Learning Mouse Control

If you are new to controlling an aircraft using the mouse, follow this guide, step-by-step.

Start by getting aloft over an open area using the keyboard. To take off, you need to be doing about 30 knots. Climb to an altitude of 100m or so, and level off at a speed of around 35 knots. Make sure your mouselook cursor is in the centre of your screen and then switch to mouse control. The plane might lurch a little as it tries to follow the direction of the mouse cursor. Gently move the cursor around the middle of the screen and aim to keep the plane flying level.

Once you are flying level under mouse control, slowly move the mouse to the left or right – make sure it doesn’t move up or down as you do this. Use the on-screen mouse cursor as a guide for how you are moving the mouse. The plane will bank in the direction that you moved the mouse. The further you move the mouse, the more the plane banks. The quicker you move the mouse, the quicker the plane banks.

If you move the cursor a certain amount and then keep it still, the plane will settle into a bank at a constant rate. Practice banking in a big circle, keeping the horizon at a steady angle. Make micro-adjustments left and right to change the angle.

Play around, banking left and right, until you get a feel for how the mouse movement affects the plane. Then level off and try moving the mouse cursor up and down, but not left or right. The plane climbs when the cursor moves up, and dives when the cursor moves down. As with banking, moving the cursor to a chosen position, and then keeping it still, will give you a fixed rate of climb or dive.

Finally, try using both left/right and up/down mouse movements together. Again, start with slow, gentle movements and build up until you get a feel for how it responds.

Gradually, you will find that your reference starts to become the plane against the landscape rather than the little mouse cursor. It’s a bit like steering a car in real life – you don’t think about how much you have to turn the wheel to get around a certain corner, you just steer and it happens. With practice comes intuition and feel – you become one with the aircraft – it goes where you want without you having to think about it.

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