Newbie progressing and the Summer Sale

Hey guys,

it’s been a while. So, despite some work, I was able to fly a little more, and get a lot better at this, at least in single player. While I’m some distance away from calling myself good - Especially comparing to many of you who are actual pilots in your real life.

Anyways, first milestone complete, just completed my first run at the Georgian War F15 Campaign. I wanted to do Bear trap first but I took a long time to find the patches to fix most of the missions for 2.5. To think I flew that first engagement in mission 2 about 700 times until I was actually able to shoot somebody down… Pretty excited to have done it until the end. Surely I’ll have to try to fly the whole thing without restarting the missions several times, but it still counts for something.

So I was playing in two fronts: F15 FC3 single player and F/A 18 training. I am feeling pretty good at landing the Hornet on the Field Overhead Pattern and having a lot of progress in the carrier, although I still need to refine that a lot (I land most of the time, but my grades would probably suck and I am still taking some time - and some altitude changes - to get the plane trimmed.)

I still have a lot to do in the F15 and years to go on the hornet, and then, the summer sale appears and my pockets start getting itchy

So it leads me to the question: While this might not be the best time to split my focus once more, it’s a great time to get some extra modules for less (even if I let them sit for a while). What are the recomendations in terms of the best modules for a begginer in terms of both fun and content availiable?

Helos seem fun to fly but I’ll leave them for a whole other chapter in my life.
I was currently thinking about A10, F5, Mirage and Harrier. But not all of them for financial reasons…

A10 - Lots of content, but super complex systems, would require a lot of extra work.
F5 - Simple, and with some content availiable.
Mirage - Also complex but easier than the A10 with two promising campaigns.
Harrier - Not so much in terms of content, but similar avionics than the hornet (less to learn) plus vtol (I’m pretty much set on it)

Another thing is the maps and extra content. For instance, I’m probably going to start flying multiplayer sometime in the near future, and I’m sure some scenarios would require specific assets…

Do you fly jets in normandy a lot? Should I get that map and WWII assets (it’s the only map I don’t have)
What is Combined Arms? What is it good for?

And last question. Is it true that there are good chances that the Tomcat is going to be availiable soon-ish? As in a question of 1-2 months and not years? That is going to be hard to ignore…

Anyway, all ramblings aside, I’m still having a ton fun with what I currently have, but you know, it woudln’t hurt to have a small road map… :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot!


Copious amounts of salt should probably used while reading my recommendation…I’ve got DCS loaded but have not nearly mastered the free SU-25 (or is it 35) and am still trying to figure out how to add my Black Shark 2…a true DCS noob…

My years in the real USN, mostly around aviation and on carriers, would lead me to suggest that if you have the F-18, concentrate on becoming very proficient with that aircraft. From what I’ve read on these forms, it is a great model and will only get better with time.

Landing a jet on a carrier is pretty much the hardest part of naval aviation–real naval aviators practice all the time.

Plus, employing the weapons the way they are designed and meant to be employed can also be a challenge…my personal favorite challenge (from FSX TACPACK and FALCON 4.0) is keeping the darn laser on the target until “Shack”…Which side of the jet is the pod on? So that means I turn left?…or is it Right"…about alf the time I get it wrong and blank out the target with part of my jet.

Just some thoughts. :sunglasses:


I’ll +1 what Hangar200 said, but if you’re enjoying the feel of the fast jets, you won’t regret the Mirage - she’s easily my favorite plane next to the Hornet, and there’s just enough complexity in the systems to be a step up from the FC3 birds, and perhaps a good half step into the more complex birds like the Hog or Hornet (when all the systems are done).

That’s my $0.02


That’s actually going to be my first purchase add on to DCS. There is just something about that aircraft…it looks like its going fast when it is just sitting in the ground.

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Oops I’ve got just plain DCS Blackshark…not Blackshark2…that’s not gong to work is it. :frowning_face:

unfortunately not

Oh well…all the more reason to take advantage of the 50% DCS Summer sale…as if a reason was really required. :sunglasses:

@taubkin Welcome!

The models you mentioned are the ones I love most. You didn’t mentioned the Ka50 probably because whirlybirds don’t interest you. That would be my first choice. It has this clunky minimalist Soviet logic that is so entirely different than the western models. To learn it and operate it requires a significant rewiring of your brain. If I had to choose one of your presences based on flying qualities, it would be ANYTHING but the A-10C. Still, my choice would be the A-10C, hands down. It is the most mature and refined model in DCS. Learning it takes weeks. And if you walk away for a month, it will take weeks to get reacquainted. DCS the game is structured around the movement and destruction of tanks, vehicles and artillery. The A-10C is uniquely capable of operating to its fullest within the limitations of the game. And that is why there is so much outstanding content available for the A-10C. I LOVE the Mirage but it is very limited in this respect. Plus it is relatively simple by camparison for a “modern” jet. The Harrier is a joy to fly. But given that it is still in its systems infancy, there isn’t much to do with it but land on frigates and practice refueling. You can’t go wrong with the F-5. It is the best flying plane in DCS—a smile every flight. But extremely limited.

Get the A-10!


Combined Arms lets you use ground vehicles (and perhaps in the future naval as well). If you have no interest in using tanks or ADA then you don’t need to worry about it.

Do not wait for the F-14. It’s been coming for a long time now, do not put off getting something today for the promise of that bird tomorrow. It gets here when it gets here.

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One other thing combined arms allows you to do is become a GCI. Where you can be a ground overlord commander and set waypoints etc for ground units instead of just using one.


A lot depends on what you want to get out of DCS. The Hornet is a fun ride, and will only get better. However, other DCS modules each fill a niche or two.

You already mentioned liking the Harrier. You’re right that the avionics are very similar, and it makes for a fairly flat learning curve in that respect. Right now you have a targeting pod and can also shoot maverick and sidearm with the Harrier, so it makes for good SEAD escort for Hornets (at least until the Hornet gets its PGMs and HARM).

I also second the Mirage being a fun ride. Even though it’s FBW, it’s a completely different feel from the Hornet. Being a delta wing, it’s faster than the Hornet, and even though it’s maneuverable, if you try to do a bat-turn in the Mirage you’ll lose all your energy (it doesn’t fly radius like the Hornet). The air to ground is basic, but fun, and the Mirage scratches a slightly different air-to-air itch than the Hornet or F-15.

The F-5, in my personal opinion, is a fun ride. It’s like driving a hot rod, and the thin wings and steam gauges forces good airmanship. The F-5 is great for practicing formation flying, scans, and BFM as a gunfighter. However, with 2 sidewinders (and older ones at that), missions have to be tailored to employ it tactically.

Another module you may want to consider is the Viggen. If you like the classic low-level deep strike mission, this plane is a lot of fun. Right now, it’s the only all weather strike aircraft in DCS (Hornet doesn’t have a ground radar yet), and it has a doppler navigation system that requires periodic nav updates to keep a tight solution (you can do radar and visual fixes). It’s also some very quirky avionics that defy western conventions, but is actually pretty brilliant and useful once you learn the method to the madness. That, and the thrust reverser makes landings a lot of fun! Only downside is that most missions out there are CAS oriented (due to the prevalence of the A-10), and you really need a dedicated strike mission for the Viggen to sing.

With regard to the idea of focusing on aircraft, I find that learning multiple aircraft is like learning foreign languages. The second one is hard, but after that you can start to see patterns and each aircraft becomes progressively easier (or at least you can figure out what you need up front and look up the rest on an ass-needed basis). Airmanship in one aircraft transfers to another, even if the avionics and techniques differ.

EDIT: and if you have any interest at all in helicopters, you won’t go wrong with the Huey. Even if you prefer the Ka-50, the Huey will make you a better helo pilot. Once you learn the Huey, the other helos are a piece of cake.


You’ve received several great answers so I’m just adding my $0.02 to the commentary. You are also pretty spot on with your assessment of the aircraft you mentioned.

The A-10 is a must have simply because of BRRRRT!!! :grin: Seriously, the A10 has received a lot of “Hog love” in terms of content and fidelity. I’ve still not mastered it but keep coming back because it is a worthy aircraft to have in your DCS library. I like the fact that you can come back years later and still play around with it because it is a much different experience compared to many of the DCS aircraft.

The F5 and Mirage are extremely fun to fly. I like the fact that they are less complex aircraft and you can quickly gain proficiency flying them. Something about the F5 makes it feel truly alive. It has some intangibles that just make it fun!

The Harrier has its place but I believe it will truly shine once the South Atlantic theater is released. Also, V/STOL flight is fun to master.

Honestly, I think you can’t go wrong with any of the aforementioned jets.

Combined Arms is a ground simulator. I got mine from an online simmer back when you were able to trade modules. It’s not to the level of ARMA 3 but has potential for when the electronic battlefield in fully realized in DCS. I’ve dabbled with it but I rather be flying and I suspect that is the case for most of us.

Regarding, the Tomcat’s release… two weeks. :grin: Seriously, I listened to a podcast and Heatblur stated that they are working hard to get it out the door. If you’ve been simming long enough you know that means sometime in the future, hopefully… Other aircraft in the DCS pipeline are the F-16 (my no.1 fave jet), the F-15E, and others. I’m hoping they are all released but know my best bet is to focus on what’s currently available.

Unfortunately, I have more aircraft than I do time but I suspect DCS will still be around when I retire in the next 10 years.


From its page on DCS site:…“When in multiplayer, different players can take on different roles such as artillery commanders, tank commanders, pilots, JTACS, etc.”

While I too would rather be flying…I’d rather not be crashing -which I seem do a lot…

Maybe its from years working in various intel and command centers where I was looking at the “big board” …

…I think it would be fun to provide some level of C4I to the airborne multiplayer guys and at the same time fight the ground (and sea?) battle.

DCS mentions JTACS but not AWACS or GCI…or SAM employment for that matter (establishing MEZ’s and FEZs so they complementary, safe heading, altitude, speed for returning airstrikes through a MEZ, etc.) I can understand no AWACS if that is going to be AI, but I’d really like SAM control.

UAV employment would be nice too…allow you to do some IPB (Intel preparation of the Battlespace) at UNCLAS level…and of corse I’d need some type of interface with PowerPoint…as every intel officer does.:sunglasses:


You had me up until here- I’m going to have nightmares tonight after reading that. Even DCS doesn’t want to be this brutally accurate–this is how you lose customers. :wink:


Oh dear, our military PowerPoint presentations were brutal…not saying that was the case with you guys but our average officer really wasn’t great at preparing slides in a professional manner or presenting them.

Spelling mistakes galore combined with walls of text at a tiny font and with ‘explanatory’ graphics that would embarrass most 12-year olds. Shudder.

Most of them had received one too many knocks in the ‘turret’ to become fluent with computer media. These were reconnaissance lieutenants, mind you. Great at parachuting, shooting, krav maga and running for hours with 60kgs of gear on… not so great with stuff requiring long words.


You had officers preparing your PowerPoint? If only! We had enlisted preparing ours, and for nukes, just because you’re good at math and rote memorization of science and technology doesn’t make one good at English, spelling, or grammar. Death by PowerPoint, we called it.


Haha ours was a small unit and everyone had to do everything a bit - in some cases (and especially later when we went peacekeeping etc.) they did employ the computer literate of us to help but during the first year of training I guess they had to fill all the roles themselves.


Yeah…you need to leave that stuff to the professionals and focus on those neutrons.

As an intel officer, PowerPoint was one of our main tools. You became proficient with it…very, very proficient with it…or you didn’t advance. (Our sea/operational tours’ FITREPs are signed by URLs–brief well or you will be gone) Somewhere I have a 10,000 Hrs PowerPoint patch…that isn’t that far off. I am a PowerPoint Master.

When I was CO of the Navy & Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center (NMITC), I strongly emphasized presentation skills (read a good PowerPoint presentation). The intel officer wannabe’s briefed me every week (using PowerPoint). They were taught that, the way the human brain works, its is as much about the presentation as it is about the information. If they couldn’t handle the presentation, they needed to get a another job. I was merciless death when it came to bad slides or slides with mistakes.

For example: An Ensign once briefed me. He had labored for a week on his 3 minute, one slide brief. As he finished…

Him: Subject to your questions, that concludes my brief.
Me: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear a word you said, I was looking at that photo on your slide the whole time…You were briefing something about an Akula?…that photo is definitely not an Akula…it distracted me.
Him: Yes Sir, what I briefed was…
Me (interrupting): Don’t bother. You already failed. Sit down.

He had tears in his eyes after that…if you can’t stand the heat, etc. Bottom Line: If you need to give a brief, find an 1830 to do the slides.

…but I get the point here…no PowerPoint interface with DCS.…


When I did VTCs, we had a manual (for the old 1980s system before we upgraded in '13), there were certain rules that presentations were supposed to follow for slides, dictates like maximum image size, text size, etc. since the context was basically a 640x480 image at best. This was routinely ignored and just about everyone brought printouts of the slides because the image looked like absolute canine excrement on a mid-80s 40" CRT.

Bear in mind this was Army and Garrison for the most part, though we did do some things for the aviation folks every month where the same rules were ignored.

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@Hangar200 when were you at NMITC? I was an officer instructor in N25 in the early 2000s. As an aviator, I would also attend the briefs of ensigns going to squadrons and give them real-world feedback. They were usually trying too hard to impress, and I would always tell them to stick to the facts and analysis, don’t make assumptions, and don’t BS answers to questions.

I also agree with your Powerpoint assessment. I was actually pretty good at building slide decks. I took some business classes in college, so I knew the rules about max 5 bullets/page, large fonts, and the slides supplementing the brief (not being the brief). All that went out the window when I found out that my Admiral actually liked the overly-complex slides. :grin: