Excerpted from: The Official Guide to Jane's AH-64D Longbow
Copyright 1996 ORIGIN Systems, Inc.
Used with permission
The following collection of tips cover a number of different questions and
concerns which arise while playing AH-64D Longbow. Covered below are tips on:
How to fly the chopper
Beating Helicopter Bandits
Beating Ground Threats
Beating Jet Bandits
* Never turn right at low speed. Your wingman always flies on your right
flank, and you'll collide with him if you're not extremely careful.
* First-time flyers, do yourself a favor and jump directly into the Advanced
or Expert flight models. Once you get used to them, you'll be glad you never
bothered with the others. The other flight models keep you from doing steep
banks and other maneuvers that can help you become a better AH-64 pilot.
* To make a really tight turn: pitch up, lose collective and apply rudder
simultaneousIy, then nose down.
* In the Advanced and Expert flight models, your primary method of adjusting
altitude is the collective control. Keep a consistent watch on the arrow
indicator (on the left side of your altimeter (on the right side of your
IHADSS). The long bar with the scrolling arrow is what you're looking for.
When the arrow is in the middle of thc bar, you are neither gaining or losing
altitude. If the arrow drops, you're losing altitude. Similarly, a rising
arrow indicates a gain in altitude.
* If you're flying along and need to lose altitude without gaining any more
speed, drop your collective a bit and watch the arrow indicator drop. Once you
find an altitude you're happy with, gently restore collective until the arrow
is once again centered on the bar.
* How fast you want to descend should be reflected in how quickly you drop
collective. Remember that if you drop collective quickly when flying low, you
need to increase collective quickly as well - or you'll crash. (You can also
lose altitude by pitching the nose downward with the cyclic, but this approach
* It's a good idea to stay below 50 feet when cruising to your waypoints.
Although this keeps you concealed, it also prevents you from seeing what's
around you. Try climbing to 200 feet every once in a while to update your FCR
and TSD display.
* On realistic flight model, it's hard to stay low and keep a constant speed
at the same time. To deal with this, set your collective to about 75% and use
the cyclic to change your altitude. You can use collective too, but making
large collective adjustments can put you down in a pile of debris before you
* Slowing the Apache down can be quite a task. The easiest way to do this is
to drop collective to about 30ж/0. pitch up your chopper's nose, and watch
your airspeed drop This causes you to gain some altitude, but it's the fastest
way to bleed off airspeed.
* Once your airspeed drops to 15 knots or lower, level out the helicopter and
restore collective to 70 or 80 percent. Next, press H to autohover (or
transition into a hover).
* When flying with the advanced flight model, make sure you don't have too
much forward speed while approaching a waypoint. About 1 km before you want to
hover, drop collective to zero and glide in. Add slight collective at the end
of the glide to avoid crashing.
* One small time-saving trick is to turn on your helicopter's rotors, then
turn on Time Compression to shorten the time it takes for them to achieve full
* Time compression makes you harder to hit. This is because the game checks
every few seconds (in real time) to see where the weapon is in relation to
your position. When the game time gets speeded up, the frequency of checks is
* For the same reason, don't fire your weapons while time-compression is
active. They're less accurate this way because there are fewer game checks.
* If you're playing throughWindows (with no custom shortcut or boot disk), the
autohover and autopilot functions don't work as well.
* If your helo is damaged and hard to fly, try autopilot. It can sometimes get
* If it's a long stretch between waypoints, you can autopilot (A). In enemy
territory, decrease the autopilot speed ([Ctrl-Left Arrow) to reduce your
chances of being spotted.
* Remember, you can't hide and use autopilot. Autopilot keeps your altitude
around 100 feet, so make sure that no one nearby can attack you before you
* If you get lazy and don't want to spin to bring the waypoint carat into
view, hit autopilot briefly. This gets you oriented in the right direction.
This is useful if you've got autopilot set up as a joystick or throttle stick
buttonTyou don't have to touch the keyboard at all to reorient the helicopter.
* If you insist on using autopilot with enemies around, activate time
compression to 8x. This reduces the likelihood of a missile hit.
* You can usually autopilot home to the last waypoint. It will take you home
and drop you into a hover over your landing FARP, so all you need to do is
drop collective to land.
* The default realism and flight model options are set to SIMPLE. A quick way
to up your score is to bump these up to ADVANCED or EXPERT. (SIMPLE options
reduce your score.)
* You lose 5000 points if you shoot down your wingman. He can't crash on his
own.....so there's no proving that it wasn't your fault!
* You don't get points for kills for air/artillery strikes you call in.
Reserve these for when you're in trouble and need some help.
* Your score is divided by the number of times you use FARPs to rearm and
* If you're having trouble finishing a mission because you've run out of
missiles, you can temporarily deactivate REALISTIC WEAPON DAMAGE in the
IN-FLIGHT OPTION menu. It will affect your score only for that target, not the
entire mission. This allows you to kill anything with a single hit.
* Backtracking to your starting FARP is often a good way to get through a
mission. It doesn't affect your score, and you've presumably cleared out a
safe flight path by that point. (By contrast, the normal path home is usually
a dangerous path.)
* The hardest campaign missions are 5-18, according to our expert Quality
Assurance department. Mission 25, though difficult, is one of their favorites.
* Many of the campaign missions can and should lee completed at a distance.
You don't have to necessarily see what you're firing at.
* In early campaign missions, sometimes soldiers will have hand-held weapons
or shoulder SAMs if they're protecting a primary target. You need to switch to
TADS because the TSD won't track them. They show up as CIS SOLDIER on the TADS
* You can fly either the A-Model or D-Model Apache in the campaign. It's
significantly harder to win, however, in the AH-64A. You've got fewer MFDs and
avionics systems, and can only load laser Hellfires.
* In the first four missions, enemy helicopters will ignore you as long as you
stay on your side of the border. As soon as you violate their airspace. they
will follow you and take warning shots if you stick around too long. If you
head back into your own airspace, they will "escort" you to the border and
then ignore you. However if you fire on them at any point they will engage
* To avoid losing a campaign mission, you always have the choice to re-fly any
mission you fail, as long as you don't ACCEPT the mission by clicking on the
door. If you fail too many missions, you're in for a BIG surprise. Let's just
say it's going to get pretty hot wherever you are in the campaign. (You should
lose at least once just to see the cool flick, if nothing else.)
* You don't actually have to win the last two missions to win the campaign.
Theoretically, your side has already established such mastery that you can't
lose. This is just sweep-up duty. Although normally you shouldn't hover at
higher altitudes, there are really not enoughthreats left by the end of the
campaign to worry about. Hover at whatever height you'd like.
* To ready yourself for the Baltic campaign, try flying all of the historical
missions first. They'll give you an idea of what kind of situations to expect
during the campaign and help familiarize you with the default chopper, the
* If you can't get past a mission, try reducing to CAT III enemy skill. This
reduce, your score, but you still win. Or, try increasing your weapon damage
by deselecting REALISTIC WEAPON DAMAGE in the IN-FLl&HT OPTION menu.
Beating Helicopter Bandits
* In helicopter vs. helicopter warfare, make sure you target the Hokums first.
They're the only enemy helos that can fire air-to-air missiles at you.
* You can tempt helicopters away from a SAM-infested FARP by ascending.
They'll acquire you and move away from the FARP. This way, you can eliminate
them and stay out of the airfield's SAM and artillery range (unless 2S6s are
* Helicopters continually analyze the tactical situation to decide where to go
and what to do. If the situation is right, they may perform something that
looks like a textbook maneuver. However, this is merely a reaction to their
opponent's maneuvers no "Stern Conversion" string is called up in the Al code.
So, as in real life, using a textbook counter-maneuver may not always work.
* If there's only one enemy chopper, tail him and he won't shoot at you.
Avoidance is his first routine.
* Enemy helicopters can't see behind them. This means it's possible to sneak
up on them, if you're careful.
* If you saw a helicopter a few moments ago, and it no longer appears when you
make a 360-degree sweep of the area, chances are he's right on top of you.
This is an avoidance routine of sorts ... he won't fire on you, but he will
hide directly above you. If this happens, yank back the cyclic stick and apply
additional collective. You'll slice backward with your nose up, a perfect
position to fire at your opponent with the chain gun.
* In the Al structure, the preferred position for an enemy helicopter is
behind its target, and it will continually maneuver to get there. Use air
radar often to "check six."
* Helicopters paired as wingmen will attempt to support each other (i.e., one
will attack from the left and the other will attack from the right)
* Mi-42 Hind and Mi-28 Havoc enemy choppers are built like flying tanks and
have tons of chaff dispensers. Therefore, most of the time it takes two
Stingers to bring one of them down. At the same time, Stingers are precious
and you won't want to waste two of them on a single chopper. If the first one
doesn't take down the helo, wait until you can maneuver within chain gun
* Enemy pilots pick their weapons carefully. They'll use cannon for lightly
armored targets at close range, rockets for medium-armored targets at close
range, and anti-tanks against heavily armored targets and any long-range
threats. They'll use ATA missiles against air targets (and sometimes guns and
Beating Ground Threats:
* Always stop and bob up pretty high right before you cross the border. Since
SAMs won't usually fire at you while you're in friendly territory, you can get
a good read on what awaits you before crossing enemy lines.
* Whenever you approach your primary targets. take out the surrounding AAA and
SAM sites first. This removes the deadliest threat to your survival, and lets
you move in closer. Close is good; it means you can use guns instead of
* All of the SA-series SAMs except the 2S6 have one drawback. If you can sneak
up on them and move into weapon range without being detected, you can use guns
against them. Why? Because once you're within their minimum missile-firing
range (1-3 km for radar SAMs), you're too close for their missiles to track
you accurately. Hills are your best friend for this tacticThover behind a
hill, pop up and toast him.
* If a SAM locks you up and fires, you can often break the radar and/or
missile lock by dropping to a very low altitude. This works even if a missile
is already on the way.
* One in every 4 soldiers is carrying some type of shoulder-launched SAM.
* 2S6 and SA-11s tend to cluster together.
* For 2S6s, you'll see a second, smaller circle that indicates their gun
range. The gun uses a separate radar to acquire and track you, and is almost
as deadly as a missile.
* Don't call air strikes in on 2S6s. They'll probably bring down the A-10s.
* Against 2S6s, it's vital to remain undetected. They have a long maximum
range, and you need to be far inside their threat radius to attack. To take
them out, mask your- self with terrain and stay low when you approach. When in
Hellfire range. bob up. It will take them a good 20 seconds to lock you up and
fire, so you shouldn't have a problem surprising them. If you get detected
first, however, say your prayers.
* If you're attacking a SAM site, it's okay if he launches a missile as long
as you get him first. Even if he has one in the air, it will lose its lock
when yours hits.
* Take out radar sites first. Some missiles are radar controlled. Once the
radar is gone, they aren't anywhere near the deadly threats they are when they
can track you.
* If something that gets its targets from an external radar hasn't detected
you yet, all you have to do is destroy its accompanying radar (such as the
Snow Drift) If it's seen you, you need to destroy it and its radar.
* Your helicopter's radar signature is smaller when you're hovering, and it's
harder for radar-guided SAM missiles to track you.
* The signature of dug-in vehicles is reduced by 75%, making them much harder
* Tanks never fire at you (T80-Us and T-72s). Armored personnel carriers
(BRDMs) and fighting vehicles (BMP series), however, will.
Beating Jet Bandits:
* Not many game missions have planes. In the ones that do, make sure you stay
hovering. Although it makes you more vulnerable, it also lets you fire more
accurately. Hovering near a FARP is especially preferable. If you get into
trouble with fuel or weapons, you'll be able to land and restock your tank and
pylons. You'll also have the added support of Avenger SAMs and Patriot missile
* Su-25 Frogfoots often look like they're running away after they make an
attack pass at you. Sometimes they are (especially if they're damaged or out
of missiles), but sometimes they're just bugging out far enough to make a
* Frogfoots are difficult planes to hit because they're fast. They're good for
points, however (at 500, they have the highest point value). If you ever get
caught in a moving fight with them, don't fire in a turn ... they are
extremely quick. Facing them head-on with Stingers is your best bet.
* In air target missions, activate ground radar occasionally to check for
SAMs. Then, go back to air mode to deal with airborne threats. You don't want
to get surprised by a SAM missile.
* Once they're out of ammo, planes will return to where they started. If they
start to bug out, you know they've expended most of their stores.
* You don't have to take out every air threat you encounter. First, determine
if you are going to fly through their attack zone. If not, don't worry about
them. A good way to determine if they are going to attack you is to go to the
F10 or F11 views and see if they're even trying to track you. These views
align the camera with the current target. If they aren't, you're fine.