I tried flying a fighter aircraft using a mouse and keyboard on numerous occasions and was barely able to get off the carrier. Well, things are a changing.
I plugged in a joystick, did a quick configuration, and jumped on a multiplayer map. The bad thing is I broke one of my own rules, “Practice in single player or the self-launched LAN mode.” Launch the single player mode if you want to practice ground infantry or armor fighting against computer bots. Pick the LAN option if you are want access to an aircraft, do not want to fight enemy bots, or race against friendly bots to grab a vehicle. The LAN mode will give you access to 16, 32, and 64 player maps, while single player only offers 16 player maps. A self-inflicted penalty was assessed for going right into the multiplayer mode and breaking the “Practice Rule” because some of the initial configurations were reversed and the aircraft was un-flyable.
I snapped out of it and gave up attempts to be an instant fighter ace. I started the LAN and got the joystick properly configured. The learning curve to fly was much flatter with a decent joystick than trying to use a mouse and keyboard. I was amazed how much easier it was to fly a fighter. I had picked the Dalian Plant map for the test drive and I decided to stay with familiar terrain later when I went into multiplayer mode,
I was using a joystick that had an integrated throttle built into its base. I found out by accident that if you put the F-35B fighter in reverse it takes off vertically. I found four things assisted a successful take-off. Keep the aircraft aligned level with the horizon during the vertical take-off, get plenty of altitude before toggling the engine thrust to the rear, pull the nose of the aircraft up slightly as a preemptive move to compensate for the initial nose dip, and, lastly, use your booster.
Now, I am off the carrier and actually flying. Initially, I worked on getting comfortable with the throttle and steering. I quickly discovered that with the use of a joystick I could easily stay within authorized airspace. One of the neat attributes of the joystick I was using was the twist feature. The normal move forward on the stick was nose down, back was nose up, left was roll left, and right was roll right. The rudder action which is controlled by the use of foot pedals in an actual aircraft was controlled by gripping the stick and twisting left to turn the nose to the left and right to turn right.
Okay, I got it. Well, the rudder action makes a difference, especially, if you are doing a bit of stunt flying or trying to cut a tighter turn. I was easily flying nap of the earth, contouring in close proximity of the ground. Alright, it was time to see what I could pull off. The South Dock has a large frame dock crane that I had seen some excellent pilots fly under and between the beams in some BF2 Stunt Videos I had come across. You can watch some stunt flying by going to this link: http://spartanwarfighters.net/4bot/1gallery/stuntvideos.htm I lined up the aircraft at full speed (approximately 1,300 knots) and made it through. In fact, I found that if I slowed down to around 650 knots I could easily go through over and over again without a crash.
The subsequent stunt was trying to fly under a pipe stretched over a small draw just south of the reactor cooling towers. The first three attempts were exhilarating and triumphant. The forth was a botched approached from too high an angle and I plowed into the ground.
The next extracurricular activity was to try and land on the carrier. There were several missed approaches that were simply called off. The first fully committed attempt to land was a success. Wow!! I couldn’t believe it. I just landed on an aircraft carrier. The following attempts were a lot better looking with plenty of runway remaining in front of the aircraft.
Not all attempts went as smooth as the ones described above. Even after 30 minutes of flying and multiple attempts to land on the PRC airstrip, I was unable to get the tires safely on the ground. I crashed on top of the hanger on one try. On another, I slowed down the aircraft too much, stalled, and impacted. The mountainous terrain and the approach lanes being out of bounds proved to be a real challenge. I had to go at a higher rate of speed than I was comfortable with on the approach from the northeast to avoid fatal exposure to time spent in unauthorized airspace. And, both north and south approaches required a steep decent due to the surrounding terrain.
I toyed with the weapon systems a bit and couldn’t resist the allure or a multiplayer match any longer. Initially, I found a helicopter opponent that was easily dispatched. Then, I came across a helicopter crew that knew what it was doing. They were hovering high over the South Docks area and waiting for prey. They eliminated me twice with a TV missile. Both times, I could not even make it over dry ground.
All in all, it was a great experience that will be revisited soon and I will continue to hone my flying skills. I would recommend buying a decent joystick if you are interested in getting your BF2 aviation decorations (badges, ribbons, and medals) and becoming a well-rounded BF2 gamer.
See you on the Battlefield!
If you found this story interesting, you may want to check out this one: http://forums.filefront.com/battlefield-2-general-discussion/358336-bf2-first-times-part-one-flying.html
Interesting read. I have never been able to get a joystick to work in this game. The axis are always screwed up to the point I can either move right only or left only.
Are you serious about not being able to fly with keyboard and mouse???:rofl::rofl::rofl: