Let's talk about my first flight.
After run up and completing "before take off" checklist, I called:
- "Number one, static"
After waiting for what seemed like 5 minutes at hold-short line, we got cleared.
I taxied displaced of centerline. While holding brakes, PCL to 25-30 % torque. Brakes release as PCL moved to MAX. Half right rudder to counter torque. At 60 I called "60 knots, good torque". At 85 I pulled back slightly on stick and we lifted off. "Climbing, Good Engine, Gear Clear?". IP replies "Gear clear". Gear handle up, flaps up. There is a distinct 'bump bump' as gear retract inside.
Compared to a sim, I could keep aircraft exactly where I wanted. Rudder provided pressure from airflow unlike where in a sim, feedback is provided by hydraulic.pressure.
After take off, I maintained climb at 180 and got cleared to fly directly to our MOA. In the MOA, IP pretty much said to get a feeling for the jet. Cool! Roll left - Roll right. Roll rate is fast. Let's go for turns. Bank 60 degrees and pull - That's two Gs. Lets pull some more...bank near 90 and pull. After 3 Gs, IP asked to go easy on Gs. So I returned to normal flight to get my basic flight in check. Trim use is a bit different and not as exact as in a sim. In a sim, I could trim aircraft for exact level flight with hands off. In a jet, I set it very near but still had to have some stick pressure to maintain level flight.
Next, let's play with speedbrake. Controls for speedbrake are on PCL. Move little switch back, brake extracts. I could sense as airframe lightly vibrates from airflow and nose pitches up. As I advanced PCL to MAX, speedbrake automatically retracts.
Pitch down with PCL MAX and at 240 retract PCL to idle, extract speedbrake and pitch a bit up. After leveling off, I placed PCL MAX again and noticed there is quite a bit lag between setting PCL max and actual acceleration. Interesting!
After, IP decided to practice anti-G straining breathing. He placed us at 2Gs, then 3 and finally 4. Around 3Gs, G-suit inflated. At 4, it inflated more as I practiced special breathing. Breath is every 3-4 seconds with a sound of "Hick" as straining lower muscles.
All of the fun made me a bit sick so I turned on oxygen to max (95%). Nice to have option to do so.
Finally we practiced slow flight and landing. During slow flight, engine produced a LOT of torque that required a lot of rudder to counteract. Landing on imaginary runway went fine.
Time to recover. I called required agency and received clearance. As I read directions back, agency called again to see if we received. I called back. Nothing. IP called back. Nothing. So we starting going through checklist of radio out procedure. To make things short - it turns out our UHF radio took a dump, but we still could receive just fine. Thankfully we have backup UHF and regular VHF.
IP had to pretty much fly all the way to final. At that time he allowed me to land straight in. It was much easier than a sim. Flare was easy and touch down was ok. After landing I could keep aircraft exactly lined up without crazy swerving like in a sim.
In the end, sim is a nice procedural training tool. Military sim could simulate fluidness of FM closely. FSX completely fails - even with 40-50$ special add-on aircraft that advertise their AC being "just like real thing".
Anyhow - it was a blast to fly 5mil aircraft. One flight down and ~62 more flights to go.