The (re) Making of an A-10C Pilot - Part II

So, having completed the Basic Qualifications Campaign, I’m excited to move on to the next Maple Flag Missions campaign - the A-10C Advanced Aircraft Training Qualification Campaign where we will learn some more about how to employ the A-10C.

Many thanks to @komemiute for the gorgeous custom Mudspike “Dazzle” A-10C skin. I’ll probably scratch the paint - apologies in advance!

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Here are some up-close images of the fine paint scheme that @komemiute created for this series…I was blown away by how cool it looks…

He was kind enough to put my BAQ patch on the side of the canopy from the first campaign…I hope to add a few more patches soon…

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Ya, that patch probably isn’t very scary for the enemy lol.

Well, if I have to fly an ILS down to minimums and offload a SEAL Team member that is strapped to my wing - the enemy will really be in trouble…

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“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my son go now that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will fly into the nearest NAV AID equipped runway near you.”

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I just want to add that it was really interesting to work on it as it was an engaging request.
I just hope I’ve fulfilled @BeachAV8R dream as much as possible! :slight_smile:
As I always say, whenever you want a detail or part changed, I’ll gladly oblige!

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We might need to add some bullet holes and patches at some point down the road (ejection seat scorch marks…that kind of stuff…) :thinking:

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I think the response is “Good luck with that” :wink:

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LOL! You just gave me a weird, insane, beautiful idea.

Gorgeous skin @komemiute!

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With Basic Flight Training behind us - it’s now time to go through the A-10C Advanced Aircraft Training Qualification Campaign. Let’s roll up our sleeves and see how we do here…

Our first sortie out of Kobuleti will be a daytime refueling mission. I flew this mission twice. The first time, after my first attempt at plugging into the tanker, he was not impressed and he cleaned up and left the area. I tried the provided practice mission (which shortcuts to the meat of the mission to allow you to practice the refueling portion) and had good success, so I flew the qualification mission again and managed to get through it.

As usual, a full startup procedure is required. There is plenty of time to meet our 0700 lift time…

We’ll be departing with around 5550 lbs. of fuel…

An important part of the mission is hitting the rendezvous points on time - so it is necessary to dive into the CDU to edit the waypoint to add the DTOT (Desired Time on Target)…

Other flights are doing their thing…

Reaching the end of the runway where we’ll wait a few minutes for our takeoff time…

After takeoff, we are given headings and altitudes to get us on our way…

Throughout the flight to the rendezvous we get tips on flying, checklists, and other items important to completing the mission…

Setting the TACAN to receive the tanker signal…

The requirement is to connect and reconnect to the tanker a few times prior to reaching the terminate waypoint - which is why we want to arrive at the tanker on time…

Lots of tips and lots to do for a rookie tanking student…

The airspace is abuzz with activity around the tanker…

Refueling door open…

Down to 4,000 lbs…plenty of gas, but light enough to allow for several connects…

Nudging up under the tanker. After the failed mission and the practice mission, I have a good idea of the sight picture through the HUD and concentrate on just flying the tanker itself and the bulb that the boom comes out of rather than the tip of the boom…

Success…!

We back out and reconnect a few times before we are cleared out of the area for a return to base…

Arriving back at Kobuleti…

Mission accomplished - Qualified Minus - not sure why it was a Minus, but I’ll take it!

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That’s a sexy skin too. :thumbsup:

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Not bad Beach, you should try Hard Mode next!

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:stuck_out_tongue: It DOES looks good, right?

We managed the day refueling mission, so now it is on to ATQ-02 - Night Refueling. The layout of the mission is very similar to the day refueling mission, except the weather is horrible, with thunderstorms, rain, poor visibility, and (of course) darkness.

As usual, it is a cold & dark start, so the first five minutes is a flurry of activity. As in the first mission, I take the time to update the rendezvous times in the CDU so that I can time my arrival with the tanker correctly.

Soon we are blasting up through the storms and eventually we break out into a layer. I follow directions from the instructor, which gets me pointed toward the air-to-air refueling pattern. I’ll comment again how impressed I am with the amount of work and testing it must have taken to work out all these points meshing in the mission design.

After leveling at 8,000, we start our climb to 14,000’ to the rendezvous point, then we’ll climb another 1,000’ to 15,000’ for the tanking once we have the tanker in sight.

Climbing up to altitude, the time-on-target indicator is showing I’ll be 16 seconds late, but I’ll make that up when I level off and increase speed. The goal is for it to be +/- 0 obviously…

We reach the RVCP on time and the tanker is swinging around in front of us. I call it in sight, close to the pre-contact position and call that I’m ready to refuel. The difference with and without NVGs is pretty impressive…

Of course the tanker starts his turn right about as I’m getting ready to hook up. It goes well though, and I make the requisite number of connects and disconnects over the next few minutes. The daylight mission definitely helped nail down the picture.

Once the instructor clears us to RTB, I fly for a few minutes off the tankers wing, then proceed toward base.

Throughout the whole mission the instructor is full of great tips. We go over pre-tanking, pre-contact, and post refueling checklists.

The return to Kobuleti is pretty exciting since the weather is still at minimums, requiring a somewhat tense instrument approach…but it works out…

I pull into the shut-down area and get my score - another Qualified Minus, but I’m happy with that…!

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Boy that exterior shot of your plane climbing through the rain is a beauty.

Stand-by…after the reformat of my drive, I’m getting back up to a proper install to continue this campaign…and coming next will be the recently released A-10C Tactical Training Qualifications Campaign

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Everyone takes a six month breather in their training right? Right??

Onward and upward…!

So exciting times ahead. We are now on DCS World 2.5, with greatly improved visuals. As well, it appears that the Maple Flag Campaigns have been updated (this is unconfirmed by me!), so we’ll dive right in where we left off. For ATQ-03, we will hit the adversary anti-aircraft range north of Kobuleti to practice our evasive maneuvers and learn a bit about the threat warning receiver.

I actually flew the entire mission in VR (awesome!) and then replayed the track (which surprisingly played back correctly) to record some screens.

Getting the A-10C fired up and ready for flight took a bit of refamiliarization. Thankfully, unlike the Basic Qualifications Course, it doesn’t appear that you get penalized for missing a switch or two in this course. Good thing too, because I’m sure I missed a step or two (but you’re not going to take away my BAQ badge - I earned it…!).

As usual, the mission is full of well done secondary action as other flights go about their business. I’m jealous that other planes have bombs and missiles. I’m not in the weapons “circle of trust” quite yet…

As I taxi out, my instructor forms up…

Off we go on headings and altitudes assigned by my instructor. On the fight out to the run in to the IP, he gives a nice lesson on preparing for combat including overviews of the FENCE check, systems settings, and an overview of some of the threats and symbology we will be seeing.

Getting ready to head inbound over the “Syph” range…

Time to get low and put our head on a swivel. In VR, this is extremely immersive and could actually be a bit nauseating if things get too wild…

World 2.5 is just insanely beautiful…

First threats we come up on are ZSU-23-4…which are fairly easy to defeat as long as you keep the plane moving in different planes to disrupt their firing solution…

One of the coolest things about World 2.5 is, of course, the trees now have an impact…or rather I should say…they can CAUSE an impact. This is both an advantage and disadvantage to you…since clipping a tree with a wing will cause problems, but you can also take advantage of the gaps and meadows between tree lines to take full advantage of missile avoidance…

Of course, sneeze and you’re dead…

Coming up on the SAM threats…

Missile smoke trails are just beautiful in 2.5…

A flare drives one of the missiles down into the dirt…

Coming off one of the missile evasion maneuvers to a smattering of ZSU fire passing overhead…

After a few tense moments of yanking and banking, we are safely through the range…

Crossing the ridge separating the Syph Range from Kobuleti…

Down and in…

Mission is a success…!

Looking forward to the next one…I’ll probably not take six months for a follow up…

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Sabre has confirmed that the Maple Flag campaigns have been updated to work with 2.5…but to report any problems we might spot…

:+1:

Sweet stuff Beach! I am on another extended sim hiatus and enjoying the vicarious experience.

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