I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this post and share all my jet flying secrets with the world, and then over the last couple of days this happened to me a lot…
The Battlefield 3 controls for Jets and helicopters are pretty tricky! Now you could go the route of the badass and try to learn the new control scheme, but that takes too long and isn’t very fun!
Instead, go into controls and switch your Jet and Helicopter stick controls to LEGACY. What this does is make things handle a lot more like Bad Company 2 by dumbing things down a bit.
It’s still going to be a little tricky, but you will find it way more manageable!
2. Your Game Type = Your Role
Basically, Conquest = Air-to-Air; Rush = Air-to-Ground.
And that’s because in Conquest there are on average about 6 Air vehicles up at the same time, where as in Rush it’s only about 2, maybe 3. That, and that Rush’s more structured combat means it’s easier to find and engage tanks.
In short, don’t waste your time on battles that won’t get you maximum points, which brings me to…
3. Don’t do strafing runs!
This isn’t WW2, swooping down from the clouds and trying to hit soldiers with gun fire isn’t going to work! So far I am yet to see this happen, even when using Rocket pods instead of guns, and I think that it’s due to the fact the 24 players on the huge maps that jets appear on make for way to few targets! (I’m assuming you’re playing on console).
So instead of wasting your time trying to hit infantry, focus on air units and tanks, you’ll have much better luck!
4. Missile Lock
At this point the majority of people will have unlocked anti-air missiles, and will be trying to use them on you! Because of your flying altitude it’s difficult to break line of sight and by extension missile lock, so instead you are going to need distance.
Once your business is done over the combat area, get out of there and head to the outskirts of the map. This will break missile lock and let you return at your own pace.
If missile lock doesn’t break then you probably have an enemy fighter after you and it’s time for evasive maneuvers
5. IR Flares
The first, and one of the most useful unlocks for your jet are the IR Flares, but you are going to have to use them wisely! Many experienced and nervous pilots deploy flares as soon as a missile lock is detected, but this is wrong! It’s faster for the enemy to re-establish lock and fire a missile than it is for you to recharge your flares!
So instead of premature deployment, wait for the missile lock tone to change to a more urgent beeping sound, this means that a missile has been fired and is the perfect time to deploy flares.
6. Dog Fighting
Most dogfights are won by the person who spots their opponent first. To do this you are going to need to use 3rd person view.
To switch to 3rd person, click the right analog stick down. In this mode you get a better view of the battlefield, so take advantage of this by flying around on your side or upside down to get the maximum view of the bf. When your target is found, switch back to 1st person and engage.
7. Evasive maneuvers
Let’s say you didn’t find your enemy before he found you, now you are going to have to do some clever flying!
If you followed point 5, his missiles are now useless so he will switch to guns. While getting fired at it is best not to fly in a straight line! Imagine you are trying to dodge a sniper, so move in zig-zags, change you speed and direction often and try to break line of sight as quickly as possible!
The best way I found of doing this is flying very low; flying in between buildings and doing vertical maneuvers. What ever you do don’t use long sweeping movements with your afterburners on, as unlike other flying games this makes you a super easy target!
A very easy, but risky, way to lose you pursuer is to fly out of bounds. There are very few people who will follow you, and when they break off the engagement you will have the opportunity to get behind them for a counter attack.
8. Missiles vs. Guns
Yes missiles are cool, but there are very few people who don’t know how to evade them at this point, and besides during hectic dogfights it takes too long to get missile lock any way!
Switch to guns! Not only will you have more opportunity to use them, but using them instead of missiles opens up your weapon slot for more useful weapons like air-to-ground missiles and rocket pods.
To get the most out of your guns just remember that they behave like the rest of he weapons in BF3, so you are going to have to shoot in front of your target to allow for bullet travel time.
9. Take off
This is the most dangerous time for your plane, because not only will people like me be trying to destroy you on the runway, but the chance of crashing is huge! So remember that just because your plane isn’t off he ground yet doesn’t mean you can’t steer it away from obstacles. Also, you should be pulling back on the sticks as early as possible to minimise your chances of hitting things.
Once you are in the air head away from the battlefield at first. Chances people are waiting for your take-off, so it’s best that you retreat first so that you can engage them on your terms later.
Clicking the left-stick will engage afterburners, which is basically the sprint for your jet.
NEVER USE THEM DURING COMBAT
They will increase your turning circle making you an easy target! Instead use them on take-off to get into the air faster, and use them to get away from the battlefield ASAP (like in point 4).
The only time it might be okay to use them in a dogfight is if you can see the enemy fighters in the distance and you need to engage quickly.
Hopefully this will help you become a better pilot, but if you only listen to one thing from this guide make sure it’s the bit about controls, legacy makes flying jets and helicopters so much easier!
If you want more Battlefield 3 tips, you can get our Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Strategy Guide HERE.