Patriots Jet Team Makes History with Flight Simulator (FC2)

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Patriots Jet Team Makes History with Flight Simulator (FC2)

Post by SilentEagle » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:13 pm


In 2011, the Patriots Jet Demonstration Team, based out of Discovery Bay, California, added two more L-39 jets to their airshow performance and debuted their 6-ship show. In an effort to meet their goals with limited resources, the team reached out to their online virtual counterparts, the Virtual Patriots. Already breaking barriers in the aerobatic community with the integration of the Virtual Patriots as a part of the actual team, the Patriots continued to fly into the unknown. The virtual pilots were integral in molding the 2011 Patriots Jet Team performance by flying the new routine in an online flight simulator, LockOn Flaming Cliffs 2. At each show iteration, the performance was recorded, reviewed, corrected, and tweaked by the actual pilots, before a single drop of fuel was consumed by the L-39's. By sowing a unique partnership with their virtual counterparts, the Patriots Jet Team was able to enhance the quality and safety of their 6-ship show, all while reducing maintenance and fuel costs, a first for any aerobatic team in the world!

On September 18, 2011 all six Virtual Patriots took to the skies in the backseat of their respective L-39's for a truly historic flight. Climbing through 16,000 ft above the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Virtual Patriots were put through the ultimate test, maintaining delta formation, just as they have done virtually. With zero room for error, you will witness the truest example of the unique bond that exists between the that is separated by only a few feet in what many have called "Rare Air!" The following video showcases this memorable flight.

Find out more about the Patriots Jet Team at:


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Post by Convertible » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:56 pm

Pretty sweet. Can't say that I am not jealous. Way to go!!!
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Post by Rotorblade » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:27 pm

Now that is way cool!
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Post by Redeye » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:34 pm

8) Ya gotta love it :!: :D
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Post by Ells » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:17 am

That is awesome!!
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Post by Ray » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:46 pm

Excellent video - nicely edited and awesome footage! Thanks for putting it together.

It's great to see the VPJT working with the PJT like that - something that, like you say, hasn't been done before to that degree. Keep paving the way and hopefully more real life teams will catch on and support their virtual counterparts.

I'd like to hear about how the airplane felt compared to the sim, and if you all thought it was easier or harder to fly? I think flying a real plane is easier than in the sim since you have much more feel for what's going on.

Did they let you try a formation loop or roll on your own? Or did everyone scatter for a bit and try their hand at flying a few maneuvers from the backseat? I assume you were able to fly in spread formation on your own right? How was that?

I know in the L-39 they use those boards a lot. Constantly actuating them would probably take some getting used to coming from the sim where we mainly use power to control forward/aft spacing. Sorry, too many questions. :lol:
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Post by Burner » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:12 pm

Just to quickly answer some of your question Ray. We can talk more in detail on Vent some time.

The real plane is definitely easier to fly, for one the plane next to you is BIG, it's your whole world in diamond and still fills 90% of your vision in spread. Physically there are two items that stood out most for me, one was the pitch axis is just as sensitive in the real jet as in the sim and PIO happens, however with all the additional visual feedback, seat of your pants feeling and stick sensitivity/precision it is easier to catch the PIO in one to one and a half cycles and put a stop to it. Once I had a better feel for the pitch axis there was no PIO for the rest of the flight.

The other is the wind stream effect. I'm sure there is a technical term for it (beta?) but I'm talking about the tendency of the air flowing over the jet to dampen out your inputs, especially the yaw axis. The yaw axis in the sim is just wrong, or the effect is not modeled, but in the real jet in level flight with no alpha on the wings rolling doesn't do much to precisely move you left and right. However the real rudder is practically idiot proof- unlike the sim where a little rudder away from the boss will put you on a new heading and take you away at a constant rate even after the input is removed, in the real jet you put in rudder to correct your lateral and when you take it out that's it- the jet stays right where you want it. I did more work with my feet than my right hand (which coincidentally was the biggest thing for me to get used to when I was getting my private coming out of sims as a kid).

We all got in different amounts of stick time depending on who was up front, Boards gave me the jet once we were established in the climb and I flew it until Wilbur called for front seaters to take the controls when Wilbur gave the jet to Blaze (about 20 minutes). I got in a little more time after that. Spread formation was not too bad, then we kicked it out to route once we leveled off and the outer wingmen caught up. After being in spread distance route was easy. None of us got to fly the formation roll unfortunately, though I'm confident most of us could have handled it (in spread not diamond as the roll was flown). SE and Striker got some solo time after they were cleared out of the diamond and only SE got to do a loop. We were heavy on gas with the previous weekend's events and saving the free fuel for the next performance was the smart financial move. Pitch for landing was flown at about 550K so we got some good G's on the aircraft (again depending on who was up front, you can see in the video some pitches were harder than others), I didn't look at the G meter but I'd guess Boards did between 3-3.5G, nothing crazy, no strain maneuver required :D

I didn't use the speed brake all that often. Specifically I used it twice, by accident, when I first took control. As I brought the throttle back the switch caught on the ball cap that I had stowed in my left lower leg pocket and did two quick pops, putting me aft by about a quarter plane length. The spool lag on the engine was more noticeable than the sim but still very responsive and smooth. Once we were in the roll Boards, as his namesake, used the speed brake with vigor- powering past what he needed and using the brake to as sort of an instant catch up (when it was closed) as we came through the back half of the roll on left wing. I'd say it was more technique than necessity.

That's the highlights, we had a blast and look forward to doing our part to contribute to the team in 2012.
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Post by Beaker » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:47 am

Nice write-up, Burner.
Burner wrote:I'm sure there is a technical term for it (beta?)
Beta, in aerodynamic terms, is sideslip. (Beta is to yaw as alpha is to pitch.) The term you're looking for is probably just that - dampening.
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