When your life depends on it, you’ll innovate or die

I watched an interesting channel 4 documentary about the development and progression of the use of the plane in the First World War.

The 75 minute documentary has some interesting footage of dogfighting, and explains how this progressed from the skilled amateur pilot to professionals – those who wouldn’t pursue an enemy without being sure of coming away alive.

Having enjoyed time when I was younger playing BF42 where I lost plenty of dogfights, I watched the details with a keen interest. It transpires my whole strategy in gameplay was wrong – I’d dart in quickly hoping to use surprise (when I myself was surprised to see someone in front of me), whereas I wouldn’t manoever and evaluate the situation first (which isn’t necessarily losing the element of surprise). I could only rely then on hoping to bring down the opposing plane with my first burst, or hoping they were scared away if I failed.

Pilots used to practice dogfighting, by cycling around on bikes attempting to get behind one another. Slightly simplistic with only a flat plane (in terms of dimensions), and slightly artificial as the possible variation between minimum and maximum speed is probably out of proportion, but some of the basic principles would have been taught.

A national war did encourage people to develop technologies for the sake of their own lives or the national good. Profiteering was put aside and innovation flourished.