Today we'll tell you about the development progress on two other Collector Planes. The first one of them is the C-47A Skytrain. C-47A was a military modification of the civil passenger aircraft DC-3 that had the reinforced floor and large door on the left side for cargo and different radio equipment. The cargo/passenger cabin windows had gun ports for small arms firing. The Skytrain name was used in the US, British called it Dakota, while in USSR it was known as Douglas. Li-2 planes (a licensed modification of DC-3 with Soviet ASh-62 engines, Soviet cockpit instruments and armament) were also called 'Douglas'.
The DC-3/C-47 family was the most popular transport aircraft of the war. The model we have in the sim can accommodate a general cargo, air-droppable cargo containers in the cabin, the same containers attached under the fuselage and paratroopers. Having the takeoff weight of up to 14 tons, the aircraft could carry up to 2,5 tons of cargo (more than 3 tons if overweight). The main disadvantage was its low speed, which adversely affected its usage in airborne operations. However, it was very easy to pilot and had good performance characteristics, which made it a real workhorse of the war. The long-awaited feature - make it player controllable - should be ready soon. Our engineers and artists from Yugra-Media are working to make it available to you as soon as possible.
The second plane we'd like to tell you about today is the late WWI fighter with rotative engine, the epitome of the British aircraft design school - Sopwith Snipe single seater. This aircraft is being developed from scratch since we did not make it for Rise of Flight previously. This very maneuverable, fast enough aircraft that was armed with two synchronized Vickers machine guns could confront the best German aircraft of that time. The new 9-cylinder 230 HP rotative engine Bentley BR2 had 100 HP more than the Clerget 9B engine installed on the very successful Sopwith Camel - a huge increase. The upper wing was shifted lower to give the pilot a better view forward and up. The work on the 3D model of this bird by Yugra-media artists is nearly finished and the work of our engineers is underway - we hope to release it for customers this year, which means really soon in fact.
Speaking of WWI we should mention that the Flying Circus Vol.II map had good progress. We should be able to start the beta-testing of this Spring 1918 map in the near future and it will be released soon after that. In Early Access the players will be able to use the new map in QMB and create single and multiplayer missions. After that we'll have to complete the work on the Flying Circus Career mode and update the map according to the customer feedback. We count on Yugra-media designers to use the new approaches that were adopted by our map designers during the work on the Normandy map to achieve the next level of the visual quality and fidelity compared to the old Rise of Flight map. And last but not the least - according to the player feedback we have revised the WWI airplanes damage from rifle caliber ammo - the evolution and the improvement of all the parts of IL-2 continues.