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Learn to fly the planes [spoiler warning]


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Those of you having trouble with the airplane controls and asking for others to finish those missions with your save files, two things:


1) There are *a lot* of flying missions, so you might as well learn how to do it or you'll miss out on several missions


2) It is worth it just to play the Vertical Bird mission and fly the Hydra jet. I mean it is really worth it. That was the most fun I had in the whole game so far. The Hydra jet is BAD ASS once you learn to control the thrusters, easily the most fun aircraft of any of the GTA games. Use the cheat code to spawn one and play with it for a while before trying the mission.


Vertical Bird is a dogfight with you against 3 other jet fighters, heat seaking missiles, antimissile flares and then an air to surface attack on ships in the water. It is fun as HELL.



I know the flight school is a pain in the ass. Keep at it anyway. It's worth it. Remap the keys to something more useable than Rockstar's default and it'll be much easier. This is what works for me:

W = Up

S = Down

A = Look Left

D = Look Right

Numpad 7 = Left

Numpad 9 = Right

Numpad 1 = Hydra thrusters down

Numpad 3 = Hydra thrusters up

Numpad / = Steer Forward/Down

Numpad 8 = Steer Back/Up

Numpad 0 = Fire (Drops decoy flares in the Hydra)

Left CTRL = Secondary Fire (Fires missiles in the Hydra)

Space = Handbrake (Locks onto targets for missiles in the Hydra)


EDIT: Oops. forgot a few keys.

Edited by mikeswi
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  • 6 years later...

DEFAULT Controls:


Enter – Enter/Leave Vehicle

Arrows Right/Left. Bank Right/Left.

Arrows Up/Down Climb/Dive

A or D Bank Left or Right

W increase throttle

S decrease throttle

E turn Rudder Right

Q turn Rudder Left.

NumPad + raises/lowers Landing Gear.

NumPad 0 or Left Ctrl fire Main Rockets.

Space Bar = Lock on Target.

HYDRA Left Alt or Right Ctrl – Launch Defensive Measures.

HUNTER Left Ctrl fires Machine Guns.

HUNTER Right Ctrl fires Rockets.

HYDRA: NumPad 8 sets thrusters for Forward Flight

HYDRA NumPad 2 sets thrusters for Hover Flight

OTHER Aircraft: NumPad 2 Look Down

OTHER Aircraft: NumPad 4 Look Left.

OTHER Aircraft: NumPad 8 Look Down

OTHER Aircraft: NumPad 6 Look Right.

Use of Parachute:

Left Ctrl to open Parachute.

Up Arrow to dive fast

Down Arrow to slow dive

A/D or Left/Right Arrows to turn Left/Right




If you don’t hold a key the Aircraft will/may maintain normal flight.

Don’t over control use light taps until you get comfortable (except maybe the throttle.)

Let the Aircraft fly itself when you can.

Make it easy on yourself:

Recommended System Requirements by Rockstar:

Game pad with twin axis analog controls (USB or Joystick Port)


Vertical Bird: Destroy two of the jets on the Hanger Deck

Edited by lil weasel
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Have to agree with you, mikeswi. Learning to fly was definitely a challenge and I was feeling very apprehensive about it during the ring challenge at flight school. But sure enough, with enough practice you do eventually get the hang of it and then it feels very rewarding to pilot a successful flight!


Personally, I don't even use the rudder when flying. But when turning I make sure to never hold the A or D keys to control the ailerons, because they are extremely senstitive. Tapping is the way to go. Just the right amount of taps - back and forth sometimes - paired with a little boost in throttle and now I can pull off even the most sharpest of turns with the largest of planes.


Haven't got to the Vertical Bird mission yet, but looking forward to it smile.gif

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