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THE BOMBER COMMAND CENTRE IN LINCOLN –Difficulties Producing Sim Video.

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Ross McLennan, Adelaide, South Australia. I think it is worth describing and illustrating at least one of the difficulties experienced in achieving a video outcome from FSX for this project.


To drop a Tallboy object accurately from 14000 feet to impact in the correct position on the ship or in the water is a tall order and beyond most. The sim object is unrealistic in that it does not turn from horizontal to vertical in its free fall. Nor does it spin about its longitudinal axis as it did in reality. The FSX dynamics do not include such realities.


The dynamics of the bomb makes if fall backwards first and later in the free fall it “fly’s” forward. So the horizontal version of the Tallboy needed changed dynamics to make it fall vertically from the aircraft and thus visibly more realistic. Here is an image from the original posting of a Tallboy in free fall. The link is below the image.






The original dynamics were retained for the vertical version and used for all impacts as the bomb sight was “tuned” to suit the “fall backwards first” object.


In the video I dropped six of 617 Squadrons Tallboys to impact in the positions shown in reference documentation available on the web. Only two hit the ship, others impacting in the water or on the Island. Accuracy of impact was still required so as to be seen in the tight video framing. The water impacts are pathetic representations of the real outcomes in 1944.


The first Tallboy released in the raid hit the ship on the port side near the bridge. This impact it is said, rolled the ship about 20 degrees.




The fourth Tallboy hit on the port side near the #3 gun and this impact rolled her further over.




I had been requested to show the Tallboy in the bomb bay. The basic 10 year old Plane-Design Lancaster does not have such a graphic, nor does it have bulging bomb bay doors of the real Lancaster. The sim Tallboy only appears in the bomb bay when the drop is activated so the video of it in place before release is based on a still from the captured video.




Now the real problem in achieving accuracy of impact is the droppable object DOES NOT ALWAYS DROP VERTICALLY WHEN RELEASED. It can kick sideways, left or right and that drastically changes the impact by up to 60 feet either way when dropped from 14000 feet. In the image below it has kicked slightly off center to the left but not enough to be a problem that caused a reshoot.




It should also be noted that if this was the normal sim dynamics the Tallboy would be far behind the aircraft and would have smashed the camera in the process.


Only 1 in every 7 or 8 drops gave acceptable impacts when striving for pin point accuracy to animate the real event. So in making the film one would have to FLY again and each flight took at least 6 minutes to set up and fly. The images of impact on the ship in the video were the 5th and 6th drops.


I controlled the rolling of the Tirpitz between hits by making static objects at different angles from Erwin Welker’s basic Hakoya Tirpitz using different BGLs in my addon scenery folder. We did attempt to do a live roll but the rendering of it was not suitable so it had to be shown using merged ship images only. It should be noted Erwin had to add prop graphics as his original ship did not have these as standard and they were certainly needed for the full roll over views.




I have a saying “NOTHING IS EASY IN FSX”.


But by the same token, no simmer is ever going to FLY what I have to achieve the videos for this Centre Media Project and I will never again do so either. It’s simply “thinking outside the square!” that achieved the visual result.

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There was one thing I forgot to mention in relation to the success of the sim Tirpitz raid or any other target. What I now describe was absolutely critical to the visual success of an impacting object on 3D objects.


99.99% of 3D objects are "soft". A droppable object will pass completely thro' and the result can be far from realistic.


In the case of Tirpitz there is water inside the model so all that can happen with an impact is a water splash. Because of the height of the structure this occurs totally within the body of the ship and NOTHING is visually seen at all.


The solution came from noticing years ago that a grass runway in FSX has invisible edges and never appears at its full width. So placing a fake airfield with a grass runway just below the deck (+20 feet) provided the required hard surface to achieve what you see in my videos or images in this post that are taken from the playing video.


The contour of the ship changes and the invisible section on the edges made it all possible. Three runways are used in the ship. The fore and aft sections are half the width of the ship at its broadest and extend only to the For and aft turrets.


In p3d the invisible edge becomes visible and so the runway shows outside the contour of the ship and thus it is not realistic to use the idea in that sim. This project was impossible to do in p3d.


I was quite worried initially that when I rotated the ship that the grass would appear but good old FSX held fast and a nice explosion occurred with the 4th Tallboy.


Like I said "thinking outside the square" was essential to success. FSX is very capable of realistic outcomes if the simmer is prepared to put in the time to achieve.


In the missions of this project only the Sorpe and the Bielefeld Viaduct did not require the fake addition as the impact surface in each case is hard terrain.




Although the Dambuster Moehne and Eder attacks are not part of this project anyone viewing my 71st Anniversary dams raid video will notice the droppable upkeep drops 400 yards out, does not bounce but travels to the wall and explodes.



There is a dummy runway beneath the walls that the Upkeep drops down onto and explodes. 3D objects are soft on the sides as well and thinking outside the square saved the day.



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I was 5 years old when WWII broke out. In 1944 a Lancaster was flown from England to Australia for War Bond duties. It was scheduled to fly around my home town of Jamestown in the mid north of South Australia. The kid next door and I both made parachutes from old wheat bags and at the appointed time in our day off from school we climbed onto our woodshed.


We were lucky because the fly past was at Dambuster level and we thought within arms reach so we waved like mad to the crew. I can clearly remember seeing the pilot. Fortunately we never used our parachutes, it was about 9 feet to the ground and so I made it into my working years without damage.


I have actually talked by email with the pilot of that aircraft and flown a simulation of his Queenie 6 flight.


The experience from our woodshed stuck in my memory and when the opportunity arose to fly in a simulator it was CFS1 and I learned to fly with a Lancaster ex FS98 and its airfile is what I have tweaked and used for all my Lancasters thro' to FSX.


With that experience of flying over the years I had no qualms at all about embarking on this project or any other associated with No 617 Squadron Dambusters.


The highlight of my real Lancaster experience was to sit in the Pilots seat of Just Jane at East Kirkby in 2007 and to visit the Eder Dam in Germany.




Should you make it to Lincoln at some stage and visit the Bomber Command Centre I hope the final product will be of great interest.


Thank you very much for reading my posts on this subject. CHEERS!

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Fantastic dedication to a long held passion. Your results in FSX are a testament to your determination to 'record' a little bit of history for flight simmers.

Thank you.




Sent from my tablet thingy!

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