DCS: F-16C Viper EA Launch Impressions Thread

It’s rough around the edges, but feels more complete than a lot of previous EA releases.

What there should be no doubt about is the FM that ED has put under the hood. This thing is simply a joy to fly.

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I took it for a spin for just above an hour and so much feels just right.
It’s fast, nimble, agile, fast, great cockpit visibility, it’s FAST and gods- after flying the Hawg and the Huey for a lifetime this thing feels so FAST!

Love it- and I managed quite easily to do several circuits and touch&go.
All that I learned in Falcon 4 and AF came back; found my way around the switches…

Only thing I didn’t try were weapon systems- the joy of flying was too great!:smiley:


I just finished my first test flight in the Viper against @MBot’s Tomcat.

She is fast. We did a drag race from rougly 300 knots in clean config. The Viper pulls a tiny lead of one to two lengths until Mach 1.2 at 5k AGL but then the Tomcat gains the advantage.

Dogfighting is tough (but then again MBot is the better pilot). She definitely doesn’t like to be slowed down too much.


So, my impressions so far:

It decelerates fast, accelerates fast, reaches top speed faster, and generally feels very straightforward to fly. Ground handling is a bit hazardous though, so watch your turns; the nosewheel has a lot of authority and you can easily tip the aircraft on the ground. Very friendly to fly beyond that. It doesn’t burn up fuel at the same rate as other aircraft, so even though it only carries about 7200lbs internally, it goes a long ways. If you’re used to the Mirage, it won’t be difficult to adapt.

Starting the engine from cold was easy, but I got a little confused over the radios and external lights. Didn’t realize that I needed to use the UFC to set frequencies once started up. Also, external lighting isn’t currently operational. After that, was just a matter of turning on all the right switches, pretty straightforward.

HOTAS controls are unlike the Bug, closer to A-10C but still very different. As I have a different preference for controls, mine aren’t strictly identical to the real thing, so a bit of playing around was necessary before I got it figured out. TMS Up will soft lock a target, press again to STT; down to go back to soft lock and again to unlock. Dogfight switch is odd to me after being adjusted to the various modes for the F-14 and Bug. Will take some getting used to. There doesn’t seem to be a radar gun pipper at the moment so be prepared to use the snake for a while; easy if you’re acclimatized to the A-10.

Aerial refueling is currently bugged, though some report it works but every time I try I get a complete message and a disconnect as soon as I make contact. It’s pretty easy to get into the right place but takes fine control over the throttle to hit the steady sweet spot. If you’re confused, the left light strip is your height, the right is your distance. You want green in the middle for both. It’s not as critical as it is with naval planes I suppose, but til it gets patched you’ll have to gas up on the ground.

No jammer pods or centerline fuel tank right now, so centerlines will be clear for a while. Haven’t delved into the TGP yet. CBU-97s in triple clusters on the 6 and 4 stations seemed to not work, so only use those stations for 97s if you’re ferrying them. 87s and other weapons seem to work fine there. No visual damage model at the moment, so be prepared for that.

Overall, it’s a bit bland at the moment. I think it will work very well as a light striker and quick CAP, but ROE and IFF will be critical in this instance. It’s not going to be a yank n’ bank dogfighter like the Bug, but if you’re familiar with how the F-14 fights WVR it’s more comparable to that.


I am not looking forward to that. I mean I am … but I am not. :slight_smile:

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I installed and hopped in for a few minutes and a cold start (which worked), but I had to go so jo further impressions other than it looks good.

Tomorrow I will configure my HOTAS and take her for a spin.

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3AM wake up… gotta use power shell to update DCS. Oh nooo… how do I? Ok… got it. Update done… Download module… more waiting… uhmm… that’s quick! Let’s see this… OMG! Beautifully Done! Ok, back to bed… moving tomorrow… see you soon Falcon!!!


I had some strange issues. Major stutters at start of instant action, choppy sound, slow responses. Things even out after a few minutes.

Jet rolling forward at idle. On take off and hard turn, vapes generated on one side only. hmmmmm…

Greased the landing but didn’t aerobrake as long as I could have so I heard skidding (external view) as I applied wheel brakes.

Couldn’t open canopy with key press. Checked binding and it was set.

Still circuit was fun and the jet felt familiar.

Did a repair via powershell but have not had a chance to fly. Will check back in later.

I had to leave a couple FB groups due to the vitriol. I know what I bought and I am a happy simmer. :sunglasses:


That’s normal when not heavy loaded.

You first have to unlock the “spider” (yellow switch cover and safety mechanism on the left). CTRL-C is for the switch that controls the canopy.

I was able to do a cold start without any reading or help from “virtual” Wags, seems like flying all those Falcon 4 mods payed off.

There are still many systems not functional. You will see many “placeholder” screens on MFD’s and CNI (for instance no INS page, so you don’t know if INS is aligned or not).

Graphicaly it’s stunning, sound is great, even at this early stage.

Considering Viper performance - I managed to win a dogfight with Fulcrum while carrying 2 fuel bags (see the DCS screenshot thread). It flies really well. But seriously - I can’t drop those tanks. Tried Emergency and Selective jettison - doesn’t work.

Steerpoint cue also behaves a bit weird when you get close to a steerpoint and bank your aircraft.

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The KC-135 sure has a brutal wake compared to the KC-130, and the Viper gets thrown around a lot more than the Hornet. I passed through the descending wake 2 times by accident on my refueling attempts yesterday and that were both wild bumps.

100% sure, i took off with < 20% fuel (and i tried with and without bags).

It’s a known bug as was mentioned, but if it works for you, i thought there might be some workaround.

Some first questions

  • Is there a HOTAS command for switching between Amraam, Winder and gun?
  • Are there ACM HUD modes like boresight or vertical scan?

Landing seems less intimidating than I can remember from Falcon 4.

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Like already mentioned, once @Franze ran me through it, it was easy. I gather as EA progresses this will become a proper process.

For TM WH users, the fact that unlike other jets the NWS button is the WH’s Master Mode button is quite odd. Not sure if I want to swap those assignments around with the Viper so it matches or keep it real.

Unlike other A/C this one doesn’t need INVERT on the toe brake axis.

Still have to really dig into it so there will be more. Not having a flaps switch is new, the TM WH flaps SW is default mapped to the main power switch so DO NOT play with it!

Very pretty, the art is sharp.
As a machine there are some things I don’t like.
I miss G, Alpha and Vertical velocity on the HUD. Maybe I didn’t notice how to get them up, but I’m used to the Bug now…so there ya go.

Personally, I think the bug has the better up-front control system. Lots of stuff to do on the Viper, but I’d rather more screen to work with some of that and wouldn’t mind it being on MFD. The menu system isn’t too much to learn, but it’s not intuitive on first look.

Forward visibility is obviously amazing - but looking over your should is rather poor. It’s a backwards canopy relative to what we’re used to.

Other panels are all grouped well and organized. Only oddball is hiding pitot heat way in the back left.

MFD are surprisingly poor in contrast. Text is medium bright white, and background symbology is very dim blue. Pushing the brightness button a few dozen times up helped only a little. Viewing radar scans zone and antenna caret is a strain with light on the MFDs - not the high contrast green of the Bug. Anyone know any secrets for this?

Taxi & Takeoff
Powers up quick and taxis well. Like mentioned already, be careful with NWS. It’s a two factor design consideration here - narrow track AND short wheel base. Keep inputs light, and like Franze told me - keep it off for T/O unless you can be really light on rudder.

Tipping occurs over ~10kn at full nosewheel deflection. Externally, the aircraft stays level until roughly then and suddenly goes onto its wing. No real “warning lean” to let you know you are getting a bit close to the edge, caveat of the narrow track.

Taking a load of two AMRAAM, two Sidewinder, two tanks, TGP and four CBU97s she pitches up around before 150kts but needs 180kts to get up.

Climb and Cruise
Power is ample, quick cruise with a draggy load is easily done. Climb is quick and stable. Happy camper! Autopilot works and unlike the Bug, engaging altitude hold is a smooth transition that won’t eject your lunch.

Turning with this payload was sluggish. Small input didn’t do much, large inputs did get moving. Short wings allow for fast roll rates, but will hurt loaded turns I gather due to lack of leverage against the roll axis.

Without the wing load, roll input is very responsive, smooth but also razor sharp when required. Doing a aileron roll at full deflection and then countering input and centering results in the FCS snapping the roll to a stop exactly on queue. The Hornet FCS requires a bit more skill, as it will roll back a bit. The Viper seems to know you want to stop and halts rolling the other way unless you continue input. Nice!

Default ammo is SAPHEI - no tracers. We do get a handful of ammo types including HEI-T for your air to air gunnery needs! Make sure to load the right rounds!

It’s odd not to see smoke off the nose when shooting, or tracers. Muzzle flash is visible off the left canopy rail. With tracer is more natural feeling.

A2G gun is on point.
A2G CCIP bombing circle is small, but put a vehicle in it and pickle a Mark82 and you can count the seconds it has left to live. A bit nicer than the larger circle of the Bug with a 1 pixel dot in the middle…

A2A weapons are via the pickle button, not the trigger which takes getting adjusted to again. AIM9 with HMD tracking works - click SLAVE osb in SMS with AIM9 and HMD on.

CMS and RWR work, but currently only a default program that dumps 10 chaff and 10 flares each pull. You have 60 of each, and the plane won’t accept them being reloaded by the ground crew yet.

Approach and Landing:
A different experience, I had various grades of success, genuinely success, as the worst had the right and main wheel on the grass for a bit on a crosswind landing but the next two were good. No damage!

The Viper likes to land, versus the carrier based Bug which prefers to slam down likes it’s no big deal by comparison - even at an airfield and not the carrier deck.

Overall Thoughts:
With no prior Viper experience, and lots in the Bug I would give the better pick to the Hornet. The Hornet seems like it would be easier to learn, the displays layout and indications are more intuitive. However, borne out of competition - these two designs are brothers and I think if you can you should have both. It won’t be a case of having two of the same, that’s for sure.

Today was day one, and spending the evening with @Franze and @USMCBEANS learning what works, and what doesn’t (Bug or yet-to-be implemented) was a lot of fun. Money well spent, and we’re just getting started in EA!


Very veyr nicely written and it’s cool to read the impressions of someone who never flew the Viper before!

If you’re going to write more , I’ll be there to read! :slight_smile:


Agreed. Perhaps we’ve all been taught to fly the AOA bracket to get back on the boat has made the Viper not too much of a challenge. Not saying that it’s a J3 cub, but put the FPM on the threshold, keep the AOA bracket index centered, then slowly walk the FPM a little down the runway, and you are good to go. Not sure if that is SOP, but it gets greasers for me.


Takeoff can be a bit squirrelly. You need a light touch on the pedals until you get rid of the NWS. I’m still getting a feel for that. Landing on the other hand is easy enough, although the brakes are not the greatest. I have been coming in a bit hot though, which is certainly not helping when it comes to getting stopped.

I LOVE this airplane in VR. Such great visibility.

I’m going to have to hit the books with this one. It has been a long time since I flew F4 Allied Force. I dabbled with BMS but by that time I was fairly entrenched with DCS and so I never got very far with it.

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Another observation is that the target box in the HUD from a radar lock is very “erratic”. I’m not sure if I had a soft lock or hard lock but it seems to be jumping around and the refresh rate was quite low.

That’s normal for a soft lock. It only gets updated every 4th radar bar. Use TMS UP once more to go into STT from there.

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Did I already state I love this plane?
Also the default mapping of the warthog hotas is very well done!
Especially the famed NWS switch! :laughing:

Seriously tho, this module brought me back to the happiness I felt when the A10C was first released in Beta.
Y’all remember we had separate icon for launching the game?

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I’m sure that tonight after returning from the usual Friday night festivities, the great internal struggle for many will be…