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Tioman is an island, approximately 20 miles off the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula. It’s 80 nautical miles from Singapore, and 140 from Kuala Lumpur. The island is shaped like a lower case ‘d’, approximately 13 miles long by 7.5 miles wide. Population in 2016 was 2,023. The island is covered by dense tropical rainforest, and very mountainous. The highest peak is Gunung Kajang, at 3,406ft. There are a series of small settlements around the coast, with the interior of the island basically given over to nature. Travel between these villages is by boat; there is just one road that crosses from one side of the island to the other (suitable only for 4WD vehicles).
The island’s one airport is at the main village of Tekek. Given the high mountainous terrain, it’s considered a dangerous approach, with all landings on Runway 20 and all take offs on Runway 02. Late go-arounds are not permitted. There are no scheduled services to the island (previously there was a Dash-7 shuttle to the mainland), although a few charter operations will take in small jets or turboprops. There is no fuel available. The runway is not lit, and certified for day VFR operations only.
Approval was granted in November 2019 for the building of a new airport on the island, using reclaimed land, and accommodating aircraft up to Boeing 737 size. Construction had not started at the time of writing.
WMBT Tioman Island is available from PILOT’s for P3D v4.5 only, priced at €27.99. It will install in earlier versions of v4, but some aspects of the scenery won’t work (the wandering animals, detailed runway textures etc.) Download size is approx. 921MB, and at the time of writing it had just been updated to v1.1
Installation is a matter of unzipping and running the installer. You are warned not to run it from inside the zip. When it is finished, you are required to reboot.
There is a configurator that lets you turn the static aircraft on or off. This is a separate download (it’s only 360KB, you really wouldn’t notice if it came as part of the main installer). This also requires a reboot. I honestly can’t remember the last time I installed an addon or even an app that required a reboot, yet alone two! At least once you have the configurator installed, you don’t need to do it again for other PILOT’S scenery.
WMBT Tioman Island covers the entire island as well as the closest of the nearby islands. You have the airport itself, with the surrounding village (actually all the villages along the coast are included), and a helipad on the neighbouring island of Pulau Tulai (probably to service the VOR, which is located on that island). Additional features include roaming monitor lizards on land, animated people at the airport, dolphins in the sea, birds in the air, and the sounds of nature (if you turn your engines off…)
Tioman is a small airport. The runway will accommodate most medium to large GA and smaller airliners (say Dash-7 or 8). At the far end of the runway is a turning pad, and then a cliff. The approach from the VOR is along the coast at an angle to the runway, with the trees on the mountains close enough to touch. A checkerboard serves as your aiming point, with a last minute turn onto the runway. There is no “straight in.”
Challenging? Well, in a small slow GA, such as a Cessna or Piper, it’s pretty easy, but try it in something faster, like a bizjet or Dash-8, and you’ll be sweating.
Once you’re on the ground, the airport is pretty basic (as per the real world). The tarmac is nicely detailed, with edge markings, taxi lines and cracks. The markings are baked into textures, rather than generated through the AFCAD, and they disappear if you’re using anything less than P3D 4.5, so make sure your sim is up to date! There is the tower, and a single FBO that serves for both arrivals and departures. There’s a sign board on the outside and it has a veranda, but there’s no real interior to the building.
There are some low res animated people wandering about the airport. Beware: not all of them have read the manual on airside discipline! Three static aircraft are on the apron: Dash-7 in Berjaya Air livery and PA-32 Saratoga in brown and white. The Saratoga appears twice. Shadows under the aircraft are baked into the ground texture, and those are present even if the aircraft aren’t.
Away from the airport, high resolution photographic ground textures cover the entire island. Tree and building placement are accurate, covering their image on the textures, with minimal signs of spillage. From the air, the village, with its marina and piers looks very good, even close up. Obviously you can see that the buildings are low poly, but you can read the signs etc. Google Streetview is available in all the villages, and what you see in the sim is very much true to life.
All eight villages on the island are represented in detail.
Out to sea, extra textures have been applied around the coast. Meaning you can see the rocks and reefs extending away from the shore. It’s almost a shame we can’t go snorkelling in the sim! The climate is pretty consistent all year round, so there was no seasonal variation in textures.
At night, the airport is closed. There’s no instrument approach, the checkerboard is unlit, and the darkness is hard and made of granite. But the buildings are lit up, as are the villages along the coast, although once you see the lights you know it’s time to get onto the ground. When it’s truly dark, your only option is an 80-odd mile trek back to the mainland.
There are several monitor lizards wandering about the airport, and also other parts of the island. They show up in the sim with red AI tags, which also means they’ll show up in a traffic monitor, such as Plan-G. Makes them nice and easy to track down!
Of course, once you’ve flown around the island clockwise, flown around the island anticlockwise, flown over the peaks, along the spine, and done a few circuits (yes it is possible, you just have to land, turn around, and take off the other way. Fly crosswind and downwind for Runway 02, then a teardrop turn to rejoin downwind for Runway 20, base, and land. Simples!). Once you’ve done all that, you’ll want to go somewhere. The further islands in this archipelago are default and uninhabited, but you might still like to take a look – throw in some bad weather, it’s good navigation practice if nothing else. The nearest airport is WMKJ, Johor Bahru, 76nm to the south west. Singapore is a little further at 88nm. Head due west 147nm to Kuala Lumpur, or head east 130nm to Tarempa Island.
In some ways this can be considered as a standalone area in the sim. The island is surrounded by miles and miles of sea, which means we can crank the settings right up, with no loss of performance. My sim is set to max at 30fps, and it never dipped.
The 12 page PDF can be found in (P3Dv4)\PILOTS_Software\Tioman Island WMBT P3DV4\Manual. It gives details of optimum settings, shows the features of the scenery and provides an aerodrome chart.
|Intel Core i7-6700k @4.0GHz;|
|Gigabyte NVidia GTX 1080 Ti, 11GB, 1519/1633MHz;|
|Windows 10 Pro, (64bit); and|
|Lockheed Martin Prepar3D v220.127.116.1186.|