Smuggling goodsWhen you get more experienced with the game, you may wish to try your hand at smuggling - getting illegal goods on-board a station without getting noticed. On approach to a station you will want to avoid getting scanned by police. Otherwise you could find yourself with a fine and even attacked by the police. In previous versions of Elite, the station could attack you too however that is no longer the case. So to smuggle goods without getting spotted we need to use a mode called; silent running.
Silent running lowers our ship signature (the noise we make in space) so we can travel without getting noticed (on radar), and gimbal/turreted weapons will be unable to lock onto us. So technically you could use silent running in combat, forcing the other person to use fixed style weapons whilst you use whatever you like. However there are a few downsides of silent running, increased heat output and some subsystem are powered down (like shields).
So, how do we use silent running? well, the first thing I suggest is to set a binding to it in the controls list;
Once done, all you will need to do is to press a key to enter into silent running. You could also disable other subsystems that you wont be using, such as docking computer, shield boosters etc. to decrease power usage (lowering quickly your ship will warm up). Ideally you need to keep silent running on continuously, however on some larger ships you may need to disable silent running for a few seconds for your ship to cool down. After which you can re-enable. You will know when silent running is activated by words silent running above your fuel gauge;
However being in silent running doesnt mean your safe from scans, sometimes the police can spot you before you enter into silent running. So keep an eye and ear open for the words; scan detected. If you see or hear that, exit game and retry. Otherwise you will face a fine and possible attack by the police (this time you wont have any shields).