Taking wing with Made in SL

Marianne McCann gets a little Top Gun as she discusses aviation in Made in SL

The latest Made in SL video launched on Thursday, January 23rd, with a look at the aviation scene in Second Life, and featuring Second Life long-term resident, aviation enthusiast and SL historian, Marianne McCann providing the commentary.

Second Life aviation is a genuinely broad and layered subject to try to cover in under three minutes, but thanks to Marianne’s expertise in the subject, Aviation Made in Second Life packs a huge amount into its brief running time. We get a brief peek at SL history, with names like Garth FairChang and the legendary Cubey Terra rightly popping up, (Cubey actually got me into SL skydiving, which is kind-of related to flying 🙂 ), as well as touching on the range of aviation communities and flying-related role-play in SL by touching on the Passengers of SL group (a good way to get flying with the many airlines and charter flight operations that offer point-to-point services in SL) and a look at the work of the Second Life Coast Guard (SLCG) role-play group that combines airborne and marine vehicles and role-play in places like Blake Sea and its surroundings (I’d personally note that the Get The Freight Out community also encompasses flying – see: An inside look at Get the Freight Out in Second Life).

Also given the short time frame of the film, coupled with the breadth of aircraft content available in SL, Marianne wisely focuses on just a couple of options for getting into the air at the controls, pointing to Sherwood aviation – an ideal for those who wish to have a high degree of simulated realism in their flying – and to Arduenn Schwartzman’s Warbugs, which have been design purely for fun and to allow single-region air combat (I actually wrote about Warbugs back in 2012 in Bitten by the (War)bug, but I confess I’ve not flown my own Warbug “seriously” for about 3-4 years).

Flying in SL takes many forms and includes many different aircraft and aircraft styles. I don’t really have any good examples of “unusual” flying machines, but the Piaggio Orion autogyro is both fun (and challenging at times!)

However, given the range of aircraft is so vast, getting to grips with what to buy can be difficult. Hence, Marianne points to some of the more popular or bigger airports, many of which have vendors offering demo versions of aircraft. In this, places like Hollywood Airport and Hona Lee Field can be particularly helpful, as they sit on the edges of the wide open skies of Blake Sea, where having to compete with skyboxes occupying the same piece of sky as you is removed. Many aircraft makers also have their own airfields where demos are offered, so when parsing the Marketplace for ideas, allows be sure to click any link to an in-world location and go see what demos might be available and give them a go.

As a keen aviator in SL myself, I’d probably also add to Marianne’s thoughts by saying those seeking to ease themselves into SL flying and want to have fun without worrying too much about things like instrument flying via Mouselook or having to learn the correct start-up sequences and so on, might want to try the likes of DSA (available at Hollywood Airport, noted above) for fixed-wing light aircraft flying (I’ve covered several of the DSA aircraft in these pages, and as I noted back in A look at my most-used SL vehicles (thus far!), one of them remains one of my preferred aircraft today; while for rotary flight, the likes of Spijkers Aviation & Marine (just across the channel to the west of Honah Lee Field) offer a range of helos that are pretty easy to master and are a good way to get started.

Airports like Hollywood Airport and airfields can be found throughout the Second Life continents and along the interconnecting waterways and places like Blake Sea and its surrounding private estates

Of course there are some drawbacks to flying (like any other form of SL travel), such as region crossings. However, and like everything else, the best way of dealing with these is by practice and gaining familiarity with the grid’s behaviour. Certainly, fear of region crossings should be a reason to put you off.

All told, a great promotional / introductory video.

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