By [MERC]William Shaf
My all time favorite map is Wake Island, so I'll be referencing that map while I formulate my thoughts here.
First and foremost, the attack chopper is a very deadly weapon, as you all know. If a well informed, intelligent pilot is flying, with a skilled gunner, you can pretty much keep the opposition's advancement to a minimum. The design of the modern day attack chopper is meant for the gunner to be the most important person, not the pilot. The pilot is there mainly to keep the chopper out of harms way, and position the chopper for adequate and constant barrage of offense for the gunner. I'm pretty sure that EA meant to keep the same intent for the game, as the intent for the real life choppers. The reason I say this, is because of the driver assist points that a pilot gets when the gunner makes a kill. It's enough motivation for the pilot to play his role correctly, and still get the points for doing his job. In a nutshell, the pilot is not there for the offense, but is there to place the chopper in a position for the gunner to wreak havoc on the opposition.
When you jump in a chopper as a pilot, do not fly low all over the place. Unless you are in a defensive mode, where your radar is actively going off, you should be giving your gunner the opportunity to scan the map for potential victims. If you're flying low through the trees, trying to show off your “mad skillz”, you are taking your gunner completely out of the game. Keep a mid altitude level flight, and watch for your gunner to mark targets.
If there's an opposing fighter plane in the air, keep an eye out for where he is, as they often sweep you for radar lock. Do not; I repeat, DO NOT, prematurely ejaculate the flares. Wait until the radar lock stops beeping and goes into full tone. Give it a fraction of a second AFTER full tone to eject the flares. By this time, the fighter will be too close for a good shot on you, and any shots previous will follow the flares. By the time he comes back around, your flares will be reloaded and ready for use again.
After a few passes from the fighter like this, he'll try to change tactics and turn off his air to air radar, and try sneaking up on you with guns a'blazin. Utilize your altitude and side to side motion as soon as you see the first tracers. Unless the fighter pilot is top notch, he won't be able to hit you with the first few shots. By this time, you'll see what's going on and be able to deviate and dodge.
If the pilot spends more than 4 or 5 passes trying to shoot you down, it's pretty safe to say that he's not paying much attention to his 6 o'clock. If your team has a decent fighter pilot, then he should be maneuvering in for the kill, or at least have seen the opposing fighter pilot not paying attention.
These are pretty easy to decipher from air to air or ground to air. Any air to air lock you get on you will not last very long. If you have a steady tone on you, and it lasts for more than a few seconds, then there's a strong chance that it will be ground to air. If you know the map you’re playing on pretty well, then you should already know where the ground to air missile launchers are located. Scan the close vicinity to you and find out which launcher is occupied. Keep the chopper moving in side to side defensive sweeps, and wait until you see the smoke trails from the launcher. Once the two rockets are launched and miss, steady your chopper for the gunner to get a clean shot with the guns on the launcher. The reload times on the ground to air launchers is pretty long, so if you're a good pilot, you should be able to steady the chopper quick enough for the gunner to get a steady bead on the culprit. The gunner should know not to waste a valuable TV missile on the launcher, because the guns can take it out pretty quickly with a steady stream.
As far as TV missiles are concerned, the common misconception of the pilot is to keep the chopper stationary while the TV missile is in transit. The pilot should keep the chopper steady enough for the gunner to get a good solid shot off. Once the TV missile is launched, the gunner's perspective is now with the missile, not the chopper. Feel free to locate the next target, dodge radar, or whatever your little heart desires. Moving the chopper while the TV missile is in transit will not affect the gunner's perspective or aim on said target.
This is the tricky one. The one thing that is very important here is the fact that your gunner is STILL your best asset in this scenario. If you get the prime opportunity to go up against another pilot that just sits still, the TV missile is your saving grace. Try to approach your victim from behind so you can have the amount of time it takes for the opposition to turn around. Any time you can get the jump on your victim you should win the battle. Utilize your own rockets when you have the shots available. Prepare yourself for head on crashes, though. Most pilots do not seem to handle their choppers well in pressure situations, and results end up with head on collisions. If you see this happening, do not sacrifice you or your gunner for one last rocket shot. Just drop altitude and scurry out for another fight. Try to keep to the side of your victim, as it's a much larger target of opportunity than a head on battle. Don't waste your own rockets with head on combat, as the area of destruction is much smaller. Work your way around to the side if possible.
Please remember that this is all opinion, and written as a tool to help pilots with their quest to dominate the air. This is by no means a bible for chopper pilots. All my tactics and opinions are open for discussion, and I welcome them. If you like to discuss more chopper tactics, either BF2 or BFV, please feel free to visit our own forums at http://bf2.mercpilots.net!