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  1. Gravity loss is a far bigger concern than drag for "reasonably" aerodynamic rockets. It sounds like you could be more aggressive with your gravity turn, especially with a starting TWR of 2.0. While you can get into orbit more efficiently in terms of ∆v, you probably will be better served by not having so much dry mass in engine weight. I have found that a starting TWR around 1.3 to work best for me. Have you experimented with different launch profiles? I have done some experimenting and found a fairly aggressive gravity turn to work best.
  2. I use the mod RCS Build Aid for this. It can simultaneously display the wet and dry centers of mass. Without mods, I do not know an easy way to do this in the hanger.
  3. Playing with the water effects turned on. This is how I made a viable sea plane.
  4. I use the mod Draggable Navball to move it around. It can drag it with the curser left or right as needed.
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