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Star Citizen 3.5.0 PTU New Flight Model Review

Welcome to some more Star Citizen. Today I wanted to talk about the new flight model that I am currently testing in the Star Citizen PTU Alpha 3.5.0I Patch…

The New Flight Model in the 3.5.0 PTU is still evolving but I’d like to talk about how it is at the moment, what it’s controls are, how it works, combat & improvements that I believe should be made.

What are the Controls?

[Y] is the get out of bed, seat or station rather than [H] or [U]

Holding F is Interact & Tapping F is Quick interact, this is useful to quickly open doors.

If you are on an MFD / Ship HUD holding F then Mouse Wheeling will zoom in and you can use your mouse to interact with the panels

[R] is Flight Ready BUT it’s also Toggle Gimbal Mode if you ship is on.

[N] Toggle Landing Mode (Pulls up/down your landing gear) Hold N with your landing gear down will try to autoland you if you are close enough to a landing pad.

W is Forward

S Backward

X is Spacebrake

A/D is Strafe Left / Right

Q/E is Roll Left / Right

Space Strafe Up

Control Strafe Down

C Cruise Control

Mouse Wheel is Velocity Control

SHIFT is Afterburner – It increases acceleration BUT not max speed, typically this will generate A LOT OF Heat.

V Toggles Decoupled Mode…

Decoupling is extremely useful to keep enemies in sight and maneuver more effectively with generating loads of heat. This is one of the major skills that will differeate players in Dogfighting imo.


In the Center of the Ships HuD is the main info that you require to fly effectively.

To the left is the Velocity Control Gage

Mouse Wheel this up to get more maximum velocity, when you press WASD/Ctrl/Space you will move towards that speed in that given direction.

The Velocity Control therefore limits your maximum speed allowing you to do precision OR High Speed Maneuvers.

There is a red marker on the gage showing what the recommended SCM Velocity is, going above this will see the agility of you ship drop and also your thrusters generating ALOT more heat BUT you will be able to go VERY FAST, basically up to what was CRUISE SPEEDS before. So below that bar or at SCM is kind of where they want dogfighting to take place.

Getting good at adjusting your Velocity Control on the fly is one of the other skills I think they new flight model has for players as a skill curve.

Pressing N for your landing gear on or off DOES NOT RESTRICT your speed like it used to.


Cruise Control is a useful feature, pressing C will see an arrow appear on the green/red velocity control bar, the max velocity you have set and then your ship will try to stay at that speed as if pressing W.


Overheating is now a real concern and when thrusters overheat they misfire / stop working for a few seconds, this is also true of damage & wear to them too.

This can leave you unable to maneuver as well as not being able to hit get up to the speed you have set, this is ESPECIALLY noticeable in Atmosphere.

The Overheating of systems is a bit too high really at the moment for Afterburner, in atmosphere and general use, I believe it’s being tweaked currently.

Things to look out for, make sure you do not land or take off with cruise control on.

When landing come in at 50 – 20 m/s, make sure you have CC off before doing the precise movements over the pad / zone.

Don’t entirely turn you CC to 0 let it fall naturally or use spacebrake

Combat is a lot slower, ships have more shield health too BUT less regen, Power is important, as is heat. The main difference for me is the following and turning to targets, ships have a much larger turning circle and aren’t able to just pivot to keep shooting at a target (at least not so much you can slide past with decoupled and the circle strafe around them to maintain fire for longer)

You can start to use momentum and your SCM speed to really do some intelligent things in combat without stressing your thrusters, while enemies might need to constantly afterburn and reposition to keep up.

There is auto gimbals & gimbal convergence which allow for lots of different weapons to be used together and have the pip converge BUT also the auto gimbals allow the gimbals to aim for your while you fly.

Turrets still need work BUT with the slower model they can land hits and larger ships that use them have a lot more health. Larger ships also FEEL big when they fly now too.

ESP is still being tweaked and dialed in it’s uncertain what sort of experience of it we will have it 3.5 LIVE, it’s likely to be more refined with 3.6 though.

Alt 1 is target nearest enemy

3 is Cycle Enemy Targets, 5 will cycle Friendlies

2 will cycle sub components of ships (thrusters atm BUT it’s good to understand that this will eventually be power plants, shields etc…)

Left Alt” plus corresponding targeting key will cycle the other direction

Holding Z will allow you to look behind your ship.

G Launches a CM

H Cycles CMs

T Toggles Ship Lights

Atmospheric Flight
The 3.5 Model adds Drag, Lift & Gravity considers Mass and has a more intensive atmospheric model. Your max speed will change and the way a ship handles will change from planet to planet to moon to moon. The Atmospheric model to me feels far from complete though. The IFCS at least tries to keep your ship basically feeling like it’s in space while it has power and isn’t overheating, but it is very likely to overheat from time to time, atmospheric flight puts thrusters under a lot of pressure.

Your ship will fight you a bit more when trying to turn, pulling you back towards the way you were travelling in, the slower you are travelling the less that pull will be.

Rolling really helps in atmospheric flight with turns and maneuvers.

The lower you are in atmosphere the slower you go, if your ship is a brick then turning will be harder.

VTOLs and landing mode down pointing thrusters do have an effect on accelerating upwards too and as such are very useful in atmosphere.

Larger ships dislike atmospheric flight a lot now, they overheat and are very sluggish.

On a very positive note when QTing to a location on a planet or moon you do come out of Quantum a lot closer & you are able to go to quantum without travelling 1000s of meters, the atmospheric boundaries are closer to the surfaces. Though this kind of QoL improvement is separate really from the new flight model.

There is a Sea Level Alt Meter and Terminal Velocity display too.

Opinions / How Does it Feel
The new experience for the actual flight model is quite fun and makes sense to me, it’s simple, lightweight & it works, it’s nothing I would deem amazing or terrible yet, it is severely dumbed down.

Combat wise, they are trying to balance parts before we have all the systems in, like physicalized components,  misfires, updated power systems, hud improvements, cockpit experience improvements, scanning & radar updates, the physical damage system & targeting of subsystems.

They have in my opinion normalized & simplified a lot of the combat so that low – medium skilled players will be much more similarly matched,

The Combat is slower, ships have more effective health, gimbals can aim for you, the convergence is simpler, you’ll be chasing ships OR pass them and sliding past them with decoupled mode. At the higher end learning to use the velocity control, decoupled & ??? well will have you really differentiating yourself skillswise imo.

Another thing to point out is probably that thruster placement is important on your ships too, that is literally where the thrust is coming from and it affects how the ship performance, lose a couple of key thrusters and your ship might be handling extremely poorly.

The Flight Model will see improvements before 3.5 LIVE and get more iterations for 3.6 & beyond their goal probably being to have it perfect for when Squadron 42 goes to Beta in 2020.

Combat & Atmospheric Flight need a good amount of work and then combat requires a hell of a lot of balancing.

I’ll talk more about the flight model over the coming days as I expect it will see some changes, and bug fixes. I think the Flight Part of the Flight Model is fine and has potential, having ESP & Heat working really well would help with this too.

The Combat element of it, more specifically dogfighting however I am yet to be fully convinced of.

Really what I am saying is that I still prefer 2.6.3’s combat at the moment still BUT I can see what they are trying to do and with refinements, all the parts coming together and QoL/Bug Fixes could one day push that to me preferring the new flight model!

I suppose a question you could ask is do I want to go back to the old one in 3.4.3 and improve that instead… that would be a hard no.

The New Model should also be a bit more optimized so we will be able to have many more ships on screen all fighting with higher framerates.