ARMA III is one of those titles that, although a phenomenal work and highly fun to play, I wish could push it just a little further.
Flying helicopters is a lot of fun and the Advanced Flight Model (AFM) is not bad, but the lack of proper systems and some issues with the flight model engine make it a bit short of what it could be.
The fact that you can transport other players or vehicles, provide support from the air or even simulate SAR/CSAR missions with real players around the world, makes is very immersive and powerful. Add to it a stunning mission editor, some great talents working on those missions and you have a recipe for success.
If only helicopters were better…
Don’t get me wrong, though: the fact that helicopters are not perfect or at the level of, let’s say, DCS or X-Plane, doesn’t mean it’s easy to fly these birds. It’s not; especially if you use the beforementioned AFM.
It can be a bit of a struggle to dominate these machines. If you have no to little experience in helicopters overall, that struggle will become bigger, which can be very frustrating – we know that, right?
If this is your case – even if you are an experienced helicopter pilot – ARMA Flight School can help.
From a crash to a flight school
"Wolf" is the creator of AFS. About 4 years ago he was a passenger in an ARMA III helicopter when the pilot crashed during the mission, after he had spent over 25 minutes getting ready and waiting for a helicopter.
Feeling frustrated about what had just happened, Wolf decided to do something to help prevent these situations in the future and better prepare other players to become proficient helicopter pilots.
He then went for it, with the help of other players. Four years later ARMA Flight School has qualified dozens of pilots on their several courses.
Students have the option to go through up to 6 different courses. They all start at the Introductory Flight Training course, where they learn the basics of flight, using the T-6A Texan II. The lesson is short (usually a 2-hour class) and will get you ready for the next step: Basic Rotary Flight Training.
In this course, which spans over 4 weeks (1.5 hours/week) you will learn everything from VFR flight, hovering and taxing, to night flying using NVG. From then on, you will have access to Advanced Transport Flight Training, Combat Rotary Flight Training, Fixed Wing Flight Training and, eventually, JTAC.
You are not forced the courses by this particular order. You can go directly to fixed wing from the basic rotary course. The Introductory and Basic Rotary courses are the basis of everything you will learn at AFS.
To enroll on the JTAC course, though, you don’t need to do the previous ones. You can step right into it.
ARMA Flight School takes you through all these courses to help you evolve in your path as a pilot. In each of the different modules, you will be taught a series of skills that will allow you to better control your aircraft as well as understand how the ever-changing battleground influences your way of flying and vice-versa.
The team is comprised of veteran players as well as real-world pilots that will help and guide you throughout the whole process.
Why should I enroll?
If you are serious about flying aircraft (and mainly helicopters) in ARMA III but are struggling to get the hang of it, these courses could be the answer.
But the thing is: most of what you will learn in these courses will help you on other sims as well, since, obviously, helicopters work fundamentally the same across the different platforms: you have rotors, collectives, cyclics, anti-torque, everything.
Yes, sims are different, and helicopters behave differently from sim to sim, but the fundamentals are there. Having someone help you get started goes a long way. Especially since there’s someone that’s willing to spend her/his time teaching you and answer to all your questions.
How to enroll?
You can enroll at ARMA Flight School’s website. Beware though: the process is not simple and it's designed for those that are really serious about enrolling. You will be taken through a series of questions that will both test your current knowledge and, realistically, help the team triage the candidates.
Why would they do this? Well, all the instructors are volunteers and they are taking time from their lives to teach these classes. You don't want to waste people's time, right? It's not right and that would discourage them and, eventually, get them to give up. No instructors means that there would be no school at all, which would be a shame.
Which takes me to the next point: if you wonder how much this will cost you, the answer is simple: nothing. You will only need to be, at least, 16 years old, have a copy of ARMA III and the will to learn.
Enroll at the website and start your adventure.
Of course, the school has its operational costs (such as servers) so they accept donations but those are not required.
So, if you are into some serious fun, lots of learning and start being a pro pilot in ARMA III, head out to ARMA Flight School and bootstrap your virtual combat pilot career!