Over the course of just over a year, I’ve written a couple of pieces about the aircraft available under the CLS Aviation, brand, owned by CaithLynnSayes. These have included the P92 and P2010 (read here for more) and the CLSA Fairey Gannet (read here for more), and both articles came after my initial introduction to CLS a aircraft via the freebie Firestorm Ryan Navion, also supplied by Caith (read here for more). My responses to these aircraft have been mixed – but given they are provided (albeit as unsupported items) at just L$10 per ‘plane, they cannot be faulted as means to get started with flying in SL.
Hence why I was drawn back to try another aircraft in the CLSA range: the Stampe SV.4. Originally a Belgian-made 2-seat tandem trainer that was first flew in 1933, it didn’t come into its own until after the Second World War, when it served as both a basic trainer for the Belgian Air Force (1947-1975) and was built under license in France and Algeria, becoming a popular civilian light aircraft / trainer in the process.
It’s not clear which variant of the Stampe the CLSA model is based on, but its natty performance envelope allows it to potentially be any version you like, and from my perspective it is one of the most fun aircraft I’ve flown in Second Life.
As is usual with CLSA aircraft, the model is a very accurate reproduction of its physical world namesake, including the more rounded vertical tail and rudder and lack of the distinctive “hump” of a fuel tank in the centre of the upper wing to help differentiate it from the British de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moth (which I’ve had the pleasure of flying in, and taking the controls of in the physical world!).
The ‘plane is delivered in the distinctive large crate of CLSA, which drops to the ground with an audible “whomp!” when rezzed. As well as containing the aircraft, the package also provides the default CLSA aircraft HUD, (not vital for flying the ‘plane), a radio headset / microphone combination, a Quick Start manual (a detailed manual can be obtained from the Help option in the aircraft’s menu – touch the aircraft to display this, or say “help” in chat when seated in the Stampe), and “templates” for painting. It would have been nice to have the headset supplied Copy / Transfer, to allow for sharing with any passenger carried in the forward cockpit, but never mind.
Of the CLSA ‘planes I’ve flown, the Stampe is definitely the most fun. The basic controls are as one would expect: PAGE keys for throttle; Left and Right keys for banking; Down / Up for pitching the nose up or down. Additional controls – parking, brake, camera options, engine, etc., can be accessed via chat commands and / or via the HUD.
The low speed of this aircraft means that it really is good for STOL activities: leave the brake on and run up the throttle before releasing, and you’ll be off the ground in a very short run. Conversely, keep your approach speed to around 30 km/h (19 mph or 8 metre per second) and you can drop the Stampe into almost any suitable area on the ground (including places you might not get out of again!). This STOL capability could make the Stampe ideal for GTFO! activities as a light courier, but as the GTFO! vehicle database is unavailable at the time of writing, I was unable to ascertain if it had been added or not.
That same low speed makes aerobatics a joy – I was stall-turning and looping to my heart’s content – and these can be further added to through optional elements such as the Luna Fatale Animated Wing Walker. It also means you can instruct passengers in the forward cockpit at a more leisurely pace than might be the case with other aircraft – just use the “cmd” command in chat to pass control forward or take it back.
When it comes to aerobatics and flying, the Stampe includes a set of options to adjust its flight handling: pitch and roll rates, rate of climb, and throttle. these can be adjusted in real-time when flying, and also output to chat for recording onto note cards which can be added to the ‘plane’s inventory. This means that if the Stampe is permanently rezzed as a shared plane within a group, pilots can load their personal flight preferences, thus allowing more experiences flyers to use more aggressive settings, while those with less experience can opt to use their own or say with the plane’s default characteristics.
A big plus (for me at least) is that unlike the Ryan, P92 and P2010, the Stampe *won’t* regard Linden water as land and happily taxi around on it or land on / take off from the surface. Were I to critique the plane at all, it would be that banking – although far better than the Ryan, P92 and P2010 – can still be flat at times in the default handling mode (so use of the custom handling options might be called for).
I also feel the supplied exterior painting template leaves much to be desired. Some of the component parts are poorly rendered and indistinct, requiring a certain degree of skill when setting a personal colour scheme. A scripted painting mechanism is provided, which includes two custom finish slots, together with 6 supplied finishes. However, as the ‘plane is supplied with Modify permissions, it is possible to manually apply paint schemes, so multiple personal finishes can be used, if wanted.
Overall, give this ‘plane costs just L$10, it’s a nice add to any collection and is, as noted a lot of fun to fly, and which tends to handle region crossings pretty well (allowing for speed and how you might tweak the speed settings).