Watching the launch trailer (yes yes; not gameplay) they show ships quickly turning 180(ish) degrees to fire at pursuers.
As seen here for the ship in the center of the screen and here for the ship at the top of the screen.

(Playing only the combat demo) I haven't figured out a way to reverse the way the direction I'm facing so quickly. I have tried with and without Flight Assist. I've only been able to turn, on a mostly horizontal plane, very slowly.

I'd like to know if such a maneuver is actually possible in game; and if so; How?

  • 7
    Upvoted because it's ridiculous that they put it in the trailer when it's completely impossible to do turns like that in the game.
    – vtamm
    Dec 17, 2014 at 12:13
  • As a sidenote: I found out that in most cases it is much easier to simply go reverse when a faster ship is closing on you. I've destroyed a lot of Eagles / Sidewinders this way.
    – Adam Arold
    Aug 25, 2015 at 2:28
  • @AdamArold Careful with that. If I've still got full shields, and you don't (or especially if I've still got a good chunk of shields and yours are down), I'll take the odds that you'll feel a direct collision a lot worse than I will. And chances are, I'll be right.
    – Iszi
    Sep 15, 2015 at 14:31
  • I did not say anything about collisions. I said go reverse.
    – Adam Arold
    Sep 15, 2015 at 14:41

8 Answers 8


There is no "do a 180" button in Elite Dangerous. This comes down to two things:

  • The speed you're moving
  • Practice

The speed you're moving matters because optimal maneuverability is attained only when moving at specific speeds. See the below picture:


"Optimal Maneuverability" is attained when movement speed is within the blue region marked on the throttle gauge. Outside of this region maneuverability drops off quite quickly so trying to turn around when moving very fast will result in a large turning circle and trying to turn around when not moving results in it seeming to take forever.

In addition to maneuverability, your ship has a variety of thrusters in addition to your standard yaw and pitch which when used in together can further decrease your turning circle - this is where practice comes in but this is helped greatly by having a good controller and decent key mappings as it means performing multiple actions at once while tracking your target.

  • This is all irrelevant (or supposed to be) with flight assist off. Speed does not exist, only relative speed (velocity). With flight assist on this is all true... but if my ship is cruising through space and I just fire my pitch thrusters, then why should I not be able to turn faster?
    – Marius
    May 14, 2015 at 0:49
  • 1
    @Marius One would think it should be irrelevant, but it's not. If Flight Assist being off truly meant that your ship fully obeyed Newtonian physics, you'd be able to accelerate well beyond the boosting limit imposed when Flight Assist is on - but you can't even maintain a boosted speed without constantly re-boosting. So, it's likely that similar limitations are imposed on rotational movement even with Flight Assist off. They may or may not throw some science-y explanation behind it, but the real reason probably boils down to gameplay balance.
    – Iszi
    Sep 15, 2015 at 14:28
  • 1
    Exactly my point, so I don't really find that playing with flight assist off fulfills my inner nerd... it's just one gameplay balance system exchanged with another (albeit harder to control) gameplay balance system. Meh. No point in trying to even apply sciency-stuff to it since there isn't any. It's a real pity they did not just go all newtonian on our asses with assist off... it's hard enough to control to give it as much balance as I think is appropriate.
    – Marius
    Sep 17, 2015 at 11:37

In Elite: Dangerous there is the notion of "Flight Assist". This is something you can turn on and off via a bound control (I forget what the default is).

When Flight Assist is off, you are at the mercy of Newtonian physics. Your ship will mostly obey conservation of linear and angular momentum. In layman's terms, that means any thrust you apply to your ship (either in the form of straight line movement or rotation) will continue unabated until you apply a counter thrust.

This means that in game, you could perform this maneuver thusly:

  1. Be already moving forward at some velocity.
  2. Disable Flight Assist
  3. Apply rotation to turn your ship 180 degrees.
  4. Apply counter-rotation so that you don't start spinning like a top.
  5. Fire weapons, etc.

It's a very tricky maneuver and takes some getting used to. You can see an in-game example of using Flight Assist Off with Silent Running to avoid getting searched by the cops.

Flight Assist On means that your ship behaves much like an Aircraft would in atmospheric flight, i.e. like most of the space and flight sim games that have been released so far.

  • 1
    Newtonian physics would imply that momentum is conserved. Possibly that's what you meant? In fact, though, it isn't. If you boost and turn off FA, your speed will slowly reduce to your ship's maximum speed. This game does not have fully Newtonian physics. And regardless, AFAIK there's no way to spin as fast as the ships do in the trailer.
    – Flyto
    Dec 17, 2014 at 13:32
  • You're right. What I meant to say is that it MOSTLY is conserved. You are right though, there is a maximum velocity depending on if you are moving forward, laterally, or backward, and regardless you cannot accelerate beyond those velocities unless you boost or turn into them, and your velocity will reduce to that maximum. I forget what the percentages are for FA Off, but it's something like 80% max for lateral and 50% max for reverse or something like that? My main point, though, was that rotational inertia is a thing with FA Off.
    – Finster
    Dec 17, 2014 at 18:24
  • While the ship doesn't quite fully obey Newtonian physics, even with Flight Assist off, (as mentioned in comments) this is a much better answer than @kalina's. Turning Flight Assist off lets you get about as close as you can to the maneuver seen in the trailer, regardless of whether that particular move is actually possible or not.
    – Iszi
    Sep 15, 2015 at 14:35

I would like to expand on the answers already given by other people.

While you cannot perform the EXACT same move as presented in the trailer, it is possible to do something very similar.

Note, that even with flight assist turned off your ships turn rate can still vary. I found I can make VERY quick turns by:

  • boosting
  • while boost is active, disable FA
  • pitch up/down (fastest rotation)
  • stabilize pitch once you are looking at your target
  • fire / re-enable FA / do a barrel roll!

The reason I suggest boosting is because you will gain not only an increase of speed when boosting, but also an increase of maneuverability! Said increase can be already useful with flight assist enabled... and with FA disabled you can make some really fast turns!

  • I saw that while I applied zero thrust, I was also not able to turn, thus assumed it was related. It kinda sucks that they apply Newtonian physic / conservation of (angular) momentum with regards to roll, yet don't for pitch? There is no real reason why not apart from "because", and to be honest if I was a ship manufacturer making a combat vessel, then I would not cripple a ship like this!
    – Marius
    May 14, 2015 at 0:53

That video is not actual gameplay. I don't believe any of the ships are capable of turning that fast. If they are, it's via a lot of upgrades that your starting ship doesn't have.

The closest I've been able to get is roughly like this:

  1. Full forward throttle (maybe even boost/afterburner)
  2. Turn off flight assist
  3. Reduce throttle into the blue range (about 50%) or low end of the blue range (30-40%)
  4. Full pitch until you're turned around 180 degrees. More realistically: full pitch and a bit of yaw and/or roll until you're pointed at the enemy.
  5. Kill throttle.
  6. Reverse throttle.
  7. Re-enable flight assist.

Alternately, instead of reducing your forward throttle into the blue range, you can hit the up or down thrusters to keep your overall throttle in the blue range. If you simply leave your throttle off, you'll have a much slower pitch speed.

If you kill your throttle instead of dropping it, you'll stay traveling straight (more like the video), but your turn speed will be very slow.

Instead of re-enabling flight assist, you can reverse your pitch in order to level back. With flight assist off, the flight stick directly controls maneuvering thrusters and you have to provide the correct amount of counteracting thrust to stop. I find that disabling flight assist briefly is very helpful, but leaving it off makes it too hard to line up sights on things and tends to leave me tumbling in very hard to control ways.

If you try to yaw (turn sideways horizontally) instead of pitch (pull up/back or dive forward/down) you'll find that the turn speed is significantly slower. You could try doing both a pitch and a yaw maneuver at once, but I think you'd need to also have a bit of roll in there to get that to work out right.

I wouldn't try this up against the side of a space station (or asteroid, etc) or in close combat range. Where I have found this useful is to boost out of weapons range, flip backwards and then fly backwards at a speed the enemy can catch up while you do a bit of random pitch, roll and yaw maneuvers. Especially effective if you have gimbaled weapons, since it allows you to sustain fire at the incoming enemy while dodging their incoming fire. With fixed weapons you'll have to alternate between dodging and firing.


I'm fairly sure that an exact recreation of the move in the video is impossible, the turn rate is too fast.

As mentioned above, disabling Flight Assist allows you to preserve your direction whilst turning, however the developers have added an artificial slow down to your momentum whilst doing this.

Again, as mentioned, keeping your speed in the blue "sweet-spot" on the velocity indicator will improve your turn speed and upgrading your thrusters will also help, but the turn speed showed in the video will still not be achieved.

The only way it might be possible is to ignore the sweet-spot, be at full speed and then use the Boost button as you start the turn. This not only boosts your top speed, but it also massively improves your turn speeds (to the point of causing black/white out on some ships).


As far as i know i've only see AI do instant 180 turns without thrusters or any sort of other methods, they simply flip 180 under 1 second, AKA mpossible for players to replicate. Would be wonderful if that was possible though.


What I do to turn fast and ruin days is throttle max, engine blips max, boost, FA off, mixture of yaw, roll, pitch, forward thrusters, upward thrusters, and left or right thrusters, FA on. its really wonky with the tflight hotas since your joystick hand if twisted and flung to one direction and the throttle is maxed and i have thrusters as buttons on the throttle handle so im pressing 3 there. But you can get a pretty tight turn.


I just watched the trailer for the first time and I think I could do that with the right flight stick. You have to have speed and then at the same time you cut the throttle to the minimum of the blue, maybe less, turn off flight assist, pull back while firing your downward translation thruster. Turn on flight assist or counteract that with the stick, fire, and the repeat to get back to forward facing flight. I wish my stick had enough functional buttons to pull it off.

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