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Planes are one of the three vehicles in Diddy Kong Racing and its Nintendo DS port, the other two being the Car and Hovercraft. The Plane is capable of flying up to higher locations that the Car or Hovercraft cannot reach normally, usually higher, alternate pathways. The Plane can fly across nearly any terrain or obstacle. Aside from traditional courses, Planes are also used in the Fire Mountain battle stage, the race against Smokey the Dragon and the second race against Wizpig. Hot Top Volcano is the first course in which Planes are the default vehicle.
Like the Car and Hovercraft, each character's Plane had its own color in Diddy Kong Racing. In the Nintendo DS port, Diddy Kong Racing DS, every character's Plane is yellow by default. This was likely done in favor of the customizable paint option from Taj's Wishes Menu.
In Diddy Kong Racing DS, the player can enter Taj's Wishes Menu to customize the paint color of a Plane and upgrade its speed, handling, and acceleration. However, altering the acceleration has no effect, as every plane has the same rate of acceleration regardless of which character uses it. The player can also create a unique, custom emblem for the Planes, similar to Mario Kart DS.
Compared to the Car and Hovercraft, the Plane is the least available in the courses. It can only be used in 11 of the 20 courses, or 15 of the 24 courses in the DS port. It is usually a default vehicle in the courses that it can be used in.