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Marking sensible LZs


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This guide will try to explain to you how to mark a sensible LZ.  This both for skilled and new pilot for missions ranging from pretty much safe to extremely heavy AA threads.  
This guide will not talk about how to land and only a bit about how to approach them.  The best way to do this is not explained here.  For this i'll refer to you Dslyecxis art of flight videos.  I recommend to watch all of them but you will only need the ones about transport pilot and landing for this guide.


1. What is an LZ
Before i start explaining how to mark sensible LZs let's first talk about what an LZ actually is.  LZ is short for Landing Zone.  If one goes to wikipedia and types in LZ you get this:

"In military terminology a landing zone (LZ) is an area where aircraft can land.

In the United States military, a landing zone is the actual point where aircraft, especially helicopters, land (equivalent to the commonwealth landing point.)

In commonwealth militaries, a landing zone is the cartographic (numeric) zone in which the landing is going to take place (e.g., a valley). ..."


For this guide an LZ is the place where a helicopter put it's wheels/skids on the ground.


2. Who marks an LZ

Before we get into where one should mark an LZ let's talk about who should mark it.  
Anyone can mark an LZ however the pilot of the aircraft will ALWAYS have the final word.  If a pilot at any point in time decides to wave of and/or divert to a different secondary, tertiary, ... LZ that is completely within his rights.
Ideally LZs are marked after a dialog between the pilot and the troops being flown to somewhere.  


3. Proper naming/colour of an LZ marker

Something else we need to talk about before we get into where an LZ should be marked is the naming and colour of an LZ.  
There is no best way to do this but there are some things that should never be done and i'll give some guidelines on how to name them.

Appearance of the marker:

  1. Use a clear color.  Don't use white as it's not visible when using the topographic version of the map.  Avoid red as this is used for marking enemy positions.  Most used colors are blue and black.  Green, yellow, orange, purple, ...  also work but aren't commonly used
  2. Use a clear symbol.  Although a dot isn't bad i'd recommend using one of the following markers:
    (todo: screenshot of symbols)
  3. Be consistent, don't use 3 different styles at the same mission.


  1. Never ever even think about giving your LZ the name "LZ".  I often see 5 LZs simply named LZ.  Be original, give it a proper name.
  2. If you aren't original stick to names along the lines: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, ... or North, South, East, ... Make sure that the name you choose does not exist anywhere else on the map.
  3. Try to include some information in the LZ name: LZ fly low, LZ kiss the sea, LZ NOE, LZ risky, LZ dangeroes, LZ impossible, ...  All of these give some information about the LZ, either to fly in with a low approach (first 3) or how hot the LZ is (last 3).  


4. Reading the map
To mark a sensible LZ there are 2 really important things you need to be able to do.
First thing is to read the map (2nd thing will be explained further down).  If you cannot read the map you cannot mark a proper LZ.  

For those who don't really know how to read the map here is a small guide:


In arma 3 there are 2 types of maps, a topographical and a hybrid between a topographical and satellite images.  I'll be focusing mostly on the topographical one as it's in my opinion the easiest to read the contour lines from.
Let's take a look at an example (it's an old screenshot from the old editor but it's good enough for what we're looking at):Image result for arma 3 map topographical altis


On this screenshot we can see a number of interesting things.  The most important thing for us are the lines you see all over the map.  They're called contour line. These lines connect all points with the same elevation.  This allows map makers to let you know where the hills, mountains, valleys, ... are.  
Another thing that is relevant to us are those large green zones.  These are areas where a significant amount of plants like trees and bushes grow.  
Then we can also see buildings, they're marked with (light) grey rectangles on the map.  And walls which are marked with darker grey rectangles.  Note that this is not always consistent.  Some sheds are marked with dark grey and some walls with lighter grey.  

And the final thing i want to highlight are the symbols all along the shoreline in the NE-ern part of the map.  These symbols indicate the presence of a larger rock formation.


(this needs some more love)


5. How hot is the area
This is the second thing you'll need to be able to tell.  You need to have some general idea of what threads you're facing when thinking about an LZ location.  If you have no clue whatsoever, pick the safe option, come in low and land far out.  In general it's better that infantry has to walk 1.5 km than that they never get there.
I won't discuss which threads are where, i'll refer to other guides and your own knowledge for this.


6. Environmental factors

Environmental factors will affect where you mark your LZ.  If it's a bright sunny day the pilot will not have a lot of trouble judging depth and distance.  At night with heavy rain he'll have a bloody hard time judging this quickly.  
Factors that influence depth and distance perception are: medium to heavy rain, fog (especially if it's a thick layer of fog just above the ground), time of day (using NVGs complicates depth perception but the most annoying thing is daybreak or nightfall as it is already too bright to use NVGs but too dim to properly judge depth), ...
All of these also influence the pilots abilities to spot objects like smaller trees, bigger rocks, wire fence, telephone/electricity wires, ...
These factors should all be thought of when marking an LZ.


7. Pilot skill

This is the key determining factor that will determine whether or not an LZ is sensible, doable.  Be a realist when judging skill, either for yourself or for the pilot who's flying you.  Being too optimistic will get you killed.  But also don't be overly pessimistic, after all nobody likes to walk.  (Don't mistake this that you can't let people walk.  You can't always get what you want.)


8. Placing down a sensible LZ - guidelines 

Right i'll start of by giving some guidelines on where you should mark an LZ.  In 9. i'll give examples of LZs.  

  1. If the mission contains AAA (Anti-Air Artillery) and/or autocannons mark the LZ behind solid cover or proper concealment.  These weapon systems should never be allowed to get line of sight on the aircraft from the point it drops speed below 100 km/h onwards.   
  2. If the mission contains AA missiles threads mark an LZ that can be approached without exposing yourself to the AO (meaning that the AA can track and lock onto you because they have line of sight) for more than 2 seconds.  Especially not if you're flying at low speed.
  3. Make sure the immediate area around the LZ is clear of enemies.  If an enemy is up close to the LZ he'll be able to mow down any dismounting troops and possibly the pilot. 
    Don't mistake this that you have to wave off if you take small arms fire at an LZ.  If it's inaccurate or sporadic you can land there just don't stay there for hours.  Get in, drop the troops, get out.  30 seconds and the job is done.
  4. If you can chose between a flat ground and a slope, chose the flat ground.  Doing drops on slopes is not impossible but they do always have more risks than landings on flat areas.  Minimize the risk as long as you don't compromise safety.  
  5. If you get faced with the choice of flying extremely low over land or over sea, choose flying over the sea (presuming this doesn't compromise safety).  On sea you'll hardly come across any obstacles.  On land there are houses, wires, poles, fences, rocks, terrain, ... that can all get in your way forcing you to slow down.
  6. Speed is your friend.  A faster target is harder to hit than a slow moving target, even for AI.  Just be sure to lose this speed before you put the heli on the ground.  So if you can chose between an LZ that you can approach with speed or one that you have to be flying slow for, pick the first one.
  7. If you get shot by AAA start flying erratically and keep the speed up.  Bullets don't track you, they are aimed at a point in front of your heli.  They also take time to fly to where you are going to be.  If you however change direction you won't be where the bullets are aimed at.  So don't fly in a predictable path.  Mark LZs in areas where it's possible to do these maneuvers.  If you get stuck in a narrow valley or between obstacles and AAA opens up on you, rest in peace.
  8. If you're getting shot at by AA missiles you have to do 2 things.  1: pop flares and 2: bank.  Be sure to keep your speed up while doing this.  If you do not bank there is a 90% chance the missile will still hit you even though you flared.  If you lose speed you'll let the enemy see you longer and thus shoot at you more increasing the chance that you will be hit.  Again mark LZs where this is possible whenever possible.
  9. Keep calm and carry on.  Nothing good has ever come from panicking.  If you're getting shot at do what has to be done, don't panic.  Panicking will get you killed.  Either commit to the marked LZ and land or wave of and get your bird out of there.  Again whenever possible mark LZs where this is possible
  10. Plan ahead.  When marking an LZ you don't only have to plan for getting there.  Also plan on how to get out.  Sometimes this is as easy as pulling a 180 and flying back the way you came.  Sometimes this will not be possible, keep this in mind when marking an LZ.


9. Placing down a sensible LZ - examples

These examples will be in order of difficulty of the LZ.  I'll start of with the easy ones and end with the harder ones.




This LZ is easy for a very simple reason.  The mission you're flying towards does not contain any AA threads.  Not even autocannons.  It only has 1 .50cal off-road and infantry with AKs and a few LIMs.  The biggest threat is probably getting RPGed when landed.
The LZ is placed behind a building because of this.  Ideally you'd also land with the tail towards the mission so that if you're getting shot at anyways the bullets will have to pass through the entire aircraft before they'd be able to hit the pilot.  Hence reducing the chance you'll get shot out of the cockpit. 

If you don't know this, play it safe and land further away.




This LZ is placed behind a hill with a fairly easy approach path.  Although i don't like the marker it's a decent LZ.  The mission was pretty much done at this point so you could probably even land closer but for those who don't have that knowledge this is a good LZ.





This is a rather dangerous mission to fly to.  Simply because it has more accurate AA than normal missions.  It will shoot you down if it has line of sight on you for more than 3 seconds.  So you will have to come in low and preferably fast.  
The LZ is marked on the coast.  Do note the rock-symbols all along the coast.  This combined with the contour lines leads me to believe that there might be a rock cliff there.  (and maybe my prior knowledge of the area :))
This LZ can be approached rather safely by flying under 5m in a wide arc around the little peninsula (base is SSW (South-South-West) of the mission).



10. Some hint tips, tricks, ...

To close this off i'll give some additional hints tips and tricks in no particular order.


First of all:  people can walk.  It's better to make them walk than to try landing closer and killing everyone in the process.  Yes people will bitch about having to walk and they will bitch if you kill everyone.  Someone will always bitch about something.  Don't ignore what those people say but don't let it get to you either.


Another really important thing is to know your own (if you're the pilot) limitations.  Even a fairly new pilot can make several runs without dying ones. As long as he doesn't get into a situation (LZ) that he can't handle.  

Mark your LZ both in group and side-channel.  This way if people delete your LZ in side channel you still have the locations and can fairly easy remark them.


The priority anti air task is a serial killer.  It has a range of 5 km in which it is pinpoint accurate and will not run out of ammo.  It is possible to fly underneath it's coverage but it is highly recommended to keep your chopper on the ground as long as it's up.  Only attempt to fly under it if you have decent knowledge of the terrain and enough experience at nap of the earth flying.  



add screenshots
make the text look pretty

add more examples in 9.

expend on the map guide


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On 10/2/2017 at 2:23 PM, Stanhope said:

10. Some hint tips, tricks, ...


If AA battery is up, do not fly at all. The range and ammunition is unlimited. Wait for the regular friendly AT guys to take it out. ;) 


Upgraded OS to Win10 this week. Will take a while to get ARMA 3 up. Installing base softwares first

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3 minutes ago, fir_nev said:

If AA battery is up, do not fly at all. The range and ammunition is unlimited. Wait for the regular friendly AT guys to take it out. ;) 

Well yes for most pilots this is indeed correct.  And yes the ammo of the AA battery is indeed unlimited, the range is scripted to 5 km.  
But experienced pilots and people who've practiced in the editor with that mission up can fly underneath it's coverage.  I regularly drop people less than 300m away from the edge of the mission.

I'll add it to the guide.

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1 hour ago, Stanhope said:

Well yes for most pilots this is indeed correct.  And yes the ammo of the AA battery is indeed unlimited, the range is scripted to 5 km.  
But experienced pilots and people who've practiced in the editor with that mission up can fly underneath it's coverage.  I regularly drop people less than 300m away from the edge of the mission.

I'll add it to the guide.

AAA is when the fun starts.

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