Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza
Creator Highlight: Dslyecxi
Examples of air operations I've always dreamed of flying in Arma 3
Even though I've watched this content creator's videos for well over a year now, it's hard for me to say that I "know" Dslyecxi. Not when he has been in operation for at least 16 years now. People deep into first-person shooter milsim entertainment may already be well-aware of Dslyecxi and the group he founded, Shack Tactical. Whether that's from watching his YouTube channel or the article from Polygon or "The Accidental Heroes of Arma 3" interview with PC Gamer. The primary reason I watch Dslyecxi is for the air operations.
Dangerous landing in a confined space during a firefight (Timestamp: 31:07 - 34:20).
The type of flying he does is exactly what I always wanted to achieve but could never quite figure out due to Arma's somewhat odd flight handling characteristics. If you know how to fly civilian or military aircraft in flight simulators, flying in Arma 3 immediately feels unusual. Things don't quite match up the way you think they would. The foremost quirk that comes to mind is the tiny throttle range when using hands-on throttle and stick controllers. Their throttle ranges are limited towards the middle of their full range of motion. Just increasing the throttle a few centimeters can be a 20% throttle input. Couple that with Arma's somewhat finicky damage model, and air operations can get 'interesting', to say the least. It's to the point that even in my almost 700 hours in Arma 3, I hardly fly aircraft despite loving them so much.
He truly has a mastery of flight in Arma. To the point that he not only flies expertly but can explain the game mechanics in-depth while maintaining a casual, plainspoken presentation. His "Art of Flight" Helicopter Guides is a signature series of guides with a focus on rotary-wing aircraft. From general flight controls and recommended hardware to breakdowns on specific subjects. Weapons, autorotation, LZ procedures, formation flying, agility - many techniques he uses are well documented with video demonstrations.
This is going to sound odd, but his video on how to land damaged helicopters is likely one of the most valuable when it comes to flight in Arma 3. The physics between vehicles and certain types of terrain result in instantly deadly and sometimes comical collisions so frequently, I was mind boggled to see that anyone figured out how to do it correctly. Let alone could explain it in such detail.
Striking an enemy convoy as they attempt to stop a friendly unit from extracting. (Timestamp: 5:25).
Having played Arma 2 and Arma 3 for so long, he has plenty of videos for most of the usual aircraft that come to mind. Fixed-wing jet attackers, armed jet trainers, attack helicopters and transport helicopters. I can appreciate precision close air support from a roaring fast jet, but the real stars of the channel are the transport helicopters. Mainly the MH-6 Little Bird.
In flight, Dslyecxi deftly maneuvers the Little Bird in just about every scenario you can think of. Speeding below treetop level through foggy forests, landing between tightly packed buildings in firefights, ambushing vehicle convoys, even a few air-to-air engagements. His flying can transfer from high speed, sweeping maneuvers to precise, low-speed flying in seconds. All while maintaining full control, even under the heaviest fire.
Assisting a fog covered emergency evacuation (Timestamp: 28:43 - 37:30).
What's great about Dslyecxi's role as a pilot is that despite running the channel and leading the group, everything is not centered around him. He and his aircrew are just one part of the operation at large. His long form videos show the high tempo combat, quiet in transit flight, meticulous search for targets and interactions with infantry while they're being transported. His perspective from above gives viewers a literal bird's eye view of the missions as they unfold, rather than a point of view that focuses on the actions of a single infantrymen.
When Dslyecxi and the other pilots of Shack Tactical fly, it's well organized without being stringently milsim. The group's motto of "serious fun" is said to be a balance between being serious enough to use the necessary communications, organizations, and tactics to be effective in combat while acknowledging that Arma 3 is in fact a game and it is fine to have fun with it.
As Dslyecxi is side-slipping through buildings to insert troops, zipping through forests, sneaking up on armored vehicles, and extracting troops from chaotic landing zones, it's easy to keep track of what the other units in the operation are up to just by listening to their radio communications. Their balance of good times and good coordination is forefront. It makes all of the long-form videos enjoyable to watch from beginning to end.
Unexpected air-to-air engagement (Timestamp: 1:07:45-1:10:30).
As much as I talk up the flying, there are plenty of videos of infantry combat, tutorials for general Arma ops, cinematic third person videos and the all inclusive Year in Review videos that visually summarize the countless missions that have been ran over a year.
It's hard to not at least feel at a bit inspired by the things Dslyecxi and Shack Tactical pull off weekly in Arma 3. It might be time for me to study up on the Art of Flight and give aviation in Arma 3 a serious try again.
About the Author
Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza
Co-founder of Skyward Flight Media. After founding Electrosphere.info, the first English Ace Combat database, he has been involved in creating flight game-related websites, communities, and events since 2005. He explores past and present flight games and simulators with his extensive collection of game consoles and computers. Read Staff Profile.