GTA Online: Altitude and Aircraft – Does it matter?

Since around the Doomsday Heist update, aircraft have become a huge part of the GTA Online world. Much like how tuner-heads have their own subculture in-game, aircraft have their own strong following. This article explores the rarely discussed subject of altitude impact on aircraft.

What are the aricraft available in GTA Online?

  • Military aircraft (e.g. P-996 Lazer, Hydra, Avenger, etc.)
  • Civilian aircraft (e.g. Nimbus)
  • Helicopters (e.g. Hunter)
  • Special aircraft (e.g. Deluxo or Oppressor MK2)
GTA Online: Altitude can make a difference.

How does it work?

Upon testing, it appears that military and civilian aircraft flying above 850ft (about 80% of the Maze Bank Tower height) will instantly get a boost to their top speed. The impact is not gradual where you would gain more speed as you go higher. So it’s less realistic, but certainly real.

You can switch on First Person camera to view the altitude meter in your cockpit.

Measuring altitude in aircraft - Guides & Strategies - GTAForums

Does it work for all aircraft?

Doesn’t seem that way. This speed gain does not apply to Helicopters or Special vehicles like the Oppressor MK2 (if you want to travel faster on the Oppressor MK2, you are better off gliding over the ground, which will let you travel a lot faster than flying high up). But it seemingly applies to all planes and jets. The impact is more for some planes – for example the Pyro gains a lot more speed at high altitude relative to other jets. The same can be said for the B-11 Strikeforce, which is generally slow at low altitude.

Another element to note is that the altitude gain does not help your turning circle. So if you plan on using this to your advantage in dog-fighting, that could actually backfire – where you end up taking a larger circle due to higher speed, which will put you at a disadvantage. Also, this altitude gain will not impact other features of your aircraft (armour or handing ability).