I’m officially the worst pilot in the world. Here I am in training and I’m struggling to land my ship. My ever-so-helpful computer keeps telling me to dock and that I should be quick about it but unfortunately for me and her, I’ve got the jitters and can’t steady my ship. Kicking off from my platform, exiting the station and turning my hulking ship around wasn’t too difficult (though I crashed plenty of times) it’s the fact I can’t bloody land my ship when I’m back in the hangar. If things weren’t bad enough, I’m also informed that I’m under time pressure and if I don’t get a move on my permission to land will be revoked and I’ll be shot out the sky. It’s not the sort of pressure I need this early in the morning.  

I’m not sure what the main fault was, but I’d manage to rip out half the station buildings by the time I eventually landed safely. I think it was something to do with the pip-pip-pipping noise coming from my dashboard, indicating to me I was finally doing something right. I think part of the problem is that I just can’t get the grasp of my ship. It feels like a strange hulking beast I don’t quite have control over that moves a little bit too far the way I don’t want it to and when I try to compensate, I fly off in a completely alternative direction.

When I’m out in space, I’m absolutely fine. What can go wrong in infinite space? I can fly any direction relatively comfortably and there’s nothing (fortunately) for me to crash against unless I decide to re-dock. Now that I’m officially capable of landing my craft, I’ve been informed that I need to learn the basics of combat and planetary movement. As to how effective I will be at that, all depends on my primitive understanding of my ship and my guidance computers complete lack of guidance. Where the combat is concerned, the difficulty is pitched perfectly to a pilot like me: stationary objects in an asteroid field that require clearing. These toxic barrels are exactly the sort of target I need because I can stop my ship in front of them and blow them into space debris. As for the planetary exploration, well that proved slightly more difficult. I ended up leaping a couple of stops too far, going back on myself, before staring at one of the most beautiful sights: a blazing planet. In my tiny ship, regardless of my mission, I felt completely obsolete against the vastness of the object before me. I dawned on me just how much I want to explore.

Finally arriving at my intended station, the looming dodecahedron proved particularly difficult to fly around. Its sheer size and its continuous rotation proved a headache of maneuvering. I’ll take the toxic barrels over this. Thankfully and with some practice on the thrusters I managed to steer myself safely through the hangar and onto my platform. As for my next steps, it turns out I need to bring down a transport ship and its escorts. I’m not feeling particularly confident and resorted to asking for some flight advice. I mentioned earlier in this diary entry that my flight capabilities were poor, despite me completing the basics of training. My mind is at odds with how I think my ship should steer and how in reality, it actually steers.

I think it stems from my pitch and yaw being so slow in the turn and as it turns out, I’ve a lot to learn. A fellow pilot informed me that not only did I have to match my speed to the sweet spot on my internal system to increase the speed of my pitch and yaw, but that I should also be aiming to have the top of my ship in the direction I wish to fly (as opposed to treating the ship like a land vehicle) and instead of feeling the need to always just turn left and right. As a result of this single recommendation I finally feel in control of my ship and in only a matter of minutes instead of permanently seeking to yaw or pitch in order to navigate and track my targets, I’m rolling into the direction instead. My aim is still a little off at times and remembering to always reduce my speed is slipping my mind far too often, but something must be working: I’ve finally cleared some of the more difficult training missions, including a strike on a supply vessel. This huge and lumbering craft not only has formidable fire-power but an escort of two other ships. Firing against its hull makes me feel like a mosquito trying to penetrate stone, yet slowly the cargo vessel and its shield evaporates. I’m disappointed that I’m not making more use of its blind spots as it seems vulnerable from below, but at least I can survive long enough to make a pass and deal some damage. With the escorts destroyed we’re free to bring the cargo vessel down.

Satisfied that I’ve trained enough, though my accuracy still needs a lot of work, I head out of the academy and into real space. The question is, what should I do? I suppose the first thing would be to get a better ship than I already have. I’m not particularly fond of my tug-boat nor am I a fan of the lazer cannons strapped to the front. Something a little more sleak with mounted cannons and homing missiles would do nicely. Unfortunately for me, I’ve 1,300 Credits and in need of around 50,000. It looks like I’m going to have to get some missions under my belt.

I'll be publishing my Elite: Dangerous diary every few days. Be sure to stop by to see just how my piloting career is taking off.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Elite: Dangerous Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Lewis is a long standing journalist, who freelances to a variety of outlets.