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Whirligig: the generation, jury rigging, and joys of the gyrocopter

Brian Karasek
Brian Karasek|February 21, 2008 2:00 PM

...And associated technology



Since the very dawn of sentience, since the first daring Gnome looked skyward and said "Hey what's up there," since the first drink addled Goblin fell back near-insensate and said that those birds weren't so great, anyone could fly if they had a mind to, before falling into a Dark Iron Ale-induced coma, it has been our dream.

Since the first parachute cloak failed to deploy (Engineer 2nd Class Amplebottom regrets packing her bloomers in that pack, and points out respectfully that the quantity of cloth involved did slow Engineer 1st Class Plummetorque's descent somewhat), we have held out hope.

Since the first Engineer took flight in Outland, we have dreamed, demanded, planned, protested, and raised our voices (amplified or otherwise) as one, crying out to the great Engineers, the Blue Gears of the World, for succor. Let us, we have cried out, slip off at last the line and mooring, the chain and the anchor. Let us, we called from Shattrath and Stormspire alike, cast off into the air, in machines we have made ourselves, and trusting only our craft and our skill, reach out to touch the skies themselves!


Many of us, however, died in the process. Turns out our craft and our skill are not always the most trustworthy of companions, much less copilots, much less sole source of support between our posteriors and the unforgiving, unresilient ground below. However, after much research on both flight and gravitational acceleration, Engineers have at their disposal two crafts for aerial flight. Herein we discuss the components required for each model of the Engineers' Flying Machines, and possible advantages therefrom derived.

Makes and Models: Believe it or Not, I'm Walking on Air

Two models of Flying machine exist, the Flying Machine and the Turbo-charged Flying Machine. Each model is similar in form and function, with a few obvious cosmetic additions in the Turbo version as well as the speed increase. Each machine is stored in the inventory as a Control, similar to the reins of other, less interesting mounts. The flying machines function as any mundane layperson's flying mount. Through the miraculous nature of Gnomish (and perhaps, to a lesser extent, Goblin) technology, the flying machines also respond to spurs, carrots, or riding crops, as well as enchanted boots and gloves.

In operation, both flying machines appear dramatically different from most flying mounts. The port and starboard thrust nacelles rotate in relation to the craft's motion, pivoting into a VTOL position when landed. Jet blast from the nacelles can be clearly seen on the ground when hovering low. When landed, the main rotor is stowed in the chassis, ready to deploy, umbrella-like, at a moment's notice. Even careful pilots will note that the engine will sometimes stall out, but very few fatalities have been reported. Several field operatives have not reported back in weeks since their first flight, but it is certain they will return with good news any time. In any case, it is advisable that pilots of the Flying Machines keep a Parachute Cloak or other means of downward conveyance handy. The machines themselves will not ditch a pilot, but even so: safety first. Keep your head on a swivel, and thereby keep it also on your neck.

The schematics for both models of Flying Machine are learned from trainers in Shadowmoon Valley. Horde Engineers will need to speak with Jonathan Garrett in Shadowmoon Village, while Alliance Engineers should speak with Niobe Whizzlespark in Wildhammer Stronghold.

The basic model of Flying Machine requires Engineering 350 to learn and operate. It also requires Expert riding skill or better. The speed increase of the basic model flying machine is the same as any Expert level flying mount. The basic model requires two Adamantite Frames, thirty Fel Iron Bars, eight Handfuls of Fel Iron Bolts, eight Star Wood (obtainable from Enchanting suppliers), five Adamantite Bars, and four Elemental Seaforium Charges. These charges are learned by Consortium Engineers of 350 rating or higher who are also Revered by the Consortium. If you're looking to make a Flying Machine and are not yet Revered with the Consortium, an Engineer who is can make the charges for you. This device is not bound to its creator, so can be sold to another Engineer with the requisite skills in flight and Engineering.

The Turbo-charged Flying Machine is a substantial upgrade from the basic model. It requires Engineering 375 to learn and operate, in addition to the required training in Artisan flight. The speed increase is the same as any Epic flying mount purchasable from normal vendors. The Turbocopter requires a Flying Machine Control, as it is an upgrade to the original machine. In addition, it requires eight each Khorium Power Cores, and Felsteel Stabilizers, and a Hula Girl Doll for the dash. The Hula Girl Doll can be purchased (and not cheaply) from Griftah in Shattrath City. It should be noted that this is perhaps the only thing Griftah sells with an actual application. Don't bother shopping around with him, unless you suffer from Tikbalang attacks. As with the slower model, the Turbo version is bound on use rather than acquisition, so it, too, can be sold to another Engineer.

Model Making: Mr. Lifelike Toad's Wild Ride
For those who are either not yet Engineers or have not yet learned the mastery required for flight, the basic principles of the machine are simplified and demonstrated in a clever contraption, the Paper Flying Machine. These little devices are created, not by an Engineer, but rather by the creatively named Paper Flying Machine Kit. This kit can only be obtained from Landro Longshot, a goblin of <The Black Flame> in Booty Bay. One must first obtain a "Paper Airplane" card from the Trading Card Game set "March of the Legion." This card can be redeemed for a code to give Landro in order to receive the Paper Flying Machine Kit. Two models of this kit are reported to exist. One creates a paper flying machine similar in form to the Engineering mount, while the other, never seen by Hoof and Horn, is said to create a paper zeppelin.

The paper flying machines can be thrown to a friendly target, in the same fashion as the leatherworkers' Leather Ball. The paper does not hold up for long, but the machine will fly perfectly well right up until it crumples and disappears. Despite the apparently appropriate size, you cannot place a companion pet inside the paper flying machine. Engineer Third Class Squirrelbreaker remains inconsolable.

This device, while not technically an Engineering item, demonstrates many of the principles of flight, and can also provide some fun and entertainment. Any Engineer will agree, the ability to make people laugh can often make them forget that you just turned yourself into a chicken instead of your target.

The X-51 Rocket: Zero Hour, Nine AM
Not yet released, the X-51 Rocket mount will also be obtainable from Landro Longshot, using another card from the Trading Card Game set "Servants of the Betrayer," released in April of 2008. We have limited information on the X-51, despite numerous quite eloquent letters written to the staff of <The Black Flame. requesting a prerelease copy for review. Unfortunately, bribery, even using Delicious Chocolate Cake, has proven fruitless in this regard.

The Black Flame does tell us, though, that the rocket will come in two versions: an epic and non epic. Each will require the appropriate level of flying skill to operate. A player can redeem the card code, allowing them to then purchase an X-51 model. The mount itself is not free. A player who has purchased the X-51 at the non epic speed can return with the same code and purchase the epic version.

Back in the Shop: Chocks and Chains
Engineering, in yet another field, has stepped ahead of other professions and the laypeople of the worlds with the Flying Machine. No other profession can craft such a wonder, much less offer it for sale to others. With the creation of your own Flying Machine, either normal or turbo variety, you mark yourself to the world (and the skies) as an Engineer: a practitioner of the greatest art, the grandest science. Just try not to kill yourself up there. This concludes the lecture on Flying Machines and related technology.