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Battlefield 1 flying guide: How to be an ace pilot

Battlefield 1 is a complex game, especially when you get into multiplayer. You can run around with a gun in-hand, you can drive a tank, you can ride a horse, and you can fly. There's more than meets the eye with each of these play-styles — here's how to get the most out of the pilot class.

Get to know the three different types of aircraft

There are three different types of aircraft available in Battlefield 1: attack plane, bomber, and fighter. Here are the differences between each, and which one to use in certain scenarios.

Attack plane

The attack plane is sort of like a mix between the bomber and the fighter in that you can have a gunner with you while still keeping some sense of speed and agility. The attack plane works great against infantry, armor, and the airship behemoth.

There are three different loadouts you can choose for your attack plane.

  • Ground support: You and a rear gunner can drop fragmentation bombs on infantry below, and can also take out enemy aircraft with the LMGs mounted to front and back. Use the special spotting flares to help your team see the enemy.
  • Tank hunter: This loadout comes with high-explosive bombs that will make short work of enemy armor. You also have a front-mounted 37mm cannon and a rear-mounted LMG for taking out enemy aircraft. Take advantage of an emergency wing repair kit that will get your plane back to flying shape in no time.
  • Airship buster: Strap some rockets to your wings and get busy taking out the enemy's behemoth airship. A heavy machine gun is strapped to the front, and the rear gunner has the standard LMG. A speed boost is available for getting away swiftly after you launch your rockets.

Bomber

The bomber is slow, can take quite a bit of damage, can deal quite a bit of damage, and has room for three people. Use it to keep enemy infantry off of objectives or to take out enemy dreadnoughts ships.

There are three different loadouts you can choose from for your bomber.

  • Barrage: You get four high-explosive bombs and two demolition bombs to drop on the enemy, and the two gunners can use an LMG and an HE auto-cannon to fend off enemy planes. The spotting camera makes it easy to tag multiple enemies at once.
  • Firestorm: This bomber is equipped with nine incendiary bombs and six fragmentation bombs — this is the ultimate anti-infantry loadout. The gunners get an LMG and an HE auto-cannon to use against enemy fighters. An emergency wing repair will keep you in the sky longer.

  • Torpedo: The torpedo is used against enemy ships — especially the dreadnought — and you also get two demolition bombs for other vehicles. The gunners can use an LMG or an HE auto-cannon to keep you safe from enemy planes. The emergency wing repair option lets you repair fast.

Fighter

The fighter puts you all alone in the sky. No gunner, no support. Fighters are best suited for taking out enemy aircraft and infantry thanks to their high speed and incredible agility.

There are three different loadouts you can choose from for your fighter.

  • Dogfighter: Twin heavy machine guns strapped to the front of your fighter will make mincemeat of your enemy's aircraft. Take advantage of the emergency repair perk to stay in the air longer.
  • Bomber killer: The HMGs on the front of this plane do a bit more damage but have a slower rate of fire. You also get six rockets for dealing with the increased durability of bombers. A speed boost helps you get away from bombers' defences.

  • Trench fighter: Sporting the same HMGs as the dogfighter loadout, this plane also comes with explosive darts that can be dropped on enemy infantry. Yikes. Use the spotting flare as you strafe to help your friends spot the enemy.

More great flying tips

There are a few more things you should know about flying before jumping in.

Play the Friends in High Places campaign

The first two chapters of the Friends in High Places campaign are a great place to learn flight basics, tweak your settings to best suit you, and to get used to dogfighting.

Jumping into multiplayer and waiting to get a plane can take awhile, and getting shot down while you're trying to figure things out will only compound your frustration. Give these two chapters a shot before testing your luck against real opponents.

Don't use planes as disposable transportation

Battlefield veterans will unanimously agree: hopping into a plane, flying it to the first objective you see, and bailing out to let your plane crash is wrong. Very, very wrong.

Planes, when used correctly, can really wreak havoc. They are the best counter against other enemy aircraft — especially the behemoth airship — and can contribute to capturing objectives. The respawn time for planes is lengthy, so wasting one puts your team at a disadvantage. If you get into the pilot seat, expect to stay there until your plane is shot down.

Join your friends

A plane without gunners is a sitting duck. If you see a teammate, especially a squad member, in a bomber or attack plane, do your best to join them. Having even a rear-gunner can make a huge difference, especially if the other team has a skilled pilot amongst their ranks.

Playing together in a plane is a ton of fun and can lead to some genuine laughs when you all accidentally go up in flames after hitting a flagpole on a strafing mission.

Use the dynamic environment to your advantage

Fog, rain, and sandstorms can drastically change the map. Using the environment to your advantage is key — fly above storms and keep a lookout for enemy aircraft. Dive, attack, disappear into the storm, and return to your spot high above once the enemy loses track of you.

A pilot who can fly in any scenario will fare way better than a pilot who bails out at the first sign of trouble.

Throttle up and down accordingly

You will no doubt eventually find yourself in a dogfight. Your objective is to get behind your enemy in order to line up a shot while at the same time keeping your enemy from getting behind you. The key to this is throttle control.

When heading into a turn, throttle down — as you come out of the turn, throttle up. This ensures you make the tightest turn possible. Don't worry if your opponent also makes tight turns and ends up behind you. Practice makes perfect.

Spot enemies

This rule applies not only to other aircraft; you are the eyes in the sky for your teammates. Spot everything you can. Your points will go up and your teammates will love you.

Spotting enemy aircraft and having them show up on your radar makes dogfighting so much easier and anti-aircraft on the ground will have a much simpler time hitting their mark.

Set an attack priority

Having dominion over the entire battlefield can be a little overwhelming. There is armor over there harassing friendlies, there's an AA gun spitting flak into the sky, and there's an enemy fighter buzzing around nearby.

This order might change depending on your loadout and aircraft, but it will generally remain the same. You'll want to first take out the enemy aircraft, move on to anti-aircraft guns, take out tanks, then focus on infantry. This order is based on your vulnerabilities and also your ease of access to these units.

Fly high

Try to spend most of your time high in the air. This makes you much harder to hit by the AA guns on the ground, and it also gives you a much better vantage to plan your next attack.

Swoop down when you have a target in sight, eliminate the target, then return to your position.

Do you fly?

Have you invested a substantial amount of time into flying in Battlefield 1? What is your pilot rank? What is your favorite plane? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

15 Comments
  • My Two biggest gripes with battlefield. Balloons who use an aircraft to get to an objective and medics who don't medic.Would happily introduce floggings for such crimes GRRRRRR rant over!!! apart from that love the games.
  • I agree. Surely they could punish people who bail with no damage less than a certain time in flight.?
  • Do the good pilots use keyboards and mice or actual joysticks? I watched a YouTube video of someone use his keyboard and it was annoying to watch.
  • Keyboard and mouse are admittedly difficult to use. Some pilots are just insane and I wonder if they're using an Xbox controller or a joystick.
  • No joystick support (!) as of yet...
  • Needs a test range. I got quite good in the helicopters of previous games by practicing in the test range.
  • Helicopters were way easier to fly compared to jets though..
  • I'm still pissed off that they don't offer joystick support! And I miss ma choppers so badly. C'mon DICE! Everyone knows helis have been around since da Vinci!
  • And let the missiles dominate the battlefields of World War I for the lulz..
  • nice i can use this i just got bf1 on the blackfriday xbox sale!
  • That's great - you'll love it.
  • My two problems with bf1 are the difficulty to identify friendly from enemy soldiers while looking through bomb sight and the ridiculous weather changes on every single map. I have almost 8,000 fighter kills and I can easily dominate a normal server but once hardcore became available I've basically been flying around entire games looking for enemy infantry and getting in dog fights just for the other pilot to bail as soon as he feels like he can't get me off his tail. My hardcore average conquest game k/d is probably 15-3. If I play normal conquest it's more like 30-2. My highest kill streak is 95 on operations in the fighter and I finished with 108 kills in the game. I wanted to ask you is there a way to see the best pilot stats for bf1 Xbox players? P.S. Sorry for the horrible grammar. I probably missed 10 commas in there lol 
  • Like this if you knew who Manfred Von Richtofen was without looking it up.
  • I once got 32 kills with 2 deaths in a Conquest Large match in BF4.. Those attack jets, I miss them..
  • Aye