I didn't have to open my wallet. I had an old USB splitter squirreled away in the closet.
Setup was pretty easy. SteamVR downloaded on its own and it took me awhile to figure out both what it did and how to set it up but everything was 100% intuitive until I hit the snag with USB 2.0.
I'll start with the negative: I've seen the future but we are not there yet.
That's my very first impression sitting in the Spitfire on the ground somewhere outside Moscow. And the reason I had that impression is the same reason everyone else has it--the resolution is just too low when one has become spoiled by 2560x1440. But I knew all that before I purchased. It was by no means a disappointment; more like a verification. I cranked the Spit and for the first time I was able to follow along as IL2 flipped all the switches. I was in the space. My Pitts is famously cramped. It's a super tiny little biplane with a commensurably small pit. I've never bothered to sit in a WW2 fighter but figured they'd be nearly as cramped. I could see for the first time exactly how big, relative to my experience, the Spitfire cockpit was. And even though the resolution is marginal, I saw details I had never seen. Little switches now popped into view. Looking at the wing I could see that even with the door open it was just out of my reach. Maybe if I loosened the straps I could touch it with a couple of fingers. The Spit is a challenge on the ground but having played with it for a few days without VR I am pretty good with it. Power, brakes and early-yet-small rudder inputs are key. With VR I don't think I got more than 15 feet before ground-looping. It felt like my chair was moving. It's like stepping onto a moving walkway or an escalator that's broken. You step on it knowing full well that the only movement is your own yet you get a slight head-rush while you're brain erases past experience of what an escalator is supposed to feel like. I've had this same experience in commercial full motion sims when the instructor turns the motion off when we are about to do something that might break the sim.
The first takeoff was OK but I was way overcontrolling the rudder. I peaked through the little Oculus "nose-hole' to hit the "G" key and was flying. I don't think I can say anything that hasn't been said above. You are really flying! IL2 is simply stunning--on par with DCS: Normandy. And even with the low resolution the sense of ground rush and speed are heart pumping. I picked a river through a medium sized town and snaked back and forth at 280mph. I then went back to the field and tried a few landings. Another detail that was obvious with VR was the gear and flap indicators on the wings. I knew some airplanes had them. But somehow they just failed to be apparent in 2D. You REALLY appreciate what 777 has done with the detail. You see less because of the low resolution but somehow see much more when you understand the space around you. Also, with VR you finally have some perspective on that long Merlin swinging a massive prop 8 or 10 feet in front of you. Without VR the prop disk radius looks way too small. My landings were better than the takeoffs but still not near my 2D quality. The Spit as envisioned by 777/1C has low speed stability issues in pitch with the flaps extended and I am still trying to come to terms with that.
I then set up a Quick Mission 1v1 with an Ace 109 in a nose to nose merge at 1000m. This is where the low resolution really struggles. Even just a few hundred yards away it is very difficult to have any idea of the attitude of your adversary. It's not about spotting. It's about recognizing what he's doing. But, I could really sense our two circles. I could make small lead and lag corrections and instantly tell whether I was gaining advantage...or not. With 2D I have a very strong tendency to descend when I do a lot of rolling while looking over my shoulder. This does not happen to me in the Pitts yet I've been doing it consistently for 20 years in combat sims. That particular problem is corrected with VR. Why? Hell if I know. Maybe it's because my real head position now matches my virtual head position. I eventually got my a** handed to me. I blame that partially on misunderstanding his attitude. It was a great fight nonetheless. I ejected. In IL2 the camera is moved to 3rd person as your pilot decelerates under the silk. There I was hanging next to him. Looking straight down I could watch my poor Spit spiral slowly into a field. I had a real sense of floating a thousand feet above.
That was thirty minutes ago. I've been writing this ever since and am starting to feel a little dizzy. I think I will give it another hour or so before jumping back in. Unfortunately the USB splitter has swapped my controls so I will need to set up every control in DCS (and Falcon, and ARMA, and X-Plane, and etc). I'm not sure I am up to the challenge of doing all that tonight.
I have seen the future. I would happily pay what I paid and more for the experience. But I love air combat too much to say, "I'll never go back!" TrackIR and Oculus will share desk space for some time to come.
EDIT: I am making additional impressions here to give others a chance to shine
7/15 Yes, Beach, Tanking is MUCH easier. The F-15 has been a challenge and with VR I can't claim that it was easy-peasy but certainly not a big deal with a light touch. I have noticed something new about myself. I currently keep a ceiling fan on so there is a constant light breeze in here. When ever I open the canopy I feel that breeze. It didn't happen just the first time. But every time. This thing has completely fooled my brain into thinking it is real.
I have not gotten sick or light-headed since the first flight. The only time I feel any discomfort is when I pull, push or kick and feel no acceleration. That is still odd to me but I am consoled in the fact that this will NEVER be a feature of any sim, at any time on any planet. So I will continue to live with it.