• RAF Upper Heyford

    Review: RAF Upper Heyford

    By Tony Dillon (8 June 2010)

    Introduction

    RAF Upper Heyford was an RAF airbase, located about 8 miles north of Oxford. Opened in 1918 by the Royal Flying Corps, the base was used by various RAF and USAF squadrons through the second World War right up to 1993, taking part in such missions as Operation Desert Storm and Operation El Dorado Canyon. At the end of 1993 it was returned to the MOD and now operates in a number of civilian functions, including offices, car parking for nearby car manufacturing plants and even "Red Letter Day" Caterham driving experiences along its 2.5 km runway (RAF Upper Heyford today).

       

    Team SDB are a small scenery development team, but I really wanted to get my hands on this one as (a) Upper Heyford is but a stone's throw from my hometown, (b) I fly over it most weeks as I study for my Private Pilot's License out of Oxford airport and (c) I had an office on the base a couple of years ago.

    Up and Running

    Installation is simple and straightforward, with the scenery dropping itself nicely into a spot previously occupied by bare ground in FSX world. Loading up a flight from Oxford, I decided to fly over the airbase first before circling round for a landing and taxi around the airfield. A quick hop from EGTK, and the first thing I notice is an F-111 flying a circuit. Carefully flying a crosswind route, I get my first look at the airbase from above, and find it to be pleasantly detailed and, from what I can tell from historic photographs, reasonably accurate. You'll notice from the screen shots on this page that this isn't your typical FSX airfield - instead of nicely laid out terminal and apron areas, you find a warren of taxiways and hangars, spread in a widening circle from the massive runway with C-130s and F-111s parked inside and around hangars across the base. Small details like authentic floodlighting and fencing complete the scene for an atmospheric, if quiet, wartime airbase.

       

    Some Words Of Caution

    There are a couple of things to be careful of it you are looking to add this to your UK airfield repertoire. Firstly, this scenery does not sit well on photorealistic scenery, as the airfield has changed considerably in 50 years. Laying this on top of something like Generation X scenery will leave office buildings and car parks poking out from under your pristine taxiways. Secondly, if you aren't using the default AI terrain mesh, the airbase can sit a little high, leaving it on a square plateau in the middle of the rolling countryside.

       

    Conclusion

    All in all, Team SDB have done an admirable job of recreating a WW2 airfield. The UK is filled with decommissioned wartime aerodromes which, if you spend any time GA flying, you will spot and often use for navigation. For such a small investment, this is a worthy addition to your UK scenery.

    Tony Dillon
    [email protected]

    Learn More Here

    Other Tony Dillon Reviews:

    Flight1's P-51D Mustang
    FWI Dublin Scenery


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