also note that your instument documentation has information on other key uses, but they're more specific and outside of the scope of my talk here. I hope at least some of you listened, it may well save your life someday."

(sigh) "Someone give that fool up the back a kick to wake him up."

See also

arrow_left.png Basic Flight arrow_up.png Manual Match Velocity arrow_right.png