I've successfully stolen a small plane from the LS-airport and managed to take off with it. But after just a few miles, the engines start to degrade, black smoke appeared and I eventually lost height and crashed.

The plane was of course shot at while still on the runway, but only slightly damaged. I don't think a police helicopter could have followed the jet plane for long and I didn't hear further gunshots while flying.

What did I do wrong? Am I not supposed to fly early in the game? Do I need to manually retract the landing gears? Do police helicopters have a really long (and silent) weapons range?

  • 3
    yes, you should retract the landing gear. I'm using alternate control layout and it's R3 for PS3.
    – Novarg
    Sep 21, 2013 at 10:16
  • I don't know if not retracting your landing gear will damage your plane, but I know from GTA San Andreas, that not retracting it will result in your plane not being able to fly very high. I kinda failed the early flight lessons, because I was supposed to fly through a checkpoint that was always too damn high for me to reach, until I found out I could fly much higher if I retracted the landing gear first. Not sure if it's valid for GTA 5, though.
    – Nolonar
    Sep 21, 2013 at 13:29
  • @Novarg This probably was what caused my crash. If you make this into an actual answer, I would accept it as right.
    – Chaos_99
    Sep 22, 2013 at 13:21

5 Answers 5


yes, you should retract the landing gear. I'm using alternate control layout and it's R3 for PS3.

  • It's the same in the standard layout.
    – Chaos_99
    Sep 22, 2013 at 18:02

While I cannot speak for the physics of birds, I can say that an engine WILL degrade rapidly if shot prior to take off. Landing gear does not affect this, per se, but will affect how much speed you can gain and altitude.

The issue was your engine was shot, and the stress of flight paired with the damage from the bullets caused the rapid degradation of your engines. It does seem that simple wear and tear can have an affect, though I have not seen an engine fail just general flying if it had not been damaged first. I have seen and tested (by shooting the craft prior to take off) the secondary engine fail due to the stress of being the only functioning engine, after the shot engine failed.

First the left would go (left if looking at it from behind, and the one I'd shoot). It would spark, shoot smoke (it would degrade and fail quicker the greater the ascent angle) and then eventually die. Not long after, the right engine would begin to emit smoke, spark and then also fail, leaving me gliding (pretty fun).

So what is happening is the force generated by the speed and rapid ascent is causing your damaged engine(s) to fail. I've damaged an aircraft and only did the minimal amount necessary to take off and you will notice a clear difference in the speed at which the engine fails. This is using a pump shotgun, three shots into the engine every time.

Think of it kind of like a space craft. Even foam can be dangerous at the speeds they are traveling, just like a loose wire. Same goes for a plane with a damaged engine.


My personal experience is that it has something to do with bird strike, because as I was flying with a helicopter near mount chiliad through a flock of birds the engine died and the helicopter subsequently crashed.
I can imagine the same is true for planes, problem beeing it's much harder to avoid birds given a plane's speed.


It's nothing to do with the landing gear. It seems all planes' engines degrade over time as you fly them. I was flying around in a small prop plane (with the landing gear up) and eventually both engines died. Later, the same happened to me as I was flying around in a small executive jet (again with the landing gear raised), forcing me to ditch it on the freeway.

I'd guess it's just a game mechanic to stop you spending too much time in the air.

  • 3
    I have flown the same plane for an hour. This answer isn't valid.
    – Ramhound
    Oct 3, 2013 at 12:49
  • This is definitely not the case, but both propellers and jet engines can be damaged by anything going in to them. You probably hit a bird. Oct 7, 2013 at 9:40

It is most likely because your plane got shot during take off, causing further damage until you crash.

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