Favourite Flight Sim Moments from 2019

Usually, at the end of the year, there are a lot of ‘Best of Year XXXX’ articles being published all around the game-verse. Every year I look back on the past and wish I had paid more long-term attention, so that I could at least provide a summary of what happened. Alas, I always come up short; I’m not so much for planning ahead and being diligent. :slight_smile:

Maybe this year is the time to try turning this back around on the community. This year has been, in my opinion, a good year for the Flight Sim hobby. Progress has been made in, as far as I can see or remember, every segment from games, to modules, to scenery, to hardware and through to a vibrant community.

So! What are your stand-out moments, modules, games or hardware from the Flight Sim category? What did you see, read or experience that stands out from the rest?


From my flight chair, 2019 was a good year.

On the combat flight sim side: Eagle Dynamics did some great work making the DCS F/A-18C a standout module. It is, arguably, my favorite module for DCS. ED also released the F-16C to Early Access, and although I have not had a lot of time in that virtual 'pit, I am looking forward to it in 2020. There was a lot of work put into other modules, but for me these were the standouts.

On the civilian flight sim side: I finally got some time in with X-Plane 11. The MacRobertson Air Race (2019), which I was able to complete (astonishing even myself), gave me some good time with X-Plane that I had been sorely lacking in my flight sim repertoire. I purchased some amazing modules including both the AirFoilLabs Cessna-172SP and the King Air 350. I was also able to follow @fearlessfrog’s X-Plane Ortho4XP Guide, which obviously means that anyone can do this, which made the route for the Official 2019 Mudspike Christmas Flight - AAR thread much nicer than the stock scenery.

On the hardware side: I was able to complete my Mudspike Button Box v01 and bought a Virpil T-50CM2 stick and base when my VKB Gunfighter base had issues that I did not think were going to be easily solvable - turns out I was wrong. Both the VKB and Virpil offerings are quality components that I would heartily recommend - it would be hard to chose between the two.

Looking forward to 2020: I anticipating getting back into the DCS groove and spending some time with the old and new modules being offered. I am looking forward to what MSFS 2020 will offer and the results of the Virpil Community Panel project. VKB may get their throttle out in 2020, and I am looking forward to maybe retiring my Warthog throttle (which has served me astonishingly well).


So how about you? Yes, you out there in the Mudspike community! What did you think of the Flight Sim corner of 2019 and what are you looking forward to in 2020?

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Awesome thread, @Fridge!
There’s so much to choose from and the year seems to be closing on a Flightsim high!
A personal favourite of mine, this year, is Flying Circus! I have a special place in my heart, for WWI aerial warfare. And it lends it self perfectly to VR flying. I love 1C/777 for delivering a VR compatible successor to RoF.

ED keep on pushing DCS onwards and upwards. The third party developers have really been busy, this year, as well.

Hardware wise, I do agree with you. It’s great to have both VKB and VPC in business. As to which is the better, I think it’s a matter of personal preference. They both make high quality gear and you can’t go wrong with either.
It’s also good to see the old slugger, Thrustmaster, maintaining its grip on the flightsim market. This year I got both the TPR rudders and the F-18 Hornet grip.

I have continued to fine tune my beloved SimBox NG in 2019. When will I finish it? Never, I hope. :wink:

But the most important part of my flightsim hobby, is you guys.
Interacting with such a great bunch of flightsimmers is something I truly cherish!

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The highlight of the year for me has to be the F-14 Tomcat. I was so looking forward to it that the last couple of days until release, right up until the first flight in fact, I was genuinely worried that I’d over-hyped myself and it wouldn’t live up to my stratospheric expectations. I’d had a few instances where modules were good, but just didn’t have a certain magic, and was worried the cat would fall into the same category.

All of those fears melted away the second I pushed the throttles to max afterburner and leaped off the runway. The plane had it all, great systems modelling, most features already implemented, and most importantly, a certain magic that made it a joy to fly. I don’t know where Heatblur put the extra love, but hanging it on the ragged edge in a knife fight, cockpit rattling and shaking around, being too close for missiles, switching to guns, and downing a bandit just felt glorious. It feels like you’re really sitting in the cockpit, and anything else just feels sterile by comparison.

Even the Tomcat’s capability shortfalls are great. You don’t have fancy MFDs or electronic helpers, your targeting pod is resolution challenged, and it has no guided A-G weapons outside LGBs. What you do have is one of the most powerful radars ever attached to a fighter, but you have to control almost every aspect of it using real, physical push buttons and switches. It’s kind of steampunk, you have some of the most powerful hardware available, but you have to control it to get the best out of it (or even make it work). Makes you feel like a total badass!

Seriously, Heatblur knocked it out of the park. Easily my vote for plane of the year. Very likely my plane of the decade too. :f14:

P.S. In any other year, the JF-17 would be my standout plane. Awesome systems, huge glass displays, a menagerie of advances weaponry, the whole package. Too bad they picked the year of the Tomcat!

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My favorite thing of the year has been not spending a single penny on anything. I don’t believe my hotas and peddles have been hooked up once in 2019 either. But there is always next year!

image

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My favorite time was probably pretty tame…LOL…it was when @fearlessfrog and I did some co-op in the AvioDev C-101CC. Even though it wasn’t (isn’t?) totally MP functional, it was really cool to be sitting in the back seat and watching the bombs come off the wing as we explored what did and didn’t work. It is a reminder that flying with friends is so much more fun that going solo, so my New Years resolution is going to be to spend way more time flying online. (I sure do hope VTOL VR comes out with multiplayer soon!)…

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Mine too @BeachAV8R

@schurem unexpectedly jumped in the back seat of my tomcat. It was so bloody funny. I still giggle when I think of it. Number 1 sim moment of the year without doubt.

Number 2 was gently flying along with @NEVO in our Mi8’s and getting smashed into pieces by a friendly heater fired by @Navynuke99 “is anyone tracking the 2 transport helicopters to the north” “fox 2” “hey nevo do you think hes talking about me and y”…BOOM
That was a classic moment!!!

Notice how both my top moments had mudspike involved. You guys rock

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Like a lot of you, I had a pretty busy year. But getting my G940 working again and feeling the tickle of the start of buffet through the force feedback when turning and burning in the DCS F-14 definitely stands out. That module is everything I had hoped it would be and more :heart_eyes:

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My favourite moments of 2019:
DCS: Flying with friends, as @BeachAV8R said, is always the best.

  1. Flying strike jets with my dad. Him in a Viggen, me in an A-4 or Mirage 2000. Flying self-designed missions and watching him grow from stalling every 5 minutes to flying a successful strike mission with BK90s.
  2. Flying WWII combat and Christen Eagle aerobatics with my 13 year old brother in law.
  3. Flying Mirage 2000 with @schurem. That was so much fun! Sorry, no pics cause I didn’t have a ‘screenshot’ binding in DCS yet back then. Too bad I couldn’t attend the rest of the evening!

As for ‘new stuff’, I am very excited to fly the Mirage after the overhaul: it already looks so much better in the cockpit! I also got @Baltic_Dragon 's NTTR campaign for it. I still fondly remember his Caucasus Mirage campaign.

X-Plane:
The Christmas Flight (so far) has been amazing: I’ve learned to read approach charts, fly DME arc approaches and ILS landings in the Dornier, and for the first time done the entire event in real-time. And Alaska has been amazing in VR. Even with default scenery. This was also my first ‘big trip’ in X-Plane in VR and I loved it.

Hardware:
Managed to not buy a new CPU/Mobo/RAM or GPU this year, still trucking on with the i5-4690K on 16GB DDR3, and the single-fan GTX 980Ti, though that one is getting even more noisy of late: may have to replace the thermal paste, never done on a GPU.

Very happy with my new VPC T-50CM2 flight stick with 200mm extension. Built a tiny frame for it, planning to build some sort of non-transforming simbox once we sell the piano. Yes, I am very lucky with my girlfriend. Did I tell you yet that she encouraged me to buy the VPC stick when I was in doubt because of the price?
The feeling is so much more real, especially in VR, and the amount of buttons is simply stunning. In DCS:M-2000C I’ve even bound the seat raise/lower command, that is how many buttons I have! And I can finally bind all the buttons I need in order to stop using the keyboard in FC3!

Looking forward to flying the M-2000C NTTR campaign in 2020, and to improving my virtual cockpit even further.
Hoping to fly with many more of you!
And I am looking forward to finally re-discovering all those magnificent FC3 fighters in VR! All of the Flankers and Fulcrums especially.

Happy holidays and a merry new year!

May your skies be clear, sunny and blue
With sunrises rendering pixels in all hues

May your Flankers be flying across the Caucasus plains
Whatever you fly from your simpit, helo or plain
Old airplanes from the 40s or even before
In sims deemed civilian or Great Battles of war

This was the year the DCS Tomcat was born and
The year in which grew the just released Hornet
We said again: we should fly together much more!
As a hole in the ground once more we bored.

The darkest days in the North are almost gone too
As for some, the Chrismas Flight has ended in Attu.
Others are trudging on faster and faster, except @NEVO
Who is sticking to the choice of his slow helo

Wherever you may go, whatever you may fly
May you encounter the most beautiful clear blue skies!

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2019 was certainly a good year sim wise for me. Hardware wise, I bought a new PC in January which is still holding up nicely. I also made the jump to a VirPil stick which I am very pleased with. I also picked up the Honeycomb Yoke which is a nice piece of kit.

I had a blast flying the MacRobertson air race from the Mildenhall to Melbourne and then the Christmas trek to Attu Island. I added the amazing F14, F16 and JF17 to my DCS hangar. OrbX also did quite well out of me this year!

I also learned how to navigate by the stars which led to some interesting X-Plane flights.

Most of all though, I have enjoyed being a part of the Mudspike community/family . You all make the hobby so much more interesting and enjoyable. I feel very fortunate to know you all!

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…so at least that part got fixed. :grimacing:

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I vote @Hangar200 for Mudspiker of the year award! Nobody made a greater sacrifice for the hobby, in 2019! :1st_place_medal:

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Seconded!! Agree fully

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And thirded! Awesome sea stories, a very special sense of humour and being a fun and active pillar of our community gets you :medal_sports: from supreme Soviet :cccp:

Now go treat yourself to capitalist Tomcat Christmas present. Is good.

Anyway. 2019 was a terrible year in a lot of respects, but not when it came to flying virtual airplanes.

777 studios kept on rocking it with their great battles series, going from strength to strength. Sweet high Res dual layer clouds and improved AI need highlighting imo.

Eagle Dynamic and friends also did great this year. Dat turkeybird! Whoo boy! And then, just at the threshold, this sweet new pit for the ol’ hawg.

Personally, I got back the baby room and turned it into my den, fitting an old car chair and my HOTAS to make a perfect pit. Comfy too. If only I got to spend more hours in it…

And last but not least a shout-out to the incomparable MilesD of PointCTRL fame, who truly goes above and beyond to make virtual reality more real.

In the coming year I hope to have many a terrified and/or terrific flight hour with you guys on Hollo Pointe, suffering @Victork2’s hamfisted landings and owning the MiGs en facon glorieuse Avec la mirage.

If Microsoft’s new flight sim pans out as good as the prerelease hype suggests I may very well join you lot on the 2020 Christmas flight.

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:grin: I would like to thank, @Troll, the supreme Soviet :cccp: and the Mudspike Academy :mudspike: for this prestigious award…

P.S. …and yes, I’ll be getting the “Turkey” for 2020 :f14:

EDIT: Turkey purchased…and the Mirage 2000…and the Red Flag map…2020 is turning out good so far.

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I keep trying to think of some really memorable moments, but far too many stand out over this past year. Playing around on Hollo Pointe with @Wes, @WreckingCrew, @Dark_Star, @Andrew116, @AndyE, and so many other guys has been quite a hoot and probably the most fun I’ve ever had simming since my IL2 and LB2 days.

I did my first real mission with scripting for DCS, Offensive Posture, which has been running on Wes’ Hollo Pointe North server, and it has been quite the experience. While I’ve been adjusted to the FP/ArmA series SQF language (which I still consider a lot more flexible), learning some LUA has helped to enable a lot of concepts that aren’t possible with just triggers alone. It’s not quite to Wrecking Crew’s level, but overall I’ve been pleased with how it managed to mimic the environment of Allied Force, which it was loosely modeled on (this past year was the 20th anniversary of the operation). It’s steadily grown as more modules have been added and my understanding of LUA has increased, though naturally some compromises had to be made. It opened the door for the much more complex Divine Falcon which is a Hormuz Strait/Persian Gulf mission built to leverage knowledge gained over the past year.

The 2019 screenshot thread has more memorable moments on record, like when we first got the F-14B on Erl Sis, with me hopping into a MiG-29 to test against Wes in a F-14 and some F-16s came in to attack me, but ended up shooting Wes down instead!

I’d have to say that the Heatblur F-14 has been pretty much the best module/addon of the year, with incredible detail and depth of simulation; one could get that module alone for DCS and never get tired of it. As I’ve said many times, I was never a Tomcat fanboy, being partial to the old Intruder instead, but I’ve spent so much time enjoying the Tomcat over the past year that it’s grown on me. Playing it in Wrecking Crew’s Red Sky mission is one heck of an experience and one that will push you to the limits!

I also started getting into IL2 Box/Great Battles, getting Stalingrad, Kuban, and Moscow earlier this year, and Flying Circus plus Bodenplatte this fall. I haven’t spent as much time as I’d like with it, but what little time I have, I’ve been impressed. It’s finally starting to grow to the point that old IL2’46 had reached and the future looks brighter still. I’m glad that 777 Studios has been keeping it alive, especially Flying Circus which has been a lot better than I anticipated!

Hardware-wise, I upgraded from a 980GTX to a 2070RTX this past spring, which was quite a leap ahead, though I’ve yet to see good prices on the 2070s since then. I bought a few things throughout the year for an inevitable system upgrade which coincided with late summer, getting myself onto Windows 10 before the EOL came for Windows 7; it was mostly a painless move, though I was reluctant at first to commit. I thought about upgrading my stick several times throughout the year, but couldn’t justify throwing the money at some of the fancier sticks from VKB and Virpil, so my CH setup will soldier on quite a bit longer. I’m half tempted to try and build my own stick that better conforms to my needs, but that’s one hell of a can of worms to open!

For 2020, I’m looking forward to seeing Heatblur add the F-14A and A-6 AI, along with the Forrestal carrier to DCS. I’m planning to spend more time with IL2 Great Battles and get some more entertainment out of it, though I’ve yet to find a group to do MP with which is the main draw for me. Since I’ve already got a pretty solid array of modules for DCS as well as most of the BoX content, now it’s all about using it. I’ve got two things on my mind: an AAR series for the Heatblur Viggen campaign which was recently added and an AAR series for IL2 BoX as a Shturmovik pilot. Hoping I’ll have the time to make these happen!

Thanks for a great year, Mudspike!

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…I hope you did so without including the twice daily “Uncle Wes Show”, otherwise known as the SACEUR VTC staring General Wes Clark…that is is one part of the Allied Force environment I don’t care to revisit. :grimacing:

When I get better I will definitely give that a try.

Not really a sea story-more a short trip in the Way-Back Machine

During one such VTC, a bunch of us were watching from a secondary room in HQEUCOM that we affectionally called “the Peanut Gallery”. There was no camera and the sound was muted so theoretically we were “safe”.

On this particular instance, the General made one of his typical outlandish zany and downright dangerous statements to which I sarcastically commented something like, “Well hell, why not just let the Navy sink all the merchant shipping in the area.”

To this, a USAF Major turned to me with a seriously concerned look and pleadingly said ,“Shut up! He gets enough crazy ideas on his own.”…so I did shut up because, the Major was right. :hushed:

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Careful now, you’ll hurt @Wes’ feelings! :sob:

I managed to avoid a lot of the more unsavory parts of Allied Force, like the annoying “mother may I” calls required before shooting down hostile aircraft or the artillery platoon clearly shelling civilian towns. The red side also has a lot more MiG-29s than the Serbians did! :fearful:

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I used to love watching those in high school, especially the briefings he did in French, since I was getting ready for the IB French exam.

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OK…these were TS/SCI level briefs…did your high school have a SCIF? :slightly_smiling_face:

Eh just put some Seaman/Private in the room and make sure they don’t talk about anything classified and then they don’t need a clearance. All good!*

*I ■■■■ you not. True story.

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