“Did you guys know there are multiple airports and harbors in Second Life?”
Good day everyone! After many fashion blog posts I decided I should introduce to you guys another big hobby of mine. Second Life Aviation in every form is what I really enjoy when I don’t have anything else to do. Did you guys know there are multiple airports and harbors in Second Life where you can go rezz your vehicle and take it for a spin?
“Kelly has recently released the EC-135 and is currently working on a Chinook!”
I see this post as an opportunity to introduce to you a very dear friend of mine, Kelly Shergood. Kelly is an amazing scripter aswell as a mesher. Kelly herself is a pilot in real life and knows how a helicopter should behave. Kelly has recently released the EC-135 and is currently working on a Chinook. The Chinook especially is gonna be an innovating state of the art work from Kelly’s hands. Kelly’s Shop is based at the White Star Airfield. Here you can try demos and see her collection of helicopters.
For me personally the EC-135 is my big favorite at the moment. I fly it regularly. I am also making some new paints for it.
It’s an amazing vehicle that is very well suited for leisure flights and sightseeing. Down here I will include a list of airports in Second Life that I visit often.
- Second Norway Airport
- Hollywood Airport
- White Star Airfield
- St. Martins Airfield
- Honah Lee Field
- Delchdork Regional Airport
So far a little list of my favorite airports. There are many many more airports to explore. I can advice you following website to see which airports are around, SL aviation Wiki.
When I visted Kelly’s mainstore a few days ago, I asked her of she would agree to a interview. She did agree, and I was able to ask her some questions. I hope this little interview will give you guys a bit of an idea about Second Life’s most popular helicopter builder. Kelly Shergood.
When did you start to create helicopters in SL and what was your first model that you created?
My first SL helicopter was the Brantly B2B. It is one I had flown a lot in RL, and so wanted to bring it to life in SL. I actually started on it more than three years before I discovered the SL aviation community and started Shergood Aviation. It was a basic prim design with the initial seeds of my physics-based flight engine and my drag/drop control HUD. It was ugly, unstable, and impossible to fly. I knew that I could use the SL vehicle system, but being an RL helicopter pilot, I wanted something that actually felt like a helicopter so I chose to limit myself to using force and torque only. I would pull it out of my inventory every so often, tweak the scripts a bit, then give up in frustration, often leaving it in my inventory untouched for months before trying again.
Finally around early 2014 I had something that started to seem like it might be controllable. It was then I thought maybe I should see if I could make a better looking model for it. I bought one of those prim-to-mesh tools and tried making some simple mesh parts for it. While it was certainly an improvement over my basic prim model, it still had faces that did not quite connect or where not quite aligned. I had tried to use blender before without success, but then tried using it to post edit the output of the prim-to-mesh tool. I made many, many iterations over the next months
and eventually got comfortable enough with blender to not need the prim-to-mesh tool at all.
It was about September 2014 when I first showed up at Cheerport looking for an airport sim to use as a home base to finish my B2B. It was there I met Patty and all the other wonderful people there. I rented a hangar to use as my base and continued to improve the mesh and the scripting. It was then that I started Shergood Aviation, and finally around April 2015 I released my first helicopter, the Brantly B2B.
What model that you have created is your favorite helicopter at the moment?
Usually the one I am working on becomes my new favorite. I always try to include some new scripting challenge in each new helicopter I create. For the Enstrom, it was working instruments and serviceable fluids. For the S92 is was the autopilot, onboard and the glass cockpit. For the H92 it was the winch and rescue systems. The Aircrane had the pods, cargo hoist system and a more advanced/realistic cockpit and . The EC135s had the different mission equipment systems, and many new additional new cockpit systems such as the dynamic CAD and VEMD displays and the simulated single-engine mode. The Chinook that I am working on now is by far my most ambitious project yet. It has many more systems with greater functionality than any I have done to date. I am particularly pleased with the hook system, the HSI-based GPS system and the IFF transponder system.
You create real advanced helicopters. Is there a mode built in for people who are less advanced in flying helicopters?
The core of my flight script is the force/torque based physics engine. That core piece will always remain in my helicopters. That said, there are a number of simulated helicopter effects that are optional. For example, in single rotor helicopters there is a right turning tendency as you increase power due to the torque from the main rotor. This requires that the pilot compensate by applying left pedal as you increase power. Another helicopter effect is something called vortex ring state. This occurs when a helicopter descends too steeply and tries to apply power. With all realism effects active, flying one of my helicopters requires many of the same piloting techniques that an RL helicopter pilot would need to employ. With the realism features turned off, however, they can be reasonably docile and easy to handle. This makes my helicopters accessible to pilots at a wide range of skill levels.
Is there any helicopter you fancy to build in the near future?
There are two potential joint projects coming up. One with Sylvira, and possibly one with Karl Reisman. Both are well know mesh makers in the SL aviation community. Sylvira has already made the mesh for an Airbus H160 and is waiting for me to script it. Karl has been working on a Sikorsky S-51. Projects that I do the mesh for are currently undecided. I have had a lot of requests for a navy helicopter such as a Sea King or Seahawk. I am also interested in doing a small helicopter like an R-66 that I have flown in RL recently. I may also decide to do something completely off the all like the Filper Beta.
Would you ever consider building an airplane?
I have a Super Decathlon that is partially built. My goal with the Decathlon is to develop an airplane flight script that embodies the same realism principles as my helicopters, being based fully on force and torque. I am envisioning a fully capable aerobatic plane that must be flown with the same attention to piloting as one would in an RL aerobatic plane. I am hoping to develop an airplane model where the stall calculations are performed on each wing separately, giving it the ability to enter and recover from realistic spins. I may even get back to my Decathlon project some day.
Your helicopters really contribute to the popularity of aviation in SL, that means a lot to me personally. Do you have any message to the aviation community in SL?
I would just like to the thank everyone for all the support they have given me through the past few years. When I started with my B2B, I never imagined my helicopters would be come as popular as they have. I would also like to thank my terrific staff who have stood by and supported me through the years. In particular I would like to thank Tsukino Usagi, JC Pax and Lanelle Saunders, all of whom have gone above and beyond to help make my helicopters possible.
A lot of other airplane builders are using your amazing grid-wide radar system, can you please explain to people a bit more about this radar system? What does it do? How does it work? Can we make a flight plan with it?
The web-side radar (http://shergoodaviation.com/radar.php) can be thought of as flight tracking for SL. It is basically implemented as an overlay that uses the same map system as the Linden Labs world map. I have a server side database that stores the airport, waypoint, and active aircraft data. A transponder script, either in a HUD or in the aircraft periodically reports its position to the server. These reports are then stored in the database used by the map system to show the live traffic information. My in-world GPS devices use a similar approach through media prim, though they use a different map url that is customized as the map display. Both the in-world gps and the web-side map allow you to create routes as a sequence of waypoints which can then be displayed on the gps screen.
What makes your helicopters different from the other helicopters for sale on the grid? Where do they stand out?
The most unique part of my helicopters is the scripting. Being both an RL helicopter pilot and computer scientist gives me a unique understanding of how helicopters should behave, and the skill set to implement that understanding in SL. While LSL provides a built-in vehicle engine, I knew early on that I would not be able to get the behavior I wanted with limitations of that engine. I also knew that I needed a way to model control position beyond simple on/off which is why I developed my unique HUD system with interactive control positions. I think the main difference between my helicopters and others in SL is that you actually have to fly them, and not just control them. Many of the aspects that an RL pilot considers such as planning ahead, understanding and working within the limitations of the aircraft, etc. are brought to life when flying one of my helicopters.
What other products does Shergood Aviation sell that people might find useful?
Integrated into my transponder system is an ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) system. This is a system for detecting when an aircraft has crashed, then sending an alert. Coupled with this are several products include the airport radar, an ELT alarm system, and an RDF (Radio Direction Finder) HUD that can be used for Search and Rescue role-play. The ELT alarm can be placed in headquarters to alert when an aircraft is transmitting an ELT signal, while the RDF is used to search for the downed aircraft. In addition to my search and rescue system are several fire-fighting add-ons to my helicopters including the KellBucket for the H92 and the HeliTank for the Aircrane. Both of these systems are compatible with the popular HD fire system. Finally, one free product that I have introduced fairly recently is the pilot logbook. This is a HUD that automatically detects the aircraft you are sitting in, calculates your flight time and records it on my server where you can see it on a pilot profile page.