DCS World Hornet and Tomcat action with the release of Top Gun Maverick

These days almost everyone around the flight sim community is talking about the release of Top Gun Maverick. Microsoft Flight Simulator and Ace Combat 7 both have officially licensed DLC packages for the movie. DCS World is another simulator that is out there with an F/A-18C Hornet and F-14 Tomcat but no officially licensed DLC. Allow me to be the go-between and hopefully introduce a bunch of new people to a whole new world of combat flight simulation.

From the movie theatre to your gaming PC

I’m writing this article for what may be new readers to Stormbirds.blog. For the last six years I’ve been writing about flight sims and combat flight sims specifically. I grew up watching Top Gun and loving every minute that the F-14 was on the screen.

For the last several years I’ve been regularly flying a combat flight sim called DCS World. Its a modular sim experience that allows you to buy and operate specific aircraft according to your interests and if you’ve just come from the movie theatre parking lot, gotten home, and wondered how you can capture the most realistic version of what you just saw on the screen this might be your ticket.

While Ace Combat 7 and Microsoft Flight Simulator’s Top Gun Maverick themed DLC might also appeal for their more casual nature, I know there are folks who are ready to make the leap into the more realistic and more challenging experience. It takes a while but its ultimately extremely rewarding.

I’ve written a few guides on how to get started including this Getting Started guide right here on Stormbirds as well as this guide over on the Flight Simulation Association. Other content creators like Chuck from Chuck’s Guides have created incredible manuals and quick start guides. Requiem from the Air Combat Tutorial Library has done Hornet specific tutorials and he’s not alone with dozens of others also available on YouTube.

Combat flight simulation can be intimidating and you do need a powerful PC. But once you’re through that initial learning curve it can offer some of the most immersive flight experiences you can have outside of the real cockpit. Especially in VR!

Not many of us get the chance to fly a real fighter jet so these stand as a substitute.

Read about and watch the action

Even if you’re not quite ready to jump in, there is plenty of content out there showing off the experience for your viewing enjoyment. Or, if you’re like me and prefer a good read from time to time I have some experiences I’ve shared here with my Flight Journal series.

Those experiences include this dramatic anti-ship multiplayer mission, a daring night time combat air patrol, a tense strike mission over Syria. You can also read about my attempts to put the F-14 Tomcat on the carrier deck successfully (it mostly goes according to plan).

And if video action is more your style then I can recommend a few videos to help get you started!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction. For my regular readers, thanks for bearing with as we try and encourage even more new people to join us in this fantastic hobby. I am, as always, an enthusiastic supporter!


6 Comments Add yours

  1. butcher75 says:

    Great Article, I hope more people join the flight sim community. Learning can seem intimidating but going to a forum like DCS’s there are plenty of people that are eager to help and point you in the right path. Maybe join a virtual squadron and go on the training nights they have. So many options available.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Absolutely. So many great ways to learn!


  2. Sentinel says:

    DCS is hands down the best (combat) flight simulator for public use, with the exeption of Falcon 4.0 BMS, but you can only fly the F-16 in BMS and the graphics are not up to date anymore.
    So there is no way around DCS.
    When you come from DCS and try other simulators from 2020 😉 you will just get annoyed by the lack of details and pushable knobs (inoperable :/ )


  3. Urgent Siesta says:

    Good article – glad you took the time to share some options with folks who might still want more depth than what MSFS can offer.

    While I enjoy MSFS, it truly pales to DCS World in terms of providing an immersive military jet experience (and that’s BEFORE you even try the combat side of things!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      For sure. DCS is an entirely different sim with some incredible immersive experiences. It’s harder to get into but it’s definitely the next step up.


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