Over the years I’ve read predictions here that DCS is so good that it will eventually morph away from pure combat to a more general simulation. To which I called “bs!" (not “Black Shark”). Oh me of little faith. See the “Search and Rescue” server. I don’t recall its exact name but just type “search” in search and the server in question will be (as of this post) the only hit. The server takes the existing set of multiplayer cargo scripts and mods them to create an environment where guns and bombs don’t exist yet somehow misfortune still does. We helicopters are left picking up the pieces by picking up the people, as well as fighting fires and resupplying hospitals.
For firefighting, one must hover low over a body of water and watch as the retardant load increases. As it does, the helicopter becomes noticeably heavier. Fires are fought by saturating their edges and depriving them of fuel to perpetuate the burn. The SAR missions are about as challenging as anything I’ve done in DCS. They are quite a bit harder than slingloading because 1) the Caucus terrain where the victims are located is often steep and wooded and 2) the tolerances for a successful snag are tighter. Cable length selection is important. Too short and you eat trees. Too long and you are too far away from your target to properly see and hold position. You have to stay within 5m laterally while keeping a suitable vertical range based on your cable length. You must then hold this position for 10 seconds. The server keeps a running record of your saves and losses. It’s a bit like the crop-dusting plugin in X-Plane: You probably won’t play for hours and hours. But as a 30 minute relaxing time-sink it serves as a welcome break from R-77s at 50 paces.