As the age old saying goes, you need to walk before you can run, and sometimes learning to walk can be a challenge all by itself. Learning to fly in Aces High is something that requires some basic skill, plus some practical experience, but serves to set the basis for all the other things that you will learn. Without being able to take off, you can’t enjoy the action in the air. Without being able to land, you can’t enjoy the rewards of your skill.

Flying is not actually a natural thing, most planes tend away from it because it is a balancing act of forces that you never really control, simply organizing them in a way that you are able to get airborne and remain in control.

Your Cockpit Gauges

The cockpit layout of each aircraft in Aces High is slightly different, but the basic tools available on in the cockpit are the same in almost every aircraft (with a few exceptions). The following section gives a representative example of the Fw 190A-8 cockpit, one that is shared with other Focke Wulf variants and displays a typical selection and location of gauges.

The key is to understand what the gauges are telling you. It’s like when you drive a car, you don’t want to have to look down and study the gauges while your attention should be in looking around outside the vehicle. Thus, you develop a process of scanning the gauges and quickly identifying what is important at a glance.

- Each cockpit layout is slightly different, so that gauges may not be in the same position, although most aircraft with have an equivalent gauge.

- The most important gauges tend to be positioned towards the center of the dash for easier reference.

Primary Gauges – Gauges you will often look at and need to read at a glance


  • Calibrated in 100/ft increments
  • Two needles, the longer one represents 100’s of ft, the shorter one 1,000’s of feet.
  • The red mark indicates 10,000’s
  • The example shows an altitude of 14,800ft.


  • There are several different speedometers in the game, depending on aircraft country of origin, although they all operate the same way
  • All speeds in mph
  • Speedometer shows two different markings
  • White needle is Indicated Air Speed (IAS) which is affected by pressure differences between altitudes.
  • Red Mark indicates True Air Speed (TAS), adjusted for changes in altitude.
  • The example shows an IAS of 290mph, and a TAS of 360mph

climb decent gaugeClimb/Decent Gauge

  • Calibrated in 1,000ft/minute
  • The needle indicates when altitude is being maintained, gained, or lost.
  • Few planes in Aces High are capable of sustained climb rates in excess of 4,000ft/minute
  • Diving can easily cause the needle to pass 4,000ft/minute in decent.
  • The example given shows level flight, with the needle pointed directly at 0.

horizonArtificial Horizon

  • Very small, not easily readable while maneuvering
  • Horizon reference (i.e., looking out of the cockpit) is typically more useful
  • Low visibility (lack of horizon) flight is limited to flight through cloud cover, and the very brief time when the night is at the darkest.


  • Each plane has different flap settings, some all or nothing (Spits), some in stages that allow for finer control of flap deployment.
  • Typically there will be a gauge showing the flap angle, or in the case of the Spitfire, and handle that shows the flaps are up or down.

Secondary Gauges

fuelFuel Gauge

  • Only displays current tank (tank name abbreviated)
  • Most planes have several tanks, each with varied amounts of fuel in them.
  • Fuel tank changes are automatic, with wing tanks burned evenly to avoid trim problems while other tanks will be drained before moving on to another tank.
  • You can cycle through all Fuel tanks with the SHFT-F key, the one marked A-<tankname> being the computer controlled burn.
  • Allow the computer to control the order in which tanks are used.
  • In this example, the computer is control the fuel tank selection (the little A in front of Main), the tank being burned is the Main, and there is just under ¾ of a tank of fuel remaining.

Engine Temperature

  • No engine management necessary
  • Cannot damage engine
  • Only effect is on War Emergency Power (WEP) availability
  • Can show engine related damage

Oil Pressure

  • Only useful when suffering oil related damage

Manifold Pressure

  • Roughly related to throttle setting

Engine RPM

  • Controlled through the +/- on the numberpad, allow you to control engine rpms

Sideslip indicator

  • Typically used more when you are ready for weapons firing.

Trim indicators

  • Show current trim-tab positions (3 axis)

G-Force Meter

  • Shows the multiplier for normal gravity that you are subjecting your aircraft to.

Some gauges may not be in easy view on some aircraft and you may have to look around the cockpit for them. Typically Primary flight gauges are clustered towards the center of the dashboard.

Aircraft with multiple engines may have more than one gauge.

Additional Dashboard Indicators

Landing Gear

Arrestor Hook

There is no direct throttle indicator, though manifold pressure can give an indication of throttle setting.

Non-Flight Gauges


Ammo counters

Why are the Gauges important

Later in this course, and in subsequent courses, you will find being able to read the gauges very important. You may find yourself trying to land, requiring a very limited speed range, or you may find yourself in the heat of combat, flying through a cloud where your only reference is to instruments.

There are three (and sometimes four) tools you can use to control your aircraft in flight.

  • Instruments
  • Visual Cues
  • Audio Cues
  • Vibration Cues (for people with force feedback equipment)

Visual cues tend to be limited, and can easily become disoriented or missed in violent maneuvers. Also, it can be difficult to determine, with accuracy, many flight parameters simply through visual and audio cues.

Instruments provide accurate measurements but do require you to view them, which takes your attention away from what is happening around you. This is bad, so you need to be able to read instruments at a glance, so you can continue to be alert to events outside your aircraft.

Some actions, like landing, require you to fly within established parameters that can only be determined using accurate gauge readings (like landing speeds, flap settings, sink rates)