How to stage a dogfight in X-Plane

How to stage a dogfight in X-Plane

Hi! It’s Randy, with This is the next email in the course on getting the most out of X-Plane.

Today I’d like to show you how you can use X-Plane to simulate aerial combat. There’s a bit of setup involved, but it’s totally worth it for the thrill of juking and spinning with an enemy Viggen on your tail!

Configuring your flight controls

First we need to set up your flight controls. To do so, launch X-Plane and move your mouse to the top of the screen (causing the menu to appear). Click Settings, then click Joystick & Equipment. In the dialog box that appears, go to the Buttons: Basic tab and set up the controls you want—I recommend at least setting the Fire all armed selections and Weapon selection up/down functions to buttons, but the target selection buttons are also very useful (if you’re using missiles, you must use target selection to fire them). When assigning a function to a button, remember to first press the button on the joystick that you intend to assign, then click on the function you want.

The weapon controls in the Buttons: Basic tab

Alternatively, you can assign weapon controls to keys on the keyboard using the Keys tab. The “weapons” category contains the relevant settings there.

Adding enemy aircraft

Adding enemy aircraft using the Aircraft & Situations window

Now we need to add enemy airplanes to fight against. To do so, move your mouse to the top of the screen, click Aircraft, then click Aircraft & Situations. On the Other Aircraft tab, set the number of aircraft to 2 or more. Then, set the other aircraft to a different “color” team than you—for instance, if your plane is on the red team, you might set all the enemy aircraft to green. Then, make sure each other aircraft is set to a fighter (like the Viggen JA37) by clicking the square just to the left of the aircraft’s name.

Equipping your aircraft

I recommend starting your dogfighting adventures in the Viggen JA37. This aircraft should already be equipped with guns and missiles. You can change the weapons using the Weight & Fuel dialog box, as described in the section “Equipping Your Aircraft” of the X-Plane 10 manual.


At this point, you should be flying a fighter, with enemy aircraft in the sky, and weapons equipped to your plane. Use the buttons you set to Weapon selection up/down to select a weapon (either guns or missiles), and use the button you set to Fire weapons to fire when your target is in your sights.

Good luck, and good hunting!

If you’d like more details, or you want some tips on strategy, check the section of the manual titled “Simulating Combat in X-Plane.”

If you had trouble with any part of this guide, or if you have a request for future topics, shoot me an email at!

Until next time,

– Randy
X-Plane Customer Support

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