Have HOTAS Will Travel – Part 2

or “Your Joystick…Never Leave Home Without It”

by Bill “BBall” Ball

After “Dr. Kozmo” applied his miraculous cure to the HOTAS, it was time to fire-up another mission. It starts with us at dawn sitting on the “Alert 5 Pad” chatting with JTOC, we get tasked to fly RESCAP on a downed reccee Hornet.

Next Mission.

The good news is that we find the wreckage, and the pilots are safe...

The good news is that we find the wreckage, and the pilots are safe and awaiting pickup from the “Jolly Greens”. The bad news is that all of this is taking place in terrain that’s not very flat.

Kozmo sends a calling card to a convoy of enemy vehicles.

Kozmo sends a calling card to a convoy of enemy vehicles.

Unfortunately, they send one back.

Unfortunately, they send one back.

He gets whacked, and does an amazing job of “dead sticking” his bird onto the hillside next to a village.

He gets whacked, and does an amazing job of “dead sticking” his bird onto the hillside next to a village. I’m pretty sure I saw him walk off to borrow a cellphone and call JTOC for a ride back to the airbase.

Different mission. We’re back in the “flatlands”, and the boys in the tanks seem to be angry at Dusty for torching one of their buddies.

Different mission. We’re back in the “flatlands”, and the boys in the tanks seem to be angry at Dusty for torching one of their buddies.

“Happiness is a warm gun….”

“Happiness is a warm gun….” God bless the Beatles. Do you think they were thinking of “A-10C Warthog” when they penned that line?

All the chicks are back safe and sound.

All the chicks are back safe and sound. It looks like Dusty has “armed up” and is heading back into the fray….”you go boy”! As those of us that fly this sim regularly are aware of, some of these missions can go on literally for HOURS (and that’s a beautiful thing).

Our SEAD helpers getting down and dirty on the road next to the runway.

Different mission. Scenario is to wrestle an airbase away from the bad guys, then use it to stage out of for sorties to kill stuff in a different A.O. Here we have our SEAD helpers getting down and dirty on the road next to the runway. Sometimes it’s just fun to orbit and watch the show.

The end result of the SEAD and our handy work.

The end result of the SEAD and our handy work. Lots of burning wrecks, but Min-Vody is ours. I’m glad that Dusty landed ahead of me just in case we missed a bad guy or two.

The “Grand Finale” Mission of the LAN

Again, wrestle an airfield away from the bad guys, then use it to repel a rather large “Fulda Gap” type event NW of where we’re sitting.

The “grand finale” Mission of the LAN...wrestle another airfield.

Griff and I opted to aviate in the “fling wing” contraptions and we’re doing the “re-arm / re-fuel” thing while Dusty is clearing the active runway in his Hog.

Life is whole lot different down here in the grit and grime of the ground war.

Life is whole lot different down here in the grit and grime of the ground war. You can see that between our armor and air power, we’ve done a good job of adding lots of funeral pyres to the landscape.

Another big group is spotted. Who the hell made this mission anyway? Oh wait….it was me.

Another big group is spotted. Who the hell made this mission anyway? Oh wait….it was me.

The Skhval doesn’t lie…

The Skhval doesn’t lie…”uh JTOC…we’re gonna need more help out here!”

Griff decides to switch to the Hog and away he goes.

Griff decides to switch to the Hog and away he goes.

Kozmo rolls in on a juicy line up and gives them a squirt of 30mm from his “big assed gun”!

And lastly…Kozmo rolls in on a juicy line up and gives them a squirt of 30mm from his “big assed gun”! In the end, we beat back the hordes and saved the day. Did you expect any less?

Going Home

When all was said and done, we enjoyed 3 full days of flying, FPSing (we did indeed hook up with Doc and TBob one night in BF3), and generally loving life to the maximum. Griff’s beautiful bride treated us to lots of great food and hospitality (to include birthday treats for Koz and Griff), and his two wonderful kids kept us entertained the entire time. It (almost) made me wish I could turn back the clock and see my children at those young ages again. But alas, all too soon, it was time to pack it all up again and head back East.

Another Airbus 320, another jumpseat.Official Airplane Part

Another Airbus 320, another jumpseat.

“Sir, is this your bag?”

Side Note 2. As I was going through the security checkpoint X-ray porthole in Reno (in uniform), one of the agents rather loudly inquired, “Sir, is this your bag?” As it was my backpack (or man purse as my wife likes to call it) that held my HOTAS Joystick all neatly wrapped up in dirty underwear, I answered to the affirmative.

He hustled me to the side and asked if he could look inside. Upon pulling out (and unwrapping) my joystick, he began the questioning. “What is this? Is this an airplane part? Why do you have an airplane part in your bag?” I explained the obvious (to us), and I could see his expression change from interested to a dull version of the “1000 yard stare”.

He proceeded to wipe my stick down with the pads used to detect explosives (I failed to mention to him all the armor I had killed with my trusty joystick and my simulated Mavericks in the last 3 days), and when it registered none, he ran the whole enchilada back through the X-ray machine one more time just for good measure. All the while as I was getting many quizzical and confused looks from passengers as they went through the checkpoint.

Descending through 24000’ into KMSP.

Descending through 24000’ into KMSP. By now, I was tired, “simmed out”, and just wanted to get home. The last thing I wanted to see was a cockpit. Fortunately, I don’t fly an Airbus product so I easily just sat and let my eyes glaze over as I looked at all of their “funny clocks”.

As the sun slowly sets in the West, I contemplated the last few days.

As the sun slowly sets in the West, I contemplated the last few days. Good friends, good food, and good sims equal good times. Many thanks again to Griff and his wonderful family for their hospitality. Also thanks to Dusty and Koz for being such good “familia”.

Maybe that should be the true definition of a LAN.

“LAN = good friends, good food, good sims.”

Take that, Noah Webster.

Oh, and Koz…I’ve emailed a version of this report on “LAN-a-paloosa” to “Pookie Bear”. So far I’ve had no reply…

Till next time.

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