Plane sailing in Second Life: the ReneMarine Ask 13

Topping a loop over Holly Kai Park in my ReneMarine Ask 13

Courtesy of someone crashing on a neighbour’s island I recently discovered the ReneMarine Ask 13 sailplane, a newcomer to Second Life (released at the end of March 2018), and built by Rene Underby, creator of ReneMarine yachts. The model brought back fond memories for me of taking sailplane lessons when in my 20s, initially in the physical world Schleicher ASK 13, so it became something of an impulse buy for me.

The Ask 13 costs L$1000. For that, you get the glider, instructions, thermal HUD, and a box of texture scripts with pre-set colours and registrations and a set of texture 1024×1024 textures – one for the airframe, one for the seats and interior and one AO.

Overall, the design is true to early versions of the Schleicher ASK 13, with the single non-retractable wheel and nose skid (later models of the Schleicter were fitting with a small nose wheel). There are a couple of minor glitches around the tail of the airframe, but neither is generally visible unless specifically looking. The supplied scripted colour schemes are provide a degree of choice in look and easily applied – just drop a script into the sailplane either directly when rezzed or via the Build floater Contents tab (recommended), then touch the airframe to apply.

Easing my Ask 13 with initial (and now updated!) colour scheme into position ready for an aerotow, using the built-in “push” animation

Those who want something a little more personal can use the supplied airframe texture to create their own colour scheme / registration. I knocked-up a basic design (which I’ll likely enhance) in about 10 minutes. Just select the individual airframe faces on the model and  apply the texture via the Texture tab in the Build floater (use local textures to test before uploading).

So how does it fly? Well, first a little pre-amble.

The first thing to note about the ReneMarine Ask 13 is that it is designed for Mouselook flying (although 3rd person flying is obviously also possible). There’s no instrument HUD, no over-the-tail hover text; it’s just you and the instruments in front of you. Commands are given via chat (so make sure you have the viewer UI enabled when in Mouselook), and the WASD / arrow keys for up/down pitch and left / right banking. PAGE DOWN deploys the wing spoilers (up to three taps), PAGE UP retracts them. Note you should also have local sounds enabled, as these are part of the ReneMarine flight experience.

The ReneMarine Ask 13 includes a Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” to tow it into the air.

Sailplanes stay aloft via the lift provided from  thermals – columns of rising air, created by the uneven heating of Earth’s surface by solar radiation. SL also has its own thermals, and this is where the thermal HUD supplied with the ReneMarine Ask 13 comes in. Essentially a regional mini-map, it highlights local thermals using a red dot and shows the position of your glider via a yellow marker and allows you to navigate to, and circle around thermals to gain altitude. Do keep in mind that thermals occur far more frequently over land than open water (where temperatures tend to even-out a lot more).

Once close to a thermal, you’ll also get an audio tone from the vario averager, indicating you have a positive vertical airspeed (that is, you’re gaining altitude). The stronger, faster the beeping, the faster you are gaining altitude. When you have a negative vertical airspeed (i.e. your are descending), the vairo will fall silent. Thus, you can use the instrument and an audio indicator of your ability to remain within the influence of a thermal.

Turning over Isla Pey and admiring the view

When you’re ready to get started, attach the thermal HUD, rez your Ask-13 and jump in. Type “tow” and your aerotow – a vintage Curtiss JN-4 – will appear, and start pulling you down the airstrip – control both the sailplane and the “Jenny” via your movement keys.

When you’re ready to take full control, type “off” for the aerotow and cable to vanish. You’re now free to seek out thermals and glide gently over the countryside – and I do mean gently. The ReneMarine offers one of the smoothest region crossing experiences I’ve ever had in SL. As well as playing navigate-by-thermal (and offering a superb low-speed view of the landscape and islands of SL), the ReneMarine Ask 13 is capable of aerobatics – although some care is needed. You need to watch your airspeed: go too fast, and you’ll hear the wings start to flutter – an indication that they are about to fail, and you should reduce your speed.

Spoilers fully deployed (visible on the wing tops) and coming in at Foliage airstrip

Landing a sailplane takes a little practice. You don’t have engine or a throttle to play with, only the spoilers. Located in the wings, these can be deployed to three positions to disrupt the airflow over the wings, causing a loss of lift. This takes a lot of practice, particularly when knowing when to fully deploy the spoilers – and you will need them fully deployed for landing – but practice makes perfect. Use “sit” to bring the Ask 13 to a stop at the end of your roll-out as there are no brakes.

With flight controls easily interchangeable between front and rear seats (“swap” in chat) and a racing mode, the ReneMarine Ask 13 is a really nicely rounded-out product delivered in a package that can make a nice (if largish) display piece for those with the room. I’ve not tried other SL sailplanes for a direct comparison, but having flown the Schleicher ASK 13 in the physical world, I can say this is quite possibly the closest anyone will get to the “real thing” in SL, and at just L$1,000, it’s more than worth the price. An absolute delight.

Additional Links

Advertisements

2018 viewer release summaries, week #14

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, April 8th

This summary is generally published on every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version 5.1.2.512803, dated February 23rd, promoted March 1st – formerly the Nalewka Maintenance RC – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • No updates.
  • Project viewers:
    • No Updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Family, sci-fi, parody and fantasy in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, April 8th 18:00: The Not-Just-Anybody Family

When Junior Blossom wakes up in the hospital, his last memory is of crouching on the barn roof with cloth wings tied to his arms, and of Maggie and Vern in the yard below, urging him to fly. That had been just before Junior spotted a police car approaching the farm in a cloud of dust.

Meanwhile Pap, the children’s grandfather, sits in disgrace in the city jail. He was arrested for disturbing the peace after his pick-up truck accidentally dumped 2,147 beer and soda cans on Spring Street.

With their mother away on the rodeo circuit, it’s up to Maggie and Vern to find a way to rescue Pap and Junior. How will they solve their family problems?

Join Caledonia Skytower at the Golden Horsehoe for this Magicland Storytime reading of this Betsy Byars classic.

Monday, April 9th 19:00: The Crucible of Time

crucibleGyro Muggins reads the fix-up by John Brunner. First published as two-part story which appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, it’s an ambitious tale of alien intelligence which grew to a series of six linked tales pushed as a single novel in 1983.

Far off in space is an alien race which is so much like us, yet so un-alike. From the birth of their earliest civilisation through to their attainment of star flight as their star system passes through the galaxy, we follow their development through the ages.

Aquatic by nature, this race presents some significant challenges well outside the realms of anything encountered by humanity. But they are also driven by all too familiar hopes, fears, desires, needs, wants, prejudices, impact of religious ideologies, and the quest for knowledge we have experienced in the growth of our own civilisation.

Charting six periods of time, each a thousand years after the previous, the six stories focus on the efforts of a group of individuals in each era as they face one or more challenges, their success in overcoming these challenges inevitably leading them towards a greater understanding of their planet’s plight, and ultimately, the ability to deal with that plight and the survival of their civilisation.

Tuesday, April 10th 19:00: National Lampoon’s Doon

In a distant galaxy, far, far away, a plot is brewing as vast and elaborate as the Empire itself…

Evil powers plot to harvest the wild pools of beer that grow only on the savage, sugar-swept world of Doon, take control of the native pretzel population, and turn the plucky little orb into the lounge-planet of the universe!

And only one man, Pall Agamemnides, heir to a dukedom can stop the galaxy-wide web of conspiracy and intrigue that is being fomented, and bring an end to the threat facing Soon.

Although reliant on a knowledge of both Frank Herbert’s sprawling story of Dune and Herbert’s often heady and flowery prose, Ellis Weiner’s tongue-in-cheek Doon is a masterpiece, offering a perfect parody of Herbert’s novel and brilliantly and accurately mimicking his prose.

Wednesday, April 11th 19:00: Merlin’s Dragon

Long ago, at the dawn of Merlin’s world, a strange little creature named Basil appeared. Part lizard, part bat, his eyes glow with a mysterious light.

When Basil discovers a threat to his world and to Merlin, he begins an epic journey that takes him from the Great Tree of Avalon to the outermost edges of the spirit realm. But his boldest journey will be to face his own deepest fears. And only if he survives can he save Merlin – and find his future.

So reads the cover description for The Dragon of Avalon, part of T.A. Barron’s Merlin Saga series, a trilogy of stories within the series charting Basil’s rise from humble beginnings to the greatest dragon of all time, loyal to Merlin and protector of Avalon.

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she delves in Barron’s magical realm.

Thursday, April 12th 19:00: From the Shadows: Halfway to Halloween

With Shandon Loring. Also presented in Kitely (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/144/129/29).

 

 


Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.