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New to A10C, just starting the Enormous Learning Curve. A few thoughts and questions.


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I just bought the A10C-II after doing the free trial and I am amazed at DCS as a platform, and at the A10C-II as an airplane (the real life one and this second gen sim) and the fidelity(and complexity) of this simulator.  I think I’m doing it right. I got the official Eagle Dynamics PDF for DCS itself, and for the A10C-II and the Chucks Guide for them.   That will take a while.  That’s close to 3000 pages of reading.   Currently I’m doing what ADHD people do which is skip to a part I want to learn and learn it first, which is the targetting pod, all while getting to know the cockpit layout.   

 

The first thought I wanted to share as a noob, is that if the manuals used a dotted notation for figures and points, it sure would be a lot easier to understand and find things.   Take the TGP for instance,  targetting is pretty important if you wanna simulate a warbird.   Page 329 has Figure 244, the Targeting Pod’s Air to Ground (TGP A-G) page, which has 18 things to point at, some of which are very small on the screen but take 2 pages to explain (item 12, which is explained 6 pages later on page 335).  The problem is between page 329 and page 350 there are dozens of figures, and then the figure for point 18 of page 329 (the co-ordinates on the TGP a-g page) is discussed on page 339, ten pages later. There are probably other places in the manual (which is awesome) where there are even more pages of text related to one figure.  The problem is that the manual doesn’t say “Chapter 3,  Figure 5, Callout 9”.   If the manual used a notation like c3.fig244.14. Instead of just “14” by itself, it would become a lot easier to understand the manual.

 

Just the level of detail on the Situation Awareness Cue is amazing and awesome. I have never seen a simulator have manuals as good as the DCS/EA manuals are.  Just absolutely astounding.   What did I pay for this? $35US?   And it comes with a manual that alone, probably took 10K hours towrite.  The sim itself is probably a labor of love by a team who have poured their heart and soul into this.  It’s AMAZING.

 

Anyways, here I am lost but happy, as I have something to nerd out about for a while.  Here are a few questions (perhaps there are more resources that could answer them that folks that could point me at):

 

1.   The A10C roles discussion at the front of the manual is awesome. Where can I learn a bit more about what CAS (close air support) and BAI (battle airfield interdiction) mean, with examples from real ODS (operation desert storm) or other US missions involving A10C operations.  I am also intensely curious about the killer scout (AFAC) mission type.  Are there books or resources that will tell me more about these?  (Another thread here mentioned Hogs in the Sand, on Kindle, I just bought that.  Will have something cool to read besides 3000 pages of PDFs when I go on vacay.)

 

2.  Is there a suggested order to learn the A10C systems in, for me. My goal is to fly realistic simulated flights including the available mission packs that are in the product, with ability to navigate the A10C’s systems and credibly execute a mission.  So far I can only fly the thing VFR, take off, and land the thing.  What is a good next goal, with the final goal of getting good at the A10C.

I am not competent to use waypoints, IFR, nav/guidance.  I am puzzling my way through the 5000 buttons and all 500 pages of menus on the onboard systems, and happy to be just orienting myself for a while.  I will probably need to make a better controller purchase as my existing hotas is not up to this bird.

 


Edited by InitiatedAunt74
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i always suggest to new DCS owners: get to be a good pilot then become a warrior. there is so much other than just destroying things. i also suggest Chuck's guides. real pilots spend an exorbinent amount of class room time and simulator time then real jet. good thing we can whack step three. all sorts of videos too. but learning one group of systems at a time is a good idea. if you really want to destroy things up front then learn unguided munitions. its a rip to just let 12 mk82s go at a time. TGP is also good to learn. it helps all other systems. but anyway have fun.

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Warthog: Flying the A-10 in the Gulf War by William Smallwood is a good place to start if you are looking for information about how it was used in a conventional warfare setting. There are a few Osprey Publishing books about its use in Afghanistan as well for more of a modern look at how the Hog has been used.

 

As for advice, just keep at it trying to learn the thing. I found that by learning the A-10 as a first module I was able to learn everything else relatively quickly after so consider yourself studying for future modules as well! 😁

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Welcome to the Brrrrrt.

Chuck's Guides, but many other resources exist by various groups, as others have mentioned or will get mentioned. The built in training missions are helpful also.

Piecemeal was my approach. Learn one thing, on one Device (i.e. TGP, or DSMS, Up Front Controller) and what it does. The things it can do for you, like Data Entry, or drilling down into a weapons station. Then move on to more complex things like the CDU. Start simple though, like how to use the Gun pipper, and do a gun run. Then move to dropping a dumb bomb, or using a laser guided rocket like the APKWS hydra's, which will lead to other laser guided munitions.

One piece, one step, one function at a time. Once you get a few hours in to each MFD (Multi-Function Display), then things will start to glue together, and you will have "ah ha!" moments. Of course these forums are awesome for stuff that is driving you nuts.

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I HATE the Maple Flag A-10C training campaigns, but the first two have been updated for the A-10C II.  They're terrible for the learner because the only way to progress through the campaigns is if you already know the material and have the proper skills, which is pretty demoralizing.  However, the content is pretty useful and good curriculum for what skills to learn and in what order.

 

Search online for the "TO-1A-10C-1".  It's the USAF A-10C flight manual and has a LOT of the technical details if you're interested in the "why" behind the "how".  Since it's a military document, it's not kosher to post or share even though it's declassified, but you can find copies of it online if you look carefully enough.


Edited by jaylw314
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5 hours ago, InitiatedAunt74 said:

Is there a suggested order to learn the A10C systems in, for me.

 

As the others said, take it one step at a time and enjoy the experience.

 

After almost 10 years with the A-10C, I'm still learning new stuff and new aspects about the aircraft and its systems, so if you're a normal learner like me, don't expect to know everything there is to know about the jet anytime soon. 😄

 

Personally, when I learn a new aircraft in DCS, I like to sort items by how important they'd be for a real pilot. Tossing weapons on the enemy is the goal, but if I can't navigate there, or if I can't land with some degraded systems, I'd be no good for my coalition. Thus I like to learn basic handling, stall characteristics, stall recovery, single engine landings, flameout landings and so on first, to the point that I'd feel semi-confident I could land a stricken jet. After all, emergencies could arise at any time and don't necessarily require the unauthorized installation of 23 mm holes by an unwelcoming opponent.

 

The radios are pretty important. In vanilla missions, you may not need them, but the more realistic missions out there will want you to tune each radio to a specific frequency, so you better know (roughly) the frequency ranges, and which radio is used for which of these frequency ranges. If you go multiplayer, while many players just communicate via Discord or TeamSpeak, some will offer (and sometimes require) fairly realistic radio add-ons, that tie in directly to your DCS A-10C radios. If you already know how to set a given freq, you'll be good to go.

 

Then, navigation, and the CDU. In my view, the CDU is intimidating at first, but it's actually a very mighty tool that can help you quickly navigate to where ever you need to go. At the bare minimum, you'll want to be able to create waypoints on the fly using MGRS and Lat/Long coordinate systems, because in CAS that'll be your bread and butter. Navigating via TACAN is also really cool, and the HSI can really help you build a mental picture of where you are and where you need to be going.

 

The TAD then is another massive booster for situational awareness. Basic TAD functions can make your life so much easier.

 

You already mentioned the TGP, and that is definitely a system you'll want to know how to use. But many new pilots seem to think the TGP will help them find targets in a killbox. Well, it can, to a degree. But it's basically like looking through a soda straw, and the larger the area is that you search, the longer it'll take to find something. So it actually makes more sense to focus on somewhat realistic missions, and how to use the in-game JTAC or other methods, in order to narrow your search area so that your TGP will already be pretty close to what you're looking for.

 

With the A-10C II, we've got the Scorpion HMCS on top of all the other systems, and it's even cooler than I thought it was going to be. Another massive SA boost, and it can make slewing sensors on pop-up targets incredibly fast.

 

And then, finally, weapons. The A-10C can use a pretty wide array of weapons including dumb bombs, laser guided bombs, GPS guided bombs, rockets, missiles, and of course the gun. But it usually comes down to CCIP, CCRP, or Mavericks (or Sidewinders), so if you know how to drop one weapon in CCIP, you know how to drop all of them in CCIP, and likewise for CCRP.

 

It also makes sense to learn how to use the weapons when you have no TGP available, and if you go multiplayer, then buddy lasing is a great way of staying maneuverable after release because you don't have to worry about masking your own laser.

 

And then, of course, there are more advanced topics, like Air-to-Air engagements and how to create problems for hostile fighters; all kinds of tactical considerations; actual CAS in multiplayer with human JTACs; flying sorties with dozens of other guys all working together or opposing each other in the virtual skies.

 

There really is a lot to learn, and the path you take is entirely up to you. I definitely did not learn it in the order I've noted above, it's only now that I think that would have been the best order to learn the A-10C.

 

Another choice you have to make is whether you're going the lone wolf approach and learn all of this stuff on your own, or whether you find buddies to learn with, or join a virtual squadron with lots of expertise to help you on your way. Personally, after having gone the lone wolf approach for most of my DCS time, I've learned more and in a shorter time since I joined a squad just by learning from the others, and possibly even more by trying to teach the new guys what I've learned so far.

 

In any case, you're probably not going to run out of learning material anytime soon. Enjoy the ride. 😄

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10 часов назад, silverdevil сказал:

i always suggest to new DCS owners: get to be a good pilot then become a warrior. there is so much other than just destroying things.

 

5 часов назад, Yurgon сказал:

Personally, when I learn a new aircraft in DCS, I like to sort items by how important they'd be for a real pilot. Tossing weapons on the enemy is the goal, but if I can't navigate there, or if I can't land with some degraded systems, I'd be no good for my coalition. Thus I like to learn basic handling, stall characteristics, stall recovery, single engine landings, flameout landings and so on first, to the point that I'd feel semi-confident I could land a stricken jet. After all, emergencies could arise at any time and don't necessarily require the unauthorized installation of 23 mm holes by an unwelcoming opponent.

In that regard it only helps that the A-10 is ridiculously easy to fly. Like, if you don't practice with other people in multicrew you don't even need a trainer jet. The Hog is slow and purposeful and will not intimidate you with stalls and rattles despite being able to turn on a dime. Once you are more or less confident with the Hog you will have a much easier time graduating to, say, the Hornet. Yes, it lacks in A2A department but that takes more skill at holding your plane in the air which the Hog will help you develop with hardly any stress.

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I HATE the Maple Flag A-10C training campaigns, but the first two have been updated for the A-10C II.  They're terrible for the learner because the only way to progress through the campaigns is if you already know the material and have the proper skills, which is pretty demoralizing.  However, the content is pretty useful and good curriculum for what skills to learn and in what order.
 
Search online for the "TO-1A-10C-1".  It's the USAF A-10C flight manual and has a LOT of the technical details if you're interested in the "why" behind the "how".  Since it's a military document, it's not kosher to post or share even though it's declassified, but you can find copies of it online if you look carefully enough.
Well, to each his own.
I love them for the exact reasons you seem to hate them. It forces me to learn before I can progress. Perfect for me, not intimidating at all, manuals are boring and last resort. Just kidding.
There are training missions one can do before the qualifying. And of course, as with any DCS campaign, one can fly individual missions in whatever order if one chooses to do so.

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15 hours ago, Gunnar81 said:

Warthog: Flying the A-10 in the Gulf War by William Smallwood is a good place to start if you are looking for information about how it was used in a conventional warfare setting. There are a few Osprey Publishing books about its use in Afghanistan as well for more of a modern look at how the Hog has been used.

 

In additon to this I can also recommend the book "A-10s over Kosovo" which has great examples of missions A-10s have flown there, including a lot of AFAC missions. It's available through Amazon, but also in PDF format for free by the Air University: https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/AUPress/Books/B_0090_HAAVE_HAUN_A10S_OVER_KOSOVO.pdf

 

Keep in mind that both books describe the old analogue A-10A that did not have a TGP or multi function displays.


Edited by QuiGon
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For me, the only way i could get anywhere with the training, is to just do the training campaigns. They are horrible and can frustrate the life out of you, but they teach you the basics, and you will have it down in no time you stick at it. From then on it's easy enough. In my opinion, your wasting your time going through 3000 pages of written material, that's incredibly tedious & boring, it will only put you off flying once you get to it after reading for 2 years.  Of course refer to it if needed, but you really don't need to bother with the manual at all. Videos, and the training campaigns were the way to go to start with. 

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Agree with mastersetter. Do the built in training missions - run each one a few times so things start becoming second nature. As some point during those missions you will be looking for more - which is when I got my head into the books, and to be honest the forums are pretty good if you cannot find a specific command or way of doing things.

 

Additionally look at setting up your own simple missions - be it navex, weapons training, landings etc with varying weather and time of day - which will give you the opportunity to learn specific systems without any pressure.  Also - remember 'active pause' on such missions - so everything halts but you can still set weapons up, see what you can/cannot do re target acquisition and generally have a play - which when learning for the first time is pretty handy (don't use it if you have SAM or suchlike in the vicinity - they will still shoot and kill!).

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This is the usual reaction when you try a DCS full module for the first time. You pay 35 dollars with sales and shortly after that you realize you can "play" what you have bought for years and years as your main "PC game" without getting tired and learning something new every day. DCS appears to be very expensive if you look at it superficially (60 dollars for "a DLC"? It's crazy!) but in the end it's the cheapest "PC game" one can get. The manual itself worths the money. Welcome to the disease and be aware that you will never recover!

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On 9/10/2021 at 7:45 AM, QuiGon said:

 

In additon to this I can also recommend the book "A-10s over Kosovo" which has great examples of missions A-10s have flown there, including a lot of AFAC missions. It's available through Amazon, but also in PDF format for free by the Air University: https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/AUPress/Books/B_0090_HAAVE_HAUN_A10S_OVER_KOSOVO.pdf

 

Keep in mind that both books describe the old analogue A-10A that did not have a TGP or multi function displays.

 

Thanks for posting this QuiCon! I've started reading it and it is a great reference for what the A-10 can do! 👍

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hace 1 hora, nessuno0505 dijo:

This is the usual reaction when you try a DCS full module for the first time. You pay 35 dollars with sales and shortly after that you realize you can "play" what you have bought for years and years as your main "PC game" without getting tired and learning something new every day. DCS appears to be very expensive if you look at it superficially (60 dollars for "a DLC"? It's crazy!) but in the end it's the cheapest "PC game" one can get. The manual itself worths the money. Welcome to the disease and be aware that you will never recover!

Finally someone who says this. "An expensive module?" even if you buy it without discounts it will give you hours and hours of flight. Add hours of learning, reading, watching videos on YT to learn, practice, flights and start over. How much is the hour worth? Much less than the cinema, a go out to dinner or whatever you can think of.

----------------------

About learning. I start any module with this order:


- Cold and dark and I learn to turn it on
- Turn on, take off and land (touch and go, as many times as you want, and turn off (I do this until I take off and land safely as well as memorize the cold and dark start)
- Stalls, maneuvers, knowing limits and behavior of the aircraft (Here you can do crazy things with the aircraft, It's about doing things seriously but you can also see how far it goes)
- Navigation and SA (waypoints, tacan, datalink, IFF, flight plans and everything that concerns)
- Countermeasures (use, evasions of SAMS and threats, ECM)
- Attack A / G unguided bombs, rockets and cannon (CCIP and CCRP)
- Attack A / G guided bombs, use of guidance systems
- A / A fights, BVR ... (in other modules)
- Finally, I fill in knowledge by flying campaigns, missions and little by little you learn small details that have been overlooked.

I always use Chuck's guide as a base. YT videos to better see how to do something that is not clear to me and the official manual as a reference for specific consultations or to deepen once I complete the previous steps. (Yes, I find it more fun and intuitive to learn flying than to read and then fly. That would be tedious and this is a simulator after all. Nothing happens if you crash 100 times.)

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Thanks ReyCandy,  I am am gonna work using your list for a while.  Also, going back to the Sim itself, controls mapping with a beast as complex as this sim is going to be a work in progress. 

 

I would very much like to follow the good advice of getting the Thrustmaster warthog HOTAS stick and throttle quadrant, but that's a lot more money than I can spend right now.  What is sad is that I know some day I will probably get the great HOTAS setup, and then I'll have to spend time re-learning muscle memory.  🙂

 

I am working through the ED manual and the Chucks guide, and also I have just read the Hogs in the Sand bio to get some feeling of the pilot experience and now I'm reading a second more technical book on A10 pilot experiences in the gulf war.

 

 

 

 

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On 9/12/2021 at 6:26 PM, nessuno0505 said:

This is the usual reaction when you try a DCS full module for the first time. You pay 35 dollars with sales and shortly after that you realize you can "play" what you have bought for years and years as your main "PC game" without getting tired and learning something new every day. DCS appears to be very expensive if you look at it superficially (60 dollars for "a DLC"? It's crazy!) but in the end it's the cheapest "PC game" one can get. The manual itself worths the money. Welcome to the disease and be aware that you will never recover!

 

When I saw that MSFS is charging 50 USD for a very basic F-15 without any functioning weapons systems etc, you realize that DCS modules are not that expensive 😉


Edited by MIghtymoo
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I just saw a DCS F-xx jet video and didn't realize that DCS actually quite realistically (to my eyes) models the vapor cone around the pointy nose non-hog aircraft.

 

I just might have to buy those modules too, because reasons.

 

 


Edited by InitiatedAunt74
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For people being serious with learning the Hog, the Maple Flag A-10C campaigns are the hot recommendation. You sound like it is for you.

 

Starts with the basics like cold start, taxi, takeoff and land, emergencies, basic maneuvers and proceeds over all the weapon training, thread evasions and such to mission and thread planning and full blown sorties. Lots of knowledge and fun for the bucks.

 

Edit: disclaimer, this below is probably a decade of stuff to fully learn while still having a normal life with work, wife, kids and friends 😄 So don't get scared away by it, it's a damn heap of knowledge (and rather suited for advanced folks).

 

If you want to dive even deeper down the rabrrrrrrrt hole -> 476th pubs, especially the 3-3 (could not find the forum thread for it. Edit: its right here) - best combined with their NTTR mission. They got a load more of juicy things in their download section (edit: and Youtube). You can also register to access the NTTR tool with info to all the ranges. As serious as it can possibly get.


Edited by Desert Fox
Some more edits :D
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On 9/9/2021 at 8:02 PM, jaylw314 said:

HATE the Maple Flag A-10C training campaigns, but the first two have been updated for the A-10C II.  They're terrible for the learner because the only way to progress through the campaigns is if you already know the material and have the proper skills

But realize the Maple Flag course isn’t a training campaign. It’s based upon the qualification course for the aircraft. It’s a test not a tutorial. So yes you do already need to know the material before doing it. In that respect it’s awesome. Think of it as a test of what you’ve learned, it’s a great thing to accomplish. 

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10 hours ago, SharpeXB said:

But realize the Maple Flag course isn’t a training campaign. It’s based upon the qualification course for the aircraft. It’s a test not a tutorial. So yes you do already need to know the material before doing it. In that respect it’s awesome. Think of it as a test of what you’ve learned, it’s a great thing to accomplish. 

 

Yes, should have made that more clearly. Came across a post yesterday that complained about that topic somewhere else because wrong expectations.

 

So just to clarify: the Maple Flag Campaign is NOT a tutorial, it does not actually teach you in a look and learn style at all times. It is more like a test (that comes with practice missions, see below) you can walk along to see what is crucial to know, learn where you lack in knowledge or training and progress. So you can actually use it as a guideline for your learning process and at the same time use it as an testing tool to assess where you are standing training wise.

 

Still recommend it to new guys too, when having that in mind. The BFQ gives you a good orientation where to start learning, what to learn and in what order. Then check if you got it all right. When you take the three Maple Campaigns and go through them from A to Z with patience and using all the other materials like the manual, the documents that come with the campaigns and proper (yep, not the Grim Reapers, they will teach you a lot, but a lot incorrect) video tutorials, you will get a really nice and broad education that will make you a good Hog pilot.

 

----

EDIT: i just realized the video i posted first actually went through the qualification mission where you get rated, those come with no hints at all.


But there comes one practice mission for each qualification mission that explains what to do. So in the Startup practice mission, you indeed get walked through the startup "now we do this, because that. In the next step do this, crew chief now would check for this and that...". Same for the takeoff and single engine emergency landing and so on, you get help in the practice missions.

 

So you CAN learn by this, but it is really helpful when you already know where switches are and the like. I will see if i can find a video with the practice mission shown.

 

Here we go, this is the practice missions.

 

 

 

@InitiatedAunt74 tagging you to make sure you are aware 😉 Fly safe 07


Edited by Desert Fox
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5 hours ago, SharpeXB said:

But realize the Maple Flag course isn’t a training campaign. It’s based upon the qualification course for the aircraft. It’s a test not a tutorial. So yes you do already need to know the material before doing it. In that respect it’s awesome. Think of it as a test of what you’ve learned, it’s a great thing to accomplish. 

 

That was kind of the point of the very next sentence that you left out--

 

"However, the content is pretty useful and good curriculum for what skills to learn and in what order."


Edited by jaylw314
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Edited my post above for some more clarifications.

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