Chuck's guides are famous for their attention to detail and at the same time simple to understand & follow. Chuck's guides have helped many virtual pilots to understand otherwise complex aircraft systems. The guides are well laid out with polenty of illustrations and an easy to follow method to get you flying the awesome DCS modules. We speak to Chuck the creator of those wonderful guides. To download Chucks guides check out the links under the Tutorials & Guides menu from our home page under DCS.
Q: Is Chuck your real name ?
A: Almost! My real name is Charles, but many friends call me “Chuck” or “Charly”.
Q: How long have you been playing DCS ?
A: For many diehard fans of DCS, the adventure began with either LOMAC, Black Shark or the A-10C. I didn’t have any interest in them at that time since I was first and foremost a warbird lover. Most of what I knew was from flying in Il-2 1946 and Il-2 Cliffs of Dover. I first saw flight sims as a game like any other and tended to shy away from more complex sims like FSX or DCS. My first experience in DCS was back in April 2012, when the P-51 Mustang was released back in April 2012. The aircraft had stellar reviews, an incredible flight model and was the first DCS entry that really piqued my curiosity. Once I was able to land this incredible plane for the first time, I was hooked to the study-sim genre ever since.
Q: What inspired you to write the guides for DCS ?
A: My first guide wasn’t really a guide. As I was slowly learning the ins and outs of the DCS Mustang, I decided to scribble personal notes and reminders on a sheet of paper. It wasn’t anything fancy, just how to perform an engine start. It could literally fit on the size of a napkin. As I flew more and more, I wrote more useful information like takeoff speeds, landing speeds, and how to fire the guns. I wrote a couple more pages and it eventually became a small 15-page long document with screenies pasted from the developer’s manual. I didn’t share it with anyone, I just thought it’d be useful to have a small reminder of things in case I stop flying for months and forget everything.
Eventually, I ended up joining a virtual squadron in Cliffs of Dover that flew Spitfires. I learned a lot from them and flew for a couple of months sortie after sortie, blasting 109s out of the sky. I eventually became bored with flying the same aircraft all the time and decided to explore what other planes had to offer. I tried flying Hurricanes and eventually started doing massive bombing raids in the Blenheim IV. I fell in love with it since it was completely different than hunting for enemy planes. Keep in mind that back in those days (circa 2014), Team Fusion (the modding team who took a broken sim and turned it into the gem it Is today) had created a small wiki to help people have a general idea of how to operate the planes. However, the wiki was somehow incomplete and I often had many questions that went unanswered. I decided to do my own research, finding real manuals in Avialogs and trying to figure out stuff by myself. I would then share this information with others on Teamspeak and teach newcomers the basics. I loved teaching. I felt useful and felt pride each time I saw someone start from scratch and cheer when he performed his first landing without busting his landing gear or smacking his propeller into the ground. I then had the idea of writing down all this precious stuff I knew. I started doing it for the Spitfire, then the Hurricane, then the Blenheim… and I kept going on for every other aircraft in Cliffs of Dover until there was no more new plane to explore. The result was a staggering 668 pages, which I posted on the ATAG forums in early 2015 (Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-...19DaUJmdGlxZ2M )
Now, where am I going with this? Well, eventually, Cliffs of Dover and the virtual squadron life got old and I decided to leave and try new things. I wrote a similar guide for Il-2 Battle of Stalingrad later in 2015. During all this time I was also gaining an interest in DCS since I had a lot of free time and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I decided to learn the F-86 Sabre, which I enjoyed immensely but had rather poor documentation available from the developer. I took the real manual and wrote a guide for it as well. I then explored the MiG-15, and then the Huey. As I drank gallons of coffee, the guides just wrote themselves… and the rest is history.
Q: How long did it take you to write the guides ?
A: The first “real” guides I wrote like the F-86 took easily 80+ hours to write, not including typo fixing and revisions. Keep in mind that these are for rather “simple” aircraft that have few systems to manage and are fairly straightforward to operate. The MiG-15’s guide was much longer than that to make since at that time, the only documentation we had was a “quick-start” setup, and a russian version of the manual written by Belsimtek. So, I used google translate and tried to figure out what the manual said, and then explain it in my own words. It was a tedious process, but thankfully Belsimtek has much improved since that time. The helicopter guides I did were longer than that to make (around 120 hours each) since I was less familiar with them and had to crash many times, and then read, read again and then read some more in order to have a clear understanding of how helicopter aerodynamics work. The more complex modules like the A-10C, Mirage, and Viggen took even longer to make since their systems were more complex, somewhere in the 200 hours range each. The most difficult and time-consuming guides I did were for the PMDG 737-800 NG and the FS Labs A320 in FSX, which was well over 300 hours each. These were longer to do because I had to learn a whole new aspect of flight simulation, which is how to operate these aircraft like you would do in real life, using navigation charts and performance calculations.
Q: Have you ever flown a real plane or helicopter and which ones?
A: I had the chance to fly a Cessna 152 once. Due to my day job, I got to fly in a number of simulators used for commercial and military training. Among those I can talk about are the Black Hawk, H135, C-Series, and MRJ90.
Q: What’s your favourite DCS aircraft and why ?
A: That’s a tough one. If I had to choose one, it’d be a tie between the F-5E and the Viggen. There’s something about third-generation aircraft that really appeals to me. While advanced avionics are fun, I’m a sucker for older aircraft with analogue gauges. It makes the flying experience more gratifying and I feel like I enjoy the flying aspect more when I can concentrate on flying and when I don’t need to manage too many systems at once. The Mirage 2000 and the Spitfire would come closely behind, because of my French heritage and my passion for old WWII warbirds.
Q: What’s your favourite DCS Helicopter and why ?
A: That one is no contest: the Huey. It may not have two engines, anti-tank missiles and fancy avionics, but it is a real pilot’s helicopter. Most of what I learned about helicopters comes directly from two gentlemen from the Virtual 229th Battalion, 1st Air Cav Division: Flyer and GunfighterSIX. They taught me about hover power checks, transitional lift, mast bumping, autorotation, retreating blade stall and many other fascinating aspect of helicopter flight. Both of these real-life pilots taught me much and I am still grateful about it to this day. As I learned the Huey with their precious tips and tricks, the Huey grew on me. I learned to love everything about it. That is… after crashing hundreds of times and hating it with passion. There’s a huge sense of satisfaction that comes with “taming” a machine like a helicopter.
Q: What’s your favourite flight simulator of all ?
A: I like to think of flight sims a bit like the famous youtuber FroogleSims: every sim does some things extremely well, but has some aspects that need to be improved. If I want to fly low in helicopters or enjoy study-level military aircraft, DCS is my simulator of choice. However, for commercial and general aviation modules, X-Plane 11 is my first pick since it has a solid, dynamic and responsive flight model. There are also amazing modules too for Microsoft FSX and Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3d upgrade with deep systems simulations that are not available for X-Plane like stuff by PMDG, Flight Sim Labs and Majestic. If I have to really pick one sim over every other, I think that I get the most enjoyment out of DCS.
Q: Any new guides in the pipeline?
A: There are many guides in my to-do-pile. For DCS, the Harrier, F-18, F-14, and Bo-105 are in progress. For other simulators like FSX, I’d want to do one for the Majestic Bombardier Q400, PMDG 747 and another for the upcoming Leonardo MD-82.
Q: Are there any plans to do a guide for Multiplayer DCS as there seems to be a lack of beginner guides for this ?
A: Not really. I’m more interested in the technical aspect of aviation than multiplayer tactics and strategies. In my humble opinion, virtual squadrons are the best place to learn online air combat. If you take a look in the 476th vFG downloads section, you’ll find tons of documentation.
Q: Any plans for Mission editing tutorials?
A: Not at the moment.
Thanks to Chuck for sparing the time to talk to us. If you are interested in chucks guides you can download the helicopter guides from the links below, if you need guides for the aircraft then check out PCSimulators.org where you will find the links for the aircraft too.
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LINKS to the GUIDES
DCS UH-1H Huey
Last updated: 30/08/2015
Last updated: 21/12/2016
DCS SA-342M/L/MISTRAL Gazelle
Last updated: 26/12/2016
DCS Ka-50 Black Shark