AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

Cleveland X

Product Information

Publishers: Aerosoft

Description: Autogen, custom buildings, roads and photorealistic terrain for the city of Cleveland.

Download Size:
546 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Allen Lavigne AVSIM Staff Reviewer - August 13, 2011

INTRODUCTION:

Cleveland. Where is that city? Like most readers, I do not come from that area of the world so my mind told me geographical fantasies about a large place far inland mid-western US or thereabouts. Wrong. It is one of two major lakefront cities along Lake Erie, south-east of Detroit.

Aerosoft has a Google link on their product page which I show you below. One is the actual size for the coverage of the product and the other is zoomed out more to give you an idea of just where in the great lakes system it is.

Real Cleveland Skyline
The Google link from Aerosoft
Zoomed out

At 546 MB this seventh in a series of US Cities that Aerosoft makes may not be the largest, but it may very well be the most useful for flight simmers since it boasts improvements to three airports with high res ground images and mesh, as well as four heliports. Thousands of autogen and hundreds of buildings cover the city and a few local islands. I will not try to list all the enhancements myself so I've copied over their list of features:

Test System

Computer Specs

Windows 7,  64-bit dualboot VISTA64
Q6600 @3.4G  WC
6G RAM  800MHz
BFG GTX260  896MB  max running 1920x1200x32      
UTX, FEX, ASE, FSGenesis

Flight Test Time:

4 hours

Features (from Aerosoft's product page):

  • Aerial image coverage with up to 15cm/pix resolution (there is a Google file available from the)
  • Bonus: Complete island hopping scenery covering the US Lake Erie Islands!
  • More than 640 major buildings included
  • 45,935 autogen objects placed realistically
  • Highly detailed and customized mesh terrain
  • Many detailed bridges with traffic crossing the Cuyahoga River 2 crossing a valley along the Cleveland-Hopkins Rwy 10 approach
  • 4 heliports in good detail
  • Major airports in and around the city as well as the islands are covered with new high res ground images with customized mesh terrain (no new building structures added):
  1. Burke Lakefront
  2. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
  3. Cuyahoga County Airport
  4. Kelley’s Island
  5. Put-In-Bay
  6. Middle Bass Island
  7. Middle Bass Island East Point
  8. Rattlesnake Island
  9. North Bass Island
  • Sound effects like downtown and highway traffic and animated gulls
  • Animated ship traffic and ferries between the islands
  • Traffic on most major roads
  • And another small bonus: Perry Nuclear Power Plant with Helipad and animated smoke that turns in wind direction
  • Low price, very good value for money (less than 20 US at time of review editing)

From the 16 page manual I also copied over a list of the "photo-under-layered" airports in the package:

- KBKL – Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport
- KCLE – Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
- KCGF – Cuyahoga County Airport
- 3W2 – Put-In-Bay Airport
- 89D – Kelley’s Land Field Airport
- 3T7 – Middle Bass Island Airport
- 3W9 – Middle Bass East Point
- 58OH - Rattlesnake Island
- 3X5 – North Bass Isla

INSTALLATION:

Somewhat different form earlier products, there is a launcher, which handles the online activation requiring entry of your email address used to purchase the product and the associated product key. It also manages all scenery files (I believe not the older versions), and the tree season tool. There was the usual installer before the loading of the launcher though, making it seem like you are activating your product twice, which is not the case. Be aware but not worried.

Online activation
Tree Tool
Shop page
Forum page

The new launcher also has pages for shopping at Aerosoft, and for their forums.  There is also a 16 page manual, available the usual way from the program menu, it can also now be opened from the launcher once the scenery product you wish to deal with has been selected.

Program Menu

The entire product only took up 614 MB of HD space. Charts are linked to Flightaware.com pages (free registration) clickable directly from the manual. I am not reproducing any of these pages here to avoid any infringements… but you can check out the hyperlinks to see it for yourselves. From what I see it is exhaustively complete and very easily accessed. Some airfields are linked to skyvector.com, and another called airnav.com (this one is down). These help increase the immersion and game realism.

Access to manual
Contents

The recommended settings are unusually high and optimistic, with both scenery sliders fully to the right but with ground shadows off.

Be aware that this is recommended to get the most from the scenery and blocks of buildings, and will not necessarily result in equal fluidity on all systems.

THE ISLANDS:

I approached the Cleveland area from the east since I am inbound from Toronto City Center, and I made it a point to visit the islands first. The relatively isolated scenery enhancements should provide for the best performance.

Middle Bass
Put In Bay
Departure view
Overview

As is obvious from the above snapshots, the photoreal texturing works real fine with high frame rates for my mediocre system. Being a small twin virtual pilot, I am biased towards these types of islands with their relative isolation and high frame rates.

THE AIRPORTS:

There are three regular airports bordering or within the coverage area, and seven airfields. All of the major airports have photo enhanced underlay without much changed in the generic buildings except for improved placement.

Flight between KBKL and KCLE
KCGF Cuyahoga
Approaches to KBKL Burke Lakefront Airport (+UTX)
Top View of Burke
Tarmac view at Burke
Approach to KCLE
KCLE Hopkins Overview

There are four helipads, three of which are pictured below.

Helipads on Map View
Steel Mill Helipad
Lutheran Medical Center
St. Vincent Charity Hospital

The only difficulty I had was getting a helicopter to be placed on top of the Lutheran Medical Center using map view, but I did manage to have it placed safely on the roof top using the FSX flight planner. I could not find the fourth helipad; it is not listed in airports or in the map view.

THE CITY of CLEVELAND:

The first four snapshots from 56000 feet demonstrate what to expect in coverage differences from a standpoint of raw FSX or with UTX installed.

FSX defaults
Cleveland -X with FSX defaults
UTX(only)
Cleveland-X within UTX
Stadium and Downtown views

An improvement that includes 640 buildings must certainly be worth the very low purchase price. I've taken some random snapshots in and about the city to give you some idea of the extent of workmanship involved.

SUMMARY/CLOSING REMARKS:

As is the case with all Aerosoft products, this scenery package maintains a high standard that few if any can duplicate. The amount of work involved is enormous considering the small asking price. This is value. With 3 major airports improved with underlying photo terrain, realism to your approaches is enhanced even without the accurate building reproductions. Addition of the islands adds more fun for exploring, with great airfields to use as small airplane bases.

With Toronto, Chicago and Detroit default enhanced airports nearby, there is connectivity galore.  Like I've always said, FSX is great as long as both departure and arrival airports have scenery enhancements.

 

What I Like About Cleveland X

  • 3 photoreal terrain airport improvements
  • small airfields on nearby islands
  • photoreal terrain for islands
  • Downtown Cleveland looks great
  • Heliport additions

 

What I Don't Like About Cleveland X

  • close-up building textures are of lesser quality

 

Printing

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Cleveland X

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