NAVIGATION: Basics – SuperCruise inside a system - #00002
All you need to know about supercruise mode
Supercruise is one of the three 'speed modes' in Elite Dangerous.
In a speed range between ca. 300 km/s and nearly 1000 times the speed of light, you can cruise around inside your current system.
Moving the throttle to a higher setting accelerates your ship. Acceleration itself is not dependent on your throttle setting (more throttle doesn't accelerate faster) but by time-passed and by your distance to (planetary) mass.
You can either 'roam freely' or target any structure to fly to. Just open your left in-ship window and use the NAV(igation) tab to select a target. Everything that doesn't see a 'ly' behind it (for light years) is inside your current system. Target it, turn towards it, then accelerate to full throttle.
You can see a timer in your HUD ahead. The moment it decreases to 00:08 (8 seconds), reduce your throttle (fast!) to the lowest 'blue' setting available.
This way, you accelerate 'full throttle' to the point you need to throttle down for not overshooting on target due to overspeed. Overshooting results in a 'loop of shame' that can be seen by other players...
While in full throttle cruise, make sure you don't come close to planets, this will slow you down massively and extend the time needed to reach your destination. You will see a 'slow down' message at your radar screen if that happens.
When departing from a place near a planet or a main star (mass!) do not turn to your target immediately, but make sure you got the big mass behind you. You want to be as far from masses as possible for the earliest possible and fastest acceleration possible.
When approaching a target, you will see a blue 'drop' message when in a distance of 1-5 Mm (million metres). Just drop then – standard key is 'J'. This will place you in a distance of roughly 9 km to your destination.
In case you dropped early (happens to the best of us) or late, you will drop out in a larger distance. Keep in mind that distances above 50km to your destination will take a lot of time to bridge in normal speed mode, so re-enter supercruise in that case. If you got 300+ km 'early' of distance, just zero your throttle when back in supercruise, wait a second until the drop message appears and drop again. If you're closer or in case you have passed your destination, yet: fly straight ahead for 1-2 Mm, then turn back to your destination.
Tip: Placing your throttle at about 40% of your maximum possible throttle setting provides best pitch in supercruise, so reduce your throttle setting if you need to do a 180 degree turn or when pursuing an enemy ship.