Whirling around the skies of Second Life

Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 over Blake Sea Half Hitch
Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 over Blake Sea Half Hitch

While visiting RiTai recently, I took time out to fly a helicopter modelled on the Eurocopter EC-135. I’ve never really fussed that much with helicopters in SL (one has been sitting in my inventory forever but it is so old, a Havoc update way beck in … 2009? 2010? broke it and as I’d already stopped using it, I never really bothered with the updated version). As such, I was a little curious to see if my attitude had changed.

Well, flying the machine, even on the one region, proved to be a lot of fun; so much so that I got, well, hooked. Since then, and as time has allowed, I’ve been shuffling around SL looking at various makes and models of helicopter with a view to getting one, and repeatedly found myself drawn back to the EC-135 design as being particularly attractive. My poking around led me to Spijkers Aviation & Marine where, after much mmming and ahhing (and not a few flights in  the demo aircraft there) I picked up Tig’s civilian version of the EC-135.

Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 - passing the Fastnet light
Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 – passing the Fastnet light

I’ve barely put it down since.

Weighing-in with a land impact of 27, the helicopter is well made and looks good. Seating the pilot and up to five passengers, it offers plenty of opportunities for flying with friends – but that’s just the icing on the cake.

For a start, the pack itself contains not one, but three variants of the helicopter: flyable, static (unscripted), and “desktop” (which is small and beautifully formed), each of which is offered in three basic colours: red, white and blue. As the full-size versions are MOD, also included in the pack are additional texture sets allowing the purchaser to mix and match the three finishes to produce a very individual aircraft – and if that is not enough, Tigs and Amy offer to produce  custom textures upon enquiry.

As well as the various models of the helicopter and the texture options, the pack includes two sets of instructions and two HUDS – “full” or “light” depending on your preference. Neither is absolutely required for flying, and each has a number of buttons not applicable to the civilian version of the EC-135.

The texture packs made customising one of the default versions a breeze. As I have a thing for red and white (witness Lady of Calas and Lady of Calas 2),  I wanted my new toy to be ranged in the same colours, and it took me less than 3 minutes to have a two-tone EC-135 ready to fly. And flying this little helicopter is fun.

Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 - original red (r) and my 3-minute "custom" finish (l)
Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 – original red (r) and my 3-minute “custom” finish (l)

Page Up and Page Down act as the collective, the arrow keys function as the cyclic for forward / reverse and turning / banking. Other commands are accessed via typing (“s” to start / stop the engine, “l” for lights, “ld” for opening / closing the left door, etc.), or via the HUDs, if used, if used. Handling-wise, the EC-135 is very responsive, and once one has got the hang of using the controls, staying airborne and enjoying oneself is a breeze.

One of the reasons I opted for this model compared to others are the range of additional options. FlySafe, for example turns the aircraft and passengers phantom – handy if you’re flying over mainland only to find someone has parked their skyhome on your flight path and evasive flying might not be that easy due to other buildings, etc., also hanging in the sky.

More importantly (from my viewpoint, at least) is the fact that – like many of Tig’s aircraft – the EC-135 can be configured so that a co-pilot can take the controls (a copy of either HUD can even be given to them). Having been a passenger on flights myself more than a few times, I know how boring sitting and letting someone else pilot you around can get be. so being able to turn over control to a friend and let them experience flying the helicopter for a while, strikes me as a neat idea and helps share the flying experience.

Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 - the controls are ideal for my avatar's height
Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 – the controls are ideal for my avatar’s height

I also like the optional floats that come with this model. While these can only be activated / deactivated when the engine is off, they’re a handy addition for someone like me, who lives on the edge of Blake Sea and is surrounded by water 🙂 .

There a lot more I could say about this helicopter, but I’m not going to – just take it from me, if you’re looking for a helo for yourself and you’ve not tried Spijkers Aviation & Marine, then I thoroughly recommend you hop over to their in-world headquarters and give their demonstrators a go. I doubt you’ll be at all disappointed.

Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 - making an inspection pass near the Second Norway airport tower
Spijkers Aviation & Marine EC-135 – making an inspection pass near the Second Norway airport tower

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5 thoughts on “Whirling around the skies of Second Life

  1. Welcome to the wonderful world of whirlybirds! If ever we’re online at the same time I’ll be happy to offer you the controls of one of my big bad beasts from AMOK – the Chinook or the Mi-8.

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  2. Lovely post about another of the joys of Second Life, flying!
    I also add that there are at least 1 full free modifiable helicopter available at San Catalina’s airport mail, wish handles pretty well, for those who can’t afford any of the wonderful builds around (Can’t remember exactly the name but i think sis some like Md500 or whatever!)

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