"Tiny Tinian"

Tinian Reborn

Those of us who were not "there" have a hard time putting things in perspective. For example, when people told me that the bombers took off over a cliff, my response was "what cliff?".

In order gain a better understanding of the environment, I have started a project to create a virtual Tinian Island as it existed in 1945. I am using the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, which actually has Tinian and Saipan islands in fairly decent detail. For those who were there, this is a pale comparison to what you saw and experienced. For those of us who were not, it may be the closest we get to being there.

Fixing the Island

The Microsoft version of Tinian (shown on the left) is not perfect. The green overlay is from a nautical map of the island. The Microsoft version of the island is misplaced by several hundred feet and does not include many of the island contours. In the north, the island is slightly too big. In the south, the harbor is completely missing.

The "new" Tinian (shown on the right) is a significant improvement. The island now conforms to the nautical map. Fixing the island took several steps:
1. Find and compile a better terrain mesh.
2. Move and improve the coastlines and roads
3. Modify the landclass and waterclass

The "old" Tinian Island The "new" Tinian Island
Constructing North Field

The typical flight simulator field is drawn on top of a flat surface. However, this version of North Field is laid directly on the terrain. This is much more time consuming, but gives a better representation of the field. For example, the field slopes upward from west to east. Certain parts of the field (including parking areas) are more elevated than others.

Taking off to the east. The view to the northeast. The control tower is in the center. The service center is in the background.

Taking off to the east. The view to the south. The parking area to the south slopes upwards from the field.

Taking off uphill. The view from the cockpit.

Approaching Tinian from the west.