The Flare Path: For Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

Here at Flare Path we take flight simulation extremely seriously. When a company like Eagle Dynamics goes to the trouble of releasing a free aerodyne as lifelike and lively as the ‘new’ DCS World Mustang, we believe it’s important that machine is flown responsibly and realistically. If you know yourself to be a hellraiser, a tearaway, a speed merchant, a rowdy, a clown, a daisy botherer or a beret shredder, be sure to read the following Enjoyment Guide before clambering into the cockpit of the weaponless TF-51D.

Fun Through Familiarisation: How To Enjoy The DCS World TF-51D Without Offending Serious Simmers

After downloading and installing the free 1.2.8 beta

DO read all 183 pages of the Mustang manual at least twice.

DO NOT launch the sim immediately, realise the TF-51D is actually pretty straightforward, and spend an exhilarating hour barnstorming every bridge in the Caucasus.

DO pin copies of the following optional cold-start procedure to walls, doors, work-surfaces, pets, and family members.

1. Check fuel gauge
2. Check flap handle is UP
3. Set carburetor ram air contol to RAM AIR position
4. Set carburetor hot air control to NORMAL position
5. Set rudder trim to 6 degrees right
6. Ensure aileron trim is centred
7. Set elevator trim set to 2 degrees nose heavy
8. Check landing gear handle is fully down
9. Set mixture control to IDLE CUT-OFF
10. Set propellor control full forward to INCREASE
11. Open throttle roughly an inch
12. Set altimeter to airfield elevation
13. Uncage the directional gyro and flight indicator
14. Unlock controls and check they operate control surfaces correctly.
15. Ensure parking brake is set
16. Set fuel selector valve to left wing tank
17. Fuel booster ON
18. Turn ignition switch to BOTH
19. Battery and generator switches ON
20. Manually operate coolant and oil radiator flap control switches several times, listening to check that relevant components are operating properly
21. Prime the engine for three to four seconds if cold, one second if hot
22. Raise the starter switch cover and hold switch at START
23. As the engine starts, move mixture control to RUN
24.Check that oil pressure reaches at least 50 PSI within 30 seconds. If it doesn’t, stop the engine
25. Idle at about 1200-1300 RPM until oil temperature reaches 40 °C
26. Check suction gauge shows between 3.75 and 4.25″ of vacuum
27. Check engine instruments
28. After the engine is warmed-up, idle at 1000RPM or slightly less to keep engine clean.
29. Commence taxiing

DO NOT decide to liven up the span scraping by using the powerful and friendly DCS World editor to dot bridge approaches with death-spitting Shilkas.

DO NOT attempt to fly through bridges rather than under them.

DO, after practising cold-starts for a day or two, move on to tentative taxiing.

DO NOT, on tiring of bridge limbo, deposit an aircraft carrier in the nearest bit of Black Sea, then squander an entire morning/afternoon/evening working out whether a tailhook-less TF-51D could land on a CV without bending its prop, buckling its landing gear, or sliding off the pointy end and plunging into the drink.

DO follow taxi training with at least a week of gentle circuit flying and landing practise. Consider using the editor to introduce some light crosswinds and/or precipitation towards the end of that week.

DO NOT, after writing-off a herd of Mustangs on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, get round the TF-51D’s slightly annoying weapon deficiency, by sprinkling an airfield with enemy paratroops, and seeing how many you can slay with wingtip, wheel or whirling prop before buying the farm.

DO ensure you know what to do in all 100 instrument/systems failure situations.

DO NOT decide to give your fleshy skittles more of a fighting chance by assigning them waypoints, and positioning them on hard-to-reach rooftops and cranes.

DO memorise the TF-51D’s stall speeds, and devote a few days to spin recovery practise.

DO NOT use the DCS World editor to create massive AI battles then fly around like a war-drunk Angel Gabriel dodging flak, tailgating missiles, and yearning for a time when the tanks below will be Tigers rather than T-80s.


Eagle Dynamism

For those who already own the Mustang in its armed payware form, last week’s beta release was notable for other reasons. On Friday Flaming Cliffs 3 F-15C pilots tasted a new high-fidelity flight model for the first time, and Su-33 and Su-25T jockeys discovered that their seat straps were loose enough for 6DOF leaning. The adorable Huey acquired a WIP sling load capability, and first-person MANPADs were issued to Combined Arms COs. ED have been toiling like T-28s of late and over the next eight months, their work-rate shows no sign of slackening.

On the way this year are various refurbished Flaming Cliffs steeds, some totally new in-house warbirds like the Fw 190 and F/A-18C, plus a flock of third party flyables that includes a BAE Hawk, MiG-21Bis and F-86 Sabre. There’s even talk of the sim’s first ‘DCS-level’ armoured vehicle.

Of course, the An-225-sized blob on the horizon is DCS version 1.3.0. At some point, probably late in 2014, the sim will disappear into the locker-room, brawl homo-erotically with arch rival Falcon 4.0 (TBC), and emerge dressed in a handsome new DirectX-11-friendly flightsuit. Cloudier clouds, fierier flameouts, leafier trees, and mountain shadows that elongate and nestle, are all on the cards, but it’s the talk of improved performance, higher object counts, and finer terrain mesh that truly defibrillates this digital battlefield daydreamer.

As I understand it, the sim’s familiar Georgian/Russian arena won’t be transformed overnight. Assuming you didn’t pre-purchase the A-10C module, you’ll need to buy the finally-close-to-completion Nevada Training Area map to glimpse the full implications of 1.3.0.


The Flare Path Foxer

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I need them to complete the foxer that Gusdownnup, gmcseph, skink74, phlebas, bungalowjoe, Stugle, Matchstick, Shiloh, Duke of Chutney, and dufus0057 came within a bent ear whisker of de-foxing last week.

a. Turret ring (earring)
b. Fleet Defender (ear defenders)
c. Mark IV tank (earmark)
d. “Pik As” (Ace of Spades) Geschwader (ear pick)
e. A-90 Orlyonok (earwig)
f. Ju-87 ‘Jericho trumpet’ siren (ear trumpet)
g. USS Drum (eardrum)
h. Spark plug (earplug)

If the following foxer isn’t solved within the hour, everyone has to run up Mervyn Peak (FP’s version of Currahee Mountain) carrying a 40kg ‘Rob Sherman’ pack.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Matchstick says:

    1 Hour ?

    No pressure then ! :)

    The tram in the middle appears to be in Zurich and specially a Cobra type tram so I predict the theme is snakes :)

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Could the horseman be Paul Revere (The British are coming!)?

    Edit: I’m guessing not as I can’t fit that in with cobras!

    Edit: Ah yes I can, tenuous though…

    “Engraved interior page for The Royal American Magazine opposite page 224 for the June 1774 issue. The image features a snake, likely a cobra, with spots and a diagonal, diamond pattern on its skin.”

    link to

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      So looks like we did solve this one in the required hour :)

      The picture bottom row second in from the left could be a shot of the driving position of the Turkish Otokar Cobra APC (I can’t find a picture of the actual driving position but the non-rectangular shape of the window is quite distinctive)
      link to

      • Llewyn says:

        I think the chap bottom left is Carroll Shelby, although it’s hard to find decent photos of him from that era that lack a hat of some kind. Cobra link self-evident.

      • Cooper says:

        Not sure it’s solved within the hour yet; no idea what the top-right plane is…

        • Gap Gen says:

          There are a couple of American WWII Pwhatever planes with cobra names, but the front wheel doesn’t look like them.

          • Stugle says:

            The Airacobra and Kingcobra, I think. Both of those were monoplanes. I tried a Google image search for ‘Cobra Biplane’, but all I got was some kind of modern(ish) racing plane, tons of AH-1 Cobras and miscellaneous other pictures. Oh, and a bunch of images from Beyonce in concert. I’m clearly too old to figure out how the hell that would be a valid search result…

            The only grasping-at-straws thought I had was that the biplane might be a Halberstadt variant. The pictures I’ve seen could match it, but I can’t find any connection to cobras or other serpents.

    • Spinoza says:

      It does look slightly too medieval for me thought..

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Agreed. Can’t think who else it might be on a midnight ride, though.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Unless it’s Robin Hood, using the logic below. Not convinced, though.

  3. Spinoza says:

    Patricia Campbell Hearst , poor rich girl kidnapped by Symbionese Liberation Army . SLA symbol ?- seven-headed cobra .

  4. Gap Gen says:

    DO chase the same plane as five other people, so that three of you collide and explode while trying to shoot down one enemy fighter.

  5. skink74 says:

    I believe that’s HMS Hood, or another Admiral class battlecruiser on the left.

  6. Cooper says:

    I think the train may be an Indian WP class:
    link to

    But I’m not sure, and can’t see the cobra connection.

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      The Indian Cobra is a species of Cobra like the Hooded Cobra, so it works :)

    • Cooper says:

      Yes, you’re right, it’s a ‘streamlined’ King Henry VII, totally fits the digram more than the WP.

      Woo! Reply fail!

      Doubly weird; the comment I replied to seems to have gone walkies?

      Anyway, little Pathe piece on it here:
      link to

    • Cooper says:

      It’s not, it’s a the ‘streamlined’ King Henry VII GWR 6000 class (#6014)

      Someone replied with this earlier, but the comment seems to have been swallowed and I can’t remember their name to credit them :(

      • Danny252 says:

        To be honest, I’m not sure I remember the last time I heard a King referred to as “6000 class”!

        (Edit: Is “King Cobra” the link here?)

      • foop says:

        That was me, but my comment has been mysteriously awaiting moderation since I edited it on Friday afternoon.

  7. Spinoza says:

    oops .got it now :-)

  8. Premium User Badge

    Matchstick says:

    Bottom left couldn’t be Carroll Shelby of Shelby Cobra fame could it ?

  9. phlebas says:

    Looks like I’m a bit late to the foxer party this week. Probably just as well given the subject, not something I can very comfortably google. Fantastic column this week though!

  10. LionsPhil says:

    Probably the best DO/DON’T article on the site.

  11. BlocParty says:

    For that horse rider, could the symbol on his cape be a snake? Too lazy to read the comments and see if someone’s figured out how he’s cobra related.

  12. Kolbex says:

    I haven’t been able to enjoy DCS anything since it started to refuse to acknowledge the proper axes of my CH Pro rudder pedals. It just flat out does not work, and the setup (having to exit the game, complete with long load times, and relaunch just to test) is ATROCIOUS. It has really made me regret backing DCS WWII.

    • Slazia says:

      You can change controls while in single player now. Odd it isn’t working for you, I haven’t heard of anyone else with this problem. I’m sure the forums will help you solve it.

      • Kolbex says:

        Well, I did a lot of forum searching when it started. A couple others had the same or similar issues, but there were no solutions. I should try again.

    • P.Funk says:

      What you need to understand about DCS is that it is an old engine being slowly revamped for the modern world. It isn’t fully multi-core supporting yet but thankfully it is 64 bit, in fact it won’t even work properly on 32 bit now. The load times can be fixed with lots of ram, a good GPU, and an SSD.

      That isn’t to say it doesn’t piss me off to high heaven, but its the best we got in a very very small market for hardcore flight simming. IL-2 is light years more realistic than War Thunder, but thats still a shadow of the realism depicted in a DCS module. What they call complex engine management in IL-2 is what DCS players call disappointing.

      There is a positive on the horizon. EDGE is coming, a new rendering engine for terrain and such, with it apparently dedicated server code not far behind (dependent on EDGE’s release). Whether this’ll make for a better optimized game or simply render half the PCs using 1.2.7 and the 1.2.8 beta obsolete is yet to be seen.

      DCS is a difficult mistress. She forces you to tweak your settings, and lower your expectations. She’s buggy, messy, disappointing, and maddening. Every patch leads to new problems, and no guarantee that they’re offset by benefits.

      Somehow though I keep coming back because there is nowhere else to get this experience. There is no simulation of this level for combat aircraft. What I do get from it that is brilliant is extraordinary and utterly incomparable to other sims. Closest thing to this is FSX with a PMDG aircraft on VATSIM, but I don’t get to kill stuff that way.

      Good with the bad, and a healthy dose of rum/focus/measured expectations.

  13. Vacuity729 says:

    The “horse rider” is the artwork from older editions of C.S.Lewis’ Prince Caspian.

    link to

    Cobra connections? Caspian’s mother died from a snake bite, but I don’t recall the snake being described directly as a cobra.

    And I registered just to add this. Love the columns by the way!

  14. corinoco says:

    Mervyn Peak? Let me guess, we can’t come down until we’ve read (and fully understood) Gormenghast.

    • Emeraude says:

      Who cares about understanding ? It’s all about the quality of the prose.

  15. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    One day I’d love to see one of these hyper realistic flight sims do something crazy like adding a campaign similar to the older Ace Combat games. Maybe then I’d have the attention span to

  16. dufus0057 says:

    I don’t believe it has anything to do with cobras at all. More like “Rob Roy McGregor”, Cor Brah you’ve been outfoxed! Just cos a first poster guesses the “outfoxed”, don’t follow him down the daisy chain.

  17. Jakkar says:

    Two Gormenghast references in one day? <3