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Basic Air Combat Maneuvers

This area describes all of the Basic Air Combat Maneuvers or ACM. They are the foundation of all good Air Warrior&Copy pilots.

Basic Combat Maneuvers

Described below are the basic combat maneuvers of Air Warrior.

Aileron Roll

Sideways movement of the stick causes your plane to roll. The aileron roll is a basic component of every air combat maneuver.


This is a full loop and is more an air show maneuver than an air combat maneuver. The loop is most effective against very slow targets, such as heavy bombers, or against fighters that are just taking off from an airfield.

Break Turn

The break turn is a hard, flat turn of last resort when youíre under attack, and it depletes your energy rapidly. Itís an aileron roll followed by sharp, backward pressure on the stick. The idea is to get out of the way of an attackerís bullets as quickly as possible. Usually pilots employ the break turn when caught by surprise, and itís a short-term solution at best. In this illustration, defender B uses the break turn against attacker A. If you use this maneuver, make sure you turn INTO the attack, if possible. Breaking away from an attack presents your tail to the enemy.

Immelmann Turn (Half LooP

An energy-efficient method of reversing your course, usually to set up a subsequent shot after making a high speed firing pass, is the Immelmann turn. This is a half loop - a vertical 180 degree turn - with an aileron roll at the top. While it may preserve your energy, it can make your plane an easy target. Generally, you should avoid using this maneuver when enemies are within gun range.

Split S

Called the Split Arse by the British, due to how the maneuver feels to the pilot, it is a half loop in reverse. You use it to attack a target below you and you need a fair amount of altitude to execute it. Roll the plane inverted, then pull back on the stick until level. New players often dive right at lower targets head-on. Not only is this a bad angle from which to hit the target, it also affords the target an equal opportunity to hit you. With the split-s, you allow the bandit to pass below you and then you dive onto his tail. This requires timing, but itís an effective move.

Vertical 8

The Vertical 8 is two half loops performed one right after the other. You can accomplish this only if your airspeed is very high. If a slower bandit tries to follow you, and he isnít watching his airspeed closely, he will stall below you, giving you an excellent opportunity to attack him. Many players use this principle far more simply. They pull into a zoom climb after they've drawn the interest of a slower bandit. If the latter is not paying attention, he'll stall and become a helpless target. In Air Warrior this is called the rope-a-dope.

High Yo-Yo

This is perhaps the most difficult maneuver for new players to understand and use. Attacker A makes a high speed pass on slower defender B who attempts to evade with a break turn. The attacker converts his speed into altitude by pulling his fighter into the vertical. While he does this he rolls his plane so that his cockpit points in the direction his quarry fled. By pulling back on the stick as he rolls, he steers his vertical momentum toward the attacker, allowing him to dive onto the defenderís tail.

Low Yo-Yo

In the Low Yo-Yo, the attacker closes on his target by diving to convert altitude into airspeed to cut inside the defenderís turn. This uses the same principle as the high yo yo, but in an opposite fashion. With the high yo yo, the attacker converts speed to altitude in order to reduce his closure rate; in the low yo yo, the attacker converts altitude to speed to increase his rate of closure.

Barrel Roll

Put your plane into an aileron roll and add a little back pressure, this causes the plane to travel in a corkscrew type path. This maneuver is good to avoid the first few bursts of an enemy's fire or to confuse your opponent to escape easier.

If you are unclear on any of these Moves, download this film. It demonstrates each of the basic maneuvers.

Basic Flight Maneuvers