The entire point of DCS for me has always been to allow me to learn dozens of esoteric things about how to operate aircraft that I was extremely unlikely to ever fly in real life. And by "extremely unlikely," I mean "never," in most cases. The exception to that would be the older Soviet fight/bombers - for enough money, you can actually buy some lessons in certain MiGs and Sukhois. That's really a borderline case, though, given that the costs associated with doing that would be well into five figures. For that kind of dough, I would buy myself a full-motion platform.
Now, however, I just need to scrounge up $40 (early access) for the newest model. For that relatively small amount (which would still cause some raised eyebrows and accusatory glances from the marital CFO, who simply doesn't understand why I need sims when I have a real plane, nor does she understand why I wanted to have a real airplane when I could just play with sims) I could have a study-level simulation of an airplane that I could actually fly with my current license.
The airplane in question is the DCS Yak-52, which in the current market sells for around $55k for an actual plane. It's not exactly pocket change, but it is less than the resale value of my current plane.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The Yakovlev Yak-52 (Russian: ??????? ??-52) is a Soviet primary trainer aircraft which first flew in 1976. It was produced in Romania from 1977 to 1998 by Aerostar, as Iak-52, which gained manufacturing rights under agreement within the former COMECON socialist trade organisation. The Yak-52 was designed as an aerobatic trainer for students in the Soviet DOSAAF training organisation, which trained civilian sport pilots and military pilots. Currently the Yak-52 is used in the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Aerobatic Yak 52 Competition, a popular powered aircraft one-design World Aerobatic Championship.
The $55k example cited above was built in 1993, so it's one of the newer ones. That matters in airplanes because weaknesses in the original design get fixed in later years.
With planes like this, though, the acquisition cost is only a small portion of the overall costs - you have to add in fuel costs: with a 360 hp engine, it's going to burn 20-plus gallons of Avgas (currently about $5.25 a gallon) every hour as it plods along at a glacial 125 mph. It's also going to consume oil by the gallon, it's going to need to be hangared, and it's going to be tricky to find a mechanic qualified to work on it. They get spendy in a hurry!
Better, then, so start collecting cans to return for the 10¢ bounty. I'd only need 400 of them, plus tax.
The Yak-52 is currently available exclusively as an early access module on the DCS store page, but it looks like it will be on Steam on or around August 15 too.