Aeir Ships are a type of flying ship powered by Cavorite. They are from Ares and its home world. There is at least one Aeir ship on Alusia, the Princess Blade. All details of steering, etc relate to the specifications of the Princess Blade, which is a pleasure yacht, and thus prides itself on comfort over speed or manouverability. If a military-spec'ed vessel can be 'found', details will be updated. Of SAG members, Kit has the most experience captaining these vessels, while Loxi and WordSmith have appropriate training. Aryan and Motley have also had informal training and some practise.
Aeir Ships use Cavorite, a magical alloy that can neutralise reverse the natural attraction of small objects to large objects (gravity) in a narrow, focussed direction. The natural attraction of a ship to the earth can be neutralised, allowing the ship to hover; or it can be reversed, shooting the ship rapidly into the air, as if free-falling upwards. In addition, the much smaller natural attraction of the ship towards the sun can be used to impart a small horizontal acceleration. The attraction towards the Moon is perhaps 100 times smaller than to the sun, and is negligible, as is the attraction towards local masses such as mountain ranges.
Typically, a ship will have a pair of horizontal Cavorite sheets with articulated shields, which can be partially retracted to leave the ship weightless (though not inertialess), or fully retracted to provided vertical lift. In addition, the ship will usually have a pair of vertical Cavorite sheets at the stern, which are partially retracted when at rest, fully retracted to provide forward momentum, and fully closed to dampen momentum.
To become weightless, partially retract the horizontal shields. This will not cause the ship to leave the ground, or to slow markedly if it is currently moving.
When travelling very slowly, a gentle descent to a flat surface such as a plain, desert, or level water, will allow the ship to use the contact with the landing zone to slow to a stop. When travelling steadily, reduce speed using the vertical shields if the sun is in a useful position. When travelling rapidly, or when the sun cannot be used to brake, a Stalling manoeuvre is required, followed by a controlled descent.
The fastest method of travel is using the attraction or repulsion of the Sun to power the ship. The maximum speed is 50 mph when the sun is on the horizon. Horizontal acceleration is approx 1 TMR/minute, which is 40mphph. The ship must move directly towards (or away from) the sun, although judicious use of the sails will allow the ship to veer up to 5º (+ 1º / Rank) from the natural path. The power of the solar travel is reduced proportionately as the sun climbs into the sky. If the sun has set, or is directly overhead (i.e. noon in the tropics), no horizontal power is available.
Given the relative lack of steering or acceleration, and the potentially high speeds and absence of manoeuvring, this method is best for trips of at least one full day. Best used in local summer, and as far from the equator as possible, to maximise the sunlight hours. Flight paths will usually be sweeping and indirect, with Gliding or Magic used during midday, night, and for manoeuvring.
Also, the only practical way to travel between worlds, due to the potential for continual acceleration.
The most reliable method of travel is using the natural attraction of the earth to generate momentum, the airflow over the sails to create lift, and balance these two factors to form a controlled, powered glide. This will generate a speed of up to 10 (+ 1/2 Rank) mph, in any direction required. Acceleration is a steady 3 TMR/minute (120 mphph).
An altitude of at least 1,000 feet is recommended initially, and at all times. Natural wind may affect the speed of the vessel, helping or hindering its progress. Tail-winds speed the vessel up, but render it unstable, and difficult to steer or maintain a level heading, while head-winds increase lift but reduce speed.
Mage Wind will power the ship as if a ship on water, generating a speed of up to 5 (+ 1 / spell rank) knots. At Rank 20, this is 25 knots, or 28.6mph. Altitude is still controlled by the use of the shields.
As Mage Wind allows a ship to accelerate or decelerate relatively quickly, and delivers high speed in any direction, it is perhaps the most flexible and versatile option. However, solar-powered travel will still be faster at certain times of the day, and Gliding can be performed with someone other than the Air Mage at the helm.
An advanced variation of Gliding is to travel in a vertically sinusoidal path, swooping downwards to gain forward momentum, then providing some vertical life to return to the previous altitude. Acceleration can reach 10 TMR/minute (400 mphph), but involves 500 feet of vertical manoeuvring per TMR of acceleration. Average top speed is as per Gliding.
This provides greater acceleration than Gliding, but the same top speed, and requires a skilled hand, steady stomachs and plenty of altitude. Harnesses for unsteady passengers are recommended.
Stalling is a manoeuvre based on reversing the above principles. A ship moving forward at high speed can lift its nose, and climb steeply to loose speed. Just as the ship is about to stall, it levels out, and then may manoeuvre vertically, as most of its horizontal speed has been lost.
When in turbulence, or the hands of an inexperienced pilot, the ship may slip sideways and tumble, flip onto its back or even reverse and spin downwards, at the critical stalling point. Harnesses for all crew and passengers are recommended.
As combat requires manoeuvring, and as all vertical acceleration (except via magic) is measured in minutes or hours, combat flight resembles a series of free-falls (up and down), often at oblique angles to provide horizontal movement. Spins, tumbling, and other acrobatic manoeuvres may throw off enemy fliers.
Only crack pilots or desperate captains with good insurance should try these manoeuvres in combat, as a second’s distraction may be fatal. Most ships are designed to be weighty and steady, to avoid accidentally performing these manoeuvres. The ships have poor aerodynamics or handling if the ship is not essentially flat relative to the earth. Harnesses and wings are mandatory.
When travelling long distances without an Air Mage, it is critical to travel as efficiently as possible. At times solar-powered trael is better, while at other times Gliding is the more direct method. There are two easy ways to decide what method of flight to use. The first is the Sun Compass, expressly invented to resolve this problem, and it is best for resolving an immediate problem. The second is to use tables and charts to plot a course, which will allow you to predict your path and time of arrival. The calculations in these charts are designed for the Princess Blade - other Aeir vessels may have slightly different characteristics.
Inter Planette Travel
The Moon, Thunor, and other planettes are accessible via Aeir Ship powered by solar repulsion. Due to the long distance and absence of air to slow the vessels, astronomical speeds may be reached. After one day of solar repulsion, a speed of nearly 1000 mph is reached, while after a month, 25,000mph is possible. Departure and Landing are further aided by the use of repulsion from the Earth and the destination planette, which will give even better acceleration when close.
The trip from Ares to its home world or back takes just under 2 years, and requires a bound supply of air. This is equivalent to Thunor to Alusia one-way. Steering is possible between planettes due to the thick phlogiston and the Solar wind that can be used to steer the ship. On the plane of Alusia, some reports state that between worlds is a void, which would make breathing impossible.