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I purchased WOV within a week of its release back in ’04. This sim was GREAT! Excellent graphics (The ‘Nam era birds visually looked good), the learning curve wasn’t as steep as Falcon 4.0 nor as elementary as Jane’s USAF, “and” I've always had a high interest in the Vietnam air war..


As with most PC combat pilots; I perused thru the manual on the way home from the store and had the sim loaded within minutes of arriving home. What followed was weeks of flying Route Pack missions, adding a/c and pits and changing the .ini’s to suit my style, in time I had my HOTAS system dialed in for optimum ACM. That was 4-years ago.


Back then, in my haste to “Kill MiGs” and “put good bombs on target” I missed a part of the big picture of flying a combat sortie in SEA. Due to the info boxes providing me flight information (airspeed, altitude, heading, and throttle settings), and air controllers giving me intercepts and bogey dope, I rarely spent time navigating, getting to know the battlefield, and “managing” the bird on the flight to and from the assigned objective.


In their simplest form most flight sims can be tuned down to near “arcade” level game play (drop a quarter in and see how many bad guys you can kill without getting killed), In the “as real as you can get” level some sims can be set to require a very high level of proficiency, requiring the pc pilot to undergo a training curriculum on par with real world flight ops; also requiring hours of dedicated study and logging flight hours on training sorties to acquire even basic proficiency. (I was a Falcon 4.0 Online IP for Hasbro after they acquired it from Microprose; the bean counters at Hasbro figured that it would probably be easier to train purchasers to fly it than “dumb” the sim down (or refund it) as 99% of the purchasers were “drop a quarter in and shoot em up” types, and you just couldn’t do that with F4.0)


Back to “now time”. With WOV re-installed and my HOTAS temporarily dialed in enough to allow me to fly and counter most threats I departed Da Nang around 20:00hrs as Lead of a F-4 two-ship fragged as armed recon up around Hanoi, “my” mission was to fly the F-4 and get a feel for her avionics and flight systems in a “low-threat” environment while getting to know the lay of the badlands north of the DMZ. I spent the majority of the flight north alternating between sight-seeing off the coast of North Vietnam, monitoring engine instruments, and observing the correlation between the wet compass, HSI, Altimeter, and Air Speed Indicator compared to the soon to be gone aircraft “data box” in the lower left corner of my screen.


The flight north was relatively uneventful; a SAM site tried us near Vinh Son and though “2” was screaming “SAM LAUNCH”! “SAM AIRBORNE”! We easily maneuvered around the “TNT telephone pole”. One of the interesting things about the flight was comparing the in-flight map (M) to Streak Eagle’s “Wings Over Vietnam Enhanced Planning Map” (which can be found in the Downloads SF/WO*/FE Maps/Terrain Mods > Planning Maps section here at Combat Ace). Steve’s map is a converted WAC chart covering Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and areas of Southern China (No Fly Zone), Steve added grids (latitude and longitude) that correlate to the grids on the WOV in-flight map (M) allowing you to compare looking out of the cockpit terrain views to map topography. The majority of actual '72 era air bases are where they are supposed to be and can be navigated to by grid coordinates. With the lack of TACANS in WOV Vietnam the ability to short and long range navigate using map coordinates is extremely helpful and adds to over-all situational awareness. Thanks again Steve!


I’ve always tended to fly WOV at relatively high throttle settings (get there, kill the target and get back, as there’s cold beer waiting at the squadron club!) and altitudes that minimize SAM and AAA threats for a specific area. As in the real world you require less power (fuel burn) at higher altitudes to maintain a specific airspeed. On the return trip we headed off shore to get out of the range of NV air defenses and climbed to FL25 (25,000’) leveled, set wing leveler a/p, and set the power to about 20% (In the near future I’m going to learn to control airspeed in WOV by fuel flow not power settings) which yielded a TAS of approx 375knts and very low fuel consumption.


I set a course for Khe San figuring that once I was near the DMZ that I’d turn west to about 240 and shoot an approach into Korat. We did a “touch and go” at Korat and curious to find just what was out there in the WOV world I looked up the cooridinates for Cam Rahn Bay, turned south-east and climbed to FL20. As we neared coordinates 30-Lat and 70-Lon I started a slow descent, dropping out of the overcast at 5,000’ near 27-Lat, the approach and runway lights of Cam Rahn Bay Air Base came into view. I shot a nice approach, landed and taxied to the ramp. Total flight time was about 2.5hrs without firing a single shot, though I did accidentally punch the wing tanks off up near Kep Air Base (who knows they may have landed on the O’ club there) :biggrin:


The moral to this incredibly long post; “Learn to fly it”; Though the name of the game is air combat, thoroughly understanding your weapons delivery platform and the environment that you are operating it in, as well as having your controllers and key assignment set-up correctly, not only enhances the immersion experience, it increases the realism and the feel of flying (Not to mention survivability!) in a combat environment.





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Yep taking an interest in the Nam air war certainly gives WOV that immersive factor that wouldnt be there otherwise - More I read the more I mod it I suppose - even 4 years later I havnt even began to cover some of the aircraft used in it in that much detail - the EB-66C/Es spend 99% of their time as AI recon or transport craft for example.



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