Fw 190 D-9 Dora
While not entirely 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 — and certainly the upgraded D-9 “longnose” Dora represented in DCS World — was intended as a replacement of the ageing 109, and came as a nasty surprise when it did even if the timing of the introduction and the ever-increasing pressure from the allied air incursions deeper and deeper into occupied Europe meant that the older fighters had to be used until the end.
The fact that the Fw 190 D-9 is an upgrade, through and through, 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 D-9 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.
- The MW-50 water-methanol booster system to get more emergency power out of the engine.
- 2× 13mm machine guns and 2× 20mm cannons for making holes in things.
- Multiple bombs and rockets to make bigger holes in bigger things (the rockets being mainly intended for bombers).
- Only elevator trims, still.
Comes with the built-in Fw 190D-9 Challenge campaign.
Flying the Fw 190 D-9
While there are clear parallels between how the more modern Fw 190 D-9 improves on the design sensibilities of the older Bf 109, that parallel goes all non-euclidian when looking at the flight dynamics. The leap forward from the agile, clean-flying (if not always reliable), but clumsy on the ground, Spitfire was the P-51, which was easy to handle on the ground and more reliable in the air, but whose added speed and power in the air made it more difficult to actually fly. On the German side, the upgrade path was fare more clear-cut: the 109 was a handful on the ground, much like the Spitfire, and could also be a handful in the air to the speeds it could attain, and the Dora, was an improvement on both fronts.
The Fw 190 D-9 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. 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. It is still not exactly slow, especially since it retains the MW-50 system, but it is rather a more balanced approach than one that pushes itself into high-speed stalls and compressibility issues.
Getting into the air
The user-friednliness of the Fw 190 D-9 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).
- 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 (the knob is hidden above the bank of fluid dials and will require some digging around).
- 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, and do not let it do its own thing, you might tip over too far and have the propeller it the ground.
- Gear up, flaps up, onwards and upwards!
Getting the Fw 190 D-9 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.
- When the wings of the targets fit within the sight, you are at the correct range — fire.
If you brought along anti-air rockets:
- Arm the rockets by moving the left “SICHERHEITSSCHA. GERÄT 21” switch on the weapons panel to “EIN”.
- Aim as normal.
- Press the weapon-release button to fire.
Links and files
- Vehicle Size Chart for sight adjustments.
- Chuck's Fw190D-9 Dora guide.
- DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora in the DCS shop.
- Focke-Wulf Fw 190 on wikpedia.
- Bunyap's Test Flight - DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora video series.
- Taming taildraggers — an essay, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
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