While demonstrating the capabilities of the new prototype supercopter codenamed 'Airwolf', Dr. Charles Moffet goes rogue, steals the chopper and kills almost all of the observers. At least one man -- Michael Coldsmith Briggs III survives. Briggs, codenamed 'Archangel' is the head of a covert organization called 'The Firm' and Archangel calls upon the one man in the world he knows that can retrieve the copter. The problem is Stringfellow Hawke is not only a loner, but a recluse as well. The amount of money the Firm is willing to pay for Airwolf's recovery is irrelevant...
Hawke and Dom must stop a suspected traitor from turning an advanced military fighter over to the Russians in exchange for his son who was born in Vietnam. Things get complicated, though, when Hawke realizes that he was also involved with the boy's mother during roughly the same era as the child's birth.
An ambitious executive at the Firm makes a subversive play for Archangel's job. A bomb is planted aboard a vintage helicopter owned by Dominic Santini and he's forced to crash land. When Hawke and Archangel go hunting for Dom, Airwolf is ambushed and shot down. The two must convince a group of locals to help them repair their damaged tail rotor. Complicating matters on Dom's end, he must contend with a stowaway aboard his chopper -- a young girl searching for her dad.
A Russian mole discovers that scientists in the U.S.S.R. have developed a lethal serum that instantly kills anyone exposed to it. He steals a vial of the serum and contacts his friend Archangel for help in escaping the country with his family. Archangel dispatches Hawke and Santini for the rescue effort, but Airwolf can't handle that much passenger weight -- unless all her armaments are stripped leaving the supercopter defenseless.
A movie producer hires Santini Air for a dangerous stunt involving the landing of a helicopter onto the roof of a moving semi. Dom and String nearly come to blows, however, when String tries to convince Dom that his reaction time might not be up to snuff for this particular action sequence. Things get even more dicey when it appears that the production might just be an elaborate cover for a high-stakes gold heist.
An Israeli war crimes hunter is killed by a suspected Nazi named Hans Daubert in France. His daughter vows revenge and seeks the help of String and Dom, along with Airwolf, to bring him to justice. Complicating matters is Archangel's involvement with Daubert who is a known arms dealer selling to the powers that he chooses to in order to influence political outcomes in the world -- and Archangel is his supplier!
Santini makes an unauthorized flight to Cuba in order to rescue two political prisoners who are being ransomed for $2 million. However, while there, the exchange site is attacked and the ransom money is stolen. While flying back to the mainland, Santini is forced to crash land back on Cuba and Hawke must brave a hurricane in Airwolf to rescue his friend. When String and Dom are reunited, the pair must negotiate with a band of freedom fighters who raised the capital to ransom their compadres and are not convinced of Santini's innocence in the theft of the funds. To ...
North and South Limbawe are in conflict over oil and a despotic General plans to overthrow his own government in South Limbawe and attacks his neighbors to the North. String and Dom are sent by Archangel to aid North Limbawe and it's leader, Seku Logana, but Logana has his own prejudices about receiving aid for his cause. Also in the mix is an old Vietnam buddy of Hawke's, Marty Vidor, who is working as a mercenary for South Limbawe, and Hawke is hesitant to take him on since Vidor just may know the location of the missing Saint John.
Dr. Robert Winchester is a brilliant researcher and a former test pilot who helped design Airwolf. Now, he's asking for Hawke's help in test flying a simulator that he's designed to enable the Firm to train future test pilots to fly Airwolf. Reluctantly, Hawke agrees, but determines that the simulator's "feel" is a little off. Archangel convinces Hawke to let Winchester hook up the real Airwolf to his computers in order to get a more realistic demonstration. This allows Winchester to engage in a little friendly flying competition with Hawke but it also allows the ...
Archangel warns String about a zealous government bureaucrat named D.G. Bogard who will stop at nothing until he finds Airwolf. Dom and Hawke take time out from shooting a military training film to hide Airwolf in a different location before it can be discovered, but Bogard catches on to their ruse and tracks Hawke back to the new hideaway. To complicate things, an eager pilot tails Dom and Hawke in an effort to convince Santini that she deserves a job working for his company.
String and Dom investigate a small town where a friend of theirs has disappeared. What they discover there is a little fiefdom controlled by an unfriendly sheriff named Bogan who doesn't like outsiders in his domain. When String starts poking around for his friend, Bogan arrests him and sets him loose on an 80,000 acre wildlife enclosure just outside the town. There, he becomes the game in a little hunt that just may cost him his life. As if that isn't enough, an attractive highway patrol deputy has also run afoul of the Sheriff and String and Dom must intervene ...
When Eddie, a chronically drunk friend of Dom's, spouts off about UFO-type lights he's been seeing near his desert trailer, everyone writes him off as a crackpot until one night while taking Eddie home, Dom spots them, too. He and String investigate and discover a military compound nearby headed by a renegade general who is planning a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, while escaping, Dom is shot and it's up to Eddie to ride shotgun aboard Airwolf with String even though he doesn't believe he can do what may be asked of him.
The Firm asks String to covertly shuttle a renowned researcher and diplomat, Dr. Roger Burton, to Russia for a secret meeting since Airwolf can get past the Russian defenses without being detected. Unfortunately, before Hawke can go back and recover Dr. Burton, a virus implanted by Airwolf's creator, the late Dr. Moffett, rears its ugly head and threatens not only the destruction of the supercopter but the elimination of the Firm as well unless a computer programmer String knows can undo the damage the evil Dr. Moffett concocted.
String and Dom rescue Dom's niece from her abusive boyfriend and return her to the U.S. Unfortunately, the boyfriend hasn't given up on her yet and sends his goons in search of her. Caitlin O'Shaughnessy (Jean Bruce Scott) re-enters the picture, asking Dom for a job at his hangar. Meanwhile, while trying to assimilate to life in the U.S., Holly (Barbara Howard) begins hanging out on a movie set with String and Dom. Not all is quite as it appears when a serious of incidents lead String and Dom to confront Holly's ex-boyfriend and they make a disturbing discovery that ...
A rich corporate industrialist, Carter Anderson III, hires Santini and Hawke to ensure his safe transportation needs when it becomes evident that he might be targeted for a hit. Anderson is aware of the existence of Airwolf and Hawke agrees to use the supercopter to help protect Anderson if necessary. Caitlin agrees to fly one of the helicopters for the mission, but there's a twist that she's unaware of; her new boyfriend just might be in on the assassination plan.
Dom and String return to Dom's birthplace when Dom learns that his daughter has died of a drug overdose. After attending the funeral, they return to California where Dom is arrested on suspicion of murdering his ex-wife. String returns to the island to investigate the murder and learns that unsavory elements have begun taking over the seaside community where a casino is being developed. String finds himself pondering a burning question...does the casino's developer have something to do with the deaths of Dom's wife as well as his daughter?
Marella unofficially asks String and Dom to attempt a rescue mission when Archangel is captured by rival agents and his wing of the Firm is disavowed. Archangel had embarked on a rescue mission for a former lover which he later discovers is a trap to lure him to his capture and subsequent brainwashing. String and Dom must find Archangel and deprogram him before he can assassinate the Firm's top leader, Zeus.
Caitlin plans to fly home to attend her sister's wedding but her plane is hijacked and crashed into the sea and a ransom demand is issued to the airline. Meanwhile, String and Dom mount their own search and rescue plan while Caitlin and the airline owner, who's also aboard the plane, attempt to keep the passengers calm. Complicating rescue efforts, the terrorists are nearby and they attempt to shoot down anything that comes even remotely close to the downed plane.
String learns that Saint John may be held captive in a POW camp in Laos. Together with Dom, he recruits a couple of Vietnam veterans, one a daredevil, the other an up-and-coming politician, to go after his brother and bring him home. While they're in Cambodia, however, one of the team gets the jitters and reveals that he actually betrayed his comrades when they'd been captured by the enemy during the war. To that end, he not only has to redeem himself, but regain the trust of his companions.
When String and Dom agree to shoot some incidental film footage for a friendly rival, they accidentally stumble across a reputed mobster hiding out in the desert with plans for a secret rendezvous with his compatriots. The mobster sends his goons out to recover the film, but when their friend ends up being killed over the footage they shot, String and Dom work even harder to try to find out what's behind their friend's murder, even though a local detective isn't convinced about their findings.