GTA:SA Flying woes

I got on the GTA:SA bandwagon just last week, but man what a ride it has been. I keep getting amazed by the sheer scope of the game, now after just having unlocked Las Venturas, and at the same time the immense amount of detail put into it all. The immersion is near total when I can travel the highway from Los Santos through San Fierro to Las Venturas, through forested valleys, over water and through the desert without seeing a single load screen. In my mind this game is one of the greatest achievements in gaming history.

Anyway, enough ranting. Like the title said, I’ve been having trouble with my flying. I’m required to finish flight school to advance the plot, but I can’t seem to get through the bloody circle-and-land mission. I get through all the rings maybe one time in five, and when I do I end messing up my landing, and unlike driving school this mission isn’t a ten-second thing where trying again is painless. Can anyone help me with my flying?

Have you tried it in first person view? Made it much easier for me.

Yeah, that was what I did after crashing ten times in the first “circle” mission.

You say you make it through the rings one in five times? What’s messing you up

Tap the joystick, don’t hold or you will overcompensate. If you miss the first ring or second, there are some places you can crash and restart, but others that land you in the hospital…unfortunately I don’t remember the specifics. If you have problems with one direction try the other, for some reason I had an easier time going counter than clockwise. When you go through the last ring, start slowing immediately and dropping altitude, because you can land short and drive onto the finish spot but you can’t overshoot the strip. First person view may make the flying easier but it is easier to see the rings in third person.

Well, the plane’s too fast and the controls are too damn sensitive. I try banking right 20 degrees and usually end up banking 70 degrees. which forces me to compensate, which ends up with me overcompensating, and then I just give up. By now I can usually fly through a couple of rings before it happens, but it only needs to happen once and then I’ll end up kissing the ground.

For the landing part, I think it helps big-time to lower your landing gear as soon as you get past the last ring, even before you make your final approach on the runway. You need to slow the plane down a lot, and lowering the gear will help do this.

Also, don’t worry about being perfectly level at the moment of landing, either - you can afford to be leaning a little. I used to panic about this, but after screwing around a little I noticed that as long as you didn’t come near actually landing on the tip of the wing, your plane would most likely correct itself. Just make sure you come to a complete stop in the red circle, or all your efforts will be for naught as your score will be reduced to zero.

For the turns at the beginning, if you don’t already do this, try turning only a tiny, tiny bit - barely tap on the analog stick so that the tilt is almost indiscernible - then use the rudder to steer through the circles. I don’t know that you can do that for every circle, but I’m pretty sure it’s a good and safe way to get through at least a few without falling into the trap of oversteering then overcompensating.

Your only “easy” solution to the sensitivity problem is to build your flying skill. That can only be done by either A: flying around forever (I think you can jack a plane at the Las Venturas airport before you finish the flight school missions, not sure) or B: um, whoops, finishing flight school missions. I don’t remember if repeating old missions helps easily boost your flying skill or not, but it may be something to try if you really get frustrated.

I love GTA and it pains me to say this, but I find the flight sections to be almost unplayable. I finally snagged a private jet which handles beautifully, but it’s a rare exception to a horrible rule.

Is it me, or are the helicopters a lot less fun to fly than they were in GTA:VC? It seems like they’ve tried to unify the flight controls between copters and planes, which only serves in the case of the helicopters to break what weren’t broke.

Given how much fun I’ve had with the game, and how much faith I usally have in Rockstar North (GTA:VC is easily my all-time favourite game), I’m apalled at the flight in San Andreas. (Well, except for that special flying vehicle that I won’t mention for fear of spoiling anything.) It feels unpolished, unfinished, and isn’t any damn fun.

I’m very close to the end of the game and still have that accursed Zero mission where you’re taking out delivery drivers unfinished.

I spent THREE FUCKING DAYS on the flight school missions. The only positive thing about it is you get to listen to some truly awe-inspiring cussing from James Woods if you dick around too long. My suggestion: practice. If my psychotically-impatient 34-year-old reflexes can do it, then so can you.

My wife, on the other hand, blew through the missions in about an hour. Her secret was that she spent a day or so doing the Zero RC biplane mission (Supply Lines, I think) which is EVEN MORE HELLISHLY DIFFICULT, so the flight school was a comparative walk-in-the-park.

I think the addition of RPG style stats made everything seem to handle worse at first but once you build your skills up the vehicles handle much better than before. For example, with 100% motorcycle or bicycle skill you very rarely fall off when crashing, which can lead to some amazing fun. It’s just harder to build up your flight skill than the other skills.

I think my flight skill is nearly maxed and I still have a nasty time with anything other than the private jet.

Odd. I found Supply Lines easy once I figured out the trick to it. Namely, land and park right behind the couriers and blow them away. You don’t waste any fuel while you’re on the ground and they’re so slow that setting it up is beyond easy. Took me 5 tries to do it, but I could probably have done in three if I hadn’t worked under the mistaken assumption that not pressing the gas button would draw less fuel while in the air. It just made me go slower, and drew just as much gas.

Anyway, I got past the mission. After about twenty or so attempts where most were all fucked up the moment I landed. The landing training had you perfectly level which made it easy. Not so here. After that mission the rest of flight school was a piece of cake.

I had my brother do it. Flight School is by far the worst part of the game.

For the most part, steer entirely with the shoulder buttons. The stick is almost entirely a “go instantly out of control” yoke for the planes–much less so for the copters, which contrary to earlier opinion, I found easier to wrangle than in Vice City.

Flight School really was an unnecessarily harsh roadbump in the mission structure.

Yeah, I used the shoulder buttons for the rudder. made it easier for me.

I enjoyed the flight school and got all golds to unlock the Hunter.

Maybe this is just me being crazy, but after all that trouble I found that the first “real” plane mission out of flight school was easy, and pretty fun too. It seems my flight skill is at like 80% now, after flight school, so maybe that helps, but I find that I can fly with the stick reliably now. Landings are still a bit of a pain, but as long as I’m not required to hit a target I do fine.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the reward for finishing the airport missions is awesome.