Gunship Academy

by Richard Sheffield

Rule 1: Avoid Target Area Overflight

There is not a single weapon aboard your aircraft which can shoot straight down or behind you—so why give your enemy the best possible target and not be able to shoot back when you fly directly overhead? But this is exactly what Buzzsaw did.

When Buzzsaw came under fire, he made a high-speed run at the target—and, in the process, flew very close to an enemy infantry detachment. This detachment fired at such close range that Buzzsaw had no time to react. Taking hits in the rear of the aircraft will, at the very least, damage your flare and chaff launchers and could possibly result in the loss of an engine.

Figure 7-2. An Apache Hovers to Fire a Hellfire Missile

Remember that when entering a target area for the first time, you're not sure of what you'll find, and you have no idea what is behind the area. Caution is advised. If you're having trouble hitting a target, it's often better to turn away, get low, and make another pass, rather than take a lot of close-range punishment and possibly fly into an even more dangerous rear area.

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