Take Off And Fly

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In Aces High we get the fun of flying the airplane, without the overhead.  In a real airplane, we would have to take several minutes going through a pre-flight check.  In Aces High, we just take off and fly.

To start your flight, use the Start Flight panel to select a direction you want to lift off.  Click a direction button to launch your plane.  Once the engine starts, wiggle the throttle or press the minus and equals buttons on your keyboard, (You have to move your throttle at takeoff so the game can recognize it) then go to full throttle. The engine will take several seconds to start up, then the airplane will take off.

The directions available for takeoff may be different depending on the airflield you are at.

If you click the H in the middle then you start in  the hangar, and have to taxi to the runway and take off manually.
Launchpad at large field
Launchpad at large field
Launchpad at small field
Launchpad at small field

Mouse or Joystick
Ideally, you should have a joystick.  If you are just trying the game out, and you just have a mouse, see this video for instructions for using a mouse to fly.

Automatic Takoff and Auto Trim

When you use automatic takeoff, the plane will automatically climb at its standard climb rate.  When you move the stick, it will go out of auto climb mode, and you will control the plane manually.  In Aces High, we have an auto trim function which will automatically trim the airplane to climb or fly level.  It’s not the same as an autopilot (in fact, many WWII airplanes didn't have autopilot), but for our purposes, it can perform much the same function.

For the auto trim, pressing the X key will trim the plane to straight and level flight.  Alt-X will trim the plane to climb (think Alt-X equals Altitude).  The auto climb is set to maintain a certain speed.  So let’s say you are in the P-38, which has a standard climb speed of about 170.  If you are at 120, and you Alt-X, the plane will go into a shallow dive until it reaches 170, then it will start to climb.  If you are at a speed of 250, the plane will go into a steep climb until it reaches 170, then it will settle into a steady climb.

The front panel of the airplane has all the instruments that tell you your speed and altitude, and a bunch of other stuff you need to fly the airplane.  Learning to read the instruments is part of learning to fly the plane. If you are an airplane buff, you are probably already familiar with the cockpit instruments.  If not, click here for a tutorial on cockpit instruments.   In the mean time, there is a Heads Up Display in the top right corner of the screen, which will give you information on altitude, airspeed, etc.
 And, no, real WWII airplanes did not have the HUD.  The HUD is there for people who have trouble reading the real instruments.

Ideally, you should have a joystick with a throttle.  If you don't have a throttle, use the equal sign and minus sign keys on the keyboard for your throttle (not the plus and minus on your numeric keypad).  Many planes have a War Emergency Power setting, commonly referred to as WEP.  This is basically a way to overdrive the engine.  In Aces High, the P key will put your engine in WEP.  This will only last for a limited time.  Once you have used up your WEP, the plane will only go to full throttle, so use WEP sparingly.  In real life, if you kept the plane in WEP too long, you would burn up the engine.

The primary and secondary buttons on your joystick will be used to fire the guns.  Depending on which plane you are flying, you may need both buttons to fire all guns.  A good example is the P-38 which I normally fly.  The P-38 has four fifty caliber machine guns and a twenty-millimeter cannon. The primary trigger fires the fifty caliber, and the secondary fires the twenty-millimeter.  Try both buttons to see how it works on the plane you have chosen.

What's that buzzing sound?
If you hear a buzzing sound, that is the stall warning.  This is the equivalent of screeching tires on a car.  If you keep turning sharper and faster, then the buzzing will get louder and then the plane will start to misbehave.  This is generally considered undesireable since the plane can easily misbehave itself right into the ground.

Another thing that happens when you turn sharp is the screen will get dark.  This happens because of the g-forces from the sharp turn.  If the g-forces get too high, then you pass out (the screen goes black) and you have to wait several seconds before the screen will light up again.

Next: Looking Around