Barnstorming is a classic Atari 2600 game where the player must pilot a biplane through a series of barns in the shortest time possible while avoiding obstacles such as windmills, weather vanes, and geese. If the plane bumps into an obstacle, it slows down for a couple of seconds, adding to the overall time.
The game has four levels of difficulty that can be selected using the game select switch. In Hedge Hopper (game 1), the player must navigate 10 barns, while in Crop Duster (game 2) and Stunt Pilot (game 3), the player must navigate 15 barns each. The course layout remains the same for these levels, making it possible to memorize the layout. In Flying Ace (game 4), there are 25 barns, and the course layout is randomized.
Players who achieved a time of 33.3 seconds or better in Hedge Hopper, 51.0 seconds or better in Crop Duster, or 54.0 seconds or better in Stunt Pilot could send a picture of their screen to Activision and receive membership in the Activision Flying Aces, along with a Flying Aces patch.