to save time use the battle pirates base designer, you play on an island, as an island commander, you attack enemy planes, ships and bases. you have planes, bombers and helicopters.
the aircraft are not regenerating. when it is shot down the planes gone, what remains is the pilot and the experience. if for example they are shot down you can send a rescue helicopter to get them, however it can be shot down also, so for example you try and rescue a pilot over an enemy base you may lose both pilots.
The base commander can have many options, 1 have a bounty on the pilots head, if not returned are executed. meaning there gone/dead for good. just execute the pilots, or trade them for your own, or for tech/ aircraft.
would have an ammunition factory, instead of battle pirates where you get weapons for good on a ship, on the planes there 1 time use, put on, launch and watch the fireworks. when empty return to base.
whats nice is like battle pirates many levels of planes exist for the game. have propellers, (low end junk) have jet engines, rocket planes, a million types of engines, weapons, computer systems.
basically you are a mercenary, when you see airliners flying by, you can intercept them and do the easy shoot them down, or the more complicated make them fly back to base, can loot them and let them go, ransom them, or steal the plane, or steal and scrap the plane. so for example if the super sonic cargo plane goes by and you have propeller fighters, guess who wont be catching a cargo plane today.
the bigger and more advanced the plane the longer the build. in short you don't want to die, each plane has a range and fuel amount, so cant go to far from home without a tanker plane.