You can maneuver the flights under your control in various ways so that they fly, intercept, attack, and land depending on the circumstances. You have the ability to issues commands in immediate mode where they will be acted upon right away or in combined mode where they will be included with additional commands.
Giving Immediate Orders
To give a flight that is under your control an immediate order, you first tap on the flight to select it, and then tap on the Main Chart, hold your finger down until a larger circle appears, then release your finger. Depending on how this is done, you end up with different types of orders:
- If you release on an empty location on the map, the selected flight will Fly To that location, and then orbit there until it gets another order.
- If you release on another flight, the selected flight will Intercept that flight. If the other flight is an enemy flight and if the selected flight has a Dogfight capability, then it will automatically engage the enemy flight when the interception occurs.
- If you release on a friendly air base, then the selected flight will fly to that air base and automatically land there.
- If you release on an enemy ground location, then the selected flight will fly to that location and automatically attack it, if that is possible to do.
- If you release at the beginning of a Generic Order, then the flight will fly to that order and follow it.
You can combine orders for a flight and issue more complex orders, double tapping on the Main Chart, holding down your finger until a larger circle appears, and then releasing your finger. This will display the Order Menu and allow you perform additional functions:
- If you select the Fly To order, then an order to fly to the selected location will be added to the end of the orders for the selected flight. In this way, you can form a multi-segment flight path.
- If you select the Patrol order, then an order will be added to the orders of the selected flight to fly back and forth between the last location it has been ordered to or the current location if there are no previous orders and the selected location.
- If you select the Attack order and the selected location is an enemy ground location, then an order to fly to the location and attack it will be added to the end of the orders for the selected flight. This order is shown using a red square.
- If you select the Intercept order and there is another flight at the selected location, then the selected flight will be given an order to intercept that flight.
- If you select the Escort order and there is another flight at the selected location, then the selected flight will be given an order to fly parallel with that flight and match its speed.
- If you select the Follow order and there is another flight at the selected location, then the selected flight will follow that flight and duplicate its orders.
- If you select the Return order, then an order to return the selected flight to its home air base or ship and land will be added to the end of the orders for that flight.
- If you select the Land order, then an order to land the selected flight at the location will be added to the end of the orders for that flight. This order can be used with any flight to land at an airbase, a ship that the flight is eligible to land on, or if the selected location is a friendly ground site and the selected flight consists of helicopters. This order is shown using a thick white circle.
- If you select the Fly High order, then an order that causes the flight to fly at normal cruising altitude will be added to the end of the orders for that flight. This order is shown as a white triangle pointing up.
- If you select the Fly Low order, then an order that causes the flight to fly at low altitude will be added to the end of the orders for that flight. This order is displayed as a white triangle pointing down.
- If you select the Inc Speed order, then an order that causes the flight to fly at increased speed will be added to the end of the orders for that flight. This order is displayed as a white triangle pointing to the right.
- If you select the Dec Speed order, then an order that causes the flight to fly at decreased speed will be added to the end of the orders for that flight. This order is displayed as a white triangle pointing to the left.
- If you select the Dispensing order, then an order to toggle dispensing will be added to the end of the orders for that flight. This order is displayed as a thin white circle.
- If you select the Delete option, then the last order for the selected flight will be deleted.
- If you select the Add Generic option, then you will be prompted to select a Generic Order to give to the selected flight.
Each aircraft has as many as four basic speeds: minimum speed, cruising speed, military speed, and maximum speed. Minimum speed is the speed which has the best fuel usage and results in the longest range. Cruising speed is an intermediate speed and is the normal speed for most aircraft. Military speed represents the maximum speed of the aircraft short of the use of afterburners, if any. Maximum speed is the top speed possible by the aircraft. For some aircraft this represents the use of afterburners and may provide the aircraft with supersonic speed.
In the Flight Information area, the four speeds are color coded as follows:
- Minimum Speed – The speed is shown in green.
- Cruise Speed – The speed is shown in white.
- Military Speed – The speed is shown in yellow.
- Maximum Speed – The speed is shown in red.
Flights can fly at two basic altitudes: nominal cruising altitude and a special Flying Low status. This Flying Low status has several effects:
- Flights which are Flying Low can only be detected by enemy flights at half the normal radar range of the enemy flights.
- Flights which are Flying Low can only detect enemy flights at half the normal radar range.
- Jet flights which are Flying Low have increased fuel usage, determined by Parameter Data.
When a flight is Flying Low, it can only be detected by enemy ground radar when it is within the Horizon Distance, determined by Parameter Data. For flights that are Flying Low, this distance is displayed on the map using the brown circle around the flight.
Also when a flight is Flying Low, it will be masked from detection by ground radar sites and missile sites whenever the intervening terrain is higher, based on the elevation data associated with the map.
When jet aircraft are Flying Low, they use fuel at an increased rate determined by the Low Flying Fuel Parameter Data value. Helicopters and prop aircraft do not pay this penalty when Flying Low.
Certain aircraft are classified as Tankers. They have the ability to transfer a certain amount of fuel to other aircraft with the Can Refuel feature. The Tanker designation and the Refueling designation are both displayed in the Flight Information area below the picture of the flight.
Some aircraft have been equipped with Buddy Pods which allow them to refuel other aircraft using their own fuel.
To refuel, an aircraft with the Can Refuel feature needs to Intercept the Tanker. Once intercepted, the refueling will automatically proceed unless there is another flight already being refueled. The nominal rate at which a flight is refueled is determined by the Refueling Rate value in the Parameter Data. This is reduced proportionally if there are more aircraft in the flight being refueled than there are aircraft in the tanker flight.
The tanker and aircraft being refueled need to have compatible refueling equipment in order to achieve the hook-up. There are two methods included:
- Boom and Receptacle - Designated with the notation 'b'.
- Probe and Drogue - Designated with the notation 'p'.
A Tanker may be flagged as Fuel Usable. This means that the fuel the tanker uses to refuel is the same as the fuel it carries for its own engines. In this case, there is not a separate fuel capacity value for the aircraft.
As a special case, Helicopters can only be refueled by Prop Airplanes or by other Helicopters.
Associated with each side are parameter data values called Launch Intervals. These determine how long it takes after a flight takes off or lands at an airbase before the next flight can take off or land. Each time a flight takes off or lands, this timer is set equal to a calculated delay.
For taking off from an airbase, the delay between flights is the Parameter Data Launch Interval time for that side times the number of aircraft in the flight. For landing at an airbase, the delay between flights is half the delay for taking off. In both cases, these delays are multiplied by the value:
(200 – Airbase Status) / 100
This means that the delay will increase as the status of the airbase decreases up to doubling as the status approaches zero. In addition, non-helicopter flights cannot take-off or land at an airbase with status 0.
When a flight attempts to take off prior to this timer having elapsed, then it is indicated as being "On Runway" and will automatically take off once the required time has elapsed. When a flight attempts to land prior to this timer having elapsed, then it must wait before it can land, but will automatically land once the required time has elapsed.
For flights on aircraft carriers, the words "On Flight Deck" are used to indicate this waiting state. In addition, for aircraft carriers the take-off and landing delays are doubled.
When a flight attempts to land at an air base, the status of the air base affects their ability to do that.
- There must be sufficient parking space for the landing flight, as given by the ramp status times the nominal capacity of the air base, before a flight can land.
- A carrier must have a runway status of at least 50% before a flight can land.
- If an air base has a runway status of less than 10%, the landing flight must consist of helicopters.
- If an air base has a runway status of at least 10% but less than 25%, the landing flight must consist of VSTOL aircraft.
- If an air base has a runway status of at least 25%, then all flights can land subject to the parking limitation above.
Low Ceiling Aircraft
Certain aircraft are flagged as Low Ceiling in the database. These are propeller aircraft incapable of the higher altitudes of other aircraft. These aircraft are always vulnerable to AAA fire. They cannot Dogfight attack another aircraft unless it is Low Ceiling or Flying Low.
High Ceiling Aircraft
Certain aircraft are flagged as High Ceiling in the database. These aircraft are capable of flying in the ionosphere. They cannot go to the Flying Low state but can descend to the normal cruising altitude of other aircraft. Aircraft with High Ceiling normally cannot be attacked by AAA, SAM’s, or other aircraft that do not have a High Ceiling.
Helicopters differ from other aircraft in that they can land at any given Target location on the map. To do this, the helicopter flight simply flies to that location and it will land automatically. When commanded to fly elsewhere, it will automatically take off.
Helicopters which are Flying Low cannot be detected using standard ground or airborne radar. They can only been seen when within visual range of the spotting entity. However, they can still be picked up with Air-to-Ground Radar (such as JSTARS) and aircraft with Doppler Pulse Radar (such as AWACS).
Search and Rescue
When there are downed crews in a scenario, they are represented on the map as a specialized Target with a parachute icon. Using helicopters or, in the case of water locations, seaplanes, it is possible for the owning side to fly to that location and pickup the crew, thereby gaining Rescue Points towards the victory determination. Downed crews shown with an orange icon are associated with the first side in the scenario while yellow icons are associated with the second side in the scenario.
If a particular side has a non-zero Crew Capture Time Parameter Data Value, then it represents the average time that it takes for a downed crew to be captured when they are in an area of the map controlled by that side. If this is the case, then you can prevent their capture until a helicopter can show up to rescue them by flying any aircraft with the ability to strafe above the downed crew.
Certain scenarios will have Civilian targets placed on the map. These represent non-combatants for which points are awarded when they are successfully evacuated. They are picked in the same was as downed crews (see above), but must be carried to an air base or carrier designated as Evacuation. Once they are off-loaded at such a location, then points are awarded to the owning side.
There may be one or more No-Fly-Zones associated with each scenario. Each No-Fly-Zone applies to one side or the other with No-Fly-Zones for the first side colored blue and No-Fly-Zones applying to the second side colored red. Each No-Fly-Zone is either a circle or polygon.
When an aircraft of the associated side enters a No-Fly-Zone, it triggers a Violation of that zone. This is indicated on the flight with the word VIOLATION. Also, Victory Points are awarded to the other side based on the number of aircraft in the violating flight and the points associated with the No-Fly-Zone.
When a flight of more than one aircraft is flying low in weather, there may be a chance of a collision between aircraft in the flight. This chance depends on the Flight Collision Parameter Data value which may be 0. Otherwise, this value is the probability that a flight flying at low altitude in clouds has a chance of collision for each hour of flight in these conditions. The probability is modified by the reciprocal of the Training Modifier so that the chance is higher for flights with inferior training but lower for flights with better training. Likewise, the probability increases as the number of aircraft in the flight increases. This effect applies to all helicopters as well as airplanes flying at low altitude. The probability is twice the nominal value at night.
When a flight collision occurs, then a message appears signifying that event:
A flight will lose one aircraft from the flight for each occurrence of this event.