F-14A Tomcat from Scarface Squadron landing on aircraft carrier

A common sight on the Ace Combat series, minigames are minor skippable sequences involving the player's aircraft actions based on real-life aviation. All minigames have a time limit of 2 minutes (except for the minigames in Ace Combat: Joint Assault, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, Ace Combat Infinity, and frontline minigames in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation).

List of Minigames

Taking off

A very simple minigame included in various missions, this minigame is the most commonly found one in the series. The aircraft must be accelerated to a speed of around 150 mph/300 kmh. After that speed has been achieved, the aircraft must be pitched up in order to gain altitude. The minigame ends when the aircraft has risen high enough and/or has advanced far enough. A variant of the normal airfield take off is carrier take off. The aircraft will remain stationary on the catapult until the aircraft has gained enough power to lift itself after launch, the catapult will then launch the aircraft forward automatically. In Ace Combat 6, take off can be initiated right in the middle of a battle if the player landed on a friendly airfield available in the current operation area to resupply. In this mode, the aircraft will be vulnerable to enemy attacks, so it's recommended to take off immediately after resupplying.


Every once in a while, one will have to land in an air base following a mission. A diamond-like shape will appear in the HUD which indicates the approach to runway. In order to score a good bonus in the mission debriefing, the player has to land right in the middle of the runway. The type of landing will be indicated by the take-off controller (for example, "Perfect, Blaze!" indicates a perfect landing). However, this, along with the take off, carrier landing, and refueling minigames appear very little to none in Assault Horizon. In Ace Combat 6, if an airfield is under Emmerian control in the operation area, the player can use the airfield to resupply his aircraft during the battle without having to return to another Emmerian air base via the Return Line. Landing on the frontline airfield will require the player to fly within range of the runway and press the left stick on the controller to deploy the landing gear. The player then will have to land on the field just like in the safe airfield. The landing can be cancelled by pressing the left stick again. Landing on a frontline airfield is considerably more dangerous if there are enemies around the airfield, so it's recommended to clear the airfield vicinity of enemies or deploy an Allied Cover before starting the landing procedure.

Aircraft Carrier Landing

Same as a regular landing, except on a carrier. Known as probably the hardest type of minigame, which includes catching the arresting wire and not crashing into the superstructure of the carrier. Also, the length of the aircraft carrier is considerably shorter than that of a regular runway. Though in the games, carrier landing is much easier than in real life since the aircraft will stop even if the aircraft missed the arresting wire or landed incorrectly on the carrier. Going past the arresting wire will result in the plane crashing.

In-flight Refueling

The third type of minigame is airborne refueling. As expected, one has to approach a KC-10 tanker to initiate the refueling process. Similar to landing, a diamond-like shape appears, indicating the approach. The player has to fly to the tanker and hold still for a few seconds (during the HOLD POSITION message), after which the refueling process will begin and the minigame is complete.


  • In carrier take off, the player can attempt to stay low and land back on the carrier. Though this will usually result in the aircraft getting forcefully catapulted forward even though the player didn't stop on the catapult.
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