So, I've seen a lot of threads go up with people requesting shuttle missions. I was talking with a fleet mate over the phone, and I came up with a great idea on how to implement this.
Make a few maps for this. Maybe 5 or 6. Have them randomly pop up in exploration missions. Now, these missions aren't missions in and of themselves. They are a mini-game.
You approach a planet, you need to beam down... uh oh, electrical storm! Transporter chief says transport is impossible, you'll have to take the shuttle.
You enter into a new map, simulating upper atmosphere, in your shuttle(basic Type 2 included with all ships, specialized models available on C-Store *wink wink*). Science officer says that the auto-piloting computer is unable to land the shuttle in such conditions, but will calculate a safe path for you to fly through. Now.. this is where the fun starts!
You have to navigate rings. These are areas of the storm(or whatever turbulance you want us to avoid) that are calm enough to navigate through.. very similar to the Devidian mission where you have to do the slingshot around the star.
If you miss a ring, your shuttle hits turbulance, and takes damage. Too much damage, you crash.
From here, you could do a few things, up to you, Devs. We could just outright fail the mission, and have to start over.
If you are so inclined, we can instead crash land on the planet. This would cause us to randomly lose an away team officer to injuries that would handicap us for the duration of the away team mission, until such time as we can get back to the ship. Could also make use have to complete a sub mission of collecting repair components. Now, this is all just fluff that I think would be cool, but not necessary to the whole idea. I'd be happy just to fail the mission if we get too damaged.
I think this would add a new element to the game that would be really friggin awesome. It'd also give us a reason to purchase a runabout, or that shiny new Delta Flyer.
you are stuck on the planet. you can complete your mission while you wait for a shuttle landing party to rescue you. all you have to do is reach the designated landing zone to trigger the rescue shuttle's arrival.
there may be a situation where you have to recover parts of the crashed shuttles technology so it doesnt fall into the wrong hands, or to find a way out of a situation.