F-16 Combat Pilot


Commodore Amiga

MiGMan thanks Rob "Bomber" Henderson for these recollections.
If my flight-sim history serves me correctly, this one was the direct "competition" to Spectrum Holobytes Falcon, but I much preferred Digital Image Design's efforts to Falcon.
The graphics were more in-your-face unlike Falcon's subtle pastel shades, but the game play was just everything you could ever want.
You had training missions, single combat missions and the full campaign modes, plus the head-to-head option. You were also able to keep a flying log of all your time on F-16, which included the use of your "callsign", which also appeared in the game when you contacted the tower on airfields ( very basic radio comms, but at the time a real thrill ). "
The training missions let you learn everything you needed to know about the F-16, from it's complex avionics to the large selection of weapons at your disposal. Once you got the hang of things, it's onto the single combat missions, where real bullets and missiles would let fly. You had to complete a set amount of single combats in order to be considered fit for campaign duties.
The campaigns were fully dynamic, and the whole strategy was down to you.
Most of the missions would start with you inside a HAS, from which you would start up and taxi to the active runway - not easy if your base was under air-attack.
From what I remember, the air opposition was made up from FOXHOUND's, FLOGGER's and FULCRUM's. You would also find a few HIND type helo's about the place in the campaigns.
The weapons you could use included, AMMRAM, AIM-9L, Mk82 ( slicks and snakes ), Mk83 slicks, Mk84 slicks, HARM, Durandal, Maverick ( laser and IR ), 20mm cannon, plus you also had LANTIRN ( possibly the first appearence in a flight-sim? ), a recce pod, ECM pod and the usual external fuel tanks.
Landing this one took a little bit of time to master as you needed to get the AoA and vertical velocity spot-on. And when you had mastered that, you could throw in a bit of bad weather ( fog and low cloud down to 500ft AGL ) and if you were really lucky, it could all be in the black of night too.
And believe me, night flying was something else. You had no visual references except for the green thermal image projected onto your HUD by the LANTIRN pods. You did see lights on the ground though from towns and military installations etc, which were of limited help.
The head-to-head was a bit limited sadly, but my mate Tom and I soon found a way of making it exciting - formation aerobatics!! When the flight would start, you would be on the runway, so we would take-off, dump all the external stores and rendezvous at a pre-determined point.
With practice ( we found out we could collide...) we were able to do loops ( both sided-by-side and follow my leader ), barrel rolls ( both as one, with the inside aircraft moving slower so the outside one can keep up ), and opposing loops ( head-on at same speed and altitude, then as we passed we would pull up, passing each other at the top inverted, and finally passing each other again at the bottom to complete ).
This was made a bit trickier by the fact you only had the in-cockpit views to work with. We also managed formation landings and take-offs, and the most spectacular one of all....
One would be on the runway ready to launch (1), while the other would be on finals (2).
Number 1 would start his take-off roll while 2 would land in front of him.
1 would take-off ( just missing 2 ) and fly over him.
2 would then take off without ever coming to a full stop, and be in trail behind 1.
Go out tonight and buy a bucket load of patience or two from your local personality store and give it a go - you'll tear a few hairs out in trying, but when you get it right.... Oh boy, it feels good!!
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