Sunday, August 17, 2014

DCS: F-86F Sabre (Beta)

An icon of air combat from the dawn of of the missile age is now available at the DCS store.

Flying and aiming the guns of the Sabre with those airspeed-hungry swept 5:1 wings will prove a challenge for many air jockeys out there.
Belsimtek, a third party developer, is running circles around everybody else in the DCS World. With two helicopters already out (UH-1H Huey and the Mi-8MTV2 Magnificent Eight), they are now in open beta with their first fixed wing project.

The F-86 is a jet at the very edge between the prop aircraft of WWII and the jets of the new era. It is a great aircraft for what it was primarily designed for (air combat at medium to high altitude) but very moody when air runs short above and under the wings. The jet engine takes some considerable time to rev up, so even the landing approaches need to be performed at relatively high speeds. When the Sabre stalls during a landing approach, you will find yourself with little time to even eject.

The cockpit is rendered to the high fidelity standards of study flight simulators. Every switch and button is functional.
For how easy is to fire your weapons, the nuances of their usage will make or brake a mission or two. The shiny red PVC arm rest has art deco written all over it.  It almost feels like riding an American Cadillac.

Don't let the simplicity of the instruments fool you. To make the most out of your Sabre, you will need to be part WWII airman and part modern combat pilot.
For air combat, the A-4 gun-bombing sight unit (on top of the dashboard) works with a primitive radar unit. Many enthusiasts out there still confound the target acquisition capabilities of the Sabre to the ones of aircraft that debuted decades later. My advice? The A-4 is a reflector sight. More sophisticated, with more computing abilities and with a radar that works ... Sometimes.

The in-game MIG-15bis (computer only) has also been revamped with a better skin. Here is the worst of my gunnery (target too far away). Note the flash of the four .50 cals. A bit overdone for my taste. :)

Trying to saddle up on that Mig 15bis. Note to self: turn off the external lights for air combat.
This is pretty much the only range (very close) and geometry (on the enemy's six) at which I could actually hit an enemy Mig-15bis.

The damage I inflicted on the Mig-15 was negligible. But I am proud of hitting it. Many Mig-15bis pilots called the Sabre "the peashooter".

The AI pilot used an extremely low airspeed to his advantage. The vapor contrails at the wingtips reveal he is flying at a high angle of attack. My aim suffers, trying to keep myself from overshooting.

Winchester by now, my enemy and me part to our base plates.
Air combat against the Mig-15bis is pretty much the only "historical/realistic" mission type that you can do with the F86-F Sabre. Although the Sabre can deliver bombs and rockets, and I will be damned it is fun, there are no flak guns for air to ground missions. Plinking defenseless tanks and blowing up slow trucks and trains gets old very fast.

DCS keeps delivering these wonderfully rendered aircraft, but the focal point of the DCS World keeps moving like the piper of my Sabre. I am not complaining, but I would appreciate a non-vintage, recent multirole fighter. On the meantime, things keep changing in very interesting ways.


1 comment:

Phil said...

Nice one. I will be getting this title. I know what you mean about DCS being all over the place. I do get "The Fighter Collection" sort of philosophy but i can't hide the fact that i have been desperate for an advanced modern fighter made to the levels of the A-10C. f/18 perhaps? :)