Ruleshammer – Aircraft

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Aircraft

Minimum Move Rules

Aircraft models typically have a Move characteristic consisting of two values. The first is the model’s minimum Move characteristic – in its Movement phase, all parts of the model’s base must end the move at least that far from where they started. The second is its maximum Move characteristic – no part of the model’s base can be moved further than this. If such a model’s Move characteristic is modified, its minimum and maximum Move characteristics are both modified. If an Aircraft model cannot make its minimum move, or its minimum move would result in any part of that model (including its base) crossing the edge of the battlefield, then unless you are using the Strategic Reserves rule, that model is removed from the battlefield and counted as destroyed (if the Aircraft is a Transport, then any models currently embarked within are likewise counted as destroyed). The Strategic Reserves rule is described in the Warhammer 40,000 Core Book.{CORE PDF Page13]

Aircraft vary but most of them have some version of the supersonic rule;

Supersonic: Each time this model moves, first pivot it on the spot up to 90° (this does not contribute to how far the model moves), and then move the model straight forwards. Note that it cannot pivot again after the initial pivot. When this model Advances, increase its Move characteristic by 20″ until the end of the phase – do not roll a dice.

This rule specifically gives you a 90° turn for free before you start the move, and then you measure from that position rather than where the model was at the start of the turn. They also don’t need to avoid obstacles in the movement phase because of the FLY keyword.

If the aircraft does not have the supersonic rule or a version of it then it can move normally, but it can’t move in a loop and claim to have moved it’s minimum move because of this specific part of the rule.

 …in its Movement phase, all parts of the model’s base must end the move at least that far from where they started

Aircraft and Engagement Range

Although Aircraft models have an Engagement Range (pg 4) like any other model, the following rules and exceptions apply to it – this will account for the fact that typically Aircraft models are soaring overhead and not skimming along the ground. 
Whenever a model makes any kind of move, it can be moved across Aircraft models (and their bases) as if they were not there, and they can be moved within an enemy Aircraft model’s Engagement Range, but it cannot end the move on top of another model (or its base), and it cannot end the move within Engagement Range of any enemy Aircraft models.
If, when an Aircraft unit is selected to Move in the Movement phase, any enemy units are within Engagement Range of it, that Aircraft unit can still make a Normal Move or an Advance (i.e. it does not have to Fall Back or Remain Stationary). 
If, when a unit is selected to move in the Movement phase, the only enemy models that are within Engagement Range of it are Aircraft, then it can still make a Normal Move or an Advance (i.e. it does not have to Fall Back or Remain Stationary).{CORE PDF Page13]

This is a fairly wordy rule, but here’s a few key parts.

Also remember from that Heroic Interventions, Pile Ins or Consolidation moves ignore Aircraft when determining the closest enemy model unless they have the FLY keyword.

Known Issues

Aircraft are TECHNICALLY immune to being Charged

This section of the AIRCRAFT rules leads to a slight issue.

Whenever a model makes any kind of move, it can be moved across Aircraft models (and their bases) as if they were not there, and they can be moved within an enemy Aircraft model’s Engagement Range, but it cannot end the move on top of another model (or its base), and it cannot end the move within Engagement Range of any enemy Aircraft models.

As models can’t end within Engagement Range of them when making ANY kind of move, with no exception for models that can Fly.

Wings: We obviously do not think this is the intent or endorse playing like this – this will be swiftly fixed, as it’s clear from other rules that FLY units are still supposed to be able to melee AIRCRAFT. Either there’s a missing “in the movement phase” here or “any kind of move” is meant to be a shorthand for “Normal Move, Advance or Fall Back”.

As such here is another Ruleshammer suggested fix for this issue.

Bombing Runs and Strategic Reserves

It’s currently not clear if a model that can use a bomb ability, can do so in a turn it leaves the board for strategic reserves. For now generally models not on the board can’t use their abilities (except if that ability specifically mentions it like a reinforcement ability). So It’s probably best to play that bombers can not bomb when leaving, perhaps because their attention is focused elsewhere that turn. Alternatively discuss this with your opponent before the game.

Moving an Aircraft Half Distance

There are a few abilities and rules that require a model to move half its max distance in order to benefit, for aircraft this is potentially unclear as they do have two movement characteristics. However it does only have a single maximum move, so the widely accepted interpretation is that the model must move less than half of that max, but more than its minimum. Some players have suggested it must move a distance halfway between its minimum and it’s maximum but I don’t think that’s supported by the rules as they are written. 

AIRCRAFT and Obscuring Terrain

An aircraft can still be out of sight, it’s just rare and they don’t benefit from the Obscuring rule.

  • If you had a solid piece of terrain that fully blocks LoS to an Aircraft, then it is not visible.
  • If that piece of terrain had some windows and the obscuring rule (and was over 5″) then if you can see the Aircraft through any of the windows it is visible. The obscuring rule does not block Line of Sight for models with more than 18 wounds or that are AIRCRAFT.

There was some confusion about obscuring as it says the 18+ wound and AIRCRAFT models “are visible”, which seemed to indicate that even solid terrain didn’t block for them if it was Obscuring. This was a bit odd. It maybe made sense for AIRCRAFT that are meant to be high up but if the rule for seeing them was representing them being high up then it becomes even more odd that the measuring range rules don’t do this (like maybe treating them as if they were 9″ further away so that Flamers aren’t amazing Anti Air weapons). Games Workshop have since then almost addressed this in the FAQs…

Obscuring and Dense Cover are two terrain traits introduced with ninth edition that interact with visibility. These rules do not overwrite the normal rules for determining visibility, though – they are in addition to them. Specifically, even though the Obscuring rules state that Aircraft and models with a Wounds characteristic of 18+ can be seen through Obscuring terrain, they are still only visible (and hence eligible) targets if the firing model can physically see them (so if the terrain in question is solid and opaque, they are still not eligible targets).

I say they’ve almost addressed it, because they said all that (and some other stuff about Dense Cover) but haven’t actually fixed the wording of the rule. So we know how it should work, which is fine we can play this correctly now at least, but the rule still says something else.

Games Workshop FAQ

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Ruleshammer Q&A

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