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Scenery Review : EGGP Liverpool John Lennon Airport We were all led out on to the large playing field, the field was marked out and we had to each stand on a small flag marker in yellow, then hold hands to spell out SPS, or Sandycroft Primary School. I was six years old and standing out in that field on that late spring day in 1962, was actually quite wearing, and mainly because it was 30 or so minutes late. Then to the north the sounds came, and into view came a BEA Vicker's Viscount turbo-prop at around 3,000ft, it flew over, did a circle over the school and then flew on to France... as you could guess is that I was not on that aircraft. This was also my first confrontation with the aspect of the children of rich families, that have the unique advantage over families of lesser means, it was the early 1 percenter's way of getting things that we as mere mortals could not, there was no way my hapless parents could afford the £180 price of a trip to France, this was the early sixties remember, and £180, is about the same as say £2,000 today, but 34 classmates got that ride... the buggers! So what has a scenery review got to do with a conspicuous moment of my childhood. Well the departure (and ultimate) return airport of this school flight was "Speke Aerodrome." as the Liverpool Airport was called back then, as it was only an airfield back in the 60's, but also the biggest airport closest to my school (46.4km/29miles). I went there only just once, and I remember the glorious huge 1930s Art Deco terminal that had overawed my 9 year old self, again so close to aviation, but still only visit and not a flight. That terminal and the two side hangars are still there (now a hotel) as we shall see in the review, but now well separated from the layout of the modern version, called "John Lennon Airport" after the Beatles relationship with their home city, to be fair, there was actually four Beatles, five if you count their manager or six if you count Stuart Sutcliffe, but that name would have been far to long for an airport title, but I don't think it is fair just to single out and pick one, but then does "Beatle Airport" work... probably not. DigitalDesign - EGGP - Liverpool John Lennon Airport A newer and more modern passenger terminal adjacent to the new runway opened in 1986, and it is this layout that is the basis of this new Liverpool, UK scenery from DigitalDesign. Several notes first. I recommend two freeware sceneries to fill out the background to EGGP. One is UK Refineries a conversion from FS2004, that is essential as the large Stanlow refinery is highly visible from the airport on the other bank of the River Mersey. Another scenery is Liverpool City VFR 1.0.0 (I used to use a really old version called Liverpool Landmarks), not perfect but it does give you a good Liverpool city backdrop to EGGP, which is required because the Mersey shoreline is quite basic. The scenery also comes with an option to use the Orbx (UK_Central_True Earth) ortho-photo textures, of which you can choose as an option. Liverpool John Lennon Airport IATA: LPL - ICAO: EGGP 09/27 - 2,285m (7,497ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 81 ft/ 25 m First impressions of EGGP are absolutely excellent. There has been a fair few good freeware sceneries of LPL, but none that really got the feel of the airport in a way a dedicated object based version would or could, and in that case this is a very welcome scenery. There are two main aprons at EGGP, the "Main" apron (south) in front of the terminal, and another extension built for Easyjet to the north in 2005. All boarding is via walkon/walkoff with sheltered walkways (no airbridges). Stands 1 to 6 have VGDS, but not used in the scenery. Stands facing the terminal are 1 to 12A, and opposite 33 to 41 are remote stands, 32L, 32C and 32R are all facing the large maintenance building that separates both the aprons... The "Easyjet" apron has six stands 51 to 53 as sheltered Walkon/off and 54 to 56 in remote stands. The current passenger terminal adjacent to the new runway opened in 1986, and here DigitalDesign have done an extremely nice job of the modeling and detail. The building is clad in that German aluminium cladding that is so popular, and it looks very good here. The Terminal has a sort of a double layer effect, were as in the forward with the glass (very well done) and a more distant internal rear image background. It gives the terminal a great feel of depth and realism, without doing a full interior detail, and I like it very much. But the question remains is that should have DigitalDesign completed the full interior fitout, for me it works better here anyway. Glass is perfect, great detail and excellent reflections, roof detail is also well done, basic component modeling, but still well done. There are six overhead walkways to stair towers for access to the aprons for passengers, three on the "Main" apron and three on the "Easyjet" apron, and again they are nicely designed and textured. Prominent at the terminal entrance is the "Yellow Submarine", a large-scale work of art that was in the "Beatles" film of 1968. The sculpture was for an exhibition at the International Garden Festival in Liverpool in 1984, but moved to LPL in 2005, with airport boss Neil Pakey stating 'Other airports have the Concorde, we have the Yellow Submarine'. The most prominent aspect of LPL is the Hampton - Hilton Hotel set dead center landside with an adjacent undercover carpark, the hotel is one of four Hilton Worldwide hotels in Liverpool and was opened October 2009. Detail on the Hampton and carpark is excellent, I am a huge, huge fan of this style of the window (dressing) used here, it is highly realistic and gives you that required "I am here" feel to the scenery. Airport landside signage and furniture is again very good, the signage is a little low-res but well detailed, but the local Liver buses to the city centre (10 miles) get the right feel, and not just one bus, but a double-decker and a single-decker. Both short-term and long-term parking is surreal. DigitalDesign have found the right (if perfect) balance of the othro-photo, blended into the carpark sharper textures, it works very well (developers take note) and it is all finished off with a lot of great static 3d vehicles... ... any blights, a small one in that the animated vehicles that rotate around the scenery are not on the roadways, but set one move width to the right? The animated traffic on the airside is also quite light, but good. There is an issue in that the "traffic" plugin has not been updated for Vulkan, so you will need to replace the plugin in the sceneries plugin folder to get the airside traffic to work.... Overall there is a need for a bit more action, and also a bit more airside clutter, it is okay, but in reality more is needed. General Aviation There is a very nicely recreated General Aviation area to the north, plenty of the local flying clubs and services are well represented, and there are a lot of nice static aircraft to fill it all in nicely, again really well done and highly detailed. Infrastructure On the "Easyjet" apron is a very nice ramp tower, with built-in Fire Station, behind is some great detail including stacked portabin offices. Impressive detail is the post-war powerhouse, set mid long-stay north carpark, very common in the English north in this style of building, so it is very authentic. South commercial area has a small cargo facility, but mostly aviation related industry, again this area is very comprehensive and detailed. Airport entrance (and general) signage is excellent, if like noted a little low-res, but very good including a poster and quote of John Lennon. The old art-deco terminal is now buried deep in the middle of a commercial estate. The building was constructed in the 1930s, as the main terminal building for the then airfield known as "Speke Aerodrome". It is still sometimes seen on early television news footage, with its terraces packed with fans waiting to greet the "The Beatles" on their return from tour, then the original building was left derelict for over a decade in the move to the new facility. However it has since been renovated and adapted to become a hotel (Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel), and was opened for business in 2001. The adaption involved adding two new bedroom wings on the frontage of the hotel, but the airside aspect has been preserved intact. Note in the foreground the 400 year old Speke Hall, Garden and Estate (National Trust), a Tudor mansion and well recreated and again highly relatable to the area's northern heritage. Again this old terminal is an item that could have been easily looked over, but there has been some significant modeling of the original terminal done here, and it is quite magnificent in detail... missing however from the front apron are the museum aircraft of a BAe Jetstream 41 prototype G-JMAC, Hawker Siddeley HS 748 G-BEJD, Bristol Britannia 308F G-ANCF and Percival Prince G-AMLZ, all preserved by the Speke Aerodrome Heritage Group, so the apron looks a little empty. Included are also the the two art deco style hangars that flank the terminal and both have been converted for new uses. One is now a David Lloyd Leisure centre (hotel guests can use their fitness equipment and pool free of charge), whilst the other has been adapted as the headquarters of the Shop Direct Group, and is now known as Skyways House. More Infrastructure covers a significant area to the west of the airport, in housing, churches and schools, again the detail from a northern architecture perspective is excellent, I know as I have lived there, well close by in North Wales. But the post-war council housing estate feel is again very authentic. Again the only blot in the copybook is the join between the custom scenery and the default autogen, of what is the "The Hunts Cross Shopping Centre" is a bit bland, grey and open? So with no large building, it creates a open blank zone in the middle, and sadly it is highly noticeable from the air, and even from the scenery itself. Control Tower The EGGP control tower is set over the field to the east and centre of runway 09/27. It is again well done and includes a modeled (low-res) interior... ... oddly the X-Plane tower view is not set, but sends you instead into the middle of the "Easyjet" apron? There are also two really well done and animated radar towers, also towards the south on the east side of the field. Ground Textures The runway, taxiway and apron textures are also very good, nice detail, and all come with good texture surfaces... ... maybe a bit more grunge with oil and dirt is required on the parking areas of the aprons, as they feel a bit too clean, but otherwise good. The ground textures have great PBR reflective (wet) active textures and also have excellent burnt-in ambient occlusion, so they reflect very nicely, a prerequisite for the north of England, as it rains.. a lot. 3d Grass is again excellent with wildflowers... and you have a choice via the options of "tall" (default) and "medium" grass, or no grass at all (but why would you want to do that?). Shoreline detail is really good and blends in well with the Mersey, it gives you a good visual approach view from the south, or a south departure. Lighting The lighting is simply sensational! The approach and landing lighting are excellent, all taxiways in A, C, E, F and G has however no boundary lighting, but good centreline lights (at least it is not the other way around?), so you will need your aircraft lights to find the exits... ... highlight is using the excellent X-Plane reflections feature on the approach over water lighting at the end of RWY 09, it just looks amazing and highly realistic. All approach lighting in detail is really, really good. Airside and landside lighting is sooooo... good, all the areas are just full of light and detail. Some punters would note it could be a bit too bright, as the area between the Terminal and the Hilton is notably very bright, and so much in you can't see any of the actual terminal lighting, myself I absolutely love it.... as it feels so real. There is a nice contrast to the airside (grey or blueish) tone, which looks authentic, and on airside you can see the interior terminal lighting, which is again really good. General Aviation area has also very good lighting, in just the apron, but the open door hangar is dark inside, some internal lights would have looked nice, or close the doors. Custom housing is nicely lit and authentic, and looks very realistic over a wide area... ... only odd thing is that the old terminal area is dark, it is a working hotel, but it looks still abandoned. One other item is that to the far north there are three items that stand out, more so at night.... There is the Ethelfleda Viaduct (rail) and Silver Jubilee Bridge (vehicle) at Runcorn/Widnes and also the Fiddler's Ferry Power Station at Cuerdley Cross, Warrington in the background, both are amazing extra local details, and stand out at night, on not only on the 27 approach, but can be seen visually from the airport scenery. ________________ Summary Speke Aerodrome was the forerunner as what is now Liverpool Airport... or "Liverpool John Lennon Airport" after the Liverpudlian, that along with the Beatles put Liverpool front and centre on the world stage in the 1960's. The original "Speke" terminal is still there, as it is in this excellent scenery from Digital Design. And surprisingly what an excellent X-Plane scenery this is. It could be noted that I could be bias towards the scenery as it was a part of my childhood, as only being born 50 kms away, but that is certainly not the case at all, in all respects this is a first rate scenery that delivers on every level for a medium sized single runway airport. Modeling and textures throughout are excellent, as is the glass and separated internal textures. The central focus of the Hilton-Hampton hotel and carpark, are simply excellent (certainly the glass effects) and the main terminal is not far behind. The old Speke Teriminal is also exquisitely modeling but has no night lighting. The infrastucture and airport detail is also top notch, with a perfect northern English feel in the architecture, and detail, carparks, landscaping and signage are all again very, very good, but the signage is a bit low-res. Lighting is excellent throughout, but some might find it over bright, and the taxiway boundaries are not marked in the dark (centreline is) my choice is overall that it is all very, very good. All ground textures and surfaces are very good, and all surfaces come with active burnt-in ambient occlusion. Choices or options include three types (or size) of 3d Grass, and Orbx (UK_Central_True Earth) intergration are all available. Gripes are basically very small, but still notable... no Vulkan "traffic" plugin, is a "What the.." moment, but can be easily fixed, Tower view is not set, bit more grunge on the aprons and the The Hunts Cross Shopping Centre" connection zone to the default textures is a bit bland... and there no aircraft outside the old Speke Terminal, all very small items, but fixed... would make this amazing EGGP 100% perfect. Childhood memories can be an odd affair. You reminiscent of a time that is now really forgotten, but this scenery brings that that past very much alive again and with such a local authentic feel, and so overall this Liverpool region airport is very much an excellent and top rate scenery to have in your collection, and to use regularly... Highly Recommended! _____________________________________ Yes! EGGP - Liverpool John Lennon Airport by DigitalDesign is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore EGGP - Liverpool John Lennon Airport Price is US$24.00 Features: Highly detailed airport Liverpool John Lennon Airport (IATA: LPL, ICAO: EGGP) is an international airport serving North West England. Using PBR Materials High resolution terrain coverage of the airport and surroundings with custom autogen High resolution ground textures Custom surroundings Realistic 3D night lightning Animated airport vehicles, cars. 3D Grass Compatibility with ORBX TrueEarth Great Britain Central WT3: WorldTraffic3 GroundRoutes are NOT provided but the scenery is compatible and extremely good, and Traffic Global also operates perfectly, Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 930 MB Current and Review version: 1.1 (December 2nd 2020) Installation Download scenery files required are in one zip folder download 930Mb There are three folders which are placed in the X-Plane Custom Scenery Folder in this .INI order (Z Terrain must be below the main "Liverpool" folder). Digital Design A EGGP Liverpool Roads (59.7mb) Digital Design EGGP Liverpool (2.22Gb) Digital Design EGGP Liverpool Z Terrain (39.9Mb) Total scenery install is: 2.31Gb Options include: three grass options in "High" (default), "Medium" and no grass, Orbx (UK_Central_True Earth). Both to be installed from the "Digital Design EGGP Liverpool Options" folder provided. Recommended are UK Refineries a conversion from FS2004, and the Liverpool City VFR 1.0.0 both freeware. Documents One install Manual (4 pages) ______________________________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 8th December 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.51r3 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - Default Boeing 737-800 by Laminar Research