Younger Generation, Flight Sims and Aviation

And then there were the books. Or should I dare mention… The Library. Even though I am a traveler, I managed to have some books from my youth. “Combat Aircraft of WW2” . Sounds so cliche. Its a big book with big foldouts. It was lost in my youth but I found it in Amazon a few years ago and bought it. Then there was Airwar! Same story. We were like kids with blinders when we read these. Now kids have too many options and often cant concentrate on one thing before another distraction comes along.


I wouldn’t recommend any of my younger brethren to move into aviation to be quite honest. Every economic dip is causing massive layoffs compared to different industries, there’s a gigantic upfront cost that you have to bear yourself and then you get a housing market where you can’t afford a house on a single income.

I love planes, I love working on them but it’s not a viable career path and almost everyone who’s in it has a foot out of the door at all times because you need a backup plan.


It’s a tough nut to be sure. I was born in 1968. My generation, the one that is the most vocal about “entitled millennials”, is the most entitled generation in, ironically, a millennium. We entered the work-force during a time of post-war growth without having to fight in any real wars ourselves. We enjoyed strong labor protections and the luckiest of us benefited from the old fashioned contract with our employers that promised employment for life so long as you did your job. What does a kid do now? Ride a bike for grubhub? Do piecework coding for worse hours and about the same money? I hope I have the privilege to live long enough to see what sort of society they create. Because I hear my co-generational peers predicting their demise every day.

But about this map, what historical utility will we get from it? I don’t know much about WW2 but what little I do know informs me that it was big. My 2yo rig falls to its knees begging for quarter when I play DCS with more than a few dozen units within my bubble. So instead of that original rhetorical question, what are you guys planning to do with it that is within the realm of possibility with the game in its current form? Can anything close to a historic scenario be recreated and flown?


If that is what you’re looking for, best to install BDG’s BattleOfBritain because they do.

This is an interesting video from the Royal Institute by an economist.

Anyway, I personally don’t have much interest in WWII in DCS anymore, it feels like a lacklustre side project that gets a limited amount of attention.


A post was merged into an existing topic: DCS: Normandy WW2

The guy I flew last night (and will have to endure for 5:30 again tonight unless I shut down all political discussion) is typical of my generation: constant whining layered with an enduring cloak of victimhood. And all his angst is self-influcted! He grew up in the right side of the tracks during an historic period of peace and prosperity. {He is fat because of an injury (“chomp chomp chomp!”). He is poor because his ex took the money. America is in decline because “millennials” are entitled snots. Etc}

I believe that the two generations that comprise the ages 10-30 will prove to be revolutionary. Despite the “entitled” slur that’s constantly heaped on them they are in fact the opposite. They have zero expectation of lifetime employment with a single company. The don’t even expect a lifetime in the same field. They don’t want cars, boats, planes or big houses. They want a clean planet and a society that benefits all. I love them for it and wish them the best. Because my cohort is hopeless.

As for flight sims: I know nothing about horses! The sentence makes no sense, right? But there is a reason I know nothing about horses. They have zero meaning in my world. If I were 20 in 1910 and said that, every old man would treat me with complete disdain. But all that really means is that the hypothetical “I” was born 20 years early. Airplanes are today what horses were in 1910. For those of us who grew up with them, we cannot imagine a greater joy. But things change.

Things change but there are still people who love horses—as expensive and smelly and totally stupid as I find them to be. Likewise there will always be a small group of people—young and old—who will build, maintain and fly airplanes. So here’s my truth: the genre of combat flight sims has become boring to me. The single-player stuff is pretty good sometimes. But mostly I feel like ED and 777 have thrown a bunch of complicated toys into row upon row of expensive sandboxes and said, “Here. Buy this on the promise of something to do with it just around the corner!” It will have appeal to the diehard. But that appeal will always be limited.

Minecraft is a great example of what players want. They want to be creative or at least FEEL creative but then have clear “gamer” choices to make with their creations. Learning the ins and outs of the A-10C is a joy. For about 3 weeks. Then you want to do something with it. Only a very unique set of people can successfully make that leap when the “game” makers give them so few compelling launch points from which to jump. Most will get lost and move on.


“I know nothing about horses” is my new go to statement… Love it!


Lot of stuff in that post I can relate to but, the above sums up DCS pretty well IMO. But that’s just the way it is. I love it (as I’ve set it up: VR, haptic feedback, etc) for the sense of flying a powerful machine. Then…well, that’s it. No more left.

Guess that’s why I use DCS kinda like I would if I strolled by and notice the Viper parked there still had the keys in the ignition (fly it like you stole it); “Oh, lookie there, lets blast this thing off, scream around low and fast, blow something up”. Then get it back before anyone’s on to me - or I get bored with it.


@jross That is such an recognizable description of how I use DCS. Somehow the LSO generously lets me play around the boat with my stolen jet before taking the keys back.


Now I actually disagree here. Not in an argumentative way but from a 34 year old lorry drivers standpoint. I have my PPL, I fly very regularly and I am extremely lucky to do so (I also worked my arse off to be able to afford it but I still feel lucky)
Learning to fly the Tomcat has been the greatest feeling I’ve ever had since I took up this hobby. I get just as big of a thrill doing circuits in that as I do in the real world. I will NEVER fly that plane but i still get the high. The learning and the feeling. To me the whole thrill is what it represents. Its the culmination of a boyhood dream. Its not the dream I wanted…but it is (for now) the closest I can possibly get. To me the plane IS the game. It IS the reward.
Eric, you fly real aircraft for a job. Your needs and wants out of life would of course be different to mine, and mine will of course differ from my sons. My sons (3yrs) dearest wish in the world at the moment is to drive the yellow combine harvester we play with on farming simulator, I personally couldn’t think of anything less interesting.
Now when we think about simulators we have to be realistic. Your type of thrill and fun will be completely different to mine. I can’t live your life through my own failings but I can learn to fly your 737 virtually.
I think the whole topic is fascinating and your post was awesome. My kids are never gonna want to sit and paw through a natops manual from a plane they never saw fly… i really agree with you. I wonder what the next moon landing is to them? I watched Space X manned mission dock a few weeks ago and I got teared up. My son didn’t even want to watch the launch.


Can only speak from my experience of course but, most of my peers in the 70’s thought I was a “looser” for choosing the above plan (and it was a plan) - seemed to them it was all about getting rich in some financial field, or other “big bucks” job. To me it was more about long-term ‘utility’.

Then, when I left the military[1], those in my field who hadn’t served (no judgment against them, was just a choice) thought I was a “looser”, again, for being in the military; we were a rarity, perhaps 10%. I did get 5 points credit on a test (that you had to score 100 on to even be considered, unless you were a minority or female[2]), and zero credit for my previous experience, having to start all over from the beginning. But that’s life.

Suppose my point is: that “pretty good deal” changes - you need to be more flexible now - which in my mind does make it more challenging; just a different kind of challenge, or mindset. You will always, always, have to have a “plan” - don’t expect it to fall from the sky.

And hindsight misses a lot of nuance.

It’s been insinuated (to include our leaders) that I was ‘entitled’ many, many times. If having a plan, following the steps necessary, and then successfully completing it is entitlement, then I’m guilty.

[1] Early because I sensed that a 20 year military pension wouldn’t really provide a meaningful retirement. The “double-dippers” in my world were there, but very, very rare; was a matter of timing (mine was bad). May have been different for other fields.
[2] Was just how it was; so you had to deal with it and press on. This was in the 80’s.

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I tell myself that learning these systems and doing ACM (Me and my slow-leak AI wingman, versus 4 AI bandits) are my version of doing crossword puzzles (they say this stuff is good for the aging brain).


Let’s get this out of the way: I am as awed at the thought of flying an F-14 as anyone here. The 767 is a wonderful machine to fly and manage, but it is as far from a Tomcat as it is a lorry (ok, it’s much closer to the lorry). I’ve flown with many F-14 pilots and they are in awe too! Not in awe of themselves (or at least not so they would admit it) but in awe of the machine and the country for the gift of letting them fly it. I also happily paid $79 for the pleasure to experience it. I feel like I have some understanding of what the experience was like for them. There is a joy in feeling that a bridge has been crossed. But that’s us. We are a small and unique crew. If the question is how to we grow our numbers then I continue to submit that the joy of flying and learning alone are not enough.


OK… maybe the tomcat was too awesome to use as an example. :rofl:


Agree, but how do we interest the fledglings? Our ideas are over-powered by…hmmm…newer, simple, quick and shiny things. I know I’m biased but, I look at, what I call, “Thumb-strengthening, twitch games” and how they have taken over and just sigh - this world has changed. But I haven’t.

Sometimes I think it’s akin to reading - nobody wants to read anymore! Takes too much ‘work’ and time. What again was the initial controversy over the printing press - something about how, “Now, nobody will have to actually remember anything”. :grin:


I’m heartened that my 10 year old spent much of yesterday afternoon playing Simple Planes, and the 12 year old was proudly showing me his accomplishments on the iPad X-Plane version…

There is hope!


Awesome. I intuit you are a good dad. But anyway, now that I think about it, VTOL VR is probably a really good “starter kit”.

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Give people a game! Let’s call it the Falklands War. Players buy the game and they get a Harrier and whatever it was the Argentinians primarily flew. You get the map. And you get the game. You can fly either side. So, for the cost of entry, you not only get to learn a couple of high-performance machines, you get some training missions, you get introduced to your squadron and you get to see a war’s beginning, middle and end. And, you can apply your newly perfected skills against human players in a multiplayer mode. All this makes me a little giddy just thinking about it. I’d bet there are plenty of 16 year olds that would jump at it as well. Bud sadly, that is not what we will get. So instead, the plane, map and units will go to the uber sim nerds who love the genre enough to sandbox it.


Its not as bad in the states, but I wish I had a magic time-lapse of airshows in the UK over the last 15 years. I’ve gone from being blown to the ground by apache and chinooks to barely being able to read the tail number off in the distance in the name of safety.
How am I supposed to get my kids excited about a speck in the middle distance making lots of noise and dad stood there with an ever increasing size of zoom lens. Its heartbreaking to see the decline. I think its just a sign of the change of pace in the world we live in mutating into something less tangible and more digital.