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Air Combat USA! Marchetti SF260

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
This was an unusual entry in my logbook, a chance to play “fighter pilot for a day.” To recreate the flight, I reluctantly looked at the video again. Reluctantly because, even though I had 400 hours by that time, I did not do that well. It just was not normal to fly in unusual attitudes, even inverted, although the plane did it easily. The video was not that helpful; I heard departure heading from the tower and the altitude, but I could not really tell attitude from the horizon. Plus, this time I would be alone, just banking and turning without an opponent to engage or an instructor on board.

I start on the runway at San Antonio International. The Marchetti SF260 is a beautiful plane, and I admire the views from inside and out. I can even look up through the tinted plexiglass of the roof. I remember to use the Logitech joystick instead of the CH yoke. I start the takeoff roll and break ground around 90 knots, and retract the landing gear as soon as there is a positive rate of climb. I turn to 010⁰ and climb to 6000 feet. The plane is very responsive, and I do not wait until 30 miles out to start yanking and banking. I start with relatively level circles, then climb and dive while turning, even doing some rolls. This plane is a hoot. I spot a Cessna Grand Caravan in the distance and join up for some loose formation practice. Just like in the real plane, formation flying is harder than it looks. I tend to overcorrect and bounce around, and too easily lose sight. Speed control is difficult, too. I finally leave the big Cessna alone and turn back toward San Antonio. A little more goofing around on the way back, and my phone rings. I figure that I didn’t land the first time (the instructor flew it in after a formation midfield break), so I just exit the program.

Overall, the recreation was fun, but lacking. I will have to go to my WarBirds program and practice dogfighting with the Spitfire to get that thrill.

SIAI Marchetti SF260 N2600F (FS2004)
From: KSAT To: Local

July 27, 1993
SIAI Marchetti SF260 N68FD
From: SAT To: Local
SEL 1.2 hrs

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