How to Fly a Plane - KSP Beginner's Tutorial

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hello everyone and welcome to episode 11

of my beginner's guide to Kerbal space

program in the previous episode we built

ourselves well this little plane and we

talked about its design and how to build

something that hopefully will fly for

you well this episode's gonna be the

moment of truth we're gonna fly this

thing on an actual mission and well

let's talk about we're gonna talk about

well number one it's there are some

tweaks we still have to do and these

kind of tweaks can only be done in

flight so we're gonna talk about them

well coming up right off of the bat and

then we're gonna do our mission for real

of course we're gonna talk about taking

off we're gonna be talking about the

actual flight control part of it how to

turn how to cruise how to get yourself

to a nice altitude where you can

maximize your speed and then of course

no mission is complete without well

landing back at the Kerbal Space Center

so we're gonna die well getting back and

getting ourselves down onto the runway

safely but enough of this introduction

why don't we get started so lunch

alright and here we are on the runway

for the first time and first thing

you're probably gonna want to do every

single time notice how it's starting to

roll just a little bit down the runway

that actually is a kind of peculiar

physics e glitch that happens in the

game I'm not gonna get into it too much

it has to do with the fact that the

runway is perfectly flat however curb

ins surface is not and the end result of

all of that is from this planes

perspective going the middle of the

runway feels downhill for it it actually

starts to roll it's it's kind of a funky

thing that happens in here but anyway we

won't worry too much about it the but

what we want to do is we're gonna go for

our first flight obviously but there

we've got to still do some tweaking okay

there's still a few things we're going

to need to do before this plane is super

ready to go and one of them has to do

with these control surfaces we played

with this a little bit but what I want

to draw attention to here are these two

sliders which I've yet to get

to deploy angle and authority limiter

let me show you what deploy angle is

even though we're not gonna play if I

hit deploy see how these flaps kind of

come up like that

and that has to do with getting into

more advanced things like doing air air

braking and stuff like that typically

I'm not gonna worry too much about it

you actually don't need to think about

it right now but the one and what this

deploy angle does is it controls the

angle at which that will deploy at but

below that we have the authority limiter

and this is something we are gonna want

to play with and by the way if you're

not seeing this stuff make sure that you

do have advanced tweakable turned on in

your settings

anyway the authority limiter also

determines the maximum angle that this

thing is going to deploy at you may find

as you're flying your plane that your

plane may be a little twitchy it may

respond to your adjustments too quickly

and that can be controlled with this so

we're gonna want to take each of our

control surfaces and I'm gonna take

these menus I'm gonna pin them off to

the side we're gonna very likely tweak

them we tweak them once we're in flight

and I'll show you how all of that is

going to work the other thing we'll be

able to test is whether our center of

mass and center of lift are in a good

position relative to each other again

though that's something you want to do

in flight so we're gonna do that we're

gonna make some adjustments we're gonna

revert back to the space plane hangar

put in those adjustments so we can save

it and then we're gonna go and do the

mission for real z okay let's get ready

to do our takeoff a couple of things I

like to do first number one as I press

the V key and that changes the camera

view right now it's on free after that I

like to change it till it says chase

chase means that the camera is gonna

follow in behind your vehicle and for

planes I find that works the best the

other thing I want to do is change the

altimeter appear at the top right now

it's measuring our altitude above sea

level it's we're 70 meters above sea

level but when it comes to planes it's

really useful to have that change to

altitude above the terrain and we're 1

meter above the terrain because our

cockpit is 1 meter above the ground

it's measuring it from Akshay I'm not

sure if it's a cent whatever it doesn't

matter but we want to have our

measurement from the terrain and we're

also going to put on our lights I mean

why not we'll put on our lights as well

okay so we're just about ready to go

we're going to put on our SaaS we're

gonna throttle up I like to throttle up

before I engage my engines and then I'm

gonna hit the spacebar to engage my

engines and then I'm gonna release the

brakes okay I'm gonna put this off a

little bit to the side so we can get a

better view for so changing engines

release the brakes and we're gonna start

to move and one thing that's very

different between jet engines and rocket

engines is it takes a while for the

thrust to build up with jet engines so

be prepared for that you got to pick up

a little bit of speed and once you've

picked up the world we're getting a

little bit of a wobble going good job

whoa that is - I remember I talked about

twitchiness you typically don't want to

pitch up that aggressively because it's

really easy to get your back-end to hit

the bottom but anyway let's get

ourselves into a bit of a stable flight

and drop a little bit of attention to a

couple of things one of the things you

really want to pay attention to when

flying a plane is the rate of climb make

sure you are always aware of whether you

are going up or whether you are going

down one simple thing to take a look at

is Madball spent a lot of time looking

at the map ball look at that program

vector appropriate vector is in the blue

you're going up down a little bit the

pro gate vector ends up going into the

brown you're going down it's actually

reducer throttle I know one go - faster


- also up next - your altimeter is this

little dial which is indicating your

climb rate a little needle here

indicates how quickly you are climbing

be a little careful it is a logarithmic

scale notice how it goes ten and then a

hundred and then a thousand so the

increment here keeps increasing as we go

up the dial but you definitely want to

make sure that you are aware whether you

are going up or going down to avoid

unexpectedly hitting the ground okay

let's start playing with the authority

limiters here so the first thing I

noticed is twitch errors the pitch was

very twitchy it's to me that's way too

aggressive this is kind of a personal

thing - you might like that I personally

don't like that pitch is controlled with

these guys we the cards at the front we

talked about that last episodes what I'm

gonna do is I'm gonna take this

authority limiter I'm gonna turn it down

I don't know 11 sure wanna and now I'm

gonna test it again and to me that feels

a little better to be honest it's still

for my personal taste a little bit

twitchy still I'm gonna turn them down

to 5 and to me that feels pretty good do

it yourself get a feel for what what

feels good for you it might be different

and it's gonna be differently different

planes as well okay let's go next to the

rudder the rudder controls you all

that's left and right so again there's

left and right again that feel is too

aggressive to me so I'm going to try

putting it down to five as well negative

means it'll be going in the reverse

directions to your inputs if you like

that that's fine see to me I like that

that looks nicer and then finally we

have here these are the elephant's that

they're Ariel Airlines I always have

trouble saying that word but anyway

they're for roll and roll is like this

course and again I find that's very

aggressive let's put them down the five

all right so let's see how that is that

feels much much better to me

okay so

let's take these away we're going to

remember to turn those all back down to

five in the VAB okay last thing to check

is center of lift center of mass

position we want our plane to be

slightly nose-heavy

so right now it's being held up because

I have SAS on so the reaction wheels as

well as all the control system bowls

every attitude control system in the

plane is trying to keep its current

attitude its current pitch heading its

current pitch and its current heading

but what I can do is I can turn that off

temporarily and see what the plane does

it should slightly go down the nose

should slightly pitch down you can turn

it off by actually just clicking this or

clicking T but actually if you hold f it

topples it for you so if I hold F notice

the SS goes off and it's starting to

fall down that feels about right maybe a

little bit heavy but it's not so bad

right slow down just slightly yeah I'm

not doing that by the way that's it

doing itself it's just falling forward

okay once the SAS is turned off so you

want to make sure that happens if it

doesn't fall forward or that means your

center of lift and center mass are

almost right on top of each other you

don't want that and for if it starts to

pitch up you definitely want to move

your Center lift and center of mass R we

talked about all that last episode you

can go back and refer to that video if

you need more help with adjusting those

things but for this plane actually all

that I'm kind of want to change are the

authority limiters so what we're gonna

do is we're gonna hit escape we're gonna

revert flight we're gonna go back to the

space plane hangar I'm gonna go to each

of these control surfaces and we're

gonna turn that sortie limiter down to

five we're gonna save that so that's now

saved all the time and we're gonna

launch one more time and this time it's

for reals all right so now we are going

to do a mission so we're gonna hit to

put on the brakes

I also gonna put on the lights now

remember this is about science we are on

the runway for the very first time that

means that we have all kinds of science

we can collect once again I have put

those things on action groups so I have

a whole batch of science set to action

group one so I'm gonna press one on my

keyboard and we've done all kinds of

stuff we've done

Tyrael study we've done a crew report

we've done a temperature scan we've done

an atmospheric scan we've done a mystery

goo observation excellent we can also do

an Eevee a report so we're gonna Eevee a

jebadiah now even you can actually do

the Eevee a report right here on the

ladder if you like but I'm gonna

actually come down let go

let's get them walking around a little

bit why not and also once you down here

you can remove his helmet you can remove

that neck ring too there you go because

he doesn't need it clearly all right

let's do an e VA report so click on

jebediah do an e VA report they were

both perfect and we'll take a surface

sample - wonderful all right

and we're gonna go back and jebediah can

collect the data from the GU move that

data we can also collect the data from

that materials bay move that baby he

doesn't have to do that by the way and

then finally we can get right here

notice you can still grab the hatch

sometimes you might have to jump to grab

the hatch but he's jebediah has long

arms all right oh you know what else you

didn't do ba again we didn't collect the

science from the thermometer excellent

can you get the barometer he can good

job jeopardise now we've collected all

the silo and the crew report oh my gosh

to free up more science we can collect

excellent all right so um let's take off

yeah so we're gonna get put on our SAS

we're gonna again put our camera on to

chase view we're going to get put our

altimeter to radar at 10 meters so it's

measuring from above the terrain and

we're going to again throttle up hit the

spacebar take off the brakes

I never did deal with that wobble

yeah there's a little wobble sure bugs

get up there we go what up wow this

planes a little wonky walkie that he's

landing here what are you gonna do I

don't want to get into playing around

with the landing gear if you want to get

into playing with the landing gear and

adjusting there's like friction control

this stuff and and dampeners and springs

I think it's getting too much for this

video so I don't want to talk about it

but if you want to get into that connect

and often adjust with that wobble but I

just don't want to go there I'll leave

that for you to play with maybe for a

future episode okay our plan is to go to

the desert when the deserts are that way

so that means we need to turn around so

way to turn around is we're going to

Warcraft just a little bit like that and

then we're going to pitch up and that

starts getting now you can be reasonably

aggressive with visits kind of pretty

amazing okay

and we're pitching up pitching up

pitching up until we get going the way

we want and then we're going back the

other way

all right that's that's the easiest way

to turn around I can shoe that one more

time here we can we can roll to one side

and we pitch now one thing you can while

you're churning you want to keep an eye

on this nav ball now right now I'm up

pretty high so if than that if the pro

great vector goes down into the brown

because we're up pretty high it's not

really a big deal but if you're close to

the surface it definitely is

you want to pay attention to that one

way to control whether you're into the

brown or into the blue is as you're

trained in this you can adjust your role

as you roll as your role becomes less

perpendicular if you roll this way you

start to go down if you roll this way

you'll start to go back up again the

other thing you can do is you can adjust

your yaw with the rudder pitch this way

and start to pull the plane up this way

or we ah this way and it starts to pull

the pitch down again I'm adjusting the

rudder with the a and the D keys about

anyway kind of going around in circles

here aren't we thump let's get going on

an actual mission so we are gonna go

towards mountains there we go the desert

is on the other side of these mountains

all right

get ourselves into a fit of a level

flight again I'm looking at the nav ball

if the pro grade vector is very close to

the horizon you're very close to level

you can also take a look at this dial

that also indicates whether you're going

up or down the other thing you'll find

too is you start accelerating very

quickly that's cool but I'm gonna slow

myself down a little bit there's no

reason to go particularly nuts with this

all right let's we're going right now on

a gentle climb that's perfect for the

next thing I want to see I'm gonna take

one of these judo jet engines I'm gonna

pin this over to the side and what I

want to draw attention to here is the

thrust right now this thing is producing

8.8 kilonewtons of thrust I'm gonna

start increasing my altitude pitching up

a bit so we start climbing and what I

want you to do is as we're climbing here

you see on our altitude going up I want

you to watch the thrust and notice that

the thrust is going down and it's gonna

keep going down as I continue to climb

the reason for that is that as we get

into a higher altitude the air is

getting thinner and the air is the

propellant that is pushing this thing

forward we have air coming in this air

intake some of the oxygen in that air is

being used to burn the fuel but most of

that air is actually just being pushed

right out the back end by this jet

engine that's what pushing this plane

forward as the air gets thinner that's

less massive air to push out and that

means your thrust goes down okay so be

aware that what you're gonna find

happening is that you get to a point

where your thrust will go down to a

point where you'll have trouble keeping

your plane level and it will start to

come down on its own again so what that

means is there is kind of a happy kind

of a cruising altitude for all planes

and for all planes and different engines

that's always going to be different the

cruising altitude is where you're gonna

be able to go the most efficiently as

you fly forward because as you go up yes

you are losing thrust but also the air

is getting thinner which means you have

less air to push out of your way there's

less air resistance

playing going up so you want to kind of

play around and find where is that kind

of cruising altitude where you can get

the max velocity and I find often with a

small plane like this one it's probably

gonna be in and around six seven and

eight kilometer somewhere in that range

so we could probably go a little bit

higher and it's easy to find it because

you just keep climbing and at some point

your speed stops increasing even if your

thrust is at full and that's when you

know oh dear I'm getting towards where

the maximum is that I can do okay you

can see now how our speed is starting to

drop because our thrust is coming down

too far so what we're gonna do is we're

going to just hit the F button and we're

going to just use that the fact that we

are other than those heavy to kind of

level off a little bit I should also

mention that the other thing that

affects the thrust is also the speed

you're going the faster you go the more

air that's coming drawn being drawn into

here and therefore the more air that's

being pushed out and the greater your

thrust will be so it's not just air

pressure it's also your speed that

generates thrust so that's why there is

this kind of happy kind of cruising

altitude that you will find I think I'm

right around where that cruising

altitude is about five kilometers above

the terrain it's about seven kilometers

above sea level which is pretty close to

where I expected it to be

now our destination here is a nearby

patch of desert to the west of the KSC

on the opposite coast of this small

continent where we're going to be doing

a landing and I'll let you know right

now this landing doesn't go well but I'm

gonna show it to you anyway

number one because well you might find

it entertaining number two though is

because I do talk about landing and some

of that stuff I think is relevant and

will then do a proper landing back at

the runway at the end

this video the reason why things don't

go well by the way is because of the

landing gear that you saw me having some

difficulty with when I was taking off

but I never fixed because I didn't want

to get into it because I thought it was

too much for this video to tell you what

I will do I'll put a link down in the

description to the craft file for this

plane where I will have landing gear

tweaked so that they are far less likely

to crumple under the plane hug contact

with the ground

but right now well I have killed my

throttle and we're gonna land so our

first landing here is not gonna be on

the runway it's gonna be on this patch

of desert I wouldn't recommend that if

you're doing your landings for the first

time you just want to practice landings

practice doing them on the perfectly

flat runway not on this uneven terrain

that we're about to get ourselves into

the other thing I would highly highly

highly recommend at this stage is

pushing f5 and doing a quick save so

that if things go wrong which they up

and do you're able to revert back to

this particular situation we also have

to slow down the easiest way by the way

to slow down you do not want to land

going at 200 meters per second and I

have my throttle light off the easiest

way to slow down is the flare

pitch up rather violently go back down

do it again

see how that just kills off velocity

the other thing you'll want to do before

doing your landing is to get a feel for

the stall speed so what I'm going to do

is I actually just kind of cruise like

this for a little bit watch my speed in

particular watch the rate of climb and

I'll get to a speed where all of a

sudden I can't keep this Matt this this

guy into the blue anymore because we're

going too slow I'm not generating enough

lift I'm very close to it here yeah I'm

starting to have to pitch up very

aggressively the plane is now stalling

you want to get a feel for that's the

throttle off to get our speed back you

want to get a feel for what the stall

speed is before you do your landing for

me I started noticing I was getting into

trouble when it was little just getting

a little bit below 50 meters per second

when you're coming in for your landing

you want to be the slower the better but

if you're below your stall speed

honestly that's going to be a problem

because then you'll just drop so get a

feel for your stall speed this plane

seemed to be about 50 meters per second

so as I'm coming in I want to make sure

that I keep it above 50 meters per

second or I might get myself into

trouble okay let's cut to the chase

and I'm really watching my rate of

descent I want to keep it as low as I

can and we're just about to touch this

is sketchy even I'm getting nervous okay

yeah this clearly isn't gonna work so

we'll revert back by pressing f9 we'll

turn around and we'll head back to the

Kerbal Space Center and do a landing on

the runway where things should be

significantly less explosive and

although by now the Sun had gone down I

do have this beautiful full moon and

right now we're just coming towards the

Kerbal Space Center now the one thing

about the runway is that the runway is

pointing due along the east and the west

line so as you approach the runway you

definitely want to end up in this case

that the direction we're going finishing

off going to do so right now I'm

pointing a little bit north of East

because I can see them a little bit

south of the Kerbal Space Center this is

all about lining up that that landing on

the runway you definitely want to do

that if you find yourself giving towards

the runway and you're not lined up just

throttle up turn around and try it again

I would like the land a little more than

50 meters per second maybe at around 55

60 meters per second but my advice when

it comes to landing is quick save and

practice until you kind of get the feel

for it it's a little bit trickier and

get the picks a little bit more practice

than other things you might be doing in

Kerbal space program one thing I will

advise as we come in when it's time to

do the braking don't brake by just

toggling this on press the B button to

brake because you want to be ready to

take the brakes off if you find that

things like I said the landing gear in

this game have to kind of work with them

they most certainly could be better I

just love this whole said straight for

the moon runway the approach is good I

like my speed

I think it's pretty good I think I'm

alright okay my altitude dropping and as

we get towards the runway we're gonna

flare up ever so slightly just a little

bit slow you don't want to hit your back

end down I'm gonna get down we're

falling a bit and down and there we are

and I'm gonna just touch with the B it's

a little wobbly I'm just kinda cuz I'm

worried about brake too hard things are

gonna get there is something wacky with

these landing gear look how the wheels

kind of bounce in and out not quite sure

what's going on and you know what I'm

not gonna worry about it

we have gone slow enough you can just

put on the brakes now for realsies so it

didn't quite get the science that I

anticipated we'll get some better

landing gear in a future episode we will

try that again

but right now why don't we talk about

what we covered in this episode we

started by making sure we did a test

flight and during that test light we

tweaked the authority limiters on all of

our control surfaces we also made sure

that our center of lift was properly

positioned we then did our flight for

real and we talked about flight control

particularly pitch yaw and roll and how

you use those to control the direction

you want your plane to go we spent some

time talking about jet engines the fact

that there is a lag when you use the

throttle that you have to get used to as

well the thrust of those jet engines

will change depending upon your altitude

and your speed and finally we did talk

about landing we talked about the

importance of knowing what your stall

speed is we talked about how to use

flaring to slow your craft down and the

importance of keeping track of your

vertical speed especially when you are

close to the surface and with that I'm

gonna be drawing this episode to close I

hope that you found it useful and I hope

to see you again for the next one




look at that spring strength that's what

I should have done