The satisfying frustration of Air-to-Air Refueling in DCS World
Have you ever been in the middle of a mission, one which you thought would be much shorter than it actually was, and said to yourself: "I think I should have planned this better, I am going to run out of fuel" ? It is at moments like those where you start considering using air-to-air refueling (AAR) to save yourself.
It is a task that can be quite daunting if you haven't tried it before. The mere thought of having to fly that close to a tanker with surgical precision is not something most players are used to. This was something of a stressful process for me to learn, all those years ago; but ever since I've done been able to do it, I have noticed something: I find it therapeutic.
It is relatively hard for me to describe it, but the entire process of connecting to the tanker has become a bit of a ritual to me. Anything from the pre-contact preparations to locating the tankers and the approach to the tanker, everything has become a rhythm that I love to follow without missing a single beat. I compare it to a dancing merengue with your significant other.
It is a careful balance of knowing exactly where you are, where you should be and where you will be. This is something you will control with your pitch and yaw, with some roll input from time to time; a fact that will demand your full attention. Keeping your position is not easy, regardless of which system is used (boom or basket refueling).
But it is that inherent difficulty that has been leading me to doing AAR more and more, as getting into that mindset is somewhat relaxing to me. It allows me a break from the combat and a bit of time to reflect on what I've done in the mission and what I want to do next, specially now that most of my time in DCS is spent alongside friends playing highly dynamic missions where everything's possible. If you haven't tried it out, please, give it a go! It is a skill that will most likely save you some headaches at the cost of having just a bit of patience while you learn it.
About the Author Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000 leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities, but only started being active around 2010. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as a writer and the co-founder of Skyward ever since. Twitter | Discord : Cubeboy #9034