Fw 190 A-8
|This is a beta module.
This module is still being developed and may still be missing some features and equipment options. It is playable and most of the content is there, but some final touches and fixes for minor bugs are still in the works. It is probably safe to buy unless you crave absolute fidelity and/or very few bugs.
While not exactly obscure, the Fw 190 certainly exists in the shadow of the Bf 109, simply by not being connected to as many famous battles and campaigns. Nevertheless, the Fw 190, introduced at the tail end of the Battle of Britain, was intended as a replacement of the rapidly ageing 109. It saw its first major action seen on the Eastern Front, where its performance and ease of use made it an immediate success and a top performer in the sky. As the war progressed, however, its main limitation became more and more apparent: performance took a significant hit at higher altitudes, and as allied strategic and terror bombing became a commonplace, it was ill suited as a counter for the bomber wings and their P-38, P-47 and P-51 escorts. In the late war, it was superseded by the high-altitude D-9 “Longnosed Dora” variant of the airframe.
The fact that the Fw 190 A-8 is an upgrade from the aircraft of earlier decades is evident even at first glance. It removes a number of kinks in the 109's flight dynamics and significantly cleans up the cockpit environment, presenting a very neat interface to the pilot to a degree that even many later aircraft would not match — just compare the Dora's cockpit to the cluttered F-86F dashboard or the dial-shotgun design of the MiG-15bis. In many ways, this mirrors the quick evolution seen between the older design sensibilities that went into the Spitfire and the more modern ones found in the Mustang: two different generations of aircraft, both rolling out new variants at a rapid clip and but also turning the lessons of the old into core design principles for the new.
The Fw 190 A-8 improves on the pilot's life by having:
- A very user-friendly cockpit layout, including colour-coding of dials to quickly find the right read-out in a hurry.
- An equally user-friendly wide stance on the ground, for good stability and steering at all speeds.
- 2× 13mm machine guns and 4× 20mm cannons for making holes in things.
- A single bombs to make bigger holes in bigger things.
- Only elevator trims, still.
The Fw 190 A-8 is marked ”Early Access” in the DCS shop, and while the key components of the module are in no worse a shape than the D-9 model (since they're pretty much exactly the same in both aircraft), it still has a few missing bits and pieces:
- A number of binds are still missing.
- The manual is still lacklustre.
- Some armament systems are missing.
- There are a few occasional (but very annoying) bugs with communications and electronics systems.
Flying the Fw 190 A-8
While there are clear parallels between both axis and allied aircraft in how they developed over the course of the war, that parallel goes all non-euclidian when looking at the actual flight dynamics. The leap forward from the agile, clean-flying, fussy and temperamental Spitfire with its clumsy ground handling was the P-51 — an aircraft that was easy to handle on the ground and more reliable in the air, but whose added speed and power in made it more difficult to actually fly. On the German side, the upgrade path was far more straightforward: the 109 was a handful on the ground, much like the Spitfire, and could also be a handful in the air due to the speeds it could attain. The Dora was an improvement on both fronts.
The Fw 190 A-8 gets rid of the snap-roll, back-flip tendencies of the 109 on take-off, and also improves ground handling in how the tail wheel is locked and in how the landing gear in general is set up. The wider gear arrangement makes both take-offs and landings less wobbly over all. In the air, the design focus had not been so much on achieving excessive speed as on reliability, visibility, and manoeuvrability.
Getting into the air
The user-friednliness of the Fw 190 A-8 starts… well, at the very start. To get it into the air you have to:
- Flip open the circuit breaker panel on the right and turn everything on there.
- Turn on oxygen, and check the fuel tanks so you haven't forgotten to fuel up.
- Move the fuel tank selector to “AUF”.
- Turn on the fuel pumps using the remaining CB:s on the right.
- Flip the magneto selector to M1+M2.
- Move throttle to “ANLASSEN” (Start/Idle).
- Put the propeller governor (“Kommandogerät”) in the manual (aft) position.
- Flip open the final cover on the right to reveal the starter switch, and push and hold it up for ~25s to crank up the starter flywheel.
- Now push and hold the starter switch in the other direction to start the engine.
- Run the engine at 2000 RPM to warm it up, while adjusting up the cowling flaps.
- Close the canopy and make your way to the runway — use the toe brakes to turn and pull back on the stick to lock the tail wheel to stay straight.
- Set flaps to START position.
- Push the throttle forward slowly to accelerate down the runway, and use rudder rather than brakes to go straight.
- As you pick up speed, the tail will start to rise — keep it under control and the aircraft will lift itself off the ground. Do not let it do its own thing or you might tip over too far and have the propeller cosplay as a high-speed plough.
- Gear up, flaps up, onwards and upwards!
Getting the Fw 190 A-8 ready for combat is a quick procedure:
- Power up your gyro sight (a knob on the right side of the sight).
- Dial in the wingspan of your target, per the table on the sight.
- Use the throttle rotary to dial in the range — 600m allows for optimal convergence of the guns.
- Flip up the inner and outer Master Arm switches.
- When the wings of the targets fit within the sight, you are at the correct range — fire.
Links and files
- Vehicle Size Chart for sight adjustments.
- Chuck's Fw190-A8 Anton guide at Mudspike.
- DCS: Fw 190 A-8 Dora in the DCS shop.