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Falcon 4: Tricks of the Trade, Part I

  By Kurt 'Froglips' Giesselman


  A year ago, when I purchased Falcon 4.0, I had preconceptions about how immersive this combat flight simulation would be for me. It has, as my wife will attest, become quite consuming for me. In fact, I am beginning to plan how I can generate more free time for myself so that I can dedicate more time to Falcon 4.0 and the next generation of CFSs.

Early on, before I joined the 404th T.F.W. (shameless plug for my first online squadron), I spent an equal amount of time scouring the Internet for tactics, hints, and tutorials as I did flying Falcon 4.0. This probably helps explain my only average pilot skills or, in any case, it is the explanation I choose to use. More recently, I have become enamored with another aspect of Falcon 4.0 that detracts from my flying time, mission building.

In 1999, I download Glenn "Sleepdoc" Kletzky's article on mission building. I worked through one of the best step by step tutorials I have ever read and completed my first mission that same night. Sleepdoc's tutorial is required reading for anyone that wants to get started building missions. It is recommended that you read his article before you read mine as I refer to several things in his article rather than copy them here (which would require the author's permission).

I have over two hundred missions in my \Falcon4\Campaign\Save folder, most were written by other people, and, disappointingly, many have problems. Have you ever loaded a mission where the routes between steerpoints are red? Have you ever flown a mission when no enemy aircraft, SAMs, or AAA defenders appeared even though the briefing map showed plenty? Has your Escort, Sweep, or HAVCAP ever RTBed just as you began your ingress? Then you have been the victim of BMB (Bad Mission Building)!

This series of articles will discuss three things: 1) Building missions the right way the first time (this article). 2) Fixing busted missions (next article). 3) Mission building tricks to add excitement and uniqueness to your missions (look for the following symbol)..


Let's get to work! We will be building a mission which I have titled, "404th To the Rescue."

F4 Tactical Engagement

First we must plan the mission with as much detail as we can muster. A friend of mine uses a white board with erasable markers to literally draw out the flight plans for all his missions before his fingers ever touch the keyboard.

Click to continue



Planning is critical in Falcon because the order of mission assembly is very important. It is critical, prior to creating a package, that the reason for the package to be tasked has already been placed in the simulation. Your package cannot target something that does not yet exist. If you are creating an intercept mission then you must put in the aircraft to be intercepted first. If you are creating an air mobile mission then the troops to picked-up must be in place before you add the aircraft to pick them up.

Mission planning requires the following information:

1) Objective (see list at end of article) for a list of the primary package types.

2) Support required. This will include type and number of aircraft, and their assignments, plus any ground support.

3) Air miles for all flight paths. You should generate this with a 'test' mission. Go into the mission builder and create a flight from airfield to target area for every flight. After setting up this test mission just view the Briefing and add up the total flight miles.

4) Range for all aircraft.

When I build a mission I start planning from the center out. In 404th To the Rescue I was going to build an air mobile mission to rescue troops that were trapped after a failed assault on an enemy target. I began by looking at the map of Korea for a location for my rescue.

F4 Map

A mission flown over the heart of Korea would probably result in tremendous losses if built with a realistic number of enemy defenses. Even if you could sneak in, you would have to fight your way out. Hmmm, that little peninsula just south of Ongjin looks promising. What is there?

Go to Page II


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