Been busy playing a bunch of IL-2 and DCS right now and I thought I’d share what I’m flying right now and new things I’m trying to tackle in both sims. Also, I talk a little about what’s coming up and what I’m most excited about.
Flying the Lavochkin and Macchi
When I bought IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad in its early access back at the beginning of its development, I bought the Standard edition. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the new sim or if I’d like the business model. Though there were problems I was desperate for some more aircraft to fly and I bought both La-5 Series 8 and FW190A-3 later on. Definitely not a disappointment with either… in the end anyways!
I haven’t flown the La-5 much recently and I thought maybe it was time to change that. Other types have consumed much of my time but I’m now aiming at flying some types I haven’t flown as much.
The La-5 is slightly easier to handle right now post flight model update. It complains less in a turn than it used to making it fairly easy to work with. That said, the engine requires some paying attention to and you really need to pay attention to it to get the most out of it. Even with the improvements in handling, its important to realize that its a little more heavily wing-loaded than your average Yak and it bleeds more speed while turning than you may be ready for at first.
The firepower is deadly though! Twin ShVAK 20mm cannons are not to be taken lightly. I took it out against FW190A-5s over the Kuban map and while the FW190A-5s were a tough opponent, I managed to convince the AI to make a sharp turn in front of me more than a few times. With good aim you can bring down enemy fighters in a single burst. One FW190 even exploded outright.
I’ve been flying it a lot in Kuban scenarios too with the M-82F engine upgrade. This allows for continuous boost on the engine (if temperatures allow) rather than the 5-minute limit on the standard engine. This is a definite advantage over the standard engine that almost lets you keep up with the latest fighters.
I’ve also been flying the MC.202. I hadn’t really put in the time and now I’ve been flying it consecutively on multiple missions. Against the aircraft in the Moscow campaign its perfectly competitive. Over Stalingrad it really feels a little left behind. It’s not fast enough to keep up and not heavily armed enough to act as a good bomber or attacker interceptor.
What you can do is use the agility to good effect as a bomber escort fighter. That seems to be where it does best. It’s also terrible as a ground attacker and I’ve only flown a handful of attack missions. It’s not armored and the firepower isn’t enough to justify taking it up against more than a vehicle convoy. Airfield attacks are a nightmare!
In all I’m having just an ok time with the MC.202. I am really appreciating what the La-5 is like to fly now and thanks to an engine upgrade option I look forward to flying it more over the Kuban region too.
Taking up the Mirage in DCS
I’ve also spent some time with the Mirage in DCS. I’m trying to get it to the point where I have the entire startup procedure memorized and I can get the aircraft up and flying without having to consult the manual. Such is life flying in a study sim level aircraft in DCS.
I’ve now got a good number of startup systems going, a partial understanding of how to at least start the INS (Inertial Navigation System), and get the HUD and radar setup all working. I’m still a little confused on weapons and I’m going to need to do that tutorial a few dozen more times before I feel like I can lock on and fire a missile.
What keeps me coming back is the beautiful scenery (especially Nevada) and the spectacular flight model of the Mirage. I’ve heard it bleeds a little too much speed but that aside its a wonderful aircraft to fly. Easy even. That is, of course, with the fly-by-wire system turned on and in air to air mode. In air to ground mode it becomes a little more sedate and I haven’t dared to try and fly it with fly-by-wire mode turned off.
I’m getting there with this aircraft. I do hope to be able to take it into combat soon with a full understanding of both air-to-air and air-to-ground systems and how to use them.
I’m also eyeing the AJS-37 Viggen DCS module. It looks like fun and I’ve always appreciated the Viggen. Watching several YouTube videos has me a least a little interested in flying this aircraft. This one below is a really good overview of the aircraft and its features. Also it’s done in a super cool 21:9 aspect ratio which has a fantastic look for sims!
What I’m looking forward to
The next couple of months are going to be huge for the IL-2 series. We’re waiting on another big update which I’m guessing will arrive in December. The Yak-7B may be overshadowed by the other two releases and I’m incredibly excited for the A-20B.
I know, I know. Many people are going to be flying the P-39 first but for me I have become a huge fan of the A-20 over the years and I’m really excited to get into the cockpit and start flying it.
I’m not only excited about the aircraft. The new carer mode is going to be a major shift in the way I play IL-2 and I’m growing increasingly excited for it. A persistent career system with progression, stats tracking, squadron tracking and all of the other announced features are going to take the single player experience much further than before. Can’t wait to try that.
And, now that they have been announced I have to say that I’m excited for the La-5FN and Bf109G-6. They may be just variants of types that we already have but they are significant types on their own and a great way to add to the aircraft hangar. I can’t imagine we’ll see those until 2018 so I’m staying excited for the three other aircraft that we expect to see much sooner than that.
Switching gears, there’s also the big question in my mind on when Eagle Dynamics will finally release DCS World 2.5 and unify the experience. Most recently, players have spotted servers while playing DCS World 2.x that indicate they are on the new Caucasus map. Of course, its not yet available so players can’t get in to that test server. What we’re all hoping that this indicates that the map is getting close to being ready and that the merged DCS install and the Caucasus map is nearing initial release.
There’s a lot of DCS content in the pipeline as well but I’m doing my best to temper expectations. I’m still just learning some of the FC3 aircraft and the more detailed and complex Mirage 2000 module. I need to extract more value and enjoyment out of those first before I buy anything else. The AV-8B, Viggen, F-14 and others all sound really interesting too and I’m even interested to see what RAZBAM’s Super Tucano is like.
The end of 2017 and start of 2018 should be very good for flight simmers of both IL-2 and DCS. Further afield, Cliffs of Dover is also due for some big updates next year including an engine overhaul. I did also go seeking some Falcon BMS news but I haven’t seen too much happening with that title recently though it comes up from time to time. There is no development on Rise of Flight right now but I’m intending to get back into that soon and continue my Sopwith Camel career.
That’s where I’m at right now with my simming over the last few weeks. Been busy flying anything recently? Give me a shout in the comments and let me know what you’re busy flying right now!