Friday, February 29, 2008

Aviation in Second Life…a novice pilot reports:

When somebody talks about flying in SL, it is not automatically assumed piloting an aircraft. Although I had seen planes for sale at in-world shops, I had not particularly in mind to have one of my own: what’s the use if you already can fly like a bird?
However, when I was taken on a flight by a friend I was immediately hooked and bought a two-seater steam powered Ornithopter. (An Ornithopter is an aircraft that has no propeller, but flapping its wings like a giant bat. The one I bought was created by Miss Virrginia Tombola, Aviatrix and Proprietress of La Bicyclette, Port Caledon)

My first SL flight as passenger in a steam powered Spiral Wing

Flying an aircraft (whether it be an Ornithopter, a Spitfire, flying carpet or a jet plane) is much different to a PC Flight simulator if you happen to know it; easier in a way, but a bit awkward when passing a sim border, as the plane tend to drop to the ground or even crash if the next sim is full. It takes a bit of time to get a grip on the controls, but once you have mastered this it is real fun to manoeuvre through the virtual air. When you have acquired an airplane or any other craft you need to find a place to rezz the thing and of course a start and landing strip, both usually provided at numerous Second Life aerodromes. Well known and recommended places are:
- Abbotts Aerodrome, Abbotts (160/160/75) Flying, skydiving, dirigible balloon and much more. The home of Cubey Terra, maker of the DIY plane.
- Connolly Aerodrome - Penzance A, Caledon Penzance (93, 37, 40) the base of the famous Royal Caledon Air Force.
- Minaki Aerodrome Rezzing Platform, Minaki (78, 37, 21) This is one of my favourite airfields (Well done Atashi Toshihiko), lots of space around, no nasty high buildings and a separate rezz platform. However…..But that is for a next BLog entry…be prepared to shiver my SL friends when I tell you about my recent nasty flying experiences in the adjacent sim….
- SANDBOX @ FlyinTails Airfield & , FlyinTails Airfield USF (95, 140, 51)
- Blue Airstrip, Blue (133, 30, 38) Actually two airfields in adjacent parcels in the sims Blue and Grey.
A very nice feature of flying in SL is that you can take your friends on a tour in the virtual air. When there is no place in the cabin, just let them sit on the aircraft wing and let the slipstream curl their hairs, a great experience.

How to start aviation on a low budget
A very good start into SL aviation is the Terra two-seater aircraft ‘Do It Yourself kit’ which can be obtained for free in the Meta Art Factory (boxed along with landmarks to the above noted aerodromes, and as a bonus the Terra Flying Carpet 5). The kit is comprised of a number of ready made sub-assemblies, such as wings, propeller, landing gear, seats, stabiliser, body, and wait, there is more: flying scripts and as a special bonus the famous Terra Flying Carpet is included
A comprehensive and well illustrated building manual (on a note card) is also included in the box. The best thing about this kit is that everything you receive can be modified, copied and transferred to create your own flying craft and even sell it if you think that you made something special. (A big thanks to Cubey Terra - http://www.cubeyterra.com/ who made this kit freely available to the SL community)

In this picture Lord Lisle is assembling his second plane (intended for modding into a different model). A copy of his first DIY plane with custom colours can be seen in the background. If you are looking for a nice ready to go learning project, which includes building, texturing and scripting, the TERRA DIY PLANE KIT is something for you. And when you successfully have completed the project you can pilot the thing as well.

My second plane
After some time flying around in the Ornithopter (which has good flying capacities!) my eye fell upon a replica of the famous Spitfire fighter plane. Flying in this plane is quite a change as it reacts differently to the Ornithopter and a couple of other free planes I acquired at the time.
Once I had mastered the controls I like to take a ‘dawn patrol’ flight, just cruising along the waters and grounds of Caledon, listening to the sound of the mighty ’Merlin’ engine in front of me....

Taking off for a night patrol at an aerodrome, somewhere in Second Life…

Lord Lisle returning from a flight with his Spitfire Mk.I.. Note the contemporary outfit, including a parachute

Life in the air and the RCAF
Although my time to stay in Second Life is limited and generally filled with chatting and visits to friends, I have found that the flying community in Second Life is a pleasant and friendly one which welcomes heartily anyone who is interested in this matter. Sin Trenton, a reknown aviator of the RCAF put it this way “..we flying people stick together..’

Sin Trenton and Lord Lisle discussing a mission at Minaki Aerodrome. Both their Spitfires are parked at the end of the runway.

Recently I joined the Royal Caledon Air Force, a group with many active members and weekly gatherings. Anyone interested in aviation in SL I recommend reading the RCAF Wiki at http://www.caledonwiki.com/index.php/RCAF and the BLog of the RCAF founder Zoe Connolly at http://zoeconnolly.blogspot.com/

Fair skies!

2 comments:

Zoe Connolly said...

Hello Lord Lisle,

Thank you so very much for this excellent and comprehensive post about aviation in SL.


Aviatrix :: Zoe Connolly

Second Life Bloggers

The Connolly Telegraph

Anonymous said...

lol thr RCAF is the Royal Canadian air force not caledonian or whatever check this out here, about the real RCAF