Also, speaking to the original purpose of this thread:
I have the hornet, and I'm having a good time learning how to fly it (haven't even tried a carrier landing yet!). It's a very lively flight model, and you can see the FBW systems working (eg. in a cross wind landing, the rudders 'twitch' a lot to make minor corrections).
Also, the the visuals are very much a feature of this sim. The photo-realistic nature of the hornet model and the Persian gulf terrain means there are times I glance back over my shoulder and for a moment things feel very real. I play sims to fly airplanes and all that that entails, not just a Ti-83 graphing calculator. The systems certainly add immersion, but DCS has crossed into a new realm with it's visuals, and you can appreciate those without even having to crack open the manual
I think my money was well spent.
I do wish more things were completed of course, and that DCS had a dynamic campaign engine, and there was a more comprehensive road map for feature completion. But, all in all, I'd rather have this hornet in DCS than no hornet in DCS at all.
I know that according to everyone else here I'm supposed to hate it, and I'm a terrible person for daring to think that graphics are important, daring to enjoy a product that doesn't have every single aspect of the real aircraft functional, and daring to enjoy something ED has made. And I know that by giving ED my money I've clearly perpetuated a cycle of evil that is ruining the very fabric of our lives. And of course the only way for ED to be defeated is for good, morally upstanding people to stop giving them money.
I'll probably be banned for saying all that, because it is the sole purpose of every flight sim ever to only be about #thesystems.
Sorry SHQ, it was fun while it lasted!