Whareagle's Wednesday Night AAR Report for 2019/02/21

Thanks to the Usual Leaders and Suspects, the Wednesday Night Training Mission did NOT disappoint! And once again - I learned SO MUCH from the planning, the action, and especially from the guiding hand of @near_blind.

I think it was @klarsnow who wrote up the Planning Guide, and for once, I wasn’t immersed up to my elbows in bike-related stuff, that I actually had the opportunity to read the doc, look up the terms, and overview the map. I just learned the HARMS last week, and had a few of them go kind of ballistic, so I didn’t want to make that mistake again, and I wanted to learn from SimPilots who get to spend more time in their cockpits than I currently do.

BUT - Line 5 in the Briefing sent a chill down my spine. Fog? Rain? Crosswinds maybe? NIGHT? Case 3 WHAT?

Wow - I need to practice.

So, I watched the videos, took notes, did maybe a dozen daylight and sunset landings, and figured, well, this is about as much as I can do before GO time.

Around 1800 local time I checked in to the Aux Server on TeamSpeak, and just missed @Bogusheadbox, informing me that we were moving to either/both Discord and SimplyRadio. I didn’t want to slow the group down with my limited knowledge of the radios, so I pretty much kept it on Discord. I do have the radio channels plugged in to my HOTAS, but they’re still not 100% familiar to me yet. Luckily, @near_blind instructed me to our two-ship channel for the flight and the fight.

I’ll summarize the flight breakdown like this; I was a mess. I lost @near_blind, we regained each other, I lost him again, he helped with the nightvision, we rendezvou’ed at the waypoints. He was hopping channels on the radio, and announced our push.

Armed with two HARMS, two AIM-7’s, and two AIM-9X’s, with two gas bags, I thought we’d be able to adequately engage after the fighters, get the SA-2’s, and get back to the Stennis.

Well, I mucked that up, as well.

@near_blind was at my 3 o’clock when I picked up a bogey while scanning left from 10-40k at 40miles on my radar. I THINK I locked him up (I’d love to get the tacview on this mission), but I ended up pushing the left top button on my T-1600 joystick, which I THOUGHT I had set to ‘weapon release’, but… Nothing.

SO - I then tried the trigger… twice.

Both missiles launched, from too far out, and went LOFT, and I got nothing.

I know @near_blind was rolling his eyes behind the mic, but again, like Cool Hand Luke, he calmly told me to re-engage in ACM mode on the radar, and get the bogey with an AIM-9.

Okay - this was a head-on shot, with radar lock, closing velocity over 1200… heater lock… and I MISSED.

I caught ONE glimpse of a shadowy opponent in my goggles, and then lost complete situational awareness. I turned, I looked all over, I sped up, I slowed down, I dove… Nothing. Meanwhile my rwr is screaming at me, I’m dumping chaff and flares every now and then when I see something that looks like it might be behind or beside me… And then I realize that I’m maybe about 1000’ off the deck and falling. Now, survival becomes the priority, instead of fighting, so I throw the throttles forward, get some space back between myself and the ground, and start looking around again, for something… anything.

@near_blind, meanwhile, has dispatched said bogey.

He tells me to climb to Angels 20 or 25, and get to waypoint, what, 4? We’re pushing in for the HARM shots.

I DO get my now-empty gas bags dropped, with just one or two minor instructions from the Angel in my ears, and take on the Westernmost SA-2 radar. I get within 22 miles, get one last prod for lock via the “I” key to set the box, fire, get locked onto myself, and turn and flee. I think he did the same. I practice the “SA-6” maneuver of corkscrew and dive, then climb back up again, and we both fire our second missiles.

I THINK I hit the thing. I think, I think. The report on the left side of the screen mentioned something - I wasn’t paying much attention. I had maybe 8000lbs of fuel left, @near_blind had even less, and we both went back towards the Stennis.

Now, gang, I PROMISE YOU, I’m not a “compleat” noob. I’ve navigated to the carrier using Tacan and ICLS, many a time, thanks to some missions that @Sryan built for me, and I’ve since copied and edited for different complexities, etc. @near_blind had to hit a tanker, but he said I would be by far the first one to the carrier, and to ignore the Case III protocols, start at 10-12 miles out, get dirty, work the throttle, and LAND and get out of the way.

SO I then basically flew all over and around the Task Force in circles and squares, COMPLETELY screwing up the lineup behind the carrier itself, until my own fuel situation became a real concern. Meanwhile, @near_blind had completely refueled from a tanker, and FREAKIN CAME BACK to me, and basically did everything he could to guide me back to the area behind the carrier, and then get properly lined up.

I’ve never tried SO HARD to NOT SCREW THIS UP. I WANTED this landing. I wanted SOMETHING to go right tonight. I swear, if I’d had an HRM or an EMG, you would’ve seen me near Threshold on HR, and the EMG would’ve shown my sphincter tight enough to press industrial diamonds.

I FINALLY got on glideslope, worked the “E”… And boltered.


Once again, that Angel in my ears calmly got me back up and around, and at 3.5 miles (room I knew I’d need), I turned back in, and got set up.

The rain on my nose gear light created HUGE levels of disorientation - I couldn’t remember how to turn it off on the left control panel, and honestly, I didn’t want to leave my eyes from the HUD. I now have that switch SEARED into my brain, over to the left of the JETT button, but at the moment, I was fighting for vision beyond 30m off my nose.

I made the approach - @near_blind must have been just over my shoulder to my five or seven o’clock - FINALLY saw the carrier, and wrongly chopped the throttle in some sub-conscious (and vain) attempt to plunk the bird onto the carrier and maybe catch a wire.

No joy.

I added throttle, but it was too late. The bird skimmed and then splashed into the ocean, and I was able to eject, thus saving my pilot’s life but subjecting him to a life behind the “in & out” counter with a white shirt, a bowtie, a forced smile, and a “here’s your #2 with no onions and a Dr. Pepper, ma’am.” or even worse, getting picked up by hostiles and then living a life of deceit while denouncing Yankee Imperialists behind bars and in front of a camera and a teleprompter.

I thanked @near_blind and the team still flying profusely, but left the chat a bit early, as my Thursdays start early and end late, and I don’t get to join y’all as much as I’d like.

BUT I AM STILL COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH THIS SIM, and I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for the continued guidance, kindness, lack of meanness, and general joviality of this crowd. Y’all are SO unique!

@near_blind - Thank you again, and I owe you dinner.

Gang, is there ever a time other than Wednesday evenings, local time, when we might fly? Say, over a weekend?

Finally - may I beg a link to the directions for HOSTING a flight or world or mission or something? I’m willing to host and pay for some extra hours outside of the regular meetup.

And finally… Here’s my cockpit for the next two years or so:


Very nice AAR, sounds like a thrilling mission!
(Although you got a tiiiiiny bit “tumbleweed” there it seems).


1 Like

There is a lot of pressure on people to get it right: we want to not mess up; we want to contribute positively to the mission; we want to not be a hot mess that someone else has to clean up after. Also realise that nighttime and/or bad weather makes everything exponentially harder.

You have to remember that most of the time, all of that pressure is in your head. It is the expectations that we feel others have that can make us choose to not take part in mission like this because we feel that we are not up to some artificial standard that we assume others have for us. It is the stress of multiplayer cooperative missions with other players who have their poop all in it’s correct pile :-).

Remember: Some people do this for a living; some people are naturally better at balancing these kinds of work loads; some people get to practice more than others. W

Fighter pilots have a term (I have read, not that I am that familiar with the culture): “getting behind the jet”. It means that we are temporally in the wrong place - we are seconds, or minutes behind where we need to be - where the jet is. We are sitting in the jet but our minds are lagging behind and we are responding to what the jet needed of us in the past.
We have all have a limited amount of attention that we can use at any given time, some people have more than others, some have less. Each task that you add to yourself takes some portion of that attention away. At some point you will get task saturated and start to ‘fall behind the jet’.

Expand: Being 'Behind the Jet'

When we are nuggets to flight sims, we fall behind the jet very fast - sometimes as soon as we push the throttle forward on our first takeoff we start to fall behind as the jet rockets forward. At it’s basic all we need to do is keep it down the centre-line and rotate at the correct speed. That is, like, 3 tasks. Quickly, with practice, we get up to speed with the jet and 3 tasks is within our capabilities.

When we do our first landing, we start to fall behind again. Think back to the first time you tried to land a virtual fighter at an airfield. Likely the weather was fine, no wind, no traffic, yet keeping track of airspeed, sink rate, orientation of the jet with regard to the airfield and the touchdown point on the runway - it would overwhelm us and we would screw up our first attempts. We became task saturated quickly and fell behind the jet. After some practice, however, we understood the jet better, we understood what was happening better and we understood what we wanted to happen better. We are back with the jet.

Add weather; a crosswind. And we start to fall behind the jet again. :slight_smile:

With any aircraft (actually I would argue with any task at all, work, driving a car, eating pizza) we can fall behind where we need to be at the moment. It’s normally described as being distracted. Your eating pizza and a rather attractive @klarsnow walks past and we forget to put food in our mouths, for example. Ahem.

I am digressing and pontificating. So let me bring it back.

We are all going through this in some form or another - getting behind the jet and feeling like a burden to others. @near_blind, @klarsnow, @AeroMechanical are old hats at a lot of this which is why they start to add weather and night time flying to their roster - to push themselves. They get a lot of practice in, read a lot of books and talk about it all the the time. You and I are the nuggets that either do not get the time to practice or we are just lazy, so there will be times where we quickly get behind the jet faster than the others.

And that is okay. Really. Get behind the jet … in this group it is encouraged - and we will all work to help each other get better.

Two points:

  1. Set your expectation realistically - if you are in a situation where the mission is beyond your abilities, change your ‘win state’. If we are doing a weapon drop that I am not familiar with, or some other complicated action, I am going to redefine success. Example: Nighttime cooperative flying. I expect that I can take off and get to a waypoint. What I have trouble with is flying the get with reduced visibility and trying to acquire (and stay in formation with) my wingman, let alone getting the jet set up to flight/fight/drop bombs. So I change my success goals. Did I at least acquire my wingman enough to get close to them? Check. Did I get oriented in the same direction as them as we ingressed? Check. I win - that’s it. Did I stay with them? That’s a stretch goal. Did I get my jet properly configured? Stretch goal. Did I get weapons off the jet? Meh - that’s for next time. Did I hit anything. Meh - next time. Each time I go out I want to add one item to the win list, or at minimum if I am having a bad day, not have one item fall off the win checklist :slight_smile:.

  2. It’s the reason that the Wednesday Night Fibre was started. We were trawling around in a multiplayer server each doing our own thing and we thought we needed to add a little structure to our diet; add a little fibre, so to speak. We realised that we were all at different skill sets and the only requirement we had was to just try. We never wanted to get to a spot where we even hinting at ‘turning people away’ because they ‘couldn’t keep up’. So, remember, you are in the perfect spot on Wednesday Night Fibre sessions if you want to: A. Cooperate; and B. Learn. Everyone in the Wednesday Night Fibre is there for those two items and we are all willing to help each other out to achieve those two goals.

Aside: Since December, @near_blind, @klarsnow and @AeroMechanical have started a Discord group to coordinate and expand these Wednesday Night Fibre sessions. If @whareagle’s fearlessness seems like something that you would like to mimic, or if my AARs from back in October or November seem like something you would be interested in, I encourage you to contact them via PM if you wish.


Dude. That is a great report. I was sweating for ya’… Just superb all around and a great example to point at to demonstrate how fun these sims are when flying with good friends.

1 Like

It was a great time! Wednesday nights are always a good time.

1 Like

Can’t begin to tell you how true this is for me when I fly with others.

1 Like

I would also like to add on to what @Fridge mentioned above.

And please correct me if I am wrong @near_blind @AeroMechanical @Klarsnow.

For me the intention of these missions is not to ramp the difficulty slider so the old hats won’t get bored and the newbies sweat buckets for the experienced players enjoyment.

They are well thought out missions that add a factor of difference to gameplay that appear harder, or give an opportunity to try something that you may have shied away from.

It really doesn’t matter if you crash or can’t do something. Nobody is bothered if you mess it up. But if you can attempt something in slightly more difficult conditions, then anything done in normal conditions will be a piece of cake.

As @Fridge posted above, it’s the perception of added difficulty that disuades people from giving it a go. Just don’t worry about it and have a crack. In @whareagle great AAR above, it’s a learning experience and a chance to try something non standard for learning and enjoyment.


Nice write up @whareagle!

Dude, rule #1 of fight club!? :slight_smile:

Perhaps one of them could expand on what the ‘DUMA’ group is, how to join and what sort of things would help to know going in i.e. usual time/server location/nationality etc?

1 Like

I was so engrossed in the AAR that I was trying to figure out what code you were using. Took an interruption and a second reading before it dawned on me. happyhappy2


Welp, I guess the cat’s kinda sorta out of the bag.

The “DUMA” Discord is the current launchpad / proving ground where a few of us are testing out whether it’s reasonable and possible to bring organized missions to a group (like Mudspike) without the same commitments and rigor required from something like a virtual fighter squadron.

The idea is that flight sims are more fun when you have more skin in the game and are part of a team of buddies. Stuff like:

  • Holding yourself accountable to doing a full mission sequence (brief, startup, setting and trying to accomplish a realistic objective, and bringing the jet home)
  • Rolling with the punches when things don’t go according to plan (chaos is half the fun)
  • Being open to challenge and learning (a ship at harbor is safe but that’s not what ships were built for).
  • Encouraging and helping others to take that challenge head on and do something awesome.

We’re not really interested in artificial hierarchy beyond agreeing on lead/wing roles per-mission for organizational purposes. Dealing with a career, job, or for those actually in the service, real rank structure and etiquette, is more than enough of that.

We’ve been keeping it quiet because frankly the gist of what we’re going for is far from being matured. We’re still running into (fairly hilarious) mission bugs and ambiguous mission plans, and we’re still trying to figure out how best to deal with misalignment or disparity in skill.

If you think you can face certain snafu with a good sense of humor and attempt to learn how best to apply your task saturation in a virtual cockpit without taking yourself too seriously- feel free to send myself, @near_blind, @Tyco, @klarsnow, or @Bogusheadbox a PM.


That sounds great - would it be possible to share one of the briefing docs?

Also, gotta ask :slight_smile: but what does ‘DUMA’ stand for, as I never found out?


1 Like

Ah, I misunderstood, not an acronym - the ‘Russian verb думать (dumat’) meaning “to think” or "to consider’ bit. Thanks for the docs - interesting stuff.