Will he never go away?

I have been more confused than normally the case since starting to study DCS and the F18. Beside the issue of sorting out my HOTAS there are various terminology anomaly’s. I hope these are ‘technical’ issues and so appropriate for this forum. The biggest that are puzzling me include:

  1. Why is the TDC referred to as ‘throttle designator controller’? Surely it should be ‘Target designator controller’. Is it an Americanism like speed brakes as opposed to air brakes? If so why ‘throttle…?’. Basic research on Google suggest ‘Target’. My referring the question to an RAF Wing Commander ‘Typhoon’ Squadron Commander also suggests the same. If we have any airshows this season I will ask any stray USAF/USN pilots.

  2. Watching a training video on You-tube I repeatedly heard the aircraft’s indicated speed referred to as ground speed. Does the aircraft display ground speed, maybe from the GPS/INS. Surely it is airspeed that is indicated? There is a very significant difference between the two.

  3. I heard the altimeter setting in transit referred to as QFE when QNH or SAS would normally be used. QFE defines height relative to a specific airfield. QNH refers to altitude above the sea predicted an hour in advance or within 25 nm of an airfield, QNH is even used if over land, maps show the height of terrain above the sea, not the airfield. SAS is vertical distance above a theoretical standard datum 1013(.25) hpa and is used above the transition altitude. [Dinosaurs like I still use mb at every opportunity.] Is this a terminology convention to make altimitery simpler or a glitch?

Thanks in advance for your forbearance with me.


As for point #1, I think it is because the control is located on the throttle in the actual Hornet.
Throttle (Location) Designator (System) Controller (Purpose) - would be my best guess to the reasoning behind it.

As for Speedbrakes, I guess that is also just a way to immediately indicate the result of using them?

As for point 2: I haven’t looked for GPS / GS / TS in the Hornet much myself yet. The HUD does show IAS.

As for point 3: DCS has always given QFE. I am not sure why, but that’s less about the plain and just an old DCS thing. I agree QNH would be more appropriate.


It looks like Russia only recently shifted to, or atleast began to change to QNH.

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The QNH Qfe thing has bothered me for a while as well.

I agree with @Wes on the throttle position explanation as well plus Speedbrake just sounds cooler. I even say speedbrake in the SF25C for the spoilers even though they affect neither speed or braking. It just sounds cool :wink:

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As far as aircraft are concerned, spoilers I believe are dual purpose - air/speed brake & spoil airflow / reduce lift. So I gather the terms aren’t supposed to be interchangeable in a technical sense.

I’ll leave that to you real world pilots to confirm.


SOP for commercial pilots to land with QNH. I’ve done it since 2000. It was already established practice then

In Russia?

In Russia, QNH lands you!

@Scoop I would take anything you hear on youtube with a grain of salt. Many of them are just like me, enthusiast wannabe’s with their hearts in mostly the right places, but not always their minds, let alone their terminology :wink:


When we had routes to Murmansk we had to fly on QFE and meters… But that was some years ago and Murmansk is a military airfield. Might be they have different procedures.

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I think the brakes are among the least annoying terminology for planes. I still don’t understand why they call afterburners “reheat” over there. The air is already super hot, it didn’t cool down. How can you be reheating it?

When I grew up everyone called those things in your house a hot water heater.
But you don’t need to heat hot water.

Thankfully they are now referred to as simply water heaters.

We have a single item of clothing called a “pair of pants”. No one wears a single pant, why is it a pair?
Why do you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

More than one mouse are mice, more than one louse are lice, more than one house are not hice.
A goose’s family are geese but a moose’s are not meese.

English just doesn’t make sense.


Somebody have a paper bag for @JediMaster to breathe in?
Language can be fun!

Afterburner isn’t strictly correct either… Because it burns pretty good in the afterburner as well… Second burner? Go fast tube?


Europe and anywhere we flew in the world. All take off and landing done on QNH. I still do even in this


Is that a real question?
Asking because I know the answer and it is pretty intriguing (it originates in medieval times).
TL;DR: pants used to be two single parts, one for each leg, just like socks are still today.

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Spoilers are designed to reduce lift. Air-brakes are designed not to reduce lift (significantly), just speed.

IMO the proper ‘cool’ term for airbrakes(ok) or speedbrakes(sounds dumb to me) is to call them divebrakes. That’s what they are on a proper warplane. The boards you pop while divebombing the enemy. SturzKampf!


Love it! I was lucky enough to take a flight in a Queen Bee at RAF Henlow … that was 23 years ago… where does the time go?

Regarding QFE and Russia, I can confirm that QFE is still in use there at many airports, but they are transitioning to QNH but not at all airports at the same time… so I guess at present it depends on where you are flying to. I flew into Murmansk back in 2015 and they used QFE. Evidently you can ask for QNH though, but the advice given on the International Procedures course I took recently advised against it so as not to confuse the controllers. :thinking:


Do you fly a Tiggie?!?

I used to instruct on them. I stopped this year as I didn’t have the time to spare.
Occasionally I am still allowed to fly a Stearman. I now am mostly flying two Long Ezes and two types of Motorglider. Always happy to fly most aircraft.


Did you build any of the Long-Ezes?
Always been a fan of Rutans designs.


No. I bend them I dont make them. Six thumbs on each hand. The yellow striped one is mine, I also fly the other which has a 160HP engine so goes like a rocket. image