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Kirby uses the Jet Star's great Gliding ability to fly toward a target in Target Flight.
While you are gliding in the air, use (the control stick up and down) to raise or lower the nose of your machine. After raising the nose and increasing your altitude, you can extend the distance of your flight by adjusting your machine to be level with the ground. If you land with your machine perfectly parallel to the ground, your speed will not decrease when you touch down.
— Kirby Air Ride North American instruction booklet, page 11

Gliding is the act of taking flight with an Air Ride Machine in Kirby Air Ride. Gliding can be initiated by riding the machine off a cliff, or going off a ramp. While in the air, the control stick is used to steer. Tilting up on the stick causes Kirby to nosedive, and tilting down causes him to pull up. If Kirby's machine is angled well upon landing, Kirby will gain a small boost in speed. Each machine has different gliding capabilities, though not all machines are capable of gliding - specifically those with wheels.

In City Trial, the Glide Patch can be obtained to improve a machine's gliding capabilities. In practice, this means that the machine will be able to fly higher and for longer intervals before having to come down. Wheeled machines can benefit from the patch as well, gaining a higher jump when it goes off a ramp.

Gliding cannot be performed in Top Ride.