GTA 5 Flight School Training Guide – How To Fly

By   /   Sep 20, 2013

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.

Perform the second loop once its meter appears. This is quite similar to the first.

The final stunt will require you to perform a barrel roll right when half of the loop is completed, meaning you will end up upside down at the horizon if you were to complete the loop.

However, you will need to cancel the loop at the half-way point and perform the roll, and then level off. This may need some practicing if you aren’t used to aircraft controls, but that shouldn’t be the case if you’ve made it this far.

This is a relatively tough lesson because of the final stunt, but hopefully by now you should have enough experience to nullify aircraft instability, allowing you to focus on the maneuvers more. A gold rating chance is higher if you can execute the loops fast and level off quickly.

Helicopter Course
Yes, you’ll be flying a course with a chopper this time around. It’s an immediate jump to an aircraft that handles very differently from airplanes, but it’s nothing you won’t be able to handle.

The plus side of a helicopter is that it is slower and doesn’t require a forward thrust to stay in the air, which gives choppers the ability to hover in the air.

I would still recommend that you fly around in a helicopter for some time before jumping into this lesson, so you can get used to the slightly different controls and the torque and turning concepts.

The altitude for this course will be reasonably high, but you’ll be flying above the busy central part of South Los Santos and occasionally in between bridge gaps.

It’s nothing you shouldn’t be able to handle though.

You start off at the helipad in the airport. Just accelerate to raise the chopper. You can use the rudder of the helicopter to turn it on its vertical axis. If you combine the analog stick movement with the rudder, you will get better precision.

The helicopter can be moved forward by pitch down.

Note that though this is the primary method of increasing the forward velocity of a chopper, it also gradually decreases your altitude. So, it’s important to pull back occasionally and increase the thrust to maintain your average altitude. This is something you should practice prior to participating in the lesson.

There are actually plenty of Under the Bridge challenge bridges that you can come across during this course, but we’ll leave those for later, which you can see in our Under the Bridge Challenge Guide.

Apart from the fact that you fly a helicopter, this course is much easier than Flat Hatting one with the airplane.

Just remember that in order to achieve a Gold rating, you should try and accelerate between the largely distanced rings, which are 14, 15, and 16. They are in a straight line, so you should have no trouble whatsoever as long as you keep an eye on your altitude.

Helicopter Speed Run
This is another course, except that you have to be very fast in your flight.

Hopefully you have gotten the hang of how you can maintain a balance between speed and altitude with a chopper. If not, then practice around before attempting this lesson to ensure a Gold rating.

You begin in flight. The first four checkpoints have good distance between them and are in a large curve, allowing you to fly fast. They all follow the freeway, so you shouldn’t have any trouble navigating whatsoever.

Checkpoint 5 is located at a higher altitude, you might need to slow down, gain altitude, and move forward, which will take some time. Try to make this increase in altitude as quick as possible, and then resume your course.

You will take a sharp turn after the 7th checkpoint, but after that you should go full throttle and pass the lower altitude checkpoint 8; avoid colliding with the bridge.

Make sure you level off properly at the 10th checkpoint to fly smoothly through the next one.

The final set of checkpoints are cramped together and very difficult to maneuver through at fast speed. Make sure you can balance between speed and altitude. You might need to halt altogether and make sharp rudder turns at the final two checkpoints.

The final checkpoint is on the helipad. Decelerate quickly (but not so much that you crash downwards) till you land on the mark.

Sky Diving
Sky diving doesn’t have much to do with flying an aircraft, but it’s a hell lotta fun. This lesson will have you sky diving and landing on a specific target. Also, this is not a timed challenge, so don’t have to try and rush things

You will start off on the plane. Leap out of it when prompted, and steer yourself in the air with the left analog stick. Wee!

The rating of this lesson depends on how close you land to the target. You need to land at a maximum distance of three feet from the target to get the Gold rating. Deploy the parachute with the X (PS3) or A (Xbox 360) button.

Just do it when you feel the need.

The target is on top of the airport parking garage. After pulling the parachute cord, continue circling around the region while you slowly descend.

Make sure you keep the target in sight, and when you are low enough (around 450 feet), activate precision landing mode by pressing RB and LB (Xbox 360) or L2 and R2 (PS3). This will slow your descent and allow for precision controlling.

Lower down and aim at the target with your shoulders till your feet touch it. This should allow you to land on top or very close to the target, guaranteeing a gold rating.

Drop Zone
This is another sky diving lesson, but this time around you will be attempting to land on a dynamic target. There is a truck circling the airport runway, and you will have to land on top of it. Note that this is not timed either, but instead gives points for how close you land to the target.

Jump off the aircraft and let yourself free fall. You should be able to see the highlight of the truck on the ground even from a high altitude. Allow yourself to freely fall close to the ground, and then pull your chute.

Activate precision landing once you are around 400 or so feet from the ground, and steering yourself to intersect the path of the truck.

It is best to fly parallel to the direction of where the truck is handing to make it easier for you to land on the target. Cross landing is very difficult even though the truck is moving slowly.

You should also take care of your speed when you get close to the truck. Allow yourself to speed up by getting out of precision mode to catch up with the truck if required. If you feel you are going to overshoot, reenter precision mode and slightly pull up, and then resume chasing the truck.

Pat yourself on the back if you manage to land exactly on the target.

Earn Your Wings
So, you’re down to your last lesson. Good job. All that you have learned will be put to test in the final lesson. You will be flying a course that flies you over Los Santos and back to the airport, but you will be performing stunts at certain checkpoints.

Yes, you heard me correct, you will be flying around doing while knife and invert maneuvers, so hopefully you have gotten the hang of it by now.

There are three kinds of checkpoints in this flight. The Yellow checkpoints are standard checkpoints that will indicate the direction of the next marker.

The Green checkpoints are those that will require you to perform a knife maneuver while passing through them.

If you don’t manage to do that, you fail. The center of the checkpoint will indicate whether it’s a left knife maneuver or a right one, but you can do either one – it only shows it as a recommendation to make the following checkpoint easier.

The Blue checkpoints are ones which will require you to fly inverted through them. If you can’t do that, you will fail.

The challenging part of the lesson starts at the first green checkpoint, which is the third checkpoint overall. You will need to make a hard left knife, which should allow you to take the sharp turn required to go through the fourth checkpoint in a leveled manner.

The fifth checkpoint is a blue one, so you will need to quickly invert your aircraft. Level off through checkpoint six, and then perform another knife through the seventh one.

The checkpoint recommends a rightward knife, which is true because the next checkpoint is slightly to the right, but you can still get away with a left knife maneuver as well.

The left knife through the tenth checkpoint will allow you to make the sharp turn to the next checkpoint easily. You’ll be flying in between the set of buildings now.

The next difficult challenge comes with the fourteenth checkpoint, which will require a left knife and a hard turn to checkpoint fifteen. The rest of the checkpoints aren’t as difficult – just make sure you do the maneuvers properly.

The last checkpoint is the finish line and you won’t need to land the aircraft. Congratulations, you just finished your final lesson!

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