Hey there, amateur virtual pilots:
Are you wondering whether or not it's worth getting this invested in a plane construction sim in the fist place? Check out our SimplePlanes review
Building planes in real life is complicated, so it only makes sense that constructing your own flying machines in SimplePlanes is complicated, too. The game does a lot to explain its depth to would-be engineers, but it can still get a little overwhelming. So are here are some simple tips for building better simple planes.
Easily the most daunting aspect of creating your first airplane is just figuring out all the vocabulary words. So here’s a little cheat sheet to help you keep them all straight.
Fuselage: the body of the airplane.
Airfoil: the wing’s shape. Comes in flat bottom, symmetric, and semi-symmetric varieties to alter the plane’s lift once it's level in the sky.
Aileron: the control surface attached to each wing to roll the plane.
Lift: the physical force the raises the plane, caused by the air rushing past it.
Drag: the opposite of lift, air resistance that slows the plane down.
Horizontal Stabilizer: tail attachments that help level the plane.
Vertical Stabilizer: tail attachments that keep the plane flying straight.
Elevator: tail attachments that point the plane’s nose up and down.
Rudder: tail attachments that point the plane left and right.
CoL: Center of Lift, where lift forces converge and combine on the plane.
CoM: Center of Mass, the point where the plane would balance evenly on a scale.
CoT: Center of Thrust, central point where engine thrust combines.
VTOL: Vertical take-off and landing, a complex plane capable of taking off without a runway, angles controlled with a VTOL slider, balanced mass is crucial.
Inlet: Funnels vital air flow to the jet engines.
Throttle: controls flow of fuel to the engine.
Yaw: the plane’s left and right movement and direction.
Pitch: the plane’s up and down movement and direction.
Roll: the plane’s rotational movement and direction.
Instrument Panel: shows airspeed, fuel levels, altitude, and attitude indicator to the pilot.
Attitude Indicator: shows how level the plane is.
That’s a lot to take in, but you’ll absorb it as you spend more time tinkering on planes of your own. Exploring the sandbox is the best way to improve, but here are some more construction tips just for good measure.
Obviously the plane’s weight is going to have a big impact on the way it flies. Removing excess baggage is usually the best way to go, but if you can’t, giving your plane more power is a good way to compensate. It’s all about balance.
The plane needs fuel if it’s going to fly, and you’ll have to figure out where to store it. Keeping some in the wings is an effective way to maximize supply while spreading out weight.
Considering there are whole schools of thought dedicated studying the physics of aerodynamics, crafting the right wing shape is pretty important. The best advice here is to just keep experimenting, reduce friction where you can, and test your plane often.
The mirror tool lets you duplicate anything on one side of your plane onto the other side for perfect symmetry. It’s a huge time-saver, so use it.
Trial by Fire
The best way to learn all of this theory is to actually apply it up in the sky. Take advantage of the game’s single player missions to master all kinds of more advanced techniques.
Figure out how to make a plane as light as possible in order to take off quickly on a short runway without crashing.
Keep your wheels on the ground and make a plane that’s a glorified racecar.
Build the most maneuverable plane possible to evade missiles and launch trench assaults. Try shifting the center of mass, but be aware this sacrifices stability.
Come up with the best plane you can think of to win the island races.
Practice using the throttle and flight stick in concert for smooth landings.
And if you just want to make a broken pile of garbage for your own amusement, and paint it with some pretty colors - nothing is stopping you.