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Spurious Cascading Skills


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I have it on good authority (*every* pilot who has mentioned anything about it) that fixed wing and rotary wing skills absolutely do not cascade (overlap or carry over in any way, shape, or form).

If flying a plane is riding a bicycle, flying a helo is juggling flaming, razor-sharp, double-ended daggers on a unicycle balanced at the top of a long flight of stairs. Except that unicycle skill would help significantly in riding a bicycle the first time, whereas helo experience doesn't help untrained fixed wing flying.

A helo pilot is only marginally better at flying a fixed wing than somebody who has played lots of MicroSoft Flight Simulator on the computer; either might be able to land a plane without killing anybody as long as the tower talked them through the procedure. Fixed wing pilots do not attempt to fly helos. If they're in one and something happens to the pilot, prayer is more productive than grabbing at controls they won't know what to do with (and that's not a joke).

What you need is two classes of helos. One is the fly-by-wire, AI assisted models of the future that safely interpret fixed wing craft controls (which might be called "Roto-planes" or "Ornithopters" or something). These would cascade with fixed wing skills. The other is cyclic/collective helocopters outside the fixed wing cascade.

•In addition, you need one-way cascading. Our primitive helo pilot skills would cascade to the advanced Ornithopters or whatever (the AI interpreted controls might even include options to mimick the cyclic/collective controls of older helos). Pilot skill on the advanced types would not cascade to primitive choppers unless their instructors forced them to practice with alternate controls.

•Jet [Harrier] and prop [Osprey] VTOL craft are distinct non-cascading classes as well, both with fixed wing pilot as a prerequisite. Advanced AI assisted models (call it mixed mode flight) might cascade with fixed wing of the same type (jet or prop), while jet or prop VTOL will cascade with any kind of advanced mixed mode.

•I would argue that regular jet and prop skills don't truly cascade either. Expert jet pilots make stupid prop flying mistakes that have cost their lives, and vice-versa. Skill of 2+ in one type gives level 1 skill maximum for the other type (they know the basics well enough). In the future many societies might not have prop planes at all, except for the eccentric hobbyist. That could complicate the picture.

•If an additional class of winged aircraft that utilize thrusters other than prop/jet is included (some variant of AG, repulsors, poofda-tech, etc), other fixed wing skills would cascade to winged poofda-craft. Mystery tech craft skills of 2+ would confer level 1 max for jet or prop (assuming the pilot has ever seen these primitive things, otherwise she's clueless).

Pistols vs long arms should not fully cascade. Plenty of people have high skills with one and absolutely zero skill with the other. Both take lots of practice to maintain. Skill of 2+ in one might type confer level 1 maximum to the other if some effort is taken to be made familiar enough with the other type to benefit. No familiarity, no benefit.

If the character takes at least one skill in the lesser, then the character's greater skill can be considered to cascade. The only benefit then is if the character has at least skill 3 of one type. This could be noted on a character sheet as, eg, "Pistol cascade" below the long arm skill or "long arm cascade" below the pistol skill. Then on, it is assumed the character practices enough with the cascade type to maintain cascade skill.
But it is so simple to control a jet or a helicopter using my computer! It just takes a little practice and a few crashes to get used to flying something, and going between them just takes a few minutes (maybe a crash or two) to adjust your reactions so that you don't go grabbing for a non-existant collective control when flying a jet. :D

On a more serious note, my uncle, who is a very skilled prop-plane pilot, has told me that he CANNOT play flight simulators because they do not do a good enough job of mimicing real controls. Personally, I think it is beause you cannot tell where the ground is in most of them.

I recall many many years ago, I played Chuck Yeager's AFT, and hardly ever crashed. I could get most planes to fly themselves, although the SR-71 was a real bitch, especially above 100,000 feet (no air). (Real life P-51's are not nearly so easy to fly as they are in the game; I can get it to fly fairly steady, as if rolling over hills, but the real plane will not do that.) The cool thing about this game was that it had ground markers; they were little black spheres, and the ground was covered evenly with them. As you got too close to the ground, those spheres would get rather large, and so after some practice, you could tell how high you were. They were positioned so that they looked liek they were ON the ground.

Most other sims don't give you that. They may have ground clutter, but it doesn't usually show up until after the crash is irretrieveable, and certainly isn't as intuitive as AFT was.

A real plane is going to have a lot of controls, though. I would have to imagine that a computer could take away some of those controls, giving the pilot little more than direction and speed control.

Having flown heloes and jets and harriers in simulation, I can certainly agree that they are not the same skills, however, I disagree if you think they do not have some overlap. We might see a middle ground where the cascade is only worth half as much as most other cascades.

Your gun thing, I am going to flat out disagree with you. While a Pistol-4 does not mean a Rifle-4, it also does not mean you are unskilled in rifles. Both weapons work pretty much the same way, and use the same skills. As some one who had to qualify for both, I do not see a lot of difference except in what they do to a target or in how you hold them. The critical skill is to aim correctly and to squeeze your FINGER, not your hand. Holding your breath is also conducive to good aim.
The basic skills of aircraft trasfer fairly well for the novice pilot. I've flown numerous small airplanes, up to DHC-2 Beavers, and gooten stick time on C119's, plus gotten to use the pilot trainers for F15's at EDF-AFB, and the P3 sims at Kanehoi MCAS.

All the basic flgiht controls are nigh identical. the engine controls vary widely, but the basics of flying transports are pretty well standardized, as are typical control layouts. And small aircraft are the baseline from which they grew.

I've also flown a schweitzer S2 glider... the controls are, again, nearly identical, and in the same spots as expected.

Now, I've also gotten stick time on a helo; the Instructor was wonderful... but helos dont' transfer nearly as well... totally different control mechanics. What does trnsfer is the instruments and flight rules... but are those really part of the Pilot FW Prop skill?

(I don't have a license to fly for medical reasons... grrr)

as long as there is a single tiered skill system, the crossover will either be nummerous default-at-penalty or unrealistically low skill transferrance (IE, none).

Multi-tiered systems (CORPS, for example) have broad skills, and narrower subskills, and corps has really narrow tertiary skills.... for firearms and aircraft, specific model. In a realistic model, the broad skill should be required before the narrow can usually be taken.
I used to practice with a rifle regularly (twice a month). I've done target shooting with a handgun 5 times in about 20 years. The last time, after a full box of 50, I could slowly shoot a grouping of 5 at 25 feet as tight as I normally make a slow grouping of 5 with a rifle at 100 yd (open sights).

I can aim a rifle reflexively. My quick-shot grouping usually only has one fly-away. I'd be lucky if I get them in the rings with a pistol. To me it is not reflexive at all. I know plenty of guys who hunt and practice with long arms all the time but don't own and never fire a pistol. I'd like to see how they do after 50 to try to get the hang of it; maybe I'm just lousy or maybe not.

In a combat situation you aren't going to have the luxury of shooting half a dozen clips to get the hang of it. You need to be able to shoot without hesitation, and I know I wouldn't cut it with a pistol except at point-blank. I might be good for covering fire for someone who can shoot, but that's it.

Edit: corrected pistol range to feet, not yd
'Bow, both of your posts here are good. Have you considered mailing them to Marc?
ZZZzzzz&#133 uh, who's there? Oh, a response!

Sounds like too much effort ;) Besides, I was hoping for more feedback.
Starybow: Email them to marc...

While I see some more cross over than you for Jet-Prop, it's a minor issue. (Mostly maters of hwo many controls there are.) Really, for game purposes, seves at half works for glider, jet, and prop, serves at level 1 if level 2+ for Airplanes-Rotaries-LTAs makes more sense.

But yeah, someone needs to get MWM's attention on the issue.

Of course, by TL 12, it will all be fly-by-wire gravitics anyway...
Of course, by TL 12, it will all be fly-by-wire gravitics anyway...
Exactly, which is why they would get no cascading for less advanced vehicles and controls.

:confused: "Hey, doesn't this thing know how to fly? It's a plane, isn't it?!"

As for Jet-Prop crossover, one thing that has stuck in my mind for nearly 2 decades is that one of the few remaining original P-51s was destroyed when a well-known test pilot got a chance to fly it. He was a little too aggressive on the throttle at take-off and the torque flipped him as soon as he left the runway.

An extreme example of a small plane with a huge engine, I admit, but apparently the same problem can happen with radial engine planes of much lower hp-weight ratios.

Now to email MWM, how and where??
Well, perhaps my position about cascading is extreme, but certainly a diminished cascading (½ rounded down?) should be applied in piloting and long arms vs handguns.

Will send something to MWM.