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Kotisivu | Artikkelit | Kuvareportaasit | overdose2002
Virtuaalilentäjät - Virtual Pilots Association At OverDose

Virtuaalilentäjät - Virtual Pilots Finland ry in the OverDose games program at MoonTV tv-channel 23.8.2002

One day the phone rang. The caller introduced himself the producer of MoonTV channel's games programme OverDose and inquired whether the Virtual Pilots association would be interested in participating in the recording of their next show. And hell, yes, we were.

Actually that wasn't the first time the virtual pilots have been in Finnish television. Back in 1999 the Icebreakers squadron had taken part in TV4 channel's "nettinite" program, which was big fun. You can also read the report from that happening.

But, back to current day. The show was about World War II flying simulators and the producer asked us to join them to fly IL-2 Sturmovik simulator against the producer's own team. The programme generally consists of some interviews and talking - and playing. A visiting team plays against the OverDose team in pre selected game, and that was naturally IL-2. Intestingly the producers had a bold idea of bringing together real World War II pilots and virtual pilots.

It all sounded good and there we went. We had a four person team with one reserve pilot, who appeared to the showgrounds in given Friday:

  • Camo - LentoLaivue 34
  • Cosmo - VirtuaaliLentoLaivue Icebreakers
  • Grendel - - VirtuaaliLentoLaivue Icebreakers
  • Kossu - VirtuaaliLentoLaivue Icebreakers
  • Lart - VirtuaaliLentoLaivue Icebreakers (reserve pilot)
Everything seemed very hectic and the producers still didn't have their machines ready when we appeared, so we took a visit to a near bar and enjoyed some spirits to make our tongues looser. Coming back we saw that the situation wasn't still much better, and the evening would definitely be one very interesting experience. First of all, the machine that we would use for flying IL-2 were about 1 GHz Athlons with GeForce2 and 128 MB Ram. Heck, try running IL-2 with such machine! Then the joysticks supplied to us didn't work with the machines, until somebody noticed that Microsoft's support site tells that SideWinder FFB 2s don't with with VIA chipsets. After applying the patch joysticks finally started working and we got on whining about the horrible performance of the PCs. We had to revert to crap resolution with 16 bit colour, almost no sound, minimal effects, minimum vis range etc to get any performance at all from them. :) Quite an experience.

The gaming was to be two teams, each with four pilots, fighting against each other. For TV representation they had two PCs with video capturing equipment. One machine would follow each team and try to capture most interesting air combat action.


Preview video

This is a mpeg formatted quick video preview, that shows some parts of the show and includes few english language subtitles. A real, longer and more refined version is coming... someday. With a few subtitles. Sound disappears at about 3 minutes, sorry, problem in original mpeg stream.

Download high web resolution video - 19 MB
Download VideoCD resolution video - 36 MB

Final video part I, the veterans, subtitled in English

Part I, subtitled in English, Realmedia, 28 MB
Part I, subtitled in English, MPEG VideoCD, 92 MB
Part I, subtitled in English, MPEG SuperVideoCD, 178 MB

In this video the three Finnish World War II fighter pilots, including the highest scoring living ace Kyösti "Kössi" Karhila (world's leading Curtiss Hawk ace, Me 109 G cannonboot expert), Hemmo Leino (Fokker D.XXI, Morane Saulnier MS 406 & Me 109) and Jarl "Kille" Arnkil (Curtiss Hawk 75) in Finnish television's OverDose games program telling about their wartime experiences. Interview fully translated to English language.

Final video part II, the Virtual Pilots interview and flying IL-2 on LAN, , subtitled in English

Part I, subtitled in English, Realmedia, 22 MB
Part I, subtitled in English, MPEG VideoCD, 76 MB
Part I, subtitled in English, MPEG SuperVideoCD, 146 MB

In this video the participating Finnish Virtual Pilots Association pilots are shortly interviewed and then everybody goes up into the virtual skies. This is of course heavily edited and shortened version, just a fraction of what came from the tv, to give a feeling what it was like.

Realmedia video is worst quality and smallest, SuperVideoCD is best and largest in size.

Video recorded by Dice.
Editing and titling by Grendel / VLeLv Icebreakers
Veteran interview translated by Camouflage / LLv 34

The presenter of the show, Arman Alizad, is a pretty peculiar person for such a games program and especially if we're going to meet WW2 veteran pilots. But he actually did pretty well! Also the show producers had done some of their background work quite nicely and had visited the Finnish Aviation Museum to get some good looking material. Talking about flight sims in front of old aircraft is definitely good idea ;-)

Arman and MT-208.

Arman and I-16.

Arman was wearing a real World War II fighter pilot's flying suit. That made a fun moment, when the veterans arrived for interview. Kyösti Karhila naturally immediately recognized what Arman had on him, and commented "that is really hot to wear, you'll have problems if you wear it here inside." And darn if he wasn't right! Arman later complained that he almost collapsed from heat during the show!

The veteran guests of the show were Jarl Arnkil (Curtiss Hawk pilot), Kyösti Karhila (Curtiss Hawk and Messerchmitt 109 pilot) and Hemmo Leino (Fokker D.XXI, Morane Saulnier and Messerchmitt 109 pilot).

Mr. Karhila is the world's leading Curtiss Hawk ace, and also the highest scoring surviving Finnish fighter ace.

You will find more information about Kyösti Karhila and Hemmo Leino from our Aviation Hobby Days 2001 report. Articles about all three pilots will appear sooner or later to our Aviation History section as well.

"Excuse me if my voice is trembling..." Armani began.

Kyösti Karhila, Me & Curtiss Hawk pilot.

Jarl Arnkil, Curtiss Hawk pilot.

Hemmo Leino, Fokker D.XXI, Morane Saulnier and Messerchmitt pilot.

Grendel, team leader, being interviewed. Notice wrong nametag.

Tero, opposing team leader, being interviewed. Notice wrong nametag.

The veterans

AA = Arman Alizad
KK = Kyösti Karhila
JA = Jarl Arnkil
HL = Hemmo Leino

Arman: My voice might tremble a bit, but that is only because very rarely a reporter of MoonTV has the honour and priviledge to interview such prestigeous gentlemen...

Kyösti Karhila: And mean looking!

Arman: ...and mean looking guys... Beside me I have aces who, evidently, flew in the Continuation War . How did you end up, or got into, the war?

Kyösti Karhila: Well, straight from the school bench. When the Winter War started, we left to Kauhava and on December 6th 1939 we enrolled to the Air Force course. That's where it started.

Arman: How long was the training altogether, before you actually went on a mission?

Kyösti Karhila: It lasted, let's say, for the whole Winter War. So when the Continuation War begun, we were ready.

Jarl Arnkil: If I'll tell how I started... In June 1938 I went to the reserve officer course at the Air Force Academy at Kauhava. It lasted for a year. Then I went to the Cadet School, Cadet course 23. And when Helsinki was bombed on the last day of November (Nov 31st 1939), the course before us had already been transferred to frontline units. So us, the younger course, rushed out. The Cadet School was in Munkkiniemi at that time. We had machine guns and all kinds of weapons in position there. And the bombers came over Helsinki, directly towards Munkkiniemi. One of the planes kept sinking all the time. It flew directly towards the Cadet School and we of course kept shooting at it. Everyone of us claimed to have hit it, of course. We thought that it is going to hit the tower of the Cadet School, which the old building has. But it crashed right beside the school on our sports field. The crew died in the crash. That's where the Winter War begun for us.

Arman: Are there any words to describe the feeling when you're sitting in your plane and the enemy planes are heading directly towards you, and you know that "this is it", the real thing, in just a few seconds?

Kyösti Karhila: Well, in the beginning it was exciting and of course strange for all of us. But you get used to everything. But in later stages....

Arman: Does it become routine?

Kyösti Karhila: Yes, more or less.

Hemmo Leino: Yes, little by little it becomes routine. But each aerial engagement is always different. In that respect, it never becomes monotonous.

Arman: Right. What has been the most dangerous, or most exciting, mission for you, with a near death situations?

Hemmo Leino: War is always a near death situation. It is continuous. But the situations are over quickly.

Kyösti Karhila: A Soviet La5 managed to bounce me. My guardian angel tapped me on my shoulder and when I looked back, there was a large white prop spinner at 30 meters behind me. I had thought earlier, there will come a situation like this, where I would have to be ready to evade as quickly as possible. I had practised the move. As I saw the enemy, I was already evading. The enemy started shooting and the tracers flew past me, lots of tracers. I was not hit, however. Eventually, the La5 was following me and managed to climb better, because I had to keep looking behind me where he was. He fell behind and didn't attack. He was maybe 200 meters above me. "Attack, attack" my thoughts kept pounding in my head, so I pointed my nose up there and shot. The La5 started evading and I managed to close the gap. Eventually, I was within 100 meters and shot at the La5. The fuselage broke in half. The pilot jumped out and so on...

Kyösti Karhila: Of course, if you were alone against two enemy planes, it was quite difficult. But you got used to that as well. You knew the enemy planes and what they are capable of, and acted according to that.

Jarl Arnkil: The biggest skirmish that I took part in, was in March 1948...

Kyösti Karhila: 1942.

Jarl Arnkil: In March 1942, it was the 28th. General Pajari had taken over Suursaari and 12 of our planes took off to protect the victory parade. All the troops that took part in the operation had lined up on the ice in front of the Suursaari harbour. Only later it was found out that the ice had been mined. There they stood and Pajari held a speech from the podium. I thought it was such a delicious moment, I had my camera hanging from my neck, so I dived at Pajari a few times, opened my canopy a little and took the pictures. As I pulled up, Captain Nurminen was leading 6 planes a little higher, I had 6 planes a little lower. As soon as I pulled up, the flight control station at Haapasaari started shouting that 29 enemy fighters were approaching from the South in three waves. Thats where the skirmish started, the enemy formed what they call a Spanish circle, trying to protect each other. Nurminen's planes were a little higher, they started pecking at the enemy immediately. It took something like 20 minutes when we shot down 23 enemy planes.

Kyösti Karhila: When the Soviets started their Summer Offensive (July 9th 1944), I was there once when there were 200 enemy bombers and a same amount of fighters. I was there with my wingman and I thought "if all the fighters of the Finnish Air Force were here, what could we do?" I came to the conclusion that we couldn't have stopped the bombing. They just kept coming and coming and coming. Sometimes you felt yourself small. In the end, the masses really didn't depress you in any way, but ...

Arman: I thank you for coming, this was a joy and an honour. I won't take more of your time, I know it's...

Kyösti Karhila: It's time for coffee!

Arman: Yes, that's what I though, should we have some coffee at last?

Jarl Arnkil: I won't object.

Arman: Thank you. (shakes hands with everyone)

The squadron duel

As the computers started to be set up and ready, one by one the screens lit up with the IL2 loading screen. The pilots warmed up for the duel, which was going to be bloody. Mercy was not going to be in tonight's vocabulary. The MoonTV technicians were setting up two separate computers for the cameras and Camo helped them with setting up IL2. The "camera computers" were a bit better in performance and equipped with GeForce video cards with TV out. The cameras were connected directly to the video cards which resulted in quite good image quality. One of the camera computers was set up as the host, this way the player computers would not have to worry about the extra load.

As the cameras and sounds were tested, the players continued their practise. When the cameras were ready, a practise online match was flown, to give the camera men an idea what to expect from the live battle. Before the match, a short briefing was given to pilots by Camo. The flight leaders of each team took the time to give important tactical advice to their pilots as well. The mission took place in the Northern Krimea Peninsula.

As we always strive for historical accuracy with battlefield locations, the mission had four AI controlled IL2's attacking a Finnish tank column. The IL2's were escorted by four LaGG-3's. The Finnish forces consisted of four Bf 109 G-2's. Unfortunately, as we found out in the practise match, the AI planes did not show up in the game at all. Therefore, the match was reduced to a simple 4vs4 air combat duel. Actually, this probably worked out better in the end. After the practise match, the host was reset and the pilots got ready for the real action!

The teams were divided as follows:

Virtual Pilots
The actual flying part went like following:
  • Fight 1 - Virtual Pilots as Finns (Me 109 G-6), Dose as Russians (LaGG-3)
  • Fight 2 - Virtual Pilots as Finns (Me 109 G-6), Dose as Russians (LaGG-3)
  • Fight 3 - Virtual Pilots as Russians (LaGG-3), Dose as Finns (Me 109 G-6)
  • Fight 3 - Virtual Pilots as Russians (LaGG-3), Dose as Finns (Me 109 G-6)

Virtual Pilots ry - Kossu, Grendel, Camo, the interviewer, Cosmo and Lart.

Kossu explaining. Grendel and Camo looking sharp.

Lart and somebody from the opposing team concentrating.

Virtual Pilots - fly harder! "Do you see the enemy?" -No, that's what worries me.

Camo in the spotlight.

Opposition - you're doomed.

"We would have won if I didn't screw up that badly", Grendel explains.

"It was fun!" - Camo.

"It is so beautiful to kill in a Messerchmitt", Lart.

The first match started with the Virtual Pilots in the Finnish colours, the Dose pilots wearing the Soviet stars. Right at the beginning of the match, the Virtual Pilots made a tactical error and got below the LaGGs. This enabled the Dose pilots to use energy tactics which resulted in the quick despatch of the 109s. Cosmo was the only VP alive in the end, running on the deck, screaming like a girl. In the end, he was shot down by the three LaGGs.

The second match saw the Virtual Pilots better briefed, with the loss of the first frame still fresh in their minds. This time we'd show those Dose pilots how to fly and fight in the MT. And so we did. It was a massacre. The Dose pilots were given no chance as the Virtual Pilots used classic wingman tactics to bring down their opponents. As the dust settled, no Dose LaGGs were flying anymore. The four Virtual Pilots formed back into the "finger four" formation and headed home.

For the two final rounds, the teams switched sides. The Virtual Pilots mounted the Soviet LaGGs, the Dose pilots got their hands on the MTs.

The third flight started badly for the Virtual Pilots. Flight leader Grendel crashed during takeoff, surprised by the "explosive" flight characteristics of the LaGG. The Dose pilots took full advantage of their numbers, using the superior climb and speed of the MT to "boom and zoom" the slower LaGGs. Just as one of the LaGGs seemed doomed with two MTs on its six, lady luck came into play. In a huge fireball, the two Messerschmitts collided and exploded. Now the tables were turned, three LaGGs against two MTs. The Dose pilots managed to gather themselves though, and succeeded in taking down two more LaGGs while loosing one of their own. In the end, Camo was alone against a 109. Camo's engine was already smoking from overheating, so it wouldn't take long until he'd have to give up the fight. However, the 109 made a mistake which cost him his virtual life. Zooming into a hammerhead too close, gave Camo the chance to open fire towards the 109. At the top of the zoom, the 109 pilot tried to evade the burst, but went into a flat spin instead. With the wingtip smokes drawing a beautiful spiral in the air, the 109 crashed into the ground in a giant explosion. Camo circled the crash site, snapped a quick salute and proceeded to crawl home in his wounded bird.

For the Virtual Pilots, the fourth and last frame started as well as the third. Grendel managed to plow his LaGG into the ground again. The three remaining LaGGs climbed towards the 109s, expecting the worst. A miracle, like the collision of two 109s in the previous round, was unlikely to happen again. And so it was. The 109s arrived to the scene with altitude advantage and started their passes at the LaGGs. Unable to fight back, the LaGGs were shot down one by one. One MT was shot down, a small consolation for the lost match.

And this is what the flying looked like

One fun thing with the tv session was, that the opposing team actually had just two pilots - and they needed four. Well, as things happened, we had one reserve pilot and then Kaizu from Icebreakers had also promised to fly on Dose's side. So actually half of the team opposing Virtual Pilots were Virtual Pilots members ;-)

Which of course explains everything. Why we lost. Well, of course Grendel's problems flying the LaGG-3 fighter were slight problem, as he just couldn't keep the plane up neither time he had to fly it. "I got it up, flaps and gear in, WEP on, tried to accelerate flying straight and level and the speed just dropped and plane forced itself down." Well. The third round, with Virtual Pilots first time in LaGGs, was quite amazing - as the combat first started with 3 LaGGs vs 4 Messerchmitts - and Virtual Pilots won after two Mes collided during a hard dogfight. What a noise, what cheering!

Final score:

Round 1 : VL 1 - Dose 4
Round 2: VL 4 - Dose 0
Round 3: VL 4 - Dose 3
Round 4: VL 1 - Dose 4

In the end, the victories stood at Virtual Pilots (VL) team 10 kills - Dose 11 kills. Dose won by one kill! Well done, Dose, I doubt if you can repeat that!

Lart's report

I happened to be visiting southern part of Finland, and I decided to see my pals at Helsinki. I had woken up at 0500 AM, and I really was looking forward to having a beer, a good beef, a beer and maybe few more beers. Instead it came apparent that Dose team didn't have a full team, and I didn't get to be a innocent bystander having fun watching.

Well, that's life sometimes. I was a lend-lease pilot who had to fly against my own team.

The gaming setup was just terrible. The joystick was maybe the worst kind there is (those twist-thingies - I want pedals!), the graphic card sucked and the computer was low on memory. However, people familiar with the game managed to find proper settings and the game ran amazingly well. I didn't have but 20 or 30 minutes of experience with IL-2 before, but the basics are the same. Kaizu flying next to me was also really helpful, giving hints of the control mapping when I needed.

As the combat talk began to work with the whole team, we gained quite alot performance. Those warnings calls helped me to regain at least some kind of SA, as I was really lost with unfamiliar controls. I even scored kills.

Finally the event was over, and I could hear the calling of beer and beef.. The sweet, juicy meat.. Unfortunately we had a long walk ahead of us, and my feet were killing me, while I was generally exhausted.

It was really nice to see the guys again, eat good food and have a few good chats about flight charasterics and modelling differences among simulators. I wish I had had the energy to go on few more hours.

And Grendel should be happy now, as I also have written something. :-)

Well, these photos are quite, quite horrible. Sorry. I had a lousy little digital camera for review, and thought to use it to memorize the event. And these are the BEST photos from the bunch!

Camo taking his shot at showing IL-2 to the veteran pilots, Jarl Arnil (left) and Kyösti Karhila.

Lart and Hemmo Leino.

Lart and Hemmo Leino.

Orders time. Camo describing the rules to the fliers.

Orders time. Camo describing the rules to the fliers.

Orders time. Camo describing the rules to the fliers.

Orders time. Camo describing the rules to the fliers.

Arman chatting with the pilots.

Arman chatting with the pilots.

The evening didn't end after we had finished with the show. Whole bunch of Virtual Pilots had arrived to watch the show, as we had informed the association members what is going to happen. So we had great selection of pilots from various WarBirds, IL-2, Aces High and World War II Online squadrons and proceeded to the traditional virtual pilots' favourite restaurant to eat and drink well.

And that too happened.

Some had to take things carefully though, since next day featured an interview of a Finnish Air Force WW2 bomber pilot, who had been in a submarine hunting squadron. That happening went on nicely as well! You'll read about it in good time from our Aviation History section.

VLeLv Icebreakers - from left to right:
Kossu, Zombie, Cosmo, Grendel, Lart and Kaizu.

After the recording of OverDose ended we continued to do some eating and drinking.

Photos and text by Grendel. Combat report by Camo. Lart's After Action Report by who else by Lart. Kossu or Cosmo haven't written yet anything to this report, those lazy bastards. Bug them so they would also share their experiences and opinions from the event.

Viimeksi muokattu: 2002-10-02 09:38