AVSIM Commercial Add-on Review

Rating Guide

Publisher: Lago/Georender/Richard Goldstein
Description:
An extremely detailed airfield with an abundance of features
Download Size:
31.9Mb
Format:
Executable Auto Install File
Simulation Type: FS2002
Standard or Pro
Reviewed by: Aidan Williams, AVSIM Associate Editor

Possible Commercial Rating Score: 1 to 5 stars with 5 stars being exceptional

Introduction

Its been a while since I have written a review here on AVSIM, and i must say its good to be back. Before my absence I had agreed to write the review on Emma Field. Even though the scenery has been available for quite a while, having already agreed to write the article I could hardly go back on my word. I am glad I didn't! If you are a veteran user of any of the previous Richard Goldstein/Georender scenery you will be impressed with what he and the crew at Lago have created this time.

Emma Field is located in Washington State close to Seattle. It began operations in the 1950's mainly for hunters and fisherman. It was closed in 1966 and re-opened again in 1982. It is owned by a chap called Fritz Deters. (more about Fritz later) Apart from the flying club at the field, it also hosts a glider club and parachute facility. Also operated in conjunction with Emma Field is small strip called Cushman field and a Seaplane base. I have previously written a review on Flying M Ranch and Ranger Creek which was also created by Richard and Lago, so I am no stranger to the standards that they strive to achieve.

Due to the nature of the package I have chosen to take a slightly different approach to the normal review, and have adopted a "light hearted" route in writing the review. Whereas there is a serious side to the scenery there is also a lot of fun involved. So, lets see what I thought about Emma Field.

Download and Installation

The download is available from the Lago web site. It is 31.9Mb in size, which although not impossible, could be off putting to those on slow internet connections. Although I only sport a 56k connection, I let it download overnight and had no dramas. Once you have received the installation code from Lago you are all set for installing the scenery.

As you run through the setup it is accompanied by background sounds effects. Once you have entered your details it will automatically locate where you have Flight Simulator and ask if you wish to install to that particular directory. Once the installation has completed you are ready to fire up your sim and take your inaugural flight at Emma Field.

Documentation

After you have installed the software, it will place a document in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format on your desktop called "Emma Field Manual" Everything you need to know about the scenery is documented in extreme detail. The document is 19 pages long and covers all aspects from installation to the special features that are incorporated within the package.

As with many products these days the manual is very in-depth and covers many of the features that are unique to the product. I would recommend you take a few minutes to read it, or even better print it out and have it beside you as you experiment with the various features. Mathijs Kok who is responsible for the documentation has taken a very light hearted approach to the descriptions detailing the various aspects of the scenery. It makes for some amusing reading at times and is a pleasant relief from some of the more technically orientated manuals that accompany add-ons these days!

Animation and Interaction

Now to what this review is all about! After you have started up your simulator, you can select Emma Field by either typing Emma Field in the "current location" or using the airport identifier "KEWL". Selecting the "starting position" box allows you a variety of start points. I chose Parking ramp 7 (GA) which positioned me just to the right of the main hanger on the field.

The first thing that strikes you when you appear on the field is the background noise. Chirping birds, a woodpecker and someone hammering in the background to be precise! After a panning around to take in the surroundings, an aircraft flying over head could be heard. As I panned around, it became apparent very quickly that the standards that I have become accustomed to from previous sceneries by Richard and Lago where very evident here at Emma Field.

Test System

Computer:
P4 2.8Ghz
Windows XP Pro
512 Mb DDR Ram
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128
SB Audigy 2
CH 3 Lever Yoke
CH Pro USB Pedals
GF Avionics
3x 17" monitors
Navigation:
FSFlightMax
Garmin 530

Flying Time:
Like last time...Too Much!

It is very worthwhile to just look around the field and watch the activity that is going on before starting your engine and taking off. There is so much going on that it is very easy to miss some of the features. Two things that catch the eye straight away are the birds flying around. Not only do they move through the air (as birds do!) their wings actually flap. The other is the activity with the Glider club. As you sit watching all that is going on, a vehicle drives down the glider strip with the cable tow tractor attached to the towing bracket. At the far end of the field it un-hitches the tractor unit and drives back to the glider operations area. Meanwhile, at the opposite end, another vehicle pulls up with glider trailer. Exiting from the vehicle, the two occupants proceed to unload and assemble the glider... yep, you can actually see them remove the glider, attach the wings and watch the elevators on the tail fold into position.. very cool animation.

Various makes and models of gliders being used at Emma Field.

Once the glider has been assembled, with the aid of the ground crew it is manoeuvred into position for take off. The cable tow tractor which I mentioned earlier comes into action and launches the glider into the air! As you watch the sequence you will notice the very steep angle that the glider is launched at. If you are unfamiliar with cable launches and gliders, I can vouch from first hand experience that it is exactly like depicted! Its a surreal experience and better than any roller-coaster!!

Interactive Cable Launch Animated Cable Launch Interactive Air-Tow

Not only can you opt for the cable launch, you can use the Air-tow option. Selecting to launch via air-tow puts you on the runway with the towing aircraft ahead of you. A series of beeps will sound culminating in a long beep at which point the aircraft will start to move. Once you are at your desired release point, hit the key combination and the cable will be released leaving you in the quiet tranquillity of un-powered flight. Another of the features incorporated into the package is the ability to see the thermals that are in the Emma Field vicinity. When activated, they appear as yellow and green areas within the simulator. Although they completely take away the visual aspect of the scenery, it should only be used as an aid to finding the thermals. It is very noticeable once you enter one of the thermal areas the effect it has on the glider. Having never used a glider in Fs2002 before, it opens a new avenue for you to explore. I am certainly going to do some more exploration of this discipline. Ok, I think that just about covers the glider aspect, lets move on and see what else Emma Field has to offer.

Emma Field Flying Club

The Emma Field flying club is a home away from home! Again there is so much on offer here. I come back to the scenery time and time again and find something else that I have previously missed. There are only a few buildings along the edge of the airstrip. The two most prominent being the large semi-circular hanger and the Clubhouse.

Fritz's Hanger The Club-House by Day...... and by night

On most occasions Fritz can be seen in the hanger beating dents out of a C172 door. (which you can hear quite well!!) Seems like it is in a poor state of repair due to the beating its taking and makes you wonder what condition the rest of the plane is in! The clubhouse is rather luxurious from the outside. Many an evening with barbecue sizzling and plenty of beer flowing have been enjoyed by regular and visiting pilots alike. As you can see in the picture at night the fence line is illuminated with coloured lights.. rather a nice touch I think. If you look at the centre picture of the clubhouse, you can see one of the two storks having just taken off from its perch on the chimney. It is advised that you keep an eye on any food you have!

It is clearly visible the amount of time and effort that has gone into creating these two particular buildings. Attention to detail is first class, and has become a trait that we know and expect from Richard. Other background activities are also on hand when the weather permits. When Fritz finally puts his hammer down, he can be seen out on the field keeping the grass in trim with his lawn mower. When the weather turns inclement the hanger doors will close. Also included in the package are 3 aircraft. A Zenith CH801 amphibian, a Standard Austria S glider and a Cosmo Trike! None of the aircraft have been designed or created by Lago, but very kindly included with permission of the original author.

Cushman Seaplane Base

If you take off from Emma Field and fly on a heading of 246 for about 5nm you will encounter Fritz's home. Known as Cushman Seaplane base, it is located on a large expanse of water with undulating hills all around it. The way it is depicted within the scenery of Fs2002 makes the mind wonder what it would be like to actually live there. Not only is this Fritz's home, but the location for the two sail boats owned by the club. As with the other animations in the package, the sailing operations are time and weather dependant. As already mentioned the attention to detail is again first class. The boat as it leaves the dock does so using only the Jib and then goes to full sail once it is clear!

Raising the sails and leaving the dock Full sail as the boat gets underway Cruising along the lake

Emma Field Air Operations

The package includes its own set of 6 AI aircraft. When the weather is within the limits for flying, you can see them take off and land between the hours of 7am and 7pm. Each of the aircraft is unique in its flying characteristics, randomly flying various circuits in and around the local area.

AI Aircraft taking off and landing.

If weather conditions deteriorate flying operations will stop. With the facilities available on the field, I am sure it does not cause too much of a concern for any pilot currently on the ground. The barbecue might not be alight, but the beer will almost certainly be flowing! Even if the weather hasn't deteriorated there will still be plenty of beer flowing and the barbecue will be alight. Make sure you read the manual if you intend to stay! There are strict rules with regards to Beer and Barbecue!!

AI Aircraft ground movements

When you are flying around the area in your own choice of aircraft, you will notice that the surrounding area for quite a considerable distance is of very high detail before blending in with the default scenery. When making your approach into Emma Field, yet another feature has been added. By enabling the approach or approach and hold feature, it will place on your screen the traffic pattern. The red shows the circuit, and the green the final approach. Quite handy for the less experienced pilot amongst us (and the experienced come to think of it).

Circuit and approach arrows Final on Rwy 36 Approach arrows on Rwy 36

Now Fritz is not just at the airfield as the boss! As I have already mentioned he manages to put his hand to most things. When he finds the time he will even pop out and guide you from parking to the runway. After take off, a quick circuit to give a quick wing waggle and its back to Seattle in time for the pub opening!

Guided out by Fritz Outbound to Seattle

A Suggested Route

For those of you who already have the Flying M Ranch/Ranger Creek scenery, flying between all three in a triangle makes for some spectacular flying. "As the crow flies" the route is just short of 150nm.

Route Plan for a scenic flight

Conclusion

Ok, so I have taken you through what the Emma Field package has to offer. The majority of reviews written are quite hard and fast when it comes to the content. Due to the nature of this product, I have been able to be quite a lot more relaxed in my attitude and allowed myself to bring to the forefront some of the more unusual features not normally found in FS2002 add-ons.

From a serious point of view, the package is extremely good. There are an abundance of features that truly bring to life elements of the simulator that until now I had never experienced. The detail as already mentioned is amazing. Not only the main features of the package, but right down to what most developers would not even think to include, let alone spend the time and effort in which they have been crafted here. The majority of the features are controlled via a drop down menu which sits on the main FS2002 taskbar.

I must point out that with all the features and animation within the package there has to be a downside. Frame rate. I think it goes without saying that this package can be a bit of an FPS monster when it comes to lower spec PC's. I am lucky to be in the position where I have a custom built extremely fast PC which can handle nearly all that FS2002 can throw at it. As good as I like to think my PC is, there are some times when the fps drops using this package.

(Reviewer's Postscript: After writing the Emma Field review, it was brought to my attention that other memebers of the team who helped create the scenery should be mentioned to give them the credit they rightly deserve. Lots of the features within the scenery package would not have been possible if it was not for the expertise of the following people: Jaaky Krant, Oliver Pabst, Maurizio M. Gavioli, Nick Schreger, Bert Groner, Rob de Vries, Duane Norrie, Johan Vroegop, Jorin Bonney, Matthew Bridger, Zoltan Hegedus, and Michael Grohe.)

Over all Emma Field has to be one of the best general aviation scenery packages that I have experienced so far.
It thoroughly deserves the 4 Stars that I have awarded. Well done to the whole team.

What I Like About Emma Field
  • Care and attention to detail
  • How it blends in with the surrounding default scenery
  • Superb Animation and Inter-action
  • The documentation
  • Within flying distance of previous Georender scenery

What I Don't Like About Emma Field
  • Impact on FPS

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