Have you ever been inspired? I don’t mean when you looked at the girl with the crop top showing a little belly… I mean really inspired to go and be the best that you can be. To go above and beyond what you had done and do something you knew would cause you pain but reward you in the end.
Last week I was inspired and challenged. And it all started here…
If you are not sleeping under a rock you know Hellreign82 from his funny videos. He is usually hunting down folks on a server and the videos are the Monthy Pithon of DCS. But I digress.
The mission above is a scramble intercept. You in your Mighty MiG-21 vs 4 B-52 bombers. Sounds simple enough? It is… Until you throw in WEATHER. Let me just say, I never knew DCS could do weather in such a way. I am by admission a fair weather fighter. Throw in weather and I am Soup Sandwich. That is such a contrast as who I am in real life. IRL, I always say, “Throw in some weather and it becomes an adventure” You’ll northern folks know what I’m talking about. Just taking the pooch for a walk can turn into an adventure in the dead of winter. So I decided to give it a go. Here is how it went.
Missions 1 to 4 = Dead on takeoff. A humbling experience to say the least. Here I was thinking I was a big boy. Thinking I could hang with the likes of you reel pilots (purposely misspelled) but I was living a lie.
Missions 5 6 7 and 8 = Busted through the clouds and barely made the intercept. Some bombers got damaged and I died. Still cant believe after I started flight sims in 2002 and I still cant fly.
Missions 9 to present = Lets get serious now. Watched videos on RSBN/PRMG. My takeoffs got a LOT better. Instrument flying with the best of em (not really). Able to make the intercept and save the town. I can find the airfield but had not managed to stick a real landing yet. But I am getting close.
I began doing some training because I realized I needed it badly. At night I got good at sticking that landing. I learned how to PRMG my way home. In horrible weather… That is a whole different thing.
So here Is the bottom line. NEVER stop learning. NEVER think you are above learning something new. ALLWAY challenge yourself. NEVER, EVER, EVER Give Up. ALWAYS strive to be the best you can be.
Please share your bad weather experiences. Especially you Reel Pilot folks. Much Respect.
Now when i was learning to fly on a little motorglider, I was on my 3rd solo. Very overconfident (not so much with the landing just the actual flying) my instructor had drummed it into me that if you fly into cloud you DIE.
I bimbled around about 10 miles from the airfield on little route feeling pretty fricking awesome about life at 2000ft.
a little wisp of cloud off to my left became quite heavy all of a sudden and i realised that I also had some off to my right. I needed to lose a bit of height to get underneath it. no big deal.
so i drop 200ft to clear the bottom.
now im completely blind. and F***ing terrified of not being able to find that airfield.
i didnt watch my altitude…
i popped out the bottom of the cloud about (guess) 400ft. with a bloody great hill in front of me.
nearly gave up flying that day.
Real Life stuff? Let’s see. The time I got hemmed in by thunderstorms at night, FL450 over Colombia, took the only gap showing on the radar display, only to get slammed by a developing cell directly below us. Lightning at all quadrants, auto-pilot kicked off, stall warn, stick shaker, and over speed warnings back to back… not fun. The weather is often ‘interesting’ around the intertropical convergence zone.
When it comes to landing, that has always been my week point in higher performance aircraft. I came from FSX, where I learned (not perfected) the art of landing a 747 or 737 - but their large size and weight makes it easy - everything is very stable. I also really liked smaller planes - the Beechcraft Baron was built in and a pleasure to fly in the mountains. I had some WWII add-ons and the concept of landing a tailwheel aircraft I picked up as a result. I flew the Hornet there too, but the gap from that to DCS was large enough it was out of my muscle memory.
Switching to DCS - where I was now in a “high performance” regime by comparison - seeing an airfield a few miles out: “I can land NOW (and overshoot the runway) or take my time and do it right waste time in a world of instant gratification.”
When I find myself running in too hot for a landing at low altitude, I now slow and circle. Sometimes a few orbits. Force myself to get used to the aircraft going slow - while in a turn. When I feel comfortable, I make the approach. It’s helped, but impatience still gets the better of me on occasion.
That’s great you are exploring instrument flight. It really is a large part of flying that our combat sims don’t much emphasize.
As for weather stories…yeah…I’ve got a few…
One of my more memorable was the flight a few years back - the race against both time and weather. Picking up King Cobra antivenin from Columbia, SC to get it over to Raleigh, NC for a guy that had been bitten. It was the literal “dark stormy night” and somehow the holes happened to be just barely in the right areas…but the lightning…man…that lightning was just…memorable.
My unit went to Puerto Rico once. I was so excited. We all packed Jeans and civilian clothes. I jumped out of a C-141 at night into a rain storm . The jump was supposed to be from 800 feet but I think it was more like 500. I remember being completely disoriented. I hit the ground like a sack of potatoes without ever dripping my rucksack. About the time I started to feel sorry for myself I heard “Mooooo”. Cows were all around and i thought i would get trampled. I told my buddy “Well at least we are not the pilot of the C-141!!”
By the way, never got to wear the jeans I packed. The ARMY was full of silliness like that.
Sometimes I really am happy it’s just a sim I fly and not the real deal. My only weather story involves a car, a scare and nothing else.
I too am a fair weather pilot, I choose to keep learning BFM and how to employ different aircraft. That MiG mission sounds like a whole lot of fun though!
Like @Maico said, to stop learning is to die (a little). It’s human nature to be inquisitive of new and difficult things. To deny that nature diminishes the soul. Feed into it, by setting goals and achieving them makes it flower.
Lots of nice stories and insight here.
As for my (limited) experience… Well, it’s cheeky so take it as half a joke…
Back when I worked for the 4° Stormo in Grosseto we used to run the Euro fighter sim through daily operational readiness tests.
Usually they involve a lengthy set of tasks to ensure the simulator was aligned with its parameters and therefore OK for Military training.
We became so good that we could efficiently run the whole gamut of tests in half the time and then the guy at the console would test the “pilot”.
I know it’s just a simulation, and had I been on the plane I’d have probably ejected, but we had a blast landing in the most dramatic conditions ever.
No instruments, no visual, one engine and 30 kts crosswinds were easy-cheesy in that bird.
Magnificent toy that Euro fighter, I’m telling you.
Edit: did the same in the Tornado flight sim and BOY it was quite the shaking experience!
Respect to those guys.