War Wings - Is it Pay to Win?

I recently discovered the War Wings app by sheer accident - I went looking for the Plague Inc, one of my favorite strategies on Android I ever tried out and wondered who is its publisher. There, under the Miniclip page, I found this game as well and I decided to try it out.

Now, after a few days of playing, I can say that it’s really a ton of fun for a casual player like myself. I did play some arcade aerial combat games, even tried out some simulation (IL-2 Sturmovik, for example) but I’m far from good or knowledgeable about them. However, War Wings applied to me immediately based on its accessible gameplay mechanics and super-fun aerial battles.

Yet, is War Wings a pay to win type of game? It features a very complex meta game behind the action, covering research, many plane types, their equipment, special in-battle features and much more. Most of this can be bought by in-game currency, but I did notice that some planes in the game have a really unlikely advantage in terms of fuselage or firepower. Also, I noticed that people complain that outside of Premium mode, their research becomes very slow and this chokes up the game progression.

Because of this, here's the final verdict: it does look like War Wings have at least a bit of pay-to-win element to both its main gameplay mechanic and the meta game of airplane setup.