Battlefield 2 � Flying a Helicopter

I�ve yet to find a suitable �Helicopter Flying 101 for Battlefield 2� page out there � so if you know of one (or have written one yourself) then please send me a link so I can point people in it�s direction. Give this lack of (easily found) flying tips, I�ve compiled a number of pointers which I�ve managed to glean from forums, message boards, in game chats and the occasional fleeting reference on clan and fan pages � while I�d like to attribute the original authors, the sources are too many so I�m only planning to link/reference pages which are outstanding in the depth of information they hold.

Read on, enjoy and please � play nicely

Basic Flight
Find yourself an empty server (or setup a local game and offline profile so you don�t screw your BFHQ stats) and practise, practise, practise.

[Might move this to �The Zen of Chopper Flight� section if I ever write it]
A populated server with hot-shot pilots is no place to be trying out your latest handiwork, unless you want to get yourself onto peoples shitlists and have them hunt you down whenever you appear on the same maps for all eternity. Let the hot shots fly (if they�re waiting) and find an unused bird elsewhere as, monopolising a chopper and awkwardly stumbling around the map while your team gets shredded is not a good way to make a name in the BF2 world � that said, there is a place for a stable Blackhawk with you as a team leader to provide a handy spawn point � jut try and stay out of harms way if you can�

To begin your journey into the fun life of a chopper jockey, I�d recommend grabbing a Blackhawk, as they�re pretty forgiving, and taking it to a high altitude before getting too freaking with your manoeuvres� as you get comfortable with the light touches required to keep things level fly closer to the terra firma.

Keep it on the level:
At first just learn how to fly around and keep the chopper level. Start out at high altitude as this is more forgiving if you make a mistake. As you get more comfortable, fly lower to the ground. Use only slight adjustments to change your flight path, this needs to become second nature because, as soon as you get on a populated server and come under fire, you�ll need that muscle memory to stop you from wildly swerving around and ramming headfirst into a hillside. :-\

Next thing, try playing with the collective (throttle) as you do different things to see how it affects the chopper. You’ll find you only need full throttle to climb quickly or get somewhere fast, for the most part, 60-75% is much easier to manage and if you�re wide awake, you can usually cruise at around 40-50% only going to 70-80% if you�re in a hurry.

Turning:
Just hover and use the rudder � it�s slow, but elegant (i.e. you�re less likely to tip a rotor into the ground/surrounding object and plant yourself)

Turning (Fast):
Roll the nose nearly horizontal and then pull the nose down until pointing in the desired direction, then roll back to an upright position.

Strafing:
Initially you need to tip the chopper in the direction you wish to go and then use the rudder to keep it going that way, lay off the rudder and let the helicopters momentum take you, flicking the rudder from time to time as required. You can then let it go in a fast circle around a central point or just keep going laterally.
Practise this manouver as you seldom want to be too still (even when hovering over a capture point) as it�s a good way to end up dead. Using a strafing manouver like this will keep the enemy adjusting their aim while styill providing a stable platform for your gunner(s) to mow down the opposition (though less so if they�re trying to use the TV guided missiles).

Circle Strafing:
Very similar to a fast turn except you don’t pull the turn fast and you put a little rudder towards the inside of your turn (I know this isn�t a very good description, I�ll work on explaining it better).

Hovering / Landing:
While you don’t have to hover before landing as the game is (currently in v1.02) pretty forgiving it�s a handy skill to have in your toolbox – but you can pretty much skid onto the heli pad for re-arming or repairs as necessary and if that�s all you�re worried about, you may just be the type who gets dead and respawns instead of keeping the whirlybird in working order.

Glide the helicopter in on a gentle 45 degree slope (drop your altitude at about the same rate of your forward momentum), but aim for just beyond your final destination ~ 5 feet.
Then when you are about 15 feet up and 10 feet from your desired landing spot flare the helicopter (bring the nose up a little) while also slightly decreasing the collective (drop the lifting power). Once you�ve stalled your forward momentum, push the nose back down to level and use the collective as needed to make a soft landing before you get too close to the hard stuff (buildings/ground � you know the drill).

Tip: You actually shouldn�t ever land for repairs, just hover the chopper over the pad, this way if some jet does a flyby you can manoeuvre away from the missiles. Not to say that you shouldn’t practice low altitude hovering as it makes picking up a squad of men a lot easier so you can ferry them on to the next capture point.

Barrel Roll:
Put simply, this is when you rotate on your x (horizontal) axis and roll to the left or right. Practise these at high altitude because, when things go wrong gravity appears to suddenly get a lot stronger than it was a few nanoseconds ago. 😮

When you barrel roll, it�s also important to drop your throttle right down to almost zero as you approach the fully inverted position, and then just as you pass inverted, start adding throttle again, rather quickly.