Rob "Bomber" Henderson

First Sim

My first taste of a computer sim was a game called Time Gate . It was early eighties and the computer, a ZX81.
WWII Sim: IL-2 Sturmovik / Forgotten Battles / Aces Expansion Pack / Pacific Fighters series (plus all the add-ons for it). WHY?: This sim has just got everything going for it. Beautiful graphics, gameplay, multiple war zones, incredible detail in each flyable aircraft, ability to create custom missions & campaigns, superb support from the developer..

Modern Combat sim: tie between Lock-On (LOMAC) and Strike Fighters Project 1

Civilian sim: tie between Flight Unlimited 3 and Flight Simulator 2002 Professional

On the Spectrum 128k I had:
Time Gate
Fighter Pilot
Fighter Pilot by Digital Integration by DI was one of those games that got loaded once after it was purchased and after crashing very quickly was put to one side for several months. I don't know what made me dig it out again, but I took the time to read the instructions ( this time!! ) and gave it a go and armed with a little knowledge, found it to be a good sim after all.
Dam Busters
The Dam Busters sim was the first one to involve multi-tasking. You could be pilot, engineer, gunner or bomb aimer - in fact you had to do all at some point in the mission.
Spitfire '40
Spitfire '40 . This was a dream come true after my time playing Time-Gate. Flying a real Spitfire against real Germans!
F-15 Strike Eagle
This was my first Microprose sim. It was very arcade in it's style compared to the others that I had flown until then.
Tomahawk
A.C.E. Air Combat Emulator
Ace of Aces
Strike Force Harrier
Combat Lynx
Gunship
Top Gun
The best head-head two player I had was Top Gun . Flying F14 against F14, using what looked like Phoenix missiles but acted like Sparrows.
A.C.E. 2
A.C.E. 2, the sequel to A.C.E. (Air Combat Emulator), was a two player head-head sim. You could fly either a kind of F18/F16 crossbreed or some sort of MiG, like a cross between a MiG-21 Fishbed and a Flogger.
Night Raider
NIght Raider NIght Raider was like the big brother of Dam Busters. You had to fly the Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber as a member of the British Fleet Air Arm.
Project Stealth Fighter
Project Stealth Fighter was an absolute corker - if you were willing to wait for the thing to load. It was a BIG game by Spectrum standards, and by far the most complex.
Afterburner

On the Amiga 500 and 1200 I had:

Combat Air Patrol
F-117 Nighthawk (Stealth Fighter 2)
F-19 Stealth Fighter
Gunship
Gunship (1987) ! The first true helicopter sim - and what a subject! The mighty AH64 Apache. This really was a first class sim from start to finish.
Gunship 2000
Dogfight
Birds Of Prey
Flight Of The Intruder
Their Finest Hour
Battlehawks 1942
Fighter Bomber
F-29 Retaliator
AH-73 Thunderhawk
B-17 Flying Fortress
Knights Of The Sky
F-15 Strike Eagle 2
Tornado
Falcon
F-16 Combat Pilot
A320 Airbus
F/A-18 Interceptor
A-10 Tank Killer
MiG-29 Fulcrum
MiG-29M Super Fulcrum
Overlord
Proflight
Chuck Yeagers Advanced Flight Trainer
Test pilot's paradise - that was Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Trainer Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Trainer.
Shuttle
Wings

On the PC I have (currently):

Strike Fighters Project 1
B-17 Flying Fortress The Mighty 8th
Janes USAF
Search & Rescue 4 Coastal Heroes Lock On Modern Air Combat
Il-2 Sturmovik
Eastern Thunder (Il-2 add-on) Operation Barbarossa (Il-2 add-on)
Il-2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles Operation Fall Blau (Forgotten Battles add-on)
Combat Over Europe (Forgotten Battles add-on)
Battle Over Europe (Forgotten Battles add-on)
Il-2 Forgotten Battles Ace Expansion Pack
Pacific Fighters
Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Mustang Vs Fw190
Combat Jet Trainer
Sabre vs MiG
Mosquito Squadron
The Dam Busters
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Xtreme Air Racing
Flight Simulator 2002 Professional
Flight Simulator 2000
Proflight 2000 (FS2000 ATC add-on)
Flight Simulator 98
Janes F-15
MiG Alley
Joint Strike Fighter
Eurofighter Typhoon
Falcon 4.0 (plus Superpak add-ons)
Janes F/A-18
Flanker 2.0 (plus 2.5 add-on) Janes WWII Fighters
Janes Israeli Air Force
Flight Unlimited 2
Flight Unlimited 3
Total Air War
F-22 Air Dominance Fighter Red Sea Operations (F-22 ADF add-on) Su-27 Squadron Commanders Edition Rowans Battle of Britain with BDG upgrades
Hind
F-16 Fighting Falcon
iF-22
Fair Strike
VFR Photographic Scenery vol#1,2,3&4 (FS2002 add-on)
F/A-18 Forea
Hornet 3.0
Fly!

Previous sims (no longer in my collection) included:

Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator
Navy Strike
Flight Unlimited
Flying Corps Gold
Fleet Defender
Janes Longbow 2
Janes Fighters Anthology
Janes ATF Advanced Tactical Fighters.

My PC

Pentium4 2.66Ghz
GeForce FX 5700oc 256mb DDR AGP 8x/4x
768mb RAM
15inch flat screen monitor
C-Media soundcard with surround sound speaker system
2meg Broadband connection for online flying
Saitek X36F USB programmable stick with X35T USB programmable throttle with rudder bar (the original version of the X45 and X52 series)
Saitek Cyborg 3D USB FFB stick

My PC is used for both flight sims and business.

Saitek X36F programmable joystick with Saitek X35T programmable throttle, both with USB connection.
Game Commander2 V2.1.001 voice command software.
Main computer is Pentium III 1Gig processor, 384MB RAM, 40Gig hardrive. 11inch monitor, stereo external speakers.
Voodoo 4 4500 AGP 32MB 3Dfx graphics card
sound card is Avance AC ' 97 Audio
52x CD ROM drive, Sony CRX100E CD-RW
56K modem.
Also have connected Epson 2000P A3+ colour printer and Mustek A3 SP colour scanner

Favourite books

Eagle Day by R.Collier; Luftwaffe Fighter Aces by M.Spick;
Stalingrad by A.Beevor;
Billy Drake, Fighter Leader by C.Shores;
Fighters of the Luftwaffe by J.Dressel & M.Griehl;
Bombers of the Luftwaffe by J.Dressel & M.Griehl;
Strike from the Sky by A.McKee;
Black Cross Red Star series by C.Bergstrom & A.Mikhailov;
The Battle of Britain by R.T.Bickers;
Battle of Britain by N.Franks;
I Flew for the Fuhrer by H.Knoke,
Paddy Finucane: Fighter Ace by D.Stokes;
JG26 Top Guns of the Luftwaffe by D.L.Caldwell;
Fighters over Israel by L.Nordeen;
Bye Bye Black Sheep by M.Kawato;
Squadron Airborne by E.Trevor;
The Big Show by P.Clostermann;
Duel Under the Stars by W.Johnen;
Fighter Combat by R.Shaw;
Team Tornado by J.Peters & J.Nichol;
anything in the Airlife series;
anything in the Osprey series;
anything in the Aerospace series

As far as video's go, I have the following films on my shelf :

Top Gun ( now there's a surprise! )
Flight of the Intruder
Wings of the Apache
Memphis Belle
Battle of Britain
The Dam Busters
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Airplane! and Airplane! 2

DVD(in no particular order)

Battle of Britain 1969
The Dam Busters 1954
The First of the Few 1942
Reach for the Sky 1956
Flight of the Intruder 1990
Memphis Belle 1990
The Right Stuff 1983
Black Hawk Down 2001
Behind Enemy Lines 2001
Top Gun 1986
(Band of Brothers)

Documentary video's include :

Top Guns ( RAF Tornado F.3's at Maple Flag ) Discovery Channel release
Air Power Series, Discovery Channel release
Wings Over The Gulf, Discovery Channel release
World Air Power Journal video series
Military Aircraft Video Report series, by DD Distribution
Military Aircraft Of The World Vol I / II / III, by Pegasus
Top Gun ( various military aircraft in action ), by Telstar
Digital Dogfight - FirePower 2000, by LaserLight
Allied Aviation Series, by Screen Works
In The Cockpit Series, by ArtsMagic
The MiG Killers, by ArtsMagic
Combat At Sea Collection Series, by Castle Vision
Top Guns - The Real Story, by MSD Video & 1st Video
I have quite a collection of aviation books, mostly as reference material because of my work as an aviation artist. Top titles include anything by the World Air Power Journal / Aerospace group ( if you've never seen any of their publications you really don't know what you're missing! ).
There are quite few big glossy picture books about, but the ones I would recommend on account of the their stunning photography are :
Canadian Fighter Pilot by John McQuarrie
Soviet Wings by Alexander M Dzhus
The Cutting Edge by C J Heatley III
Painted Ladies Vol 1 & 2 by Randy Walker
Super Blue by Katsuhiko Tokunaga
plus anything in the Airlife & Osprey book ranges.
Among the best reading material (both documentary & biographical), I would highly recommend the following :
Luftwaffe - A Pictorial History by Eric Mombeek
Fighter Combat - Tactics and Manoeuvering by Robert Shaw
Tests of Character by Donald Middleton
Combat Kill by Hugh Morgan & Jurgen Seibel
Top Guns by Hugh McManners ( book accompanies the Discovery Channel series "Top Guns" )
Test Pilot by Brian Johnson
Splash One by Ivan Rendall
Fighter Wing by Tom Clancy
Fighters Over Israel by Lon Nordeen
Duel Under the Stars by Wilhelm Johnen ( this guy flew Me110 night fighters )
Eagle Day by Richard Collier
Duel of Eagles by Peter Townsend
and The Story of Air Fighting by J E 'Johnnie' Johnson.
If you go through all these and don't get inspired, enlightened or moved in any way, then there's definitely something wrong with you ( maybe *you* should go back to PacMan or Space Invaders? )
On the lighter side, if you need a laugh you can't go wrong with anything by Bob Stevens - including the titles "If You Read Me, Rock The Tower!", "There I Was...", More "There I Was..." and "There I Was...Flat on my Back" ( all printed by Aeropublishers ). They are crammed full of cartoons & stories all based on real characters & events. You will laugh from beginning to end with these, that's a promise!
But if you want a break from aviation, look no further than the likes of Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson for a touch of pure genius.
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