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0Coota0
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It may just be me but does it seem to anyone else that the Vlaks all have lousy rear visibility. Comapare a VF-1 to any modern U.S. Fighter (F-14. F-15, F-16, F/A-18) and you'll see that the bubble canopy gives good rear visibility, but the valks have a bulkhead to the rear. This would also seem odd to me from a piloting point of vies because the guys all started out flying reular jets, I think I read somwhere that the main jet trainer for the U.N. was the T-45. Any thoughts? Anybody know how Valk pilots compensate?

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Like with any design there are comprimises made, in order for the VF-1 to transform it has to have the flush rear canopy. This really isn't as big a deal as many people think though. WHen looking behind you you can never really see your six unless it is your six o'clock high position. Things like the seat and tail fins get in the way on all planes. Also if you look DYRL you can see that the HUD is wrapped around the whole cockpit. In the first battle you see Hikaru look over his shoulder and still has his target bracketed despite the fact that it is in a blind spot. Being able to see straight back is not that critical an issue as long as you can see upwards, which you can in a valk, that canopy extends back a great deal past the pilot.

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Well, the valks do have those side view mirrors on the console in them... for... looking... behind... them... :unsure:

True, but due to the fact that the cockpit is set lower into the fuselage, and not above it (like the F-14 or F-15), those mirrors would only provide a rear view to above the fighter. They still do not show the pilot what is directly behind them :)

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I have an honest question here as I don't know the real answer... I've heard a lot of people claim both sides of this argument so here is the question I must ask:

Can a fighter pilot really crank his head all the way around over his shoulder and look out the back of his plane? Wouldn't the combination of his helmet, his seat and the force pushing on his body as he speeds along sort of prevent him from doing that? I'm sitting still in a chair in my offce and the best I can crank my head around is about 90 degrees and I gain about an additional 10 degrees with eye movement... I can't see directly behind me, it's a blind spot. If I lean foreward in my chair and twist my torso in conjunciton with my head and eyes then I can see directly behind me. But if I was in a fighter the spot I'm looking at would be filled with the headrest from my ejector seat.

So what's the deal then... can a fighter pilot actually look behind him? ... or does he only really only have about a 180 to 230 degree field of view in front, top and on the sides and he either uses mirrors or a RIO to see 100% behind him?

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I have an honest question here as I don't know the real answer... I've heard a lot of people claim both sides of this argument so here is the question I must ask:

Can a fighter pilot really crank his head all the way around over his shoulder and look out the back of his plane? Wouldn't the combination of his helmet, his seat and the force pushing on his body as he speeds along sort of prevent him from doing that? I'm sitting still in a chair in my offce and the best I can crank my head around is about 90 degrees and I gain about an additional 10 degrees with eye movement... I can't see directly behind me, it's a blind spot. If I lean foreward in my chair and twist my torso in conjunciton with my head and eyes then I can see directly behind me. But if I was in a fighter the spot I'm looking at would be filled with the headrest from my ejector seat.

So what's the deal then... can a fighter pilot actually look behind him? ... or does he only really only have about a 180 to 230 degree field of view in front, top and on the sides and he either uses mirrors or a RIO to see 100% behind him?

i think it varies with people, some pilots, like people can only turn their head 90 degrees, while others can turn their head like 115 and see 140, and others even more still, but like i said, it probably varies with the person.

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I agree with Knight26 and JsARCLIGHT. There are scores of fighter designs that do not have a clear rear veiw from the cockpit and the dead-rear veiw for a pilot is rather hard to look at when he's seated in a forward position. The Valkyrie also has the added benefit of better visual and tracking technology than an F-14. That was clearly demonstrated in Macross Zero, where the F-14 couldn't detect that SV-51, but the VF-0 didn't have that problem. There are also the external cameras on a Valkyrie. Even in fighter mode, the Valkyrie might use it's external monitors to track opponents in it's blind spot. The big cockpit screen centered in the front console is used for visual communication. It's not too much of a stretch to assume the monitor can display dead-rear on the aircraft via one of the Valkyire's external cameras.

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The main thing is to have the best forward and side vision possible. F-16 is number one by far for this. (No frames forward of the pilot). F-14's suck at this.

Seeing behind is just a bonus. (And as said, you can only see behind and above--not behind/below, straight behind, or behind/side---advantage is marginal for a bubble canopy--but still desired)

Best rearward vision: another guy who's not busy flying the plane. AKA Goose's job in Top Gun. :)

Now, another thing to consider is: planes don't fly alonw. And formations aren't just "however they look coolest"---they're arranged so that everyone can watch out for everyone else. Nobody can keep up a full 360 search all the time. But there's different techniques and formations for different numbers of planes, so that SOMEONE is always looking in any particular direction.

Finally: just use cameras if you really want a good view. Of course, you generally need a nice big cockpit to be able to have room to add another screen. 777-300's do this. They actually have several cameras, to display the main gear, and h.stab tips. (Biggest gear track and turning radius of any airliner by far, 747's got nothing on a stretch 777 for "hard to manuever on the ground" )

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The VF-1 starting from block 6 manufacture (the type we see in DYRL) had the holographic HUD, which allowed symbols to be displayed anywhere on the canopy. So as long as the threat is picked up by the various passive or active sensors on the VF, the holographic HUD can display threat direction at the appropriate position on the canopy.

This type of holographic HUD is also seen in the VF-11B in the opening fight of Macross Plus episode # 1. Presumably there is also an audible warning to alert pilots of the direction of an approaching enemy or missile(s).

Some VFs obviosly have better canopy visibility than others. Probably the top contenders would be the VF-11 and VF-5000, which has a very high mounted bubble canopy.

For dogfighting, the canopy with the worst visibility would have to be on the VF-17, although I imagine that holographic HUD and advanced sensors probably make up for the poor visibility at least to some degree. Mind you, I think the VF-17 was designed as more of a strike fighter rather than a pure dogfighter, although for most of Macross 7, it seems to serve as a rapid response interceptor.

Graham

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Theres a good deal of evidence to suggest that the very best pilots have outstanding spatial awareness - they might not be able to physically look straight behind them but they have an uncanny ability to be aware of whats going on around them in the sky. During World War II, the British ace "Sailor" Malan used to pin a dot on a wall and then practice swivelling his eyes towards it, so that he could train his eyes to quickly focus on a target.

Its possible the rear-view mirrors on the early Valkyrie block numbers are actually fed by rear view cameras. Hurricanes, Spitfires, and other WW II aircraft also used mirrors, though for every technical account that describes them as being too small to be really useful, theres another account of how a pilot looked upwards at the crucial moment a Me109 was sneaking up behind...

I believe that during the Vietnam war, an awful lot of attackers were spotted by the back-seater in F-4 Phantoms.

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Still though the F4 Phantom has zero rear visability out of the RIO seat... it's worse than the VF-1X. I still think that the mirrors are the things the pilots use. A good number of "modern" fighter used two or three rear and side view mirrors in their cockpits just like the VF-1 series.

Still, aerial combat is so fast and precise that I doubt something could sneak up on a pilot without at least some warning from radar or sensors to alert him. F Zero mentioned the pilots in Vietnam, nine times out of ten american planes where shot down by AAA or SAMs... most AAA in vietnam had no radar warning all, you just see a bunch of tracers zip past and you hear a bunch of thumps and noises and next thing you know your plane is lit up like a christmas tree with fire lights and master cautions... as for SAMs most planes in the 'Nam "Saw them coming" on the radar before they could actually see the SAM. Then again spotting a sputtering flying phone pole out your cockpit window is usually a sign that it's too late to do anything to get out of the way anyhow.

My guess is in the future more emphasis is put on electronic sensors and radar much like it is today and those aid the pilot in his perception of the battlefield.

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Still, aerial combat is so fast and precise that I doubt something could sneak up on a pilot without at least some warning from radar or sensors to alert him.

Warning: the following is based on experience with PC flight simulators.

If all you have is a forward-looking radar and TWS (threat warning system), an enemy can sneak up on you from behind and either hit you with cannons or achieve heat-seeking missile lock without your knowledge. To do this, he has to forego using radar himself (or he'll show up on your TWS) and rely on visual spotting.

Even if Valks have improved 360° sensors, they might be fooled by stealth technology (though perhaps not at ranges where visually checking your 6 would make a difference).

Edited by ewilen
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Theres a good deal of evidence to suggest that the very best pilots have outstanding spatial awareness - they might not be able to physically look straight behind them but they have an uncanny ability to be aware of whats going on around them in the sky. During World War II, the British ace "Sailor" Malan used to pin a dot on a wall and then practice swivelling his eyes towards it, so that he could train his eyes to quickly focus on a target.

True, the trick is ofcourse not staying in one place during combat

Having a static view from mirrors won't help, keeping that mirror moving and you spot tailing threats a lot sooner

rembering where potential targets are after you passed them will help anticipate the next offensive/defensive step

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Hum, now that I've seen the Vf-22s schematics, and since we're in the topic (kinda), why does the Sturmvogel has so many rods in the canopy? It's not like it's a lot bigger than anything else to demand more structural support, and if clean it would have pretty much the same shape than the VF-19's, so no freaky shape stress problem there.

And Macross DOES have a history of clean, F-16 / F/A-22 canopies (sp?), save for the 17 (which was based, after all, in the 117).

Can anyone please take a shot or two at that one? :unsure:

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Hum, now that I've seen the Vf-22s schematics, and since we're in the topic (kinda), why does the Sturmvogel has so many rods in the canopy? It's not like it's a lot bigger than anything else to demand more structural support, and if clean it would have pretty much the same shape than the VF-19's, so no freaky shape stress problem there.

And Macross DOES have a history of clean, F-16 / F/A-22 canopies (sp?), save for the 17 (which was based, after all, in the 117).

Can anyone please take a shot or two at that one? :unsure:

Perhaps in the case of the VF-22/YF-21 it's just a case of more armour protection for the pilot in battroid mode.

Unlike most other Valks which have either a sliding heatshield to protect the pilot in battoid mode (VF-1, VF-11) or the cockpit is protected by moving inside the body (YF-19, VF-17), the VF-22/YF-21 leaves the cockpit very exposed in battroid mode.

Graham

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Can a fighter pilot really crank his head all the way around over his shoulder and look out the back of his plane? Wouldn't the combination of his helmet, his seat and the force pushing on his body as he speeds along sort of prevent him from doing that? I'm sitting still in a chair in my offce and the best I can crank my head around is about 90 degrees and I gain about an additional 10 degrees with eye movement... I can't see directly behind me, it's a blind spot.

I picked a spot directly behind me on the wall while sitting in my office chair, then turned around (neck and eyes only). I could easily see it. The key is to tilt your head up, not just turn it sideways. I assume pilots use a technique like this.

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I'm sitting at home in my office now doing what you said. The doorknob on the door behind me is my target. I can literally see it... but it's a blur as it resides just off the periphery of my field of vision. I can see behind be but I cannot interpret what it is. If I had to pick out a speck in a big blue or black void I couldn't... and if the bad guys where big enough for me to easily see I'd think that I'd be dead long before getting the chance to look behind me.

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Theres a good deal of evidence to suggest that the very best pilots have outstanding spatial awareness - they might not be able to physically look straight behind them but they have an uncanny ability to be aware of whats going on around them in the sky. During World War II, the British ace "Sailor" Malan used to pin a dot on a wall and then practice swivelling his eyes towards it, so that he could train his eyes to quickly focus on a target.

That, training, and some gut feeling can keep the pilot alive until he/she can shoots down "charlie".

Edited by Angel's Fury
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