Rolling Scissors in Action: An Example from Aces High II

November 2nd, 2009 by Wraith

The Musketeers often discuss air combat tactics and technique among ourselves, and some of us are very conscientious about continuing to improve as virtual combat pilots.  For example, the other day, our squad mates, Madda and FLS, were practicing air combat maneuvers in Aces High II’s Training Arena, with another player (callsign Pervert).  After their training session, Pervert shared an excellent in-game AHII video with Madda.  The video was of two other players using the Rolling Scissors maneuver during a dueling session.  The video is a great example of the Rolling Scissors maneuver in action, both in terms of good execution as well as the occasional lapse in how it’s performed.

I thought the video would make for an informative little article about the Rolling Scissors.  Along with the video are Madda’s comments on the how the scissors were executed, as well as similar remarks from FLS.  These ideas were originally part of a discussion just among members of the squad, however I thought that their excellent observations would also prove useful to those wishing to improve their use of the Rolling Scissors maneuver, since they add context to what the pilots were doing while performing the maneuvers:

[Pervert] sent me a link to this vid today.  It’s got two really good fights on it, both Spit 9s and really very clearly illustrate rolling scissors.  This is probably the best rolling scissors fight I’ve seen to date.  If you pay attention while watching, you will notice that he’s very carefully managing his lift vector (LV), as has been discussed a lot around here lately.

Also, something that FLS helped me notice and work on Saturday, that I hadn’t realised before:  using rudder at the top and rolling into lead AT THE TOP ONLY and then falling back into lag position at the bottom.  I’d been trying to either lag the entire time and never catching up unless the other guy made a mistake.  What FLS made me realize the other night is that you can slowly gain by pulling lead for an angle at the top but then not pushing it and just making sure you don’t overshoot at the bottom.  That makes a big difference, and I hadn’t known about it before Saturday. Watch for the careful lift vector management.

— Madda

FLS added these thoughts.

If you watch his lift vector in the first fight you’ll see he starts off in lead pursuit instead of lag and only gets angles when his target screws up and reverses. He starts the scissors well; initially his lift vector is in lag when he’s on the bottom of the loop, and in lead when he’s inverted. He quickly gains angles. Then he puts his lift vector in lead from the bottom and loses ground. He could have saddled up in 3 loops.

The second fight starts better but then he puts his LV in pure pursuit from the bottom of the loop instead of lagging. You can see how he gains from using lead at the top. Then he uses lead at the bottom and loses angles again. As long as he leads from the bottom the fight is stalemated until his target crashes.

Basic rule of thumb in a rolling scissors: lag when you’re right side up, lead when you’re inverted.


Our thanks to Pervert for sharing this video with the Muskies.  It’s excellent training material.

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