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How are perspective RIOs teaching themselves the systems?

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Hi guys, I’ve been asked to learn the Rio position in the F14, as my bro wants to do some Multicrew missions.  Now while I have sat in that seat what the jet was first released, I found try to learn the backseat in single player very very frustrating as the pilot AI is extremely basic.


I did spend hrs sat at the end of a runway with targets setup to approach me at different levels and distances to try and teach myself basic use of the radar, but while I found I could track them in that situation. The moment I went flying, I could detect or track a darn thing.


So I’m wondering what methods are other RIOs using to teach themselves the backseat ready for MP.  I appreciate that there’s been a lot of changes to the functionality of the systems as well since i last sat in the chair, and it’s offputting to say the least.

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Long and short of it, you have to learn with a human in the front seat. I fly almost exclusively RIO, and you just have to be with a pilot that is good with learning alongside you. (Trust me, if any pilot says they have nothing left to learn on the tomcat, stay far away). If you have a pilot that has some RIO experience, obviously that makes it a bit easier. 


I fly with a group (vCSG-3) where we teach both pilot and RIO from the ground up, and honestly that's the very best way to learn, so I would recommend finding a group that fits your requirements and teaches people to do either seat. 


If for whatever reason that simply is not an option for you, make some missions where you air-start at ~20k MSL with some AIs 80-100 miles in front of you co-alt and hot, and spawn in and swap to the back seat. Under those circumstances you shouldn't require much work from the pilot to start picking them up, after you do that, you  can play with the AIs aspects and speeds to get a feel for how the radar tracks in the different modes. At that point, read the manual and experiment with all the radar settings.

EDIT: I also recommend reading https://flyandwire.com/ along with the manual, some very good stuff in there for RIOs.

Edited by Saber2243
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You do not need another human to learn to play as RIO. I spent very little time with a human in the front seat since the majority of the basic concepts and techniques are in the hands of only one of the crew member: the RIO. The music changes when you move to stuff that requires crew coordination.


A couple of examples:

  • For radar training use the mission editor and a bit of ingenuity: for example you can set up targets following race-track patters, you can have a target fly between two WP set at different altitudes, they can orbit around a single WP (the simplest way to test MLC and ZDF in one go) whilst you are "floating" in the air by means of active pause (just be aware of the fact that the INS will still drift).
  • For missile / weapons testing, you can do the same, both Air to Air and Air to Ground weapons (LANTIRN included).
  • For other basic stuff (from NAVGRID to INS fix) you do not need a pilot either. INS fix can be done just by spawning your F-14.


You need a pilot only once you start working on the procedures and something more advanced (intercepts). To practice simple engagements and timelines you hop in the front seat and crank. But even in the former case you can just do it yourself.

On the other hand, learning with other people is more interesting and enjoyable, so I'd suggest you to work on the basics yourself and meanwhile follow @Saber2243's suggestion to join a group that fits the type of experience you are looking for (arcade/airquake, simulative, something in-between, etc). Have fun! 🙂


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