If you have ever seen crazy maneuvers like Pugachev’s Cobra or an aerial flip as done in fighters, those are examples of supermaneuverability. Supermaneuverability is defined as the following:
The ability of aircraft to maintain pilot control and perform maneuvers in situations and ways exceeding those that are possible using purely aerodynamic mechanisms, such as ailerons and elevators.
The Pugachev’s Cobra
(Sourced from Wikimedia Commons)
How aircraft commonly achieve this ability is through Thrust Vectoring. This utilizes the exhaust nozzle of the engine to push the thrust in a direction that allows the aircraft to intensify its own maneuvers. This technology has existed ever since the early days of the Space Age. Without it, our spacecraft wouldn’t launch, fly or land on surfaces with stability and precision. The Raptor’s Pratt and Whitney F119 is the power behind the magic, outfitted with a 2-dimensional vectoring nozzle. What you may or may not know, is that Thrust Vectoring is in the F-22’s flight model.
1. Post Stall Maneuvering
These are the easiest kinds of maneuvers you can do. Thrust Vectoring does the tail-pushing even when the Raptor’s elevons are rendered useless such as in a stall. Here’s the simplest maneuver you can do using Thrust Vectoring—a vertical 180° turn.
- Pull a vertical, with idle power (+90° on the pitch axis).
- At 90kts IAS or less, pull up and use some throttle and you’ll see the Raptor beginning to flip.
- At the -90° mark on the pitch axis, counteract the movement of the flip by pushing down on the stick.
- The strength of your pull or thrust controls the intensity of the flip. Don’t pull your flip too hard. You’ll gain too much momentum and overshoot the negative 90 by a lot. However, you can pull a full 360° backflip if you choose.
- To avoid crashing when attempting a maneuver, find an altitude that you think is safe to try.
- Get creative! Post-stall maneuvering opens up so many tricks that it’s like a form of art. You can slide backwards, hover in mid air or tumble like an expert gymnast. Hint: Try rolling in a Backflip.
2. Inducing a Loss of Control Mid-Flight
If you have been wondering how to pull the Pugachev’s Cobra or Kulbit (backflip in mid-flight) maneuvers, here’s your answer: Yes. It’s completely possible to do in Infinite Flight. The main term to use in doing these maneuvers is Pitch Rate, or how fast an aircraft is pitching, in degrees per unit of time. But a word of warning: These maneuvers are mainly for advanced pilots. The easiest to do in this category is the Kulbit. Again, here are the steps and tips.
- Airspeed should be at least below 230kts to execute a good maneuver.
*Slow Motion Mode: Active
- Pull down briefly, like a flash of light.
- As soon as the pitch rate is down to zero, Pull up HARD.
- Immediately as your pitch rate is at its highest, pull down. This will exploit a weird part of the flight model that allows you to go past the limit of the control zone as I call it, and enter a phase where you are now in a stall of sorts.
*Slow Motion Mode: Inactive
- Use full throttle and pull up to keep the plane rotating throughout the flip. (In a Cobra, you pull down, but again, not too hard.)
- Once back to level flight, pull down to make your recovery easier, by counteracting the spin.
- The loss of control initiation requires split-second timing to get a full maneuver in the bag.
- Practice and Patience will make perfect on these maneuvers.
If you want to see what I mean in the aforementioned maneuvers and for quicker learning, check out this video here that I made:
I hope I was able to help you master the Raptor and it’s aerobatic magic. Have fun pulling off those crazy maneuvers! Go impress your fellow pilots 👍🏻