Doing some actual flying, other random thoughts

Things have been so busy both in real life and with all of the new patches, features, and aircraft coming to both IL-2 and DCS that it’s been a while since I did any real flying. Tonight probably only partially qualifies but it was at least reassuring that I still knew what I was doing.

Too much new stuff

It’s an “embarrassment of riches” for both IL-2 and DCS fans as new aircraft have been added to both series and new features continue to come out at a pace that I can hardly keep up with these days. There are lulls sometimes and then times like these where things are incredibly busy.

I’m just beginning to learn the new F-14 (first thoughts coming soon), I’ve got a little bit of a handle on the MiG-19 (which is fortunately fairly simple), and I’ve only just tonight had a quick chance to check myself out on many of the Hornet’s new datalink capability. These and other features I’ve watched all of the videos and written about but just not had the time to explore.

Doing some actual flying

In addition to doing a little testing I’m also trying to finish up Fortress on the Volga (review coming soon) for IL-2 and I’ve done some flying with a couple of different groups. One great flight saw myself and one other tackling a swarm of A-20s, P-39s, and I-16s in a hilly Kuban scenario. Our Bf109s were up for the task but it was a tough fight. Today I also got a little QMB time in with the La-5 and La-5FN as well – an aircraft I haven’t flown nearly enough.

Tonight I switched gears to the DCS: F/A-18C (as awesome as the Tomcat is, the Hornet is “my” aircraft) mostly to see if I could remember how to do anything it in. Fortunately, muscle memory is apparently a thing as I remember how to do most things. I even took out four targets with some Mavericks and shot down some targets on the Hoggit Training Server.

Plenty of F-14s on there tonight learning the ropes and getting a handle on the jet and in the coming days I’m going to be diving headlong into it so I can learn the F-14 and so I can do a proper first impressions on the jet -sneak preview: It’s spectacular though not perfect.

Hardware upgrades

I’ve been on a multi-year upgrade path for my flight sim hardware and I’m researching my next steps.

Last year I needed to focus on core components like RAM and GPU. Now that I’ve had a chance to improve those areas of my PC, I’m looking at my interfaces again. While the VKB Gladiator has been a very good stick – it was always a bit of a stop-gap and I’m looking at something else right now. VKB’s Kosmosima looks very appealing as does Virpls’s WarBRD Grip. My venerable X-52 HOTAS also just doesn’t have the flexibility that I want and Virpil’s T-50 throttle is very high on my list.

My desk setup requires me to use a desktop setup so a twist axis and good ergonomics for desktop are pretty important. Despite my concerns, it looks like the WarBRD Grip plus Base and the Kosmosima plus Gunfighter are offering compelling options. Getting my hands on one to use (and review) may prove more difficult.

I’ve also been a holdout for head tracking and I’m researching everything from VR (too pricey for me right now) to Track IR and the various derivatives. Delanclip and a PS3Eye camera are just one set that I’m looking seriously at right now.

I’m never one to jump in. Months of research, biding my time and waiting for new stock will probably make this many more months long in process. When I do get some new hardware I will definitely be writing about it.

Busy times all around

These are busy times all around right now making it difficult to sit down for a good flight but I hope to get some more time on everything in the near future. There’s so much good stuff out there.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. oboe says:

    I found TrackIR and VR each to be amazing leaps forward compared to using hat switch views. TrackIR is a mature technology, and one that I have learned I can’t go without. I did build my own IR LED clip and attached to my headset rather than using the ballcap & reflector clip – IR LEDs are much more consistent for tracking head movement. VR is simply amazing. I put a toe in the VR water with a cheap Lenovo Explorer this year – I just had to see what it was like. I’m anxious for that technology to mature.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on the F-14. I did spring for it just prior to release, but I don’t run beta so have to wait a few weeks until its released to stable.

    Oh and, Happy St Pat’s to you and yours, Shamrock15!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Someday soon VR is going to become much more mature and at that point I think we’ll see a huge number of sim pilots flock to it.

      Definitely hoping I can get enough time with the F-14 to do a proper impressions piece (by no means a full and final review) soon.

      Also many thanks! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Sláinte!


  2. 79vRAF says:

    I can’t recommend VR enough, I wa using Track IR 3 Pro for years, and held off updating it for VR. I think I made the right call. There is meant to be a new Rift, Rift S, coming out soon and I am seriously considering the upgrade. Combined with the new rig DCS and IL2 BoX are running so nicely in VR there is definitely no going back to a monitor. However, if I had to Track IR would be a must have. I can’t even watch the YouTube videos people put up where they use a hat switch…it’s way too clunky!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mischiew Rithe says:

    VR with an expensive Vive Pro must be an awesome experience! When the resolution of VR sets is improving enough to read cockpit labels and gauges without problem, we shall see. It’s getting there though.

    For now I’m sticking to TrackIR Pro. For what it’s worth, no, you don’t have the same sense of depth than VR, and yes, it makes you look a bit sideways which is not always comfortable (reading the DCS log text in the corner of the screen while looking ahead is not always easy for me, my sight isn’t great). It also requires regular recalibration, which I never understood – I blame a limitation of the API. But you get used to coordinating the head and eyes very quickly, it’s very natural, to the point now I almost get dizzy when I see a video of someone else playing and moving my head doesn’t change the camera angle 😀

    On the plus side, it’s less cumbersome than a VR set, and it allows you to see your environment: little things like the keyboard, the mouse, a checklist and a cup of tea… or whether someone is entering the room :p

    There are also fewer incompatibility problems. This is probably just a transient issue, supporting VR is becoming a standard.

    And finally, I can keep my favourite headset which has very good audio quality, but if you’re a speaker kind of guy that shouldn’t count, and VR headsets are probably good enough for sims.

    I suppose it shouldn’t be difficult testing both with your favourite sims (IL-2 and DCS), and making your own opinion.


  4. Michael Dwyer says:

    I have to agree with all the above statements regarding TrackIR, it’s a great product. I was pretty hesitant to buy it at first due to the price, but having had it a few years now I would not hesitate to recommend it. Flying is just so much more natural now.

    As for the hardware, I am in the process of an upgrade now and setting up a budget for what I can buy in what order. The options are endless and rather mind boggling. Maybe you should do a column on that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’m definitely going to splurge for some sort of headtracking in the near future.

      What are you planning to upgrade? The PC side of things or your inputs? I will definitely be aiming to write more hardware related pieces this year.


  5. harryvoyager says:

    I’ll note that if you have significant astigmatism or bifocals, Track IR does not work so well.

    You need off-axis vision for it to be usable.


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a very good point Harry! I think too often we assume everyone has perfect (corrected) vision but sometimes that’s not the case.

      This is why we need to have plenty of options. What works for one doesn’t work for another.


    2. Scott says:

      Unforuntaely I had pretty severe astigmatism (so relagated to virtual piloting). TrackIR is absoluately fine for me, drama free & benefit from good resolution screen. However, VR sets would NOT be a good match due to challenges with glasses (my prescription is very sensitve to alignment), endurance while wearing a set, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jorge L Morales-Capella says:

    “It’s spectacular though not perfect.”

    I like this little comment – Peeked my interest,

    I’d like to see your opinion on this soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Definitely coming soon as I have some solid time to learn how some of the systems work.


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