DCS: Fly the F-15C Jet: PC Game

The F-15 has often been labeled as the greatest U.S. fighter aircraft from the 1970s until the early 21st century. The F-15C is a pure fighter with outstanding performance and has scored over 100 air-to-air victories without suffering any confirmed losses. The DCS Flaming Cliffs F-15C includes a professional level flight model, a detailed 6 degrees of freedom capable cockpit, highly accurate external model and sounds.

As a DCS Flaming Cliffs title, F-15C focuses on ease of use without complicated cockpit interaction, significantly reducing the learning curve. As such, F-15C features keyboard and joystick cockpit commands with a focus on the most mission critical of cockpit systems.

DCS World F-15C Tips - A few pointers for an extremely high-fidelity flight simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane, DCS World: these flight simulators all allow a high-fidelity aviation experience that makes lesser flight games look like a toddler's playtime toy. DCS World in particular is an hugely detailed experience that not only involves the handling of a variety of aircraft, but also includes learning how to engage enemy aircraft and perform various combat manoeuvres whilst keeping the plane in the air. It may sound simple to some advanced players, but if you're starting out in the flight sim genre, DCS World can be rather intimidating. These are just a few tips that I wish I'd had when starting out in the F-15C Module.

Lighting Up

You're not going to get very far without any power in your systems are you, so the first step is to fire up the electrics in the F-15C by pressing [Right Shift + L]. You should see everything lighting up just nicely now; give it a few seconds for everything to be powered on and functional. If you're planning on a night flight, bear in mind that the [L] key will turn on cockpit lights, illuminating the entire thing with a nice green-tinted backlight that makes each individual instrument light up nicely - doesn't it look so very, very pretty?

jet games cockpit lights

While you're turning everything on, how about you go ahead and close the canopy by pressing [Left Ctrl + C] so you don't run into trouble during take-off? Next the engines need a little bit of turning on, as I'm sure Boeing - the plane's manufacturer these days - would agree (if you want a bit of background on the plane that you're flying here, see the Boeing F-15 page. Turn the left engine on with [Right Alt + Home] and the right engine with [Right Ctrl + Home].

DCS F15C Game

Download DCS F15C Game for PC at Steam.

f15c fighter jet refuelling

Refuelling your F15C Jet

f15c fighter jet: Night flying view

Night flying view

f15c fighter jet: third person flying view

Third person flying view

All that's left to do now is to press [Left Shit + F] to adjust the landing/takeoff flaps to the correct position. You're now ready to taxi.

Taxi

Taxiing the plane to the runway is a pretty simple affair as you simply need to increase the throttle gradually by using the [+/- Num Pad] keys whilst using the rudders - [Z] = Rudder Left whilst [X] = Rudder Right. Don't over-steer in either direction or allow your speed to increase too much whilst taxiing - compared to the Su-25T in the original DCS module the F-15C is less forgiving and much more susceptible to the incredibly realistic physics. In other words, if you steer too sharply or move too quickly your plane will topple over and likely get damaged in the process.

It can be useful here to use [F1]/[F2] to switch between first and third-person views; this can help substantially with allowing you to gauge the position of your plane on the tarmac and allow you to centralise yourself on the runway, which is the ideal position you want to be in as you prepare for takeoff.

Takeoff

Lifting the plane off the ground is probably one of the easiest skills to master in DCS World and the same applies for the F-15C module. Bear in mind that there will be more realistic-feeling physics if you don't have Game Flight Mode enable in the options so you'll be fighting against more physics forces, but even in Simulation Mode I managed take-off on perhaps my second try.

Once you're fairly central on the runway (it's not essential but good for beginners to try and minimise the risk of abject failure in the early stages as it's quite demoralising to not be able to actually get the plane flying in what is after all a game that specialises in the simulation of flying.

Once you get to the runway and are centrally-situated, you can increase the throttle to about 90% (you can get away with taking off with either less or more power than this, but this number is just a rough guide and consistently works well for me), using the [Z] and [X] keys to move the rudders to steer the plane if it veers off in either direction.

Once you reach a steady speed you must then gently lift off the ground by pulling back gradually on the stick. Pay attention to the HUD and the angle of ascent - it should be no more than a nose angle of 10 degrees; this makes for a smooth take-off. Remember to put up the landing gear by pressing [G] and pop the flaps up by press [F] when you're comfortable that you're ascending smoothly.

Landing

From perhaps the easiest skill to the hardest: landing your plane is much more difficult than takeoff, particularly if you're in Simulation difficulty - the physics are punishingly unforgiving here. There are many variables to consider when landing, the main one being the weight of the plane - this will vary according to whether you have used your weapons or not and dictates how fast you will want to be travelling when you make your approach to the runway.

Making your way towards the vicinity of the runway is simple: you just need to pay attention to your HUD. You'll need to begin to make your descent gradually, preparing for your approach to the runway by descending to 2500 feet, descending at no more than a 10 degrees nose angle and travelling at between 250 to 300 knots. It can also help to have out your airbrake out by pressing the [B] key - this translates in practice to requiring more throttle movement to have a subsequent effect on your momentum, making it much easier to feel what's going on when you're making your descent.

Once you're in the final stages of your approach to the runway, put down the Flaps ([F]) and landing gear ([G]) and slow the plane down to around 200 knots. Your HUD is incredible useful here - try to get the flight path parker alight with beginning of the runway as you're looking at it, and roughly 3 degrees under the horizon datum on the HUD. Pay attention to your attack angle on the bottom-left of the HUD.

As you touch down, you speed should be roughly 180 knots or lower (no less than around 150 however). You'll want to decrease the throttle to idle when you pass the beginning of the runway, letting physics do the work here as well as the gentle pulling back of the stick at the same time. You're aiming to get the back wheels to touch down first, holding up the nose at around 10 degrees - applying the brakes gently and intermittently will make the nose wheel touch down once your speed reaches below 100 knots. Congratulations - you've just (hopefully) landed an F-15C!

Repair and Refuel (On the Ground)

It's not really much to think about since it's pretty simple, but the repair/refuelling of your aircraft is important if you're going to be flying missions. Once you're grounded and have made your way back to the hangar area, you can brake and shut down your two engines. You must wait for the engines to power down before any crew can come and perform maintenance on the F-15C. All you need to do is press [Backspace] to initiate the repair crew (can only be done when engine is at 0 RPM).

Manoeuvring

Ok, so all of the hard parts are out of the way; you're now in the position to get your plane in the air and also land it (hopefully). There are still a few things about manoeuvring that are useful to know however.

All you really need to be able to do in the air is make turns whilst keeping the aircraft in the air and the pilot conscious - these are the most obvious prerequisites to having a successful flight, possibly in the history of everything.

So, when flying straight, you'll need to simply bank either left or right (using the stick of course), depending on which way you're navigating (again, the HUD is excellent as a tool for making your way to the individual navigation markers). The problem here is that turning is a delicate balance of maintaining enough speed to stay in the sky and being careful not to push the F-15C to a speed that will cause the Over-G warning to appear and your pilot to begin blacking out.

There is no perfect speed to be travelling when making turns in your aircraft, but you should aim to be travelling at speeds that lay between 300 and 350 knots to ensure you stay in the sky and stay conscious.

Combat Basics

When it comes to combat in the F-15C module, there really isn't that much more to remember aside from the manoeuvring tips I mentioned above. What you do have to make not of however are the instruments that you have in your cockpit. For combat, you're going to be using a combination of the TEWS (tactical electronic warfare system) unit, the Vertical Situation Display, the Multipurpose Colour Display, and of course your HUD for physical navigation whilst your instruments are locking on to enemies.

Now, the circular screen is the TEWS display. It is a radar that provides information on the location of  aircraft and machinery that is illuminating your plane. This is how you know enemies are around you; they display as icons of various shapes on the display. You will use the Vertical Situation to display (the square screen on the top-left of the cockpit) to lock on to enemies (done by pressing the [Enter key]) - this display shows the situation directly in front of the aircraft and provides a view that is more useful than the TEWS radar.

The multipurpose colour display allows you to see your various weapons , identifying which weapon is currently enabled and the general status of your armaments. Finally, make sure that you're in Air to Air Mode when in combat (press the [2] key) as this will switch your HUD into the appropriate mode for aerial combat.

I would say the most difficult part about combat is manoeuvring evasively whilst keeping your pilot conscious and the aircraft in the sky. This is why practising manoeuvring in the air is one of the most important things you can do - combat skills can then be integrated slowly as you learn how enemies appear on the various instruments. It's all about using these skills in conjunction with each other in order to dominate the sky in your F-15C.

Having Trouble?

There are many that have been playing DCS World for years and still haven't mastered many of the missions and functions of the aircraft in question. There are many video tutorials available online including ones at Flankertraining.com that detail some of the basics of the aircraft and allow you ti witness various demonstrations of its functions.

If you're still having difficulty, head to the difficulty settings in the options menu and click on the "Game" preset if you haven't already. This will enable auto-rudder and switch the settings so that the plane is easier to fly. Remember that this can take away from the realism of the experience, so use Game mode only as a tool to allow you to get off the ground (so to speak).

Download DCS F15C Game for PC at Steam.