GTA 5 Flight School Training Guide – How To Fly


Flying is fun, whether it’s in a simulator, in a game, or in real life. Of course, it’s a skill that needs practicing, even if it’s in just a game. This applies to Grand Theft Auto V as well, which probably has the largest emphasis on flying as a source of travel than any other previous title in the series.

For this very reason, you can join a Flight School in GTA V to boost your flying skills. Not only will it give you an actual idea of how you can fly in the game, but it will also directly aid in boosting your character’s Flying attribute, which allows for improved control of aircraft.

Trevor is naturally a better pilot than either Michael or Franklin, yet even he can benefit greatly from the Flight School. If you’re an aviation lover like myself, joining the Flight School is one of the first things you should do.

For more help on GTA 5, read our 100% Completion, Assassination Missions and Hunting Guide.

GTA 5 Flight School Training

Flight School itself is made of different challenges that you can participate in, with each one having a Gold, Silver, and Bronze rating. Gold ratings will improve your Flying attribute the fastest, obviously. The sole rating determining factor of most of the flights is time – the faster you can perform a challenge, the higher the rating.

The Flight School is progressive, meaning you can unlock the next class only if you have completed the first one.

So, let’s look at the lessons. First up is the Training Take Off.

Training Take Off
This is the first practical lesson anyone really takes, even in real-life. Jackson the flight instructor will be instructing you over radio. You will first be shown the preview of the challenge.

Once that is done, you will take control after a countdown of 3 seconds. The target Gold time is located on the bottom right corner, above your actual time.

Accelerate with RT or R2 and let the aircraft gain some speed. Once it reaches V2 (speed at which there is a positive climb rate), it should automatically lift.

Retract the landing gear once it is around 100 feet above the air. You will notice a bit of jerkiness – this is turbulence and also a sign of your character’s inexperience in handling aircrafts. Try to counter the turbulence by gently banking opposite to its force.

You just have to aim for the floating yellow ring towards the runway. If you retract your gear in time, you will be able to reduce drag on the aircraft and perform this first lesson faster, increasing your chances of acquiring a Gold rating.

Runway Landing
Now it’s time to land. Landing is one of the trickiest parts of flying an aircraft, whether its games, simulators, or real life. It’s also probably the most exciting part of flying. A pilot’s skill is almost always judged by his/her ability to land the aircraft smoothly.

You’ll start off the lesson while in the air.

You need to descend and slow yourself down (but not stall!) to a speed that won’t make you crash into the runway. Pitch down slightly to descend (this is unrealistic, as in real-life you should never go in negative pitch).

Once you are aligned with the runway, slowly level yourself with the horizon and allow the plane to gently brush the runway asphalt. Decelerate to gain control, and then taxi till the end of runway to the checkpoint.

If you want to earn Gold, you should try to land the plane further down the runway so you don’t have to cover too much distance to reach the checkpoint. Once you are through the checkpoint, use the ailerons to exit the runway to the left to pass through the second checkpoint.

Inverted Flight
Time to get into a stunt plane and let that g-force have its effects. The intro video will show you a preview of what to do and how you are supposed to fly upside-down. When you have control, you will be on the runway. Perform a take-off and climb to reach the first marker.

Now, watch your Gold timer – shortly after you reach the marker a roll meter will appear. Start rolling immediately when it does, by fully turning your left analog stick to the left or to the right until you complete a 360 barrel roll. Then level your plane. The quicker you level your aircraft, the faster the next roll meter will appear.

Repeat this step again.

Now, you’ll need to perform three barrel rolls in a row. Once done, quickly level up again. You will now be asked to fly upside down. Roll upside down – you’ll notice your plane is dipping towards terra firma, so what you need to do is press your left analog stick up.

Yes, I said up. This is because when you are upside down the Y-axis is reversed. Keep yourself in that position till the meter fills red, while gently holding the left analog stick up to prevent yourself from dipping and losing altitude quickly.

You need to be tight and quick with your maneuvers and response in this lesson to ensure a Gold rating.

Knife Flights
Knife flying is basically turning your aircraft till its wings are perpendicular to the horizon. The lesson will start with a preview of what you should do, after which you will be stationed at the runway.

Perform a take-off and head to the first marker. The knifing meter will appear shortly after you pass through the marker.

Turn your plane to the side till you are perpendicular to the horizon. You will notice you begin to lose altitude. In order to address this issue, you need to activate the opposite sided rudder to maintain your height.

So if you had turned to the right, you will need to have the rudder to the left to keep your plane at the required altitude. Hold the knife till the meter fills red, and then level off the plane with the horizon as quickly as possible.

Next, repeat the same thing for the other side. You will be using the opposite rudder. Let the meter fill and then quickly level.

If you were quick with your knifing and leveling, you should be able to get a Gold on this one.

Flat Hatting
Okay, it’s time to put all that you have learnt to the test. I would recommend flying freely for a while to gain experience and improve your character’s Flying Attribute before you go into this lesson.

Basically, this lesson is a short route that involves takeoff, low altitude flying, sharp banking, and then finally landing. It is a complete course that requires careful handling. If your character is inexperienced in flying, he will have difficulty in controlling the aircraft due to turbulence.

You will be guided by the rings that make up the course.

Don’t stress yourself by trying to fly directly through them – they have a radius of effect that extends beyond their outer parameter, so it’s ok even if you aren’t exactly aligned.

There are certain sharp turns between ring number 8 to 11, 12 to 13, 15 to 16, and 17 to 18. Use a combination of aileron banking and rudder yaw, while pitching up slightly every time you bank to maintain your altitude.

There is no reason to fly above the altitude of the rings, but if you do fly with the rings, you need to make sure you don’t lose altitude or you might crash into terrain.

Be careful with rings number 13, 14, and 15 as they are located above a structurally busy region with poles and tall obstacles. The turn between rings 15 and 16 is the most difficult turn, and you will like get very close to the water as you perform a knife. Make sure to use your rudder pedal. Turn between 17 and 18 is also fairly challenging and will require similar maneuvers.

You don’t need to land the plane, so hopefully you can breathe a sigh of relief when you are done. If you chipped in a few hours of random flying out of the school before this lesson, you will have better control and hence higher chances of a Gold rating.

Touch Down
This is an emergency landing on a bridge. You will start the mission in the air. The closer you land to the final checkpoint, the better your score will be. This is not a timed lesson, so you don’t need to worry about doing it quickly.

As you start off, keep your plane level and fly through the first checkpoint. Once you have done so, reduce the throttle and start your descent. Touch down where the bridge begins, while constantly avoiding traffic.

Make sure you land on the meat of the bridge and not the sides, otherwise your wing will crash into one of the poles.

Keep going until you are near the final checkpoint, and then stop right on the check point to make sure you are closer than 10 feet of it. As long as you avoid traffic and don’t accidentally come to a fault halt before the final checkpoint, you will get a Gold rating.

Loop the Loop
By now you should have the hang of the basic controls, including pitch, roll, and yaw. This flight lesson will have you performing a vertical inside loop with the aircraft.

After the introduction video, you will start off in the air. Make sure you are level with the horizon at this time. Then, as soon as the loop meter appears above your Gold rating time, pull back on the left analog stick to increase your pitch.

Continue pulling the stick until you complete a 360 degree loop and are back in the same position as before, level with the horizon. It is important that you pull back vertically and your stick doesn’t slip slightly sideways, otherwise you’ll roll into a spiral.

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By Haider Khan

One of the long time staff at SegmentNext, Haider is an integral part of the team with a love for writing, playing guitar, and aviation. Apart from writing for us, Haider is also a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) on the side.

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    • Chrissyy

      HOw d i retract landing gear in the right position?

    • DrMichael

      I stole a plane, no flight school, and I’m wondering if there’s anywhere I can take it . I haven’t met anyone named Trevor yet. I’ve only been playing for a short while.

    • David B.

      Good guide, but personally I found completing the first part of the helicopter course a lot harder than ‘flat-hatting’ in the plane. I can complete the course, but not in a good enough time. I’m still about 10 seconds out from bronze despite several attempts!

    • Hygtf

      Same here.. Anything we have to do first to unlock it?

    • Theodisc

      To begin with, where is flight school. You don’t say. Is that because it’s anywhere once you get in a plane via calling it up on the phone or does it start from a particular location on the map?

    • answer

      No one you get to the first marker that’s when you decelerate and keep it at a steady speed till you get to the end

    • Mikey

      I’ve completed all the lessons, so there’s no ‘glitch’.