There’s always a big divide in the Aviation Community between those who only use products from the big companies and those who prefer to promote little “independent” builders with a lot of loose interpretation as to what constitutes a Big or Small company. Regardless some products get way more attention than they deserve and we miss a few diamonds, so here’s my list of some of Aviations most under appreciated Aircraft.
1. The CRJ-700 by Kev Barony & Laminar Systems
Airplanes that fit the Roleplay passenger ethos are very rare, specially if your looking for a jet plane that’s Mesh, looks good and feels comfortable as a passenger to sit in. Kev’s CRJ-700 is a combination of all of these things plus one hell of a jazzy cockpit and some of the most Advanced flight scripts of any Jet Plane in Second Life, but the only thing you really need to know is you have a button that turns the Steatbelt and no-smoking lights off and on and it makes the boop.
IT MAKES THE BOOP!
Why isn’t it popular?
When I say the flight scripts are advanced I mean they are the kind of Flight Simulator style controls that requires you to plan your route in advance. This plane is not for the amateur pilot and it is anything but noob friendly. You must adjust your trim mid-flight and keep and eye on your artificial horizon, the turning arc is stiff and wide and you need to throw down your flaps in order to make the tighter turns, for landing you have to know the airport your going to and exactly where the runway is, reducing your speed and altitude several sims away and dropping your gears at least three sims in advance, before bringing your flaps full down and then throwing your spoilers up as you skim across the runway to force your plane onto the Tarmac then immediatly throwing yourself into Reverse thrust to stop the plane. It’s a lot of hard work to fly the plane, specially if your not used to it, and many people just either can’t do it and claim the plane is bugged (because they are such an awesome pilot so it can’t be their fault right?), the plane is also very script heavy and I’ve often had trouble with it on Sim borders but that’s not the worst offence. Kev Barony’s company Logo is everywhere it appears 28 times on the plane making it seem somewhat like being in a corporate sponsorship deal and while it holds one of the best childhood squee cockpits of any passenger plane in SL for the actual passengers it is slightly uncomfortable to be surrounded by so many logo’s specially with the interior being such a bizarre choice in colours.
2. the Mig-3 by Jester Avionics
Yes it’s another brand sold under the Laminar Systems name same as above but hear me out. These planes are made by Seb Serenity, an adorable shy girl who doesn’t have much time in SL due to her Studies, what little time she does have she likes to work on planes, it’s something of a passion for her and the results are pretty outstanding. To be fair, all her planes should be on this list as a Seb plane is quite rare and aside from her Lancaster launched under the THI name, none of them are given the credit they are due.
Why arn’t they popular?
Second verse same as the first, Seb’s planes inherit the same characteristics are their RL counterparts and you have to know the plane to know how to get the best out of flying it they also require a certain amount of skill to land without crashing. With the rise of the Shana-Standard “penny turner” in Aviation combat anything that can’t Dogfight by turning on the spot is considered “not worth buying” by the community at large and no-one had the patience to fly something that required skill, something we’ve started to see a reverse of with the growing popularity of ZSK.
3. The P-38 Lightning by Wilder Skies
Many Years ago when dinosaurs still roamed the grid and Oskar Linden still had a Job there was a girl named Niki Wilder. Niki brought forth a new product to share, it was a P-51. Parts of it were just flat textures taken from a scanned reference book, it flew worse than an old Shana plane and it’s engine made a noise like it had been recorded from inside a bathtub.
The community was unimpressed, but other parts of the community said it was the best thing ever so it was Handbags at dawn!
Years of Drama ensued and while the priests preached to their sermons and called for battle, Niki ignored them, she practiced hard and built good and soon her creations far outstretched the reputation she had earned. Probably her most famous work is her F-14D Tomcat which, despite being very outdated by todays standards, is still considered comparable with modern aircraft, but we’re not here to advertise whats already popular.
Somewhere in the fountain of ensuring drama, which to be fair was none of Niki’s fault, there was the release of a P-38 Lightning a tiny gold nugget of an airplane and everyone missed it. The P-38 was sculpted, it had raised details along it’s duel engine pods, it’s props were sculpted, it’s flaps and tail fins moved, it was nicely textured and it had a very smooth engine core which made you feel like you really were in the command seat of an aircraft which may not sound much but back then it was a huge leap forward in terms of what had been previously flooding the market and put Wilder Skies on the map as a serious contender. Had the Drama of Pirate Air not cemented the reputation of Niki as a peddler for Badly scripted Penny Turners then the emergence of this plane would have been considerably more significant and things might have ended differently.
Why Wasn’t it popular:
In the fights between which combat systems the Vehicle & Infantry Combat Environment or VICE eventually dominated thanks to the popularity of THI at the time, as well as it’s support from Astral-Tek and The Flying Tigers, those still playing with other systems eventually started to convert, those who didn’t were left behind, one of them being Niki Wilder who tried making her own combat system that never really proved popular. Pirate Air aside the P-38’s main problem was it’s ICS combat system, which became more focused around Steampunk Ironclads and less about the WWII Community, when Pirate Air finally closed down and the transition to Vice was completed Niki Wilder became less important and eventually faded from the Publics Attention.
4. Erick Gregan’s Dewotitine D.520
Did you know EG does a range of WWII Fighter planes? Did you know they cost from 800L to 1000L? Did you know they are actually pretty good?
Well now you do, some of his newer players ,like his own P-38 with it’s slightly over the top start up sequence, range into higher prices but his older ones are just as good and none ever get the credit they deserve.
My Favorite is this WWII French Fighter the D.520, mostly because it’s the only one on the market and you may be thinking “France? Ha what did they ever do in the war?” well how about a P-47 with the maneuverability of a Mig-3 with a 20mm Canon in an era of Aviation where the other two Major Powers in Europe have nothing but 30cal Machine guns on their planes. It’s like bringing a Tank to a Duck fight.
Why Isn’t it popular?
Call it bad timing, EG started releasing these newer models at the height of the Penny Turner craze, all WWII Combat regions at the time were all supporting Aviation groups which exclusively used Shana, making using anything even slightly realistic a pointless waste of time. Now that craze is starting to end it may be worth looking into these again.
5. Quinn Static: Everything
For a while Shogun was popular with WWII Aviators for once reason, they did the only Fairy Swordfish on the grid which was everyone’s aircraft of choice when Astral-Tek released their Bismarck. Sadly the rest of their aircraft never received the attention I always though they should have. Each one feels different, like there is real passion behind the construction and while his few planes cover the basic four (P-51, Spitfire, Zero and ME109) he also does some more interesting and weird things, like this Polish Lloyd C.V Biplane.
And why aren’t these popular?
Japan, simply. Japanese builders rarely bother with the Western Market and never advertise outside of the Japanese regions, so it’s not surprising that hardly anyone knows about them, unless you’re specifically looking for a WWII Japanese plane.
And that’s it for now, agree with our list? think I’ve missed something? Leave a comment and I’ll add it to the next list.