@Han, thank you for bringing the “spotting issue” to into the public domain for discussion. It means a lot to the whole community.
I just wanted to say that I respectfully don’t believe historical evidence about soviets being shot down “without ever seeing an enemy” is not evidence as to why, WE the players do not see enemies, and neither is it evidence to say that current spotting is realistic.
There is a lot of evidence now on this thread alone that there is an issue with being able to spot and maintain “visual lock” on an enemy and this seems to be down to the lack of contrast of colours, aircraft against the lower horizon.
I think sorting out this “contrast issue” will be fundamental to making everyone happy. It will satisfy both the people who want realism and those who just want to have fun.
CSGO has this issue for a very long time and was solved using a simple (on paper) solution: https://blog.counter-strike.net/index.php/2020/06/30428/
They increased the contrast between the player model and the environment. I have no idea what coding obstacles this creates as I’m not a developer, but maybe if we go down this route, we can make everyone happy?