Throughout the Battlefield series, DICE has distinguished the game’s flagship multiplayer experience by offering a bigger, more inclusive take on virtual warfare. Planes, jeeps, and tanks have regularly been a big part of the experience. The broad selection of vehicles hasn’t changed in Battlefield 1, though there is one big difference. Getting behind the stick of one of World War I’s archaic flying machines is a whole new monster.
It’s also the best part of the game, once you get past being shot down repeatedly.
There are a lot of customization options available to you after you get some time in the cockpit, but you’ve got to survive long enough to get there. With all that in mind, here are some tips for keeping yourself alive in the air.
1. Your Best Bet at Success Is Spawning Into the Plane
When you spawn into the plane, you’ll gain the pilot’s load out, which grants the ability to repair your plane mid-flight. This ability (obviously) gives you some defense against the gnat-like fighters that will be swooping all around the sky.
2. Hit Repeat Offenders With a Fighter
The first type of plane is your air-to-air combat vehicle. If you jump in a fighter, aim at the other combatants in the air. Simple as that!
3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Bomber
The bomber can be devastating to enemies, provided you have the nerve to keep your plane steady over the heaviest parts of the fighting. The bomber is big, slow, and kind of defenseless if you’ve got no gunner, but it can be a huge help to your buddies on the ground.
4. Murder Everybody With an Attack Plane
While the weapons aboard the attack plane are rather basic, it’s a solid all-around combatant that can hit targets on both land and sea equally. Just remember that the rudimentary machine gun makes smart shooting vastly more important than simply spraying and praying.
5. Own the Landscape
If you’re going to be at the stick, you’re going to need to know how to use the landscape to your advantage. Flying low to the ground, or between trees, canyons, or buildings will make you that much more difficult to hit. Know your terrain and contour your flight to it.
6. Don’t Let Them Get You in Their Crosshairs
Flight 101: Don’t let yourself get shot. That means pulling barrels rolls, loops, and other seemingly erratic maneuvers that keep your enemies guessing.
7. Change Your Plane’s Load Out
Once you’ve got some war bonds under your belt, there are some pretty cool things you can do with your plane load outs. For the relatively cheap price of 30 war bonds each, you can upgrade the load out of each version of the plane.
Pay close attention to the tank buster.
8. Lead Your Shots
Just remember that your bullets take time to get where they’re going, so just as when you’re shooting at a moving target on the ground, it’s important to shoot where your victim will be not where they are.
9. Dont Be Afraid to Switch Spots in Flight
These planes are part glider, so don’t feel obligated to stick to one spot if you’re on your own in a multi-seat plane. Don’t stay off the stick for too long, of course, but you can still switch positions to take a few pot shots at someone who’s shooting at your tail.
10. Consider Your Gunner’s Feelings
If you are lucky enough to get some company in the plane, then try to keep in mind your gunner’s position and firing angle and consciously feed them a little action from time to time. Theres only one thing worse than being along for the ride with no reason to pull the trigger, and that’s being without a gunner when a fighter has you in its sights.
11. Don’t Be Afraid to Eject
Always keep an eye on your health bar, so that if and when you need to, you can eject from the plane and parachute down to the fight. As a pilot, you’ll only have your pistol, but you can still do some damage on foot. Better than outright dying, anyway.