Airborne units are units that are capable of flying of hovering in the air. They appear in Age of Mythology and Age of Empires III, and they are the third type of units there after land units and ships. Flying units are much more rarely seen, and it is by no means certain any will appear in a given game. The main advantage of flying units is that they are not constrained by any obstacles on the map. They can fly over land, sea, rocks, and walls, exploring every corner of the map. Additionally, they can only be attacked by ranged units (including, in some cases, other flying units).
In Age of Empires and Age of Empires II, the only flying units to appear are the occasional birds added for atmosphere. They are purely ornamental and cannot be interacted with in any way. There is also the Flying Dutchman cheat unit in Age of Empires, which, though a flying unit, could still be attacked by melee units.
Age of Mythology
In Age of Mythology, the concept of flying units is most developed. There is a total of 8 airborne myth units available in random map scenarios, an additional campaign exclusive unit, and one cheat unit.
- Servant of Kronos (Kronny Flying)
The Greeks only have the Pegasus, a scout trainable for all three major gods, from the Temple in the Archaic Age. The Pegasus can be obtained as a respawning unit by all Civilizations with the Relic Bridle Of Pegasus.
The Egyptians have the Roc, a large flying unit that cannot attack, but instead can transport units, taking them over water, cliffs, and enemy walls. It is trainable by Ra and Isis through the worship of Hathor.
The Norse have two units, the Raven (Odin only), a respawning scout unit that cannot attack, and the Nidhogg, a powerful dragon, that can be summoned by Hel's God Power, available only to Loki. The Nidhogg is the strongest regular flying unit in the game by far.
A flying version of Servant of Kronos appears in campaign cinematics. If the
WUV WOO Cheat Code is used, the player obtains the Flying Purple Hippo cheat unit. Finally, there are 4 flying bird units and the Harpy which the player has very little interactions with.
Age of Empires III
Only two flying units appear in Age of Empires III, both exclusive scouts: the Hot Air Balloon and the Advanced Hot Air Balloon. The ability to create them is obtained from a Home City Card in the Colonial Age for all European civilizations. It grants the Explorer the ability to set a hot air balloon anywhere on the map, where it can explore until it dies. The Advanced Hot Air Balloon is a single-use unit, available with one per game, that does not die after some time. These balloons can only be killed through direct targeting of them, meaning AI players cannot take them down.