A number of exciting new configuration changes have been made to the Super Hornet that accurately reflect the fly-by-wire characteristics of the actual aircraft.
Flaps and Ailerons act in a coordinated fashion but not linked. There are three flap settings: up, one-half, and down. In the one-half position the ailerons are extended further than the inboard flaps. The full down position further extends both so that they look unified. Ailerons exhibit the opposite behavior when the pilot extends the speedbrakes. In this configuration, ailerons are extended upward approximately 30 degrees. Flaps, on the other hand, are extended downward approximately 30 degrees.
Stabilators are part of both the normal flight configuration and the speedbrake configuration, too. They move as directed by the fly-by-wire computers in the actual aircraft when the speedbrakes are deployed, and on the Daisuke they pitch nose up by default. However, the Daisuke, during the transition from clean to speedbrakes deployed, will remain in a level state, experiencing no appreciable pitch change. In the takeoff mode, with parking brake set, the stabilators are pitched up to simulate catapult launch conditions and the catapult shuttle launch bar on the nose gear assembly drops down simulating an engaged and locked catapult shuttle status.
Rudders beyond normal flight configuration are set separately for takeoff and during speedbrake deployment. In the takeoff mode, with the parking brake set, the rudders are canted inboard to provide greater directional stability after catapult launch. During speedbrake deployment, the rudders are canted outwards approximately 25 degrees to provide additional induced drag effect on the aircraft's forward speed. Again, these are controlled by computers in the actual aircraft and are simulated statically in FS2004.
Spoilers are located atop the inlet ducts behind the canopy. They are small and are used when the speedbrake system is deployed to provide additional drag.
Simply stated, the speedbrake multiple control surface configuration will not deploy if flaps are deployed while airborne. They will deploy if the landing gear are down.
On the ground, the only part of the speedbrake configuration available is the deployment of the spoilers. However, in the Daisuke, because of flight simulator constraints, the entire speedbrake system will deploy, BUT only if the flaps are up.
Flight Dynamics/Characteristic Changes
You will notice many changes to the flight envelope, so I will try to summarize the most notable here.
Airspeed changes are within reasonable acceleration limits and changes due to speedbrake deployment are consistent. Airspeed does not drop too fast. Maintaining airspeed within the ideal range for ACM is accomplished without incurring erroneous g-induced stall warnings, unacceptable power on stall characteristics, and relative to the thrust to weight ratio of the aircraft.
The default vertical speed setting has been reduced to 2000 feet per minute. While the Super Hornet is certainly capable of much greater this setting is considered acceptable for IFR flight conditions and can be changed by the pilot once the vertical speed hold is actuated.
Landing the F/A-18E is more consistent with the actual aircraft and with full flaps requires the pilot to maintain airspeeds in the 130-145 KIAS range depending upon the aircraft's landing weight. Airspeed hold is adequate, but not highly accurate in the landing configuration in FS2004 as most of you know. Approaches flown at 150 KIAS with auto throttles activated are just fine, but final approach speeds are better flown hands-on around the carrier. If you have more time to set up your landing decent rate, the autothrottles can provide a realistic experience, particularly when the glideslope is 3 degrees or less instead of higher around the ship.
We think you'll appreciate the effort of the entire KBT Team in providing this upgrade. We know you like the aircraft!! And this upgrade just makes it so much more fun to fly. But we won't stop here. As always, we love to hear your comments and suggestions for future additions or changes to the model.
Team FS KBT