Oslo-Gardermoen, ENGM airport is located 35 km north-northeast of Oslo and serves Norway as its major international airport as well as a hub for Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle. The airport has two runways; 01R/19R and 01L/19L both 3600 meters long. Oslo-Gardermoen also shares it's runways with the Norwegian Air Force.
The airport saw just over 18 million passengers pass through its facilities in 2009 making it the sixth busiest domestic airport in Europe.
The standard Aerosoft installer is used making the process straightforward and easy for everyone. You are required to answer a few questions, input some registration information and when it is done you will be ready to fly.
The installer will also create an Aerosoft program group and within it a Mega Airport Oslo-Gardermoen X sub group where you will have access to; Charts, ENGMTraffic, Manual and Scenery Switch.
The package comes with two PDF documents; a product manual and a charts manual.
The product manual is brief and has the usual information included with every Aerosoft product; a list of system requirements, how to install and uninstall the product, a brief description of the airport with some technical specs such as ICAO code and frequencies. The final few pages mention the "Scenery switch" tool and what it does and then their recommended scenery display settings. I will talk more about this in the next few paragraphs.
With the majority of airport sceneries, the developers provide a web link to access any pertinent charts. With Oslo they decided to include a charts manual.
Unfortunately, they only provide a partial set consisting of several pages of general airport operations information, an airport diagram and SID charts. There were no approach charts or STAR charts included in the package so I still found it necessary to do a search on the internet to find the ones that had not been included. The good news is they are easily obtained.
The first thing you will want to do is use the configuration utilities included with this scenery. With Oslo X you get two of them; a traffic configuration utility and a second one which they call the Scenery switch utility.
The ENGM X traffic utility will look familiar to those who have other Aerosoft airport sceneries. As you can see in the screenshot it is very straightforward and simple to use. You either enable or disable animated traffic on the surrounding roads, aprons or landside. It is via this utility you can also select DX10 preview mode.
The second configuration utility they've included is called the "Scenery Switch" utility. This is where you will make choices that will impact how your scenery looks. You will get to choose; the season displayed (this was added with the latest update), the tree density, if runway/taxiway lights will appear as 3D and if you want vehicles in the apron area.
I tried out the various configuration options available through both the traffic and scenery switch utilities and found that anything less than the "max" was too barren for my liking. The landscapes around Oslo are quite desolate to start with and to deprive the airport of any visual enhancements only made it seem more isolated.
The scenery is frame rate friendly so I would encourage users to try the airport with all the added features selected and work backwards from there.
The first thing I did was to take an overhead look at the airport scenery and do a comparison between the two. As I anticipated there was a huge difference. In the comparison you will also see that the coverage area of the Aerosoft scenery is not much greater than that of the FSX version.
The developers did a good job at recreating the airport and it falls into a category of being somewhere in the middle if you were to use a scale going from sparse to extremely detailed. This scenery is easy on the frame rates and is not what I consider to be a resource hog.
Moving around the airport I was very pleased with what I saw for the most part. There was lots of detailing in and around the parking stands and apron areas to reinforce the sense that this is a busy place. I found that they included everything you'd expect to find in an airport this size. The quality of the objects was quite good, everything appears to be high resolution and detailed. The one standout item would be the approach lighting; I thought they were remarkably well done.
The largest concentration of buildings is in the central area between the two runways. It is here that you have the main passenger terminal, parking stands, cargo area, airport admin buildings and control tower. Some buildings have that extra bit of detail that I feel makes them exceptionally good in this scenery.
Take for example the main passenger terminal, around the underside of the roof are supporting pillars and struts that extend out to the roofs edge, it is this type of detail that adds to the overall visual appeal of the product. Even though something like this is only visible at ground level I still feel that it is important for scenery developers to add these types of things.
Other examples similar to this can be seen throughout the entire scenery; the spiral stairs and perimeter railing on the large fuel tanks and the subtle variances in the colouring of the concrete walls of the concourses that extend out from the main terminal.
Even though I mentioned only a few of the more prominent structures, if you compare this product to the actual airport diagram you can see that they've included buildings in other areas such as the military terminal and general aviation buildings.
My only real criticism had to do with weathering. Overall I felt that the roof tops looked too clean; to have given them a more weathered look with some variations in coloring and shading would have been much more realistic.
The airport includes animated vehicle traffic on the roadways and airport aprons to add to the hustle and bustle you'd expect to find at an airport as busy as this one. The amount and variety was especially good in the apron areas where you can see a good mix of baggage carts, buses and mobile stairs.
The safegate docking system is used at certain gates at Oslo-Gardermoen airport and it's been modelled in this scenery release. The system uses a series of red, yellow and green lighting to indicate the aircraft's position relative to the final parking location. I found that they were pretty accurate in guiding me in. Including these was a nice feature.
To create the ground textures they use high resolution photo scenery and have included textures for all four seasons. This is where the scenery switch utility comes into play.
The only problem I have with using photo textures like this is that up close there sometimes appears to be a disconnect between the object and the ground if the objects aren't exactly lined up with the base scenery. I noticed this effect in some areas especially at lower flight levels.
Being a busy airport with lots of traffic, I was looking to see if the hard surfaces reflected that fact and they did. The results of the many landings left the tell tale signs of rubber marks in the touchdown zones and along the paths where aircraft routinely moved. The parking stands also showed signs of soiling from dirt and fluid spills. Painted markings were clear and accurate.
The northern location of this airport means that winters can be harsh with lots of snow. The winter ground scenery looked very good with a nice blanket of snow everywhere.
I also expected to see some evidence of snow around the edges of the runways, taxiways and aprons at the very least but there was none. The ground textures they use as the scenery base have the roads showing snow cover. I've seen a few other airports where they've added snow to the hard surface areas and found that it made a big difference in giving that extra touch of realism.
Night time lighting was excellent I thought. The apron areas and runway lighting were all very good. The lighting level was realistic and the approach and runway lighting was visible from a distance but not overpowering.
The airport is in a relatively flat and open area, so airport visibility is very good. I tried a number of different approaches and departures from the four runways and didn't have any issues with the use or accuracy of the navaids.
I recently read a comment in a forum from a flight simmer regarding the trend of developers to add more complexity to their airport sceneries with the downside of this being that we sometimes end up with a slideshow instead of a flight simulator. Oslo X strikes a nice balance between providing lots of detail and maintaining a nice fluid experience.
What I Like About Oslo X
What I Don't Like About Oslo X
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