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F5 - best study level fighter for beginner?


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Flown in FSX and P3D for many years. Flown study level airliners, predominantly PMDG products. I’m new to DCS - would people recommend the F5 as a good starting point for a study level jet fighter would you recommend an alternative? Keen to take advantage of the lunar sale.

 

Thanks.

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The F-5 is a trainer aircraft (lead-in fighter training) or in some cases a front-line fighter, depending on the country.

 

All aircraft in DCS are "study level", and in most cases will exceed anything you've encountered in FSX/P3D to date.

 

The flight models are generally very good (even where there are issues), and smoke every other flight sim on the market even in 2021.

 

As written above, just get the modules you're interested in and start flying. F2P ends later tonight (UTC), so just get them and try them!

 

As a module, the F-5 is analogue, no computers, so bombing is done the old way of tables and flight profiles.

 

If you master the F-5, everything else is easy.

Motorola 68000 | 1 Mb | Debug port

"When performing a forced landing, fly the aircraft as far into the crash as possible." - Bob Hoover.

The JF-17 is not better than the F-16; it's different. It's how you fly that counts.

"An average aircraft with a skilled pilot, will out-perform the superior aircraft with an average pilot."

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Many thanks Tiger II - I’ve had a go at flying the F5 today and the JF17. Both nice flight models.  I’m interested by your comments regarding DCS vs FSX/P3D - having spent many hrs getting to grips with engine start ups, programming of FMCs, SIDS and STARs on study level aircraft in FSX/P3D it will be interesting to see the comparison in DCS.  Studying and effectively deploying weapons systems could be a challenge!

 

I think I’ll bite the bullet and purchase the F5. Got to get my hands on a HOTAS system too but BREXIT seems to be holding up any available stock.

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People recommend the F-5E for your first DCS module mostly because of its simple to wrap your head around avionics. On the flip side, it's not the easiest aircraft to fight in (or navigate, or fly in weather...). I would say if you're comfortable with some of the more complex airliners in FSX/P3D, such as the PMDG offerings, something like the Hornet, Viper or JF-17 should be well within your grasp when it comes to avionics. The 4th gen jets give you the most bang for your buck.

 

I would say, if you specifically want to fly the F-5E (or any other aircraft), go get it. If you want an aircraft that is more about flying than it is about operating the systems, the F-5E is also a pretty good choice. If you want an aircraft that'll rival your PMDG 737 when it comes to avionics modelling, get the A-10C, Hornet, maybe the JF-17 or Tomcat. Or wait a year and get the Viper.

 

If you want something completely different than your FSX airliners, get a helicopter.

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8 hours ago, Heliflyer_71 said:

Many thanks Tiger II - I’ve had a go at flying the F5 today and the JF17. Both nice flight models.  I’m interested by your comments regarding DCS vs FSX/P3D - having spent many hrs getting to grips with engine start ups, programming of FMCs, SIDS and STARs on study level aircraft in FSX/P3D it will be interesting to see the comparison in DCS.  Studying and effectively deploying weapons systems could be a challenge!

 

I think I’ll bite the bullet and purchase the F5. Got to get my hands on a HOTAS system too but BREXIT seems to be holding up any available stock.

 

All flight controls are hard to obtain right now due to the release of FS2020 and demand from that (it requires a stick to fly - no keyboard support - so everyone went nuts and bought up global stock for the last year).

 

F-5 weapons system is pretty basic, but it means that you, the pilot, must understand weapons release profiles as you need to manually fly the aircraft onto the target in order to have successful hits. It is actually easier than it sounds once you understand what's going on, but will sharpen your flying skills as accuracy in maneuvering counts.

 

On modern fighters such as the F-16, F-18, and JF-17, among many bomb-aiming modes they have CCIP mode of bombing (Continuously Computed Impact Point) which is point-and-drop aiming for bombs and greatly simplifies the roll-on onto target (though there are still things you need to do in order to be combat-effective and not get shot down, or blown up by your own bombs).

 

The F-5 will teach everything you need to know regarding the flying side of combat. F-16, etc., are just cherry on the cake as the systems do all the calculations leaving you to just fly the aircraft (not to mention FBW and flight envelope protections that allow you to max perform the aircraft without too much worry).

 

JF-17 is a potent aircraft, and one of my favorites. F-14 is similar vintage to F-5, but there is a reason the F-14 is a two-crew aircraft. The F-14 in single-player missions is great fun to fly, and you can switch seats so you can act as RIO as well as fly the aircraft. In MP, you're required to fly with a second human pilot.

 

F-16 and F-18 have full FBW with envelope protections, and due to how the FBW works on each, they allow you to do some interesting maneuvers that would be harder to achieve in non-FBW aircraft without departing (that is to say, lose control or stall). The F-18 is famous for pirouetting, which is achieved at low speed/high AoA and then applying full roll input. This prompts full rudder input by the FBW, and causes the aircraft to rotate around the yaw axis.

 

F-16, F-18, and JF-17 have AoA protections, but high AoA in combat is a curse as it increases drag, so you need to resist the temptation to just pull on the limiter otherwise you just dump all your airspeed and put yourself at a disadvantage.

 

JF-17 is definitely worth looking at (it is by far the most complete 4th gen. aircraft in DCS right now, and very capable in multiple roles), and the F-18 (its capability is increasing all the time). Both are capable of air-to-air refuelling.

 

For purely air-to-ground work, you can't beat the A-10C II. It has just received an update, and is just a total "bomb truck".

 

A HOTAS is required for all 4th gen. aircraft.


Edited by Tiger-II
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Motorola 68000 | 1 Mb | Debug port

"When performing a forced landing, fly the aircraft as far into the crash as possible." - Bob Hoover.

The JF-17 is not better than the F-16; it's different. It's how you fly that counts.

"An average aircraft with a skilled pilot, will out-perform the superior aircraft with an average pilot."

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For the most bang for your buck:  F/A-18. 

However, as many have said before, get the plane that most excites you, because that will be a plane you want to learn and invest your time in.  

 

Good Luck!

Master of None: | A-10C | P-51D | FC3 | F-86F | Ka-50 | SA342 | F-5E | UH-1H | F/A-18C | Supercarrier | F-14 | Christen Eagle II |F-16C | M-2000C | AJS-37 | AV-8B | MiG-19 | MiG-21 | I-16 | P-47D | C-101 | A-10C II | MiG-15 | L-39 | Spitfire | Mi-8MTV2 | Yak-52 | >> i5-3570k 32GB - Vega56 - X56 - TrackIR 5 <<

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F-5E, Mig-21 and F-14 bring the pure joy of flying. It is you skill only and doesn't feel like you are flying a computer. Yes, they can't move like other airplanes, the don't deliver weapons with the precision of F-18, F-16 or A-10. But nothing beats a bomb run done properly when you put your bombs on the target because your brain calculated the impact point and you fiddled with the depression reticle during your dive. Compared to launching a Maverick in AV-8 where you have to press a button twice, sight the missile, cage it, press it twice again, sight it in a different screen, wait to acquire and then launch. It's fire and forget but do that when there are SAM's around or enemy airplanes. It get hairy really quick. 🙂

 

By the way AV-8B is another really nice aircraft that has a lot of capabilities and you can do STOL/VTOL that brings another level of learning and having fun. 

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Guys .... thanks for all the replies. I took advantage of the DCS Lunar Sale and bought the F5 - I think it will end up being a good starter - I’m starting to get to grips with the weapons - some really helpful videos on YT from the Grimreapers and TacticalPascale amongst others.  The bigger and more complex jets give me something to aim for in the future - The Hornet looks like a future purchase, so long as I can get my hands on a HOTAS but that said there are a number of nice jets - decisions, decisions :)

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24 minutes ago, Heliflyer_71 said:

Guys .... thanks for all the replies. I took advantage of the DCS Lunar Sale and bought the F5 - I think it will end up being a good starter - I’m starting to get to grips with the weapons - some really helpful videos on YT from the Grimreapers and TacticalPascale amongst others. 


may I suggest this YT series, rather than GR?

 

 

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On 2/18/2021 at 10:12 AM, Heliflyer_71 said:

Guys .... thanks for all the replies. I took advantage of the DCS Lunar Sale and bought the F5 - I think it will end up being a good starter - I’m starting to get to grips with the weapons - some really helpful videos on YT from the Grimreapers and TacticalPascale amongst others.  The bigger and more complex jets give me something to aim for in the future - The Hornet looks like a future purchase, so long as I can get my hands on a HOTAS but that said there are a number of nice jets - decisions, decisions 🙂

 

Why do you refeer to the F-5E to "a starter"? 😉 Like it is something inferior to play for a short time before "advancing" to the more modern planes?

Don't worry! Many do the same mistake.

 

I can fly the A-10C II well and master the many, many systems and buttons. Still I feel the F-5E is much harder (and more fullfilling) to navigate and master to use effectively in combat. You have to get close and personal with the F-5E. No "cheating" orbiting 10-15 miles away at 10 000 feet and spot with the TGP, marking targets in peace and quiet and killing them from far away. Even the easiest A-10C mission can be very hard in an F-5E.

 

I love the F-5E. Everytime I have played the A-10C for some time, I gravitate back to the F-5E.

 

As many have said better, it is the pure joy of flying a plane and not a computer. Did I mention that it is awesome with analogue instruments and switches 🙂. Feels substantial and more physical.

 

When you hit the target with a well placed MK-82 and manage to navigate back to the airport using visual landmarks if feels just plain awesome! 

 

Sure the A-10C II and F/A-18C  are more deadly and superior in almost all ways, but the joy is much larger in the F-5E for me.

 

 


Edited by MIghtymoo
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May I suggest you get yourself the Community A-4E Skyhawk as well (2.0 Beta for better flight model) . It's completely free, an mostly analog but very, very fun to fly. And the creators should be honored for their work. 

To put it in perspective: I own pretty much every module and still the A-4E along with the Huey and Hip are my favorit aircraft in the moment.

 

The Problem with birds like the Hornet or Viper for me is, they're more like an electronic warfare thing. The flying itself is kind of steril in comparison to the "analog" jets like the F-5 (love it too!) and the A-4.

 

In addition. You got yourself a pretty capable dogfighter with the F-5, so complete the experience with a capable attack aircraft, like the A-4.

 

Have fun flying!


Edited by Hiob
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Mightmoo, perhaps my reference to the word “starter” is in reference to its complexity. Having spent some more time studying and flying the jet this week and getting to the point today where I took out some enemy bombers with Air-2-air missiles I have to say I’m loving the F5.  As you say chasing the tail of the enemy today was very satisfying.  Progression to something more complex or perhaps I should say different is for the future.

 

Hiob - thanks for the suggestion of the A-4E Skyhawk. I will certainly give it a go.

 

DCS .... I’m loving it!

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