aerofly FS > General Discussions > Topic Details
Cylon [PHP] Jan 9, 2013 @ 8:31am
Airbrakes when to use them
I love gliding in this game, but am confused at the moment when to use airbrakes. I noticed they're very effective for descending from high altitude, but how does this work in real life? Can these airbrakes really take this kind of pressure, or are they only used for landing? If so, what would be the best way to descend?
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JakeMBeanz Jan 9, 2013 @ 2:26pm 
Hi i am a gliding instructor in real life I will try my best to explain.

Air breaks are used to as you say for descend from height and are most commonly used for landing. Due to a gliders high lift wing without them on landing you would just float past your landing site so the air breaks are needed not to bring you down. It does this though effectively kill the lift generated by the aerofoil shape of the wing and bring you down. They work by stopping the air in a normally 1Meater part of each wing producing lift which turns the gliders ratio (how far it travels compared to how far it falls) form about 1:40 (this means for every 1 foot you drop your travel 40 forward) to about 1:2 with full air breaks and at landing speed, which means it's a lot easier to land and if you do it well you can land in a very small space.
So air breaks kill the lift and are not breaks to slow you down although they do slow you down a bit due to drag their main use is to bring you back down to earth safely.
Some do's and don’ts
Don’t use them in a turn unless your very high up or fast.
Tend now to use full air brakes on landing use about 2/3rds and hold them there.
Do use them for descending
If they are speed limiting which means they can be used to stop your glider going over its top speed VNE. Do use them for slowing down in a high speed dive.
Hope this helps.
Spike™ Jan 9, 2013 @ 5:30pm 
I too , am an experience old school glider pilot :) , and I agree mostly with Typhoon has said here. Although the ratio of decent for gliding aircraft is know as L/D ( lift to drag) ratio, and is written as 40:1, 30:1 etc ( 40 foot forward to 1 foot down )

Using 2/3 airbrake on approach is best practice, as it lets you add and extra 3rd if you're overshooting ( looking like landing further down the runway than desired)

Speed and airbrakes....

If you maintain height during and after deployment of airbrakes you will slow down
( not advisable at ulta high speed, better option is to pull up and trade speed for height)

If you maintain your speed during and after deployment the aircraft will be less efficiant due to disturbed aerodymamics over the section of wing, where the airbrakes are located. As per typhoons above explination, this will decrease your L/D ratio from 40:1 down to ( i would estimatate) 15:1

If you are still "overshooting" ( landing too long down the runway) then you might want to use a side slip approach.
Left handed side slip... turn the nose to the right with yaw/rudder pedal/joystick twist, and lower the opposite wing , in this case the left wing. This will add to the aerodynamic "inefficancy" and with full airbrake AND side slipping, you will fall out of the sky like a rock.
- caution with this technique is needed to maintain your speed well above stall speed, in real life ( depending on aircraft) the airspeed indicator may stop working as air is not going directly into the air intake ( that feeds pressure to the instrument resulting in dashboard reading) to combat this and maintain good airspeed during desent listen to the noise of the aircraft, if it gets noisier you're speeding up , quieter you're slowing down.

Other uses for airbrakes...

Popping out the airbrakes to aviod being sucked up into a cloud
- No artifical horizon and not being able to see out may become an overspeeding disaster, or mid-air collion ( I have used this technique in real life in a 10knt thermal at cloud base)

Flying formation, you can uses airbrakes to decrease your glide performance to better match that of the other aircraft, its tricky, just a small crack of the airbrakes would be enough.

Enable shorter pullups, for instance you are pointing directly at the ground, say the sound half of a loop off the deck from VNE ( velocity never exceeded) - Not advisable in RL LOL
pulling out the airbrakes will hinder the aircraft from gaining speed through the pull up, this will in turn shorten the arc of recovery this recovery from a dive airbrake application has saved my life in real life.....

there is some extra things to try out
Happy flying my friend,

See yo in the skies of aeroflyFS when this monster goes multiplayer :)

Spike
Cylon [PHP] Jan 10, 2013 @ 9:04am 
Thank you both so much for the detailed explanation! :) Never thought I would get awsner of real pilots!!
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