For some reason they made having a parachute cost a skill point. For the task given to your character, that’s like starting without pants, either.
Helicopters aren’t as good as a grapple, but they are plentiful & quickly become the best mode of transport. Do the the Rebel side missions that upgrade Vehicle Dropoff. Once you hit level 3 of that (seven successful upgrade missions) you can get an unarmed helicopter dropped nearby at any time.
Playing in Tier Mode you gain Prestige Points, which let you buy Prestige Crates. I got super-lucky & got the Unidad Helicopter from a Prestige Crate (it’s about a 1:500 chance). It is the very definition of overpowered, with homing missiles for you as pilot and a minigun on each side for your AI pals. Ubisoft will also be happy to sell you the same helicopter in a vehicle pack for $20-$25 (I don’t have a good grasp on how many game credits you get for a dollar).
Homing missiles are the bee’s knees for grinding Tier points at advanced Tier levels, but playing “Recon In Force: Gunship Edition” gets kind of boring. So I still redo missions for Tier points (you get 50% less each repeat, but they all reset when you reach the next Tier) & infiltrate bases to play instant-death Ghost Rainbow Recon Six.
I also got a Tractor from a Prestige Crate, so pretty far from a grapple or helicopter gunship in usefulness, but one of your teammates can sit on the back & shoot at stuff.