Microsoft Flight Simulator UK Tour Part 1: England & Wales

With World Update 3, Asobo Studio brought some added details, new landmarks and photogrammetry, and updated satellite and height mapping to the United Kingdom and Ireland. Although I had to delay my tour around these locations because of performance problems, the issues have been resolved and I’ve now completed my tour of England and a few small pieces of Wales. Here are some of my highlights.

Delays and delays

World Update 3 came closely packaged together with Sim Update 3 which, on launch, caused many people people to experience some serious performance issues. Myself included! My initial attempts at a tour ended almost immediately because I was struggling with low frame rates and malfunctioning systems. It was also right around the time that a lot of content was coming else elsewhere and my simming time was reduced.

The UK also has a lot of ground to cover and unlike with my Japan tour, I had decided I wanted to do more GA flying and not cross the country too quickly. I wanted to see some of the landmarks and details and that meant a lot of flying time and a lot of GA travel time between places.

Future explorations of updates for Microsoft Flight Simulator will probably focus in one a few key flights into the new regions so as not to drag out the process for months on end.

Land’s End to Bristol

For my first flight I decided to cover some serious ground by picking the fast turboprop powered TBM930. This fan favourite aircraft is also one of MSFS’s more detailed GA aircraft types with more extensive checklist and systems modeling.

I started out at one of the new airports – EGHC that comes packaged with World Update 3. Land’s End Airport is the most south westerly airport in England and has both grass and concrete runways.

Soon after takeoff I turned to a north eastern heading and headed out over nearby Penzance. From there it was on towards my first point of interest, however, before I got there I noticed the details surrounding Brookland Sand & Aggregates of which the excavation efforts leaves a notable mark on the land.

Then I was over the Eden Project. This POI was added with the update and is an eco-park with artificial biomes with plants from around the world. Sounds interesting and looks incredible in the sim!

Next I headed for Wales and the city of Cardiff which includes my next point of interest – the Wales Millennium Centre. This landmark has been featured in TV and movies but unfortunately the rest of Cardiff doesn’t have photogrammetry and it didn’t look all that impressive.

Finally, I was off to Bristol to check out the Clifton Suspension Bridge. This is an iconic Victorian era engineering project located on the west side of Bristol. Well worth checking out!

Finally, I brought the TBM930 in for a landing at nearby EGGD Bristol Airport.

Bristol to Goodwood

My second flight picked up from Bristol and took me down to the southern coast and the airport at Goodwood.

The first part of the flight took me over the rolling hills and quaint villages of southern England. The area is, like many in England, steeped in history from all of the ages. Stonehenge is a famous point of interest in the area and has plenty of mystery surrounding the purpose of its construction.

After checking out Stonehenge, I headed to the nearby town of Salisbury where I did an orbit around the famous Salisbury Cathedral. This early English church is home to the Magna Carta and days back to the 1300’s.

Then it was on to the coast and Portsmouth and another landmark – albeit a much more modern one. Spinnaker Tower is a notable landmark with a cafe and a lookout point allowing scenic views of the harbour.

Finally, I landed at Goodwood airport. The field was originally constructed as a relief field for Tangemere during WWII. Post war it has become the home of the Goodwood Circuit located on the perimeter of the airfield.

Goodwood to Dover and London City

My next flight took me on a circuitous route from Goodwood and along the southern coast of England with views of the rolling hills, farmland, the English Chanel and more.

Not too long into my flight and I was over Brighton and the famous Brighton Pier. I made a few circuits of that area before heading on down the coast.

I had a technical issue at this point and the added geometry of the famous white cliffs of Dover that have been added into the sim didn’t load. The visuals in the area, particularly around Dover, are still impressive but not as impressive as the last time I checked them out in the Spitfire IX for my review of that aircraft.

Rest assured, they are there most of the time and I’m not sure what happened.

After that, it was a turn to the north and west and a quick flight over the Canterbury Cathedral before turning west towards London.

On approach to London City airport I managed to spot the London skyline which provides for a beautiful backdrop on the approach. I really enjoyed flying into London City and I think it’s an interesting airport. I don’t yet own the Orbx scenery for it but I think I will buy it as its a great airport near the heart of London which makes it ideal for sightseeing. More on that some other time.

London City to Heathrow

My next flight was in the Top Rudder 103 Solo. This aircraft, which I recently reviewed, is the first from Asobo Studio to be sold on its own in the marketplace. I thought this would be an idea way to enjoy the London City skyline. Unfortunately, the photogammetry was off for some reason so only the landmarks are really notable. Still, I had a great time flying over London and sightseeing everything there. The 103 Solo’s unobstructed vision was great to have.

While over London I spotted many key landmarks. The Shard, the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckinham Palace, the O2, and all of the rest.

More amusingly was my landing at Heathrow in an ultra-light. On approach I was overtaken by a DA42. I thought I should have been overtaken by an AI airliner or some other larger aircraft but being overtaken by a DA42 was just funny.

Heathrow to Leeds

My next flight was in the Cessna Citation CJ4 flying from busy Heathrow up to Liverpool airport. There are a few landmarks along the way but the area north of London is largely a mix of urban centres and a lot of fields and I thought that I wanted to get up north and into some more scenic areas fairly quickly so this was the right aircraft for the job.

There isn’t much to say on this flight except that it was done during an unusually clear day which, as I’ve been hearing, hasn’t been happening all that often in the UK recently. It did offer an unobstructed view of the various fields as well as urban areas like Coventry and Birmingham before descending into Leeds.

Liverpool airport I wanted to see because its one of the airports that Asobo upgraed as part of the UK World Update. After landing I got a chance to look around and it has some fun details such as a yellow submarine and nice detailing around the terminal building.

Liverpool to Caernarfon

My next flight was more secenic as I headed west from Liverpool to Caernarfon. Along the way, I passed over the northern part of the scenic Snowdonia National Park. This 823-square-mile park features various mountainous peaks, remote villages, and lakes.

This is one of the few flights that I did with a weather preset as I did it back to back with my London Heathrow to Leeds flight. It was the right choice as the clouds added a lot of depth and detail to the scene and my oh my was this a beautiful place to go flying. If you do any scenic GA flying in this area, go here!

After my scenic route that took me north of some of the taller peaks and out along the coast, it was time to descend into Caernarfon in Wales for a gentle landing.

Caernarfon to Manchester

With live weather back on, the weather in the UK has deteriorated again with more heavy rains and low clouds. It made for some great scenic views of the area in between rainstorms as I departed Caernarfon and headed back to the east.

Of course, before leaving the area I dipped a wing to have a good look at Caernarfon castle. This 13th Century castle is impressively imposing as a landmark in the area and its scenically situated on the waterfront.

Then, more cruising over Snowdownia before I was back over Leeds and heading straight in to Manchester. Before landing, however, I got a chance to see the historic Liverpool Waterfront before then flying over Anfield (home of Liverpool FC) and Goodison Park (home of Everton FC).

Manchester’s airport is another location that has been spruced up in the UK update and this is a particularly fun airport as its a grass field with WWII era buildings including a beautiful red brick control tower and nearby hangars. I’ll be revising this airport again soon!

Manchester to Walney Island Airport

My next flight was a relatively short hop from Manchester to Walney Island near the southern end of the Lake District National Park in a Cessna 172. On the route I passed over Southport and Blackpool and admired the Blackpool Tower point of interest. Before too long I was over Walney Island and coming in for a landing.

Walney Island to Newcastle

I took to the skies for my next hop in one of my favourites – the Diamond DA62. This twin engine aircraft is fun to fly, easy to fly, and it makes a great touring aircraft with good visibility.

Along the way I would pass over the city of Teeside including the iconic Teeside Transporter bridge. Further to the north, I passed over and Newcastle before landing at the airport there. The home of Newcastle United is also on display here in the form of St. Jame’s Park.

Newcastle to Edinburgh

I was looking forward to moving on from England and up into Scotland and so for the next flight I picked the fast and capable TBM930 to take me there. There wasn’t much to the flight except a nice cruise at high altitude over northern England and then into Scotland.

The approach to Edinburgh was worth every minute, however, as the surrounding landscapes are beautiful, the details are impressive, and both the live weather and local landmarks helped to really seal the deal. This is a fun place to fly and one that I will be returning to again after this tour is over.

Part two is coming

After my England and Wales flight was over, I went on to explore parts of Scotland too. I have one more flight left in that adventure and then I’ll be putting together a piece for that too. I flew over some choice areas of Scotland and visited some incredible airports that I can’t wait to show off in a follow-up piece so stay tuned! That one should take less time to put together than this one.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Franz says:

    Do we ever get an aircraft as detailed as the Hotstart TBM900. The 930 is a joke compared to the hotstart.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      A bit OT but yes I’m sure we will. PMDG’s DC-6 is very detailed, JustFlight’s Piper series has quite a bit built in, and other developers are still cranking away. Don’t forget that HotStart’s TBM came out years after X-Plane 11 launched. It’s going to take a while to build up a portfolio of types that are like that.

      The TBM930 in MSFS is not HotStart’s level of detail but it is a well done aircraft for the level intended.

      Like

    2. Urgent Siesta says:

      there is a performance mod available that improves the flight dynamics, and, of course, the Working Title Garmin mod to improve the avionics.
      Obviously not HotStart good, but better than default.

      Interestingly, there never was a great TBM for FSX/P3D, and (I might have missed it, but) I have yet to see an X-Plane dev switch to MSFS. So I don’t hold a lot of hope for a great TBM for MSFS – which saddens me greatly.

      What I can recommend is the CJ4 with Working Title mod instead. Landing and takeoff distances are surprisingly similar so your flying destinations shouldn’t have to change too much 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Urgent Siesta says:

    Nice tour as always – really liking the use of different Defaults 🙂

    UK is definitely my fav region/country to explore so far – just a beautiful area overall (perhaps it’s my Irish bloodline…).

    One note – I believe you’ve mistaken Liverpool for Leeds 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I did indeed mistake Liverpool for Leeds. Not sure how… but I have fixed it! Thank you as always!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rodger says:

    Quick point, but it’s Heathrow to Liverpool you’ve done there – the Yellow Submarine in the car park (very accurate geometry) is a Beatles tribute, as is it’s full name Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

    (Same Leeds/Liverpool confusion in the Caernarfon to Manchester leg)

    Another small point, but I think it’s City Airport you’ve landed at, not the big commercial Manchester Airport. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Airport_%26_Manchester_Heliport

    Anyway; I love the blog, especially the Il-2 stuff, so thanks for the great content!

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Hey Rodger! Good correction. Not sure what I was thinking as I wrote Leeds over and over again meaning Liverpool (I mean, its right there on the airport logo :)).

      Thanks for the comments! Appreciate them all, even pointing out where I lost my marbles 🙂 Better to correct it!

      Liked by 1 person

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