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Scenery Review: EGCC - Manchester International Airport by Taimodels

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Scenery Review: EGCC - Manchester International Airport by Taimodels


By DrishalMAC2


Manchester Airport, located in Ringway, Manchester, England, is approximately nine miles south-west of the city centre. As of 2019, it stood as the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom by passenger numbers, and notably, the busiest outside of London. Boasting two parallel runways each measuring 3,048 meters (10,000 feet), the airport is well-equipped with an extensive array of over a hundred aircraft stands. It features three passenger terminals alongside a cargo terminal, establishing itself as a crucial hub for both domestic and international flights. Over the years, Manchester Airport has transitioned from a modest regional airfield, to one of the UK's premier aviation gateways.

This latest release from TaiModels is said to incorporate state-of-the-art features that significantly enhance both the visual and functional aspects of the airport, whilst promising at the same time, unmatched performance. Let's embark on a journey to the North West of England and evaluate how this scenery stands up.



The download package for this scenery is quite substantial, with a zipped file size of 1.9GB and an unzipped size of 3.88GB. This is notably larger compared to TaiModels' ENGM or EGLL sceneries. The reason behind this size is the extensive detail included in the package. To install, you should first unzip the file and then transfer the airport and mesh files into your X-Plane Custom Scenery folder. It might be necessary to tweak your scenery_packs.ini file to ensure the mesh file sits below the airport entry. However, I found that the naming convention used by TaiModels meant the scenery worked seamlessly right after installation. Also, part of the download is a folder labelled “OPTION,” which offers the choice of a flattened airport version. Opting for this version removes the underground tunnel, a feature that is particularly recommended for those not using the custom mesh file.


Ortho4XP Patch
The scenery package includes highly detailed Zoom-Level (ZL) 21 Ortho imagery for the vicinity of the airport. However, for those who prefer to use their personalized ortho imagery across the entire tile, traditionally, the custom mesh could complicate this due to potential visual discrepancies. Thankfully, the included manual offers a solution through a link to an ortho patch file. This patch enables the creation of an Ortho4XP tile that incorporates the custom mesh with your own Ortho4XP imagery. The instructions provided are straightforward, making the integration process relatively simple. Having used this patch to generate an Ortho4XP tile myself, I can attest to its effectiveness in blending the airport seamlessly with comprehensive ortho coverage, all the while maintaining the integrity of the custom mesh. However, for the purpose of this written review, all screenshots will show the scenery in its standard form. 



The PDF documentation accompanying this scenery package is concise yet sufficiently clear and straightforward. It covers essential installation instructions for the scenery itself and the required SAM library, also including the previously mentioned link to the Ortho4XP patch. Despite being brief, its clarity ensures users can follow the necessary steps without confusion. However, it's worth noting the absence of airport charts or detailed information about the airport, which I feel represents a missed opportunity. 




Aerial Perspective
TaiModels' rendition of Manchester Airport includes comprehensive coverage of ortho imagery, extending just beyond the airport's boundaries. This level of detail is a significant improvement over many other payware scenery packages I have experienced of late. The imagery is of high quality and integrates seamlessly with personal Ortho4XP tiles generated for the area. 


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Runway & Taxiway Texture Quality
Descending closer to ground level, the precision of the runway's Physically Based Rendering (PBR) textures becomes apparent. These textures, which include a variety of asphalt and concrete types, are particularly detailed with signs of wear, such as tire marks, cracks, and oil or fuel stains. The developer's careful placement of varied texture types works well and significantly enhances the realism of the airport's surfaces. 


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Signage & Foliage
The airport and its taxiways are enhanced with a generous amount of 3D grass, which not only heightens the visual appeal with its careful placement but also impresses with its performance. Quite often, the overuse of grass can detract from its performance; however, this scenery manages to maintain high frame rates at most times of the day, at least on my system. The taxiway signs are rendered with high-quality textures, maintaining their clarity even when viewed up close, a noticeable improvement over the default signs provided by Laminar Research. Additionally, the accuracy and sharpness of the taxiway ground textures are commendable, with a detailed comparison to Google Maps validating their placement. Notably, the inclusion of playful elements like the "I Love MCR" slogan on the apron adds a touch of authenticity and character.


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Airport Buildings
Venturing beyond the runways and taxiways reveals various areas of interest, including a children’s play area, a fire practice zone equipped with a mock-up aircraft, and several other noteworthy buildings. 


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The parking facilities, which include both ground-level lots and intricately modelled 3D multi-story car parks, are populated with numerous 3D modelled vehicles. This attention to detail, avoiding the use of 2D flat vehicle textures, significantly enhances the realism and immersion of the scenery. Adjacent to the main terminal buildings, the Ibis, Holiday Inn, Radisson Blu, and Crowne Plaza hotels are depicted with a high level of detail and accuracy.


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The inclusion of the airport’s railway station, aptly named "The Station," illustrates the benefits of the custom mesh. The station, like the previously mentioned hotels, is also modelled to a high standard, enriching the airport's overall authenticity without over embellishment. 


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Terminal Buildings 
The terminal buildings at Manchester Airport, comprising Terminals 1, 2, and 3, are interconnected through a combination of the Skylink and a covered walkway. TaiModels has created a wonderful recreation of all three terminals, blending exceptional 3D modelling with attention to detail. The inclusion of large glass sections and intricately modelled features like AC vents and railings highlights their commitment to realism. All three terminals are further enhanced by PBR texturing, although their placement on a relatively low-resolution ortho tile might be seen as a minor drawback when viewed up close. While accurate, one could argue that custom ground textures might have offered an aesthetic upgrade, albeit potentially at the expense of geographical accuracy.


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Terminal 1
Catering to airlines operating both scheduled and charter flights to European and other international destinations, Terminal 1 stands as the airport's second largest. Inaugurated in 1962 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, it serves as a base for easyJet, among others.


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Terminal 2
Opened in 1993, Terminal 2 is utilised by a diverse group of airlines for charter and scheduled services to numerous destinations across Europe and globally.


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Terminal 3
Inaugurated in 1989 by Diana, Princess of Wales, Terminal 3 initially served as a domestic hub before its expansion and rebranding in May 1998. It has undergone several name changes prior to its current designation.


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World Freight Terminal
The World Freight Terminal, operational since 1986, caters to cargo flights and cargo transported on passenger services. This area is equipped with large warehouses, pallets, and trucks, and one can envisage its bustling activity, especially during peak times like Christmas, mirroring the vibrancy of the passenger terminals.


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Terminal Interiors 
The interior designs of all three terminals at Manchester Airport have been thoughtfully included, with Terminal 1 presenting the least detail. Despite this, the level of detail in Terminal 1 remains commendable and is appreciable even from the exterior. Terminals 2 and 3, on the other hand, boast significantly more detailed interiors across larger areas, offering visually pleasing environments. The modelling across these terminals strikes a careful balance, offering a reasonable amount of detail without venturing into excessive complexity that could potentially impair performance in terms of frame rates.

One notable area for potential improvement would be the inclusion of 3D people models. Despite this omission, the overall execution of the terminal interiors is impressive, with careful attention to maintaining a balance between detail and performance, ensuring that the visual appeal does not come at the expense of usability.


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Hangars & Maintenance Facilities 

Exploring beyond the passenger terminals of Manchester Airport reveals a variety of hangars and maintenance facilities. These include hangars initially designated for Thomas Cook, which, following the airline's cessation of operations, should technically be referred to as "STS" hangars. Additionally, facilities for Air Livery, Jet2.com, and other maintenance services are present. A noteworthy highlight is the presence of vintage aircraft on static display, such as the Nimrod and VC10, which add a historical dimension to the airport's modern infrastructure.


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Ground Clutter & Animated Features
The scenery includes animated baggage carts, pushback trucks, and a variety of other vehicles typical of a bustling international airport. The random assortment of vehicles and equipment at each gate effectively avoids a repetitive "copy and paste" appearance, contributing to a dynamic and authentic environment. When combined with third-party add-ons like Traffic Global, the airport's atmosphere is significantly enriched, mirroring the lively ambiance of a real-world airport. The integration of the SAM plugin for jetways and the implementation of a Visual Docking Guidance System (VDGS) at selected gates, further increases the realism. 


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Night lighting
The custom night lighting employed at Manchester Airport is well-executed, ensuring that the main runways, taxiway lights, and gates are adequately illuminated for operations after dark. The lighting effectively enhances visibility, contributing to a realistic night-time flying experience. 


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The illumination of all three terminals, alongside the expansive array of maintenance buildings and hangars, contributes significantly to the scenery, introducing an additional layer of realism that enhances the visual appeal and atmospheric depth, especially during evening and nighttime scenarios.


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Given the intricate level of detail incorporated into many parts of this scenery by TaiModels, the performance it delivers is exceptionally high. In my personal testing, I noticed only a slight reduction in frames per second (FPS) when operating larger widebody aircraft, a factor more attributable to the aircraft model and my computer's specifications than to the scenery itself. This indicates that the developers have invested significant effort in optimising the scenery for a broad range of PC capabilities, ensuring smooth and stutter-free performance across different aircraft types.

The performance is even more remarkable when flying lighter General Aviation (GA) aircraft, such as the default Cessna 172. In these cases, I experienced no FPS drops at all, suggesting an optimisation level that surpasses even the default Manchester Airport scenery, resulting in improved FPS. This level of optimisation is a testament to TaiModels' commitment to delivering high-quality scenery that enhances the experience without compromising on performance, making it accessible to users with varying hardware setups.


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Issues / Improvements

TaiModels' Manchester Airport impresses with its stunning visuals, yet like all sceneries, it's not without minor issues. Notably, without the ortho patch and elevation fixes, users might see a black texture on the airport's north side, a problem solved by applying these fixes. Additionally, the lack of people in the terminals and the outdated reference to the Thomas Cook hangar, which should now be labeled as "STS" following the airline's closure, slightly reduces the scenery's authenticity. Moreover, the documentation could be richer, including airport charts and a historical overview for direct access, enhancing the package's value. Despite these minor issues, it's clear that TaiModels has invested considerable effort into creating an immersive experience, and with their track record of updates, there's every reason to believe these areas will see enhancement in future versions.


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In summing up, TaiModels' rendition of EGCC Manchester Airport is a fantastic package that offers exceptional value for both X-Plane 12 and 11 users. This scenery excels in delivering a highly immersive experience, underpinned by robust visuals and performance that together, create a compelling virtual environment. While the package does include minor issues as mentioned previously, these elements do not mar the overall excellence of the scenery. Instead, they highlight areas for enhancement in subsequent updates, suggesting a pathway towards an even more refined and lifelike representation of Manchester Airport. 

For those ready to embark on their next virtual journey, TaiModels' Manchester Airport offers a compelling starting point, one which is poised to enrich any X-Plane user's experience with its detailed realism and immersive environment.











EGCC- Manchester Int'l Airport by TaiModels is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:


EGCC- Manchester Int'l Airport

Priced at $27.00



  • Hyper-Detailed models
  • SAM amination jetways
  • High quality PBR textures on objects and ground for superb reflections
  • High performance
  • Completed autogen around the airport
  • Ground traffic plugins (car and truck)
  • Compatible with XP11 and XP12 - Both versions included
  • Includes weather texture in X-Plane 12


X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 - Both Versions Included
Windows, Mac, or Linux
8 GB VRAM Minimum 
Download Size: 2 GB



Scenery Review by DrishalMAC2
16th February 2024
Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).





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