In this post we’re going to explore some of the nuances of equipment mechanics — how exactly they affect aircraft flight parameters. This will be most interesting to experienced players and those of you who aim to push your warplane to the limit.
The majority of aircraft can be efficiently tuned with several different sets of equipment. For instance, the Bf 109E can be effective with both a speed-oriented setup (Engine Tuning, Improved Radiator, Aircraft Polish) if you prefer hit-and-run tactics, or with an equipment set that will boost its maneuverability (Lightweight airframe, Control Surface Adjustment) for intensive dogfighting and outperforming other fighters.
Picking the most efficient setup suitable for your playstyle will be your own decision, but we can make some recommendations.
This option increases engine thrust by a fixed percentage. When you install it, your aircraft’s engine will provide 5% more thrust at all altitudes and in all speed regimes. It works both in normal flight and under boost. It can be considered universally useful for all classes and types of aircraft.
Nevertheless, since it increases engine performance by a set percentage, it naturally works better with high powered engines since the bonus will be larger. For example American multirole fighters, as well as other trees with short and powerful boost (such as Japanese and Soviet) benefit the most from Engine Tuning.
Polished Covering and Aircraft Polish
This upgrade provides a 5% increase to the maximum speed obtainable in horizontal flight. It works while boosting and without it.
When your aircraft speed is lower than optimum, the equipment effect will be barely noticeable. This means that for aircraft types that lose energy quickly (Japanese fighters, USSR multirole fighters etc.) this group of modules will be practically useless. It is efficient for aircraft that spend most of the battle flying at high speed. For example, those fighters that use hit-and-run tactics to attack the target at high speed then quickly disengage to gain distance, turn around safely and reengage without getting into a dogfight where they bleed speed and altitude.
This tactic is suitable for German multirole fighters. You might also find it effective with the USSR MiG branch as well as the American Corsair and Mustang branches.
Improved Aircraft Polish is a special version of this equipment tailored for heavy fighters. In addition to boosting maximum speed it also increases acceleration in dive. This provides an additional advantage when trying to lose a tailing enemy by diving to the ground.
These increase the deceleration rate when you throttle back (by pressing S on the keyboard). It is very situational and will be useful in a limited range of situations. Two of the classic examples:
- Speed control in a dive. Sometimes when you use boom-n-zoom tactics (attack from higher altitude with high speed) you need to slow your aircraft down to increase fire contact time and improve your chances of shooting the enemy down in one strafing run.
- When flying attack aircraft you sometimes need to bleed speed quickly so that you have more time on target and do not need to make another approach to kill your target.
As a result Improved Flaps will only beneficial for a limited set of tactics — you should only install them if you are sure you will need them for your role.
This option increases engine cooling speed after boost by 30% and it only works when you are throttling back (pressing the S key).
Like the polish upgrades, this is also situational. It provides its advantage only when you need to restore boost capacity outside of an active engagement, where you can throttle back and let the engine cool down. It works best if you choose tactics that allow you to disengage from the fight quickly and stay safe for a while. In particular this option will be useful for those players who have the unique J8M fighter with its incredibly powerful boost — you can always use it to evade incoming fire at very high altitudes where almost nobody can reach you.
Control Surface Adjustment
This increases the maximum rotation speed around the pitch axis by 3%. This makes the aircraft more effective in turn fighting and allows you to outturn enemies that are usually similarly maneuverable. Since it improves turn rotation speed by a percentage, it is most effective on aircraft that have high pitch maneuverability such as the I-16 series, the Japanese branch and Soviet Yak fighters.
Nevertheless this option can be considered to be universal and it suits other fighters if you prefer active dogfighting to more tactical hit-and-run or boom-n-zoom playstyles. It is particularly good for Mustangs, MiGs and Corsairs when hunting heavy fighters.
Similar to the previous choice, this one increases rotation speed — but instead of improving only the pitch ratio it improves maneuverability over all three axes (pitch, roll and yaw) by 3%. It can only be installed on fighters and multirole fighters.
Both Control Surface Adjustment and Lightweight Airframe can be installed simultaneously and their bonuses will stack. This setup will push your fighter’s maneuverability to the maximum.
In the second part of this post we will take a look at equipment that increases aircraft survivability, as well as modules that improve its shooting efficiency.