Doing a Wilbur at Orville (it’s premium gift time again)

Ah well. Looks like I was wrong. Shucks!

LL have just launched their latest Premium gift today, Thursday 14th November. That something was due today wasn’t a surprise, as they’d slipped out advanced word last month by accident. However, at the time, I thought it might be something else other than the next Premium gift.

Turns out – it is, so ho-hum on my part.

I will say, with hand-on-heart, however, that I’m not actually surprised by the nature of the gift – a biplane. I say not surprised, as the prediction curve was pretty clear over the last three gifts: boat, railcar, car (dune buggy)  – so an aeroplane rounds-out the set. So what is the latest like?

Well, it looks like something out of the great days of barnstorming in the 1920s, when surplus WWI aircraft received a second lease of life. In fact, from what cursory research I did via the web, it looks like a cross between a Spad (beloved of American pilots) and the British SE5. Sort-of. Well, to me, at least.

Me and my latest premium gift

As with all premium gift vehicles, this one follows the usual standard – get in and use it, with touching it bringing up a menu to adjust things like the colour scheme, the flight sensitivity, the controls, etc. When you up in, instructions are displayed in chat, and follow the normal layout – PAGE UP/ DOWN for throttle increase / decrease, arrow keys for nose up / down, left / right (or you can use WASD and E & C for the throttle).


Handling-wise, and to be brutally honest, I have to admit that I found the plane something of a mess. As there is no HUD, decreasing or increasing the throttle produces a spew of channel spam in the viewer’s chat console, which is both annoying and distracting. Further, and while this may be down to the fact I use my own camera defaults (although I don’t know why if so, as I use the same defaults to fly my other aircraft), I found it impossible to achieve stable, level flight in this plane even with the throttle reasonably set: I was either constantly climbing or descending (generally the latter – it’s as if the plane is terribly nose-heavy). Obviously, some adjustment to trim is going to be required in an old kite, but this actually grated on me in both basic and advanced sensitivity settings.


The plane is a single-seater, but that doesn’t prevent friends coming along for the ride – providing they are willing to hang on. Aerobatically, the plane is OK – I threw a couple of loops and rolled it a few times, although the aforementioned habit of it constantly wanting to get back on the ground meant that it was easy to over-compensate.

“If you iz flyin liek this then yu iz doin it rong”

As with the dune buggy offering, the plane “includes” the use of a premium-only airstrip at Orville. This has been stuck on the south side of the premium sandbox group  which includes Formonsa, Amoena, and others, and which appear to have gained two additional region splitting them: Limia and Arowana. As such, there should be a lot of flying space here – but for the fact that the runway is west- east facing, with no regions either to the left or right, which makes taking off and landing something of a pain, as there is no real opportunity for a lined-up descent on the latter or decent climb-out in the former. This was reflected in the fact that on my visit, there were a number of biplanes bouncing along the region edge…

Orville: “Mind the boundary”

The lack of flying space to the east and west may also reflect the fact that there were a fair few at the strip who were not flying their new LL gift plane, but were enjoying themselves dogfighting in Warbugs (one of which I just have to get – talk about cute!). These tiny little planes had no issue with the confined space.

Warbugs at Orville!

While at Orville, I confess I took time out not to fly the new plane, but to take the Stingray out on the water once more – I tell you, I’m hooked on this vehicle!

Overall, the latest premium gift is pretty predictable; transportation appears to have been the theme for 2012’s gifts as mentioned above. It’ll be somewhat interesting to see what the theme will be for 2013. As to the biplane itself – well, like the buggy before it, it’s OK, but hardly on a par with offerings which can be had for free on the Marketplace; however, if it serves to get people who have no previously tried flying to give it a go, then it can be said to have served a decent purpose.

For my part, however, I’ll stick with my Stingray. And go get me a little Warbug. Those things look FUN!

Leaving Orville by water – taking out the Stingray. Again.

Oh, and of course, this gift comes complete with the usual “50% (on your first quarter’s payment) discount” offer. For those who are curious as to general thoughts on premium, please feel free to check out my thoughts on the matter for those considering an upgrade.

12 thoughts on “Doing a Wilbur at Orville (it’s premium gift time again)

  1. There are several reasons why it is neither a SPAD nor an S.E.5
    The single-bay wing means that it is not a SPAD, while the upper wing is too close to the fuselage to be an S.E.5. Also, both used a V8 engine with exhausts running down both sides of the fuselage. It does put me in mind of a single-seat modification of the Curtiss JN-4. which is very much the barnstorming ‘plane, but the single-bay wing is a failure. It’s as good a starting point as any.


    1. Hey, I don’t proclaim to be an expert! I just had a quick dive into wikip and looked at pictures :).

      Whatever it is modelled on, it gave me an appreciation of the Warbugs. I’ve seen those on the ground around SL, but have never flown one. Seeing them at Orville has made be determined to try one out!


  2. It’s not a bad little plane. I was able to get stable flight…you have to leave your mitts off the overly-sensitive controls. But I, too, have some quibbles. The engine noise does not vary with throttle setting. This is an important feedback mechanism. The ailerons are hooked up backwards…the right aileron should go DOWN to bank left, and vice versa. And it suffers from the same sin that affects many of my aircraft…when there is a partial sim-border crash, even though the plane recovers in a few seconds, the camera position is messed up afterwards.

    All in all, I prefer the Stingray, my ultralight, my sailplane, or even my fat old Grumman Goose. And you’re right, the little WarBugs are a delight! See my blog post about them:


    1. Stable flight-wise, I tend to trim out and leave the controls be, other than at region crossings. I couldn’t do that at all with this one. As soon as I was trimmed at altitude, the nose would immediately drop, and the decent would be quite rapid.

      Like you, I’m still happy with my Stingray, which is a joy to trim out and just fly.


      1. Kimiko Dover makes some very good ‘planes, and his Curtiss FBK is nice, as well as his Grumman Goose.
        It’s also hard to beat the THI Spitfire. Good flight scripting, and it is a Spitfire. I mean, why would you want anything more? (Well, I hear there is an Avro Vulcan in the works…)
        They can all fly slow enough for reliable sim crossings, on a good day. When the Grid gets dodgy, it’s time to sit in the bar and tell tall tales.


  3. I’ll give this 1 a try to see how it handles cross sims at the various continents!
    But nothing like flying our own builds:)
    And Lindal saw one of them, after a fly that took me an dmy soulmate over 60 sims:)
    But if its true that LL is trying to make users aware of the joys of travelling without the need of teleports or neither on a bike (the most used medium to travel on Sl for sure!) i guess many (me included) where hoping for a more structural notice (I was hoping for a increase on the m2 avaiable by tier level for premium, making be premium a great choice to adquire land on auctions or abandoned one)!


  4. She’s a dead ringer for an Ansaldo A.1

    The version my aunt picked up was 1.04 and flew pretty well, with options for adjusting the controls in the menu. The lack of a HUD is a nuisance and the steps in the throttle control are needlessly small but it’s a pretty nice little airplane.


    1. I think that’s the best ID we’re likely to get.

      There are some free HUDs available. I picked one up at Honah Lee Surf


  5. The Vulcan was reported in the SL Aviation group a few months back, when it was in the very early stages. Looking at what the people involved have already made, I expect good results. Somebody has already released a Vulcan but the looks are a bit approximate.
    I have heard several people suggest the Blackburn Buccaneer S.2A, and I have a weakness for the English Electric Lightning. When the Lightning was still flying, there were camera-gun pictures of the SR-71 on the wall at the RAF Binbrook Officers’ Mess: I gather they new exactly when the Yanks were arriving, and the Lightning was semi-ballistic at the top of a zoom climb.
    X-Wing fighters? Bah! Humbug!


    1. Dad’s attachment to the Vulcan is entirely professional :).

      Wonder if someone will bring out a Warbugs version… 😉


  6. Unfortunaly neither me or my love enjoyed the bit we tried of it, the poses are lovely but we bult better ones, so what we did enjoyed was flying over the continent (LL homes japonese one?) that i never though it existed, i had a LL home and never found that they all are on a continent, so i assume now that there 3 LL homes continents!
    How one could wish to see all the continents of the grid, connected by water corridors that could be also flyed or with some bridges that would allow also to be ridable, and move from one to another, without teleports!
    Btw, Isetta, a free mesh car, is on marketstreet, and i have to say, a freaking amazing mesh buid that 1, Hope Inara can make a review about it soon, it is worth!


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