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More realistic surface interactions


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I understand waterskiing or hovercraft are not exactly core functionality for KSP but since I have struggled with this I'm going to list it anyway.

Problem 1: Waterskiing

When landing something on water, it immediately sinks in, which causes a massive drag spike. In reality, if you're going at all fast, water behaves more like a solid surface to start with: you would skip or ski on the surface until you slow down enough to sink. Consequently, things like seaplanes do not behave like in real life.

If this was made more realistic, seaplanes, fast boats, and similar craft would become possible. Conversely, splashdowns might become more dangerous.

Problem 2: Ground effect

In real life, a plane flying close to the ground experiences a good deal of additional lift from an air cushion that forms beneath its wings. This makes aerodynamic landings easier and vessels like hovercraft or ekranoplans possible. Since KSP does not model ground effect, we can't do this.

I think this would be a pretty simple change as you'd only need to adjust the amount of lift generated by distance to the surface up to 15 m or so to get close enough that it felt more or less right. This would significantly expand the range of craft we can make, as well as making planes easier to fly and things more realistic in general.

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9 hours ago, [INDO]dimas_1502 said:

someone discussed about this in the facebook group, they said the ground effect is too hard to model, even FAR refused to add it

I'm sure it would be very hard to model accurately. I'm not sure it would be that hard to model accurately enough. 

I think it would be enough to add a fudge factor to the equation that calculates lift, which increases the lift generated by an amount that scales with distance from the ground, dropping to zero at 20 m or so. It wouldn't be scientifically correct but it'd be closer to the real thing than what we have now, enable all the cool stuff that ground effect enables, and I think you'd have to be either a real pilot or a really expert sim pilot to be able to tell the difference in flight. That would certainly be enough for me!

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1 hour ago, Brikoleur said:

I'm sure it would be very hard to model accurately. I'm not sure it would be that hard to model accurately enough. 

I think it would be enough to add a fudge factor to the equation that calculates lift, which increases the lift generated by an amount that scales with distance from the ground, dropping to zero at 20 m or so. It wouldn't be scientifically correct but it'd be closer to the real thing than what we have now, enable all the cool stuff that ground effect enables, and I think you'd have to be either a real pilot or a really expert sim pilot to be able to tell the difference in flight. That would certainly be enough for me!

nice and simple explanation, but idk is it "that" hard too add
for me it's more like higher air density near the ground

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2 minutes ago, [INDO]dimas_1502 said:

it's more like higher air density near the ground

Wouldn't work as that would also increase drag which doesn't happen with ground effect. It'd make landing feel like you flew into an arresting wire.

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