I’ve taken on the task of reviewing several of the recently released Orbx sceneries. Having previously purchased some of their sceneries on my own, I welcomed this opportunity and looked forward to what lay ahead.
In this review, I grouped together three scenery packages; FTX US 2WA1 Diamond Point Airport, FTX US 1WA6 Fall City Airport and FTX US KCMW Cushman Meadows. All three of these are within the geographical area covered by another one of the Orbx sceneries; Pacific Northwest otherwise known as PNW.
In fact, it is stated in various locations that you must have the Pacific Northwest scenery installed to use these airports.
Installing the scenery was a simple process. To complete the installation, validation of the scenery is required. I chose to validate my installations using the online option. When doing this you will require 3 pieces of information; order number, order date and registration key.
No big surprise as many developers require this type of information when installing their products. The installer also adds the scenery to the FSX scenery library. All in all, a completely user friendly process. Installation for all three products was the same.
At the end of the scenery installation process you will have access to the sceneries customized control panel where you can set scenery specific options. Here is an example of one of them.
A quick word about FTX Central. It is from here that you can access the individual product control panels and manuals. Also, this is where you enable or disable the appropriate scenery areas. For installations the simple rule of thumb is to set the active area to that which the add-on is part of.
Each airport comes with its own PDF document. The layout and material covered in each is basically the same. They include installation guides, scenery library configurations, coverage areas, specific control panel information, recommended settings and support info. They are very informative and definitely worth taking the time to read and look over.
Both the manuals for 1WA6 and 2WA1 have a large notice predominantly displayed on page three giving warning that the Pacific Northwest region, if installed, must be patched to version 3 or higher. This is to ensure that the proper elevations are set for the airport.
The three airports in my review are all located in Washington State in the United States. They offer the GA pilot some pretty amazing and challenging airports. All of them are small airports but size has no correlation to entertainment value. They each offer a lot to see and are sure to keep you interested. I found that every time I flew to any one of them there was something else to discover, some little detail that I hadn’t caught on a previous visit.
The airports and surrounding areas have been greatly enhanced or have had a total makeover through the addition of accurate custom mesh, high resolution ground textures and custom autogen, objects, animations and sounds.
From a visual standpoint these have to be some of the most realistic looking environments I have had the pleasure of flying in. Several things stood out for me; the ground textures, the buildings and objects. In my opinion they are the best I have ever encountered in FSX.
Ground textures are created with high resolution textures, however they have also included 3D grasses and ground vegetation that give them a fullness that is unsurpassed.
The buildings and objects were the other standout for me because they all look so real. They are created from high resolution graphic images and so they show off every little detail. Even when you are right up close they are clear and the details are crisp and they just seem to pop out at you. The look of aging and weathering of the buildings is phenomenal!
Animations are an integral part of each one of these scenery packages. There are a number of different animation enhancements such as: Natureflow, Objectflow, Textureflow, and Peopleflow.
The names are self-explanatory and give you a pretty good idea of what they bring to the scenery. An individual product manual as well as the developer’s website lets you know which ones are part of the particular scenery add-on.
Sitting at the end of a runway just watching the trees and grasses sway in the wind is very cool. Or how about watching a group of people having a barbeque? If you go back during the winter you’ll see that they took the time to put the chairs up in anticipation of the cold weather.
Maybe you’d like to watch people as they walk around various buildings and vehicles or perhaps see a mechanic fixing an airplane. Each scenery add-on has animations that bring that particular airport to life. To further add to the feeling of being there, they’ve added many custom sounds with trigger points where appropriate if they are specific to a particular location or activity.
As jam packed as these airports are with high resolution graphics, textures, objects, animations and sounds, I am happy to report that I never had any issues with degraded performance. I did see some blurring of ground textures when I was at higher altitudes but nothing that was any more obvious than with stock scenery. I was really amazed by the outstanding performance given by each package.
Night time flying to any of these airports was especially challenging. Taking into account that they are not very well lit, they are small airports and they are surrounded by hills or rough terrain they are sure to put your piloting skills to the test. All aspects of night time lighting was well done and no surprise really considering the quality of the daytime graphics.
In the following sets of screenshots I’d like to showcase the individual airport packages. As I stated at the beginning of my review, all three are located in Washington State.
1WA6 Fall City
Fall City (1WA6) is a small private airfield that requires prior permission from airport management if you want to land. It consists of a single 3000ft asphalt runway with and hangar/workshop.
2WA1 Diamond Point
The Diamond Point add-on includes two airfields. The larger of the two is Diamond Point (2WA1), it is another small private airfield and just as with Fall City you must have permission prior to landing at the facility. The runway 11/29 is an asphalt runway at 2335ft. A unique feature of this airport is that it is on a bluff with an elevation of 262ft with drop offs at either end, this can generate downdrafts and turbulence causing problems for pilots. The second airfield is Olympic Field (WA45), it is also a private strip with a 2500ft turf runway and an adjacent water runway.
KCMW Cushman Meadows
The Cushman Meadows add on actually has three airfields/float ports. Cushman Meadows airfield (KCMW) has a single 3000ft asphalt runway. Located at the end of runway 18 is Lake Cushman float port (WA38) with its 2950 water runway and last is Bear Gulch on the northern tip of Lake Cushman, it has a single gravel runway 14/32 at 1300 ft.
Orbx continues to push the envelope with scenery creation. To describe these sceneries in a single phrase I’d say they were “a feast for the senses”. Whether you love great scenery or love a challenge there is definitely something in these airports for you.
You can’t go wrong with any of these three superb add-ons and so I highly recommend all of them.
What I Like About These 3 Sceneries
What I Don't Like About These 3 Sceneries
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