AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

YCDA Caloundra,
YCNK Cessnock,
YMAV Avalon,
YWAV Warnervale

Product Information

Publishers:  Orbx FTX

Description: Australian scenery add-on.

Download Size:
400 - 500MB each

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Jason McKee AVSIM Staff Reviewer - January 30, 2010

Introduction

Most of you by now will be aware of the outstanding products that Orbx have produced, and if you don’t what rock have you been hiding under? Orbx have focused on Australia to start with, but they are branching out to other parts of the world, With USA’s Pacific Northwest next in line for the Orbx treatment.

For those of you not familiar with the Orbx products, they comprise of four different areas of Australia and specific airports which are being added all the time. The four specific areas cover the ground texture and autogen for FSX, and the airports focus on the airports and their surrounds. I will be covering four of Orbx’s latest released airports.

Installation and Documentation

Test System

Intel 920 I7 Quad Core
3Gig 1333 Ram
ATI HD4800 1Gb
Saitek Pro Yoke and 2
throttle quadrants
Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
Windows 7 7100RC

Flying Time:
4 hours at each airport

Orbx have used a rather unobtrusive copy protection system that helps to minimize piracy without being too much of a pain for the user. When you purchase the product, you get the download links for the installer and an email which has your registration details. When the installer has finished downloading, it is a simple matter of running the installer, it will check the download file, and start the installation process.

As you work your way through the various screens you will be asked to enter the registration details included in your email, this is only time you will be asked for these when installing, and as long as the details are correct the installer will continue and install the product. I have Flight Sim installed in a different location to the default, and the Orbx installer found the non default location without any prompting from me.

Once installed you will have the configuration panel for the airport and the manual installed on your desktop. If you have purchased the regions (Red, Blue, Gold, Yellow, all highly recommend) and installed the service pack 3, you will have the orb control panel, through this you can run the airport configuration and view the manual.

The manual includes a brief history of the airport, some tips on settings and usage to get the best performance out of your computer and airport.

Also included with Cessnock is the Orbx Aero utility; this is a little utility that changes the texture options at airports for all of FSX. I won’t go any further into this as James Culleton’s Tamworth Review covers this very well.

YCDR Caloundra

Caloundra airport is located on the east coast of Australia, about an hour’s drive from Brisbane, South East Queensland. Caloundra airport is a small GA field which has a thriving aero motive industry based on the airport.

On the numbers at Caloundra, runway looks like this in real life The surrounds of the airport is modeled very well
Custom autogen and water masking are very well done Roads, canals and bushland blend well The two runways of Caloundra Airport which is well surrounded by bush and buildings
The Parking area and Local Business that work on the airport The grass is very well done, with tufts of long grass The Caloundra area as seen from a high, here you can see the custom water blending very well, the scenery blends very well with Orbx Gold

Included is the full town of Caloundra, which having done lots of deliveries in the town with my real world job, I can attest it is spot on. The airport ground texture is rendered in 15/60cm per pixel, also included is a GA traffic file which adds some nice local traffic. And to top it off there is 120kms of photo real ground texture, water mapping and a sound pack.

Some of the local traffic The apron looks like a well used More of the local traffic
Custom lighting on the airport Lighting looking over Caloundra even with traffic lights
Airport lighting makes it easy to see from afar On approach with the runway looking good The ground lighting has light holders included, no more lights just floating in thin air

YCNK Cessnock

Cessnock is situated in the Central Coast of New South Wales a short flight to Warnervale and Aeropelican. This airport covers 120sq km of photo real ground work at 60cm/pixel it also includes custom sounds of the township of Cessnock.

On runway 35, showing the grape vines and airport buildings
Looking towards the north with the apron and airport buildings Vineyards beside the runway and airport, notice how the 3d vines blend into the scenery, these vines can be disabled if they tax your system to much Overhead view showing the airport and surrounds
Looking towards the township of Cessnock The airport as seen on approach, the photo real ground is evident, along with some balloons floating on the breeze Is it just me or does the end of the runway look like it has had a lot of traffic on the dirt?
The airport buildings fit well, and look like they had been standing for some time Maintenance hanger with a rather forlorn looking aircraft in need of some love Night lighting is well restrained and fits well

YMAV Avalon

Avalon is set in Melbourne, Victoria, and is Melbourne’s second major passenger airport. It is also home to Qantas’s secondary training and maintenance base. Avalon air show is held at this airport every two years, and is the major event for Australia; this air show attracts visiting aircraft from around the world. This airport includes 30sq km of photo real ground texture.

Avalon is a spread out airport. With long taxiways and hangers along way away from the main runway The hangers are very well modeled with clutter and vehicles spread around them The car park and smallish terminal building, you can turn the cars off in the car parks if your PC cannot handle them
Very barren land surrounds the airport Aerial view of the airport and surrounds Jetstar is one of the airlines using the airport
On the runway with the lights shining Overview of the custom airport lights, with the terminal in the distance The terminals and hangers have custom lighting

Avalon Air show mode is included in this product, you activate the air show mode by using the control panel, and this must be done before FSX is running. Once you have activated the air show mode, the airport will be depicted as it would be with an air show in progress.

This is the Avalon control panel, with this you can turn on and off the air show mode, plus other performance options
The air show mode active adds the tents marquees and buildings of the air show Another view showing the cars in the car park (ok open field)

YWAV Warnervale

Warnervale airport is locates in native bush land on the central coast of New South Wales and is within a short flight of Aeropelican, Cessnock and Coffs Harbour.

The main Runway at Warnervale, with the weeds doing their best to take the runway back You do not want an engine failure on take off here, there are a lot of trees!! View of the airport and surrounding businesses, including the Linfox distribution buildings
The Town is nestled in the bush along with the airport Warnervale airport as on approach, the runway is very well blended with the ground The club house has a coke machine for after that long hot flight in. Little details add a lot to the feeling of being at the actual airport
For a small airport the lighting is well done, but it would be a big challenge on a moonless night A closer look at the lighting of the airport Even the windsock is lit

The airport includes 57sq km of photo real ground textures sampled at 15/30/60cm/pixel, it also has its own traffic that uses the airport, the local township of Wyong and VFR landmarks to aid navigation in the area. It also has custom night lighting for the airport.

Summary / Closing Remarks

It is hard to write words to describe scenery products, I feel that pictures do much more to portray the product; this is why this review is light on words. One thing I will say is that these airports really do need to have the Orbx base packs installed to get the best out of the entire area, and these pictures are taken with the SP3 DVD (which contains all the base packs) installed.

It is hard to find anything negative to say about these airports as everything is well placed, they look accurate and gives you a real feel of being there.

 

What I Like About The Airports

  • Accurate, very realistic and give you a great feeling of being there
  • Little or no impact on frame rates
  • A lot of customization is available to get the best out of the airports for your PC.

 

What I Don't Like About The Airports

  • Still trying to find something negative! No luck.

 

Printing

If you wish to print this review or read it offline at your leisure,  right click on the link below, and select "save as"

YCDA, YCNK, YMAV, YWAV

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Comments?

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