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DCS Academy


DeltaMike
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Are you interested in learning the principles and physics behind what makes military fighter aircraft able to perform the way they do?

 

Are you looking for a group of knowledgeable people who can answer deeply technical questions about military airborne operations?

 

Are you interested in being one of the best military aviators in the DCS community?

 

Are you willing to put in the required effort to learn this knowledge, train these skills, and acquire these abilities?

 

If you answered "yes" to all of the above, then you're probably ready for DCS Academy!

 

 

 

What is DCS Academy?

 

 

DCS Academy is a small community of DCS players who are interested in learning about fixed-wing military aviation "the right way", starting with aviation first-principles and working up to fighter tactics and concepts of operation for participating in airborne warfare.

 

Aspiring helicopter pilots have their own rotary-wing pathway as well, starting with basic/civilian helicopter coursework by our FAA-certified helicopter instructor and moving to US Army-inspired utility and attack helicopter training.

 

 

 

Who teaches at DCS Academy?

 

 

DCS Academy instructors are members of the DCS community at large who are interested in improving the quality of DCS pilots. Here is a list of some of the qualifications the instructors have:

 

 

  1. Real-world commercial pilots,
  2. FAA CFI or CFIIs,
  3. FAA-certified rotary-wing instructor,
  4. former military pilots or NFOs/WCOs,
  5. retired military crew chiefs,
  6. current or retired JTACs,
  7. current or former military airborne operations trainers,
  8. current or former/retired civilian airspace controllers (ATCs),
  9. current or retired military air intercept controllers/air battle managers,
  10. Chuck from Chuck's Guides.

 

 

 

How much does DCS Academy cost?

 

 

DCS Academy is free ! We wanted to improve the quality of pilots in the DCS community without locking it behind any type of paywall. The instructors all volunteer their time and expertise to improve the DCS community as a whole.

 

 

 

Does DCS Academy have its own server?

 

 

Yes! We supply our own servers and have a realistic implementation of the NTTR map where most of our training occurs, just like the real-world (in the USA at least).

 

 

 

When does DCS Academy offer its classes?

 

 

Classes are offered by instructors as their availability allows. Just like you, they are busy people with full-time jobs, families, and a life outside of DCS.

 

 

In general, you can expect classes to be offered around the same times you have availability (USA-based). There isn't necessarily a regularly scheduled time you can find each instructor unless their personal lives lend themselves to such regularity. The DCS Academy Discord typically has instructor availability published a week or two in advance in each instructor's classroom/channel.

 

 

 

What does DCS Academy offer that other places do not?

 

 

DCS Academy is focused on teaching principles first, which makes the advanced concepts easier (or possible!) to understand. As a consequence, it opens up possibilities for advanced, real-world military training in a variety of topics. We have the requisite people with the associated knowledge to teach you real-world military tactics, techniques, and procedures.

 

What we will not be teaching the public at large is anything that is classified or sensitive. Note the difference between the instructors' knowledge, skills, and abilities; versus what they will actually teach you.

 

 

 

Is this where the AIC training moved to?

 

 

Yep! The AWACS/GCI/AIC training that has been offered since March, 2019, has been incorporated into DCS Academy’s advanced (Phase II — A2A) training.

 

 

Sounds great! I'd like to sign up!

 

 

 

 

Hold up. Let's talk a bit about expectation management and skills, knowledge, and abilities (KSAs):

 

In a community for a technically challenging subject like study-level military flight simulators which are open to the public at large, the KSA vs. population distribution is best modeled by the Power law

 

DCS Academy is decidedly targeting people who want to be at the top, which means that based on a random sampling of DCS players, there is likely a considerable gap in knowledge, skills, and abilities from where each person is and where they want to be. Check yourself before you decide you want to invest your time in this effort and to forestall against the Dunning-Kruger effect.

 

Lots of people like to talk the talk; DCS Academy makes you walk the walk, and we'll quickly find out what you can and cannot do.

 

Everyone who signs up for DCS Academy needs to either take classes in basic aviation (Phase I) or test out of them to be graduated to Phase II where you get to fly your fancy F/A-18C or F-16C.

 

Phase I training takes place mostly in trainer aircraft (the C-101 or MB-339). You are expected to be active to prevent skill and knowledge atrophy, and so the instructors can monitor your progress.

 

Phase II training is where all the "cool" stuff happens, but you must have the requisite basic aviator skills or you'll embarrass yourself and hold up everyone else's training. There are several pipelines in Phase II like: A2A, A2G - Strike, A2G - CAS, and SEAD.

 

 

We've already had a few students progressing through the beginning levels. The quality of their flying and airborne operations is considerably higher than when they started, and considerably higher than most people who have not gone through the program and who have joined in on AIC training. This has opened up interesting advanced AIC training simply because the class isn't bogged down by people who didn't learn the basics of aviating enabling the class to focus entirely on employing advanced concepts.

 

This is at least some evidence that DCS Academy is serving its purpose and allowing for interesting, advanced, real-world training you can't get anywhere else (short of signing up for the US military). We’re eager to introduce more advanced concepts to the DCS community!

 

 

 

 

Okay, I’ve checked myself and I won’t act the fool. Where do I sign up?

 

 

 

Start with this Discord link, read the channel topic, pinned messages, and check the #announcements channel:

 

https://discord.gg/MM9UyN5

 

 

 

I want to help out as an instructor. How do I sign up?

 

 

Follow the same Discord link and post that you’d like to be an instructor. We’ll give you a brief interview then ask you to make a course on any topic of your choosing to demonstrate that you’re able to plan at least one course.

 

 

When you’re ready, the other instructors will take your course, provide feedback, and then you’re free to offer that course or any others you desire.

 

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We have temporarily closed enrollment due to the number of cadets signing up, but they are moving through training quickly and some new slots should open up soon.

 

If you're thinking about the Academy, Thanksgiving sale is on. NTTR map is required, and the C-101 is *highly* recommended. For people on the Air Force track, the F-5E is also well worth a look.

 

Note the progression of training:

Level 0: caucasus map, mostly theory, pattern work, stall training. Either C-101 or MB-339 is fine.

Level 1 and 2: mostly on NTTR. Formation flying. VFR navigation and IFR training (eg tacan approaches). C-101 is a nice stable platform for all of those, and is the only module that really has all the equipment you need to get the most out it. It's do-able in the F5 but not many people use that (no one so far). Also do-able in the A4 but the nav equipment (especially altimeter) is pretty non-optimal for this phase of training.

Level 3. For air force track, a lot of it will be BFM; the F5 will be *considerably* more fun -- and probably more instructive -- than the C-101 here. For navy track, most of it will be carrier ops and quals. A-4E is perfect for this.

 

Net of everything, there are ways of doing it without the C-101 but it's hard to get the most out of the program without it. If you're on the Air Force track, really focused on AA, and really on a budget, talk to us.

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We have temporarily closed enrollment due to the number of cadets signing up, but they are moving through training quickly and some new slots should open up soon.

 

If you're thinking about the Academy, Thanksgiving sale is on. NTTR map is required, and the C-101 is *highly* recommended. For people on the Air Force track, the F-5E is also well worth a look.

 

Note the progression of training:

Level 0: caucasus map, mostly theory, pattern work, stall training. Either C-101 or MB-339 is fine.

Level 1 and 2: mostly on NTTR. Formation flying. VFR navigation and IFR training (eg tacan approaches). C-101 is a nice stable platform for all of those, and is the only module that really has all the equipment you need to get the most out it. It's do-able in the F5 but not many people use that (no one so far). Also do-able in the A4 but the nav equipment (especially altimeter) is pretty non-optimal for this phase of training.

Level 3. For air force track, a lot of it will be BFM; the F5 will be *considerably* more fun -- and probably more instructive -- than the C-101 here. For navy track, most of it will be carrier ops and quals. A-4E is perfect for this.

 

Net of everything, there are ways of doing it without the C-101 but it's hard to get the most out of the program without it. If you're on the Air Force track, really focused on AA, and really on a budget, talk to us.

 

What about L 39? Can it be a good substitute for the Aviojet C 101? I mean, it has TACAN, ILS (IFR) too....

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Yeah I hear that's a great module, eventually we hope to have an RedFor track going YAK-52 - L-39 - MIG-15 - MIG-15/19/21 or F5 based on authentic Soviet tactics circa ~1975. As it stands right now, we are really focused on US procedures from VFR on up and don't think we can easily integrate the L-39

 

It's possible to do the whole thing with MB-339 -> A-4E. Both are great mods. Doing IFR in the A-4 should be interesting on several levels but it's doable

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Question I got today

 

You make it sound very intimidating. I guess I'm still not clear on a few things though. Is the academy not really intended for novices? Is there a course syllabus? Is the time commitment so demanding that you can't have a day job?

 

Oh I've had people who are just starting with DCS. Things bog down if the cadet hasn't figured out how to bind controls, and has never taken the bird out for a spin, both of which suggest a lack of initiative. Which is the only deal killer.

 

Our ultimate goal is to be able to fly as an effective combat unit. For example, to be able to prosecute an attack using all the tools available including human AWACS, on board sensors, and your wingman or the other folks in your division. There's a lot that goes into that. The curriculum I posted is phase 1, which is pretty much about procedures, if you think about it. Procedures for getting on the ground, navigation procedures in VFR and IFR conditions. How to handle radio comms. How to fly the pattern with precision, how to fly formation. Other stuff flows from that. Skills you learn pounding the pattern come in handy with carrier quals. Formation flying skills come in handy with aerial refueling. But, just to be clear about it, we are showing you the path, we aren't carrying you down it.

 

To be clear, it's just a game. And we (meaning, both the instructors and the cadets) are really into DCS, in ways our families and loved ones find to be quite insane (what the **** are you doing???... we get that a lot)

 

But. What if I were to say, forget about it, you'll never make it?

 

a) Screw that, I just wanna blow stuff up

b) Screw *you*, I know I can do it.

 

If the answer is b), you're exactly who we are looking for.

 

Couple of slots just opened up.


Edited by DeltaMike

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would you recommend completing the training missions for the c101 before applying to the usaf track of the academy?

BlackeyCole 20years usaf

XP-11. Dcs 2.5OB

Acer predator laptop/ i7 7720, 2.4ghz, 32 gb ddr4 ram, 500gb ssd,1tb hdd,nvidia 1080 8gb vram

 

 

New FlightSim Blog at https://blackeysblog.wordpress.com. Go visit it and leave me feedback and or comments so I can make it better. A new post every Friday.

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^ Yeah. There are certain things that make way more sense to do hands on, than by having someone in the back seat try to explain it (especially considering synch issues, the C101 has most of those things nailed down but still, sometimes it's like being in a different universe back there)

 

We try to keep certain kinds of drag to a minimum, so we start level 0 cadets with a hot jet and unlimited fuel. We go over use of checklists or more commonly cockpit scans and mnemonics rather than startup procedure. We also kind of require practice.

 

My typical first lesson is really basic, how to fly straight and level, how to turn, how to fly slowly. Second lesson goes straight to stall training, arcs, pattern entry and exit. In between the two, cadets are expected to get out there and pound the pattern. By the time the second lesson rolls around, they are expected to be able to fly a tight pattern with a stabilized approach and all the right radio calls.

 

By the time cadets graduate to the NTTR map, instructors are typically helping with formation flying and acting as air traffic controllers; we are a lot more likely to be watching you on radar than riding in the back seat.

 

In other news, we are rolling out the Phase 2 curriculum, the BFM outline was posted in Discord yesterday. This integrates tactical formation flying, energy-maneuverability theory, basic flight maneuvers, and setups for practice (eg setting up butterfly, offensive and defensive perches). To be clear, we don't mean "dogfighting." Once again, we are learning fundamentals first


Edited by DeltaMike

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I'm in a weird position in my flying background. Approx 5500 hours or so at last memory of logbook in real world aviation to include CFI, CFII MEI instruction but that was 2003-2005 when I wore those monikers. Commercial jet pilot (FO) at the regional level in CRJs/ERJs from 2005-2010. Got fed up in 2010 and wanted to make more money so i said goodbye to the blue sky world. Nowadays I make a great living in the oil industry so flying on the side to stay somewhat current is my aim as I one day will get an aircraft of my own but I'm waiting on further advancements in technology.

 

With that said, I'm very interested in this group as I'm also former Navy on P-3 Orions (now the P-8) wtih VP-16 out of Jax FL. Would love to become a student to clear out the cobwebs. Thanks for spending your valuable volunteering hours putting this together.

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I'm in a weird position in my flying background. Approx 5500 hours or so at last memory of logbook in real world aviation to include CFI, CFII MEI instruction but that was 2003-2005 when I wore those monikers. Commercial jet pilot (FO) at the regional level in CRJs/ERJs from 2005-2010. Got fed up in 2010 and wanted to make more money so i said goodbye to the blue sky world. Nowadays I make a great living in the oil industry so flying on the side to stay somewhat current is my aim as I one day will get an aircraft of my own but I'm waiting on further advancements in technology.

 

With that said, I'm very interested in this group as I'm also former Navy on P-3 Orions (now the P-8) wtih VP-16 out of Jax FL. Would love to become a student to clear out the cobwebs. Thanks for spending your valuable volunteering hours putting this together.

 

Cool, guy I used to work with flew P3's out of jax

 

Really hope you see fit to drop by the discord. Your experience would be really helpful as an instructor in phase 1 where the cadets are learning how to fly the pattern, do basic visual navigation and figure out what their instruments are telling them. I'm out there teaching them how to land, basically. At the same time I'm taking ATC classes and hope to start participating in BFM classes soon. Really cool environment where people are teaching each other, sharing knowledge. Everybody gets richer as a result.

 

Folks if you're even remotely thinking about the academy, please consider picking up NTTR and the C101 while the thanksgiving sale is still on. The C101 in particular is such an excellent module, the professionalism and attention to detail that goes into its development is outstanding. And it is a superlative trainer, well worth having.

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@swimbody, and @Home Fries.

 

I was (I think it was) VP-30 out of Pax River for training and a year with AIMD in NAS Keflavik working with a VP of P-3 Charlies there. (back when god was a kid and I had a real working memory in my head.) I eventually hooked up with VF-74 at NAS Oceana training for both brown shirt and red shirt (a month of carrier quals on CVA-59 a couple years after her famous fire).

 

I was watching some of the YouTube vids about today's carrier ops and was astounded by the many had signals they added. Things change in 35 years, eh? :book:

The Hornet is best at killing things on the ground. Now, if we could just get a GAU-8 in the nose next to the AN/APG-65, a titanium tub around the pilot, and a couple of J-58 engines in the tail...

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We are taking new cadets but we won't have full instructor availability over the holidays.

 

Currently C-101, MB-339 and Yak-52 available for Level 0, which is straight-and-level, turns, pattern work, and stall training, all done on the Caucasus map. The MB-339 is a lot of fun and a good way to dip your toe in the water without spending any $.

 

For Level 1, 2 and 3 -- visual navigation, VFR, formation flying, and aerobatic maneuvers -- you pretty much need the C-101 (and the NTTR map). Hard to make IFR training work otherwise. It's a good experience.

 

Phase 2 is where you get into combat training, we have an A/A pathway and we are working on an A/G pathway. Here, you'll fly your "career bird." F-18, F-16. Some are opting for the F-5.

For budding Tomcat drivers, it's hard to imagine a better program for a pilot/RIO team.

 

Once the new carrier comes out, we will have a Navy map featuring the A-4, F-18 and F-14.

 

Be sure to pick up the C-101 and the NTTR map when they are on sale. The C-101 is an awesome module at any price; on sale, it's a steal.

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I have the c10 and yak-52 both I am assuming that these are the training ac and we will use more modern ac as we progress. Let me know what I need to do. I read on and answered my own question I have everything needed. I’m going for the usaf pipeline.

BlackeyCole 20years usaf

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Acer predator laptop/ i7 7720, 2.4ghz, 32 gb ddr4 ram, 500gb ssd,1tb hdd,nvidia 1080 8gb vram

 

 

New FlightSim Blog at https://blackeysblog.wordpress.com. Go visit it and leave me feedback and or comments so I can make it better. A new post every Friday.

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^awesome. Drop by the discord. Once you're done with phase 1 you can fly a high fidelity clickable module. For air Force, most seem to favor f16 or a10, F5 is also an option. M2k. Viggen. I imagine most of the instructors will be flying f16.

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Ok once I’m flyable hoping for next week I’ll hit you up on discord I have all 3 of the AirForces but probably train on either the A-10 or f16 depending on instructor recommendation

BlackeyCole 20years usaf

XP-11. Dcs 2.5OB

Acer predator laptop/ i7 7720, 2.4ghz, 32 gb ddr4 ram, 500gb ssd,1tb hdd,nvidia 1080 8gb vram

 

 

New FlightSim Blog at https://blackeysblog.wordpress.com. Go visit it and leave me feedback and or comments so I can make it better. A new post every Friday.

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Is the F-5 not used as a trainer in this programme as an alternate to the T-38 trainer? Will I have to pick up the C-101?

 

Yeah once you get to the point of BFM you can use the F5 if you want.

 

Not actually the best choice for initial flight training, C-101 excels there due to

- Easier to fly stabilized approach (helpful skill to have, critical for those on Navy track)

- Better radios (gotta learn that stuff some time)

- Much better platform for IFR training, in terms of instrumentation, stability, and low-speed capabilities

- Less tendency for the jet to run away with you during formation flying

- Has a back seat

 

That said, an actual T-38 module with ILS and two radios would be pretty darn cool

 

We left the MB-339 in for level 0 training so people can see what the Academy is like without buying anything. After that? Well, one reality of DCS in general is, it'll cost ya. Here, you'll need C-101, your career bird NTTR map, eventually you'll need Tacview Advanced and (if Navy track) the carrier. Some kind of head tracking solution; at this level, I don't see how you can function without it. Is what it is.

 

Easier to see why once you give it a try. Very few of our cadets are pure newbs, most have been in DCS for a while, many are really into DCS. Here basically to go back and cover the basics, without which there's only so far you can go. Like, how are you really supposed to fly the pattern? What is "the envelope" really? How exactly am I supposed to fly a DME arc? How exactly am I supposed to get a strike package on target, on time? It's a deep dive. The end goal is to be able to manage yourself and your flight in a complex, realistic multiplayer environment with live ATC, live AIC, live opfor. There's a lot that goes in to that, and the sequence, is, crawl -> walk -> run.


Edited by DeltaMike

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Have I been selected for the academy? If so when and where do I report?

BlackeyCole 20years usaf

XP-11. Dcs 2.5OB

Acer predator laptop/ i7 7720, 2.4ghz, 32 gb ddr4 ram, 500gb ssd,1tb hdd,nvidia 1080 8gb vram

 

 

New FlightSim Blog at https://blackeysblog.wordpress.com. Go visit it and leave me feedback and or comments so I can make it better. A new post every Friday.

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Have I been selected for the academy? If so when and where do I report?

 

Doesn't look like you're in quite yet, we've been closed last few days, we are opening up some slots tonight. If you can read and post in the discord subforums, you're in :)

 

It's not like there's a selection process or anything, more like a deselection process. So if people sign up and then don't do anything, we un-enroll them to make room for new cadets. But you don't have to know anything to get in. To be clear, you hit the ground running :)

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How do you go about matching up schedules for instructor/students? I’m a shift worker in Australia and yet would be keen to get some assistance as there’s so many things to learn about the aircraft/software if nothing else.

 

I like the idea of “testing out” of certain phases, with around 15,000 hours IRL I’d like to think I could do some of that ;-)


Edited by Willie Nelson

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If you were brand new to DCS (background as a crew chief with lots of non-PIC flight exposure), interested in being a DCSA student and wanting to buy aircraft, maps, campaigns etc. while the sale is on...how would you go about it? I was an A-10 crew dog so i have my sights set on learning that airframe long term but understand the academy training wouldn't start there.

 

I'm also wondering if I should load up on everything the budget allows for now while the sale is on, or just do one or two and get a feel for what aspects I enjoy to make a more informed decision on aircraft etc. purchases during a future sale.

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