While I’m watching the show I become oblivious to my own danger until I hear the bleep of my threat warning receiver and realize that now I’ve become a target! The occasional bleep turns into a steady whine for a few seconds and I panic again realizing I’ve wandered far to close to the air battle. On the map I can see one of the MiG-23s coming for me and this time I know there will be no Cavalry coming to the rescue. I roll inverted and dive for the deck and accelerate up to top speed again, once again the rumbling and shaking of the cockpit bounces me around and distorts my view. As I dip into a valley my threat receiver goes quiet but as I crest the next ridge I get hit with a radar spike again. Over the course of a few turns, dips and dives the pursuit goes on but eventually I find a nice long and deep valley to stay hidden in as I race away to the east. The MiG-23 never reacquires and I skulk off at low altitude hoping to keep a low profile for the rest of the flight.
With me off their scope the MiG-23s turn inland and fly to Maykop to recover. The Tu-95 Bear that kicked off the attack also makes it safely back to base and I briefly wish I had some ordnance onboard to hit them while they are on the ground.
Staying at low altitude I work my way back to the coastline and continue following it to the northwest. Once in range of the tower at Gelendzhik they warn me of heavy enemy naval activity along the coast including ships landing troops and equipment and they also indicate that enemy anti-aircraft units have already encircled the airfield and that landing will be at my own risk. Soon enough I’m passing over the enemy cargo ships lying at anchor off the coast.
Squeezing past the surface warships that are staying a bit off the coast to avoid being attacked themselves my threat receiver picks up their scanning signals as I pick my way through toward the airfield, remaining a respectful distance away from the ship and the anti-aircraft units taking up positions around the airfield. It looks like the besieged airfield won’t be in business much longer, but I need the gas and the technicians need the parts I’m carrying.
Lining up on final I make probably my best visual approach and landing to date. No overshooting final this time when the consequences are so severe!
After landing the tower encourages me to taxi quickly into the hangar so that I don’t attract unwanted attention from air attacks. I ask about Sukhumi airfield from where I left and he replies sadly ”Sukhumi now belongs to the enemy.”
My experiences near the front have reinforced how important weapons training is going to be. Only the strong will survive for long out here. I must hurry to get back to my curriculum so that I can get back here to help out the cause.
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This mission can be downloaded here: http://www.mudspike.com/lomac/simhq07.zip Notes on this mission:Obviously I designed this mission, so the “surprises” really weren’t “surprises” at all as you can well imagine. Nor will they be to you now that I’ve disclosed the “story”. But I think it is easy to see where people that fly other people’s missions can be endlessly entertained by the design, quirks, and surprises that they can incorporate into missions. I’m only barely able to use the Mission Editor, and while it can be time consuming to hand craft a mission, what can be done is pretty impressive.
This mission starts out with a relatively spectacular first few minutes. My machine stutters for just the first bomb explosion or two then all the subsequent action is very smooth. I don’t know if those first explosions somehow get buffered and that is what causes the slight delay, but after that everything was smooth sailing on my rig. I ran through this mission multiple times to finally get it to where I thought everything works out, but the experience changes each time. I’d recommend NOT taking off until the MiG-27s finish their second bombing run or you might find yourself biting off more than you can chew! Also beware of friendly fire! Apparently those active homing radar missiles care not who lies in their path.
I’ve left all of the options open for things such as map views, enemy views, enemy and friendly icons on the map, etc. Again, this is where I can foresee a great mission designer to use his/her magic to really design a great mission. By limiting the amount you know about a mission before and during I think you can really add to the suspense and surprise factor. Since mine are “learning” tools more than true missions or a campaign, I’m choosing to let people see what is going on behind the scenes.
BeachAV8RPS - We'll be getting back into the "training" (ie: learning) in the next couple missions. I thought it was important to show some of the additional "fun stuff" beyond just learning the systems in a stale kind of way. What I think is good about these missions is that anyone can fly them since all you have to do is drive around and use the stick and throttle pretty much. There are no weapons (yet!) so even the brand new LOMAC/FC pilot can fire these up and try their hand at just flying and surviving.