On Mastering Two Reverse-Thrust Maneuvers

Becoming a better ESF pilot in PlanetSide 2 begins with mastering two advanced aerial maneuvers to turn on the spot in a blitz. Leonard gives you the basic rundown.

CONTENT BELOW FOR Icon_Mosquito Icon_Reaver Icon_Scythe Liberator

Reverse-thrusting allows your ESF to turn on the spot very, very quickly. Since you’re often thrusting in two, three directions at once, you will also be a hard-to-hit target when performing the maneuver. That’s great value right there!

Every ESF, be it the Reaver, Mosquito or Scythe, be it a stock ESF or a maxed-out one, is equally capable of reverse-thrusting. For pulling off the maneuvers, it is crucial that you have the vertical thrusters of your ESF point downwards to the ground or have them in the process of pointing downwards, just as if you’re landing your aircraft.

Since the Scythe doesn’t possess such thrusters that flip into a hover-mode-like position, VS pilots need to rely on the visual indicator that the contrails of the Scythe’s wings provide. Whenever these cease to appear, you can reliably start reverse-thrusting (for more on this, read here).

In any case, beginners should start out training these maneuvers while being stationary in the air.

The Banking Turn

The easiest of the reverse-thrust maneuvers, the Banking Turn lets you swiftly strafe around your own axis. It is especially useful for bombarding ground targets but can come in handy in dogfights as well if you don’t need to do a full U-turn.

Here is how you do the maneuver:

  1. Hold Throttle Down (S) or tap the Throttle (Analog) key to cut your forward momentum.
  2. Roll the aircraft sideways in a 90° angle. By now the vertical thrusters of your aircraft should be starting to point downwards, or, for Scythe pilots, the contrails of your aircraft’s wings should now cease to appear.
  3. Start yawing left (A) or right (D) depending on the direction you want to turning into. This is not ultimately required but it helps speed up the maneuver quite a bit.
  4. Hold Ascend (Spacebar) to initiate the vertical thrusters, then additionally pitch down the nose of your aircraft to turn around your own axis.
  5. Now jam the afterburners (Shift) to drastically speed up the turning rate. If done correctly, you will thrust in reverse, or fly backwards, while doing so.

The Barrel Roll Turn

(often erroneously called Aileron Roll Turn)

More difficult to perform than the previous maneuver, the Barrel Roll Turn allows you to abruptly U-turn on the spot to potentially engage any aircraft that might be tailing you. It is most useful in dogfights if you have no other means of covering your turn.

Since you are boosting in two, three directions at once, you are hard to hit when performing this turn even for the seasoned enemy pilot, but not so during the slow-down phase of the maneuver where you need to come to a near-halt first.

Here is how you do the maneuver:

  1. Hold Throttle Down (S) or tap the Throttle (Analog) key to cut your forward momentum.
  2. Roll the aircraft on its head in a 180° angle so its belly bottom points toward the sky ceiling. By now the vertical thrusters of your aircraft should be starting to point downwards, or, for Scythe pilots, the contrails of your aircraft’s wings should now cease to appear.
  3. Hold Ascend (Spacebar) to initiate the vertical thrusters, then additionally pitch down the nose of your aircraft to turn around your own axis.
  4. Now jam the afterburners (Shift) to drastically speed up the turning rate. If done correctly, you will thrust in reverse, or fly backwards, while doing so.

Going Beyond

The list of maneuvers you can perform with your ESF doesn’t just end with the Banking Turn and Barrel Roll Turn. For example, as an idea, it is a first-rate maneuver to combine these two performing the Banking Turn first, and then transitioning seamlessly into the Barrel Roll Turn. You can also use reverse-thrusting simply for ascending very, very quickly as well.

Only the sky (ceiling) is the limit. Why not give it a shot?
—Leonard

Further reading:

4 thoughts on “On Mastering Two Reverse-Thrust Maneuvers

  1. May i add, this two maneuvers (without reverse part) are essential to know for a dogfighting 2/3 lib pilots also, as they allows you to face esfs with a belly all the time. Difference is – you might want to end barrel roll turn facing the sky, both to gain height and to give gunner a chance.

  2. Very small typo: “as in the special case of the Scythe, the contrails on your wings should seize to appear on-screen”

    “Seize” should be “cease”.

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