Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program

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KSP: How to Plane
By Kerbal1
The basics of how to get your Kerbals up in the air using the invention known as the plane!!!
 
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What you'll need.
First things first, the control center. Now you could choose to make a drone using the RC module available in the game or you could put your Kerbal's life on the line. OBVIOUSLY use the Kerbals. Their faces are HILARIOUS(especially Jebediah). Back to the topic, you will want to choose a cockpit, which should probably, if you're a beginner, be the same type(size(Mk1, Mk2, etc.)) as what you will be using for fuel tanks(I find the easiest to be MK1). Once that is complete, you will need to attach fuel and maybe some empty fuselages. Keep in mind, that different types of engines have different requirements, so you MUST MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING THE RIGHT FUEL. Some engines might also need things such as air intakes. Also, don't forget the actual engine. It seems silly ,but it happens.

Here, it gets complicated(ish). As you may know, aerodynamics is a complex physics, and the game hasn't fallen short on some of the key principles. So, the VERY basics are in the following list.
1. You need wings and most likely you will want rudders or flaps to control the plane
2. For a relatively simple plane, it is best to have the center of lift a bit behind the center of mass. I find that the best relative positioning of the center of mass and center of lift is to have the center of the ball icon for the center of lift to be at the same location as the back point of the ball icon for the center of mass. Remember that the center of mass is the point representing the mean (yay back to 3rd grade math class. Thankfully the game calculates it for you) of all the matter, so changing the fuel level will affect the center of mass. And, since the wings and rudders/flaps/ailerons provide lift, shifting their position will change the center of lift.
3. You must have an engine obviously to provide thrust. Again depending on the type of engine, you will need different things like air intakes.
4. Unfortunately there is no absolute invincibility mode in KSP so you will have to put landing gear. Probably the easiest to place and most commonly used is the retractable landing gear which comes in different sizes. I would definitely use those.
Specifics
I talked a lot about engines and what they need because it is very important so your plane can actually have thrust. An extremely common type of engine in modern planes is the jet engine. KSP has many jet engines. The requirements for these are to have a source of liquid fuel and an air intake.

PLEASE NOTE: I have encountered a problem with the game where if you have two jet engines and two air intakes, only one engine may receive the air required. Thus, one of the engines will sputter and die out. I do not know EXACTLY how to fix this problem.

The most simple design would be to have the following in order from front to back:
1. Air intake
2. Cockpit
3. Fuel tank
4. Engine
>Note the wings, flaps, ailerons, rudders, and landing gear would be placed throughout the body of the plane and would have no definite position. It depends on how the plane is structured.


Building Controls
On the left with your parts you have buttons!(The list doesn't contain every button action)
These buttons do the following:
1. Mirror what you build on one side to the other
2. Show center of mass, lift ,and thrust


Another helpful tool is the movement of pieces. Once you place your piece you can make precise movements and rotations using the different ways of moving pieces which you toggle using the buttons on the top of the screen, located right of the parts menu. You can rotate, precisely move, and do more to pieces.
Flying Controls(The Defaults)
The controls are editable.


S = Pull nose up (pitch)
W = Push nose down (pitch)
A = Turn left (yaw)
D = Turn right (yaw)
Q = Rotate left (roll)
E = Rotate right (roll)
SPACE = Activate stages in order ( Unless you modified the stages, they should be in stage one, also unless you have more functional parts than I described).
CTRL = Throttle down
SHIFT = Throttle up
NOTE: I have not tested whether or not the default works for RSHIFT or RCTRL
G = Landing gear(retract and extend)
Z = Throttle at maximum
X = Throttle at minimum
F12 = Aerodynamic overlay
b(hold) = brakes

>And also please note that when flying, use SAS, at the top right of the navigation ball which will
auto-stabalize the plane.
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22 Comments
kickdowndoors Jun 8 @ 9:08am 
okay great, thanks mate. and that sounds good! thank you!
Kerbal1  [author] Jun 8 @ 8:39am 
i do not believ the air intakes have to be placed specifically, i think they auto connect to the engine. i don't play science mode too much because i like creating wacky creations, but you can drain some fuel to adjust center of mass
kickdowndoors Jun 8 @ 12:11am 
one problem i encountered (before reading this guide) was at a low-level in science mode. i dont have any empty fuselages, so placing an air intake was really hard. how would you suggest i do this? also, does the air intake have to be placed in front of the fuel used for a specific engine? thanks!
Kerbal1  [author] Nov 2, 2017 @ 3:37pm 
Good point however if they are tryino to do a type of cornering maneuver they will need to be able to turn
Javacat1 Nov 2, 2017 @ 3:21am 
Another thing: don't use A and D to turn. Instead roll with Q or E in the direction you want, and press S to bring the nose towards where you rolled
Nolan041 Nov 1, 2017 @ 10:27pm 
Intructions unclear: Dick torn up and drowned in toaster
Quinn Nov 1, 2017 @ 4:27pm 
oh thanks kerbal
Kerbal1  [author] Nov 1, 2017 @ 4:03pm 
if you are pressing A and D it is possible that the way the plane was designed makesit so that the tailfin turning has an affect that makes the plane roll
Quinn Oct 30, 2017 @ 4:05pm 
i tried to add a tailfin, usually the AV-R1 winglet. still rolls around. infact, even some of the stock ones do the same thing.
Kerbal1  [author] Oct 30, 2017 @ 3:40pm 
Quinn you need a vertical stabalizer that is controlable