Addition of contrails in RB modes a mistake?

Recently I played a few top tier Air RB matches to grind the event and woundered why - in almost every match - the whole team scratches the ground. Like this example I screenshoted. Only very few ppl bother to climb above 500m initially and the enggame furball also rarely happens above 1000m.

I find this pretty sad. Somehow Air RB lost its third dimension and is a more or less flat, two dimensional game. Where everyone just AB’s to the map center and in less than 5 minutes the main combat is done in a chaotic furball.

While chatting, most players expressed their fear for radar missiles (mainly from F-14, since they’re very long range and very suppressive if salvo fired). We probably can’t do alot to contain the effectivness of radar missiles. But alot players also hinted that these omnipresent contrails too easily give away your position. Thus going high alt (usually above 5000m, sometimes less) is suicidal. And I agree. These contrails are very hard to miss and its literally a marker which says “I’m here, kill me.”

Its true. Once you spot this bright white line in the sky, from your safe lawnmoving position, you just pull up, align the nose to its start, press the radar lockdown key. This almost always works and is a total hardcounter to any high alt tactics.

I mean, bright white lines…3rd person camera which gives you superior awareness anyways. Super lethal radar missiles which usually hit what you lock, filter out chaffs …combined with reduced maneuverability of jets at high altitudes (thinner air).

This all leads to players just lawnmoving at tree top level. Completly giving up using altitude.

Removing this relativly new contrail feature might make high altitude gameplay a bit more attractive…


Climbing is a guaranteed death sentence whether you’re at contrail altitude or not.

The problem is that below 20m agl SARH/ARH missiles are almost guaranteed misses, so why bother with BVR gameplay when you can just hug the ground and be invincible? If you do go up, everyone in the match is immediately going to lock you, while being immune themselves. Especially when facing DL SARH missiles that are much harder to shake, there is nothing you can do but die.

The mistake was adding missiles to the game.


Its nothing to do with contrails. Low to the ground is in general safer against radar missiles (easier to notch, terrain cover, multi-path interference).

Contrails are an important spotting tool, when matches are down to just a few players, and in ground RB for defending against CAS.

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It was added as a method of defeating space climbers in ARB and making SPAA easier at defeating high alt CAS in GRB.

But its had some really negative effects that Gaijin doesnt care about. It basically put an alt cap on most maps. Its already pretty deadly to climb much more than a few thousand ft. but now you can be spotted cross map when at alt, so its now really dangerous to use alt to hide from the enemy in ASB at sub-radar tiers. and bombers in ARB just now have a giant beacon alerting the entire enemy team exactly where you are.

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Thats what I mean. Since contrails are added, any high alt fly-in is pointless. Even when you loop around the map and climp up to backstab some enemy jets from an unexpected direction. … its not working anymore. An important point of RB modes always has been positioning and surprise elements. This is somethow completly absent now.

Its just sad how 90% of this game just is about flyting below 100m or something.

This really should be reconsidered. Killing a whole gamemode just cause its difficult to spot the last guy (which isn’t, theres a red square marker)…I dunno. Gajin probably cares too much about edge problems like this. Just cause some players are too impatient to look for themselves, they add more and more mechanics like this. With alot unwanted secondary issues.

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yeah, a little off-topic but the average height in ASB is 50ft. Real shame. They could do so much to encourage players to fly at higher alts, but they just don’t and adding contrails just makes it even less likely that people will risk climbing.

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Well, you see them over the whole map lol…farther than every marker reaches. Or most radar arcs of lawnmovers. But this mechanic just tells them…yeah up there someone tries to pull something off…pull up, lock, radar missile ready, lock quality ofc excellent…bang.

Thats really not how it should be.

Yeah. I was tempted to start flying heavy bombers again in ARB. After Contrails, i’ve not even bothered trying. Tornado F3 at 20k ft might actually be usable in ASB and the SHar FA2 was suppose to be insane at 30k ft, but with the average alt in ASB sub 200ft. It lends real advantages to certain aircraft. A bit of a shame. Flying should be 3D not 2D

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F-16, followed by Mig-29. Or one BR tick lower the F-5 spam. “Suprisingly” only planes whith good low alt performance are a thing, everything else is meh.

Yep, Harriers are thankfully quite good at low alt. one of the main advantages they held in the Falklands, so some hope for the FA2. But I really wish we had more diverse games with more alt in them

they are fantasy.

It’s been my “pleasure” to work for a public entity that receives complaints about “chemtrails” on a regular basis - for 13 fascinating years so far!!

And hence to find out quite a lot about contrail in the process.

Contrail require specific atmospheric conditions THAT ARE NOT ACTUALLY THAT COMMON!!

Having contrails for every a/c over “x” altitude is as much fantasy as Warhammer!


This is what I was thinking. Under the right conditions, Sure. they are fine. But its just how instant they are, on every single map, under every single condition and no way they are that visible most of the time.

In practice, I dont mind contrails, but the smoke trail above X alt is just game breaking

Contrails start at 5500+ meters on warm maps.
So that has nothing to do with people being on the ground.
What has to do with people being correctly on the ground is radar missiles.

Contrails are also realistic.

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Which is ludicrously low - warm conditions make the altitude required for formation of contrail HIGHER.

As a rule of thumb the air temperature decreases by -2 deg C per 1000 ft of altitude - so if it is 30 deg C on the ground then 5.5km = approx 20,000 ft the temperature is likely about -10 deg C.

At this temperature contrails generally do not form because the atmosphere is not saturated with water/ice, so moisture from the engine rapidly dissolves into the atmosphere…

Contrails require -30 to -40 degrees. This is because at high altitudes the saturation point of the atmosphere is much lower - but there are usually no particles for ice to nucleate on, so clouds do not form.

Contrail nucleate largely on the soot particles from engine exhaust - and once nucleated the ice crystals themselves become nucleation sites for a super-saturated atmosphere, which results in an expanding high altitude ice cloud.

TLDR: warm maps should have much higher contrail formation altitude than cold ones, and 5500m would be a lower alt limit on the coldest of maps - Arctic and the like!


No the mistake was adding more advanced missiles. AIM-9B’s, E’s, and their other countries’ equals were dodge able, speed, turn, etc.
That or just carry unguided rockets since those were the OG countermeasures and to some extent still pretty effective. Now if only they could confuse Radar guided missiles which I feel like they should if you lob enough of em.

Cause you need to be either really high or not at all. 5000m is nothing, like a couple of secs afterburning. Youre still in radar detection arcs from low moving jets and this its pointless, you just present yourself as target. Just makes you vulnerable. Whats needed is the possibility to outclimb the enemy to surprise attack etc.

What’s more contrails will only form in a narrow depth of altitude - that where the air is saturated or super-saturated with respect to ice.

Basic contrail avoidance is to change your altitude - the B-17 pilots knew this in WW2 but were constrained by flying the planned altitudes!

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Regardless of its formation alt, which is likely very wrong. its also way too visible in my opinion. Their contrast needs to be turned down a bit along with their overall sizes. (10-20% reduction for both) To make them harder to spot at longer ranges.

I also really want to see weather and time of day play a bigger role in the game, especially at high tier

5500 meters is well above average engagement altitudes in both real war games, and WT.
Granted, the high-altitude war games engagements are closer to 7500 meters, but the average is still lower.

Stand-off intercepts are what’s done at 12,000+ meters, which no one can hit you from below regardless.
Knowing where someone is doesn’t mean much when you can’t do anything against them.

Aircraft dots should appear within ~16km for everyone IMO.