The best way to come back alive is to stay low, hugging the ground, and skimming the treetops. Too low and you can be shot down by machine gun fire - too high and you can be detected by enemy air defence systems.
For helicopter pilots in war-time Ukraine, there is little margin for error.
He has flown countless combat missions for Ukraine's Sikorsky Brigade and been decorated for valour. He tells us his age - 34 - but not his last name.
"The closer to the target, the lower we fly. It's one or two metres above ground," he tells the BBC. "It's not enough just to strike the target. You have to come back safe and bring your crew and helicopter back safely for the next mission."