ArmA 2/OA Domination Transportation Pilot Guide
So you like the whirly birds and want to be the taxi driver? The tips below may help you in that endeavor, and hopefully, get you and passengers there and back again in one piece.
General Flying:When taking off, try to get over 100 knots airspeed as quickly as possible, to make it more difficult to hit you and increase your likelihood of getting behind cover/evade if you do take fire.
When landing, let off the power and begin slowing down 1km from your LZ. You want your airspeed to be around 100 knots or less when 300m from the LZ so you can safely land without having bleed off airspeed. Slightly raise the aircraft's nose while reducing power/throttle to decrease speed without gaining or losing altitude.
To quickly bleed off airspeed without popping up into the sky, you can perform a S-turn as you approach your LZ (depending on terrain). An S-turn involves banking your aircraft in a hard turn, then reversing your turn the other direction and back again, forming the path of an S when viewed from above. The CH-47 maintains so much inertia that is almost impossible to quickly slow it down without performing a S-turn, unless you want to pop several hundred feet into the sky.
Nap of the Earth (NOE) flight:The ground (terrain) is your best friend and foe. Your goal is to navigate that razor's edge of not flying into the ground or other hazards, while using the terrain to mask your movement by flying nap of the earth (NOE). Use hillsides to give hard cover from enemy line of sight and fire (they also muffle your noise). Trees and buildings can work to a lesser extent, serving more as concealment than cover.
Route Planning:The shortest route from A to B often ends in a fireball. Most pilots tend to fly a direct route from base to mission and back. Always expect enemy contact, and plan your route to give you adequate protection while still getting your team there and back again. This is a judgment call, sometimes made by the CO, but usually left to pilot to decide. Use valleys, high terrain to mask your movement. Avoid cresting over mountain ranges if possible; avoid flying over open, flat terrain that leaves you no defense if you encounter an enemy threat.
Selecting a Landing Zone (LZ):Many mission commanders pick a LZ based on proximity to the target and their desired route to get there. All this is pointless if the LZ location gets the team killed on insertion either due to enemy action or terrain (landing on a hill/mountain, near trees or power lines, near buildings or other obstacles).
The ultimate LZ (where you end up actually landing) should be at the pilot's discretion. The pilot knows what hazards lurk, and you should trust your judgment to pick the best spot you can safely land that will allow access to the target.
Sometimes it is best to pick a spot to unload the troops, before moving the helo farther away to a safe spot to park. An example would be hovering near a hillside to unload troops and the ammobox, before lifting off to land at a safer location nearby.
Always try to have a hill/mountain/high terrain between the mission location and your LZ. This will protect you from enemy fire and line of sight, as well as detection (depending on your approach and range). Choose your approach to the LZ that will keep you undetected if possible, as well as avoiding any known enemy contacts (convoys, aircraft, AOs, etc.)
A final item to consider when choosing a LZ is whether your aircraft will still be there when it is time to extract. While roads often provide flat areas to land on or near, they also are the pathways of the enemy, so don't be surprised if a patrol takes interest in your parked aircraft on their MSR. Picking a good LZ is a skill all on its own, so don't be frustrated if it takes some time to get the hang of it.
Low Light/Night Flight:Flying at night presents all new challenges. Obstacles that are easy to spot during the day become elusive and more deadly at night. Night vision goggles (NVGs) can help give you greater contrast at the expense of limited field of view. Some hazards like power lines are extremely difficult to spot at night with NVGs. You will need to learn to spot the pylons or poles that carry the lines.
Enemy vehicles and troops are much harder to detect, meaning you will have to use NOE flight and pick safe LZs to a greater degree for night operations than you do during the day.
Flying at night tests even the most skilled pilots. Focus on getting your troops to the target safely, flying slower and longer routes if necessary. It is always better to get there a bit late than not to arrive at all. Avoid using your aircraft lights unless absolutely necessary because they make you one giant target. The exception is when operating near other friendly aircraft in a low threat environment like your base, where the bigger risk is a mid-air collision.
Pilot Aids:Auto-hover is the enemy. It will get you and your team killed and force you into unsafe flying habits. Avoid using it. There are a few exceptions: when you need to do a map check or set a waypoint, are waiting on standby at a location where you are safer in the air than on the ground or when you are losing your connection. Auto-hover gets more flaky and dangerous with the larger aircraft, where on helos like the CH-47, auto-hover will often throw the aircraft around in wild gyrating circles as it attempts to get centered. Using auto-hover to transition from quick forward flight to prepare for landing causes the aircraft to catapult up into the sky in an attempt to slow down, leaving you high, slow and a big, fat target.
GPS is your friend. Hit right control and M to bring up your GPS unit while flying, which will enable you to see the local map area, waypoints, etc. without having to open the full screen map. Opening the full screen map while in forward flight is an excellent way to get you and your team killed. Shift left click on the map to set a waypoint that will give you a steering cue as well as distance.
Third person is the enemy. Many pilots prefer to fly in third person, giving them a better perspective for landing and take off. The problem is if you play on Veteran or Expert, it is disabled, and can be disabled in parameters on lower difficulty settings. If you are used to using third person, you will be up the creek without a paddle in the above circumstances. The simple solution is do not use third person when flying. Get used to being in the pilot's perspective, and you will get a feel for the size and position of your aircraft. The CH-47 is the most difficult to fly in first person, so expect to put in some practice hours if you have been using the crutch of flying in third person.
The "Huey" UH-1 Iroquois
A venerable work horse with a long pedigree, the Huey is the go to platform for a single squad or smaller units for most missions. When landing the Huey, pick a flat area or land parallel to the sloped surface to avoid having the aircraft "ski" down the hillside.
- Can load an ammobox (on West, but not on East Domi)
- Can carry pilot + seven (2 gunners, 5 passengers)
- Skids treat most slopes like glass
- Fragile, vulnerable to enemy fire
The Huey is perhaps the most important aircraft to be familiar with because it is so commonly employed. Always be sure to load an ammobox, which will allow troops to top up on ammo while on missions or grab AT/AA/satchels when needed. The trickiest part of learning to fly the Huey is picking a good LZ that won't leave it sliding downhill.
Sporting a lineage as long as the Huey, the Chinook sports an unusual design of two main rotors and no tail rotor. Combined with several engines, the dual rotors allow the Chinook to lift a lot of weight. If you have a large number of troops to haul, your choice is the Chinook…it can carry more than 2 Hueys and 2 Littlebirds can combined.
- Can carry a MHQ (if it is the designated lift helo)
- Can carry pilot + twenty-seven (3 gunners, 24 passengers)
- Cruising speed of 250-300+ knots
- Lots of defensive firepower
- Difficult to maneuver
- Difficult to slow down, lower altitude
Flying the Chinook is not only difficult because it is so ungainly, but because you often will have so many troops on board that if you have a mishap, you will have a lot of unhappy troopers. The upside is it is so fast, you will get to the mission and back twice as fast as the Huey or Littlebird. Being able to fly the Chinook to move a MHQ is a vital skill, best left to the most capable pilot available.
Another old but very capable aircraft, the Littlebird is a dated design that has held up over time. Small, slow but very nimble, the Littlebird is a great scout aircraft, or a good choice if you need to insert a small team into a hard to reach area.
- Can fit into tight landing zones
- Good visibility from inside the cockpit
- Very fragile
- Open cockpit leaves pilot vulnerable to ground fire
- Slow (cruising speed 140-160 knots)
- Limited hauling capacity pilot + five (5)
Although a very popular choice with new players, the MH-6J is the least useful transport helo for almost all circumstances due to the limited number of seats, no ammobox capability and vulnerability to ground fire.
When flying the MH-6J, beware the aircraft can become very unstable at zero airspeed, so maintain at least a few knots of airspeed when landing to avoid having the aircraft lose control when landing.
Much younger than its siblings, the MH-60 is a modern replacement for the UH-1 Iroquois. The MH-60 is able to lift light vehicles (if marked as a lift aircraft) and is used as the wreck recovery helo on many maps.
- Fast (Cruising speed 240-260 knots)
- Decent hauling capacity pilot + thirteen (2 gunners, 11 passengers) (1+7 for MEV)
- Good maneuverability
- Fragile when landing
- Popular target for enemy ground fire
With its faster cruise speed, many pilots make the mistake of flying too high in the MH-60 and end up getting shot down as a result. The other common error is landing with too much airspeed, resulting in a broken bird. When landing the MH-60, always make sure your airspeed is below 20 knots. Like the MH-6J, the MH-60 can become unstable at zero forward airspeed, so you want to maintain 5-10 knots as you land to maintain stability.
I hope you find some of the above useful and look forward to catching a ride from you to the battlefield!