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Monday, March 26, 2012

Meet The Flying Tigers! Lukes Lionheart Reporting...

The Tiger in Flight

  Just when you think nothing on sl can surprise you anymore, you find yourself in the middle of a WWII aviation reenactment as a side gunner on a Japanese bomber with a white wolf wearing angle wings as your pilot. No kidding, but I digress. What started out four years ago as a small group of nomadic aviator friends flying around the grid for fun has evolved into a multi sim operation, the largest aviation group in sl with over 2400 members and a bunch of downright fun folks to hang out with.   Meet “The Flying Tigers”.

The Flying Tiger

   Now, I vaguely remember learning about the historical Flying Tigers when I was in school, but I bet it's not something commonly taught any more, and that's a shame. The Flying Tigers, officially the 1st American Volunteer Group, was a clandestine operation approved by President Franklin D Roosevelt in 1941. The group was composed of pilots from the United States Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. and consisted of three fighter squadrons with around twenty aircraft in each. Training in Burma before the American entry into World War II, their mission was to defend China from Japanese forces. They demonstrated innovative tactics and achieved notable success during the war providing hope and inspiration to the world that the allied forces would prevail in the face of evil. The Tigers were credited with destroying nearly three hundred enemy aircraft while loosing only fourteen pilots on combat missions. Their shark-faced fighters remain among the most recognizable of any combat aircraft of WWII.

C.O. Major General Guarocuya Giano

 It was this spirit of camaraderie, dedication, sacrifice, and the belief that good will always triumph over evil that inspired group and sim owner, C.O. Major General Guarocuya Giano, to develop the SL Flying Tigers and their WWII role play sims. I think their mission statement says it best; “The WW2 combat sims at AERONAUTICA exist for the purpose of honoring WW2 veterans, regardless of their origin and to foster camaraderie and mutual respect for all friendly combatants in SL. We are here to have fun in combat role play and to socialize and promote fellowship after the smoke clears. Although we participate in allied vs. axis combat, we strongly reject any Nazi ideologies, racism, religious intolerance or sexual discrimination of any sort.”

WWII Memorial in SL

    And honoring the veterans they do, with a true to scale replica of the RL WWII memorial in Washington D.C. I found my visit there to be a very moving experience. But don't think that this is a group just for veterans. As their mission statement suggests, this is an all inclusive group. Membership includes people form all over the world. No matter your nationality, age, race, sex, religion, military or veteran status or your avatar preference, if you attend and graduate from their flight academy, earn your wings, wear the uniform, and adhere to their code of conduct, you are a welcome part of this community. Actually, you don't even have to do all that. This is a great group and if you want to come hang out and socialize at “Amelia's Pilot Lounge”, which is regularly packed, as long as you are respectful of others, all are welcome.

    You read that right, they have a flight academy, which I think is so cool I actually joined. Now, I don't know about you, but every time I've tired, my flights last about ten seconds and I end up in the drink with a plane returned to my inventory a few minutes later. At their academy they teach how to fly correctly on SL. Not only that, but they teach military protocols and advanced flying techniques. These guys are so good that some graduates have joined the elite “Golden Tigers”, a remarkable precision flying team.

   While preserving the past, the Tigers are also forward looking. Squadrons range from the traditional WWII era all the way to space fighters. C.O Major General Giano, himself, is on the cutting edge of SL flight technology. Not only does he build some of the most detailed, realistic looking and handling aircraft on SL but he has also been instrumental in developing a classification system for SL aircraft. This system allows designers and builders to rate their creations based on a number of different criteria. The goal of this is to, first, allow the public to know exactly what they are getting when they purchase an aircraft, and, second, much like any RL motor sport, to make competitions more competitive and fair. I mean after all, if you're in a competition featuring WWII planes and someone is flying a plane that actually has the performance of a modern fighter jet, how is that a true test of ones piloting skills?
Combat Manager,, Jessil Warhol

    This is a very active bunch too. Their event calendar is so full I can't even begin to describe them all, I'm limited to a thousand words here. Suffice it to say you can find something happening here almost every day. Be sure to take a look at their website and blogs for all the details. One event that I must mention though, is their “March Military Expo”. The brain child of Entertainment and Non Combat Events Manager, Jessil Warhol, this huge event runs from March 25th through the 30th. This amazing expo will have a wide variety of events and demonstrations every day ranging from, as one would expect, aviation and reenactments to arts and entertainment. Metaverse Television will even be broadcasting portions of the expo live on Tuesday the 27th. There will also be a plethora of vendors, military and non military alike. Make sure to visit their blog for all the details of this “can't miss” event.
Whitewolf Mumfuzz

    Lastly, I have to thank my pilot, Whitewolf Mumfuzz, for not getting me killed, even though we were shot down three times. Thanks Wulfie. This was by far the most fun I have ever had in SL. I want to encourage everyone, aviator or not, to come learn about the Flying Tigers, hang out at the club, and have yourself a great time. You won't be disappointed.


Guarocuya Giano: CO Major General
Jessil Warhol (Jessil 2009. warhol) Entertainment and Non Combats Events Manager


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