If you jump into the cockpit during a Carrier Battle, you start the attack piloting the lead fighter of the lead flight. In this case, 8 will cycle you back through the entire strike, starting with your flight. Once you’ve exhausted the possibilities of that flight, you will then move through the next. The process will continue until you either find a plane you like or run out of new planes to jump into. Finally, then, you will return to your original aircraft and start the cycle over again. One final note: for the player who doesn’t mind bending the rules a little, changing planes can be a big help when you’ve gotten yourself shot up and need to get out of a badly damaged aircraft. Of course, there’s no guarantee the one you change into will be in any better shape.
BATTLE STATIONS Changing Stations is another option intended to broaden the horizons of play. Real bombers of this era had entire crews, not just single pilots. In many cases, the bombers in 1942 THE PACIFIC AIR WAR include a second active battle station – the dorsal gunner, sometimes called the ‘tail gunner’.
As pilot, you control the plane’s motion, the forward-facing weapons, and the bombs. Press the Station key to move into the dorsal (tail) gunner’s station. From here, you control only one thing – the dorsal-mounted machine gun(s). Your responsibility is to protect the “six”, the vulnerable area behind the aircraft. The autopilot has taken over as pilot. Use the Flight Control to aim your machine gun and Button 1 to fire. Press 1 if you decide to jump back into the cockpit.
The External Camera is your roving “eye in the sky”. Though it’s an unrealistic option (combat aircraft of the 1940s did not have remotely controlled, free-flying video probes), this camera provides an entertaining way to watch dogfights. It can also be exceedingly helpful when you’re having trouble finding nearby enemies (the technical, military aviation term for this is “cheating”). Simulation purists will not want to use the external camera during missions. The camera works in three modes, which you can switch between indiscriminately. Note that if you choose to set up an unusual camera angle it can take some time. Rather than doing this while piloting and fighting, pause the action (press aP) so that you can relax a little. (Note: for those unfamiliar with the film terms used below: ‘track’, ‘tilt’, ‘roll’, and ‘pan’, please refer to the Glossary for brief definitions.) Chase Mode In Chase Mode, which you call by pressing 6, the camera flies along with the plane you’re piloting and keeps it in focus. All camera movements in this mode are relative to the aircraft. The active camera controls in Chase Mode are as follows (Note that buttons must be held down for the duration of the movement, as when “dragging” a mouse.):
Once you press the Free key (a7), the camera is in Free Mode, and it does not follow or track your plane. It moves only as you direct it. This is the mode you should use for setting up unusual angles for Tracking Mode or for close examination of ships, bases, and enemy planes. The camera controls in Free Mode are as follows (Note that buttons must be held down for the duration of the movement, as when “dragging” a mouse.):