From: Marseilles, France
Well, I'm in favor of having the Carrier Planes mandatory in MWiF, for at least two reasons.
First, because the WiF FE rule as written dictates that this is like that.
RAW quote :
14.4.1 Carrier plane units (CVPiF & SiF option 56)
If you are playing with Carrier Planes in Flames or Ships in Flames, a CV’s carrier plane is represented as a separate unit.
In MWiF, Ships in Flames is mandatory (this may be dabatable, but the MWiF programming has gone too far now to go back, it would add too much time to make SiF optional -- Maybe we can ask this for MWiF product 2, but for now I think it's better to keep it as it is).
So MWiF is playing with Ships in Flames.
So, Carrier Planes are represented by a separate unit, the Carrier Plane unit.
Second, because playing with SiF carriers but without Carrier Planes will unbalance the game too much in the favor of Carriers.
I mean, playing with CVP, the CV cost you about 2+3 BP, plus the carrier plane (1 BP) plus the pilot, that is about 8 BP for each CV. It can cost you 3 BP more if you stack a second CVP on the same CV.
Playing without CVP, the CV only cost 4-5 BP, and have stable power, their class, either as a FTR or as a bomber, at will. A Class 5 US Carrier, is a 5 strength FTR, or a 5 strength bomber at will, all the time.
To play without CVP, we would need to play without SiF. For comparison, in the WiF FE cardboard game the average British CV costs 4 BP (+3 BP for the carrier plane) using SiF, and it costs 7 BP not using SiF. The average Essex class CV costs 5 BP (+3 BP for the CVP) using SiF, and costs 8 BP not using SiF.
So, for a cheaper price, you've got flexibility, and stable power. The price is so cheap, that you could easily afford twice the number of CVs.
In my opinion, this can't be.
The only way it could exist would be to add a house rule that, if not playing with CVP, all CVs cost 1 more BP first cycle, and 2 more BP second cycle.
About the "problem" that Carrier Planes don't fit carriers, I know this can be seen by some as a problem, but for me this is the same as picking up a Defiant FTR in 1941 (they are from 1939 so you can't scrap them before 1942) when you'd have wished for a Spitfire V. I see this as the effects of bureaucracy and its weaknesses in assessing its real needs, plus some level of corruption, or who they are friendly with. I mean, well, the Minister in charge of buying FTRs knows the Managing director of the Boulton & Paul factory, and buys a Fighter Wing of Defiants instead of Spitfires. Well, this is the same for me with non fitting Carrier Planes. WiF is full of that, and as SamuraiProgrammer, I'm not bothered at all with that.
This said, the decision of making the Carrier Planes optional or Mandatory can't be conditionned by this one, as IMHO it has severe repercussions in the play balance of the game.