Thanks for the input. I've been on a few different servers and found I either get blasted from the sky before I even get a radar blip of an opponent, or nothing is going on. I've been practicing landing on other people's server. I get a feeling of accomplishment that way.
As I said above, pretty much the only way to get what you want is to make contact with some like minded friends and start private COOP games, or at least meet up on the same server. Don't have A-10C so I don't know what exists as far as COOP missions, but this is possible with LOMAC/FC/FC2 for sure, though, it doesn't seem that a lot of folks are putting much effort into building pure COOP (human vs. AI) type missions. The Mission Editor has some rough spots (FC2) but it is still relatively quick to put something together.
Falcon4 Allied Force, BMS 4.32, Janes F/A-18 are other 'modern' jet sims that offer the same possibilities. There is also a pretty dedicated if small community flying Total Air War as well.