My usual "pilot" character has attained a rank around Sergeant Argent, with a 'Dex' around a '16' and a 'Luck' around '17'... and my "first attempt" is successful about 90% of the time. By that I mean I 'arrive at my destination' ! Think I've received a skill 'boost' (from a "1" to a "2") only 2 or 3 times, in the 25+ times I've used the helicopter.
"Helicopter Pilot" skill is REQUIRED
to 'unlock the pilot's chair', which begins a 'string of game messages' -
"You reach over and release the seat lock - it slides back and you drop into it. Engines roar when you hit the switches"
"You start to lift off and feel the copter veer toward the wall. You grab the stick and move to avert disaster."
probably some "Luck" or "Dexterity" check here *****
IF you 'succeed' / 'pass the check', the game message continues -
"You handle the stick like an old pro; flying this puppy will be a breeze. Get any passengers with you before you take off".
"One-way only:" (choose your destination)
A) Base Cochise (one of the six choices) !!!
IF you 'fail' / 'DON'T pass the check', the 'game message' continues -
'The copter crashes into the wall (at the Citadel)'. The helicopter just "disappears" and you're left standing there in the Citadel !
AT Base Cochise -
using the helicopter is an "Everything" or "Nothing" 'deal' !
used for the FIRST
'visit' / 'trip to Cochise' - (game message) indicates that the helicopter has 'destroyed' all the robot guards on the outside of the Base; NOTE
there will still be "random encounters" there !
you've been to Cochise before (entering from the desert), then there is NO (game message) about the robot guards... you're just left 'standing on the roof', beside your 'crashed helicopter'; along with
any/all robot guards you 'left-behind' / 'failed to kill' on your previous 'visit(s)' to Cochise !!!
There's a 'map marker' on Cochise (also on Sleeper), "You've come upon a seldom used trail that leads to a place you didn't know existed before" - this 'message' / 'marker' "disappears" when you have entered the location from the desert !
The 'presence' of this 'marker' may
be the factor that determines IF
the helicopter is your first visit (destroying the robots)... OR
the 'absence' of this 'marker' may determine you've been here before AND No robots get destroyed by the helicopter... any that you 'left behind' are still awaiting your return !
Hee, hee, hee !
I know... "been there... done that" !!!
Returning to Cochise, by helicopter, AFTER its 'destruction'... have occasionally 'stumbled upon' a few robots 'missed' the first time through (usually back corners of the base). Even 'crashed' on the roof - only to find the 4 groups of robots still there... AND a few groups of robots on the ground (to the east & west) also 'still waiting for me' !!!