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F/A-18C Hornet or F-14A/B Tomcat? I can't decide which one :-o


Loopan
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Hi fellow DCS-pilots

I startet DCS a few months ago and bought almost every modul available and also the "soon available" (Apache) but thats just how I function.
My gear is from Virpil.

I started with the SU25T and took a few hours in the P-51D Mustang.

Now I want to full dive in a high fidelity Module.

As a child (aprox. 40 years ago) I built a 1:48 F-14A Tomcat and I love this plane ever since and as a swiss dude I also like the F/A-18C Hornets because they are part of our air defense.

So I've a relationship with both aircraft and that's why I can't decide, which one to choose.

Any suggestions from the community would be highly appreciated 😉

greetings Loopan

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I too have a relationship with both aircraft.

 

I own both and have developed a good understanding of both

 

The F-14 is pure passion for me.  Heatblur created a stunning beauty.  She's so entertaining to fly and a challenge to fly well.  Analog, steam driven and pure nostalgia.  YMMV, but my experience, flying SP, is that Jester AI is not good enough.  Having said that - I'm so happy trying to perfect my CASE 1 CV flying, A-A refuelling and BFM against AI - Most of your learning in F-14 will be "handling" her.  you will need good flight controls to take advantage of this

 

The Hornet is more advanced with a LOT of bells n whistles.  Designed for operation by single crew member, I can do more with "it".  But thats not the point.  "It" is digital, quite modern, VERY easy to fly.  Most of your learning will be "systems".  You will need good HOTAS to take advantage of this.

 

Do you want "Handling" and passion or "Systems" and effectiveness?

 

I fly F-14.  Anytime, Baby.

 

Good luck and enjoy whatever you choose.


 

   

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Hello,

Just a heads-up, eventually you might end up acquiring the two, because this is adictive...

 

Full fidelity modules like the ones you mention, do carry a lot of stuf (avionics & systems wise, to know about)... particularly the F/A-18C, as it is a more modern bird, with many digital systems, symbols, sensors, etc.

The F-14 A/B also does have its complexities, but I don't find it so much complex as the Hornet.

So I would suggest the F-14 for starters - and even here if this is your first full fidelity module, you will find your "hands full".

 

Although you really can not go wrong with any of them, as they are both very well crafted by highly talented and professional developers; in the end only you know exactly to which one do you fell more connected.

 

Study your aircraft, read the manual (either the original or Chuck's guide) and have fun!

 

HANGAR

JETS  FlamingCliffs 3 | MiG-21 bis | Mirage 2000C | F-14 A/B | F-16C | F/A-18C

HELIS :  Mi-8 MTV2

 

SPECS :  i7 4790k , 16 GB DDR3 , GeForce GTX 1660Ti 6 GB , Samsung 860 QVO

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Recently discovered the community A-4 module.  It's a great full fidelity model on par with the f-14 era avionics.  It's free and it's my favorite aircraft at the moment.  

Of the two listed:  F18 is every mission set in the game.  What you learn in the F-18 will tranfer to the A-10 / F-16 / Av8B to some extent.  But the f-14 is more fun to fly in my opinion.  And not by a little bit.  F18 is a jack of all trades, master of none.  If this was dungeons and dragons, the F-18 is a druid or hybrid class of some sort.  F-14 is a more pure experience that wont translate to any other module really.

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3 hours ago, Loopan said:

Hi fellow DCS-pilots

I startet DCS a few months ago and bought almost every modul available and also the "soon available" (Apache) but thats just how I function.
My gear is from Virpil.

I started with the SU25T and took a few hours in the P-51D Mustang.

Now I want to full dive in a high fidelity Module.

As a child (aprox. 40 years ago) I built a 1:48 F-14A Tomcat and I love this plane ever since and as a swiss dude I also like the F/A-18C Hornets because they are part of our air defense.

So I've a relationship with both aircraft and that's why I can't decide, which one to choose.

Any suggestions from the community would be highly appreciated 😉

greetings Loopan

You can try any module for 2 weeks.

Trial licenses

F-14 is great.  Heatblur did a great job.  However, I just can't get used to Jester menu.  And I can't use voice commands.  If neither of those are problem with you, F-14 is great module.

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1 hour ago, Taz1004 said:

You can try any module for 2 weeks.

Trial licenses

F-14 is great.  Heatblur did a great job.  However, I just can't get used to Jester menu.  And I can't use voice commands.  If neither of those are problem with you, F-14 is great module.

Some very good pointers here. Especially the one to give free trials a go. I would say you will end up having both. I bought the L-39 first. Flew it around a bit to figure out DCS intrigues. I generally waited for sales and ended up buying all modules available add some of the campaigns. Saved a few pennies with that.

I have both modules and fly both regularly.  As aircraft they are different than night and day.  While the F18 you need to manage systems and go from one page to another and fly alone, the F14 is a lot of stick and rudders type of aircraft. In Jester you have a copilot, helper and a systems operator. You tell him what to do and he mostly does it. He calls out speeds, targets, encourages and ridicules you. I am quite impressed with that as I fly in real life more often with a crew than not.

As for the Jester interface. It is like it was made for VR. Works very well with that. Do you have the head pointing selected? If you use keyboard, well it is a bit harder, still doable, but certainly not as nice.

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1 hour ago, Baltic Pirate said:

As for the Jester interface. It is like it was made for VR. Works very well with that. Do you have the head pointing selected? If you use keyboard, well it is a bit harder, still doable, but certainly not as nice.

It's more of immersion issue for me.

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F-18 of course, it's just more fun in every way.

i7 - 9700K | 32 GB DDR4 3200 | RTX 2080 | VKB Gunfighter Mk II /w MCG Pro | Virpil T-50CM2 Throttle | TrackIR 5 | VKB Mk. IV

 

AJS-37 | A/V-8B | A-10C | F-14A/B | F-16C | F-18C | F-86F | FC3 | JF-17 | Ka-50 | L-39 | Mi-8 | MiG-15bis | MiG-19 | MiG-21bis | M2000-C | P-51D | Spitfire LF Mk. IX | UH-1H

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As I prefer A2G, I prefer the F-18. And while the dials and gauges of the classic jets are gorgeous to fly with, I also like the super high tech bells and whistles, and the F-18 has 'em,

...not to mention those moving "bricks" on the Tomcat display drive me nuts. But I still might buy the plane one day.

Some of the planes, but all of the maps!

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11 minutes ago, Beirut said:

As I prefer A2G, I prefer the F-18. And while the dials and gauges of the classic jets are gorgeous to fly with, I also like the super high tech bells and whistles, and the F-18 has 'em,

...not to mention those moving "bricks" on the Tomcat display drive me nuts. But I still might buy the plane one day.

 

Hey, you can always switch the VDI to TCS screen... and see some Rick Astley video... 👌

(Just kidding, saw it on youtube or something and laughed like there was no tomorrow.)


Edited by Top Jockey
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HANGAR

JETS  FlamingCliffs 3 | MiG-21 bis | Mirage 2000C | F-14 A/B | F-16C | F/A-18C

HELIS :  Mi-8 MTV2

 

SPECS :  i7 4790k , 16 GB DDR3 , GeForce GTX 1660Ti 6 GB , Samsung 860 QVO

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13 minutes ago, Top Jockey said:

 

Hey, you can always switch the VDI to TCS screen... and see some Rick Astley video... 👌

(Just kidding, saw it on youtube or something and laughed like there was no tomorrow.)

 

 

Ahhhhh, good point. Thanks. I only have a few hours in the Tomcat with the free trials. Gorgeous plane though.

And nothing wrong with a little Rick Astley in your life. :happy:

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Some of the planes, but all of the maps!

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The Tomcat was the first premium module I bought, followed by the Hornet. The Tomcat is my favorite aircraft in DCS by a wide margin and there is a lot of really cool Tomcat related stuff going on right now you've got retired RIO Ward Carroll on youtube producing a lot of content as well as the re-release of his trilogy of books. Retired RIO Dave Baranek and pilot Craig Snyder have their own F-14 Tomcast. Dave "Bio" Baranek also contributed to Zone 5 which is a very good "Topgun" campaign. I think the available campaigns are better for the Tomcat, in general, both stock and premium. Having said all that though, in the last year and a half, i've got 166 hour in the Tomcat and 222 hours in the Hornet in my DCS logbook. The F-18 is just a more flexible aircraft in terms of mission types and I've been playing a lot of dynamic content like the https://github.com/dcs-liberation/dcs_liberation campaign and Surrexen's dynamic missions, which are good for any aircraft but perfect for a multirole fighter.

TLDR version - You're going to buy them both eventually. If you're like me you will love the F-14 more but spend more time flying the F-18.

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Ryzen 5 3600, Radeon RX 5600 XT

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That´s one really hard decision, isn´t it? 😉

It depends what you want to do with the airplane, and you can fully try both modules for 14 days to see which one you like better. I of course would answer only with: You absolutely need both modules.

But let´s say you have very limited budget and get only one or want to learn only one study-level plane for now. The more easy way is the Hornet. If you prefer a quick learning curve the Hornet is perfect for you because it is rather easy to start control fly and land. The Hornet has a very forgiving flight physics and is easy to control. The Tomcat is more difficult to fly in my opinion and is not forgiving anything, if you pull too much g´s her wings will break away, no computer assistance in flight, pure hands-on manual flying.

I don´t know what you are but us millenials are so called "HUD-cripples" which means we are literally disabled when no or very limited HUD information is available. The Tomcat has a limited HUD with no speed gauge, you will notice how difficult landings are when you have no speedometer in the HUD but somewhere deep down on the instrument panel. Stalling or getting too fast will happen very often 😉

I personally almost never use any weapons but fly for the sake of speed and being inside a jet (well sometimes the cannon for fun and replaying weapon tutorial videos just to know how to handle them). If you want a wide variety of weapons and a huge arsenal of everything - the Hornet can carry everything. The Tomcat only Sidewinders and the Phoenix.

If you want air to ground missions the Hornet has a wider variety of missiles and bombs, the Bombcat only has these Mark84 (I guess, I have not yet learned how to fly Bombcat missions just Air-to-Air so far.)

But:

The Tomcat has class and is THE PLANE within, the most famous of them all. The cockpit looks absolute stunning it´s 100% photorealism and a superb sitting-inside-a-cockpit atmosphere mood and feeling.

The Tomcat absolutely looks fantastic and offers so much more study-level stuff to learn and is more complex and more interesting than the Hornet.

Don´t worry if you never learn to land a Tomcat on an aircraft carrier that´s the only thing I cannot do either 😄

The Tomcat has these cool variable wing geometry and looks absolutely stunning, and she is hellish fast.

The Tomcat has a superior realism in the cockpit visuals, it´s the best cockpits I have ever seen.

The only negative aspect of the Tomcat is that there is no animated turning low-pressure turbine wheel in the exhaust cone, I dislike this failing of bringing utmost visual realism but I still hope it will get patched some day. (The Hornet has a rotating third-stage turbine wheel in the rear cone.)

Well you can fly both jets for 14 days so no need to think too hard about which one is right for you, just try it out and find it out 😉

 

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I understand the hesitation, but in my view, unless there's money involved there is nothing to decide. The planes are really that different, analogue vs digital era, over the top A-A performance and massive bomb load vs ability to do most of that and pretty much everything else. For me the kicker is that I have no HOTAS (only a joystick with four buttons and a throttle wheel) or head tracking (in my country it costs as much as a VR helmet and still through the roof). This in turn means my SA is almost entirely dependent on the game itself, and that means either HAFU symbols at the screens, HMD and what have you... or literally a guy telling you who's where, even if it's a bot, and I find Jester much more useful in WVR because HMD still requires me to move my head (with a keyboard). Not helping matters is the Hornet's radar or missiles or whatever since until recently I had the hardest time hitting targets in BVR with the Hornet (I do much better in other planes including Tomcat). So all of that leaves us with two drastically different ways of going about things, and even though I'm trying to get the Hornet to work I have a much easier time in the Tomcat (yes, even with the radar from the back seat). Also sometimes it's nice to just push OSB's and get results but at some point the process gets somewhat stale...

 

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Dos Gringos nails it!  JDAM is capable, but sterile.  All things equal, I'd rather carry JDAM into a real-world strike, but LGBs are just more fun in-game.

The hornet can do more things with more systems, but the Tomcat is just a joy to fly!  She handles well, but will keep you honest if you abuse her.  You learn measured control and you look/listen for feedback rather than watching a speed or AoA indicator to see how you are doing in a turn.  You also get used to the steam gauges, to the point where you just look at the position of the needle to know your speed instead of having to read a number.  The Tomcat is not as intuitive to fly as the hornet, but it is a lot more visceral and will force better airmanship on your part, which will translate to other airframes (including the hornet).

The Tomcat can also do precision air to ground using LGBs, and is the only platform right now that can use the Tactical Air Launched Decoy (TALD) as part of a coordinated SEAD/DEAD mission.  If you would rather be the HARM shooter in SEAD, than the hornet is for you, but the Tomcat is just a lot of fun.  And when you do things like tank or trap on the boat with the A model, you get a real sense of accomplishment.  I really enjoy tanking with the Tomcat; I actually have more plugs than landings in my logbook.


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first of all, thank you so much for your effort to help me with my dilemma! you're an awesome community and so helpful!

After reading your pros and cons, I guess I'll follow my heart and it will go with the Tomcat. I'll accept the challange of an unforgivably flight-model and try to get a friend in Jester 😉 

thank you all a lot and I fear I'll be back with a ton of questions soon 😉

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F-14 + AIRio for Vaicom = no menus, 100% immersion 😉

Really brings the F-14 SP experience to the next level imo.

 

Btw, I faced the same dilema a couple of weeks ago. I bought them both. And the Jeff. And the Mirage. And the Viper.

After flying them all, I decided that the F-14 is going to be my 'main' plane, Jeff my secondary as she complements the Cat quite nicely in terms of getting the 'full' DCS learning experience (modern avionics and weapons, it's engine is weaker, so proper energy management is much more important and the FBW - which can be disabled - is on pitch only so there isnt much of this 'flying on rails' feeling I get on the Viper and Hornet).

 

 


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07.11.2021 в 19:18, Loopan сказал:

first of all, thank you so much for your effort to help me with my dilemma! you're an awesome community and so helpful!

After reading your pros and cons, I guess I'll follow my heart and it will go with the Tomcat. I'll accept the challange of an unforgivably flight-model and try to get a friend in Jester 😉 

thank you all a lot and I fear I'll be back with a ton of questions soon 😉

Great choice! Jester can be really helpful, and when (not if) you get your hands on the Hornet you will find that some control logic carries over, more so than with, say, F-16. The arcade machine in the back may cause some issues but if the manual or in-game tutorial won't alleviate them (like it happened to me) there is the NATOPS P-820 manual on radar theory, available here: https://www.cnatra.navy.mil/local/docs/pat-pubs/P-820.pdf Not exactly for F-14 but the theory still applies.

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1 hour ago, Mower said:

I have the Tomcat and Hornet and flying the Tomcat I just don’t understand why it’s a legend…bit the hunk of junk.

 

Glad you said it and not me. :happy:

 

Actually it's a gorgeous module. No question. And it has the Phoenix. That's probably most of its allure. Like the A-10 and the BRRTTTTT!  Who would glamorize the A-10 if it lacked BRRRRTTTT?

Some of the planes, but all of the maps!

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Well the Heatblur product is top notch, outstanding work.

The problem is that it bores me, all I do is fly the jet.  Also the HUD is USELESS and the cockpit highly un-ergonimic.

Classic, legend?  Not in my virtual world.  The Hornet is a one-stop killing machine.

Bet some of you Turkey Drivers wish there was a negative rep option, eh?

"You see, IronHand is my thing"

My specs:  W10, I5/8600K o/c to 4300, 32 GB 3200 XML RAM, RTX 2070/8 GB.

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