how do you unlock pilot school, when do you unlock it and what happens after you complete it? also is there any way to unlock the airports and planes with out doing this?
The Flight School becomes available when you get to Las Venturas. I think there is some trigger mission which takes you to the abandoned airstrip where the flight school is located so that might be necessary too.
Depending on your Flight School rating it unlocks various aircraft, legal access to the airports, and, I'd guess, all the sub/main missions involving flying.
Of course, you can easily get into the airports and fly any aircraft you find there long before you've done Flight School. I'm not sure if you get Wanted Stars merely from flying illegally but if you cross into locked areas you definitely will.
When you've done a certain mission a character will call you up and tell you to go buy the airstrip. Then you have to get at least bronze on everything to get your pilot license (unlocks the airports) and unlock the next set of missions for him, which are part of the story.
Once you're done with the San Fierro main missions (Woozie, and the Loco Syndicate) you get a call from the mystery man, who turns out to be Toreno. After completing two (or three) of his missions, he orders you to buy the airstrip. Once you have it, go to the TV in the upstairs office, which triggers flight school.
Alternatively, ignore learning to fly and head directly to Las Venturas once you've bought the airstrip. Toreno will call you several times to...persuade...you to learn to fly, which is kind of amusing when it gets to the last call.
But since [SPOILER] you have to do other core flying missions for Salvatore and Toreno, as well as flying during the Heist missions, you need to learn to fly to complete the game.
Plus, once I complete flight school, I think flying is fun.
It would be a hell of a lot more fun if the flight controls were as user friendly as the other vehicles. The real star of the flying vehicles is actually the jet-pack, easy, fun and one of the best additions to the game IMHO.
I'm a PS2 convert to the Xbox, and have played and completed San An on the PS2 before getting the Xbox version. I have to say the controls took a little getting used to, especially doing drive-bys in vehicles, and remembering B&W to 'steer' planes and helicopters.
Anyone know WHY R* made the controls so screwed up?
Almost certainly because it was designed for the PS2 as the primary platform and it would have been difficult to re-map the controls more appropriately to the XBox either that or they simply didn't have enough time.
The problem is probably because the XBox doesn't have the extra shoulder buttons of the Sony Dualshock or the XB360. This is a main source of the trouble because everything is re-mapped to the B/W buttons. These have to be operated by your right thumb which, of course, is already being used for camera control on the right analogue stick. On the PS2/XB360 you're using your otherwise free fingers so there's none of the very awkward swapping.
Well, I have an aftermarket controller with black and white shoulder buttons (reminiscent of L1 & R1 on the PS2) but even so, having to use the index fingers on the triggers, first fingers on the shoulder buttons, and then sharing my thumb between the right stick and ABXY buttons is awkward. When I first did the San Fierro mission where you have to drive-by on the Bishop's limo and his protection, it took me so many tries I almost threw the controller out of the window - extra buttons and all. ;)
Another theory I have about the controls is that San Andreas is largely a driving game, and most Xbox driving games have similar gas and brake controls with the triggers. From that point of view it makes sense, since you have more of a feel of 'pedals' with the triggers than with the PS2 buttons, but since it's MORE than a driving game, it's not always easy.