Real Scenery Airfields – White Waltham (FSX)
Published by Just Flight
Reviewed by Rob Scott
Real Scenery Airfields – White Waltham
(EGLM) is the latest offering in Just Flights Real Scenery Airfields series. The airfield is located just west of Heathrow airport and has been a well known GA airfield for many years. The airfield and surrounding area has been built up using photographic scenery, so you can be sure that you are getting absolute realism in and around the airfield.
The package has been recreated in exacting detail by the in-house development team at Just Flight, and they have left nothing out with each and every building from the real airport included in this add-on. For those of you who have been to the ‘real’ White Waltham, these buildings will make the airfield instantly recognisable. Just like the other airfield in this series, Denham, Just Flight have included the feature of snow on the ground during December and January, which adds a whole different atmosphere to the airfield. The aim of this series is to bring ‘highly realistic and atmospheric airfields and airports’ to FSX, and the addition of this snow on the ground feature helps immensely. Other objects included around the airport are: fuel pumps, storage tanks, picnic benches, helicopter landing dollies and cars to name just a few.
The add-on comes as a 110mb download direct from the Just Flight website and only takes up 70mb on your hard-drive. The purchase price is a very cheap £3.99/€5.95/$7.99, which is a fantastic offer. I managed to ‘purchase’ White Waltham using the reward points which I have built up over the past year, so in effect I got this add-on as a freebie. Installation is nice and easy, as with all Just Flight products; run the installer and verify your copy and you are done.
The scenery has been optimised for FSX and includes a high resolution 10 metre terrain mesh of the surrounding area. The airfield comes with animated people, aircraft and vehicles along with a flock of birds circling the area. The animated objects really do help to bring the airport to life and create a nice atmosphere. The airfield is a very laid back affair compared to Heathrow just up the road! I like the fact that Just Flight have considered users who may not have a high end system by including a tool to allow you to turn on or off several features, such as the animated people and the static AI. White Waltham and the surrounding area blends seamlessly into the default FSX scenery or the Just Flight VFR scenery, and the scenery boundary of the airport is extended beyond the airfield so that you are getting a little taste of what it could be like to fly around the airfield for real. As with all the Just Flight Real Scenery products I own, this one does not disappoint and is stunningly realistic. If you are unsure on how to best configure your system for operation with White Waltham, fear not as Just Flight have included a short manual which gives a history of the airfield as well as guiding you on how to configure your system for optimal performance.
When I first loaded up at White Waltham I was surprised to find that the airfield was a lot bigger than I was expecting. There are huge open spaces between the runways and airfield buildings; I expected the airfield to be tight and cramped with little room for manoeuvre. All this extra space has meant that lots of static AI aircraft could be included to bring the airfield to life. When flying around the airfield there are no navaids to guide you directly to the airport itself, so you better make sure you know where you are heading, although it is situation right in the middle of 2 NDB’s, so there is a little guidance there if you need it. Be careful not to stray too far off track though as you will end up playing chicken with the big boys down at Heathrow. With the airfield being situated in some of the busiest airspace in the world, you can be sure that there will always be some kind of activity in the area to make the flight much more realistic, especially when you are running an add-on AI Traffic program.
For such a small airfield it may come as a surprise to learn that it actually has 6 runways! The advantage of this is that you can always land into favourable wind conditions should you choose to do so. Just remember to monitor the airfield radio frequency so that you don’t end up on a collision course with one of the AI aircraft, they are somewhat inconsiderate when flying around. Don’t get into a game of chicken with them, you will lose! Moving away from the airfield itself the scenery in the surrounding area takes on a light brown colour, which is consistent with the farming fields in the area; if you look carefully you will see a farmer in his tractor moving around in the fields. I really like the fact that Just Flight have not just stopped when they had created the airfield and have included some extra scenery beyond the perimeter fence, it really helps to make flights around the airfield much more enjoyable. All too often I will download and install and airport scenery, but as soon as you get away from the airport you are back to the default landscape.
Overall I quite like this little add-on from Just Flight, the fact that I got it for free courtesy of my reward points is an added bonus. Of the 2 airfields in this series I prefer Denham because the surrounding scenery is a lot better to look at, but that’s not the fault of Just Flight, it’s just how it is. Now that White Waltham is in this series it’s fun to fly the short flight between Denham and White Waltham because the scenery en-route is very good, the airspace is busy and the departure and arrival airfields are excellently modelled. The Real Scenery/Airfields scenery is fantastic for those pilots who want to fly using visual reference points because the scenery is so crisp en-route, it’s easy to do so. I can recommend this add-on to anyone who has an interest in GA flying, those of you who prefer the heavy metal will probably not get as much enjoyment from such a small airfield. This price is fantastic, and you could get it for free after buying a couple of other add-ons from the Just Flight website, so that’s even better!
If you are still not sure, take a look at this video produced by our very own Mutley!!