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Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar

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  • Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar

    Thought it would make things easier. It doesn't. Not yet at least-- Going from an X52 to a Cougar has its disadvantages and it has nothing to do with the hardware. See, what happens is that the configurations for the Cougar alter the keyboard layout completely, whereas the X52 profile did not. So now when I'm going through the training, keypresses no longer work, so I'm slowly re-learning how to do things-- an additional headache that's caused me to take have to quit the sim and do something else out of frustration. In other words, the unexpected increase in difficulty has made the sim feel more like work and less like fun.

    With that said, there is some good news about the upgrade. One word: Precision. Y'know when you are controlling your a/c and it doesn't seem to be a part of you? It is quite different and rather spectacular with the Cougar. My flying ability has increased dramatically with the new setup. My driving has become much more intuitive with significant enhancements to predictability and feel. It just feels right. I used to have trouble landing the a/c successfully, especially consecutively. Now, a lot of this has to do with the fact that I am landing by "feel" and NOT by the numbers. The Cougar setup has allowed me to increase my success - and this is right out of the box. Once I'm ready to be more technical with the landings, (when my mind is ready to take into account more data) I should have an easy time of it.

    Truth is, I understand why the profile maker did what he did-- because for the more advanced simmers the reconfigured keyboard makes a lot more sense-- for instance, the numeric keypad is now matched to the ICP. Makes sense. Hopefully, I'll get it soon. It’s just that not being to press 0 to do what it says in the training manual is ugly for me. :)

    I've been gaming and simming for many years and am a decent real world GA pilot (PPL) and simmer (VATSIM ATC & Pilot) but y'know what? I've gotten schooled and humbled. I've been playing this sim for weeks and I'm still at the beginning of training. Forget dog-fighting, forget A-G, and don't even talk to me about a campaign. I'm still learning what radar to use and why. How to lock up a target, what keys to get you from what radar to the next and back. And then of course, I have to translate those keypresses onto the Cougar which don't make sense yet. (i.e. numpad 0 locks up a target, numpad . resets). HAT2 up locks target, HAT2 down.. doesn't.. ugh.. what does? No idea. *chuckle* I'm gutting it out now because I will not be beaten but I'm not finding this easy by any measure. Am I alone in my ineptitude? Did any of y'all have this kind of difficulty?


    I'll give it another shot this evening and see if I can make heads or tails of this new HOTAS setup.

  • #2
    Re: Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar

    Don't feel bad, dude, we've all been there and to some extent we still are. It's a constant learning process, and be suspicious of anyone who tells you they know everything there is to know about this sim!

    My advice to you on your HOTAS is to start with a very basic configuration - only the basics needed for flight - and build from there. As you fly more and learn various systems, you will discover functions that are really nice to have on your HOTAS, and you can add them in as you go. Trying to program everything in there at once - especially if you don't fully understand the functions - can be frustrating and overwhelming. Been there and done that. Do what you have to do to make the HOTAS work for you and not the other way around. If you have to reprogram the whole thing so that it's usable and comfortable for you, do it and you'll be much happier!

    That Cougar is a nice stick, arguably the best, and I think you'll come to love it. Hang with it. I don't have one, but there are several guys here who do, and I'm sure they can help you out or share their profile with you if you want a starting point for your own config.

    As for learning the sim, one of the best things you can do is to begin flying online with other pilots. After we fly on Friday (we're still on?), I bet you will have a better understanding of some things, and from there, the best thing to do is jump into some TE's with us or even the campaign. Or you can do more scheduled online flight instruction. You'll find all of our pilots to be very helpful to new guys, and you don't have to worry about making mistakes. The point is that you don't need to be an expert to fly with us - I certainly wasn't when I started and I would not put myself in that category any time soon. If you know the basics, you can fly and learn. Many of our pilots have come a long way very quickly through experience and under the guidance of our more experienced pilots.

    And of course, self-study in-between!

    Good luck and keep flying!


    • #3
      Re: Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar

      Yeah, what Boogie said. Hang in there, it will be fun and addicting soon enough. There's no harm in joining us online even if you don't know what you're doing. We'll help you straighten that learning curve right out.

      I have an x52, so I can't help you with the Cougar other than to say I'm jealous.
      New to TG?


      • #4
        Re: Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar

        I'll give it another shot this evening and see if I can make heads or tails of this new HOTAS setup.[/QUOTE]

        Hey Chandlerl, I have a Cougar and you can set it up to a realistic F16 configuation in about 20 minutes or so without programming it yourself which can take weeks. First you need to update the HOTAS program to version 3.0.1 and Foxy to version 4.0 at:

        Don't use the Foxy version 4.2beta or you will have problems.

        Next Head on over to Paul "Jagstang" Joy's and download the Hotas set-up files from
        Place the Jagstang F4AF.key file in the Program Files\Lead Pursuit\Battlefield Operations\config folder
        Place the remaining files in the Program Files\Foxy\Files folder

        Now open the link,

        Here you will find a step by step picture guide on how to set up your cougar config as well as the controller set-up in Falcon. The main keyboard layout stays the same except for the number pad which reverts to the ICP AS most of those functions are controlled through the HOTAS. You can also print out the Hotas set-up in picture form (green "graphical layout" button) in Foxy once you've loaded the macros files so you know what does what. If you have any problems let me know.


        • #5
          Re: Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar


          Don’t give up on the mighty Cougar just yet!

          I went from an X-45 to a Cougar and have loved it! I could never get my profile to work online with the X-45. I would roll in to bomb a target and nothing would work. Just the gun! Come to find out the profile would drop offline! Could not find a fix! Never had the problem with the Cougar!

          Had the wife order me a Cougar and no worries ever since!

          Go here:

          I am running Michael "Speedo" Crawford” profile with my cougar and it is sweet! Modeled after the block 50/52 (I have a real F-16 DASH ONE Flight Manual for the block 50/52 and the profile is spot on)

          Go here for the profile: and scroll down the page to download it,

          Also, get with "Fuzzy" he can help you. He is the one that got me all set up with the mighty cougar! He is very knowledgeable with the Cougar! Just grab him on Teamspeak or send him an e-mail etc…

          Hope this helps but by all means don’t give up!



          • #6
            Re: Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar

            Hey Chandlerl, I have a Cougar and you can set it up to a realistic F16 configuation in about 20 minutes
            Oops-- my bad if I gave you the wrong impression. I'm a techy at heart-- programming the HOTAS isn't an issue. Within a few minutes of getting it out of the box I had the Cougar manually calibrated and Jagstang's configuration up and running. But there lies the rub-- it replicates the actual functionality-- the problem is in doing so it negates the keyboard configuration. So when I'm training, I can't use the keys the manual tells me. The printout of Jagstangs HOTAS map is somewhat helpful but also confusing for the beginner.

            Here's an example. In A-A training, you use your cursor to bracket your target and then press numpad 0 to "lock up your target." Well the Jagstang configuration doesn't have that on his map. It says, "TMS Management" on the stick-- so it's not immediately obvious. I even looked at the configuration code but it proved enigmatic because I was looking at the cursor code (One may assume that you would use the cursor stick to bracket the target and then click in the cursor stick (which does click in) to lock the target-- at least a Whiskey Delta like me might think so.

            Y'know how I found out? I asked one of my buddies (another Marine, but a Hornet flight officer) and he said, “Chan… TMS Management = Target Management System. Whaccha thinking now?” (lightbulb then appeared above my head). Aaaaaaaah. So I started to play around and figured out that pressing it up locks the target, and then I started playing with the other axis to figure out that it cycles the azimuth and bar scan.

            Now, don't get me wrong, what Jagstang has done is incredible and as I learn I'll appreciate his spot-on descriptions much more. During the learning phase, however, my Cougar has increased the slope angle of the L-curve until I get over this Foxtrot Mike phase.

            It's unfortunate but the Piper Warrior doesn't have a TMS and multiple petitions to Piper Aircraft have gone unanswered. I wonder if deploying weapons would be included in my rental fees since they're based on the a/c’s Hobbs meter. :D

            Now as to the matter of giving up? Oh no, not a chance. I was just looking for a pep talk. I'll continue until I get it. I am just surprised at myself --- this hasn't come as easy as many other things. *chuckle* Apparently I've finally hit my IQ cealing and my wannabe Iceman days are well into the future. In the meantime, I will fool everyone by sporting some very smart looking iZone Aviators.
            Last edited by ChandlerL; 12-23-2005, 12:20 AM.


            • #7
              Re: Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar

              HE HE, Well you certainly won't get bored with all that training material that's for sure. :row__572: Welcome to TG


              • #8
                Re: Training on F4AF, then bought Cougar

                Roger, that. Looking forward to the next TACG mission. Had a blast the first time around with da boyz. What I find hysterical is the variance in pilot personalities in our little world. We have a verifitable TOPGUN Movie of pilot types. The "by-the-book*", the "joker*", the "cool and calm*", and the "old codger*" Great group a guys. This is going to be a gas.

                * Y'all know who you are.




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