When is a Hornet like an onion?

When you are trying to learn it top to bottom in preparation for a campaign. Good grief this thing has many layers. I feel like I could study it for years, as in DCS, the Hornet Simulator.

From the Raven One Dominant Fury Guide, the skillset needed and my checklist of the items that I feel familiar with, although not necessarily proficient. Some processes, like A2G, I know most, but far from everything. Have not dropped JDAMs in anger yet.

CASE I landings X
CASE II landings X
CASE III landings X
Formation flying X
Waypoint creation and management X
Bullseye referencing (have basic understanding, but not how it might best be used on some of the pages, like SA or HSI)
Air to air refuelling X
ATFLIR operations X
A-A weapons employment X
A-G weapons employment
Countermeasures use X

I guess that if it were easy, that the campaign wouldn’t be much fun.


Well put! It looks like you’ve honestly got most of it down. JDAMs, Mavs and LGB’s are all pretty simple once you understand the flow. It’s amazing how ‘powerful’ the Hornet can be, despite its inherent airframe limitations in terms of range, speed and payload.

The great thing it has going for it, and the reason I think it’s one of the best modules to start with in DCS, is that the fundamentals of flying and fighting the aircraft are relatively easy. It’s a very user-friendly aircraft in terms of FCS, switchology and systems. And if you don’t want to dive into the complex stuff, it’s still very effective and easy enough to use effectively. The fancy stuff like the HMD, Datalink/SA Page and everything else just makes you more powerful, it’s not strictly required to fly and fight the aircraft.

Being able to get a drink from the tanker sure is though. Geez that thing needs legs… As much as I hate double ugly, that’s become my go-to configuration for a lot of missions.

I guess the fact that I chose to build my simpit as a hornet instead of an F-16 says a lot about how much I like the aircraft. Now that it’s nearing* completion, I’m trying to decide whether to build a Viper or Tomcat next!

(*Two more weeks)


I’ve just about worked out HARMs and am moving on to JDAMs next… I’m still leaving the HARM cheat sheet in my kneeboard pages though, I’m not sure learning JDAM won’t just overwrite the HARM flow in my brain!

It’s a shock coming from something like the Mirage where, sure, there are a bunch of dark tiny switches hidden around the cockpit that you need to find but once you get it started there’s not much else to do other than go look for the bandits.

I will say, the best thing about the Hornet IMO is the datalink presentation on the SA page. Getting instant gen from the E-2 or E-3 without having to make a picture call and then interpret it makes the air to air work so much easier.


The datalink and the way it’s presented both on JHMCS and displays is truly incredible within the context of DCS. Wags having referred to the Viper as a slightly ghetto Hornet is most true in this area.

I wholeheartedly agree that the Hornet, although incomplete, has depth and layers that encourage continuous learning.

@chipwich when you set into mastering bullseye, a couple notes:
-the jet will come preloaded with WP59 set to the bulls location, if set by the mission planner (BD does)
-you still must tell the jet to use WP59 (or any WP, for that matter) as the bullseye by following HSI-DATA-desired WP-A/A WPT

Once selected; the following will occur:
-SA Page, w/TDC Assigned - will display cursor OR TUC (target under cursor) bearing and range from Bulls at top left. Useful trick here, you can gain the same functionality on a datalink track when TDC is not assigned to SA by using the STEP function.

-SA Page, bulls WP will be permanently displayed with a fixed North reference arrow

-ATTK RDR Page WITH TDC assigned, cursor will display cursor OR TUC bearing and range from bulls at top left. Important note: when TDC is not assigned to ATTK RDR and a track is not set as L&S, the bulls display in top left will default to the “stowed” cursor position (the upper left quadrant default position), this can be deceiving because of course nothing useful is usually at that location.
Off the top of my head, ownship B&R from bulls is displayed at bottom left on ATTK RDR.
Edit-oh, and bulls WP location will now be displayed on ATTK RDR with a north reference arrow.

When navigating using Bulls, note that the cursor on both pages is not ground stabilized, i.e. as you turn towards the area of interest your cursor will rotate with the motion of the jet. It takes manipulation of the cursor to maintain indication of desired location. This can be overcome by setting an offset point from the bulls WP, or by slewing the TGP to desired location and designating a target point.

Hopefully that all makes sense, I’m posting before coffee :eyes:


That’s a great write-up, thanks taking the time, I learned a few things!


Great info W2. I guess that the SA page can be an onion of its own, albeit a very helpful one. I had forgotten about JHMCS integration, although the info has probably been there all along. I have so much to learn, which makes me wonder if the training missions will ever get updated. Most likely will need to come from the community.

@Chuck_Owl is always the go-to resource, if you’ve not already looked at his manuals.

I’d be happy to jump into a server and chat through things as well.


I am back in the Hornet and all that @chipwich said above resonates…

I found that, while I can’t do a cold start right now, having only learned the basics before a year off DCS, once up in the air, I can go and have some light fun right away, because the basic switchology is quite intuitive.

I didn’t have the headspace last night to study the sim so just hopped on a pve mp server and took a hot start Hornet for a flight.

I flew that same bird all evening, maybe 8 or 9 short hops, and brought it home in one piece…that was unexpected! Bagged one AI fighter (admittedly with a caged AIM-9x because I couldn’t find him with the radar and couldn’t even uncage the seeker in the heat of the moment) and did a few successful CBU/GBU CCIP runs. Ran 3 SAMs to the ground and jousted with a Shilka until my ammo ran out.

I do need to get some structured learning underway to really be able to employ the Hornet but it is nice that it is approachable enough to jump right back in in the meantime.