Flight Night 77 | Halton to Thruxton | VFR | X-Plane 11.50b1 | Oculus VR

Just another WordPress site

Flight Night 77 | Halton to Thruxton | VFR | X-Plane 11.50b1 | Oculus VR

It’s a lovely spring day at the RAF’s training station at Halton This site has been in use since WWI but is expected to be disposed of by 2022 X-Plane.org member Paulmort has done an excellent job of bringing this airfield very much to life G-RJWA is already running so lets jump aboard We’ll take a quick look around as we taxi out We’re departing South-West today to Thruxton, whose ring-road is a popular race-track Ten-hut! Parachute training up ahead Check wingwip clearance! This isn’t a taxiway of course Gravity is being very kind to that paratrooper Following a gentlemen’s agreement between Alfred de Rothschild and Lord Kitchener, this estate was used by the British Army throughout the First World War In 1916 the Royal Flying Corps moved its air mechanics school from Farnborough to Halton, and in 1917, the school was permanently accommodated in workshops built by German POWs We’re looking for runway 25. Normally this would be busy with gliders but I don’t have any extra traffic configured for X-Plane yet Our heading will be approx 225 so the left turn on takeoff will keep us compliant with noise abatement, and get us almost immediately on-course I’ll attempt to bring up the weather for Benson nearby No weather information available Winds are light anyway, but we’ll be slightly in the dark regarding crosswind drift if any First stop is Princes Risburgh, the Buckinghamshire town we passed on our arrival here Heading is set QNH is set The Henton NDB is still tuned from the previous flight, but we won’t need it today Off we go Careful to miss the lamp-posts by about 2 feet That’ll teach me to use the whole runway We’ll climb out at 80kts I’ve rehashed the turbulence settings in ActiveskyXP so we’re back to using that for the real-weather injection Scenery by Orbx – TrueEarth GB South

Links to all the addons will be in the video description Hamlets of Terrick and Chalkshire below Home of Chalkshire Alpacas 🙂 Thats one for Flightdeck2sim, a 737 pilot, popular youtuber and alpaca enthusiast 🙂 Princes Risburgh up ahead A royal manor since before the 1086 Domesday survey Nearby is the Kop HIllclimb, a popular charitable motorsport event with roots back to 1910 It began with motorcyclists looking for somewhere to ‘test’ their bikes They settled on the steep and winding Kop Hill Road Cars joined within the year and the Kop Hillclimb was born Today it’s no longer a competition, more of a moving display of motorsport and automotive history We have relatively few definite visual fixes on this leg That and the relatively unknown wind situation means we need to be on the ball with navigation One downside with this chart setup is I can’t make notes and timings for each waypoint It helps to know the time I cross a visual ‘fix’ – then I can expect the next one in ‘x’ minutes 3000 feet reached – autopilot engaged Railway track marks the end of Princes Risburgh We’ll be crossing the M40 north of Stokenchurch in a few minutes Thame at 2 o’clock Haddenham further North West Ahead is the Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve A 160-acre area of the Chiltern Hills Home to Muntjack and Roe deer, as well as being a conservation site for the endangered Hazel Dormouse So we’ll follow the greenery as it’s right on our track Oakley’s Old Kiln Lakes Chiltern Hills AONB beyond Stokenchurch and the M40 up ahead So we’re slightly North of our intended track, but not excessively We’ll switch frequency now to Benson, and keep an eye out for the airport to our right as we pass

Benson is home to the RAF’s fleet of Puma HC2 support helicopters Other flying units comprise No. 28 Squadron – the combined Puma and Boeing Chinook HC4 operational conversion unit the Oxford University Air Squadron and No. 6 Air Experience Flight, both flying the Grob Tutor T1 The National Police Air Service and the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance are also based at the station, both operating Airbus H135 helicopters Chalgrove airfield off to the right Destination from leg 70 Chalgrove was an RAF/USAF station in WWII Used primarily today for testing ejection seats Transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency in 2016 with a view to turning it into housing RAF Benson here has been open since 1939 as a training/recon station Unlike Chalgrove at our 3 o’clock, there are no plans to close Benson Nice to see some of these places while they’re still around Even if only in a virtual sense Benson’s first aircraft was two squadrons of Fairey Battle light bombers Later an experimental photo recon unit was based here, using 20-inch lens’d cameras in Spitfires Watlington Park below, a private country house around 300 years old Next point of reference is Chiltern Park Aerodrome A private airfield within Benson’s MATZ However, it’s a green field in a sea of green fields That’s as close as we’re getting to Benson today Anybody see a green field? We’re over Nuffield at the moment, looking towards Stoke Row From here everything looks like a microlight field That ought to be Woodcote ahead, and the field should be almost directly in front of us *confusion intensifies*

Reading in the distance It’s likely directly below us, which is good – as it’s supposed to be – but bad in that I didn’t see it coming so am now unsure of my exact position Crossing the ever-present Thames, so we have a rough idea where we are, but not precise Crossing above Goring just now So despite a little disorientation and slight adjustment, we’re right on track for now Compton VOR ahead, one of the main waypoints into the London area for arriving aircraft CPT VOR is on the site of the former RAF Hampstead Norris airfield A V-shaped runway arrangement established in mid-1940 Our next point of reference will be crossing the M4 It won’t give us an exact position, but it’ll show us how far along we’ve come Then we’ll be looking for Newbury to get us a proper position fix But we’re past halfway there now There’s our M4 I believe Those field features put us about 1.5 miles south of track But I won’t know that until I come to edit the video Nevertheless, Newbury should be right ahead Newbury still contains the site of the former RAF Greenham Common airfield

An RAF/USAF airfield since 1942, and a nuclear weapons base during the cold war In 1997 Greenham Common was designated as public parkland, effectively returning it to its pre-WW2 status This industrial estate shows how far off-track I am now Greenham Common off the nose, and Newbury Racecourse slightly to the right Course correction coming up During WWII the airfield played host to American P-51 Mustangs, P-39 Airacobras, P-47 Thunderbolts and C-47 Skytrains At the onset of the cold war, the airfield was demolished and replaced with a new 10,000ft runway and other facilities And was operational again in 1953 After 1958 it was relegated to a storage and relief airfield From 1973 it became the location of the RIAT airshow until it moved to Fairford (See previous video!) Still later in the cold war, it became a quick reaction airfield, and storage site for 100 American nuclear missiles and associated infrastructure That’s where all Newbury’s turds go to The nukes arrived by C-5 Galaxy in 1983 The Americans abandoned the site in 1992, and it was closed in ’93 But in Feb ’58, a B-47 dropped it’s external tanks after developing problems on takeoff One hit a hangar, the other set fire to another B-47 which was loaded with a 1.1 megaton nuclear bomb It took 16 hours to extinguish And was covered up by both governments A secret 1961 report, released by the CND in 1996, stated the fire detonated the high explosives in the nuclear weapon, that plutonium and uranium oxides were spread up to 8 miles away, and that they had discovered high levels of radiation around the air base More recently, Top Gear used the site to find out ‘if communism had produced a good car’ Back to the present We’re back on track, not far to run About to cross the A34, then looking for Bourne airfield, and Andover further South Andover is our main point of reference now, as Thruxton is immediately West of it No weather available for Thruxton either Woolton Hill

Home to posh people and the occasional outdoor pool or tennis court Thruxton – our destination – was established as RAF Thruxton in 1942 As with many of these wartime fields, it was shared between the RAF and the USAF Its main use was for troop-carrying aircraft and gliders Most notably involving the D-Day landings The circuit was established in ’68 with motorcycles using the perimeter road and runways Now, due to planning restrictions, Thruxton can only host 12 motorsports events per year Those include the British Superbike Championship, the British Touring Car Championship, British Formula 3, British GT, Several truck racing series, and various others Outside of motorsports, the circuit offers a race-driving school, and boasts a £2m hospitality centre opened by Nigel Mansell and Murray Walker There’s also a karting circuit nearby All for nought if we end up landing in Middle Wallop or Boscombe Down by accident Faccombe Which is probably what I told the controller in Halton when he told me to use the whole runway to clear those lamp-posts Looking for Andover in the haze Once we get a pin in Andover, we know Thruxton is directly West Looks like we’re in reasonable shape here But I’ll hedge my bets and take us slightly closer to Andover than we are Thruxton spotted – right off the nose. Time to start the descent out of 3000′ Still double checking everything Thruxton’s QNH was one millibar less than Halton before I loaded the flight, so should be safe with that Since we’ve made it, it’d be rude not to take a victory lap on arrival

Switching from Boscombe Radar to Thruxton Faberstown and the A342 The circuit is run clockwise, but we’ll go anticlockwise so it’s more visible on our left Lets see where we join it Bit of side-slip to slow us down So we’re picking up the circuit in the Seagrave/Cobb/Campbell sequence Down towards Allard Western Air Services and Thruxton BARC on the outside of the turn Car park and Jackaroo Cafe Through Club Industrial area including some war-era buildings ahead, over Woodham Hill and Brooklands, then into Church Church leads us into Village We’ll come back to this runway in a bit Goodwood / Noble / Seagrave Then we’re back at Cobb We’ll climb now to a reasonable circuit height Of course this has broken all the rules

Turning finals Smooth as you like Welcome to EGHO Thruxton Hope you’ve enjoyed the tour as always Please consider giving a thumbs-up to help my enthusiasm Join us again next week as we head back North to Oaksey Park That leg looks like a featureless navgational nightmare So we may get lost for the first time Those don’t look like racing-cars Default scenery here of course, seems no-one’s made a decent Thruxton yet for X-Plane Job done, have a good evening, stay home, stay safe!