Flight, Refuel & Repair

Here are the considerations and how-tos for takeoff, flight and auto landing. The revised control model is great for mouse and keyboard.

Refuel & Repair

Refuel and repair can be activated while you are in your ship is on a landing pad. Before you leave it’s a good idea to check that your ship is in good shape for your onward journey. They don’t all have facilities you need and when they do, their capabilities will vary.

  • Ensure you are in your ship with power on or press R to go to the flight-ready mode.
  • Open the mobiGlass F1
  • Select the maintenance icon at the foot of the display
  • Click on the items you want then hit confirm to take on fuel and repair items.

If your icons indicate the items are not available, it might be a bug in the coding. You might be able to work around it by changing the situation in some way and trying again. For example, get out of the ship and back in again.

Ship Controls

  • Start / Stop
    • R – Flight ready on/off
    • U – Power on/off
    • I – Engine on/off
    • Y – Exit seat/bed/eject
  • Landing / Lift Off
    • LEFT CTRL whip down
    • SPACE – Ship up
    • N – Raise/lower landing gear
    • N+hold – autoland on a pad (flight serviced pad only)
  • Movement
    • W, A, S, D – forwards, left, backwards, right
    • Q, E – Roll ship left/right
    • Mouse Wheel – Set speed limit/target (lowest value: > 0)
    • C – Cruise control on/off locks forward speed to the limiter
    • V – Flight assist on/off
    • SHIFT – Afterburner
    • X – Space brake
    • T – Lights
  • Quantum Travel
    • B – Spool hyperdrive / Show location markers
    • B (long press) – Engage hyperdrive

Ship Control Notes:

  1. When Cruise Control (CC) is engaged, a small arrow appears next to the speed limit line on the HUD.
  2. CC locks the forward speed to the limiter and the lowest value is greater than zero. Tip: don’t use CC in confined areas! Instead press+hold the direction keys while adjusting the desired speed with the limiter using the mouse wheel.
  3. Use V to decouple the ship from Flight Assist, especially during flight or fight.
  4. You can spool the hyperdrive while it is being calibrated. If you are close to the target, spooling will happen automatically.

Hovering

In hover mode on a planet, the ship will only stay still if the horizon is level and your inclination is zero degrees. If you lean the ship, it will slide in the same way a helicopter does. Keep the amount of leaning very slight, just one or two degrees will do it. Alternatively, you can leave the ship level and use the thrusters and auto-land to do the job.

Manual Control

Use the W key to thrust forward up to the limiter which is controlled by the mouse wheel. You will have to hold down the key to keep thrusting. This is the recommended control method for landing especially.

Cruise Control

Engage C to thrust forward at the speed set by the limiter. In this mode, the limiter acts as a velocity control.

Decoupled Control

When decoupled, the ship continues to move in one direction. You can orient your ship without changing the direction of travel.

How to Combat Engine Overheating

During long Quantum Travel times engines can overheat and shut down. Here’s how you can delay it:

  • Turn off cruise control before a quantum jump C
  • Boost your engines using the shields/engines/guns energy triangle or F5
  • Overclock an engine

To overclock an engine, use the F key and mouse wheel to zoom in on your cockpit multifunction displays (MFDs) then press some buttons to find the energy triangle and engine controls. The engine will have an overclocking button next to it.

Gaining Extra Speed

In all the situations where you want to gain some extra speed in a straight line:

  • Ensure your landing gear is up – N
  • Ensure you are in decoupled mode – V
  • Put the limiter to the top of the scale – mouse wheel
  • Apply forward thrust – W
  • Apply Afterburner – SHIFT

Keep the forward thrust and afterburner applied until the engine starts to overheats and then release. By being in the decoupled mode you avoid the braking effect of cruise & Manual control. If you are climbing from the surface to orbit the first few burns will fade away fairly quickly. As you go higher, the longer the velocity decays at a lower rate.

Using the same trick in space requires good judgment. As a precaution, aim slightly away from your target in case you overshoot.

How to Request Landing Services

You must request Landing Services at policed landing pads to open hangar doors so you can leave.

  • Use F1 to open the mobiGlas
  • Find the Comms button at the lower left
  • Select the contacts tab at the top left
  • Hail the Landing Services
Landing Services open hangars.
Landing Services will open the roof of the hangar for lift-off.

Once you have been granted permission to leave the hangar doors will open. The doors might be above you, to the front, back or to one side. You’ll need to have a look around to find out which.

The Takeoff Sequence

Assuming you are now correctly seated in the pilot’s seat, not the copilot’s seat:

  • If necessary hail the landing services to open the hangar doors.
  • From the cockpit use F+Mouse to find and select Flight Ready or press R. The power comes on and engines are engaged.
  • Use the mouse wheel to set the limiter to a minimum.
  • Ensure your mouse cursor is centred in the HUD so your ship will remain level when you start to move.
  • Press SPACE to clear the ground a little.
  • Press N to retract your landing gear
  • Exit with careful manual use of flight controls

From Surface to Orbit

By orbit, I mean a place where Quantum Travel (QT) will be available. QT is not available when you are within the atmosphere of a planetary body; your QT targets will be coloured orange and have Exit Atmosphere displayed next to it. 

How to exit the atmosphere
On Hurston, the ship will exit the atmosphere at 100 km.

On Hurston, the ship will exit the atmosphere at 100 km.

The quickest way to exit the atmosphere is to set the ascent angle to 90° relative to the planet’s surface using the elevation indicators in the centre of the screen. 

On Hurston, the atmosphere thins out to an acceptable density at an altitude of 100km. When you have reached a safe QT altitude, the elevation indicators and the Exit Atmosphere warning will disappear and your target marker will turn green.

From Orbit to Surface

There are two ways to get to the surface:

  1. Blast down all the way using full thrust and afterburner (SHIFT)
  2. Select a surface target and go halfway there with Quantum Drive

A shortcut method is to press B to overlay the landing targets on the moon or planet then move the HUD centre cross over the target. Wait for calibration and spooling to complete then press and hold B to hyperdrive towards the target.

Its often simpler to use the mobiGlass to find and select a target in a similar manner that you have done before, except that the targets will be on the surface rather than out in space.

After you initiate Quantum Travel, the navigation system will take you around the planet to reach the selected location and release the ship at high altitude. The ground location targets will have disappeared, so press B once more to make the ground location visible again. Now use full thrust and afterburner SHIFT to cover the remaining part of the distance.

In addition to this method, you can also select an orbital marker or other target and break out of hyperspace part way through the flight. This can be useful to get around a planet or moon quickly.

star citizen hyperdrive from orbit
You can hyper-drive closer to the surface by selecting a named destination.

Remember that you can change the view using F4 and Z to enable free-look at any time.

Auto Landing on a Landing Pad

It appears that not all landing pads have an autoland function, especially low population outposts.

  • Lower your landing gear N so that HUD symbols and auto-land facilities will be available.
  • Ensure you are not using cruise control C
  • Ensure you are not in decoupled mode V
  • Set the limiter to low speed
  • If necessary, hail the landing services to request a landing pad or hangar. The destination will be marked with a maintenance icon and the perimeter of the landing pad will display a holographic wall.
  • Use W to approach manually.
  • To auto-land, go to the selected pad, ensure your ship is enclosed in the guide walls then Press+hold N until autoland commences.
How to autoland

Landing Permission Problems

In the past, I’ve had problems either getting a landing request through or being allocated a landing pad. In this case, you can try landing on a pad anyway and quickly nip off before anyone sees you :0)

Ok, so I landed on the cockpit! The pad is outlined in red but I got out ok and I think I got away with it :0) They put my ship into storage for me so that saves a bit of UEC cash on the expedited retrieval fee.

Landing on the Surface

Some ships are more prone to hitting the surface than others, so take that into account. You might need to level off to a shallower angle in a heavy ship.

As well as flying at a downward angle, you can use LEFT-CTRL to push the ship downward. When you are near the surface, slow the forward speed S, switch to precision flight mode N and landing gear will be deployed.

Upon landing use F+mouse to select Engine Off from the cockpit panel, use H to leave your seat.

A walkabout photo on Yela using depth of field blur.