Gun Button to Fire!
“The great thing in air fighting is that the decisive factor does not lie in trick flying, but solely in the personal ability and energy of the aviator. A flying man may be able to loop and do all the tricks imaginable and yet he may not succeed in shooting down a single enemy”. Manfred von Richthofen – extracted from ‘The Red Air Fighter’.
In this instalment of our series on air combat, we will explore the ‘art’ of aerial gunnery. As alluded to in the extract above, no matter how adept you are at flying and manoeuvring your aircraft, if you cannot bring your guns to bear on your intended target, it all counts for nothing. Ultimately, your goal as a fighter pilot is to shoot down opposing aircraft as efficiently as possible. However, herein lies the problem: hitting a target while the ‘hunter’ and the ‘hunted’ are moving within a three-dimensional environment is not an easy thing to do and this is why aerial gunnery is one of the most challenging aspects of dogfighting to master.