I’ve got a problem. The world has seen how cool my hobbies are, and has decided to provide an overwhelming flood of outlets. All of a sudden. And now I’m finding it hard to focus!
Take model-making. The kits these days have insane detail! The internet comes around and you can get any kit from anywhere!
But then, who’s got time to airbrush a Tomcat, when you can strap one on in VR? Who’s got time to learn a Tomcat, when you can fly a Hornet, or a Viggen, or a Harrier, a Viper, Spitfire, Mustang, Warthog, Flanker, Thunder, Fulcrum, Eagle, Hurricane, etc. etc. etc.
Every time I commit to one, I start having second thoughts. What about the others? I love them all so much! They might get jealous!
I need to buckle down and focus, or I will be consigned to ineptitude forever. Maybe you can help. If you had to give up all DCS modules accept for one. Which would it be? How do you stay focused enough to master these things?
I love so many of the jets, but it wasnt possible (for me) to study all of them as deeply as I wanted to.
I have found my happy place.
Think about what you REALLY love the MOST. forget about what everyone else thinks.
For me - naval aviation held my interest the most.
I settled on 2 birds. The first, my “daily driver” which I’m learning to become proficient with. Form me this is the F/A-18
Then, I have my Sunday drive. This is my passion plane. The F-14. With this bird, I’m learning normal procedures, CASE 1 CV ops, A-A refuelling and only do BFM/ACM hops on clear sunny days, usually against MiG-28s!
The other modules, including M2000, AV-8B and F-16c I take for spins around the block. I’m not studying them - but they’re amazing to experience.
Took me a long time to decide - buy them all and play around - one will stand out.
If I could only have one it would be the F-86 or MiG-15. They’re easy to start, easy to taxi, easy to fly, easy to land. The controls and procedures are simple, but still on you to do, you’re flying a plane, not flying a computer. Engagements again, aren’t just memorizing what buttons to push in what order, but involve similar sweat equity to fighting in the props.
Plus having not flown either in a really long time, I bet I could probably still start it up without having to look up anything, although the correct amount of gas and opening up slowly on the mig-15 give me problems sometimes… anyway.
I’m rambling, but give me either one of those and nothing else and i’d be plenty entertained
The Hornet , because it can do it all , and i find the systems intuitive .
I limit myself to flying the Huey , Hornet , and L-39 'cause this slightly ossified brain could not master more aircraft to the level i expect of myself , although i do the occasional tourist flight in the TF-51 just to experience the mighty Merlin . They say there is no substitute for cubic inches , and turbines don’t have any ! Besides , the nose wheel is where it belongs , in the tail
I mostly support DCS by buying maps , even though the Caucasus is the only one i fly in .
To this point I’ve focused on one or two things about each jet that I like. For the Viggen, flying really freaking fast and really freaking low. For the A-10c, 30 mm and those mavs. For the Hornet, spamram and landing on carriers. For Tomcat, flying around during sunrise/sunset and looking pretty. Harrier has been all about trying to land on top of one of the Persian Gulf highrises…
I probably know the Hornet’s systems best, and could piece together a simple mission (forget refueling), but for the rest?
Well if there is one thing I’ve gained some mastery, it’s the mission editor. Eleven missions into Time Pilot campaign and I’ve just stalled out. Just maybe posting this here will help me burn through that block and take it home…
I know what you mean, @Anklebiter!
So many modules, so little time!
I made the same discovery when I got an MP3 player. Suddenly it was so easy to browse through the songs. I couldn’t finish listen to one before I switched to the next one I wanted to hear. You just didn’t do this with a regular cassette player because it ate batteries and took too long.
It’s a bit like that with the internet. Impulses everywhere! I want to look at everything!
And with flightsims…
Remember those days when the first you heard about a new flightsim was in a PC magazine, or maybe just spotted it on the shelves at the store?
We didn’t know what would come next, so there was very little to expect.
Then came the BBS and the web and we learned a little about who made what and when we could expect it to “Go Gold”, as it were.
These days we know everything there is to know about what’s cooking in our favourite sim pushers lab… There are new toys arriving all the time and we know that if we wait, they will get even better with updates.
It makes it hard to focus.
My favourites change on a weekly basis. But my current classifications stand at…
1:Tomcat. For procedures training. A2A refuelling. Carrier work and just plain hauling ass it’s my favourite module by far (now that I’ve formatted my pc and the tomcat runs like a dream)
2: Harrier. For smashing things up on the ground and wobbling around in VTOL its Brilliant fun. I can jump in and fire it up without checking the manual and if there is ground targets on the map it’s my go to plane. (Getting rarer now I can use the a2g weapons in the tomcat though)
3: Sabre. This thing is just exquisite. If I’m in VR I’m probably in the sabre. I enjoy flying it so much for VFR flights and pattern work. Plus I oddly have a unbroken record of never blowing it up by belly landing it…
I have mastered general flight and BFM (I like to think). So I think I can do that in most moderately well-behaved aircraft, from an I-16 to a viper.
Sadly the lack of focus means I rarely have the focus to knuckle down and learn the more exotic stuff like viggen, fishbed or tomcat backseat. Just not enough hours in a day.
Some of that stuff takes real attention, something I can truly only muster in the morning. After a full day of working I do not have the chi left to do anything but reiterate lessons already learn, or run well treaded paths.
Still that has lead to some sort of mastery. I have flown the same scenario a hundred times, and that made me good at it. And that’s a great feeling, even for the hundredth and first time.
You said dilemma?
First dilemma is what to buy. Right next dilemma is what to fly.
For me it is Mi8 when we talking single DCS module. I mean I would like it to be Mi8
But always when I hear ‘dogfight’ I get soft in the knees and hurry to fly P51, F86, MiG21 or F5.
Fortunately I don’t own any of the more modern fighters. But always when I read about them I have the itch to buy them
Take this with a large grain of salt as it comes from a man with something like 1700+ different aircraft (liveries) in FSX.
With DCS I was initially doing much the same as I did in FSX. Initial purchases were the Viggen, F-5, A-10C, Blackshark and Gazelle, quickly followed by the Mi-8 and Mig-21. I delved into FC3 with the Mig-29, F-15 and Su-33. I finally caved it and bough the EA FA-18. It was after my Hornet experience that I decided to take a step back and focus.
I decided that I really liked the Mig-21 and the Hip, so I decided to go Soviet… My next purchases were the Mg-15 and then a bit later the Mig-19. I have pretty much focused on the Migs and the Mi-8 since then.
One of the nice things about concentrating on the Migs is that the cockpit, controls, weapons and systems are all evolutionary from the original Mig-15. Not only is that less for you to learn but you can configure your controls in a very similar manner. Example: The lever on my TM WH stick is the brakes for all three that let you engage differential brake steering - they all work pretty much the same way. I can hop from one to another with little effort and all are great fun.
Then I went and got the Huey and Harrier…and fell through my ceiling and haven’t flown since…obviously I had upset the natural balance of things with that last purchase.
Picking just one is hard for me because I find myself rotating through a lot depending on what I feel like. Reluctantly, I’d probably pick the Harrier if I only had one, but I’d really miss the Tomcat’s character and feeling – just not the restricted mission set. I’d also miss the versatility of the Hornet and the huge, diverse mission set it brings to the table.
I don’t even try to master all things at all times – for example, I can’t cold start the MiG-19 and haven’t bothered to. I could spend the time doing so, but I find it easier to just use a kneeboard checklist rather than commit it all to memory, as I don’t truck around in it very often. The same is true of other modules and my focus remains only on a select few. I don’t think there’s any shame in using the autostart option!
Actually the Mig-19 is the easiest of the “Big 3 Migs” - 15, 19, 21.
Essentially, turn on the battery, turn on the fuel pumps, “crack the throttle” (the little on/off switch at the base of each throttle), and press on the appropriate start switch. Watch the N1 turn up and when you’ve got about the 8:00 position, release. Repeat for the other one.
The Mig-19 has some type of fuel position that you have to slowly engage and the Mig-21 has a few more switch throws to get it lit. That said, you can start the Mig-21 very quickly if you have the sequence memorized…but if you miss a step , it won’t work and you might need to go all the way back to step 1 and use ground power.
Swooping down like a barn swallow doing strafing runs with the Tiger II. Those little doors opening are just so satisfying and the plane is so agile. It’s like riding the roller coaster of death.
Couldn’t navigate or use the radar for the life of me though.
Dropping CBU-97s in the A-10c. Sure, it’s just CCIP, but the placement for max damage is key. Hanging around to watch all the secondaries is also fun. I think my record was some 28 tanks with one go.
How many radios does the Hog have? Couldn’t use one.
Hitting a tank dead on with Hornet MK-82. Check. Something about LTWS? Huh?
Current state, I think this level of engagement is fine. I mean the campaign experience is somewhat anemic right? When the dynamic campaign comes out though? I better get cracking (I’m sure I’ve got lots of time).
Some of the scripted work is really good and fun and engaging. Try the mirage2k campaign or museum relic or enemy within. Oh, or that thing with the nazis and the time changing AI’s that’s freaking awesome too.
Re the F-5, shooting tomcats with it is one of the funner things to do in DCS. The radar in it is useless, only good for ranging in gunnery solutions. Navigation is easy, just a plain old TACAN set.
Here’s a thought with the F-14 in a WW2 environment: have it carry 18 Mk82 dumb bombs and bomb the snot out of a target with a high speed pass. Kind of like a 1 plane high speed B-17 strike, but at low altitude.