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#3704470 - 12/22/12 02:33 PM Best way to learn Falcon 4  
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Gigolety Offline
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One day I was thinking about the best way to learn Falcon 4 and looking at my experience along the many years that I flew this
aircraft I finally realized that to learn really Falcon 4 is necessary first to make a step back.

The best Pilot Study path is to follow the military system and to do that is necessary to start to learn to fly but not in Falcon 4.

Falcon 4 is simulating a fast military jet fighter in a complicate enviroment which is a miliatry campaing, so especially the new sim pilot can not learn properfly and quickly to fly such a complicate jet without being frustatred.

The best idea is to start to fly a propeller aircraft on FS or X-plane than learn how to navigate on those kind of propeller aircraft then move into jet aircraft always in FS or X-plane and once you master those aircraft move into falcon 4 and its complex system.

It is basically necessary a step by step approach, which is longer but finally more reqarding and effective!


Last edited by Gigolety; 12/22/12 02:37 PM.
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#3704871 - 12/23/12 03:10 AM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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- Ice Offline
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That is fine but unfortunately, not everyone has the time, energy, or long-lasting interest to take it step-by-step. I guess you could say there is the "proper" way, like how real pilots do it with all the theory and systems and navigation, etc., then there is the "hardcore" way wherein focus is done solely on the aircraft-of-choice but deep study is done, and then there are other, less realistic approaches as well.

Same goes for learning approaches --- some people can read the manual and then fly, but then there's probably people like myself whose brain goes all "??WTF??" when I try to read the manual first. For me, I fire up the sim and have a go first, then return to the manual bit by bit as I go through things in the sim and as I encounter "obstacles" that I have to read up on. I've found that the best way to get people to commit to study sims like BMS and DCS A10C is to show them what can be done in the sim without whacking the thick manual over their head. I've learned this through my other hobby, tabletop RPGs --- I've had a lot of potential players want to play, but walked away after seeing the "Player's Handbook" and thinking they needed to know all that was in it in order to play. So I quickly hid the manual and would just teach them as they needed it, and THEN introduce them to the manual once their hooked biggrin Nice little tactic, no?

As for the sim, I would say the best way to learn is to fly with someone else online. The best mentor is an established Instructor Pilot that is good at teaching (not all people who are good at something can teach that topic very well), hopefully as part of a virtual squadron's training program. Another option is to simply fly with a friend who knows more about the sim than you and can help you through the basics. If nothing else, at least fly online with SOMEONE else, that way you got two individuals trying things out rather than tackling the sim individually. Attacking the "learning curve" by dividing the work (ie, someone studies CCIP deliveries while another studies CCRP deliveries) makes it easier and less daunting.

For me, I would say the only requirement I would have for any student is 1) a properly installed and configured sim, 2) a working HOTAS/joystick profile and a printout of the command layout, 3) basic knowledge of flight (thrust, drag, lift, weight, pull the joystick and the plane goes up, push and it goes down, pitch, yaw, roll), and 4) a desire to learn. I teach in a sort of step-by-step manner too, but I move on to the "fun parts" (ie, making things go BOOM!) as soon as possible.


- Ice
#3705269 - 12/23/12 11:33 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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The real life and sim training resources and requirements are so different that apart from the joys of "doing it real" there's little reason to model sim learning very closely to real life training programs. The best training program is of no value if the resources (patience, time, motivation) run out or the goals of the program are not in alignment with the individual.

I agree with Ice that the human element is the most valuable training tool. An IP or even a peer accelerates the process. If DCS ever gets a two-seat trainer with multicrew capabilities it will be the ideal place to be. Most people learn best by doing in order of normal process with immediate feedback on their actions. The manual has none of those qualities and is not a good primary learning source. Someone should not have any hesitation on cracking it open and looking up specific facts, but otherwise it's reference material only.

I've begun formulating a sim-level syllabus and instructional material a few times but never got very far. Trying to cater to a wide possible audience with different goals and without the traditional career background is difficult.

#3705280 - 12/23/12 11:52 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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-Ice is absolutely right. For many people, looking at a book and trying to focus on it, translate to the controls and monitor, look back and forth and all...just not their manner of learning. Reading up on procedures and principles is certainly important. But there are lots of good reasons for flight instructors in the cockpit, besides basic safety.

A good sim friend who is a decent pilot and willing to help out online and in the sim is worth a lot! It certainly made all the difference for me years ago when I wasn't getting all that engaged by Falcon training missions and the manual. Then I came across something that seemed too good to be true - the old Falcon Training School and a great guy call sign "Bouncer." That combined with some simply progressing weapons flying with good friend James helped put everything together. Falcon still took - and takes - a good deal of focus and concentration and practice when starting out, but working with other people sure makes all of that a lot easier and often clearer.

Squadrons used to perform this role for a lot of people, and there are still some groups of guys out there that do this valuable service.


Eugene

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#3706067 - 12/25/12 06:33 AM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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I tried more than once to sit down with the big binder and learn to fly Falcon 4. I never was able to put it altogether and fly the campaign missions with a good deal of success. Then I started watching BeachAV8R's training video series for Falcon 4. I would watch a video, fly the mission and then watch the video again until I got it down cold. That worked best for me. I was finally able to follow the mission plan, navigate, make TOT, deliver the weapon payload (A2G) and navigate back to base successfully. Thanks Beach!

#3706072 - 12/25/12 07:26 AM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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I didn't truly start learning Falcon 4.0 until I started flying multiplayer with other people. That did so much more for me than consulting the manual while loading a pre-set training mission. Too bad I haven't had a chance to fly with that group in years.

That said, the current DCS modules have a far better in-game training setup (for the A-10C and a fan-made Black Shark 2 set, anyway), as it's interactive and actually highlights the objects of importance. That hands-on approach with explanations helps me understand better.

On top of that, it's not immediately obvious which of the numerous control bindings are the most important until you start flying for a bit. You may even find that the actual HOTAS controls may omit some important things in favor of relatively trivial features. Again, in comparison to DCS, Falcon's user interface doesn't really filter control types by location or what systems they pertain to. You have to scroll through a very long list in order to find what you want, and said list doesn't have the best organization of bindings.

Worst of all is when the manual actually turns out to be wrong about something, like how to land. That AOA indexer? It's lying to you and will make you crater every single time if you go for the green circle in the middle. What you really do is line up a certain AOA line that appears with the landing gear down at about 3 degrees glide slope, the top of a bracket toward the left side linked to the AOA indexer (it'll show the red V if you're on the truly correct alignment), the flight path marker, and the start of a runway together. Doesn't help much for instrument landings, but if you can visually align those four things, you'll make a good landing every time.

If anything, the barrier to hardcore flight sims like these is that there generally isn't as much effort being spent to make them easier to learn. People are intimidated by all the unfamiliar switches and MFDs at first, and sometimes things don't transition seamlessly in someone's mind between the manual and the actual sim experience.

But when you do finally master all those various subsystems, you'll wonder how you lived without them as you blow away the enemy and return home in one piece with the satisfying feeling of having mastered a complex military jet.

So who's willing to take some of us under his wing and teach us how to handle a F-16C? It's been said here several times already - having a human mentor who can answer your every question and point out your mistakes, someone who you can interact with, helps immensely.

#3706135 - 12/25/12 12:49 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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- Ice Offline
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sSnakeyes, that is exactly what I mean... and even the Falcon 4.0 and Allied Force manuals were excellently written compared to what's available for BMS today. If it was hard for a new pilot to learn 4.0 or AF before, that learning curve just turned into a CLIFF for BMS. Plus the downside that those manuals don't exactly "work" for BMS anymore --- sure the theory is there, but "learning" this sim means you have to DO what you've learned in theory and again BMS trips all over itself.

NamelessPFG, I agree that DCS has better training materials (if they work!) due I guess to it being a newer engine. However, not all is taught in the tutorials and in fact, the community-made tutorials has been more help, better presentation, and more-to-the-point. Sadly, BMS does not have this quality of tutorials; a situation I hope to remedy soon.

Have a look back at the Falcon 4 forum, I'll start a thread there regarding tutorial sessions. Maybe we can get a SimHQ group started.


- Ice
#3706359 - 12/25/12 08:35 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: - Ice]  
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I agree with you that time is really a #%&*$#. I did this method and I took 2 years to reach the level I consider correct and doing by myself and off-line. I did with a civilan licence on my pocket and some extra-knowledge that it was an advantage and even in this case I took 2 years to reach a serious military skill level.

In any case this can be reduced to maximum 6 months with theory and practical training if you have a proven system. What is just necessary is to learn to fly a simple propeller aircraft and know how to taxi, aviate, communicate. Then learn how to make some basic aerobatics and finally move into VFR and IFR navigation. Finally on the prop final step would be to learn how to fly formation, rejoin and side switch.

Once those are mastered it would be useful to move to Falcon. The problem is that in Falcon is complicate to apply a really important concept: you must stay in front of your aircraft. Which translated is like to say you have to anticipate the next step. This aircraft fly at the slowest speed during cruise around 300 kts so for rokies this is overwhelming so it is necessary to have the basis steps done on something slower and easier to handle.

Een more MFDs, and radar system are distracting and it doesn't matter if you are flying with someone else or not, confusion is behind the corner. Even more it is overwhelming to have to understand all that information without knowing the basic, it is like placing the coach in front of the horse.

#3706404 - 12/25/12 09:36 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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I respectfully disagree.

Why learn VFR and IFR if you'll almost never use it in Falcon? Heck, it'd be "cool" to learn proper ILS landing with proper pattern procedures, but that's just icing on the cake. If you can land your aircraft using the AoA bracket, AoA indexer, and FPM, you're good. Most "basic" missions take place in fair weather anyway; you can leave the low-vis or night ops stuff for later.

I do agree with you with regards to "being in front of your aircraft." You should always be two steps ahead of the plane, anticipate what is to happen, and make corrective action as soon as possible. However, again, I do not see the need to practice on props just to do this. Simply load up the Viper with two or three fuel tanks and as much heavy bombs as you want to carry. Acceleration will be slower and the drag/deceleration will be decent, so practice with that. I guess unless the pilot wants to do air-to-air missions specifically, this config will pretty much be the norm for A-G ops.

As for the systems, well, it is quite complex due to the amount of ordnance that is available to the Viper, but I think if you narrow it down to delivery methods required, then you only really have CCIP and CCRP weapons to worry about. Dropping a MK-82 slick won't be different from dropping an -84 or JDAM in CCRP mode, LGBs simply need a designator turn after release, etc. These are the basics, and should be easily grasped by the new pilot. Variations to the technique, ie lofting or pop up attacks are just icing on the cake and the pilot can practice these by himself once he knows the basics. Also, knowledge of weapon employment is not dependent on knowledge of other aircraft systems --- it doesn't matter if you don't know how TACAN works, you'll still be able to drop bombs. The extra knowledge **might** come in handy in some situations, but it's not a requirement, IMHO.

While teaching this stuff can easily take months, this is more due to the fact that some people can only fly once or twice a week. I would say 1-2 lessons taking about 2 hours per lesson, maybe 5-8 lessons (depending on the learner's initial level and needs), and a new pilot will know enough to be a decent wingman and can contribute greatly to a flight's damage-dealing potential. If you insist on going about this alone, well, you can bury yourself in the manual and spend the next two hours finding the cause and solution to your problem --- or you can fly with someone who can spot your mistake as you do it and actually spend the next two hours practicing how to get it right.

Will he have intimate knowledge of the aircraft and its sub systems? Nope. Will he know what to do in an emergency situation? Probably not. Will he be able to recite takeoff speeds based on aircraft configuration and weight? Not even if his life depended on it. Will he be able to understand and communicate using brevity? Probably, depending on how closely he's studied Top Gun, Iron Eagle, and other such films biggrin "If I hit the brakes, he'll fly right by!"

Will he be able to spread the love in the form of pretty orange explosions? Definitely. And I think this is why people fly BMS to start with. Otherwise they would've just stayed with FSX and purchased a 3rd-party aircraft.


- Ice
#3706420 - 12/25/12 10:30 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: - Ice]  
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- Ice, I don't currently have Falcon 4.0 installed. Is the latest version of BMS solid for multiplayer flights? From what I've read, it looks like it got new multiplayer code.

#3706638 - 12/26/12 12:01 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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BMS is pretty solid. I say that because it is not 100% crash-proof, but mostly my problems occur in the 2D environment. Once in the pit and flying, it's all good --- I've never flown wondering if the game will crash at any time, unless it is a server-side issue, usually bandwidth.

You don't have to install F4.0 to get BMS working, the BMS installer will only look for the F4.0 .exe. By all means, give BMS a try biggrin Check HERE for my install guide.


- Ice
#3706674 - 12/26/12 01:48 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: - Ice]  
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I'm going to install BMS today and have a look at it. I saw your install guide and I'll use that to get started.

Thanks.

#3707013 - 12/27/12 03:52 AM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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No worries, glad to have helped.... though I take no responsibility in the number of hours you will lose in said simulator. biggrin


- Ice
#3707440 - 12/27/12 11:34 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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I learned by repetition, doing startup, takeoff and then various weapons missions MANY times, basically jumping between the AF manual, YT and in game mission. Once you're successful in campaign, try the MP.

#3707893 - 12/28/12 09:02 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: CTR69]  
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Originally Posted By: CTR69
I learned by repetition, doing startup, takeoff and then various weapons missions MANY times, basically jumping between the AF manual, YT and in game mission. Once you're successful in campaign, try the MP.



What he said ^^

with tons of flying around getting the feel before attempting anything involving ordnance (though reading up on radar and weapon systems - repeatedly)


I say it as I see it
#3707900 - 12/28/12 09:18 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: JonnyD]  
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That is what I have done in the past. Pause the sim and read some, unpause and keep flying unless I need to pause again. I bought the Falcon 4.0 binder on day 1 and I've kept it all these years. I tried different flavors, Free Falcon was the last. I have not tried BMS that I can recall. Flown online with friends and joined a VFW squadron for awhile. I haven't touched Flacon 4.0 for at least a year, maybe longer.

#3707911 - 12/28/12 09:35 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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The TE Editor is an invaluable tool. With it you can create any type of mission you want and orchestrate all actions in it to your liking and needs, e.g. to practise the usage of various weapons. I'd risk a statement that 90% of what I've learned throughout all these years I owe to flying self-made TE missions and repeating them till I have mastered a specific aspect of the A-A or A-G combat, plus, sure enough, the compulsory reading (and the manuals are many wink ).

#3707937 - 12/28/12 10:25 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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But that's the big black mark of Falcon BMS. In older F4.0 or AF, you can fire up the TE and "follow along" with the manual, pausing as needed, reading, then doing. However, this is not the case with BMS. The default manual has nothing about the training TEs. Trying to do the training TEs using the older F4.0 or AF manuals only leads to confusion --- my favorite example is the 3rd TE, Day Landing Final Approach. From the name itself, final approach, but when you start the TE, you aren't on final approach. If you contact tower, it will instruct you to turn downwind, base, and final. Even if you don't contact tower, you're angled about 30-degrees off the runway centerline --- no way set up for a final approach.

The other TEs are the same.

This makes learning Falcon BMS very difficult for new guys, however, with a little reading of the old AF or 4.0 manuals (for the theory bits, like corner speed or A-G radar) and a couple of hours stick time with an IP, this will greatly accelerate the learning process, or at the very least lift off some of the frustration of executing some procedures.


- Ice
#3831549 - 09/04/13 10:55 AM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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Gigolety Offline
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I have finished after 2 years and half the kind of training I told I was doing in one message, last year.

I can assure before I was just gaming not flying the F-16 on Falcon 4 driving.

Now, it is something more realistic, I have full control of F-16 flights envelope, I have a good Situation Awareness, I can fly as wingman or leadear with full confidence, even as wingman leaving the leader position to the Artificial intelligence.

I know how to perform air-to-air tactics and air-to-ground tactics and I have a good knowledge of VFR and IFR navigation rules and how to make the transition from inside the cockpit to outside (An important concept in military flights).

I definitely recommend to study little by little and then move into the practical part instead of launch the sim and then hit pause and read the manuals.

It is more funny and realistic.

A sum of my program was:

Used IVAO (Use VATSIM if you like) to get info and material about how aircrafts fly and how to manage it.
Got the AFMAN 11-248 got a T-6 aircraft on Flightsim. Start to study the manual and then I created a couple of practical steps (Planned a fly mission on IVAO performing the step taught in the chapter I studied ). So it was possible to learn VFR , IFR and Aerobatic as well military formation (It is necessary to fly in multiplayer with someone).

I did 60 hrs on Ivao. Use this great web-page to get really nice extra-studing material about T-6 T-6 (real material)

Then I move to F-16 on Falcon 4 and I used the F-16 aircraft manual and all the others manual to create this program. Little by little (due to my job , etc.) I reached the point where I am today , where the brevity code is in my mind and it is not a strange language...


TRAINING PROGRAM

Basic Training Step [ 0 to 50 Hrs]

0 to 25 V.F.R. Navigation & Aircraft Performance (Dual)


Start-up and Taxi Procedures

Engine Instruments
Start-up Procedures
Taxi Handling Technique

Take-off and Landing Procedures

Take-off missions
Landing missions
Go-around situation assessments

Take-off performance & distance calculation

Take-off speed, refusal speed and after take-off speed computation

Landing Techniques & distance calculation

Landing speed & landing distance speed computation

Approach and VFR holding procedures over airports

Approach assessments and speed computation
VFR holding rules, spikes and perches

VFR Navigation Techniques

CAS, TAS, GS computation
Reporting point selection
Time and distance calculation between reporting points (Steer points)

VFR Routing and Long navigation missions

Routing, weather and fuel calculation between airports at more than 250 NM




25 to 40 Aircraft Manoeuvres – Basic Control (Dual)

AHC (Aircraft handling Characteristics)
Aircraft Handling Exercises and Manoeuvres

1. Horn Awareness and Recovery Training Series

Unload Manoeuvres - HARTS Series # 1
Nose High Recovery Manoeuvres – HARTS Series # 2
Horn Demonstration Manoeuvres – HARTS Series # 3
Horn Recovery Manoeuvres 50 • to 70 • – HARTS Series # 4
Horn Recovery Manoeuvres 70 • to 110 • – HARTS Series # 5

2. Confidence Manoeuvres
Date Start 08/12/2010

Loop
Immelman
Split S
Cloverleaf

3. Advanced Handling Manoeuvres

Pitchback
Sliceback
Reversal / Rolling Manoeuvres Demonstration
Vertical Recovery Demonstration
Departure Indicators
Dive Recovery Manoeuvres

40 to 45 Engine Failure / S.F.O. (Dual)
Flame-out Approach (FO) Techniques and Procedures
Straight-in Flame-out Pattern & Approach
Overhead Flame-out Pattern Approach


45 to 50 Refuelling Procedures Training (Dual)
Medium Training Step [50 to 100 Hrs]

50 to 70 I.F.R. Training & Manoeuvres (Dual)
70 to 90 Basic 1 vs. 1 Aerial Combat Manoeuvres (Dual)

ACBT
Air Combat Training; a general term which includes (D)BFM,(D)ACM and(D)ACT
(D)BFM

90 to 100 V.F.R. Formation Training (Dual)
Advanced Training Step [100 to 150 Hrs]

100 to 105 Refuelling Procedures Training (P.I.C.)

105 to 130(110) Advanced Aerial Combat (P.I.C.)

Fighter Proficiency Exercises

• Gun Exercises

Offensive Ranging Exercise
Basic Tracking Exercise
Cine Track Exercise
Roll-Slide Attacks -X
Snapshot Exercise
Heat to Gun exercise (Belly/Guns)
Vertical Roll to Six (Snatch Back) - X
Cross Turn Exercise
High Aspect Gun Exercise

• Missile Exercises

Random Missile / Gun Exercise
Defensive Awareness Exercise
Low Altitude Training - X
Descent Awareness Training - X
Level Turn - X

105 to 110 Night V.F.R. Training (P.I.C.)

110 to 115 Night Refuelling Procedures (Dual)

140 to 150 S.A.M. Evasion Technique (Dual)

Visual Lookout Exercise
S Turns
Orthogonal Sam Break

Combat Training [130 to 200 Hrs]


115 to 140 Group Aerial Combat manoeuvres (P.I.C.)

Air Combat Manoeuvres (D)ACM

2 Vs 1 Offensive manoeuvring
Break Away Turn Away
Break Into
Straight Ahead Extension
Bracket
Lag into

2 Vs 1 Defensive Manoeuvring
Sandwich
Early Switch
Late Switch
Break in same direction
Cross Turn



150 to 200 Air to Air Combat Simulation (P.I.C.)


Basic Ground Attack Training [200 to 250 Hrs]

Now I have 330 hrs and with realistic air refueling settings and Ace or veterans campaigng I have never been shot dwon. Before it was a miracle if I was shoting down someone and sometimes was a friendly. Before if a Su-27 was showing up I was panicking and if they were firing I was praying and crossing my fingers, now they are in trouble because I know when to commit and engage and when to bugout and save the aircraft. Before flying a formation was a true enigma and with the airtifical intelligence as a leader was a no go or an insanity. Today is just a funny game to play. Promotions are natural steps, before was a dream . Now Average is rare, poor is pretty rare and good or excellent rate after a mission are a common result. tanksalot I am really happy about the sacrifice but now it is becoming a real simulator and I enjoy everytime I shot-up the engines.




Last edited by Gigolety; 09/16/13 09:00 PM.
#3831691 - 09/04/13 05:29 PM Re: Best way to learn Falcon 4 [Re: Gigolety]  
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Very impressive Gigolety.
You've really used the simGame more on the sim side than most others.

Personally the only brevity I use is "Bollocks" and it means another SAM is heading for me :/

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