San Andreas Flight School. This is where the best pilots in Los Santos earn their wings under the expert tutelage of J.T. Boyd. If you want to get gold medals on all 10 challenges you're going to need skill, bravery and the ability to ignore death statistics. To help you on your way, we've compiled our tips for success. Good luck, pilot!
Any pilot worth their salt should be able to complete an outside loop - the challenge here is completing two inside the time limit. Push forward on the left stick at the exact moment you are instructed to, to ensure you beat the timer, and also make certain you fully complete each loop for it to register.
Don't worry about time here - the key to earning a gold medal is safely landing your ailing Miljet as close to the marker as you can. On approach, use the tail of the plane as a marker and line it up against the near end of the runway. When you're about 1000m away, level out and prepare your landing gear. You should be aiming to touch down just before the halfway point of the runway in order to cruise gently up to the marker and come to rest inside it. Don’t worry if you touch down late or find yourself with too much speed, as you can still apply the brakes if you need to.
Your priority in this helicopter shooting range is to keep your Buzzard stable. If you're wobbling all over the place then your bullets and rockets are going to do the same. Use the shoulder buttons on your controller and get into position using up/down and rotational movements - using the left stick to move forwards and back too much will make aiming more difficult. Use Machine Gun fire for single, open targets or rows of targets; and Rockets for targets in tight clusters or behind cover. Some players might find it easier to switch to the gun camera using the Select/Back button.
Landing a Titan in the middle of the city is hard enough without a full-blown storm and busted engine to deal with. Going through the initial checkpoints, your priority should be to keep the plane as stable as you can and get lined up for the approach. As the Instructor will soon inform you, you're going to be landing on the stretch of beach just past Pleasure Pier. Get as low over the Ferris Whale as you dare and then come down onto the beach, aiming to land just past the wooden barrier (but definitely not before, if you value not being on fire), and taxi onto the target.
Plummeting towards the ground without a parachute is either plucky or forgetful. Luckily on this occasion you do have a 'chute - but the bad news is it's not connected to your body. As soon as you leave the plane accelerate downwards to catch up with the Parachute Bag. Don't rush - you're not against the clock (although the rapidly approaching ground does assert its own natural deadline). If you sail past the bag then just slow down and wait for it to catch you up. Once it's strapped to your back line up the target and ensure you end up standing dead-center. Be aware that if you approach with too much speed, you may end up stumbling!
What’s harder than landing a chopper on the back of a moving truck? How about doing it in 19 seconds? The trick here is to fly straight over to where the bridge starts and get yourself pointed in the right direction, facing down the bridge. Make sure you’re hovering just above the height of the truck, then drop down gracefully as it passes beneath you.
Keeping straight and listening to instructions is the way to gold in this team formation flight with Western Besras. Use your rudders (L1 and R1 / LB and RB) wherever possible to avoid getting out of shape or overcorrecting. When the checkpoint turns green, you’ll know you’re in formation. For the more difficult moves, like the inside loop, watch the other planes as opposed to the checkpoint and move at the same time as they do. And don't make the rookie error of leaving your landing gear down - it will slow you to the point that you won't be able to keep up.
To get a gold medal here you have to fly low - so low you might feel the spray from the Zancudo on your undercarriage. It's not going to be enough to just go through each checkpoint if you're going for gold - you'll need to pass through the lower half of each checkpoint, and you're aiming for an overall average height of less than 1m. Take a few tries to learn the route and figure out which checkpoints you find particularly tricky, so that you can prepare. If you mess up early on you may want to restart as it can throw off you score for the rest of the mission. Don't be afraid to go sideways to make some of the tighter turns - the Besra is an agile aircraft well-suited to such flagrant flat-hatting - and you'll find it easier if you're factoring in the angle you need to pass each checkpoint at to make the next one easier. And don't worry about speed - lay off the gas and put your landing gear down: it will reduce your speed and offer some protection if you kiss the dirt.
Gold won't come on reflexes alone here - you're going to need to use your thinking cap and plan out the best route through all of the flags in the quickest time. First off, head for the ones to the west of the city since they're easy to grab in sequence. Then, head to the city and collect the flags around skyscrapers in height order, so that you don't miss any. When you need to negotiate buildings, drop your landing gear since this will lower your speed and increase maneuverability. Speed is not as important as you'd think, so go easy on the afterburner and glide to where you need to be. And finally, don't be afraid to fail - trial and error will help cement the best route in your mind. Check out the map below to see our preferred route, in numerical order:
The final test - follow J.T. Boyd around a course designed to soil even the most heavily worn G-suits. Focus on each upcoming checkpoint, rather than following his lead, and memorize the color coding of checkpoints: gold = normal; blue = inverted; and green = knife flying. When knife flying, use your rudders to maintain your height and make the most of the increased maneuverability to line up the next checkpoint.
Good luck scoring those gold medals and feel free to let us know in the comments if you have any other flight tips to share.
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