Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Real pictures of a crashed Dauntless in New Caledonia

Here are some pictures I shot of a crashed Dauntless somewhere around Mount MOU in New Caledonia (Fr) :

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pinned to the ground for a couple of months

I'm will not be able to fly for the three following monthes but there is still some work I can do on this blog... Keep in touch.

Friday, October 20, 2017

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Operation Standing Wave, mission 2

Mission 2 : BARCAP over Zar'it

This mission is another BARCAP in the same area. The difference is that I'm going to be the leader this time.

The briefing is not that different from the previous one,

Lead position on threshold

The first part of the flight was really quiet so I could take some pictures :

On the radar, the patrol we will take over

Flying over the shores

Smoke on the battlefield


Landscape under my wing
But it seems it is not that quiet on the ground :

Finally we had 4 Mig 29 coming near our patrol area.

My wing-man immediately asked permission to engage. Which I gave her. Unfortunately, she fired all her missiles without hitting any of them. But all the patrol around seemed to come and the 4 hostiles were soon shot down before I even could acquire one.

There was nothing more to report during the flight and we got back home to debrief.

Despite apparent success of the mission, further analysis revealed that 2 Mig-29 could enter my airspace and shot down friend aircraft. I wasn't aware at all of their presence.
And this is the main point of it : situational awareness. It's the critical part of a mission and I was in a total lack of it.

I'll have to find out how to improve this !

Monday, October 16, 2017

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Operation Standing Wave (modified)

Theater : Israel

Campaign :  Operation Standing Wave (modified)

Situation : After years of civil war, a weakened Syrian army deploys in Lebanon in order to cut off supply to opposition forces - alarmingly close to Israel's borders.

Side : NATO

Squadron : 235th at Akrotiri Airbase (Mirage 2000-5)


Mission 1 : BARCAP over Ramat HaSharon

My first mission in this campaign was a BARCAP over Ramat HaSharon to prevent further incursions from hostile aircraft.

As it's the first time I will fly in a campaign mission, I'm going to be wing-man.

Ready for departure
During the briefing I used the previously gathered data about fuel management to calculate my Bingo (see previous article about fuel management). I know that I have 1000 lb unavailable and 1000 lb to save in case of missed approach. There is no airfield around so I can't plan an alternate landing site. Finally, the farthest point of the mission is 186 nm away and I plan to fly à 480 kt (TAS) at FL200 so I would need 186 x 14 = 2604 lb. My Bingo is then 4600 lb.

Before taking-off I could admire the 4th squadron's C-17  with whom we share the airbase.

Taxi behind a C-17
Finally we take our turn :

Runway hreshold
The flight was absolutely quiet. Mainly because of my leader who never answered to orders of the AWACS. This one ordered us a couple of time to engage bandit aircraft but he seemed to never cooperate. Fortunately no hostile came in our area and the mission was a success. But once more I come to the conclusion that I need to take the lead and never let the AI be in charge...

Note that during the final course, the ATC ordered me to execute a missed approach and I could then see that my fuel calculation were right. I landed at around 1200 lb left!

Next time I'll keep on that kind of mission but I'll endorse the flight leader role.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Check-lists and procedures

I have just released that latest version of my check-lists and procedures for the Mirage 2000-5.
It is now v1.1 and can be found in the DOCUMENTATION page.

The English version can be downloaded here.
The French version can be found here.

Monday, October 9, 2017

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Fuel management test flight


I will take-off from Akrotiri Airbase (LCRA) and fly to Port Said (HEPS) where I shall execute a missed approach and divert to As Salihiya airport where I will land.

During the flight, I will do 4 different branches :
From take-off to WP 2 : at 20,000 ft and TAS 480 kt for 30 nm
WP 2 to WP 3 : 20,000 ft, TAS 540 kt for 45 nm
WP 3 to WP 4 : 5,000 ft, TAS 540 kt for 45 nm
WP 4 to WP 5 : 5000 ft, TAS 480 for 45 nm
WP 5 to WP 6 : 5000 ft, TAS 360 for 58 nm

then the missed approach

And finally flying to the alternate airfield at 5,000ft, TAS 360 kt for 14 nm

About fuel management now.

I will start with a full load of 13846 lb

Rampstart and taxi should burn 600 lb, thus before take off I should be around 13,200 lb.

Taking off and climbing to FL350 burns another 1400 lb which leaves around 11,800 lb.

  • WP1 to WP2 burns 30x14 = 420 lb, fuel left : 11,400 lb
  • WP2 to WP3 burns 45x15 = 675 lb, fuel left : 10,700 lb
  • WP3 to WP4 burns 45x23 = 1035 lb, fuel left : 9,700 lb 
  • WP4 to WP5 burns 45x22 = 990 lb, fuel left : 8,700 lb
  • WP5 to WP6 burns 58x19 = 1102 lb, fuel left : 7,600 lb
 The missed approach costs 1000lb

And flying to the alternate airfield burns 14x19 = 266 lb so that in the end I should have no lower than 6300 lb left.
 For this exercise I set the Bingo fuel at 6300 lb to monitor the final result.


After rampstart and taxi I only burnt 250 lb instead of the 400 lb I expected. This is only due to the fact that I had included the take off in this part where it's now included in the climbing toward FL350. I will have to change the value to 300 lb.

Then I flew the ascent to the FL350 which costed me 2000 lb instead of the 1400 lb intended.
This difference may be explained by the fact I circled arround the airfield during the climb to stay at my first way-point and I forgot to set my altimeter to the 1013 hPa required to use flight levels so I may have flown higher than I should. Furthermore I have an heavier load than in Topolo's charts ( 33.500 lb instead of 26.600 lb total weight).

Flying from WP1 to WP2 I should have burnt 420 lb and I only used 350. The reason is I had to descend from FL350 to FL200 during this step. This saved me 70 lb.

From WP2 to WP3, I had calculated a consumption of 675 lb and I burnt 750 lb. I assume this is due to the overweight.
From WP3 to WP4, 1035 lb calculated, 700 lb burnt. Once again I had to descend from FL220 to 5,000ft which saved quite a lot of fuel.
From WP4 to WP5, 990 lb calculated, 800 lb burnt and from WP5 to WP6, 1102 lb calculated, 900 lb burnt. In both cases, I spent around 200 lb less than intended.
All these differences might be due to the fact that calculated consumptions are rounded to a higher value for safety purposes.

Then I did the aborted landing and navigated to the divert airfield.
When finally the bingo fuel occured, I was in short final! Which is not too bad in deed!
After landing I had 6200 lb left in my tanks, only 100 lb less than I should have.

In conclusion I think I will have to do the exercise again to improve my accuracy in flight parameters...

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Fuel management

Following the previous articles and discussions on the check-six forum I have fulfilled my check-list and procedure document.
I added some references and two performance charts by Topolo.

Here is the result :

(for a total weight of 33.500 lb, all speed are TAS)

  • Safety fuel: 1000 lb
Consumptions :

  • Idle : 800 lb/h
  • Ramp start and taxi : 600 lb
  • Climb to FL350
    • Standard climbing : 1400 lb
    • Intercept climbing : 2000lb
  • Aborted landing : 1000 lb

  • FL200 :
    • 360 kt (Mach 0.59) : 13 lb/nm
    • 480 kt (Mach 0.78) : 14 lb/nm
    • 540 kt (Mach 0.88) : 15 lb/nm
  • 5000 ft :
    • 360 kt (Mach 0.55) : 19 lb/nm
    • 480 kt (Mach 0.74) : 22 lb/nm
    • 540 kt (Mach 0.83) : 23 lb/nm
Performances :

  • Max Endurance (time) : 35.000 ft, Mach 0.58
  • Max Autonomy (distance) : 35.000 ft, Mach 0.78

Speeds (TAS) :

  • From take off to Push : 360–420 kt
  • From Push to IP : 480-540 kt
  • After TGT : 480-540 kt
  • After FLOT : 360-480 kt

I updated the document in a 1.1 version both in english and in french. They can be found as usual in the DOCUMENTATION page.

So the next step is to check all this with a navigation flight...

Friday, October 6, 2017

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Going further with the procedures (second part)

Fuel management

This is the big part of the flight : getting familiar with the fuel management procedures. To deal with it I referred to a post on check-six forums by DeeJay which explains all the different terms in use : Bingo, Safety fuel...

The fact is that I couldn't find any value on the web about Mirage 2000-5's consumption. So had I to find them by myself. To do so, I used a fully loaded plane (2 IR missiles, 4 EM missiles and 2 external 2000 liters fuel tanks). So I will start with 13700lb of kerosene.

First measurement is carried out from the cold and dark start to the taking off, including taxi. During all this time the throttle is left on idle.
Idle throttle on the ground
  Fuel flow is 800 lb/h which means 13.3 lb/mn. As the rampstart procedure takes around 20', I know that I need 266.7 lb (rounded to 300 lb) kerosene before taking off.

 Then as I use full afterburner to take off, another 300lb are gone when I'm airborne as we can see on the picture below.
Fuel left after take off
So let's take 600 lb for the rampstart and take off.

Next step was to measure the fuel flows at 360 kts, 450 kts and full afterburner at altitudes of 1500 ft and 20,000 ft

Here are a couple of pictures taken during the test :

Full afterburner, 1500 ft and 52,300 lb/h

Full afterburner, 20,000 ft and 34,900 lb/h

450 kts, 1500 ft and 9,300 lb/h
Here are the results in a nutshell (all speed are CAS) :

at 1500 ft :
  • 360 kts (mach 0,56) : 7,000 lb/h
  • 450 kts (mach 0,7) : 9,300 lb/h
  • full afterburner : 52,300 lb/h

at 20,000 ft :
  • 360 kts : 6,000 lb/h
  • 450 kts : 10,600 lb/h (!)
  • full afterburner : 34,900 lb/h
Almost all theses values seems consistent except at 20,000 ft with a speed of 450 kts, the value should be lower than the one at 1,500 ft... I may have tried twice, I had the same result and I can't explain why.

But the fuel is now running low and it's time to go back home to land and ask for more advice on the Check-six forum.

In the discussion, I got an answer by Topolo who worked a lot on simulated flight models of the Mirage 2000. He sent me a link to its performance charts which where used to develop the simulated plane. I could then compare with my results and I was pleased to notice that my values are credibles (all except one of course). In these charts, the speed is measured in mach not in kts, so I'm gonna work with mach from now.
I would recommend everybody to check these charts out. Beyond fuel flows one can find best autonomy or endurance speed at each altitude... It's gonna be really useful for the following of the fuel management process !

In the next flight I will carry out further more measurements to fulfill my documentation. I need the fuel required to ascend to FL350 (standard departure and interception) and in case of aborted landing.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Going further with the procedures (first part)

As mentioned in the previous article, today's flight will focus on three different points :
  • Using the TEST page on the MFD
  • Activating the autopilot and its different modes 
  • Managing the fuel consumption.
Ready for a test flight

TEST page

This page records all the system faults that occurred during the flight. These faults are divided into two built-in pages BIT1 and BIT2. The trick is that during the rampstart many faults are recorded which is normal. But we need to clear them) using the CLR button.
This action will be included in the next version of my check-lists (v1.01)...

TEST page BIT1 with rampstart faults

TEST page BIT2 with rampstart faults

TEST page clear
 Note that the MASTER CAUTION is now off


In Falcon, the autopilot system is based on the F16's one except that the two 3-positions switches are replaced by 5 buttons. ATT, ALT, HDG, AP RESET and H NAV.

ATT : is the attitude hold button that commands the aircraft to maintain the current pitch.
ALT : is the altitude hold button that commands the aircraft to maintain the current altitude (when engaged).

HDG : turns the plane towards the selected heading on the HSI.
AP RESET : resets the AP
H NAV : make the autopilot to fly to the designated steer-point. Note that if auto steer-point is selected in the UFC the autopilot will automatically fly to the next way-point. If the manual mode is selected it will circle around it with a 30° bank angle

To engage HDG or H NAV autopilot, you need to engage ATT HOLD or ALT HOLD

ALT HOLD engaged

H NAV mode engaged with ALT HOLD
 In this mode, the plane will hold current altitude and fly to the next waypoint.

H NAV mode engaged with ATT HOLD
 Like the previous one except that it will keep the current pitch.

HDG mode engaged with ATT HOLD
 In this mode the plane will fly following the designated course (see on the HSI on the right MFD) holding the current pitch.

H NAV engaged with ALT HOLD and manual steer-point
In this mode, the plane will fly to the selected steer-point and circle around it with a 30° bank angle.

Now that I can deal with the autopilot, I'll be able to start monitoring fuel flows at different speed and altitude. This will be the subject of the second part of this article...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Operation Dragon Shield (Debriefing)

Now it's time to debrief the mission. I will start with the planification, then the rampstart and finally the flight.

Planification : 

Planification of this mission was not my primary goal as I haven't any knowledge in air combat tactics. Yet I learnt that it's possible to go bellow a SA-2 if it's impossible to go around. The issue is that I have to climb hard to get aerial superiority after that.

The other point I should work on is fuel managment. I had no clue in it and I just took what the computer told me to... This is one of the next step i'll hae to take.

I still have some problems with my controller settings. Some keys are missing. For example I couldn't jettison my external fuel tanks before engaging air-to-air combat

Rampstart :

My rampstart procedure works fine and after the fence-in I'm ready to do the job. But I think I could improve it further more by including test procedures during the warm-up. I saw the TEST button on the MFD but I didn't study it yet. This could be the subject of another lesson.

Flight : 

There is one system I didn't used yet : the autopilot ! This could be useful during long navigations. So there is one last thing to include in my next session.

Flying as a wingman with a AI leader is quite not a good idea since it doesn't react cleverly to any event and cannot adapt its behavior. Next time I'll take the lead.

Concerning tactics, I know that I have everything to learn from scratch.

To sum-up I would say that the three next things I will work on are : fuel managment, systems tests and autopilot. This is going to be the subject of the next flight.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Multisim Project on Facebook

You can now follow this Blog on Facebook. Please, do not hesitate to like, comment ans share...

[Falcon 4 BMS] Mirage 2000-5 : Operation Dragon Shield

Now it's time to go...

I get in my plane and carry out the rampstart procedure following the brand new version of my check-lists (refer to DOCUMENTATION page).

Once the engine is running and all the systems are operationals and tested I start rolling behind my team leader. During the taxi, I carry out the last tests and then we wait at runway threshold for the take-off clearance.

Waiting for the clearance
Due to the emergency we are taking off in formation

Taking off
I quickly regroup on my leader and we start the navigation to be on time over the target

Then it's time to do the fence-in and we dive to 300 ft to avoid this SA-2 threat on the coast. And soon the shores of Syria appear in the mist

Shores of Syria
We are quickly over the land where we try not to be spotted by the SAM.

Over the land
Unfortunately we are finally detected and my leader engage defensive measures as I dive lower over the ground to get through safely.
My leader couldn't escape it and despite its counter measures he finally gets hit by a missile leaving a black trail of smoke behind.

Leader is hit
He ends its course hitting hard the ground.

Leader is down

Now I'm on my own...
I climb to 4000 ft to acquire my target which should be in the air by now. As expected I can find him immediately. I engage full PC to attack before he tries to escape.

Target locked
As soon as he enters my no-escape zone I shoot a EM missile : "Fox-3 medium !" immediately followed by "Pitbull!".
And it's a kill!!!

Target crashes
Kill confirmed
Mission complete, now it's time to go back home... But the two MIG-23 patrolling the area are now on my back. No way I can go across the SA-2 threat zone with them in my six. I'll have to shoot them.

My plan is to engage the first one with my last EM missile and then enter a dogfight with the second to get rid of him with my two IR missiles. Again I engage full PC and take as much altitude as I can.

MIG-23 in front of me
Quickly I get in range to shoot the first MIG : "Fox-3 medium !", "Pitbull !" and it's another kill!!!

Another kill !
Unfortunately, the time I shoot and kill the first, the second one is close enough to me to launch an AA-7 which will hit me. I only have a couple of seconds to eject before my plane explodes in the air...

Eject! Eject! Eject!
So this is how my first mission ends. Quite not a success but I proud I could get up there and validate all my procedures...

See you soon for the debriefing...