MiGMan’s Flight Sim Museum

MiGMan’s Flight Sim Museum

Birds of Prey

Pilot’s notes

Tom Long remembers:
" I personally found the program detailed for it's time, especially the detailed HUD (Heads Up Display) information. I also found it hard to fly well, especially during landings, but I was also trying to fly by mouse and keyboard.
One very neat feature was the ability to rendezvous with a tanker and take on fuel. You would have to call for the tanker (with a \ ) then allow it time to take-off, climb to altitude, and get on-station. This required planning and fuel management. Once the tanker was on-station, the program would automatically refuel your aircraft after you got within a certain distance (based on your skill level). You also had to meet close to tanker flight conditions, i.e. above 5000 feet altitude, within 250 feet of tanker altitude, within 25 degrees of tanker heading, and within 50 m/s (meters/second) of tanker velocity.
All of that was not so easy."
Alex Pavloff remembers:
"As with everytime Birds Of Prey is mentioned I must not talk about my invention of "jeep tossing" One could take a C-130 on cargo drops, and while one was supposed fly straight and level below 5000 feet to drop cargo on targets, it was much more fun to open up the C-130, start the release at 5000 feet a good ways from the drop point, and immediately pull up.
The jeep would come rocketing out the front? of the C-130, accelerate PAST the aircraft, and eventually come to ground.
The fun thing was, since one was told after the mission how far the jeep was from the drop zone, one could have jeep tossing contests.
: - )
MiGMan thanks Rob "Bomber" Henderson for these recollections.


The slogan went something like "40 BIRDS - UNLIMITED PREY".
This really is another classic.
The game included many aircraft, most never before seen on a sim in the UK. The choice of weapons was stunning too - everything apart from nukes and chemical warheads.
The warzone was fictitious, with the allies ( flying mostly NATO gear ) occupying the main island and a bit of the land to the south, while the enemy ( mostly WARPAC / SOVIET ) held the northern territories plus the land east & west of the island. The basic idea? Wipe out the opposition, simple as that.
The war started straight away, and continued in real time ( you had the ability to skip time - good for long flights ), the 24hour day including spectacular sunrises and sun sets.
You had a choice of mission profiles to fly, where you were given a set target(s) to go and destroy along with your wingmen ( sadly you had no choice over what went with you, although they were usually of a type applicable to the task at hand ). "
You had missions such as recce, transport, fighter escort, bombing, interception, and close air support to name but a few. The mission structure was quite unique ( I don't know of any other sims of the time having the same ).

Say you took-off at 06:30 for an intercept, you finish the job and RTB at 07:15.
You can then re-arm and refuel with whatever you want, then go off and kill whatever you want. And you could keep on going too. The flight would always start with you parked inside the main hangar, which you would taxi out from to the main runway ( quite hair raising if the base was under attack ).
After landing, you had to taxi back to the hangar, where you had the option of re-fuelling and arming to continue the fight, or end the mission, which effectively ended the day. You were than allowed to choose a different aircraft and mission type. You were also kept upto date with mission stats, showing kills and losses
This is also the first sim I remember that you could actually go out and bomb civilian installations and cities and not be penalised for it ( carpet bombing in B-52's and "Bears" - many would consider it sick - but it was GOOD!! ).
There were aircraft carriers to fly from as well as land bases. The allies had the Enterprise and HMS Invincible, the WARPAC had Kiev and Minsk.
The Harrier and Yak38 Forger had thrust vectoring ( which worked ). The SR-71 could hit mach3 at 70,000ft+. The Foxbat could do the same. All the aircraft could be used as a recce platform, which was a nice touch ( how often do you get the chance to fly an RF-4 Phantom?).
You had several aircraft with VG wings, which were manual rather than automatic. Air-air refuelling was a real task ( good thing they included an autopilot, but even this was a complicated task on some aircraft ). You could request a tanker after take-off, which then enabled you to have the option on minimum internal fuel on take-off, but maximum weapons and no external tanks.
The weapons were destructive to any object, no matter what the device or target. I have witnessed a Forger get hit AFTER launching from a carrier by a Mk83 slick released by a B-1B Lancer.
The cockpit was a standard one for every aircraft in the game, but the flight characteristics of each aircraft were totally different. You could fly with the cockpit in view, or you could have a HUD view. "
The radar was very complex ( for an Amiga sim anyway ) with several modes and submodes. If you had SARH missiles, you needed to keep your head down looking at the radar display.
The BAe Hawk and F-5E were an absolute joy to fly. The B-52 was a real effort - and it would take-off in a nose down attitude! From the B-52, you could also launch the X-15. It had no real purpose in the sim combat wise, but if you were careful, you could set it up for a real high speed recce mission.
The Su-27 Flanker was awesome to fly for the enemy, while the Su-21 Flagon was just breathtaking - even on the take-off run. You could hold the brakes on (just), wind the engines up to full re-heat and let her go, and the G meter would register about 2.5G+ while rolling down the runway!!
The sound of the engines was great - the afterburner would really explode into life, while the turboprops had a real mean growl. Air density - this caused problems with many aircraft engines. Low level, the afterburner could instantly kick in, but get it above, say 25,000ft and you may have to wait several seconds or more for it to open up. "
" There were just so many bits to this sim that were either just great or unique and great - infact, this one deserves a memorial website all of it's own. It is important to mention that it did have it's fair share of hiccups, but as a hardcore flight-simmer you could easily work around them - eg - reheat on the Harrier, just don't select it.
16 Mk82's in the internal bay of the F-117? Just restrict your self to 4 in the arming screen.
Like I say, just hiccups really, nothing major. The ultimate nasty on this sim was the landing gear on the outside views of the aircraft - the wheels were spheres, and what ever angle you looked from, the wheels were a full circle! "
The full list of aircraft and weapons was :


Bae Hawk Mk.66 ( odd choice, as the Mk.66 is the version used by the Swiss Air Force )
Bae Harrier Gr.Mk3 ( the only mistake on this one was that it was given an afterburning Pegasus engine! )
Boeing B-52H Stratofortress ( you could carry 100 Mk82 slicks in the bomb bay plus extra on pylons under the wings! )
Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet ( not really sure why this one was included, but you could go on one really long recce flight with this one...)
Dassault Mirage F.1E ( really nimble little performer in a dogfight, but they forgot the wingtip missile rails! )
Dassault Rafale-A ( a bit non-descript really, it was OK at everything, but not outstanding )
Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt ( awesome weapons carrying ability - and that gun!!! )
GD F-111 Aardvark ( possible overkill on the internal weapons bay capacity - 58 Mk82's!! )
GD F-16C Falcon ( everything we have come to know and love about F-16's - agile, fast and impressive weapons fit )
Grumman F-14A+ Tomcat ( this was just superb when loaded up with the AIM54 Phoenix AAM )
Grumman X-29 ( combat performance similar to the Rafale- OK, but nothing to write home about )
Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules ( doing cargo drops and delivering paratroops was unique - an excellent idea to include it in a sim! )
Lockheed F-104S Starfighter ( what a cracker - this one was GOOD! )
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird ( Mach3 on the edge of space - catch me if you can!! )
Lockheed TR-1A ( the leisurely way to photograph the enemy! )
Lockheed F-117A ( another overkill on the bomb bay capacity - 16 Mk82's! You also had the option of underwing pylons for Paveway LGB's. However, using just the internal stores, you were stealthy, and the enemy had real trouble getting missiles to track you properly...)
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II ( To put it simply - the best of the bunch. There was nothing you felt you couldn't take on when at the controls of the F-4!! )
McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle ( Another awesome performer )
McDonnell Douglas KC-10A Extender ( another not sure why it's here aircraft as far as flying it yourself, but at least if your wingmen flew it, you could re-fuel from them. )
McDONNELL DOUGLAS F/A-18A HORNET ( I think this one could carry just about everything in the inventory )
NA X-15A ( Mach6.69 at 250,000ft was quite a ride.... )
Northrop F-5E Tiger II ( quick and nimble in a dogfight - this has got to be one of the sexiest looking fighters ever! )
Northrop F-20A Tigershark ( the big brother of the F-5E, and as such I found it less manoeuvrable although slightly longer ranged )
Northrop B-2 ( the stealth bomber - pretty much the same as the F-117, only bigger and less agile, and no external stores )
Panavia Tornado F.Mk3 ( as per the real thing - very fast at low level, but nothing spectacular elsewhere )
Rockwell B-1B Lancer ( the only sad thing about this was no cruise missiles, only freefall bombs!! )
SAAB Jas-39 Gripen ( definitely superior to the Rafale in this sim )




An-124 Condor ( very big, very slow - what else? )
MiG-21Bis Fishbed-N ( great little dogfighter hampered by small warload )
MiG-23 FLOGGER-G ( AIM-9 fodder carrying AAMs! )
MiG-25 Foxbat-E ( the only way you could hope to catch the SR-71 )
MiG-27 Flogger-J ( AIM-9 fodder carrying bombs! )
MiG-29 Fulcrum-A ( surprisingly nothing special - out performed 100% by the Su-27 )
Su-21 Flagon-F ( zoom - zoom! )
Su-24 Fencer-D ( good all round on the air-ground )
Su-25 Frogfoot ( you really had to pray to God that you would take-off in this one - even when it was empty! )
Su-27 Flanker-B ( just superb, without doubt, the best you could fly in the Red Team )
Tu-95 Bear-G( this felt big when you flew it - and the sound of those engines Wow! Great fun when loaded with Kitchen or Kingfish missiles )
Tu-26 Backfire-B ( great for a bit of high-speed, low level long range attacking )
Yak-38 Forger-A ( pretty poor, but a better choice than a Flogger!! )


BOMBS : 227kg, 454kg, 903kg.
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