Flight School, stop floundering and start fragging!

Have you ever wanted to soar the skies of Auraxis but just can’t seem to get that brick of a reaver off the ground? Well, look no further because this guide is for you. The goal of this guide is to equip players with a baseline of knowledge that will allow them to enter the air scene with enough know how to hold their own. I will use the text here to describe your loadout/engagements, but the meat is really found in the linked videos so make sure you watch those. Let’s get started:

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ESF Loadout:

Utility – Fire suppression (Tier one flares if you can’t afford to get sup up high.)

Defense – Stealth (Everybody and their brother have engagement radar now, you NEED this line. The first level negates engagement radar entirely, but it can be nice to finish off later.)

Performance – Hover (Racer can be equip later if you’d like, but learn with hover)

Nose – Default (I think learning on the default cannon is the best, but you can move to a rotary later if you find you like it.)

Wings – Fuel Tanks (Makes it easy to get in and out of fights, something valuable for newbies. plus its cheap/free!)

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Your Loadout (mostly non-essential stuff that is just for people who already have it unlocked):

Class – Engi. We are learning to fly, relax with that K/D and take off the drifter jets. Engi is needed for the repair tool and built in auto repair.

Primary Weapon – I like running a long range carbine here for when I get stick out in open fields after crash landings (which will happen more often the better you get at falling with style). However, your default carbine works perfectly fine here and you don’t need to buy a new one for flying.

Secondary – Doesn’t matter, but again I go for longer range options here. Although, there is something to be said for having a close range option just in case.

Tool – Nano armor kit (This should be upgraded to max even if you don’t care about flying, get this bad boy upgraded ASAP!)

Ability – Doesn’t matter, but I like AV mana turret. It allows me to turn a crash landing into a hidden AV nest.

Suit – Flak. If you’ve been shot down and somehow survive you very well might be facing the enemy pilot’s rockets next… or whatever it is that the VS shoot. It also helps for when far away tanks see you and start sending shells your way.

Grenade – Did you really ask what grenade to run? Uh sticky I guess because stickies are cool, but doesn’t really matter.

Utility – You may have noticed by now that when I go down I like to keep fighting on the ground. This is where tank mines can be great. You often get shot down over enemy territory so you are in prime locations to place tank mines that enemies will not often see coming, or you can tank mine an enemy sundy (part of the reason I run sticky nades here). C4 can also do this role, albeit a little more actively. Med kits also can help you stay alive long enough to redeploy and save that precious K/D.

Melee: Whatever.

Implant: We once again get options so I will cover all the ones I see viable. Since I like guerrilla warfare and enjoy causing problems after I crash I like to run Safe Landing (this also helps keep your K/D up if you’re into that). Target Focus is also great for newer players. It tells you exactly how much health an enemy has and can assist in picking engagements. Lastly, there is something to be said about Ammo Printer. On paper it means you can stay out in the field forever, but that isn’t how things ever end up working out. Especially as a new pilot learning to fly you will be making trips back to safe zones to repair often enough as to where you probably won’t be out of ammo before you need to repair. Printer can be good for ground pounding breaker pods if you don’t have the ammo line certed, but that isn’t really what this guide is about anyways. Other than these you can pick something that can help you stay alive or do damage if you crash land.

This is a general purpose loadout that is designed with versatility and survivability in mind. This is honestly my preferred loadout and gets really fun to use once you master your ESF’s movement.

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Engagements:
One important skill I see a lot of videos/guides miss is your ability to decide when and where to look for a fight. When using the prescribed loadout you often have full control over what fights you do and don’t take (the only thing that can run you down is another ESF) so you should obviously use that to your advantage. As a newbie you should try and avoid places with a lot of flak or other forms of AA, this includes places like amp stations and tech plants since these locations have built-in guns. This isn’t to say that you should never venture into these zones, but just be ready to bug out if you find a lot of damage coming your way. Also, it should be noted that any area on the map can instantly be turned into a no-fly zone by a large enough force. If for some reason an outfit has decided they want to pull 42 skyguards then you wish them luck and kindly fuck off, we aren’t ready for that kind of cheeky flying yet. Now, what about attacking other forms of enemy air? At first attacking enemy air is daunting and may seem impossible, do not lose hope because it gets easier! At first try and hunt down targets with similar skill and numbers to you. That means go ahead and take on that lone stock scythe but stay away from that swarm of pink mosquitos with rotaries. It can also be useful to find a group of allied ESFs (or one fancy looking one) and stick by them, there is strength in numbers! Valks are also great target practice, they often pose very little threat to you unless you get up close or they are fully manned. Work default nosegun’s range and you should pop that cert pinata in no time (given they don’t bail, which they often do).

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Branching out:
Want to branch out from my loadout and try something new (or just want a better version of your current ESF)? Don’t be afraid to ask around! /region can be used to speak to every ally in a hex and a simple “Hey can somebody with a good reaver pull me one, I’m trying to learn” could very well produce results! I also will more often than not be willing to lend you my ESF, so go ahead and ask me for one.

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Now the actual learning how to move the aircraft part:
There is really no way to convey this kind of thing over text effectively so I won’t even try. Here I will link videos I deem helpful/the ones I used to help myself to learn (I am entirely self-taught, so god knows you can do it then). It can also be worth asking your outfit for flight lessons or getting in contact with one that does offer them.

First playlist is by Ginger. This one is probably my favorite, and I wish it was here for me when I first started learning:

Next we have LMSTVx’s videos, this is what I learned off of:

Now we’ve got Wrel’s reverse maneuver video, it’s solid enough and gets the job done if you have flight basics down and don’t want to spend a lot of time watching vids (but really watch the ones above):

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Epilogue:
Hopefully, after reading this guide, watching some vids, and spending a little bit of time behind the wheel…er…. joystick? You can at least say you can hold your own in basic airborne combat. Remember, you may still get wrecked by A2A gods, and that’s ok (I do too). Just keep at it and pretty soon you’ll be shooting down enemies like you’re the goddamn red baron!

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