First Eagles 2

copyright © 2006-2010 Third Wire Productions Inc.

Quick Basics

On the Ground

In the Air

Default Key Commands

Quick Basics

Welcome to the First Eagles 2! This section provides a short introduction to the major tasks involved with taking off, finding your target, hitting it, and making a successful landing. If you're new to flight simulations, these instructions will help you get started. Even if you're a veteran, you may find some of the commands in this section useful.

For a complete list of commands, see Default Key Commands at the end of this manual.

Taking Off

By default, you start the game in the air. However, you can change the Mission Start Position setting in the Gameplay Options Screen to start on the runway.

Taking off is relatively simple. Once you receive clearance from the tower, you're ready.

  1. If you have throttle control, make sure its at 0% before the mission loads.
  2. Gently power up your engine to 100% thrust (press ‘=' key).
  3. Keep the nose pointed straight ahead using the rudder keys (comma (‘,') and period (‘.') keys).
  4. As you approach the end of the airfield, pull back gently on the joystick to lift off the ground at shallow climb angle.


Finding your way around is fairly easy through the use of the Head-Up Display (HUD). This section assumes that all Gameplay options are set to Easy or Normal; for Hard settings, you may need to rely on bearings and cockpit instruments to find your next waypoint.

Your waypoints show up in the Planning Map before the mission. During flight, your next waypoint shows up either as a white triangle in your forward view, or as a white cone on the perimeter of your screen. Steer towards it to maneuver to the next waypoint. Note that you always have a preliminary waypoint just before the target area or rendezvous point, and just before landing.

You can select the next or previous waypoint to switch them in mid-mission. Be aware that violating the planned flight path can consume precious fuel.

W / Shift+W

Select next/previous waypoint.


Activates autopilot and flies toward next waypoint.


Skips forward in time to the next encounter.


Display the in-flight map.


Your next order of business is to find a target. You can select any target within targeting distance by using Select Target command (‘T' key). The selected target appears in square brackets on the HUD. If the target moves out of view, a cone appears on the edge of the screen to "point" you toward your current target.

T / Shift+T

Target next/previous air enemy or unidentified target. Depending on your HUD settings, information may appear onscreen about your target.


Target closest air enemy or unidentified target.

E / Shift+E

Target next/previous enemy ground object.


Select closest enemy ground object.

Using a Weapon

After you have something targeted, you're ready to fire your gun, or to drop your bomb. You can always fire your guns by pressing the Joystick button 1 (or Spacebar on the keyboard). In order to drop bombs, however, you must select the weapon first by pressing Backslash (‘\') key.

Backslash (\) / Shift+(\)

Select next/previous air-to-ground weapon.

Spacebar (or Joystick button 1)

Fire primary gun.

Enter (or Joystick button 2)

Fire/release currently selected weapon.

The gun may jam if you continue to fire for too long, or if you fire under heavy g-load. Press ‘U' key to attempt to clear jammed gun, the gun jam should usually clear with one or two tries.

Ending Mission

You may end the mission at any time by pressing ESC key. However, if you end the mission before your mission is accomplished, it will be recorded as a failed mission.

You may, of course, choose to continue to fly back to your home base and attempt landing.


Landing is a bit trickier than taking off because you must control your angle, descent rate and speed. The main instruments you need to observe are the airspeed indicator and altimeter.

In general, here's what you need to do to land:

  1. As you approach the second-to-last waypoint, begin your lineup with the runway.
  2. On approach, begin gently reducing your throttle setting to 25% (press -).
  3. Try to keep airfield in sight as you descend while maintaining steady speed of around 60 knots.
    • If you need to slow down, pull back slightly on the stick to raise the nose. If you need to speed up, lower the nose slightly.
    • If you need to increase your descent rate, reduce the throttle. Conversely, increase the throttle to decrease the descent rate.
  4. At about 100 feet above the runway, flare by pulling back gently on the stick. This lowers the rate of descent and executes a soft landing.
  5. After touchdown, reduce throttle to 0% (press -).
  6. Press ESC to end the mission.

On the Ground

Every successful mission starts with a good plan. First Eagles 2 offers a variety of entertaining mission types, including instant action, single missions and a full campaign. But before you rush to suit up and get off the ground, you've got to properly equip your aircraft for the task at hand.

Your journey into the skies starts on the ground, beginning with the Main Screen. From there, you select a pilot (except for Instant Action) and a mission type. After you study the mission briefing, you can then memorize your waypoint route and outfit your bird with bombs and guns. Finally, you'll be ready to take on your foes in the sky!

Main Screen

The first thing you see when you start the game is the Main Screen. Here, you select what type of mission you want to fly. You can also view statistics for the current pilot or another pilot you've previously saved.

The Main Screen lists the following options. Click a button to access that screen.

Instant Action

Jump immediately into flight in a randomly generated mission.

Single Mission

Load a historical mission, or configure a new mission and fly it.


Load the currently active pilot and campaign, or start a new campaign with a different pilot.

Pilot Record

View vital statistics for all of your saved pilots, or create a new pilot to man your aircraft

Options Set options for gameplay, graphics, sound, controls, network and other miscellaneous options.
Exit Closes the game.
Displays a small menu that allows you to view other screens, see the credits, and quit the game. The small green aircraft icon in the upper left corner appears on every base screen and has quick links to the Main Screen, Pilot Record Screen and Options Screen. You can also select Quit to close the game.

Instant Action Screen

Jump into the cockpit and quickly engage enemy targets in an Instant Action mission.

When you select Instant Action from the Main Screen, you immediately find yourself high in the air near enemy territory. In some cases, you may even find yourself doggedly evading a bandit who's on your tail. With an Instant Action mission, you don't get to choose your aircraft, enemies, or setting - it's a surprise each and every time you enter battle. You also don't have to deal with takeoffs and landings.

At the end of each Instant Mission - after winning, crashing, or dying - you see the Debrief Screen.

Single Mission Screen

Create and fly randomly generated missions, or fly historical missions.

When you click Single Mission in the Main Screen, you're able to select a specific set some parameters for the mission. Another difference between a Single and Instant Mission is that the results of Single Missions are saved to your pilot's permanent record.

You have several options in the Single Mission Screen. The left side of the file folder shows two buttons, and the right side displays the parameters for the selected subscreen.

New Mission

Configure a new mission. (The game remembers the last settings you used.)

Load Mission

Load a custom mission or a previously saved mission. You can select a previously saved mission from the Mission Filename list.


Once the mission is configured or loaded to your satisfaction, click Accept to move to the Hangar Screen.


Return to the Main Screen and cancel this mission.

New Mission Parameters

Setting different mission parameters can drastically affect the difficulty of a mission. For instance, it's going to be harder to fly a reconnaissance mission when there is heavy enemy air activity, and if you want to up the ante for your pilot, try setting up heavy enemy air activity and heavy enemy air-defense activity.

You can alter the following options for a new Single Mission:

Aircraft Type

Select an aircraft to fly on this mission.


Select the national insignia you want painted on your aircraft.

Mission Date

Select a specific date (month and year) for this mission; some aircraft (both enemy and friendly) are only available on certain date.

Mission Type

Select a mission type – Offensive Patrol / Defensive Patrol / Intercept / Escort / Bomb Target / Army Co-operation / Armed Reconnaissance / Reconnaissance / Balloon Busting / Balloon Defense (See Mission Types for details on different mission types). Only mission types suitable for the selected aircraft are listed here.

Mission Map

Select a specific map and terrain type - Verdun and Cambrai.

Mission Start Time Select a time of day for the mission - Random / Dawn / Morning / Noon / Afternoon / Evening / Dusk / Night.
Mission Weather Set the weather conditions - Random / Clear / Scattered / Broken (partly cloudy) / Overcast / Inclement (stormy).
Enemy Air Activity Select the approximate level of enemy activity for the mission- Random / Light / Normal / Heavy. This sets the number of airborne enemies you'll likely encounter during the mission.

Campaign Screen

Participate in a full-length war and fly dynamic campaign missions.

The Campaign Screen allows you to start a new campaign mission series, or load an existing campaign that you've created. Once you begin a new campaign, you can't change the pilot you're using for that particular campaign. However, you can start a new campaign with a different pilot.

Two buttons appear on the left side of the screen. When you select one, the right-hand page changes to reflect your chosen option.

New Campaign

Starts a new campaign. After you choose this option, set the campaign parameters and then click Accept. When prompted, enter a save name for the new campaign.

Load Campaign

Enables you to load a saved campaign. Select the campaign you want to load from the drop-down list on the right-hand side of the screen, then click Accept.


Prompts you for a campaign name and saves the new campaign, then displays the Hangar Screen.


Returns you to the Main Screen and cancels the campaign mission.

New Campaign Parameters

When you opt to create a new campaign, you can set the following options:

Pilot Name

Displays a list of pilots you've created. Select one to associate that pilot with this campaign. That pilot will still be able to fly Single Missions.

Campaign Name

Displays a list of campaigns; St. Mihiel Operation or Meuse-Argonne Operation.


Displays the available service branches - US Army Air Service / French Aéronautique Militaire / Royal Air Force / Imperial German Army Air Service.

Unit Name

Displays a list of available squadrons. The list varies, depending on which service branch you select.

Campaign Difficulty At the Easy level, your success has less effect on the success of other units involved in the campaign war. If you perform poorly, other battle areas can still achieve overall success. The opposite is true for Hard campaigns - your performance guides the overall performance for your side. Normal falls somewhere in between.

Hangar Screen

The Hangar Screen is your pre-flight area. From this area you can alter your aircraft's ordnance loadout, view and adjust your mission waypoints, and select pilots for the squadron. The main Hangar Screen page shows an abbreviated mission briefing. Along with your squadron, callsign and aircraft information, it also displays the current date (in game time). Planned takeoff, target arrival and landing times for the mission appear as well in 24-hour military time.

The Hangar Screen contains six buttons, four of which activate subscreens.

Loadout Lets you proceed to the Loadout Screen and adjust weapon and fuel settings for up to four aircraft in your wing. You can also customize your aircraft's appearance in the Loadout area and, in some mission types, select the type of aircraft you want to fly.
Planning Map Shows the Planning Map Screen, where you can view and adjust waypoints. You can also see all friendly and some enemy positions in this area, along with basic aircraft and base information.

Pilot Roster

Shows the pilot assignments for this mission.


Returns you to the previous screen (Single Mission or Campaign).


Puts you into the cockpit and starts the mission.

Loadout Screen

In the Loadout Screen, you equip your aircraft with ordnance appropriate for the selected or assigned mission type, whether it's a Single Mission or the next mission in a Campaign game. (See Mission Types for information about different types of missions you can fly in the game.) You can view or configure your own aircraft, as well as that of your wingman and any other aircraft flying with you.

The functionality of this screen differs slightly depending on what type of mission you're flying and what branch of the military you choose. Single Missions allow you a little more flexibility than Campaign Missions, since your aircraft, callsign, squadron alignment and aircraft appearance are configurable. (These items are not editable for a Campaign mission.)

You can set the following options in the Loadout Screen for all aircraft involved in your flight. When you're finished with all of the loadouts, click EXIT to return to the Hangar Screen. When you re-enter the Loadout Screen, the settings for your aircraft display by default.


For Single Missions, this drop-down list lets you assign an aircraft type. You can also select "<Add>" to add new aircraft, or select "<Remove>" to delete the last aircraft.

Loadout Select the type of extra ordnance to carry for the mission, if any. Selecting <None> takes just the standard machine-guns only, while selecting "Bombs" allow you to takes two extra bombs in the cockpit.
Paint Scheme Sets the chosen aircraft's paint job, or "skins", to use in game.


For Single Missions, displays a list of national insignia you can have painted on your aircraft.


For Single Missions, enables you to select squadron markings, which will appear on the exterior of your aircraft.


Displays a drop-down list of individual numbers for each aircraft of the selected type. 

Planning Map Screen

The Planning Map Screen shows an overhead view of the mission area, complete with color-coded icons that represent friendly and enemy units. You should use this screen to become familiar with the navigation layout of the mission, the enemy line, and the type and number of known foes.

The map shows the following elements of information for each mission. You can click-and-drag anywhere on the map to scroll in any direction.


Displays basic information about the mission, target area and base. This area also displays waypoint and unit information, as described below.

Blue icons represent Allied air and ground units, and red icons denote German units. The type of unit appears as an image on top of the icon (roundel for Allied air units, iron cross for German air units, and infantry symbol for ground units). When you move the cursor over any icon, known information about that unit appears on the chalkboard, including the unit type, number of units and home base. As you play more Campaign missions and gather more intelligence, you'll be able to spot more targets and view more information about them in this screen. 
The small yellow triangles indicate waypoints for your flight. All aircraft flying with you follow these waypoints. Although the set waypoints are optimal for the mission, you can click-and-drag these waypoints to different locations. Be aware that extending the mission path requires additional fuel. Whenever you move the mouse pointer over a waypoint triangle, details about that navigation point appear on the chalkboard.

Battle line

The red, jagged line on the terrain indicates the front line of battle. As you progress through the Campaign, this line will move to reflect your success or failure.

Target area

The black circle surrounds the area containing the main mission target. If you're having trouble winning a particular mission, you can try entering the target area from a different point.

The magnifying glass icons allow you to zoom the map view in (+) and out (-). The icon with the dashed outline re-centers the map over the target area.

EXIT Returns you to the Hangar Screen.

Pilot Roster Screen

The Pilot Roster screen lists the current game date, as well as the type of aircraft being flown and the names of all pilots involved in the current flight. Pertinent information about each pilot's experience, success and current condition also appears here.

You can click on any unassigned pilot to assign him to the mission, or click on already assigned pilot to unassign him.

Click EXIT to return to the Hangar Screen.

The following information displays for each pilot:


Shows the pilot's first name, last name and current military rank.

Combat Missions Displays the total number of combat missions flown by the pilot.
Kills Tallies the number of Air-to-Air (A/A) and Air-to-Ground (A/G) kills made by the pilot.


States whether the pilot is available for duty or not. During a Campaign game, the game tracks the status of all pilots in your squadron. As they get shot down, they can become KIA (killed in action), MIA (missing in action), or POW (prisoner of war) and will no longer be available to fly the mission. Pilot replacements are flown in on a semi-regular basis.


Describes the current morale level for the pilot.


Describes the current physical condition of the pilot - Fatigued, Normal, Rested and Refreshed. Refreshed is the highest level available

Aircraft Assigned Lists the callsign for the pilot's current aircraft assignment.

Debrief Screen

Anytime you complete a mission, die, or press ESC, the Debrief Screen appears. From here you can view your score for the mission, the length of the mission, the success/failure message and a Top 10 score list. You will also view any new medals you receive as a result of earning points for that mission.

You have several other options in this screen. From any other post-mission screen, you can click Debrief at any time to return to the mission summary.


Shows who fired what weapons during the course of the mission, the number of launches/rounds, the number of successful hits and the percentage rate of success. Finally, a kill tally also appears for each pilot involved in the mission.

Log Here, every event that occurs during the mission is logged and time-stamped.
Save Save the mission out to a file so it can be re-loaded and re-played again later.
REFLY Fly this same mission again.


Save the mission score for the currently selected pilot and return to the Main Screen.

Pilot Record Screen

View detailed pilot records containing a complete history and statistics for your pilot.

This screen shows a detailed record for the currently selected pilot.

Pilot Name Displays a drop-down list of all saved pilots. Select a pilot to display his or her information on the right side of the screen.
Photo Displays a drop-down list of available pilot photos. You can add to this list by placing additional *.BMP images in the PilotData folder in the game directory
Last / First Name Lets you type in a name for your pilot.
Callsign Lets you type in a callsign or "handle" for your pilot.
EXIT Returns you to the Main Screen.

Pilot Statistics

The rank, score, ratings and missions that appear in the right-hand box reflect the pilot's accumulated scores.

The following stats appear for the selected pilot:

Rank Shows the current military rank. As you earn points with this pilot, you earn medals and advance in rank
Score Shows the cumulative score. You receive points for each mission based on success in achieving the objectives.
Rating Overall rating of the pilot.
Total Kills Shows the kill tally (number of enemies destroyed)
Aircraft Breaks out the number of aircraft kills.
Vehicle Breaks out the number of vehicle and ground unit kills.
Buildings Breaks out the number of building destroyed..
Friendly Fire Shows the number of friendly objects destroyed (hopefully accidentally!) by the pilot
Shot Down Number of times the pilot was shot down.
Kill Ratio Ratio of kill tally divided by number of times shot down.
Flight Hours Shows the total hours flown by this pilot.
Last Flown Type Shows the last type of aircraft flown by this pilot.
Missions Displays the total number of missions flown, the number of missions that was successful, and percentage of missions success.
Campaigns Shows the total number of campaigns flown, the number of campaigns won, and the percentage of campaigns won.

Options Screen

Adjust various game settings such as gameplay, graphics, sound and controls options.

You can change many of the game's options by setting them in the Options Screen. To access the options from anywhere in the game prior to flight, simply click the green aircraft icon in the upper left corner of the screen, and then click Options.

Note: You cannot reset options while you're airborne.

You have access to four Option Screens - Gameplay, Graphics, Sound, and Control. Click on the name of a section to jump to that option category.

EXIT Takes you back to whichever screen you were in prior to accessing the Options Screen.


The Gameplay subscreen lets you change difficulty settings that affect how hard or easy the game is to play.

Mission Start Position Position of your aircraft when the mission starts - Near Target / Air / Airfield. This determines whether you begin the game in the air or not, and how close you are to the target objective.
Default Viewpoint Your perspective when the mission starts - External / Cockpit. An external view positions you so that you see the outside of your aircraft; a cockpit view seats you behind the controls. See Key Commands for details on how to change camera views.
Display Unit The unit of measurement used in HUD displays. English unit uses mph and feet, Metric unit uses km/hr and meters, Default selects units based on aircraft - generally, Allied aircraft uses English unit, while German aircraft use Metric.
Enemy Skill Level Skill of your opponents - Easy / Normal / Hard. Easy: Enemies aren't all that accurate - they'll fire less often and miss more often. Also, their flying skills are below average. Medium: Opponents are a slightly better shot at range and are better at executing combat maneuvers. Hard: Opponents are seasoned veterans who pick their shots carefully and are fairly accurate. Dogfighting these enemies won't be an easy task, offensively or defensively.
Simulation Difficulty Overall difficulty of the game, based on a number of option settings - Easy / Normal / Hard / Customize. Click Customize to display additional drop-down menus and options (listed below). For all of the customizable options, you may select Easy / Normal / Hard. The default setting is Normal.
Options under Customize...
+ Flight Model Controls the flight model for the aircraft. Easy: Arcade-type flight model. You have a lot of flight control due to limited external aerodynamic forces and the aircraft flies where the nose is pointing. Normal: More accurate flight model. No true stalls or spins exist, but you must deal with some external aerodynamic forces. Hard: Most complex flight model. External forces can cause you to stall out or enter an unrecoverable spin. Realistic flight control limits make the diagonal motion of the joystick less useful for rolling during high angle-of-attack (AoA) maneuvers.
+ Weapon Effectiveness Controls behavior and realism of player weapons. Easy: Player's guns are very effective, able to destroy enemy with only a few hits, and never jam. Normal: Player's guns do normal damage, takes more hits to destroy enemy and may jam occasionally when fired in long burst or under heavy g-load. Hard: Player's guns do less damage, requiring more hits, and can jam more often.
+ Visual Targeting Controls how visual target is selected. Easy: You can target any enemy object, even target you cannot see. Normal: You can target any enemy that are within visual range. Hard: You can only target enemy that are within visual range and not obstructed by clouds or terrains.
+ HUD Display Controls how the game's head-up display (HUD) operates. Easy: All available information are displayed on the HUD, including all flight, waypoint, and target information. The labels are displayed on all currently active objects. Normal: Only the basic flight and waypoint information are displayed, and target information on selected target. Hard: No flight, waypoint, or targeting information are displayed.
+ Landing Controls how difficult it is to land the aircraft. Easy: If you lower the gear, you land successfully. Speed and angle are not factors. Normal: If you lower the gear and don't come down too steeply or too fast, you land successfully. If the descent rate is too high, however, you may crash. Hard: You must descend at the correct angle and speed to make a successful landing. Violating landing parameters may result in gear damage or collapse, or even worse, a crash.
+ Collision Controls mid-air collisions and collisions with the ground. Easy: You cannot collide with another aircraft in the air. Also, crashing into the ground doesn't do any damage. Normal: You cannot collide with friendly aircraft, but you can hit an enemy. Damage from collisions is reduced, and you won't usually die as a result. Hard: You can collide with both friendly and enemy aircraft. If you crash into the ground, you will probably die.
+ Ammo Usage Controls the rate at which ammunition is expended. Easy: You have an unlimited supply of gun ammunition. Normal: You can run out of ammunition, but carry twice as much. Hard: You carry a realistic amount of ammunition.
+ Fuel Usage Controls how quickly the aircraft consumes fuel. Easy: Your fuel supply is infinite, even when you use afterburners. Normal: Fuel is consumed at half of the normal rate during regular flight, and slightly less than the normal rate when you're using afterburners. Hard: Fuel consumption is realistic, and you can't use afterburners very much without risking a fuel shortage later in the mission.


The Graphics subscreen allows you to change options that affect video settings. In general, the fewer textures and less detail you specify, the better the game performance. Older, slower machines operate best at lower graphical settings. If you have a top-end system, you can leave everything on the highest setting and enjoy increased video quality.

Medium settings are generally recommended for machines that meet the minimum system requirements. However, if the video is jerky or slow, try disabling some of these settings or lowering the detail levels.

Display Device Specifies which video card the game should use. Normally only one video card will be listed here. If multiple cards appear, choose the option that corresponds to your 3D video card.
Display Resolution Sets the resolutions for your monitor during gameplay. The list that appear here are different, depending on which video card you have installed. If you're having performance problems, you can reduce the game's resolution setting.
Display Aspect Ratio Sets the aspect ratio for your monitor, 4:3, 5:4, 16:9, or 16:10. Standard CRT monitors typically have 4:3 or 16:9 ratio, while newer LCD monitors typically have 5:4 or 16:10 aspect ratio.
Lens Flare Sets whether or not you see a blinding "lens flare" effect (multiple halos) when you are flying in the direction of the sun. Your options are as follows - Always On / On External Views / Always Off. Choosing the second option means that you won't see any lens flares while viewing action from inside the cockpit.
Graphics Detail Level Overall level of graphics details you see during flight, based on a number of option settings - Low / Normal / High / Unlimited / Customize. Click Customize to display additional drop-down menus and options (listed below). These settings greatly affect frame rate.
Options under Customize...
+ Object Detail Controls level of detail and distance limits for 3D objects: Low: Fewer polygons exist for each object. Some visual effects such as reflections and decals are turned off. Medium: Objects have more art polygons and appear more detailed at close range. High: Objects appear highly detailed both at range and up close. All visual effects and decals are turned on.
+ Object Texture Controls the level of texture detail for objects. Low: Object textures are limited to 128x128 detail. Medium: Object textures are limited to 256x256. High: Object textures are limited to 512x512. Unlimited: Object textures have unlimited detail.
+ Cockpit Texture Acts identically to object textures, but applies only for the 3d virtual cockpit model.
+ Shadow Controls the distance and type of object that can cast shadow. Low: No shadows are cast. Medium: Aircraft cast shadow only in external view and only at close range. High: Aircraft and some ground objects cast shadow. Unlimited: All objects cast shadow at furthest distance.
+ Effects Detail Controls the detail level for special effects, such as smoke, fire and explosions: Low: Visual effects are short-lived and don't have much particulate detail. Medium: Particle effects are denser, and visual effects last longer. High: All effects are shown at full detail, and the effects remain onscreen for longer. Unlimited: HDR effects are enabled (on DX10 or higher cards only).
+ Terrain Detail Controls how detailed the terrain appears at various distances. Low: Terrain is represented as a simple mesh. Medium: Terrain shows more hills and valleys. High: Terrain is at highest detail.
+ Terrain Texture Controls the level of texture detail for terrain. Low: terrain textures are limited to 128x128 detail. Medium: terrain textures are limited to 256x256. High: terrain textures limited to 512x512. Unlimited: terrain textures have unlimited detail, and have additional noise detail added (with proper Shader support).
+ Horizon Distance Determines the distance to the horizon - Near / Normal / Far / Unlimited. Note that this only affects terrain. Enemy object and aircraft visibility distances are not affected.
+ Ground Objects Density Controls how many objects (such as trees and buildings) appear on the ground. Low: Only important ground targets and buildings are displayed. Medium: Some trees and non-mission critical buildings also appear. High: All trees and buildings appear on the ground.
+ Water Detail Controls how water is rendered. Low: Water texture is rendered just as normal terrain texture. Medium: Water texture has specular highlights and appears shinier. High: Water texture is animated (with proper Shader support).


The Sound subscreen lets you change audio options for the game and any external speakers you have attached to your computer.

To adjust the volume slider bars, click on the desired part of the bar. You can also click-and-drag the slider left to reduce volume, or right to increase volume.

Sound Volume Adjusts the main master sound level for the game.
Music Volume Changes the volume of the in-game music.
Sound Channels Sets the number of sound channels to use - 8 / 16 / 24 / 32. The higher the setting, the richer the sound.
Stereo Speakers Setup Sets the speaker direction - Normal Stereo / Reverse Stereo. Switch the setting to reverse the left and right speakers in the game.


The Control subscreen lets you adjust your joystick's sensitivity and deadzone settings.

Joystick Sensitivity Changes how responsive your joystick is to movement. Slide the bar left to reduce sensitivity, or right to increase sensitivity.
Joystick Deadzone Adjusts the non-responsive area of the joystick around the center position. Slide the bar left to reduce the amount of "dead" space, or right to increase it. A low deadzone value means that a slight joystick movement has a greater effect on your movement than the same movement with a high deadzone value.
Customize... Change key mappings in this screen. The default control list is loaded by default, but you can click Customize to change the key mappings. If you choose to customize, a new *.INI file will be saved in the Controls subdirectory under the main game folder. You can then select the control list you want by clicking the drop-down list and choosing a key mapping option.

In the Air

This section covers the basic forces that operate on your aircraft, gives an overview of the cockpit and its instruments, illustrates some basic combat maneuvers and how to use weapons, as well as providing details about all the aircraft found in the game.

Flight Basics


Four forces operate on all aircraft: lift, gravity, thrust and drag. It is the combination of these forces that allows a plane to fly.

Lift keeps an aircraft airborne, and is mostly generated by airflow over and under the wings. A lot of factors are involved in how much lift is present at any given moment, including a plane's airspeed, the shape and position of its wings and their angle of attack. Gravity, on the other hand, is always constant and is the force counteracting lift, trying to pull an aircraft straight towards earth, no matter its orientation. The balance between these two determines whether an aircraft ascends or descends in level flight.

Thrust propels an aircraft forwards and is adjustable by throttle. In jets it is generated by turbojet engines and afterburners, if so equipped. It is counteracted by drag, the amount of friction a plane's shape must overcome when flying through the air. Thrust and drag are affected by a number of factors, including air density, variable at different altitudes.

Axes of Movement and Controls

Aircraft have three axes of movement: pitch, roll and yaw. Each has a corresponding flight control surface. Sufficient airflow over these control surfaces allows a pilot to "steer" a plane in an individual or a combination of axes.

Pitch is the angle of the nose of a plane relative to the ground and is controlled by an elevator or an all-moving horizontal stabilizer (found to be more effective as aircraft approached high subsonic and supersonic speeds). Elevators and moving tail surfaces are found at the rear of an aircraft and are controlled by pushing the flight control stick forward or pulling it backward. This is the quickest and most effective way to make your plane's nose point up or down.

Roll is a rotating movement on the longitudinal axis running through the center of a plane from front to back, also known as bank. When an aircraft banks, one wing rises or lowers relative to the other. Roll is operated by ailerons, found on the trailing edge of each wing. These are activated by pushing the flight stick from side to side. If you want to change your aspect from right side up to inverted - or any position in between - use the ailerons.

Yaw is movement of the nose on a horizontal plane, much like the steering of a car. Yaw is controlled by the rudder, a vertical airfoil found on the tail of a plane. It is operated by a set of pedals, which also control the nose wheel when on the ground. In aircraft with a high sweepback to the wings, the rudder can also be used to initiate roll when the wings are at a high angle of attack and ailerons prove ineffective.


Following Newton's First Law of Motion, which states that "an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion," objects also naturally resist a change of state to their motion (velocity); this resistance is called inertia. The more mass that an object has, the greater the effect of inertia. How this applies to aircraft is that they will tend to resist a change to their path of movement, despite the pilot moving the controls. That is, the vehicle's momentum will want to continue to carry it along its center of mass's original path. While an aircraft's orientation in space may change, its actual flight path may lag behind where the aircraft is pointing, and it can take a while for the plane to "catch up" to its new heading. The higher the velocity, and the greater the mass, the more evident this is. Unless you have chosen to use the Easy flight model, remember that an aircraft isn't like a train on rails that will instantaneously go exactly where it's pointed. You have to take into account its inertia. This is especially important if you are planning on making wild maneuvers with a full bomb load or at high speeds!

Angle of Attack

On the pitch axis, the difference between where the nose is pointed and where the plane is actually traveling (its velocity vector) is called the Angle of Attack (AoA). Often times even when the nose appears level with the horizon the aircraft may still be ascending or descending according to how much lift is being generated by the wings.

By increasing the angle of attack, both more lift (up to a point!) and more drag are generated. Unfortunately, this added drag will have a degenerative effect on speed, and this in turn decreases lift. The deceleration can be counteracted by applying more throttle if there is more power available and, when used on the vertical plane, thrust combined with lift can overcome the force of gravity. As you can imagine, it's all a delicate balancing act!

Slip Angle

On the yaw axis, the difference between where the nose is pointing and where the plane is actually traveling is known as the slip angle. Having a high slip angle greatly increases drag, as airflow slams into the side of the aircraft rather than parting around it. In combat it can sometimes be useful to momentarily have a high slip angle to bring the nose to bear on a target.

Lift Vector

Lift is generated by wings at an angle roughly perpendicular to where they attach to the aircraft, originating from its center of mass. The direction in which lift occurs is called the lift vector. In level flight this is straight up, away from the ground, and directly opposite to the force of gravity. By rotating on the roll axis, the lift vector no longer remains in precise opposition to gravity, and the balance between the two is disturbed. With less lift opposing gravity, the plane naturally loses altitude. In flight pilots often anticipate and counter this loss by pointing the nose slightly above the horizon when banking. The degree to which the lift vector varies from the direct opposite of the force of gravity is called the bank angle.


Stalls occur when there is not enough airflow over the wings to generate lift. The higher an aircraft's speed, the more lift it creates; conversely, the slower it travels, the less it generates. Eventually, it can slow down enough that lift no longer counteracts the force of gravity, and the plane will simply drop. This is known as a low speed stall and the velocity at which it happens will vary between designs of aircraft. The only way to recover from such a situation is to increase speed so that lift can once again be generated by the wings. A low speed stall close to the ground can be especially deadly, since there may not be enough time or altitude to recover.

Stalls can also occur at high speeds. Generally speaking, the greater a wing's angle of attack, the more lift it generates. There comes a point, however, where the angle of the wing is sufficiently steep that airflow over it becomes disrupted and so turbulent so that the wing can longer create lift, despite a high velocity. This is known as a high speed or an accelerated stall. Easing off back pressure on the stick, thereby decreasing the angle of attack of the wing, will allow proper airflow to once again resume and lift will be restored. High speed stalls most often happen during violent maneuvers.

Mission Types

Offensive Patrol

Offensive Patrols are the most basic type of mission for scout aircraft. They are an offensive mission by scouts to seek out and destroy enemy aircraft or targets of opportunity in a specified area.

Defensive Patrol

Defensive Patrols involve flying within a dedicated area and remaining on the lookout for incoming enemy air threats. Aircraft are not allowed to stray too far from their assigned waypoints, and often have to loiter for long periods of time.


Intercepts are defensive missions with the goal of engaging specific aerial threats that have been identified by friendly forces. Planes are vectored to close in on hostile aircraft, often heavily laden with bombs, and are to prevent them from reaching their targets.


Escorts are tasked to stay close to and defend friendly aircraft from hostile air attacks. Escorted aircraft are often bombers or recon aircraft, and escorts usually fly in close formation with them. The goal of an escort mission is not to destroy enemies, but to protect the assigned aircraft. Convincing enemy scouts to break off an attack is a key ingredient of a successful escort mission.

Bomb Target

Bombing missions involve attacking enemy surface targets deep behind enemy lines. Specific Air-to-Ground ordnance suitable for the target is almost always required and is only to be jettisoned when directly attacked, likely preventing any possibility of mission success.

Army Co-operation

Army Co-operation means to engage enemy ground units close to, and in support of, friendly ground forces from the air. Army Co-operation mission can be flown both defensive and offensive, and great care is required as friendlies will be operating near targets.

Armed Reconnaissance

Sometimes referred to as Search and Destroy missions, the primary goal of Armed Reconnaissance is to find and attack targets of opportunity. Mission orders are not specific and any hostile forces within the assigned area should be considered legitimate targets, including all types of mobile equipment.


Reconnaissance missions are usually non-combative and their purpose is to discover and report on enemy positions. This information may then be used for subsequent attacks or to prepare defenses.

Balloon Busting

The target of Balloon Busting mission is the enemy observation balloons, often located deep in enemy territory and surrounded by batteries of anti-aircraft guns. Balloons can detect frontline movements and direct artillery fire with murderous accuracy, so destroying enemy balloons was very important part of any major offensive operation.

Balloon Defense

Balloon Defense missions are defensive missions flown to protect friendly observation balloons from incoming enemy aerial attacks.

Cockpit Instruments

All of the flyable aircraft modeled in First Eagles 2share many of the same cockpit instruments. While they may differ slightly in appearance, they function in much the same way, as explained below. The following list is of the basic instruments; some aircraft may have more, or less, than presented here.

1. Airspeed Indicator
The airspeed indicator displays the Indicated Air Speed (IAS).

2. Altimeter
The altimeter measures altitude above sea level via barometric pressure.

3. Tachometer
An indicator of engine revolutions per minute (RPM)..

4. Turn-and-Slip Indicator
This instrument measures bank angle and sliding on the yaw axis.

5. Compass
A rotating magnetic compass indicating heading.

6. Engine Temperature Gauge
A measure of the engine temperature, excessively high heat can indicate an engine malfunction or engine overuse at high settings.

7. Oil Pressure Gauge
An indicator of oil pressure in the engine. An overly low reading signifies a malfunction.

8. Fuel Quantity Indicator
A measure of total fuel remaining.

9. Clock
A timepiece set to local time.

Combat Basics

This section covers the basic knowledge guiding air combat, a necessity for any successful pilot.

Rules of Thumb

There are a few basic rules of thumb that all fighter pilots live by in combat, especially when in gun range. Learn them well, as they may just save your virtual life! The first is "Lose sight, lose the fight." In simple terms, this means always keep your eye on enemy aircraft and constantly analyze their position and orientation relative to yours. The moment you lose sight of a bandit you can no longer tell how it is maneuvering or if it is threatening your aircraft. Make it your first priority to re-establish sight of it!

A second basic maxim of ACM (Air Combat Maneuvering) is "Speed is life!" This rule holds true for a couple of reasons, but an important one is that speed can easily be cashed in for altitude. Similarly, a high flying aircraft can dive to pick up speed and for this reason "Altitude is life!" is also a popular saying. This trade-off between altitude and speed is known as "energy." A fighter at a high speed and high altitude is almost untouchable (it has very high energy and therefore lots of options), a low flying fast aircraft or a lower speed fighter with altitude both have medium energy (each have a few different options) whereas a low flying, low speed aircraft that has used up all its "E" has next to no options. Needless to say, energy management and keeping your options open is critical in a dogfight.

A third basic tip is not to fly straight and level in combat. Keeping a constant course makes you easy prey and is very predictable. Also, learn to think in three dimensions: not only do aircraft move about on a horizontal plane, but they can also use the vertical one very effectively. By using vertical maneuvers, a pilot can easily turn the tables on an opponent that insists on making only flat turns.

Using the Lift Vector

As explained in the Flight Basics section, the lift vector is the direction in which lift is applied on an airframe. Lift as a force is not only used to counter gravity, but it can also be used in maneuvers. Since lift is effectively "pushing" your aircraft in a known and constant direction, you can use that force to your advantage. Rolling an aircraft so that your lift vector points towards your target will force you to accelerate towards it; subsequently increasing pitch by pulling back on the stick will then increase your turn rate toward it (subject to certain limits, see below). When following an enemy aircraft, keeping your lift vector on the same plane of motion as that of your foe can help you turn inside of it and set up a kill.

Turn Rate versus Turn Radius

Turn Radius is the size of a circle flown by an aircraft as measured from the center and decreases as velocity is reduced. While this is an important figure, the fighter that can turn the tightest isn't always at an advantage in a dogfight. Turn Rate - the speed with which the nose changes heading, measured in degrees per second - is even more significant. Since firing air to air weapons is generally done from the forward aspect of a fighter, the rate at which the nose can be brought to bear onto a target is critical. Thus, even though an aircraft may be creating a wider circle than its opponent, if it can travel around that circle more quickly, it is at an advantage. At any given velocity and G load, an aircraft has a specific turn radius and turn rate.

Basic Maneuvers

Immelman Turn

Named after Max Immelman, a German pilot during the dawn of aerial combat, WWI, this move involves pulling back on the stick and climbing through the vertical as part of a half loop. At the top of the loop, when the aircraft is inverted, the pilot rolls through 180 degrees to be right side up and facing the opposite direction from where the maneuver was started. The aircraft finishes at a higher altitude than it began, with a resultant loss in velocity. Useful for changing direction quickly, it can be dangerous when pursued closely since an opponent can easily achieve a firing solution when the plane is slow towards the top of the loop. Insufficient speed before entering an Immelman will result in a stall.


The Split-S can be considered the counterpart to the Immelman, since it is also a half loop. However, in this case the pilot rolls inverted before pulling back on the stick and then performs the half loop while descending. The end result is a 180 degree change in direction, a loss of altitude and a gain in airspeed. It is critical that it be performed with sufficient height to avoid flying into the ground. Mainly a defensive move, it can also be used if an opponent flies beneath you in the opposite direction. The half roll is executed before the loop since a pilot can withstand many more positive Gs than negative ones.

Break Turn

A break turn is used to quickly defeat a guns solution by a hostile aircraft that is rapidly closing from the rear aspect. It is executed by banking either right or left and pulling back on the stick rapidly so as to carve a tight turn and force an overshoot. It is imperative to turn into the attacker and not away from him, as the latter would give him an even easier shot. A break turn is best performed level with the horizon or lower to avoid a pop-up in altitude and loss of speed, thus unwittingly becoming an even easier target. Break turns are most effective when the pursuer has a significant speed advantage and therefore cannot pull as tight a turn.

High and Low Yo-Yo

A Yo-Yo, whether high or low, is a very effective offensive tactic against an opponent that insists on making flat turns. Its principle advantage is that by using the vertical plane an aggressor can create an offset path of pursuit and thus gain an angle on the enemy. The Yo-Yo is performed by rolling outside of the horizontal plane during a turn and pitching up or down, followed by an opposite roll back into the original turn. The end result is that you will have effectively "cut the corner" of the flat circle and will find yourself more squarely on your opponent's rear. The High Yo-Yo should be used when you have energy to spare and are above Corner Velocity, while the Low Yo-Yo should be used when you need to gain speed to reach your instantaneous turn rate.

Default Key Commands

The game has a default set of key commands. You can alter them by opening the Options Screen. Click the green aircraft icon in the upper left corner of the screen, then select Control. The default control list is loaded by default, but you can click Customize to change the key mappings. If you choose to customize, a new *.INI file will be saved in the Controls subdirectory under the main game folder.

In-flight Keyboard Commands

Esc End/abort mission and display the Debrief Screen.
Alt+Q Close the game immediately and return to the desktop.
Alt+P Pause the game. (You can still perform many functions while the game is paused.)
Alt+T Change the rate at which time passes - x2 (twice as fast), x4 (four times as fast), x8 (eight times as fast) and x1 (normal speed).
Alt+R Reset time compression back to x1.
Alt+N Jump to the next mission encounter. You can use this option only when no enemy targets are present. When pressed, this key takes you to the next action area and eliminates all travel time (including waypoints).
Tab Display the radio communication menu. You can then press the number keys (1 through 9 at the top of the keyboard) to select a specific message.
A Toggle autopilot on/off. In Autopilot mode, your aircraft flies toward the next waypoint. Note that moving the joystick or mouse will cancel autopilot. Autopilot also does not pause for enemy encounters.
Shift+A Toggle wing-leveling action. When activated, this feature restores level flight and keeps the aircraft moving in a straight line. If you move the joystick or mouse while this function is active, the game will drop out of wing-leveling mode.
W Select next waypoint.
Shift+W Select previous waypoint.
Alt+M Display the in-flight map, a version of the Planning Map, but with less information. It basically shows your current position and the position of known mission-critical objects.
PrtScrn Take a screen shot. The current scene will be saved as a bitmap image in the ScreenShots folder.

View Commands

Note: In all interior views, you can move the mouse to pan the view up, down, left and right.

F1 Display the interior, front cockpit view.
F2 Display the interior, front cockpit wide view.
F3 Display the interior, front cockpit narrow (gunsight) view.
Shift+F1 Show a front 45-degrees up view from inside the cockpit.
F4 Toggle the padlock view, keeping the selected target in your view as long as it's in range. This option attempts to keep your current foe centered in your view. Pressing this key a second time switches the view back to front cockpit view (F1).
Numpad keys Temporarily pan the view in a given direction. The view returns to its previous position when you release the key.

Numpad Del (.)

Toggle cockpit art on/off, leaving only the HUD targeting circle.

Numpad 0

Display a forward view of the dashboard, looking down at the instruments.
Numpad 8 Display the forward view.
Numpad 7 / 4 / 1 Display the left front / left / left rear view, respectively.
Numpad 9 / 6 / 3 Display the right front / right / right rear view, respectively.
Numpad 5 Add 45 degrees of vertical angle to any other view. (Press this key in conjunction with the other Numpad view keys.)
F5 Display an external, over-the-shoulder ("chase plane") view.
Shift+F5 Show an external rear view. Use this view to "Check Six" (look behind you).
F6 Cycle through external views of various aircraft in the mission. Pressing this key multiple times in succession switches to the next aircraft.
Shift+F6 As above, but in reverse order. Pressing this key multiple times switches to the previous aircraft.
F7 Display an external view of the next ground object. Pressing this key multiple times switches to the next ground object.
Shift+F7 As above, but in reverse order. Pressing this key multiple times switches to the previous ground object.
F8 Display an enlarged view of your current visual target.
Shift+F8 Show a line-of-sight view to your target. This perspective puts your current target in the center of the screen and lines it up with an external view of your aircraft in the foreground.
Ctrl+F8 As above, but reversed. Your aircraft appears in the middle of the screen, and the target appears in the foreground.
F10 Display an external, fly-by view. You see your aircraft make an approach, fly past, and then exit your view.
Numpad + / - Zoom the camera view in (+) or out (-). You can also use the wheel on your mouse if it's equipped with one.
Alt+Arrow keys Pan the view in the desired direction. You can also move the mouse in any direction to pan.
Left / right mouse buttons Zoom the view in or out. This can be very useful for examining your aircraft from an external camera view, or for reading dashboard instruments.

Flight Control Commands

You can control your aircraft by using a joystick or the keyboard. If you have a programmable joystick, many of the following functions can be assigned to your joystick buttons and/or wheels.

Note that the aircraft takes a few seconds to respond to your flight commands. Be careful not to over steer, or you may quickly get into trouble.

Left / right arrow keys Roll the aircraft (dips the wings) left or right.
Up / down arrow keys Pitch the nose of the aircraft up or down.
, / . (comma / period) Turn the rudder left and right. Alternatively, you can also use a rudder pedal.
= / - (not Numpad) Increase or decrease throttle. Note that you can also use an external throttle to control speed.
Enter (Numpad) Blip Switch. The throttle on some aircraft (Fokker Dr.1 and Camel) can only be set at 0 or 100% when HARD flight model options is used. This key, while pressed down, sets the throttle to 0%.
Ctrl+I Engine Toggle. Turn engine on/off.
Shift+ESC Bail out from the aircraft, ending the mission.

Weapons Commands

Backspace Switch to next Air-to-Air (A/A) weapon.
Shift+Backspace Switch to previous Air-to-Air weapon.
\ (backslash) Switch to next Air-to-Ground (A/G) weapons.
Shift+\ (backslash) Switch to previous Air-to-Ground weapon.
Spacebar Fire primary gun or cannon. You can also use joystick button 1 to fire.
Enter Fire/release currently selected missile, bomb, or rocket. You can also use joystick button #2.
; (semicolon) Cycle to next gun group. Pressing this key activates a different set of guns. When you press Spacebar, only the selected guns will fire rounds.
Shift+; (semicolon) Cycle to previous gun group setting.
R Reload Lewis gun (S.E.5a only).
U Attempt to clear jammed gun.

Visual Targeting Commands

T Designate the next enemy or unidentified aircraft as your visual target. This places square brackets on the head-up display (HUD). If the target moves out of view, the brackets turn into a cone that points in the direction of the target. Additional target information may also appear in the lower right corner of your viewscreen, depending on your HUD settings.
Shift+T Select previous enemy or unidentified aircraft as your visual target.
Ctrl+T Select closest enemy or unidentified aircraft as your visual target.
Y Select next friendly or neutral aircraft as your visual target.
Shift+Y Select previous friendly or neutral aircraft as your visual target.
Ctrl+Y Select closest friendly or neutral aircraft as your visual target.
E Select next enemy ground object as your visual target.
Shift+E Select previous enemy ground object as your visual target.
Ctrl+E Select closest enemy ground object as your visual target.
Numpad * (asterisk) Target the object closest to the center of view.

Misc. Commands

Shift+1 Animation key 1 (for third-party add-ons).
Shift+2 Animation key 2 (for third-party add-ons).
Shift+3 Animation key 3 (for third-party add-ons).
Shift+4 Animation key 4 (for third-party add-ons).
Shift+5 Animation key 5 (for third-party add-ons).
Shift+6 Animation key 6 (for third-party add-ons).
Shift+7 Animation key 7 (for third-party add-ons).
Shift+8 Animation key 8 (for third-party add-ons).
Shift+9 Animation key 9 (for third-party add-ons).