Here we go! Short background - I’ve had the Harrier module for as long as it has been available, but just haven’t found the time to dig into it. I have been watching some updates pass by on the forums as Razbam has added features and, from what I’ve been reading, it seems like the module is pretty darn good now (with some additional items still outstanding). The Harrier has got to be one of the most unique aircraft out there, and I’m looking forward to learning a bit about it and perhaps getting to at least become somewhat effective in it.
Note - thanks again to @Joey45 and @komemiute for the skin and artwork respectively for this custom training skin.
Training Mission 01 consists of a basic introduction to the aircraft. Right off the bat you can begin to appreciate the work and thought that went into the training missions designed by @Baltic_Dragon - I expected nothing less of course given his awesome work on The Enemy Within and M2000C Red Flag campaigns.
The voiceovers and cockpit pointers are spot on, providing great guidance on some basic Harrier facts and getting to know the Harrier cockpit. And what a beautiful cockpit it is by Razbam! I’m flying the missions in both 2D and VR to sort of feel how they run in both circumstances, and the cockpit is just stunning in VR.
Many (but not all) of the items covered in Training Mission 01 are pre-start items that consist largely of verifying switch positions and doing some cockpit preflight prep. These things would all be hugely important to you as a combat pilot flying over enemy territory where the slightest problem in this single engine beast could leave you scrambling for your life. Hobbyist DCS World pilots have the advantage of knowing that each time they get in their plane, they are pretty much getting a working vehicle all the time (unless a particularly crafty mission designer decides to fail some components!). So while it is nice to know a lot of the system operations checks, they could be skipped in the interest of speed if you are on a time budget and just wanting to go fly.
The cockpit introduction mission is very good - and gives a nice, easy to digest pace without being overwhelming.
Training Mission 02 will have us bring the Harrier to life!
We work our way around the cockpit with the instructor (great instructional voice by the way - whomever did that!) pointing out switch positions and checks that we should perform prior to flight. It appears Razbam has done a nice bit of modeling on how things should work. I have not fully set up my HOTAS assignments yet, but plan to use the awesome Chuck’s Guide by our very own @Chuck_Owl to do that this evening.
I was not aware that the Harrier has an APU, but that is a nice feature. The instructor does mention early in the tutorial that you might consider ground power since you don’t want to drain the battery while you are hunting for things in the cockpit. I did not confirm that the battery voltage falls off without ground power or the APU running, but that would be nifty if that is modeled.
I really enjoy data entry on the UFC and punching in the initial INS waypoints has a satisfying nerd factor appeal that is just right. Getting the coordinates off the kneeboard and the instructions from the instructor are spot on.
The left EHSI and moving map with the INS all up and aligned correctly…
The caution panel is very, very hard (OK - almost impossible) to read unless you really zoom in on it. In VR, it is just a bunch of green lines that you’d be hard pressed to ID.
After futzing around for a bit, it was time to start the engine. My first attempt was thwarted by my throttle not being in the cutoff detent, so if you have problems getting rotation, you should check that first. Once that was sorted, it was all good.
FLIR imagery is really cool. I’m going to enjoy this at night I think…
Soon enough it was time to test the brakes, and move out toward the runway. Nosewheel steering is very good - should make moving around on the LHA no problem. I’m definitely interested in getting together with some of you to do some LHA takeoffs and landings once I get through some additional training.
Holding short of the runway is the end of the cold start tutorial. I’ll locate a cut-down checklist to perhaps get to the basics and go from there. Looking forward to Training Mission 03 and getting airborne! And if you wait around for a minute or so after the end of TM02 - there is some funny commentary by the instructor.