So How do I skip the flying missions in San Andreas?

Here is your best bet for the flight missions: Spend $15 and get a Logitech PS2 controller clone. Doing these missions without a pad is impossible.


Flight School is a pain. Especially because the plane they give you is one of the least manueverable in the game!

The best advice I have is that when banking do NOT apply the throttle. The biggest problem with the plane is that it’s very easy to overcontrol and then you’re hosed - and this is only magnified by having the throttle going.

For other missions: SUpply Lines on the PC is ludicriously easy; they vastly VASTLY increased the amount of fuel your plane has. It’s stupidly unmanueverable but all you have to do is land it behind the target and blaze away for 2-3 seconds.

Vertical Bird (the one where you’re chasing the mobstre plane) isn’t so bad either, despite it’s reputation. The trick is to make sure you’re coming at the plane from above. That means climb way high (so the mobster’s plane is a downward facing triangle on your radar) when you’re approaching the target. Then bank and then dive as you chase after it - the extra speed you get from descending will let you catch it really easily.

Also, once you finish Flight School you get access to the airports, which have planes that do not handle nearly as badly as the POS one they give you for Flight School. Flight School’s frustration comes from the awful plane, not so much the controls.

Oh, and some other tricks - the First Person flight view really helps when getting through the rings.

In retrospect, the main problem with Flight School isn’t that it’s mandatory. It’s that:

  1. It’s the first real exposure you get to flying which sucks. If there were an opportunity to just dork around with a plane before this to get the controls down it would have been much easier.

  2. The plane they give you is a real pile of shit - it’s slow, and it’s VERY easy to overcontrol.

Vertical Bird isn’t the mobster plane mission; that’s Freefall. And it does somewhat suck, because if you’re not turning before the mobster plane shows up, it’s almost impossible to catch it before it reaches the city and you fail the mission. Still, once you figure that out, the mission is pretty easy. I think I did it in five or six tries. Good point about picking up speed; never thought of trying that.

Vetical Bird is the one where you sneak onto the aircraft carrier, steal a fighter, and blow up a bunch of boats. Problem is the Navy sends fighters after you. It’s the last flying mission in the game and is really hard, because you have to shoot down these fighters and then hover without crashing into the nearby hills to blow up the boats. It can be made a little easier by blowing up two of the three planes on the carrier before you take off (then only one Navy plane comes after you), but I found taking out the ships harder than the planes because the VTOL was really hard to control.

Though I will say this: a couple of the things you do right after FS are awesome. Like jumping the bike onto the plane.

Sorry, but the fact that flying is necessary for about a dozen missions including the flight school tests indicates pretty strongly that it is a basic mechanic of the game. You might not like it, but them’s the facts.

And it is fun, if you keep at it. It opens up some neat transportation options later in the game. I also wish Rockstar had implemented it better, but I still think the game is better with flying that it would have been without it.[/quote]

There are like a hundred and forty missions in that game. Thirteen of them involve flying, and ten of those are just supposed to teach you how to fly.

And it’s not fun. Not for me. If you enjoyed it, great; I didn’t, and I’m clearly not alone, so they should have been optional.[/quote]

You know, I’m not alone, either. We’ve already had this discussion here, and I can remember a few people saying that they thought flying added to the game, too.

Anyhow, I do agree that Rockstar screwed up the implementation. Flying School was abrupt and incredibly stupid. I agree with Jeff. They should have ramped flying up slowly and not just brought the entire progression of the game to a screeching halt so you could fly through hoops. When I hit the flight school I spent a lot of time screaming at my TV, too. Difference is, I mastered flying after a few hours and actually came to sort of like it.

Yeah? Great; that’s why it should be optional. So people who like it can play it, and people who don’t don’t have to.

Yeah, cuz it fucking blew.

They should have had a jetpack training school.

Well as a testament to how much I enjoy the non-flying aspects of the game, I did try to press on using various suggestions raised here: finding the Buffalo to practice flying and get skill up, and I bought a Logitech PS2-style gamepad (which is actually a nice of piece of gear, I like it). But its all to no avail. Even with the better controls of the PS2 style controller, and even with improved flight skill, the flight model is just so F’ing bad, and the Circle the Strip course is so tough, that I cannot beat that mission. I’ve even tried using the adrenaline mode and slow it down cheats. Nothing helps – the plane flies like a piece of shit with wings no matter what I do, and I just can’t complete the course. Either I overcontrol and blow every corona, or I undercontrol and inevitably miss one. And I’m not getting close at all: I think the best I’ve done is to hit 2 of the coronas, and I believe the course has many.

So its a part of the game I already find out of the context of the rest of the game, not interesting, and now its F’ing insanely difficult to boot. I give up on trying to play through.

It looks like I need save games after the N.O.E., Freefall and Vertical Bird missions. I won’t be picky at this stage, hook me up if you can :).



Anyone notice that the training missions are a lot like the old SNES game Pilotwings? Specifically, the parts where you have to fly through a series of rings and the part where you have to parachute onto a bullseye.

So if you feel like playing an entire game like the flying missions in San Andreas, track down Pilotwings. I used to play it all the time. Guess that’s why I got all 10 golds on the PS2. After which I used my shiny new attack helicopter to take out all my pent-up rage on fleeing getaway cars.

Sharpe, I hated, hated, hated the flights school missions, too, and it took me forever to get past them. This site helped me a great deal – it has videos of players completing each task, which for me at least made it a bit easier, since I knew precisely what I was trying to do.

It’s still a pain in the ass, and it still took me a bunch of tries (oversteer ONCE and you might as well crash and start over), but it is do-able.

I wish I had a savegame for you, but sadly all of mine are at the end of the game. :(

I’d persevere. I know the exact mission you’re on and it is indeed HIDEOUSLY frustrating. And honestly it’s not the flight model - flying the learjets or the harrier isn’t bad at all. It’s just the stupid obnoxious plane that you’re flying in school.

Did you try flying in FPS mode? I found that made it much easier to line up on the targets. and again - do NOT use the throttle aggressively.


I dunno about this “its all the sucky plane you have” stuff :) – b/c I downloaded a save from one of the fansites right after Flight School and tried to do the N.O.E. mission, which was im-freaking-possible for me. Part of it is mental: I’m so flaming raging pissed at the flight model and the bitchy overcontrolled fussiness that I get frustrated really really easily now :(. But even after calming down, taking a break and trying it several times in a calm state of mind, I can’t fly the N.O.E. mission - I can’t even come close. I tried it several ways: normal PC controls, using the PS2 clone pad, with the slow cheat, without the slow cheat, etc.

Feh. I understand about the added dimension of flight in the game but why make it such an obtuse and fussy control/flight model? The driving model is semi-arcade/semi-realistic (probably more arcade than real) and it works great - there’s no loss of immersion for having a simple and easy to handle driving system. So why is the flight system a grognardy mess from hell? I don’t get it.

Also, another thing cheesing me off: if I can get past the F’ing planes to the helos I can probably do OK – I was decent at flying a Hunter in Vice City using a joystick and I figure the clone gamepad will do fine for that. It’s just these goddamn fixed wing missions. Grrrr. Now this is becoming one of those obsessive “I MUST BEAT THIS F’ING GAME” deals.

If Rockstar were a dog I would kick it. Actually in QT3 fashion I think I should say “If Rockstar were a cock I would punch it”.

One more lame tip: Tap, don’t hold…that’s how I avoided overcompensating, which seems to be the toughest issue.

Well I got past the Flight School using a savegame from the web, then I actually managed to fly N.O.E. on my own which was a major accomplishment. I used the semi cheesy advice of a walkthru to take the route north and west over the ocean which made it relatively straightforward.

Then I got to Stowaway mission which was great fun for me. I dont have a problem handling a bike at all and I was able to make it onto the plane in 2 tries. Then it took me two tries to figure out that the Samurai sword is the way to go in in-air fight. So after 4 tries total I passed it and it was a great mission - very atmospheric then with a cool ending. Good stuff.

THEN, I did the jetpack mission. Oh man now I know what Tranquility meant - I did the somewhat challenging break into the base and then fight into the underground lab parts of the mission on the first try, then at the very end of this long mission I have to a fly a jetpack with no warning or training at all. I did manage to fly without crashing, but sadly I got missile-pounded and killed right away. It’s another doofus game design feature: they should introduce new game features at the beginning of a mission not at the end of a 15 minute fight where I killed 40 guys already. Lame.

Oh well, the game is good stuff despite some ass-tastic design decisions.

I do have to say given the size and the highly variable quality of the game that this one feels much more designed by committee than Vice City, which had a much more focused feel. Perhaps Rockstar is a victim of its own success.

I think you can shut down the SAM during the mission if the missles are giving you problems when you fly out of there. And you’ll love the next mission, where you have to use the jetpack to keep up with a moving train. So much fun! And the best part is that the reward you get for completing these missions is… a jetpack.

OK I did the Black Project mission a second time and I did find the SAM thing which made it easy to escape. Then I did the Green Goo mission without realizing that many people hate it. Guess what? Me with crap flying skills beat it first try :). I like the jetpack.

Fixed wing air = teh suq

Jetpack = good

Go figure :0

Go to an airport and steal a learjet… totally different experience.

My default way of getting around San Andreas is to steal a learjet, fly to where I want to get to, and then jump out and parachute. Bonus points if you jump out low enough to watch the crashing learjet kill people/blow up vehicles.

Amusing story (spoilerish, I suppose): After beating the game I went to the clothing store that opens up to get some fancy threads. I took my Harrier, and parked it in the street. This of course caused a traffic jam, as people in cars piled up behind it and started honking.

Well, I guess someone got rear ended because a car bumped into the harrier and it frickin exploded! At this point there were a good 10 or so cars surrounding it (traffic was backed up in both directions), and its explosion set many of them on fire. Cue massive chain reaction series of exploding cars.

I don’t know why, but for some reason when all was said and done I had like four wanted stars. “What the hell, I didn’t even do anything this time!” was my dismayed protest as I started slaughtering cops.

I found that th easiest way to deal with the Vertical Bird mission was to leave the plane in something close to 95% “hover” mode. The AI of the pursuing jets isn’t up to targeting you in that state, but by using the Q and E keys to rotate, it’s plenty easy for you to target them. Then you use your very slight forward momentum to amble over to where the ships are and take them out as you slowly approach.