[Grand Theft Auto V / GTA 5] Aircraft Guide

This article contains the Aircraft Guide in Grand Theft Auto V. It includes basic instructions on controls, flying skill, and the factors that affect this skill.

This article contains the Aircraft Guide in Grand Theft Auto V. It includes basic instructions on controls, flying skill, and the factors that affect this skill.

Aircraft Guide

Piloting an aircraft, or simply Flying is an essential skill to learn and familiarize in Grand Theft Auto Online. Depending on the initial investment, it will dictate how your Character performs in Flying. This Skill will influence the following: Taking off and Landing, Managing Turbulence, and Turning and Tilting Control.

In other words, if your Skill is high enough, your character can perform the above mentioned factors with ease. It is recommended to raise the Flying Skill to max in order to receive the highest control over the Aircraft.

Raising the Skill

Flying will depend on different factors, these may range from the simple requirement of taking off and maintaining control in the air, to more complex ones such as involving Aerobatics, by passing through bridges.

The following are the factors that raise the Skill.

  • Flying for a long duration

This factor raises the Flying by 1% for each 10 minute mark.

  • Passing under bridges during flight

This factor contributes to Flying by 1% and allows passing through the same bridge.

  • Earning Gold Medals from Flight School Missions

This factor grants ~3-5% in Flying for every Gold Medal acquired.

Click here to see the Skills List.

One of the best ways to raise your Skill level is to attend the Flight School. Another is to master flying below the bridges. It requires effort to hone this skill apparently.

Pilot Controls

When controlling an aircraft, there are keypresses to keep in mind.

The table summarizes the PC controls for manning an aircraft.

Control Command
W Accelerate
S Decelerate
A Turn Left
D Turn Right
8 Nose Down
5 Nose Up
4 Tilt Left
6 Tilt Right
F Eject
E Utility
G Landing Gear
Space Bar Fire Current Weapon
Left click Similar to 4,5,6,8, when held down
Mouse Wheel Swaps Weapons

Click here to see the General PC Controls.

The Challenge to become a skilled pilot requires familiarizing with the keys. Essentially, you would want to grasp the feel of adjusting to the distance between the keys when playing on PC.

Flight Terms


Press and Hold 5 to turn the plane’s nose up. This ensures a smooth take off from the runway. The opposite to this is 8. Helicopters work backwards, and having its nose up will force it to move slower or progress backwards. The opposite works when the chopper’s nose is pointed downwards, resulting in driving it forwards.


You will have to depend on Tilting to perform fast precise turns. To raise the intensity of the turn, you can combine the 5, and 8 keys respectively.


One of the factors mentioned involves controlling Turbulence. These are conditions that have a bearing on your control on the aircraft. In-game, it can be expected that weather conditions can worsen the degree of Turbulence. In order to combat these effects would require tilting your aircraft to the direction opposite of where it occurs.

For instance, clear skies entails that Turbulence would be minimized when running the plane at normal elevations. However, once you reach higher altitudes, prepare to experience high turbulence. A good indicator is whenever the plane reaches beyond the level of the clouds.

This is a case to case basis. Taking off during Rainfall entails a far more aggravating scenario since it factors in Wind and Rain simultaneously.

Although if you thought Rainfall was terrible, Snow is much worse. Apart from hampering your visibility, it will also cause even pilots with maxed out Flying Skill to be shaken.

Flight Schools

In GTA 5, Flight Schools is split between Story and Online. The story has some exclusive aircrafts such as the Cuban 800, whereas the Online mode shows a more diverse collection which usually differs across Courses.

Story: San Andreas Flight School

This section showcases the Flight School Missions for Story Mode.

Cuban 800

Course Objective Time to Beat
Training Take Off Take Off and go through 2 checkpoints. Bronze: 1:00
Silver: 0:50
Gold: 0:32
Runway Landing Land smoothly on the runway. Bronze: 1:10
Silver: 0:55
Gold: 0:35


Course Objective Time to Beat
Inverted Flight Perform corkscrews then fly while inverted. Bronze: 2:20
Silver: 2:00
Gold: 1:40
Knife Flight Fly sideways and maintain altitude. Bronze: 1:40
Silver: 1:15
Gold: 0:54
Flat Hatting Fly on low altitude passing through checkpoints. Bronze: 3:00
Silver: 2:35
Gold: 2:15
Touch Down Land a plane on the bridge which out of Fort Zancudo. Bronze: 45+ Feet
Silver: 45 Feet
Gold: 10 Feet
Loop the Loop Execute an inside loop. Bronze: 2:05
Silver: 1:40
Gold: 1:35
Earn Your Wings Soar through the inverted and knife flight checkpoints. Bronze: 3:40
Silver: 3:15
Gold: 2:50


Course Objective Time to Beat
Helicopter Course Fly across checkpoints. Bronze: 3:45
Silver: 3:15
Gold: 2:40
Helicopter Speed Run Race across checkpoints. Bronze: 3:30
Silver: 3:00
Gold: 2:10

No Aircraft Required

Course Objective Time to beat
Skydiving Land onto the target. Bronze: 20 Feet
Silver: 10 Feet
Gold: 3 Feet
Drop Zone Land onto the mobile target. Bronze: 20 Feet
Silver: 7 Feet
Gold: 0 Feet


For Online Mode, these are the following Flight School Missions.

P-996 Lazer

Course Objective Time to beat
Outside Loop Do a successful outside loop. Bronze: 2:00
Silver: 1:20
Gold: 0:58
Follow Leader Follow JT Boyd around town Bronze: Finish
Silver: 2:40
Gold: 2:25


Course Objective Time to beat
Engine Failure Land a Miljet safely with an engine failure Bronze: 30+ Meters
Silver: 30 Meters
Gold: 10 Meters


Course Objective Time to beat
City Landing Land during a weather condition. Bronze: 30+ Meters
Silver: 30 Meters
Gold: 10 Meters


Course Objective Time to beat
Moving Landing Landing on a mobile flatbed. Bronze: 1:00
Silver: 0:25
Gold: 0:19


Course Objective Time to beat
Formation Flight Fly with formation around the city Bronze: 300 Points
Silver: 450 Points
Gold: 600 Points
Ground Level Checkpoint flight while at low altitude. Bronze: 10 Meters
Silver: 3 Meters
Gold: 1 Meter


Course Objective Time to beat
Shooting Range Eliminate all targets Bronze: 10
Silver: 15
Gold: 25

No Aircraft Required

Course Objective Time to beat
Chase Parachute Perform a skydive after parachute then land safely. Bronze: 7 Meters
Silver: 4.5 Meters
Gold: 2 Meters

Application and Combat

After graduating from Flight School, the application comes in by participating in combat. For air-based battles, combat is properly referred to as a Dog Fight, this can either be 2 Planes, or 2 Choppers, or a combination of the two.

Combat Tips

Similar to ground combat, air combat will demand either a fight or flight response. In order to excel in Dog Fight, you need to remember a few reminders.

A standard rule is to first determine the type of aircraft to know how to handle it.

Another rule is to examine your position, this means that if you can secure an opportunity that is safe to battle on, you may proceed to engage the opposing aircraft in combat.

After familiarizing with your enemy, you need to trail behind them. Failure to do and the consequences can be fatal.

Finally, employ the techniques you have learned from Flight School. Sometimes a fight requires you to execute flight or in other words, escape. Perform a Corkscrew, or employ a U-turn to move from a vulnerable position to a safe one.


Depending on your placement, engaging in a Dog Fight can give your problems, advantages, or a combination of both. If you engage against an enemy aircraft in an urban area, chances are you will be need to execute dodges less and employ more concealment using the buildings for cover. However, do note that unlike certain forts, these can be destroyed. Be sure to maintain composure to avoid crashing into the buildings. If you can bait a speedy enemy, you can trick them to crashing into the building.

For open areas, you will depend on altitude. Avoid flying too high as this will expose you to the aircrafts soaring below. Best to remain under most aircrafts to gain the upper hand when commencing Dog Fights. This gives you a worm’s eye view of your pursuer.


Aircrafts act similar to Ground Weapons. These range from Cannons, to Rockets, and include more complex ones like Explosive Cannons and Homing Rockets. Cannons are great for dealing against immobile targets since mobile ones tend to dodge them handily. Rockets on the other hand are expelled freely and will tend to rush wildly at the target.

More sophisticated weapons such as the Explosive Cannons have increased firepower. This allows them to pierce through vehicles that sport high caliber armor plating. Whereas Homing Rockets, are upgraded versions of Rockets that trail behind the most recent locked target. The downside however is if they are tricked by their target, they are prone to propelling outside the range.

Click here to see a list of the Recommended Vehicles.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of