Website & News

News & Co. – Jan 2022

Hello ladies and gentlemen!
Everything's quiet in this early 2022, besides the announcement of the F-4 Phantom II; and all my spare time is invested in the new (and hopefully last), version of my book / manual: Virtual Backseaters Volume I.

At the moment of writing, I am at page 559, comprising 134k words, 776k characters and 410 images. Although pages are not a great metrics, that’s 105 pages more than the last public draft released in December.

So, you may be wondering why:

  1. it is taking so long;
  2. what are the new contents.

#1 is always the same: lack of spare time. I aimed to fly once a week, host training and a campaign (helped a healthy boost of my connection to a 900↓/150↑), record new stuff but, alas, real life said something like “try again next year, you may have more luck“.

#2 is interesting. A read 4-5 books in the last few nights, mostly about the war zones I find more captivating, from the historical point of view: Israel and Iran.
The clever usage of their resources (sometimes very limited, in case of the Iran post revolution) provide a great deal of ideas for testing and topics. This pushed me to widen the scope of the book, adding many of “cross-platform” discussions. These topics include:

  • navigation: from the basic effects of wind, altitude, temperature and pressure, to a brief mention of the evolution of the role of the “Nav” as the technology progressed, to eventually discuss pilotage, dead reckoning and the planning of a low-level mission in DCS.
    Since I was there, I created a simple flight computer for DCS, able to compute WCA, MagVar, turning radius, calculate GS, TOT and so on, to simplify the planning. This tool is almost finished (I need to implement the export to Google Maps, but that’s straightforward), along a mission for you to practice with.
  • air-to-ground: if the current public draft includes a few pages about CAS, the draft I’m working drastically expands the topic, splitting it into two main sections: air-to-ground in a “controlled” scenario, and air-to-ground attack profiles. The former includes CAS, with 9-lines and whatnot, plus the concept of Kill Box, a structure actually simple yet very handy.
    The former is mostly about old-school techniques: dive-bombing, dive toss, level toss, pop-up attacks; plus a couple of odd yet actually used techniques (especially by the F-4E) and a hefty in-depth look at the capabilities and the avionics of the F-14. It is actually mind-blowing how good the Tomcat is as an air-to-ground asset, especially without the LANTIRN pod.

On top of all this, I also:

  • I moved the brief look at R. Shaw’s intercepts to a dedicated appendix and expanded it;
  • added a few more details to the intercept geometry and other chapters;
  • added a hefty number of quotes from real-life crews (not necessarily Tomcats) to provide more perspective. For example, the advantages of having two crews, or the air-to-ground employment, or the navigation.
  • plan to add more templates and tables;

Moreover, the book should eventually feature a dozen or more videos, showing briefly the application of the concepts discussed, aimed especially to new players.
The last step will be a complete review of the content, fixing lexicon, grammar, typos and whatnot.

As you can see, there is a lot still to do. On the other hand, the vast majority of these topics can be ported almost 1:1 to the F-4 Phantom; the time invested should pay dividends in the long term.

If you want to help or participate in the project, feel free to hop in my Discord.

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