7 Freeware Improvements - A Journey through the United Kingdom

7 Freeware Improvements - A Journey through the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has long been a favored destination for both real-world and virtual pilots. As you navigate through the skies of this richly diverse region, you encounter landscapes that range from rugged Scottish highlands to the bustling metropolis of London. However, to truly capture the essence of these locations, a number of dedicated enthusiasts have created freeware enhancements, elevating the virtual UK to even greater heights. Let us explore some of the finest free add-ons that have transformed the UK into an even more immersive and authentic virtual flying experience.

Dounreay Nuclear Power Station, Caithness, Scotland

The Dounreay Nuclear Power Station is located in the remote landscapes of Caithness, Scotland. The mod created by Flak, albeit not an exact replica, provides a significantly improved representation of the nuclear facility over the autogen buildings, effectively utilising Asobo's generic assets to render the buildings and on-site clutter. While it may not hold up to extreme close scrutiny, it delivers a compelling overall impression of the facility from a distance - a reminder to follow civil aviation rules around restricted airspace! In addition to strategically placed buildings, fences and clutter, the modder has also adapted the surrounding terrain, revising autogen structures and clearing trees where necessary. Dependencies for this mod include the exemplary "We Love VFR Region 1" for chimney stack models and "World Update XIII: Oceania" for the spherical reactor building.

Monewden Airfield

Our journey through the UK's remarkable freeware improvements continues with our next stop, Monewden Airfield - created by Vortex_SD. Tucked away in the East Suffolk District of the English county of Suffolk, this quaint farm strip serves as a testament to the local charm and rustic appeal of the region. This mod takes a step away from the grandeur of nuclear power stations and instead focuses on capturing the humble authenticity of rural flight. Its detailed custom-made 3D models and night lighting add an impressive depth of immersion, enhancing the picturesque landscape with an authentic touch that accurately reflects the locale. The added features of moving people and animals offer an extra level of dynamism, infusing the environment with an invigorating sense of realism and activity.

Chatteris Airfield - EGGS

Our exploration takes us next to the distinctive Chatteris Airfield, affectionately designated 'EGGS' within the simulator despite not officially having an ICAO code. Situated in the Fenland district of Cambridgeshire, England, this airfield lies nestled within a market town and civil parish. What sets Chatteris Airfield apart is its resident North London Skydiving Centre, which operates a vivid purple Twin Otter aircraft for skydiving missions. The scenery of Chatteris Airfield is brought to life by Vortex_SD with detailed custom-made 3D models and atmospheric night lighting. Just like our previous stop at Monewden Airfield, this mod also incorporates moving people and animals.

EGGU Archerfield Private Airstrip

The Archerfield Private Airstrip, known within the simulator as 'EGGU' has been created by FSMax. Situated on the picturesque East coast of Scotland, Archerfield is approximately 26km east of the enchanting city of Edinburgh. It's important to note that this airfield is a work-in-progress, serving as a means for the developer to become familiar with MSFS scenery design and blender modeling. As a result, you might encounter a few unexpected quirks or variations from the real-life airstrip. The developer's planned improvements include enhancing the default scenery for Archerfield walled garden, seeking better and more recent photos of the airfield for a more accurate recreation, and adding many more custom models to imbue the airstrip with life.

EGSS - London Stansted Airport

Our freeware exploration tour now takes us to the heart of the UK's air traffic, with a stop at London Stansted Airport, designated 'EGSS'. As one of the fastest-growing airports in Europe and the fourth busiest in the UK, Stansted is a hub of aviation activity that offers limitless possibilities for immersive simulation. This mod created by liiiam offers a detailed and accurate depiction of the airport as it existed in 2020/2021, featuring high-quality 3D models of the main terminal, satellite terminals, NATS tower, Cargo terminals, and hangars. Notably, this mod goes above and beyond in its attention to detail, including bespoke models at each gate, signage, custom baggage vehicles, and even some 3D interiors.

The airport is brought to life with animated vehicles, custom static aircraft, accurate ground markings, and hand-placed apron textures. Taxiway naming is accurate and works with the default ATC, and the construction work of 2020 is faithfully recreated, including the new Apron E and Multi-Story car park.  London Stansted primarily serves as a hub for EasyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, TUI, and Titan operations, with over 200 destinations across EMEA.

EGHE - St Mary's Airport & Isles of Scilly Scenery

Let's move on to the stunningly picturesque EGHE St Mary's Airport, situated on the idyllic Isles of Scilly - created by superspud. This upgrade doesn't just transform the airport itself; it brings a new level of realism to the islands overall. EGHE is the gateway to the Isles of Scilly, a cluster of islands off the southwestern tip of Cornwall, known for their rugged landscapes and beautiful coastlines. This upgrade replaces the default runways with more realistic gradients and restores the site's elevations. The ground textures have been completely changed, and most buildings have been replaced or added where they were previously missing. Parking spots have been included on the grass opposite the terminal, and number 12 is uniquely tucked away inside one of the hangars opposite the main apron. What's more, the surrounding landscapes have been spruced up with detailed road surfaces and lush foliage, and rocks have been carefully embedded in the runway approaches to add a touch of realism to your flights. But the upgrades don't stop at the airport. This mod also enhances the islands themselves, adding boats, quays, and unique features like the day marks and helipads at Round Island Lighthouse, Longships lighthouse off Land's End, and Bishop Rock.

EGHH Bournemouth Airport

Next on our virtual tour is EGHH, Bournemouth Airport - by Tradari. This mod is a comprehensive upgrade that would not have been possible without the concerted efforts of the modding team, led by Kitson and RichieD, who have added numerous details to bring this regional airport to life. Bournemouth Airport, located on the outskirts of Bournemouth, a seaside resort on the southern coast of England, opened as RAF Hurn during World War II, primarily serving as a production site and base for Spitfire aircraft. After the war, it played a crucial role in the Berlin Airlift, an event that saw a massive international effort to supply the city of Berlin with vital goods during a Soviet blockade. In the post-war years, the airport gradually transitioned to civil use. Now, Bournemouth Airport serves as a hub for both commercial and private flights, with numerous airlines operating services to destinations across Europe. This mod brings a new level of realism to the simulation experience at Bournemouth Airport, with significant improvements to the ground modeling, taxiways, and runways. The airport's physical structures, including the terminals (both departure and arrivals), control tower, fire station, and various buildings on the industrial side, have been recreated.

GB-0838 Almondsbury, Bristol

The last destination on our tour is GB-0838 Almondsbury, Bristol, a bustling air ambulance and police air service base in the Bristol area of the United Kingdom. This addition, in real life, serves as a crucial hub for emergency aviation services but is represented in Microsoft Flight Simulator as nothing more than a grass runway outline and a shed. This mod vastly improves the base, adding a parking spot for the GWAA H135, an active runway, a bespoke hangar, and approach hazards. Located in Almondsbury, a large village in South Gloucestershire on the outskirts of Bristol, this base is known for its emergency services. It houses the Great Western Air Ambulance (GWAA), a vital medical service that provides pre-hospital critical care to those in need across the region. It's also a base for the National Police Air Service (NPAS), a cross-border collaboration that provides centralised air support to the 43 police forces of England and Wales. The mod also corrects some gross errors in the base scenery in the locality and adds two low-resolution response cars. For a comprehensive experience, the author recommends visiting the rooftop helipad at the Bristol Royal Children's Hospital, which is another scenery available on the website. As optional downloads, sceneries for Southmead Hospital and the Avonmouth wind turbines are also included.

That's not all!

There are almost a thousand more United Kingdom scenery available at Flightsim.to. You can explore the airports, cities, landmarks, and much more that this beautiful country has to offer in detail. A few weeks ago for example, we introduced Leeds East Airport to you. Be sure to browse through the respective Country Category as there are always new and exciting contents to discover that can enrich your flight simulation experience. Also, don't forget to appreciate the hard work of the modders. If you like a scenery, consider donating to the author. Your support helps these creative and dedicated individuals continue to create the impressive modifications we all enjoy so much. Your contribution can help maintain and improve the quality and variety of the sceneries and mods we all love. Safe travels!