Some minor adjustments to this advice:
1, Don't bother shooting tanks (unless you have 25mm cannons & way too much time on your hands) you might as well throw feces at it.
2, Only use flares in any vehicle when then lockon has locked on, when it goes from a slow beep or constant beep to a fast beep (the sooner you pop them, the more likely you will escape the missile).
3, The true test of any air vehicle is how you deal with AA's, choppers, tanks etc are easy with the right loadout/teamwork, but AA's are a constant threat with active radar.
Hope this helps!