AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

Marshall Islands

Product Information

Publishers: Pacific Islands Simulations

Description: Photoreal scenery add-on.

Download Size:
450 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS9/FSX
Reviewed by: Peter Hayes AVSIM Staff Reviewer - November 11, 2011

Introduction

Pacific Island Simulations (PIS - developers of PNG/Raw Grit, etc) have done it again by recreating yet another Pacific paradise known as the Marshall Islands. In FSX default the Marshall Is are pretty rudimentary and PIS have added photoreal scenery to this enormous area.

Due to the geographical size of the Marshall’s, they have restricted themselves to include 8 airfields, even slicing off parts of the outer atolls in an attempt to keep file size down to a reasonable level.  As with all of their ‘Pacific’ software we get beautiful sandy beaches, crashing waves, abundant tropical trees, local vegetation, a plethora of custom objects, lots of background noise, animated animals and birds, etc.

Background (Courtesy Wikipedia, USA State Department)

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is an independent Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator.  They cover an area of about 70 square miles (comprising two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands) but are scattered over 750,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean.  The population is around 70,000 with some of the islands/atolls being uninhabited. 

The capital, Majuro (atoll) has a population of 30,000 and the other large settlement is Ebeye with a population of 12,000.  Majuro has the Islands international airport, Amata Kabua International airport and Ebeye is home to Kwajalein airport (not modeled) with the former being finely modeled by PIS.

Geographically the Marshall Islands lie about half way between Hawaii and Australia in the North Pacific Ocean. The climate is termed, ‘tropical’, with the wet season being from May to November. 

In all, there are 15 airports/airfields in the islands, 4 having paved runways and 11 having unpaved runways and the 8 modeled by PIS faithfully reproduce the surface and position of the fields.

The manual gives some interesting facts and figures about the islands as well as concise FSX details.

Installation and Documentation

Test System

Computer Specs

Intel i7 860, 8 GB DDR 1600 RAM, Windows 7 64-bit HP, nVidia GTX560TI 1GB, 280.26 Driver, nVidia Control Panel;
FSX SP1 + SP2 (Gold); 120GB SATA II OCZ Colossus SSD;
Saitek X52 + Pro Pedals,

No tweaks, all standard and no over-clocking.

Flight Test Time:

18.5 hours

Just click on the Marshall Islands.exe file and it installs in the FSX\PacSim\Marshall Islands folder approx 640Mb.  It activates itself in the scenery folder so after installation it is ready to go.  I did not notice any significant performance decrease on my system, and it ran extremely smoothly during testing.

A 9-page manual is provided which covers the basic areas of FSX operation, it is concise and so will take very little time to read and/or digest its contents.  The recommended FSX settings are quite high but you do get a richness that you would not otherwise see at lower settings.

These are the system requirements needed to run the PIS Marshall Islands:

  • OS supported: WinXP, Vista and Win7 32/64 bit platforms with medium to high-end graphic cards. Specific requirements include:
  • Flight Sim Level: Microsoft Flight Simulator X (SP1, SP2/Acceleration)
  • Computer: Pentium IV 2.6 GHz (2GHz Duo2Core Intel and above or equivalent advised)
  • RAM: 1 GB RAM and above recommended
  • Video Card: 256 Mb DirectX 9 graphics card (512 Mb or higher recommended)
  • Other: Word for Windows or Adobe Acrobat® Reader 6 minimal to read and print the manual.
  • HDD Disc Space: 500mb

The Scenery

PIS Marshall Islands covers 3 to 4 areas of the Marshall Islands of Tuvalu.  The default FSX scenery is fairly rudimentary to say the least in this area, and PIS Marshall Islands brings it to life with vivid vibrant detail as in their other titles in the tropics.  PIS model 8 airports/fields included in FSX.  These are:

  • Marshall Islands International (AKA Amata Kabua International) - PKMJ
  • Rongelap - PKRP
  • Utirik - 03N
  • Mejit - Q30
  • Kaben - PKBN
  • Maloelap - 3N1
  • Ine - N20
  • Tinak - N18

PIS have made an enormous number of improvements to the default scenery including:

  • Accurate terminal buildings;
  • Re-arranged airport terrain;
  • Custom runway and ground/tarmac textured polygons;
  • Custom vegetation and •3D grass
  • Upgraded terrain mesh reflecting actual contours of the islands and atolls;
  • Complete hand textured coloration of land and waterclass;
  • Night lighting and effects;
  • 15/30/60cm/pixel photoreal texture;
  • Animation;
  • Ambient sounds (birds, wave crash);
  • runway and apron/tarmac markings;
  • Wave crash effects notable at coral/reef outlines as in RW.
  • Radio navigation enhanced for instrument approaches (ILS/DME, VOR and NDB)
The PIS Marshall Islands showing the various enhanced features in this beautiful area of the North Pacific

Now the coastlines resemble the real world, the sand, and vegetation; land and sea are what you would expect to see on a tropical paradise, making quite a remarkable and amazing transformation.  The airfields have the correct buildings, runways, aprons, markings and items such as trees and grass and other features indicative of the local area.  There are flocks of birds wheeling around and I found that the scenery is at its best around dusk or dawn (as I did with Tuvalu).

At midday, the bright white coral sand gives off quite a glare as it does in real life, but at dusk or dawn, the colors are more muted and easier on the eye. There are AI ships, plane wrecks, and other animated objects.  Finding the animals and birds is a challenge, but they are there for you to seek out and enjoy.

Airports/Airfields (see manual for navigation details)

As I stated above, PIS modeled 8 MI airfields that now look more realistic, they are a significant increase in quality and realism over the default FSX airfields in the same area.  We will look at these in a little more detail (all distances and lengths are approximate).

Marshall Islands International (AKA Amata Kabua International) PKMJ (courtesy Wikipedia)

Marshall Islands International Airport (aka Amata Kabua International Airport), is located in W Rairok on the south side of Majuro Atoll.  The airport terminal comprises a series of single floor structures (small hangars), again nicely modeled in PIS MI.  There is one asphalt runway 07/25 which is about 8,000’ long capable of landing most modern mid-size jets, (e.g., Boeing 737, Boeing 727 plus a Boeing 767) and it is capable of handling all propeller driven aircraft, turboprops, and business jets.

Various views of PKMJ showing the various aspects of this busy airport.

Rongelap - PKRP

Rongelap Airport is a public use airstrip on Rongelap Atoll, it has a single asphalt runway 10/28 around 4,000’ long, it is around 450 miles from PKMJ.

Approaches to PKRP

Utirik - 03N

Single unpaved runway 07/25, 2,400’ long located on Utirik Island in Utirik Atoll, being 300 miles from PKMJ.

Utirik from the air

Mejit - Q30

Located on Mejit island, comprising a single unpaved runway 07/25, 3,000’ long being 220 miles from PKMJ

Mejit

Kaben - PKBN

Single asphalt runway 07/25, 4,100’ long located on Kaben or Kaven island in the Maloelap Atoll, , being 250 miles from PKMJ.

PKBN views

Maloelap - 3N1

Single unpaved runway 04/22, 3,500’ long located on Taroa Island in Maloelap Atoll, being 105 miles from PKMJ.

d-shaped

Ine - N20

Single unpaved runway 08/26, 2,450’ long located on in the village of Ine on Arno Atoll, being 40/45 miles from PKMJ.

N20 out in the ocean this is where Google Earth shows it and this was confirmed by Graham of PIS.  The picture on the right is the FSX default N20.  It’s a mystery

Tinak - N18

Single unpaved runway 05/23, 2,850’ long located in the village of Tinak on Arno Atoll, being 40/45 miles from PKMJ

Tinak and Arno Atoll

The Vegetation

Lush, tropical and extremely dense springs to mind, in other words typical of a tropical bush region. (See pictures above).

The Boats and other AI traffic

There are boats and ships everywhere; liners, cargo ships, small cruisers, yachts, etc, They are too numerous to count and see in this brief visit.  There are also heaps of vehicles, buildings, and other objects (many animated) in this fascinating scenery.

Various AI objects spotted by the reviewer

Sounds

Nice custom background sounds, being mainly the tropical birds, and crashing waves.

Summary / Closing Remarks

This is a quality add-on for FSX, and my brief review just doesn’t do the whole package justice. I saw less than 10% of all the “eye candy” contained in this package, and you could spend a lot of time exploring the area.  Every time that I flew, I saw something new. 

The airfields, etc are well represented and are great to fly in and out of, and they make for great VFR flights.  This is definitely a VFR package and I used the slowest aircraft in FSX to experience the various sights and sounds. 

It definitely complements the other PIS scenery ie Papua New Guinea aka PIS - Raw Grit: PNG bush pilot & extreme bush trekker bundle and Tuvalu. 

The Pacific is not well done in FSX and these scenery add-ons from PIS enhance the default scenery particularly with regards to accuracy and detail.  It is one of those areas like PNG and Tuvalu that you will keep re-visiting them, especially when it is cold outside.  Checkout the great screenshots.

 

What I Like About The Marshall Islands

  • Vivid colors
  • Accuracy
  • VFM

 

What I Don't Like About The Marshall Islands

  • Getting my feet wet at N20.

 

Printing

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Marshall Islands

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