Battlefield 2 � Flying a Helicopter

I�ve been playing Battlefield games since Battlefield 1942 was released and the game play has always been great, the in-game physics are better than I�ve previously experienced in other FPS and (back when I had disposable income and could afford a decent graphics card) the graphics are almost too compelling (in that you stand and look and the nice texturing on generated surfaces in appreciation, until someone comes along and shoots you for staying stationary for too long) and the range of vehicles and player classes just spoils you for anything else.

Anyway, I�ve recently upgraded my DSL plan (to one where the data cap wasn�t such an onerous monster that I�ve felt comfortable dipping my toe in the water of online play) and, in conjunction with my (also) recent Battlefield 2 addiction,
I�ve also come to the realisation that online gaming is far more compelling than AI or even local network play, but to be truly effective in the online space you need to be able to fly.

Because everyone wants to be a flyboy, and because helicopters are not that easy to fly (or at least, not that easy to fly well) there are continually people stood like dumb arses next to a spawned chopper, waiting for someone to dare to take the pilots seat, then the race for the gunner position begins.

I�ve been part of the great herd waiting for a pilot but I�m getting a bit sick of the behaviour of players at helicopter spawn points and have been team killed too many times for the gunners seat (the penalty for team killing is miniscule when compared to the points one can generate as a gunner for a good pilot) I figured it would be a good idea to learn to fly.

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 😀

Edit [27/09/2005]: I found a great guide on Planet Battlefield “Chopper School” – check it out in the references section at the end of this article

How to Fly a Helicopter 101
The make or break of flying a Helicopter (IMO of course) is your key assignments. Now, while I�ve �met� some remarkable pilots who fly with nothing but the game defaults using a mouse and keyboard, I�ve found that life becomes a LOT easier if you use a joystick, especially one with a twist control for the rudder. Your mileage may vary of course, but in the heat of battle my fingers get dyslexic and I end up either exiting the vehicle and plummeting earthward, or firing on my own team or upside down and descending extremely quickly, or a combination of these.

I�m using a Microsoft Sidewinder Pro with Force Feedback and while I�m not going to get into religious discussions concerning control hardware, it�s important to know what I�m using so you can make any appropriate changes to suit your chosen device in the following key mappings.

My Weapon of Choice -[Microsoft Sidewinder - Force Feedback II Pro]
[Insert Keymappings for Chopper Flight here � a pic of the sidewinder would probably be handy too]

Here’s a page for a chap who’s already documented his joystick setup.

Control Caveats: I want to get the mouse look option on the ‘stick as, while hovering to take a flag, it�s really good to be able to keep an eye out for those sneaky special Ops guys and their C4 � or those pesky Anti-Tank grunts.