Topic outline

  • General Information

    F/A-18C, Picture from kaltokri, Public DomainThe F/A-18C Hornet was developed by McDonnell Douglas (which merged with Boeing in 1997) and is a supersonic fighter controlled by a single pilot. It has extreme manoeuvrability, can carry a variety of weapons and can operate from aircraft carriers.

    This module, DCS: F/A-18C Hornet, has a highly detailed flight model and is the first real multi-purpose combat aircraft from Eagle Dynamics for DCS.

    This course is intended for beginners who have little or no knowledge of the F/A-18C Hornet. The course deals with the introduction to the simulation, start procedures and the necessary systems, as well as take-off and landing at the airport. Operation from aircraft carriers is not part of this course and will follow in a later course.

    We recommend beginners to work through the course from the beginning. Knowing about weapon systems are useless if you can't start the machine and can't get it into the air.

    You will find that the F/A-18C is relatively easy to fly due to the digital fly-by-wire flight control, but the wealth of settings, systems and switches make the F/A-18C a complex fighter. However, it is also a powerful weapon system.

    In the beginners courses only the most necessary systems and switches are explained. In later courses we extend and deepen these procedures progressively.

    The authors and tutors of this course will be happy to answer any questions you may have. You will find them in the Persons block to the upper right corner of this page.

    A large part was created by Eagle 360th. Unfortunately he is no longer with the OFS and is therefore no longer shown as author.

  • Technical Data

    Public Domain,

    McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet

    Version: F/A-18C 
    Construction: 1986-2000

    CharacteristicData for F/A-18C Hornet
    Type: Mulitpurpose Combat Aircraft
    Length: 56 ft 1 in (17.07 m)
    Wingspan: 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m)
    Wingspan (Folded): 32 ft 7 in (9.94 m)
    Height to Cockpit Canopy: 10 ft 6 in (3.2 m)
    Height to Top Edge of Rudder: 15 ft 5 in (4.7 m)
    Wing Area: 410 ft² (38 m²)
    Wing Loading: 57.55 - 140.10 lb/ft² (281 - 684 kg/m²)
    Empty Weight: 23,000 lb (10,433 kg)
    Normal Take-off Weight: 37,150 lb (16,850 kg)
    Maximum Take-off weight: 56,000 lb (25,401 kg)
    Maximum Weapon Load: 17,000 lb (7,711 kg)
    Maximum Speed (Vmax): > 1,8 Mach
    Climb Rate: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
    Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,240 m)
    Range / Transfer Range: 1,089 nm / 1,800 nm at Mach 0.94 (2,000 km / 2,845 km)
    Combat Radius / Fighter Combat Radius: 290 nm / 486 nm (537 km / 900 km)
    Maximum Endurance: 1:45 h
    Engines: 2 x General Electric F404-GE-402 Afterburning Turbofan
    Thrust With / Without Afterburner: 2 x 17,750 lbf / 2 x 11,000 lbf (2 x 79.0 kN / 2 x 49.0 kN)

    Source: Wikipedia McDonnell Douglas F/A-18

    • Cockpit Briefing

      Cockpit, Picture from Eagle, Public DomainIn this section, we will focus on the different areas of the cockpit including the instruments and switch groups of the F/A-18C.  When individual functions are necessary for the basic course, we will deal with them in detail. Of course, this also includes the necessary settings for the F/A-18C in the main menu of DCS, the keyboard layout and the setting of the various axes and buttons on the joystick and throttle.   Later for combat operations, the F/A-18C requires three 4-way switches (Coolie-Hats), however for the basic course, a simple joystick is sufficient, as only a single coolie hat can be assigned several functions via modifiers.

      During the modernization of the F/A-18 from version A/B to C/D, extensive changes and improvements were made. These mainly concern the cockpit and the systems. Among other things, the following has been improved:

      • A more powerful radar system and a new radar warning system,
      • Ability to use new weapons,
      • Night combat capability, new night vision goggles and FLIR,
      • A new ejector seat,
      • Colour displays, a software update and new engines
      • GPS, IFF, INS

      System control elements are appropriately grouped in the F/A-18C. For example, there is a control panel for volume controls or a control panel for lighting. All switches associated with lighting or volume are logically located on each of these control panels.

      The machine has two DDI (Digital Display Indicator) on the left and right in the cockpit and an AMPCD (Advanced Multi-Purpose Colour Display) slightly below in the middle. These displays allow you to interact with the F/A-18C mission systems. For this course, however, we will only discuss what is absolutely necessary. Therefore we will use only the BOLD checks in the OFS Aircraft Checklist and make only the system settings as necessary for this course. In the Advanced or Weapon Courses we will go into more detail and the adherence to the full checklist.  This course is only about takeoff, circuit and landing.

    • Simplified Procedures

      Standardised procedures help to ensure all necessary steps are conducted in the correct order. The execution of these standard procedures from the checklists can take several minutes in reality as well as in this simulation and can include many individual steps. We use the original and unabridged checklists here, because we believe that you should learn how to work through the checklists right away and you don't have to change again later.

      The procedure from the start of the engines to call to taxi is supported here with pictures of the positions of the switches and levers. A basic knowledge about the arrangement of the cockpit is nevertheless a prerequisite and the basis for building a routine sequence in the cockpit.

      In order to ensure a smooth process on the airfield, some general standardised procedures are also required, such as calling the tower (ATC) before taxiing to the hold directly before the runway.
      In the individual sections of the standardised procedures, everything is described, from starting up the systems, to taxiing to the runway, to the actual takeoff, but also the landing and shutdown of the systems at the final parking position. Once these processes have become flesh and blood, you can apply this basic knowledge to many other aircraft types as well.

      Take-off and landing requires a lot of practice. It's not uncommon for it to take 10 or 20 attempts to be successful. In real life you would probably already have died or the flight instructor would have to intervene, but there are other sensory organs available than on the computer. For example, you can feel the force of gravity and the slightest changes in the position of the aircraft in the pit of the stomach. This makes it easier. If you still can't handle the umpteenth attempt, please don't hesitate to contact us (see next section). We will certainly be able to help you as well.

    • All-in-One Mission

      All-in-One, Bild von Eagle, Gemeinfrei

      So, enough of grey theory and practice in the quiet closet.

      Our final exercise mission includes all the steps from take-off of the cold plane to landing and is well suited to consolidate the procedures with a few practice flights. You can also use it to prepare for the optional exam in the next section by taking it off and practicing all the necessary points in a single flight (see exam procedure), just as they are asked for in the exam.

      If it doesn't work out properly, you can, for example, ask other OFS members or tutors for support in the course forum by post, or join forces with other students for a joint exercise date. The mission can be started online and used by multiple players to practice together, help each other, or simply because it's more fun as a team.

      To complete the exercises alone, simply host the mission yourself as a server or start it directly as a mission, select a slot and off you go. In the team one will host the mission (usually the tutor or one from the learning group) and all others can join the server. The Hosting a Mission guide explains how to do this.

      Please study the briefing carefully, as well as the mission description in the game itself.

    • Course Completion

      Kursabschluss, Bild von Eagle, Gemeinfrei

      We hope you enjoyed working your way into this great plane. After reading and practicing everything, there are two ways for you to complete this course:

      1. without a practical exam,
      2. with a practical exam.

      Without a practical exam

      We hope this course has helped you to master the handling of this great aircraft. You can attend the other basic or weapon courses to learn more about DCS. This material is also available without a practical exam. However, the Advanced-Line advanced courses are only available if you have passed the practical exam (see below). We want to make sure that all students who attend an Advanced-Line course are familiar with the basics. This enables them to effectively use the online time of the practical training without having to repeat the basics.

      To remove the course from your course list, please choose the link Unsubscribe from <Course name> in the menu on the right side under Course administration.

      With a practical exam

      Now you can show what you've learned. A description of how the practical exam works can be found in the course "General Basics (DCS)" in the section Exam Procedure. You can download the practice mission above (see All-In-One). Instructions on where to place the mission files and how to start them can also be found there.

      If successful, the F/A-18C Basic Course badge will be recognized as proof of achievement.

      We're still working on exam regulations. Therefore, we are not yet able to accept any examinations. Please come back later.