The Hangar

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Once you enter an arena, your first stop should be the hangar.

From the hangar, you can choose your airplane, and the type of armament you will be carrying.  

The Hangar showing P51 Mustang

When you first install the game, the first plane that is selected is the P-51D Mustang.  Look through the list and pick your favorite WWII airplane.  If you don't know a lot about WWII airplanes, or you don't have a favorite, stick with the Mustang for now. The Mustang is a good starter plane.  You won't need any rockets, bombs, or drop tanks.  Those come later.

In Aces High, you can fly almost any airplane on the list.  However, there are certain very high performance airplanes that are restricted.

A prime example of a restricted plane is the ME-262, the first operational fighter jet.  It was used by Germany at the end of WWII.  

Without restrictions on this plane, the sky would be full of jets in a game that is supposed to be focused on propeller-driven airplanes.

The restrictions come in the form of "Perk Points".  You earn perk points by shooting down airplanes and landing back at base.  Once you earn enough perk points, you can spend the points on one of the perk planes if you wish.  If you lose the plane during the flight, you lose the points.  If you land back at base, you keep the points.  There are only a few planes that require perk points. The rest are free to fly without restriction.

At this time, only the following figther planes are perked (require perk points):
Me 262
Me 163B

So when you pick your plane, don't pick one of these.  These planes are available in the Offline Practice arena, but will not be available in the Online Melee Arena.  You want to practice and learn with a plane that you know will be available when you go online.

Next: The Map