The first time I met the folks from Pilot Plus, I was very impressed.
They came to me and presented themselves, a couple of young guys with huge smile on their faces and a passion for sims – and for developing for sims – that quickly became obvious and even contagious.
I talked to them for a good part of the evening as we were at the hotel prior to the event at Cosford and it was a very enjoyable moment. They asked me about the helicopter flight simulation community and I obviously told them all about it and how easy it would be for developers to cater for our needs and to add some elements that would probably not be a huge investment of work on their end but it would, very likely, get the rotorheads out there to buy their products.
Things like selecting airfields that host helicopter operations or adding helipads around – in hospitals, for example – would get people to want to fly in their scenery.
And those two fellows were closely listening.
From them on, Pilot Plus has been looking like they have been paying a bit more of attention to the helicopter folks and their releases have been nudging us.
Bristol International brought us the ability to use it as a base of operations for some electrical work, checking some cables and power towers, which doesn’t look like a lot. But it was there and Pilot Plus added the ability to select the same helipad but to turn the helicopter North or South (it’s just a detail, yes, but they bothered).
Now, with Wycombe Air Park, we have a lot more helipads and parking spots for helicopters as we have Heli Air operates from there and provides tours over London, for example. But there’s another small, yet interesting detail that I will mention later.
The London Wycombe (better known as Wycombe Air Park or Booker Airfield) opened in 1941 as a RAF training base during World War II and it remained as a military base until 1965. A lot of the 90.000 annual flights that take place there are training flights.
Like I said before, Wycombe Air Park is also where Heli Air is located and it’s a helicopter-friendly airfield in the sense that it has dedicated helicopter pads (and its own corner in the airfield).
The airfield is comprised of a tarmac runway, surrounded by grass and grassy taxiways. It has a very familiar and cozy feel to it – which I’m a sucker for.
The surroundings are pretty much a countryside scenario with lots of open fields, small hills and only a few houses here and there. Northeast of the airfield we have the town of High Wycombe
About 10Km (a bit over 6 miles) to the Southeast we can find the Cliveden House, a five star country house hotel, which helps spice this scenery a bit. Again, more on that later.
And, of course, the city of London is not far away.
Pilot Plus’ rendition
I was never at Wycombe Air Park but, fortunately, Google Maps is our friend, as usual.
Pilot Plus’ representation of the airfield looks pretty spot on to me. All the buildings are there, and the environment is properly captured.
The airfield has quite a few aircraft scattered around, which adds up to the feeling of a small, yet busy airfield.
As with previous releases, the vegetation changes according to the season, which is another layer of realism and immersion on top of the scenery.
I couldn’t find anything that I’d like to criticize or pinpoint. Of course, the scenery is not perfect (no digital rendition of a real place is) but this scenery feels right and shouts out an amazing quality and craftmanship.
In case you’re wondering, the scenery does blend in with ORBX TrueEarth. In this case, TrueEarth Great Britain South. As a matter of fact, I’d say that that’s how you make it shine.
Pilot Plus’ London Wycombe’s work on its own is very good but when you put it inside ORBX’s work, well… You’ll have quite an experience.
I definitely recommend you get both.
Heli Air not only has a flight school, but they also do sightseeing tours and other services. They offer several packages in the area, including London, Manchester, Stratford, etc.
This makes this airfield an excellent hub for several types of services.
VIP service for Cliveden House
Remember me mentioning this five-star country house hotel?
Well, Pilot Plus decided to add something extra and they added the helipad for the Cliveden House.
This helipad is not very easy to find if you don’t know where it is and Pilot Plus didn’t include it as a place we can select to land at or take off from. But once you know where it is, it becomes easier. How to find it? Let me help you there!
What’s cool about this helipad? Well you can do some VIP transport! You can take off from Wycombe Air Park, go fetch a VIP in London, get your virtual passenger at Cliveden House and return to Wycombe. Or perhaps you’ll take your rich client for a tour of the region before safely get him to his destination.
Well played, Pilot Plus. You got our attention.
Not a lot to say here. The scenery works flawlessly, and I had zero issues with it. Even with VR and my puny GTX 1660. No complaints here.
Pilot Plus created a rich environment on top of an airfield that does a great job replicating the real deal. It’s good enough to fool me and make me feel I am there.
They did a great job on the models and the textures and the fact that they added a small, yet interesting detail such as the Cliveden House helipad shows that these folks don’t mind going a bit more out there for the rotorhead community. And that’s just gorgeous of them to do.
I highly recommend you get this airfield. Especially if you already own ORBX TrueEarth South.
It’s certainly set to offer you quite a few hours of entertainment. Honestly, more so if you are a helicopter pilot!