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Chugster

Looking for the best way to fly an F-4 Phantom?

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So the new MSFS has got me interested in flight sims again, I have played them on an off for about 30 years.

So my favourite plane is a Phantom and whilst I am sure DCS will release a Phantom at some point and it will be glorious. And someone will create a version for MSFS I want to know what the best option is right now.

There are various addons for sims such as FSX (which i own) and P3D. Xplane 11 has one as a standard plane, but I dont know what is best as the prices vary from £30 to £80 for just the mod and I may have to buy a sim as well.

Which is the best for accuracy in terms of a clickable cockpit and flight characteristics? Also what is the best mod options for combat ops as well?

Thanks in advance

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For the most authentic combat experience in terms of flyable variants, correct radar indications, weapons employment, etc. Strike Fighters 2 is by far the best sim. It comes at a price: no multiplayer and a very dated terrain engine. But with mods, SF2 still looks very good, but more importantly has absolutely everything you need to fly virtually any version of the F-4 in any of its historical combat roles.

I am an F-4 Phanatic. The above screenshot shows why I never fly the F-4 in Falcon 4: look at the radar, look at the HUD. You are flying and F-16 in an F-4's skin. Unlike DCS World, Falcon 4 was designed to be only an F-16 study sim. Modders have worked wonders with it, and it is nice to have the variety of aircraft available. But contrasted against Strike Fighters 2, a so-called "lite" sim, SF2 turns out to be better in almost every way for single player if you are into F-4s. 

Now if you would like more detailed systems operation with clickable cockpits, you want one of the Prepar3d versions of the F-4 with TacPack installed:

F-4E and/or F-4J/S from Milviz

F-4B/N from Simworks Studios

Those F-4s have excellent flight modeling and very detailed, realistic systems modeling comparable to DCS World. But using a civil sim to fly combat comes at a cost: limited AI support for enemies, limited sensor and weapons system modeling, and a modern global environment that is difficult to mod into a historical combat environment.

I have been waiting for the DCS World F-4E that Belsimtek screenshots teased for years. DCS World combines the study sim quality of P3d F-4s with the combat environment of SF2. But it still Vietnam. The new Syria map is a nice move in the direction of showcasing Israeli air combat. Unfortunately, a DCS World F-4 of any kind is still probably two or more years away from early access downloading.

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11 hours ago, streakeagle said:

Now if you would like more detailed systems operation with clickable cockpits, you want one of the Prepar3d versions of the F-4 with TacPack installed:

 

Is tacpac required or only if i want to shoot missiles and guns?

 

Also, is there much of a difference bewtween the Milviz and Sikmworks version as the latter is half the price of the former?

Also, I had the original Strike Fighters and WOE so the newest version would be a cheaper option than the P3D/addon combo

Edited by Chugster

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Oh and , as an F4 Phanatic, if you had to pick between P3D plus F4 payware or SF2 what would you pick?

Edited by Chugster

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SF2 has never left my hard drive. I can't stand the FSX/P3d environment, so I rarely fly it. But I primarily fly DCS World. I do fly SF2 every now and then for all the aircraft it has that DCS World doesn't: the F-4, century series, F2H-2, etc. 

While the F-4s will work without TacPack, they work far better with TacPack. You lose a lot of systems functionality if you don't have TacPack. Unfortunately, P3d keeps making major version changes that break TacPack. VRS ends up releasing newer versions of TacPack, but the workload is so high, they usually end up charging for an upgrade to support major P3d version changes. The F-4E and F-4J/S are much more modern and multi-role compared to the F-4B. So, if you want a less complex aircraft to fly, the F-4B is your plane, though it comes with the option to fly updated versions of the F-4B and the F-4N, which is much closer to the F-4S standard. Not accounting for price, you should get the one you like the most because they are all very good. But with the Milviz products there are different price tiers. Besides the option to buy TacPack support, you also may want to buy the advanced flight model package. The F-4B comes with everything for that one low price. No extra fee for TacPack support. No extra fee for a better flight model. So, once you include cost-effectiveness, the F-4B is the way to go. Only having flight manual performance charts for reference, I can't say whether the F-4B or the Milviz F-4s have the better flight model. The Milviz advanced flight model seems more detailed, but then it also exhibits some weird behavior that doesn't fit my understanding of the F-4's stability. It would be a matter of personal preference whether you think one feels better or is more accurate.

So you are asking me would I rather go fly over Europe, Vietnam, and Israel with the F-4B/C/D/E/EJ/F/G/J/K/M/N/S (G and S are user mods) facing aggressive SAMs, AAA. and MiGs or take a scenic tour of the modern world while popping airliners with AIM-9s and AIM-7s, I have I have only one answer: SF2. Some people like yourself that never upgraded from the SFP1/WoX series have recently bought it when the entire package of games/DLC was on sale (twice). The ones that have posted about it were pleasantly surprised at all the improvements that SF2 offers for the loss of the limited DirectPlay multiplayer implementation. The F-4 is one of the best examples. Each major variant, i.e. the F-4B, has several minor variants reflecting production blocks and field changes typically in the form of adding new RWR and/or ECM equipment, which also means updated unique cockpits. The F-4D started production with a slick nose (no RWR). Early updates added the chin pod back to house a RWR antenna. The final variants had a bug-eyed monster of a chin pod for all the new antennas. SF2 models all of these. But like the original SF1 series, there were countless patches along the way and while each patch fixed some issues, they typically caused a few more. But the sim has been stable for years and you need to fly the final patch to support all of the DLC and expansion packs as well as SF2NA. So, everyone knows what the bugs are and some people have found workarounds for many of the issues that remain.

Edited by streakeagle
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Thanks for the detailed reply, much appreciated. I think I will go with SF2 and wait for a Phantom to be released for either MSFS or DCS before I shell out that kind of money.

Only thing left to decide is whether to get a Thrustmaster Warthog or X-56 Rhino as my next stick...its a hard decision as both have good aspects that suit my gaming style and interests.

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Ok so I posted this question about choosing between X-plane 11 and P3D and someone said P3d is not for entertainment use, what does this mean exactly? If its just for teachers and students why does it have an F-22 when only USAF pilots would need to simulate it?

Plus I have seen plenty of vids on youtube that would have been cut if the devs really didnt want people playing therir sim

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