WarBirds Fighter Pilot Academy – Realistic challenging World War II aerial combat

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WarBirds has been delighting virtual aviators with online battles, dogfights, and challenges since 1995.  With over 150,000 players from over 20 countries, over 90 different historical squadrons, WarBirds has taught many virtual aviators how to fly, fight, and survive the skies of World War II online on both PC and Mac computers.   (http://landing1.ient.com/).

Now those same great flight models, realistic and historic terrains, and challenging World War II aerial combat is coming to your iOS device!  WarBirds Fighter Pilot Academy, Europe 1939-1945 is available for iPhone 5s and above, and all iPads with graphics cards including the iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad 4, and the iPad Pro.

WarBirds Fighter Pilot Academy, Europe 1939-1945, is the iOS version of WarBirds focused on Allied aircraft and missions in Europe during WW II.  See a video of a combat mission:

When I picked up WarBirds FPA, I expected an arcade shooter game.  Was I surprised when I found an aircraft simulator that took real flying skills to play well!  The game can be played as an arcade game if you use all the helps but you die early if you fly right into the enemy antiaircraft fire!  I found that I had to plan the missions, and maneuver to stay out of the bomber guns and the ground based attack to survive the various missions.

I started with the Train Me.  This short tutorial teaches you how to use all the various buttons on the flying screen including the Target, Lock, Map, View, and Autopilot, and Zoom buttons.   I also flew the landing mission a few times to ensure that if I had a good mission I did not lose it all by crashing as I returned to the field!

The game starts with the Home Defense Mission where the British knew a war was coming and they were rushing to train a whole new generation of pilots.  You will learn to takeoff, navigate, shoot, fight, win, and return safely to base!  Then you are called upon to defend your country in the Battle of Britain and 38 other great missions.

 You start in the B239 Brewster Buffalo and learn how to get your aircraft airborne.  Then practice your navigation through the waypoints to find your combat objective.  Once you are there, target drones are available to practice your gunnery!  Make sure you get out in front of the enemy aircraft to close inside their turning radius.  Then press the Target and Lock keys, wait for the small targeting lock that shows about 400 feet from your target and blast away!

Each mission accomplished helps you grow your total number of WarBucks so you can get better and better aircraft up to and including the famous P-51D Mustang and the Spitfire XIV.  You can also fly the P-38 L Lightning, made famous by ace Major Richard I. Bong, with over 40 aerial victories, 200 combat missions, and over 500 combat hours!

You compete with Axis aircraft in 13 historical campaigns and 39 missions from Takeoff, Landing, 1 V 1, London Air Raid, Operation Compass, Siege of Trobruk, Battle of Kasserine Pass, Carrier Operations, Stalingrad Air Defense, Prelude to Overlord, D-Day Pointe du Hoc, Battle of the Bulge, The Race to Berlin, and more.

Your missions include air to air missions against fighters and bombers.  You will have air to ground missions against ships in European harbors and ground targets like Panzer tanks and various antiaircraft mobile weapons.  You will also have to rendezvous with the bombers on their missions to the front and keep them safe from enemy aircraft!

As you complete all your missions, you enable the Allies to achieve V-E Day, Victory in Europe!

Flying your aircraft is accomplished by tilting your device forward and back for climb and dive, right and left to bank and turn.   You have a map of the territory you are flying over and you can view from behind the aircraft or look over the cowling to get a better shot at the enemy.   You follow the waypoints as set by the Radar controllers (a British secret weapon), to get to the enemy.   In the combat arena, you identify the enemy with the name of the enemy aircraft above the enemy icon and the distance to the target.  Don’t fire till D4, 400 feet behind the enemy aircraft maximum!

Click on the Target Button to pick the closest target.  You can maneuver yourself to get behind the enemy.   Or you can click on the Lock Button to get help from the program to set up for the kill!

Use your ammunition sparingly as some enemy aircraft are harder to bring down than others.  And wait until you are close to the target to make sure your bullets are effective.  Watch out for the enemy antiaircraft fire and they can shoot you down!

Then you have to land your aircraft.  Keep the nose up and gradually raise it as your aircraft passes over the end of the runway or landing area.  Make sure you turn off your engine after you touch down.

You do need the right aircraft for the mission.  Early war aircraft cannot take down ships or heavy bombers.  You need the right aircraft for the mission and the game lets you know how to match your aircraft against the enemy aircraft.

The in-game currency is WarBucks.  You earn WarBucks on every mission and you can fly FREE for ever as you build those WarBucks to by new aircraft.  If you choose the VIP option, you get double WarBucks on every mission.

As I thought about how to review WarBirds Fighter Pilot Academy Europe 1939-1945, I thought it would be another of the many arcade shooter games I had played and discarded in the past.  What I found was a true simulator, with a true history of WW II aerial combat, with challenging missions, realistic aircraft flight models, real ballistics, good terrain graphics, and exciting action.

It took me some tries to get some of the missions done.  The VIP option really helped me grow my stack of WarBucks quickly so I could get better aircraft.  I could play missions for FREE forever but had to play several times and have great missions to get the better aircraft.

If I had some suggestions for the developers, I would like the joysticks to work so I can more precisely maneuver the aircraft in the attack missions.   I would also like to have more missions, some bomber missions, and a Pacific version of the game.

I have been told by the developer that they are working on a version that will allow 24/7 air to air combat between actual virtual aviators from around the world like they do with the WarBirds online product.  I will be first in line to play against my friends and show them who the true WGFP is, (World’s Greatest Fighter Pilot).

I would highly recommend anyone with an interest in aviation, in WW II history, in military aircraft, or was a player of any flight simulation products in the past to give WarBirds Fighter Pilot Academy Europe 1939-1945 a good try.

Blue Skies to you!

Salute!

J Redon
Lt. Colonel, USAF Retired
Command Pilot
5000 Military Flying Hours

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