It’s been a good year for X-Plane with several new developers entering the market (see our full list here). One of these X-Plane newcomers is acclaimed developer Bill Womack with his brand iBlueYonder. Back in November 2017 Bill announced that he was working on a port of his popular freeware The Heron’s Nest, which he released only a few weeks later. Less than a week later Bill finally released his first payware scenery for X-Plane: iBlueYonder’s 100 Dollar Burger – Minute Man & Plum Island XP! This scenery pack features not one, but two lovingly crafted airfields in Massachusetts’ greater Boston area. See what Bill has to say about them:
“Plum Island is a re-working of our original hit from years back, updated with new 3D grass and vegetation, and a large patch of orthophoto terrain surrounding it that covers the entire town of Newburyport, the harbor, and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
Minute Man Field is a fantastic GA airport that we’ve been wanting to create for years. It’s loaded with the character you’d expect from a Hundred Dollar Burger airport, including fanatical attention to detail (we modeled mustard bottles – see if you can find them ;-)) and also comes with its own orthophoto surroundings for the town of Stow. In addition, the airport sports numerous static aircraft, night lighting, a custom airport beacon, 2-light APAPI, and custom runway lights.”
Before we jump right into the first airfield, see what add-ons I used for this review:
- US Orthophotos Project (New England area) by Forkboy2
- HD Mesh Scenery v4
- Tree Lines and Farms V2
- xEnviro v1.06 with Experimental Clouds
6B6 Minute Man Air Field
Alright, let’s start with the bigger of the two airfields, 6B6 Minute Man Air Field. Before we do that, though, to all who wonder what a “100 Dollar Burger” is, see Bill’s explanation:
“IN SEARCH OF THE 100 DOLLAR BURGER
There’s more to flying than screaming through the stratosphere in an airborne bus. This series celebrates those intrepid fliers who put their credit cards on the line every weekend to bore holes in the sky. They’re looking for a little relaxation, a spot of adventure, and a dash of sightseeing. They gather for pancake feeds in drafty hangars, tell lies to one another around the avgas pump, and spend their children’s inheritance in search of the perfect cheeseburger at airport diners.
That’s what this series is all about: small airports that are loaded with character, as individual as the pilots who call them home.”
Back to business! As usual, have a look at the scenery coverage of Minute Man. On the left you can see the scenery in a HD Mesh v4 environment. It’s noteworthy that it blends really well into the surroundings. It is hard to see any difference at all between HD Mesh v4 and the ortho image (great job). On the right you can see the same scenery using Forkboy2’s New England area. Obviously it’s not as perfect as with HD Mesh v4. However with basically unlimited ortho sources available it is impossible to provide a scenery that perfectly blends with all of them. Bear that in mind when you think about using orthos for that area.
Now have a closer look at the airfield. As you can see it’s a smaller airfield, surrounded by forest. There are some settlements around the airfield but overall it’s pretty green there.
If we have a closer look we find ourselves in a charming little airfield, full of detail to discover. But see for yourself:
The airfield itself and all of its objects are beautiful. A lot of devotion went into the development of this airfield and all these details create a certain “character” and that is something most freeware offerings (and even some payware products) simply can’t keep up with. All in all this is a place you want to come back!
One notably thing are X-Plane’s stock trees, though. As you can see, the scenery utilizes stock trees, which basically is the only downside I found so far. For a debut this is certainly not a bad thing. However, it should still be noted that you shouldn’t expect HD trees. As soon as MisterX released his upcoming tree texture replacement pack these “problems” will be a thing of the past anyway and I certainly don’t believe this is something a payware developer needs to deal with. This should be Laminar’s job in the first place in my opinion!
Last but not least, have a look at the night lighting. As expected on such a small airfield, there is not much going on when the lights go out.
2B2 Plum Island Airport
Plum Island Airport is an even smaller airfield. Try to find it in the following screenshots:
Exactly, it’s that small! 😀 However, during all my test flights Plum Island really grew on me. More on that later, though. First, have a look on the screenshots above. On the left you can see again HD Mesh v4, while the right side showcases Forkboy2’s New England. As with Minute Man, Plum Island blends a whole lot better with HD Mesh v4. Again, great effort by Bill!
Here’s a first peak on the actual airfield. As you can see Plum Island is located on the shores of Merrimack River, near the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Scenic-wise this is definitely an interesting location for an airfield. And that’s exactly why I liked this airfield so much.
On the ground expect another charming airfield. I don’t know what it is with these airfields but they certainly do have “soul”. I guess this is the type of craftsmanship a developer cannot learn. He either got it or he don’t. Bill Womack of iBlueYonder definitely proved that he got it! Don’t trust me, though, see for yourself:
I want to mention again how much I love that Minute Man & Plum Island blend so well into HD Mesh v4 (which is working great for that area if you ask me). There is nothing more distracting for me than those lines where on ortho suddenly makes way for an ortho in a totally different color. Well, you won’t see that here, that’s for sure.
Night lighting wise there is not much to show here at Plum Island Airport. This one apparently is closed down after dusk!
Every time a new GA airfield comes out I wonder if I should get it. One important consideration to me is the availability of payware quality airfields within my personal range of operation. For those who are like me I made a map with some suggestions. You can zoom, click and drag the map. Clicking on a Pin will reveal the airfield and a link to the store or download source.
Personally I love departing from Plum Island, flying along the coast til I reach New York, then off to Philly and Washington, and finally all the way down to KILM Wilmington. If you own Drzewiecki Design’s New York XP and Washington XP, this will be an unbelievable immerse tour. My personal suggestion to you!
Bill Womack’s first payware release for X-Plane is a winner. This is not a simple and boring conversion. You can see that Bill spent some time learning his ways around X-Plane which definitely is a good thing and proves his interest in the platform. Although a debut, Bills’ first release 100 Dollar Burger: Minute Man & Plum Island XP is already a great and fun scenery at a bargain price of just $19.95. That said, I don’t think Bill already hit the roof when it comes to X-Plane development so I am sure his next offerings will be even better.
Support Bill Womack now if you want to see more from him (*cough* Nantucket *cough*). Get 100 Dollar Burger: Minute Man & Plum Island XP exclusively from X-Aviation for just $24.95 here.