The equator of Chri-Irah, baked to lethally high temperatures by its sun, has long presented a barrier to trade and communication between Northern and Southern Birrin cultures. Prior to the first Birrin civilisations’ destruction, the region could be easily traversed: Centuries later, a legacy of industrially derived carbon dioxide and other substances has cut off the emergent societies that survived the Collapse. It wasn’t until the rediscovery of the internal combustion engine that the first refrigerated ships crossed the equatorial ocean to re-establish contact. Wheeled vehicles, now with useful speed, were able to explore the Kiln at night, darting between safe houses dug deep into the cool desert bedrock.
However it took the re-discovery of powered flight to finally traverse the Kiln. Able to fly high enough to avoid the searing heat, early pressurised aircraft began hazardous day crossings to re-map the expanse. With little chance of rescue, the aircrews had to accept significant risk while also making their aircraft far more reliable. Indeed, it is largely due to the engineering necessities faced by these pioneers that later Birrin aircraft were so reliable.
Pictured here is one of the first dedicated Kiln runners, able to fly non-stop between airfields in the North and South to deliver people and cargo in a regular fashion. The three fuselages enabled heavy loads to be carried, the outer two being unpressurised and only suitable for cargo.
The two flight engines, mounted on the front of the cargo fuselages, are powerful in-line units each driving a contra-rotating propeller. Due to the lethal nature of the Kiln and to aid lifting off from short desert runways a supplementary engine is mounted on the rear passenger cabin: This engine, with its single folding airscrew, is used to assist takeoff and, perhaps more importantly, to supplement the main engines should one of them break down during flight.
Below this aircraft the desert is baking at an average temperature of eighty degrees Celsius, yet evidence that this was not always so abounds: A faint tracery of ancient roadways and industrial ruins dots the landscape and awaits re-discovery by future generations of Birrin.