EGTB, A Small UK Paradise in the South
Have you ever heard of Wycombe Air Park (EGTB), also known as Booker Airfield? I’ve never heard of it but it is an operational general aviation aerodrome located in Booker,Buckinghamshire, 2.4nautical miles (4.4km; 2.8mi) south-west of High Wycombe, England.
It’s not an airport, but an airfield or aerodrome although it has one paved runway. Anyway, the airfield celebrated its 50th year of opening on 25 April 2015. It originally opened in 1941 as RAF Booker and was primarily involved in training during World War II, remaining a military establishment until 1965.
Wycombe Air Park (Booker Airport) has CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P523) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Airways Aero Associations Limited). It has over 90,000 movements per annum, many of which are training circuits over the local area. The films Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, along with Aces High were filmed here. Perhaps I should have a look to these movies. Perhaps then I recognize the modeled airport from Pilot Plus.
I welcome you in behalf of Pilot Plus to Wycombe Air Park Definitive (EGTB).
Before moving on to Booker airfield, some words about where to get it and how to install it. Logically, you can grab your copy from Pilot Plus, the developer of this airfield. Since Pilot Plus tied up with Orbx, you can also buy it directly from Orbx. In the case you buy it via Orbx, you use the Orbx Central application in combination with your account. When you bought it via Pilot Plus, you either install the full package in your Custom Scenery folder or you save it on another drive, make a shortcut or alias of it, and copy/paste the shortcut/alias in the Custom Scenery folder. When you buy it via Orbx, then during the installation process the installer ask you if you want to install it into the X-Plane Custom Scenery folder or that you use a remote Orbx library.
The package comes, as was also applicable with our other Pilot Plus review, with no manual or other instructions or airfield background information. In particular with EGTB you can set the sliders most likely high since the airfield isn’t complex in a way that it has no terminals and it has no complex taxiways system. But still, you’ll see that later in the review, it’s an airfield that’s modeled with absolute great precision.
Perhaps you can remember this from our other reviews .. is it worth to show you what you’re missing when you don’t own Pilot Plus EGTB? Absolutely nothing extra to show you the difference between the default X-Plane EGTB and the one modeled by Pilot Plus. Perhaps there’s a default EGTB, but I’m not even sure about that. And again, no need to show you how the default EGTB looks like. Let’s concentrate on the Pilot Plus/Orbx EGTB, right?
What else is important to mention … oh yes, adding Orbx TrueEarth Britain South, right? The modeled airfield doesn’t only come with the airfield itself. There’s a lot more outside the airfield included. “Included” means ortho textures, objects, trees and so on. And yes, in case you think or would like to say that; you can see the X-Plane default border, not a straight line but nicely blended with the default ground textures. And as with so many other well modeled airfields/airports, we all would like to have/to see awesome realistic ortho ground textures around the modeled airfields/airports.
We know this will never happen. The default X-Plane ground textures are as they are. You can if you prefer download ortho textures from England via e.g. Zones Photo, but a much better option is, I know, it’s payware, is from Orbx TrueEarth Britain South. Normally I would say .. ok, perhaps this is a nice option, but after reviewing TrueEarth Britain North I was really impressed and that’s now the same with this review although I only flew around EGTB. It finishes the airfield, it gives the modeled airfield the additional spirit!
Enough .. time to check out Pilot Plus Wycombe Air Park (EGTB).
Inspecting Wycombe Air Park
The first impressions of this modeled airfield are something like .. wow, awesome, gorgeous, tiny details, nothing forgotten, look it there, look it here, look it everywhere!
That first impression says enough, right, but the problem is … where to begin. Ok, let me drive via the entrance to the car park area and from there, we’ll see. Ready to join me?
It’s a bit overwhelming when arriving at Wycombe Air Park. Lots of trees to give it the atmosphere. With the atmosphere I mean a cosy environment. The trees look realistic as far as possible with X-Plane trees. The road ground textures are sharp and good looking which is also applicable for all road curbs. But it is not only that. It’s the way how all the textures, as well as those from the buildings, come together and not to forget how all is placed to give it a realistic look which is very good.
Cars are parked literally everywhere, even on the grass. Is it a mistake to park a car on the grass or is it done on purpose? Normally I would say … it’s a programming fault in WED (World Editor), but I didn’t even ask Pilot Plus about this car location since I feel that it’s done on purpose. Just to give it that realistic feeling as it can be in real too when it’s busy at the airfield and too many vistors and pilots arrive with their cars.
Near the large carpark it’s not difficult to spot many objects and when I write objects, it can be everything. Perhaps a bit too much but on the other hand, it’s something I can imagine at such small airfields. The airfield entrance is a mix of well modeled buildings, some related to shops, a restaurant and of course all modeled with eye for details, in particular applicable to the control tower building. When I write this down, then it’s not only that building, but also the belonging wooden fences, the 3D grass, the ortho textures, picnic places, and more of that. The modeled airfield reflects as it is on real photos too, a bit old, a big dirty, a bit old fashioned, but more important, the look and feel is in my humble opinion perfectly simulated.
By the way, before I turn right towards the car park and control tower, I spot on the left-hand side behind a fence an unbelievable well modeled mess of everything. Old rusty containers – beautiful – with old trucks of which I’m not sure if they still drive. Further on, there’s a kind of storage building, and to complete this area, the ground textures are I think real photos and else, a nice job is done by the painter to create/paint realistic ground textures. Whatever it is, it gives this area an awesome look and feel, at least, that’s how I find it.
I’ve parked my car at the large carpark and walk a bit around. No fences or other security that prevents me to enter the air park. That’s good since I’m still impressed by what I see. Besides the good looking ground textures for the apron, the taxiways, the only paved runway and the area around most hangars, you’ll find lots of hangars, relatively new but very dirty, a bit older and very old hangars. In all cases they look weathered, dirty and to complete this look, other objects around it completes the right look and feel.
Those other objects are pallets, concrete or plastic road barriers, cars, barrels, containers and much more. Nothing looks new at the modeled Wycombe Air Park which is in my humble opinion great news. It’s surprising how much time and effort is put into the modeling of this airport. It’s good to see that textures for all those objects make or break an airport/airfield scenery. In this particular case it makes Wycombe Air Park as it is in real.
While walking over the grass in a southwest direction I see even more old and dirty containers, but that’s not what I’m interested in. I’m interested in the static gliders. I won’t say it’s full with gliders down here, but I count at least 6 very well modeled gliders. None of the owners seems to want to fly today with their glider since they all first need to be cleaned and besides that, the canopy is protected with a blanket.
Whatever, this is gorgeous to see. When looking from this position towards the control tower I didn’t expect it was such a distance. Via the gliders location I walk via the runway, starting at 06, back to the beginning 24, and then via the tiny but good looking taxiway to the apron. And almost forgotten, while walking over the grass to 06, I cross the grass runway 35/17 and on my far left, I spot a couple of more gliders.
While walking along the runway to the other end, you could say that there’s not so much to see, but that’s not true. The ground ortho textures are good, and to complete it you’ll see a lot of grass. The ground textures are not completely covered with grass since that’s a bit too much and perhaps too much grass will also reduce the frame rates.
I see at the beginning of 24 also PAPI lighting, so good news for the landing. By the way, I think I missed it but there’s also PAPI at runway 06. and parallel to the paved runway is a grass strip which can be seen by an area where there’s no grass. And before I forget it, there’s even another grass strip with on one side clearly written or painted in the grass 35. This means there should be somewhere 17 on the other side which crosses by the way the paved runway. Anyway, the 17 is hardly visible in the simulated airport which is correct when looking to Google Maps. Their the 17 is also hardly visible. Checked!
Suppose you start having your doubts about the overall quality for example of the runway, taxiway textures and lining, I can say this; it’s as real as it is! I checked it just to be sure with real photo images and it is as real as it gets.
Via the taxiway I’m back at the apron. It’s not really busy today, but that gives me the possibility to check the ground textures and I can tell you, they look great. A bit old, a bit weathered, no, a lot of added weathering. Near the concrete apron are also some remote concrete parking places, just in case it’s too busy. Awesome!
What’s all outside?
The modeled Pilot Plus Wycombe Air Park scenery doesn’t stop with the previous section. Outside, also known as the public area, there’s a lot modeled too and before I continue, check out the following screenshots.
The upper screenshot represents the modeled Pilot Plus EGTB and clearly the blending with the surrounding default X-Plane scenery can be seen, but I hope you understand that it’s even better when you’ve bought/installed Orbx TrueEarth Britain South. And that’s what you see on the second screenshot. Added to this; I had this experience already with TrueEarth Britain North and US Florida HD, I’ve selected transparent roads instead of seeing the default X-Plane roads.
I know it’s with all other developers the same that even though they try to blend as far as possible, their ground textures of a modeled airport with the default X-Plane ground textures. Whatever they do, the blending doesn’t look nice because the default ground textures aren’t reflecting the reality. That said, I hope you understand that when you decide to buy Pilot Plus/Orbx EGTB, that you also need more or less to buy TreuEarth Britain South. Ok ok, you don’t need to, but you’ve seen how beautiful is becomes and, logically, Britain South is not just only for EGTB, but much more flying fun pleasure is guaranteed.
Anyway, in the vicinity of the air park itself, you’ll find lots of different trees which can be by the way, change from seasons thus from colour. And for this there’s no special control window or whatsoever needed. Just change the month of the year and on-the-fly your season and trees colours whenever applicable have changed. Don’t believe me? Then check out the following 3 screenshots, representing November, April and last but not least, July.
Back to my outside walk-around trip.
What just said, nearby the air park itself you’ll find lots of objects like typical British houses or building related to factories or shopping centers and they are all nicely surrounded by ortho ground textures and trees, many many trees. Too many trees? No, that’s not the case. I double checked it with Google or Bing Maps and that tells me that this is correct. Except a bit for all the houses or communities, the bigger they are or when it comes to more industrial related objects, the more other objects like cars, barriers, containers and so on you see. You’ll never see an area that is empty besides the building. At then end, it looks as real as I had hoped for and that’s well done by Pilot Plus.
A bit further away from the air park along the M40 there’s also a lot to see. Pilot Plus added for example a commercial business complex that houses Johnson and Johnson, LifeScan and a bit further you’ll find completely modeled a shopping mall with John Lewis, CHANEL, and other shops. The area in-between Cressex Road and the A4010 is also modeled. Not in full 100 percent, but since you find here also ortho ground textures some houses and objects are added too.
Finally, south of Wycombe Air Park Pilot Plus didn’t forget to model the houses along Claymoor Park, Notcutts Booker and Maidenhead Aquatics Booker. And although it seems normal, it’s not always normal with other airport developers.
I’m impressed as we say. All together it may be a small airport, oops, airfield, it still offers a lot of high-quality textures, lots of objects and not only objects at the air park, but also far beyond the air park border as far as we can speak of an actual border. It’s a typical GA (General Aviation) airfield which can be perfectly combined with other Orbx airfields like EG20 Clench Common Field, EGHA Compton Abbas Airfield, EGHP Popham Airfield, EGHR Chichester/Goodwood Airport, EGML Damyns Hall Aerodrome and so on. Check it out at the Orbx website section England.
Did I cover everything?
Perhaps I’ve forgotten something, perhaps I haven’t looked in every corner, but I think I’ve seen and discussed enough for you to make it easier to decide to buy it and don’t forget what I say/wrote before, you should buy – actually, you must buy – also Orbx TrueEarth Britain South with it. It makes a hell of difference the moment you fly out of EGTB and in case you’re got one of the other Orbx southern Britain airports/airfield, the flight to EGTB will be fun.
Although I haven’t reviewed TrueEarth Britain South – I did review TrueEarth Britain North and I’m busy with reviewing TrueEarth US Florida HD – I know the power and spirit of these ortho package. They are in one word awesome! I don’t use this words often, but I must say it is the reality. For all the screenshots I made I’ve included Orbx TrueEarth Britain South. Although the air park works perfectly without the TrueEarth scenery, I think I’ve made more then clear in the review that adding this ortho package to EGTB is wroth every penny. I explored the Pilot Plus EGTB scenery and must say I really enjoyed it. Perhaps also because the airfield/air park isn’t huge so it’s easy to oversee the modeled scenery.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Payware Pilot Plus Wycombe Air Park (EGTB)|
|Publisher | Developer:||Pilot Plus | Orbx|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of Wycombe Air Park (EGTB)|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 1.85GB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||March 4th 2020|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Bootcamp Windows 10)
- 1 external 2TB LaCie Rugged Pro SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
- Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls
- Honeycomb Bravo Throttle Quadrant
|Software specifications:||- macOS Big Sur (10.15.x)
- X-Plane 11.5x