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Questions and Answers about Fighter Pilot

Q: What makes Fighter Pilot different from any other game?

A: Three things make Fighter Pilot different. The first is the rolling flight stand. This innovative invention self measures movement points and makes it possible to describe accurate arcs for the aircraft.

The second is the Fighter Pilot Control Board, which is a real analog computer made of paper. It can calculate speed loss for climbs or speed gain for dives. It can calculate G's pulled in turns, keep track of speed gains and losses, account for hit points and ammo. It can tell you the minimum pull out for any given dive angle at any given speed. It also calculates the gun fire and special damage.

The third is the basic concept of Fighter Pilot. Aircraft maneuver combat is all about energy management, not just 'How tight can you turn?' or 'How fast can you go?'. The ability of Fighter Pilot to account for speed differences as little as .75 miles per hour and to adjust speed every two seconds, allows for more accurate play than any other game. Aerobatics and flight characteristics of any aircraft can be accurately simulated.

Q: Is Fighter Pilot a Role Playing Game?

A: While Fighter Pilot is not, strictly speaking, a role playing game, it is often played that way. Players keep track of their pilots, missions, and kills. Experience points are awarded in three areas, sighting, gunnery and ground attack.

Q: What time periods does Fighter Pilot cover?

A: Fighter Pilot has statistics for over four hundred combat aircraft from 1914 to contemporary times and stats for both radar guided and heat seeker missiles.

Q: What if I want to fly an aircraft you didn't include in the rules?

A: If you can find the stats for the aircraft in question, all the formulas and information you will need to add the aircraft to the game are included in the designer notes.

Q: How about bombers and ground attack aircraft?

A: Fighter Pilot allows you to fly any type bomber you wish. Rules for level bombing, light bombers, glide bombing, torpedo bombing, dive bombing, skip bombing, smart bombs, air to ground missiles, cluster rockets, unguided rockets, anti-radiation missiles, cluster bombs, napalm, and strafing are included.

Q: What about ground targets?

A: Fighter Pilot rules include 18 different types of ground targets and four types of ships. A Bomb Chart is included for twenty-four types of U.S., British, Japanese, and German bombs.

Q: How about flack guns and ground to air missiles?

A: Ten types of light and medium flack guns, heavy flack guns, and three basic categories of ground to air missiles are included in the Fighter Pilot rules.

Q: What about aerobatics?

A: Snap rolls, loops, immelmann turns, split s, stalls, spins, chandells, wingovers, spiral dives, lag rolls, inverted flat spins, the hammer head stall, vertical dives, and negative G maneuvers can all be simulated.

Q: How do you handle loops and other vertical maneuvers?

A: The clip which holds the model aircraft to the stand is designed to allow the aircraft to be shown in any position, including vertical climbs or dives. Loops and other vertical maneuvers are very easy to simulate in Fighter Pilot.

Q: How do you handle stalking and unseen movement?

A: Before combat can be joined, at least one of the pilots of the opposing aircraft most have seen the other. Many an unwary pilot has had his aircraft blasted from under him by an opponent he never saw. To simulate this we have assigned to each aircraft a sighting table which reflects the visibility from the cockpit. Fighter Pilot's sighting table simulates this and allows for realistic sighting.

Q: I'm kind of tired of the head-on approaches which begin most other air combat games. How do you avoid this?

A: Fighter Pilot has an advantage table which allows much more variation in the beginning of each encounter. This advantage table combined with the sighting table makes for a very interesting game.

Q: How do you handle movement sequences?

A: Fighter Pilot has a unique rotating sequence of movement which accurately reflects the rapidly changing situation in combat. In Fighter Pilot, the intent is that all movement should be simultaneous. That is all should move, then any who are lined up may fire weapons. In the actual play of the game, however, because one aircraft will usually be following another, and the player will be trying to react to the target's moves, we move in a sequence that is determined by who is chasing whom or who has the advantage.

Q: How does Fighter Pilot handle gun fire?

A: Each aircraft has a gunnery table assigned based on the type of armament. The Control Board includes a gunnery calculator. Input range, gun type, check the Gunnery Bonus Table for positive or negative bonus based on defection, Gs pulled, target size or ace experience, roll the dice, input that roll and the gunnery calculator tells you how many hits and special damage tries you have.

Q: What do you mean by critical hits?

A: Simply putting holes through the airframe is not going to make an aircraft fall down. Critical hits: pilot, engine, fuel, controls, or structural damage is what causes an aircraft to fall out of the sky. The aircraft's hit rating is simply a measure of how much punishment the craft can take. There are historical accounts of aircraft being downed with as few as three rounds, and also stories of pilots who brought back flying junk heaps. The Fighter Pilot system accounts for both structural damage and critical hits.

Q: What is this Robot Pilot?

A: The Robot Pilot is random movement chart for use in practice games. It can be used to train with, or to fill out a side if there are an uneven number of players.

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This page is (c) 1997 by John McEwan. Updated 02/05/04