Fixed-wing aircraft, or airplanes, are aircraft that primarily uses wings for lift when in motion and propellers or jet engines for thrust.
Airplanes were first made available as controllable vehicles with the introduction of the Dodo in Grand Theft Auto III, which was significantly difficult to fly. Unlike helicopters, however, controllable airplanes do not enjoy consistent appearances since GTA III, with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City featuring only one airplane, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featuring up to eleven such aircraft, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories featuring only one airplane each, and Grand Theft Auto IV featuring none at all.
Since its introduction in GTA III, airplanes possess a wide range of controls: Including working ailerons, elevators and rudders, allowing it to roll, pitch and yaw. However, in its initial appearances in GTA III and GTA Vice City, airplanes are incapable of performing certain aerobatic stunts (i.e. barrel rows or loops), a limitation rectified in GTA San Andreas, which allows airplanes to perform said stunts and are even showcased during Flying School, where a number of airplane stunts must be attempted by the player.
Initially, airplanes in GTA III and GTA Vice City are relatively resilient to damage, capable of hitting solid objects head on at full speed and sustaining only the same amount of damage a road vehicle may have from a similar crash. Like helicopters, airplanes will also seize to function outright in water if they do not have pontoons (i.e. the Skimmer).
GTA San Andreas includes realism in the damage engine of airplanes, by allowing certain portions of an airplane to malfunction and weaken controls or engine power (indicated by smoke and flapping airplane parts) if they lightly hit an object, and programming the aircraft to explode on impact if flown head on to any solid object or water.