F/A 18 Hornet: Korea
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Quick View Ratings
Those who love the Hornet will likely have some history with Graphsim, so I won't bore you with the lineage. Suffice it to say that they released Hornet 3 earlier this year and followed up later with a patch that made a good sim better. With some tweaks to the flight model and much improved situational awareness in the form of cardinal type views, Hornet 3 moved into competition with the better sims on the market. Furthermore, the patched version of Hornet 3 allowed padlocking anything your heart desired, linked or not linked to radar targets.
This new release moves GSC into competition with the big boys. In some areas they fare quite well, in others they still lag behind. Lets take a look at what FA18 Korea has done for the reigning FA18 simulation.
A Room with a View
Views in Hornet have to be the most logical and flexible I have ever seen anywhere. Number keys 1-8 give you basic views, SHF and number key give you external views. View modifiers are arrow keys and 9,0. You can zoom in or out on virtually any view using SHF -/SHF =. Cardinal views are snap back type views: hit the arrow key for a quick look back or 90 degrees, release it and snap back to your set view. Hitting the padlock key (4) a second time snaps you from your bandit of choice back to front view for those times when you lose your orientation.
Physics and weapons modeling in Hornet feel as good as the patched version of 3 also. Even engine lag is accurately modelled. Sounds are also excellent, and you will KNOW when your afterburner kicks in. From squealing rubber to missile launches, sounds are solid. Incidentally, for the graphics freaks out there, the outside views in 'Korea have the best engine glow and afterburner effects I've ever seen. I felt like I was at an airshow!
From the Mission Editor. Resolution is 1024x768.
I Can Fly... or Can I?
However, there are signs that all is not well in the Hornet kingdom. It could be that the king has no clothes. as that in the full release, or different? For example, fuel flow and engine thrust do not appear to be modeled with altitude changes, and the effects of loaded to unloaded appear minimal to non-existent. The other glaring problem is in landing.. the aircraft floats why too much (ie. the gound effect is exagerated).
It doesn't seem possible to line up the AoA cage and velocity vector on the landing zone of a runway and then adjust throttle to effectively complete a landing. You either have to change the AoA and/or throttle setting to "Fly" the aircraft onto the runway, cageing the AoA at the last second or risk the chance of stalling. On real carrier operations this would not be the correct method of landing.
Damage modelling is the same as Hornet 3 so far as I can tell, but looks WAY better. You can deselect damage on sub-systems as part of the difficulty level. I took a hit in my second flight that made the aircraft as responsive as an Abrams main battle tank with wings and also lost my radio.... When I reached the airfield I landed so hard that I crushed my main gear and went skidding along the runway in a cloud of smoke.... =) The shot at the top of this page is the trail of black smoke after I took the hit...
Carrier ops on the whole are well done. Check in with the flight officer, start your engines, flaps down, hook up, lock your brakes, power up to full and hit AB and the CAT lets go! Landing is the challenge it ought to be, with the exceptions noted above. The ILS combined with a data linked (CPL) AP system can help you out a lot on carrier landings. The AP is full featured and very flexible.
Learning the Ropes
Graphic Simulations has been doing some great work in the multimedia training area that has been under appreciated. 'Korea is no different, offering online training (voice, diagrams, and "real" FA18 video from the earlier version of the sim) covering everything from basic flight physics to air combat manouvers to avionics and weapon systems. Really, if you are a relative novice to the military flight sim genre, you should buy 'Korea for this feature alone!
Topics in training as listed include:
Click on Takeoff and you will find the listing above. Are you a new pilot who would like some instruction on flight basics from an accomplished jet jock? It's all here, narrated by an air force pilot. Are you a seasoned sim jock but you want some instruction on the specifics of avionics in the FA18 Hornet? That's here too!
Or perhaps you've been flying for some time but you want a brush up on basic fighter manouvers as well as missile avoidance? Even this area is covered, though briefly. You'll also find a good section on use of guns AND gun defense. Man, this package comes complete!
Go to Part II.
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Last Updated November 20th, 1997