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Scenery Reviews

This Page was last updated: Sunday April 1, 2012

 

Scenery Sets

  • LHDC, Debrecen International Airport (April 1, 2012) Staff reviewer Drew Sikora travels to Hungary to freely fly into LHSimulations LHDC, Debrecen International Airport which has had quite a history, switching roles many times from civil airfield to military airfield and back again since its founding back in 1930. "The developers had full access to the airport from the management staff and they used it very well. Checking the web for reference images to compare with the sim I almost didn't really care as everything looks so good you're instantly convinced that that's the way it has to look in real life." "When we move outside of the airport the most obvious scenery attraction is the large city of Debrecen right next door, which is all default scenery, however there's much more to see in the immediate surroundings. For the most part the airport does a great job of blending into the default textures surrounding it. If you really want to be impressed bring the sun lower towards the horizon and watch the airport light up beautifully." "This scenery, and in fact the entire current lineup offered by the LHSim group, is easily the best bang for the buck you could ever ask for being that it's completely free. If you never had an excuse to fly into Hungary before I guarantee you do now."

  • Maastricht X (March 17, 2012) Staff reviewer Daniel Martinez flies to Holland to see what's holding up the deilvery of his packages at Aerosoft's Maastricht X. "Maastricht Aachen Airport (IATA: MST, ICAO: EHBK) is a small regional airport located in the town of Beek, in the southwestern part of the Netherlands, near the Belgium border. The airport primarily handles cargo however, it processes a number of passengers each year as well." "Maastricht Aachen is a relatively small regional airport so the terminal area is not overly large. The first thing you notice is the incredible textures on the models. Given the airport’s small size, you will not find any fancy, moving jetways. The area is a hive of buildings and hangars scattered all around the airport proper. If we move to the other side of the airport we’ll find more cargo, maintenance areas, and flying schools. Just because we move away from the terminal area doesn’t mean Aerosoft skimps on the details. It’s always a treat when developers add scenery outside the main airport and I’m happy to say that is the case with Maastricht X." "This is another in an incredibly long line of great products from Aerosoft. Aerosoft goes out of their way to provide comprehensive scenery so the product isn’t limited to what is inside the airport fence. If you normally fly around the Dutch countryside or just want to try out a fantastic title, I highly recommend you purchase Maastricht X."

  • SAEZ Buenos Aires and SVMI Caracus International Airports (March 10, 2012) Staff reviewer Daniel Martinex heads to South America to do some touch and goes at BluePrint Simulations' SAEZ Buenos Aires and SVMI Caracus International Airports. "I love getting two sceneries for the price of one." "SAEZ has recently undergone a major renovation with the addition of a new terminal building. The models appear to be in the correct place and most major buildings are represented. The airport “flies” well with both AI and user aircraft. The textures are serviceable if a bit on the plain side." "Despite its three runways, SVMI is a small and compact airport. The main terminal area is smartly-built and nicely modeled. There is quite a bit of detail when it comes the modeling. Despite being a smaller airport, there is no lack of custom buildings included in the scenery." "I think BluePrint has achieved what they set out to do; which is to create airport sceneries that are accurate in layout and operations but short on some of the eye candy."

  • YPQM Port MacQuarie/YMEN Essondon Airports (March 7, 2012) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins sums up his Australian tour with Orbx/Full Terrain's YPQM Port MacQuarie Airport and YMEN Essenden Airport. "Port Macquarie Airport; ICAO: YPMQ is a small regional airport located 5 km from Port Macquarie which is on the east coast of Australia in New South Wales. Essendon Airport, ICAO: YMEN is located in Essendon which is a northern suburb of Melbourne Australia." "Having flown to other airports from the Orbx group I was definitely looking forward to my time with these two airports and it didn’t take long to see that these were going to be two more exceptional sceneries. ORBX FTX regional sceneries for Australia are not required for either one of these airports however you will miss out on certain features and enhancements if you don’t have them. In my setup I have the appropriate Australian regions installed so the airports blended in very well with their adjacent landscapes." "The buildings at these two airports definitely caught my attention. They have incorporated all of the elements that I believe are important when it comes to creating realistic looking buildings. Lots of details, high quality images, multi-tone colouring and the precise placement of the buildings on the base ground textures. Both sceneries offer enhanced ground rendering; Port MacQuarie Airport is done at 15 cm with the remainder of the coverage area at 60 cm. Essendon Airport is rendered at an even more impressive 7 cm. It is also the first Orbx scenery add-on to be done entirely at this high resolution." "These are both wonderful airports and just like with other Orbx add-ons, they continue to push the envelope of scenery creation in FSX. With the extreme amount of detailing and now the inclusion of such enhancements as their Peopleflow and Textureflow animations they are on the cutting edge of scenery design."

  • Santiago Cibao International Airport (February 4, 2012) Staff reviewer Daniel Martinez heads to the Dominican Republic to check out TropicalSim's Santiago Cibao International Airport. "One of the main carriers for the airport is tiny Aerolíneas Mas, which currently operates five aircraft within the Dominican Republic. You will also find JetBlue, American, and Delta Airlines with daily arrivals and departures throughout the Caribbean and the Americas." "TropicalSim does a very nice job with their rendition of this terminal. There is a lot of intricate detail such as railings, awnings, and lights which really completes the area. You will also find the usual plethora of airport items such as baggage carts, trucks, and people that give life to Cibao. There are no static aircraft included with this package so you may find the ramps a little empty." "Overall, I was very pleased with this scenery add-on from TropicalSim. The airport looks very good and it’s great to see these smaller airports get the love they so richly deserve."

  • Antarctica X (February 3, 2012) Staff reviewer Daniel Martinez heads south, but not to warner climbs. He's heading so far south that eventually he'll be heading north with Aerosoft's Antarctica X. "Antarctica. Cold. Barren. Desolate…. Well, it’s still cold but thanks to Aerosoft the continent is hardly barren or desolate anymore. Okay, it is pretty barren." "The whole of the continent has been modeled and it is massive, especially in terms of an FSX add-on. Aerosoft uses a customized landclass in combination with Landsat satellite imagery and high definition terrain mesh to create a very realistic landscape. They claim to have used many different geographical databases in the creation of this product and that a more accurate depiction of the scenery does not exist, even in government circles. There are scores of research stations on the continent, from different countries, and many of these have been modeled in the package. Seven of these stations are listed as highly detailed." "Antarctica X is beautifully rendered in every facet. The VFR flying experience is challenging and very different from other available options. The Antarctic continent is a very remote, distant land and even though the scenery does not change much, this package offers so much for the flight simulator enthusiast."

  • Tre Cime (January 21, 2012) New staff reviewer Daniel Martinez heads to Italy to fly around Real Earth's Dolomiti X Tre Cime. "The Tre Cime di Lavaredo are three peaks in the Dolomite region of the Alps and are named (in Italian and German, respectively): Cima Piccola/Kleine Zinne ("little peak"), Cima Grande/Große Zinne ("big peak"), and Cima Ovest/Westliche Zinne ("western peak")." "The Tre Cime mountain scenery was created as a very large 3D object as opposed to the usual landclass and customized mesh method. The result is breathtaking and very realistic. My wife saw one of the screenshots and asked if it was a photograph. The Tre Cime scenery is very well done and I highly recommend checking it out if you fly through the Italian Alps or just like some great VFR. The modelers have really set the bar with realism by creating the peaks using a 3D object."

  • FTX NA Gold USA - Central Rockies (January 11, 2012) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins continues his look at Orbx's products. This time it's FTX NA Gold USA - Central Rockies. "This is one massive scenery add-on, it covers approximately 180,000 sq mi or 466,000 sq km and spans 5 states; Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. This release builds upon other regions previously released and fits seamlessly expanding the overall coverage area with more to come in the future." "The fantastic quality of the visuals has everything to do with the mesh, landclass, graphic textures and autogen that are used throughout. All of these elements work together to create the very picturesque and realistic world you find yourself immersed in. Orbx's ability to recreate all of the diverse natural landscapes so well is an amazing feat." "The number of airfields is staggering, they state 450+ and they are enhanced; this means that they’ve been given make overs and include better looking buildings than what you find in FSX and accurately placed runways and taxiways. There is definitely no shortage of airfields and they range in size from the simplest grass strip in the middle of nowhere to multi-runway airports." "If you’re any kind of scenery junkie and crave the best, you won’t want to miss this one."

  • Liverpool Xtreme (January 6, 2012) Staff reviewer Daniel Martinez drops into the hometown of the Fab 4 to look at UK2000 Scenery's Liverpool Xtreme. "This small airport is home to budget airlines Ryanair and Easy Jet. Just over 5 million people came through its doors, making John Lennon Airport the 10th busiest in the United Kingdom." "The airport itself is relatively small, and the scenery only covers the airport proper. The background looks great either from far away or close up, with its high-resolution 25cm base image. The terminal area is very detailed with nice, sharp textures. This being a smaller airport, you only have the one terminal area but UK2000 has certainly done it justice." "The high resolution textures, great animations, and overall attention to detail makes Liverpool Xtreme a winner."

  • Rotterdam X (January 2, 2012) Staff reviewer Drew Sikora heads to Holland to fly in and out of Aerosoft's Rotterdam X. "This scenery has been done with great attention to detail according to the most up to date ideas on making scenery for FSX. It is very good looking and it is also frame rate friendly." "Building and object textures are all very well done and look great even up close. Building textures are also enhanced with reflective and environment mapping, which means you'll see the sun shining off them and some surfaces will not just reflect light but also appear to reflect images of the sky and surrounding buildings. A lot of effort was put into the surrounding airport scenery." "The ground textures around the airport are 40cm aerial images, which is a better source of imagery than satellite photos, and the immediate airport area has even higher texture resolution although the exact definition is not specified. The apron and taxiway textures at the airport itself are all well done and accurately placed when comparing them to aerial images." "This is a solid scenery addition worthy of inclusion in the library of anyone flying around Europe or looking for a reason to do so. Not only do you have the immediate airport environment to enjoy upon arrival or departure, but there is some exploring to be done in the surrounding area."

  • Mega Airport Zurich 2012 (December 21, 2011) Staff reviewer Aaron Graham travels to Switzerland to explore Aerosoft's Mega Airport Zurich 2012. "Zurich airport is located in the capital of Switzerland. Zurich airport is the hub to the countries national carrier, Swissair and Edelweiss." "The ground textures are of high resolution. They appear crisp and clear. All the taxiways and apron textures are concrete. All of the apron and taxi textures had the correct markings according to real world images. This add-on scenery comes with hundreds of buildings and miscellaneous objects. Just about every building that is there in the real world is in the simulated version of this airport. The airport contains different textures for each season. I found that the seasonal textures were realistic. In the winter the ground is covered in a layer of snow and in the summer the grass was lush and green." "Aerosoft's Mega Airport Zurich 2012 is a nice rendering of Switzerland’s main airport."

  • Enhanced Island of Oahu (December 15, 2011) Staff reviewer Ted Gold looks at a revitalized Oahu with RealScenery's Enhanced Island of Oahu for X-Plane. "Oahu seems to be a great choice for a scenery enhancement aimed towards pleasurable VFR flight and judging from the number of real-world flight tour companies running on the island the place must look great from the air. With diverse terrain, great weather, and being flight-time friendly in terms of getting around quickly in an X-Plane GA aircraft, the folks at RealScenery may be on to something here." "This is a spectacular scenery package for X-Plane. For anyone who enjoys flying VFR (or wants to learn to do so in a beautiful environment), this will add immersion to your sim flights with easily identified roads to follow, accurate terrain enhancement and placement, and improved night lighting for flight." "RealScenery have done a terrific job here. If you are looking to try photoreal scenery for the first time or love the thought of flying around Oahu and honing those VFR skills in a compact yet gorgeous flying environment, you will not go wrong here."

  • 2WA1 Diamond Point, 1WA6 Fall City, KCMW Cushman Meadows (December 8, 2011) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins submits part 1 of his multi-part review of Orbx/FTX sceneries. He starts off with a triple review of 2WA1 Diamond Point, 1WA6 Fall City and KCMW Cushman Meadows. "All three of these are within the geographical area covered by another one of the Orbx sceneries; Pacific Northwest." "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!" "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."

  • Tonga Domestic and Fua'Amotu International NFTF V2 (December 6, 2011) Staff reviewer Peter Hayes looks at a collection of islands in the South Pacific with Pacific Islands Simulations' Tonga Domestic and Fua'Amotu International NFTF V2. "Tonga domestic gives us photoreal coverage of three Tongan island groups, Niuas, Ha'apai, and Vava'u (there are around 176 in the Kingdom) and basically 3 of the major domestic airfields on those islands. The Fua'Amotu neternational NFTF Airport scenery covers yet another island group Tongatapu (the main Tongan Island) with a fantastically detailed Fua’amotu International Airport (NFTF)." "Now the coastlines resemble the real world, the sand, vegetation; land and sea are what you would expect to see on a tropical paradise, quite a remarkable and amazing transformation, with white coral sands that are blindingly white during the day.. The airfields have the correct buildings, runways, aprons, markings and items such as trees and grass and other features indicative of the local area."

  • London City Xtreme (November 23, 2011) Staff reviewer Aaron Graham heads to the capital city of his native England to check our UK2000's London City Xtreme. "London City Airport (IATA: LCY, ICAO: EGLC) is a single-runway airport. It principally serves the financial district of London and is located on a former Docklands site, 6 NM (11 km; 6.9 mi) east of the City of London, opposite the London Regatta Centre, in the London Borough of Newham in east London." "My initial impressions were wow! This scenery is just amazing compared to the default scenery. It is even better than Aerosoft’s London City included in London X! The detail in this scenery is immense. The area around the airport has also been created in stunning detail. The time the developers put into making this scenery is unimaginable! Everything about the scenery oozes quality." "No matter which way you look at it, London City Xtreme is utterly brilliant. If you fly regularly into this airport it is a must have. If you want a challenge, this is an airport for you. I would not hesitate recommending this title."

  • Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly (November 13, 2011) Contributing reviewer Ray Marshall heads to the UK and the English channel area to look at Earth Simulations Ltd's VFR Photoreal Scenery of the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly with a screenshot laden, in-depth review. "Earth Simulations has decided to zero in on smallish islands and island chains to show off their extreme talents at building scenery and animations for flight simulation. Earth Simulations is out there on the leading edge with packages and services for Prepar3d, X Plane, ESP, Openflight and FSX simulators." "The Channel Isles are a stunning subject for our debut product and perfectly suited to show off a new era in simulation technology. Included are Alderney, Guernsey Herm & Sark, and Jersey (plus many other smaller Islands and offshore features within the channel Isle Boundaries). Explore wonderfully rugged coastlines full of beautiful shallows and fine detail. Fly in any weather, at any time of day and in any season you wish. Because the scenery is configured with a full set of seasonal and night time textures you will never lose that all important immersion that you are seeking from a scenery Package." "Make one or more of these scenery packages your next purchase. It really doesn’t matter in which order you choose one. If you like a lot of outlying, uninhabited islands then the Isles of Scilly would be your choice. Otherwise Guernsey, Herm and Sark give you 3 separate islands with something special on each, the namesake, Guernsey is my current favorite. Alderney is smaller but is packed with features and has the 5 seasons, very nice airport, town, neighborhoods, fields, cliffs, harbor and out islands.  The outstanding animations and sounds are throughout."

  • Marshall Islands (November 11, 2011) Staff reviewer Peter Hayes goes way off the beaten track to look at Pacific Islands Simulations' Marshall Islands. "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." "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." "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 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."

  • US Cities X - Las Vegas (November 8, 2011) Staff reviewer Peter Hayes heads to "Sin City" to look at Aerosoft's version of Las Vegas. "Aerosoft are renowned for their quality add-on software for FSX and this no exception, being one of the seven 'US Cities X' series including: Cleveland, Niagara Falls/Buffalo, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Indianapolis. In FSX, Las Vegas & the surrounding area is pretty bland with some good features, but install Aerosoft Las Vegas and see this FSX area transform into something that is relatively full of life and detail." "As I stated above, there is quite a diverse amount of scenery in this package, ranging from metropolitan scenery in Las Vegas to the desert, mountain and canyon scenery surrounding the city. The airports have excellent textures and clear taxiway signs guiding you to the departure or parking point. At KLAS, the major airport, there was a certain amount of movement of vehicle and aircraft traffic, which lent itself to a realistic experience." "Like all of the “X” sceneries from Aerosoft, this is a competent scenery/airport add-on. The airports, airfields, helipads, etc are well modeled and the accuracy is good. Once you fly around, into or out of US Cities-X Las Vegas you will find it very difficult to fly in the default FSX scenery."

  • German Airports 1 - Stuttgart (November 1, 2011) Staff reviewer Arjun Murthy travels to Europe to visit Aerosoft's German Airports 1 - Stuttgart. "Stuttgart Airport was first developed in 1924 with the first passenger terminal uprising in 1939. Through the years, Stuttgart airport faced many developments including runway extension and the Cargo Terminal. Now, Stuttgart being Germany’s 6th largest city, it has an airport to cater. Aerosoft has grasped this opportunity in their German Airports series to develop Stuttgart Airport for virtual aviators. This scenery is available on both FS9 and FSX for a unique enjoyment through our Virtual Flight." "This has been one of my favorite review products. The level of detail in Aerosoft’s scenery is just purely amazing. On top of this, the performance is just even more amazing. I would’ve never even had a whimsical of an imagination of having such good scenery for such performance."

  • Hawaiian Airports Volume 2 (October 28, 2011) Staff reviewer Aidan Sandri heads to the tropical Hawaiian Islands to look at the 2nd Volume of airports released by FSDreamTeam. "This product includes two airports, in the state of Hawaii; Kahului (PHOG) and Kona (PHKO)." "ParkMe and YouControl are also included in this package and are pretty cool features. YouControl allows you to open hangars at both airports and park your aircraft in them, and ParkMe is a navigation system that you open and select which gate you want to park at. When you are lining up, it will correctly tell you when to stop - this is only available at PHKO, but I believe that it is because you have jetways there near a terminal building." "Hawaii Airports 2 by FSDT is one that will not disappoint a simmer who loves to fly their 737NGX around 5 different airports in a single day. Well done to FSDT on a quality release."

  • Anchorage X (October 23, 2011) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt heads north to the land of snow and mountains as he looks at Aerosoft's Anchorage X. "Aerosoft has built this scenery for FSX and will build it for FS2004. They didn’t quite stop at the airport, modeling the passenger terminal and the huge cargo terminals aprons with the multitude of warehouses and cargo terminals. They also modeled the very big (biggest in the world) sea plane base “Lake Hood” and included large chunks of Anchorage surrounding both airports. This way they modeled not just the airport, but also part of the city and its beautiful surroundings, including the shorelines of the small Anchorage peninsula." "Aerosoft’s Anchorage X is by all means very nice scenery. The modeling is good and the texturing looks nice. The extensive cargo aprons are a welcome sight and the passenger terminals looks fine. All in all, a good scenery. I can recommend it to those that want to fly into Anchorage. I’m quite sue you won’t be disappointed."

  • Detroit Wayne County Metro Airport (KDTW) (September 10, 2011) Staff reviewer Roger Curtiss lands at Blueprint Simulations' Detroit Wayne County Metro Airport (KDTW). "This Michigan airport is a major hub for Delta Airlines. The South Terminal, named the McNamara opened in 2002 and was a major expansion for the airport, with over 60 gates in the A Terminal and an additional 52 gates in the adjacent B/C Terminal that services the regional feeder aircraft for Delta." "The usual BluePrint attention to detail is readily apparent. Everything is of top quality rendering. The surface areas with signs and pavement markings are crisp, clear and accurate and airport buildings appear to have been realistically reproduced. This scenery boasts a full complement of 142 gates in the terminal area along with general aviation hangars and buildings on the east side of the airport and cargo facilities to the west." "Taxiway lighting is good and the green centerline lights are very well displayed. BluePrint has done a pretty good job with the night lighting given the limitations of the program." "All in all, another solid effort from BluePrint and an airport package worthy of bearing their name. Aficionados of Detroit Wayne Metro will surely enjoy this homage to the airport."

  • San Jose del Cabo Int'l Airport (September 9, 2011) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt heads to Latin America to fly in and out of Bajasim's San Jose del Cabo International Airport (SJDX). "This is the most important beach resort/coastal town in Mexico, and for good reason: the place is praised as one of the most beautiful in Mexico, welcoming hordes of tourists every year." "At SJD we find three terminals. Terminal 1 is the main terminal and handles most of the flights. Terminal 3 was built as a relief for the saturated terminal 1, but Delta and Alaska Airlines have decided to move their operations to terminal 3 for good. Terminal 2 is for GA, as the apron in front of terminal 2 will hint at." "The ground textures are really nice. They are detailed and seem quite real to me. What I also like is that the concrete slabs have a very clear border on either side of the taxiway, where the concrete meets the black asphalt." "Bajasim hasn’t stopped at the airport in this scenery. Bajasim has included buildings in the direct vicinity as well as many hotels along the coastline. Overall, I really like these additions. They add atmosphere, and they sport the right amount of detail, giving some nice stuff to look at without forming an FPS barrier." "Bajasim’s San Jose del Cabo is a beautiful add-on and a very strong start for a new scenery developer."

  • Vilnius X (September 3, 2011) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins heads overseas to Lithuania to check out Aerosoft's Vilnius X. "The airport is located approximately 6 km south of the city of Vilnius and is the largest airport in Lithuania. The terminal is noteworthy because of its 50's Soviet era design characteristics." "The ground textures within the airport were really well done especially those used for the hard surfaces; I thought they were exceptionally good. Dirt and rubber stains were easily seen on the apron and in the parking areas as well. In addition, the markings and asphalt appeared to have suffered the effects of aging." "Vilnius airport has been completely rebuilt from the ground up giving the sim pilot an opportunity to experience a realistic recreation of the airport. The airport has a simple design; a single runway with the buildings concentrated along the southwest side. Aerosoft surrounded the airport with a photo scenery base and populated it with autogen and several local landmarks." "Overall, Vilnius X is a very good scenery. Aerosoft has taken an airport that was neglected in FSX and turned it into one that is interesting and worthy of being in any simmer’s repertoire of airports."

  • Cleveland X (August 13, 2011) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne heads to the state of Ohio to fly into Aerosoft's Cleveland X. "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." "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. With Toronto, Chicago and Detroit default enhanced airports nearby, there is connectivity galore. This is value."

  • Ft Lauderdale X Revisited (August 5, 2011) Ft Lauderdale X Revisited, this is the most up-to-date satellite imagery with a little lower level (8,000 ft) professional aviation photography edited in to make sure there are no clouds, no haze, no fog, etc. This replaces your FSX default scenery for a specific area and should make flying in this area much more enjoyable. Flight Sim Designs is a two year old company that was started specifically to provide high quality photo-real scenery for flight simulator pilots. They are off to a great start and are about to complete their 10th package. This is most definitely a quality photo-real scenery package for FSX. The screenshots speak for themselves, no special setup, sliders as shown, nothing retouched. This is big step closer that next level we seem to always be seeking. Depending on how much you like your Starbucks, or how much loose change you have – buy now or buy later, but buy this scenic area. It will change your outlook for sure.

  • FSGlobal Ultimate "Europe and Africa" (July 13, 2011) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen continues the PILOT's FS Global Ultimate series. This time heading to "Europe and Africa". "I may assume that the review title speaks for itself: this software covers the entire European continent including the Azores and Iceland as well as Africa." Angelique selects a variety of locations within the two distinct areas and by way of text and screenshots shows you the differences between the default FSX scenery, FSGlobal 2010 and FSGlobal Ultimate. "FSGlobal 2010 covers the whole FSX/FS2004 world on six DVD’s, while PILOT’S 2nd Ultimate product comes only with Europe and Africa, on five DVD’s with an installation space of 40GB. My overall impression of these 2 continents...PILOT's have done it again! By the way, the third and final Ultimate package – Asia and Oceania - is planned for latter 2011."

  • Photoreal America (July 9, 2011) Contributing reviewer Ray Marshall travels to various points across the USA to explore Sim Savvy's Photoreal America. "Photoreal for FSX of the entire continental United States? The entire 48 states with usable, clean looking, fairly up-to-date add on scenery!" "I have tried to make direct comparisons between what default FSX has to offer and this Sim-Savvy package. In most cases the photoreal scenery wins hands down. The FSX default scenery is crisper and cleaner but we all know it never matches up with what is really out there." "I think most of our PCs will handle 5 – 8 states at a time without a groan. If you are still in doubt about whether your type of flying would benefit from having this Massive Scenery, then I recommend you spend some time at the SimSavvy website."

  • Jorge Chavez International Airport (July 3, 2011) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt heads back to South America to explore LatinVFR's Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima Peru. "Peru is one of those countries you know that exists, but that’s roughly where it ends. I hardly know anything about South America. Because of this I find it interesting to fly there and explore the countries, especially because some of the cities are so beautiful, with some stunning approaches in just about every country you can think of." "The terminal area seems to be broken into two aprons: one with gates and one without. All the texturing seems pretty nice, and the same is true for the modeling. LatinVFR has given us a pretty detailed, extremely well textured and nicely modeled terminal building that I’d happily dock my aircraft at." "The coverage of the included photoscenery is quite extensive, like with many LatinVFR sceneries. This is also one of the strengths of LatinVFR, for they don’t merely give you the airport, like so many other developers, they also give you the environment in the vicinity of the airport. What I do really like are all the extra objects that have been added, such as cranes, ships and what seems like an oil refinery. Since these can be seen very well on approach, they truly add something to flying in and out of this airport. Also the photoscenery seems more detailed on the approach path, with lamp posts, monuments and houses added in a higher density." "Most of Jorge Chavez International Airport consists of a rather empty apron, which is just how the airport looks in real life. The texturing of the terminal is extremely good, very detailed. The ground textures are as good as always. The surrounding scenery covers a substantial area and the approach path contains some nice surprises. Those that fancy flying in South America will find this scenery to be a must."

  • Las Americas International Airport (June 25, 2011) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt crosses the Atlantic from his home and heads to the Dominican Republic to land at and explore LatinVFR's Las Americas International Airport. "The ground textures look crisp and really well done. I especially like those runway edges, which look pretty realistic to me. The taxiway you see looks a lot like a runway, but I assure you that it’s a taxiway nonetheless. Look closely at the apron textures: you can see all kinds of detail in it. From the intricate lines that divide the slabs that are faithfully reproduced to a degree that it even includes tiny cracks on the edges of the slabs themselves, to the tiny lines on the surface of the cracks themselves." "The modeling of the jetways, the texturing of the buildings, and the ground equipment all looks really nice. The passenger side of the terminal looks alright in most respects. The cargo apron is fairly large for an airport of this size. It includes multiple stands and some businesses and warehouses. The overall coverage is rather substantial. It not only covers the peninsula on which the airport is located, it also covers much of the land beyond that point." "After looking at the airport and the surrounding scenery, a few things are clear to me. LatinVFR’s main strength is the texturing of the apron, runways and taxiways. Something else they do very well is night lighting. I have rarely seen night lighting I really like, but Las Americas has it. LatinVFR’s Las Americas is best called “a rough diamond”."

  • Nairobi International Airport (June 21, 2011) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt heads to Africa to check out OrientalSim's Nairobi International Airport. "OrientalSim is a developer that hasn’t got many sceneries on its list, the only other one being Baghdad International. I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from Nairobi. In the end, I had a nice surprise." "The modeling isn’t as accurate as could possibly be, but thanks to clever texturing, the modeling doesn’t even have to be correct in every account. The result is less polygons and thus higher FPS. Concerning the texturing, I’m quite pleased with the overall look. I would like to draw special attention to the modeling of the jetways and the service vehicles. Especially the service vehicles which have been extremely well modeled and look absolutely fantastic." "Overall the night lighting is quite nice, although I did miss lighting at some rather important buildings. The passenger terminal is nicely lit however, and I really like the sort of orange lighting on the tarmac." "Overall, I find this airport scenery to be very nice. It’s a bit rough around the edges here and there, but it’s nothing big. I can definitely recommend this airport to people who fancy flying around Africa. Being one of the very few quality airports for central and eastern Africa, OrientalSim has immediately set a standard for African airports."

  • Dangerous Airports 1 (June 12, 2011) Staff reviewer Roger Curtiss puts his life in peril as he takes on Aerosoft's Dangerous Airports Vol 1. "Sure, any airport can be dangerous. What with all the noise, spinning propellers, powerful jet engines that can suck you in from the front or blow you over from behind, and all manner of aircraft and vehicles to avoid and hope they see and avoid you. So what qualities single an airport out to be designated as dangerous?" "These airports will kick your butt. Takeoffs require very close attention to airspeed and climb performance with a need to climb as efficiently as possible in the mountains to get clear of the terrain. Trying to execute smooth approaches and landings often involves threading the needle and amounted to some of the most demanding simulator flying I have experienced. The physical nature of the airports renders the usual visual cues to be quite less reliable." "Dangerous Airports is not your average add-on. It features airports and flying conditions that will test your skills, keep you thinking, and ultimately make you a better pilot through mastery of the techniques needed."

  • Canberra (YSCB) Airport (June 9, 2011) Staff reviewer Peter Hayes flies down under to check out Orbx FTX Canberra (YSCB) Airport. "In FSX, Canberra YSCB is almost non-existent, and while FTX Au Blue improved the airport scenery enormously, this paid add-on takes the visual experience to the next level with oodles of detail, including, taxi-ways, aprons, buildings, vehicles, moving people and roads." "Accurate and vividly detailed are the descriptors that spring to mind when you select and explore this airport scenery. The terminals are accurately depicted within the scenery showing the airport before the 'Southern Terminal Extension' was completed. The taxiways are accurate with excellent textures (including the grass and asphalt), great lighting and very clear signs guiding you to the departure or parking point. There are two runways and these are faithfully reproduced down to the asphalt surface, they look worn enough to have been used." "Canberra YSCB is a great improvement over the default scenery, it is much more realistic and is accurately mapped so both accurate VFR and IFR flights are possible."

  • Faro X & Kos X (May 29, 2011) Staff reviewer Aidan Sandri heads to the Mediterranean to check out Aerosoft's Faro X (Portugal) and Kos X (Greece). "Faro X and Kos X are both nicely rendered airports. From what I saw at both airports they shared similar libraries (meaning that I saw the same items at both airports), but at the same time both airports are very different. If you have Santorini X, Kos X is only a short flight away in which you can carry a few passengers across in your JS41 or explore the island in depth in a Piper Cub or a similar smaller aircraft. The airports will not be the most detailed you have seen, but they are a major step up from the default airports."

  • UK VFR Airfields Vol 1 - 3 (May 23, 2011) Staff reviewer Ted Gold flies VFR around his homeland with UK2000 Scenery's VFR Airfields Volumes 1 - 3. "The United Kingdom is a wonderful flight location with something for every virtual pilot to enjoy within the confines of some of the world’s busiest and compact airspace. Airfields abound, ranging from the odd farmer’s strip to historical WWII aerodromes, right on up to the major airports serving millions of passengers annually." "The UK2000 airfields blend in nicely relieving the generic tan-bordered outlines and blends well with the surroundings. For the VFR pilot this results in a much higher level of immersion and I found it much easier to actually see the airfields from a distance within the cockpit. The level of detail shown on the ground adds to the fun with each airfield displaying individual objects that add a distinct flavor, unique to wherever you choose to fly." "Pilots that prefer to fly larger aircraft into the big airports will find FSX given a similar makeover with pleasing visual improvements, accurately aligned runways and taxiways, and corrected ILS feathers covering all of the major airfields including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Liverpool; basically all of the majors within the coverage area." "The UK2000 UK VFR Airfields Volumes 1-3 offer a massive change for the better for any FSX pilot that flies in and around the United Kingdom."

  • Pas de Calais & LFQQ (May 21, 2011) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen flies from Holland to France by way of France VFR's Pas de Calais and the Lille Lesquin International Airport (LFQQ). "Nord-Pas de Calais, is one of the 27 regions of France. It consists of the departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais, in the north and has a border with Belgium. Lille is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium." "The 1st VFR flight goes along the coast line from the northern city of Dunkerque (LFAK) to Berck-sur-Mer (LFAM). The 2nd VFR flight starts in LFAM where I fly in an eastern direction to the city of Vitry-en-Artios (LFQS), home of Renault Cars. These two VFR flights should give you a good idea of the photo-real quality of France VFR Nord-Pas de Calais." "LFQQ can be used as stand-alone add-on scenery or in combination with the Nord-Pas de Calais scenery package. The airport includes high-definition textures of ground and buildings as well as night textures. Particularly important as a stand-alone, the scenery covers about 50 sq. Km. and adds an extended photo realistic area to the airport including specific autogen and VFR landmarks and nearby road traffic." "Overall impression of these France VFR products is something like "they did it again!" The team at France VFR are specialists in French territorial photo-real sceneries and some French airports. This photo-real scenery of Nord-Pas de Calais offers not only realistic ground textures, but also lots of autogen and, in some areas, handmade 3D object."

  • Ben Gurion X (May 17, 2011) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt visits an airport he is very familiar with in real life, Ben Gurion International Airport. So here's his review of Ben Gurion X from FSAddon. "FS Addon has published this new rendition of Ben Gurion for FSX by David Rosenfeld, the same guy that made a very good LLBG add-on for FS2004 in 2006. However, this FSX version is no mere port, as you might think. It is new scenery, suited for FSX, and using FSX technology." "Contained in this scenery package is Ben Gurion International airport and photo scenery of the immediate surrounding area. The photo scenery does not extend all the way to the beaches of Tel Aviv, but stops right where Tel Aviv more or less starts. Not only has the airport seen a makeover, but also large chunks of the surrounding area too. The photo scenery also has night lighting and the default FSX cars move on the photo scenery’s highways." "I think FSAddon’s rendition of Ben Gurion is a faithful one. Everything that needs to be there is present, and it has been done with an eye for detail, resulting in very good quality scenery. The 3D modeling is great and the texturing is very good too. For anybody interested in flying into this airport at least a few times, FSAddon’s Ben Gurion is pretty much a must-have."

  • Obstacles & Landmarks (May 10, 2011) While flying VFR, AVSIM staff reviewer Rick Desjardin avoids more than 500,000 Obstacles & Landmarks that FranceVFR have added to your french scenery for your navigating pleasure."Using this product as an aid for VFR navigation is one of its main features and you will truly appreciate what this package has to offer. Using the charts I was able to identify the objects that had up to now been absent from the landscape and use them to assist me in situational awareness and for navigation. Needless to say I was very pleased with the outcome. The addition of this product made a significant positive difference in every one of my flights."

  • KLAX (May 6, 2011) Staff reviewer Roger Curtiss visits a very recognizable locale in Blueprint Simulations' KLAX airport. "There are a few ubiquitous airport identifiers, JFK, ATL, SFO, but perhaps none so as readily identifiable as LAX." "Blueprint does make it quite clear on their website that animated jetways, moving traffic and advanced parking aids are not modeled in their airport sceneries, and probably will not be for the foreseeable future. Their focus is on highly detailed and accurate depictions of the primary airport structures and facilities and they make no apology (nor should they have to) for this philosophy." "Blueprint has taken great effort to utilize the correct terminals for the airlines as well as appropriating specific gates for either single aisle or wide body aircraft. Nne cannot help but feel that you are seeing a highly accurate portrayal of the airport and can appreciate how the ramp and terminal areas have been maximized for ever increasing traffic numbers considering the airport is physically constrained from expanding by development and urban sprawl adjacent to it." "Blueprint continues to make a name for itself specializing in high quality airport sceneries and KLAX is no exception to this goal."

  • FSGlobal Ultimate "The Americas" (Apr 30, 2011) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen looks at the geographic upgrades produced with PILOTS FSGlobal Ultimate "The Americas" in FSX. She uses a graphically intense review to show you the differences in the various genres of scenery, from default FSX to the changes with FSGlobal and what the real world picture looks like. "The difference on paper between FSGlobal 2010 and FSGlobal Ultimate “The Americas” is big, but the best way to judge is to see it with your own eyes. FSGlobal 2010 covers the whole FSX/FS2004 world on six DVD’s, and their newest Ultimate “The Americas” product also comes on six DVD’s." "I started this review proving that not only the LOD figure is important, but the combination of source material and LOD, including the processing technique. Since newer techniques after the release of FSGlobal 2010 are used, a more realistic output can be expected."

  • San Francisco International Airport (Apr 16, 2011) Staff reviewer revisits a popular west coast airport with FlightBeam's San Francisco International Airport. "San Francisco Intl is the 2nd busiest airport in California, Los Angeles Intl being the busiest, and in 2009 it was the 10th busiest in the United States. The airport is a major hub for Continental/United and Virgin America." "San Francisco International Airport was FlightBeam's first airport released. I can clearly say this airport does not hold back any previous versions of KFSO already available on the market, but instead places more competition to the other two main developers who produce scenery for North America." "Well done to FlightBeam, and I cannot wait to see what you guys do to KPHX - Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona."

  • VFR Appalachia (Mar 26, 2011) Staff reviewer Mike Cameron puddle hops across the mid-Atlantic region of the USA while checking out Pacific Island Simulations' VFR Appalachia. This is the first in a series of highly detailed real world east coast airport sceneries. It includes: Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport/Shepard Field (KMRB) also known as Martinsburg; Cheat River (WV31); Front Royal (KFRR); New Market (8W2); Moran Field (MD99); Seven Springs Borough (7SP); Nemalcolin Resort (PA88); and Ingalls Field (KHSP). "Textures for all for seasons are included as well as some very nice night lighting effects. The usual animations that you would expect from a quality scenery product (flying birds, smoke from chimneys) are also included." "Small to medium sized general aviation aircraft should have no problems landing at all of the airports included in VFR Appalachia. Some of the airports have challenging approaches which adds to the realism."

  • Cuzco X (Mar 21, 2011) New staff reviewer Ted Smith heads to South America, Peru to be exact, to check out Aerosoft's Cuzco X. "The Airport in Cuzco is called Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport and was opened in 1964. The airport is located right in the middle of the city, which is located in a basin surrounded by mountains. This all combines to make Cuzco a difficult airport to operate from, and for this reason it is only open during daylight hours in clear weather, and as such has no lighting on the runway." "The first thing you will notice when on final approach is the very dense autogen surrounding the airport. Aerosoft claims this product may have the most densely populated autogen ever. The small terminal at the airport matches all the photos I could find, and surprisingly for such a small airport in a remote location it has four jetway equipped gates, apparently Cuzco was the first airport in Peru to receive them. These jetways have been finely modeled but unfortunately they are not animated." "I am very pleased to state that performance was not an issue on my admittedly low-end system. The dense autogen surprisingly doesn’t impact frames significantly. I found I could run the scenery when all my sliders were at full." "I have no hesitation to recommend Aerosoft's Cuzco to any simmer that wants a challenge. Whether you like flying smaller GA types or big airliners like A320’s and 737’s, Cuzco will offer you a fun experience for a price that is great value."

  • Iceland X (Mar 19, 2011) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne heads to the land of fire and ice to look at Aerosoft's Iceland X. "What better package is there to purchase than a prepared enhanced isolated territory with modifications to 40 small airports and/or airfields and five highly detailed airports?" In order to present Iceland X in its entirety as Aerosoft has developed it, Allen takes you on a guided tour of the island starting with an arrival from the east after departing from the notoriously precipitous Faroe Islands, the most northern of lands off Scotland. The real weather he downloaded using ASE was always cloudy and usually with precipitation. This is typical for the Icelandic region. "Such a beautiful grouping of airfields, airports, and scenery for such a large area for such a low price sums up my opinion of this great product. Iceland X is another stellar product from Aerosoft."

  • Guatemala (Mar 12, 2011) Staff reviewer Arjun Murthy flies to Latin American to visit LatinVFR's Guatemala. "La Aurora International Airport is located in Guatemala in Latin America. Recently, there has been an upgrade to the Passenger terminals and the airport now accommodates passenger aircraft, the Military and General Aviation. This scenery created by Latin VFR shows all aspects of the airport and makes a worthwhile destination to any flight simulation enthusiast wanting to fly somewhere that’s realistic." "The buildings in the scenery are greatly realistic with regards to location, shape and number. The number of General Aviation buildings in La Aurora Intl. is simply immense. There are countless hangars on either side of the main runway stretching for almost the full distance." "The “ground” in general throughout the whole scenery area is the best part of the scenery, in my opinion. The mesh is very life like, the grass textures and some parts of the city seem to be directly from a satellite picture; the taxiways look fantastic, the grass in the area is 3D and the ground details on the tarmac with all the line markings and surface details is of a high quality." "The Night Scenery in this product is also fantastic. The highlights are the runway lights on the ends and the terminals. These look very welcoming and the lights are actually on 3D pins. The taxiways lights also show up very clearly while taxiing."

  • Fly To....Africa, New York, Alaska, California, Caribbean (Feb 23, 2011) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen travels the world in a DC-10/MD-11 to visit FlightSoft's Fly To series, including Africa, New York, Alaska, California and the Caribbean. "Each “Fly to ….” Each CD-ROM includes a: Douglas DC-10 Series aircraft with 2D cockpit for use with FS2004; a McDonnell MD-10 Series aircraft with 2D flight deck for FSX; and Within each flight simulator, a bunch of “flights” are added. These are approaches to specific airports within the applicable region." "The MD-10 program allows operators to retrofit DC-10s with a new, advanced- technology flight deck. Benefits of the retrofit include a two-person flight deck, weight savings, increased reliability, and commonality with the MD-11 fleet. In the first phase of the FedEx MD-10 program, Douglas Products Division will convert passenger-configured DC-10s to freighters and redeliver them to FedEx. Phase two of the FedEx MD-10 program is installation of the ACF, a liquid crystal display flight deck based on the integrated glass design in the MD-11" "Each Fly To... pack comes with – basically - the same software, same kind of manuals and same idea of “approach” flights. In more detail this means: A bunch of FS2004 / FSX manuals. The DC-10 / MD-10 cockpit manuals are, in relation to the 2D cockpit, of an average quality. In my humble opinion, those do not offer comprehensive information. It offers just enough in what the 2D cockpits allow. Unfortunately, the FSX manual that deals with the McDonnell MD-10 aircraft shows a brief history of the DC-10. It wasn’t a bad idea when it offered background of the MD-10. The installer installs the Douglas DC-10 with the old-fashioned cockpit in FS2004, while a MD-10 flight deck is available for FSX. Both come only with a 2D cockpit and no Virtual Cockpit is available. Depending on the “Fly to” series, each comes with an amount of prepared approaches or flights. Each approach is made with a DC-10/MD-10 and takes around 10-15 minutes to fly, including touchdown. The only exceptions are 11 approaches in Alaska, made with default FSX GA airplanes. Probably, for FS2004, default GA models are used. The DC-10/MD-10 approaches are fully automatic until the ILS detects the Glide Slope signal. From that moment the aircraft will follow the G/S to touchdown, however flight simmers need to control the flaps, flap speeds and landing gear."

  • Mega Airport Munich (Feb 16, 2011) Staff reviewer Roger Curtiss looks at Aerosoft's Mega Airport Munich. "The airport is comprised of two main terminals with 43 conventional gates and an additional 60 apron positions at Terminal 1 for aircraft parking and loading." "This is a beautiful airport treatment. It seems as if no detail has been left out and every time I visit this virtual EDDM I find something new. The FSX version is especially intriguing as one can use the freeware “aircraft” BOB to roam about the airport grounds. There is considerable activity at the airport in terms of vehicular traffic as baggage carts, service trucks, security vehicles and busses make their appointed rounds." "The attention to detail is maintained with abundant signage throughout the airport. From location signs on the roadways to taxiway markings, the area is robust with directional guidance. There are numerous locations where embedded red lights in the surface are present to instruct you to stop so as not to encroach on the right of way of aircraft on intersecting taxiways or on an active runway. The lights obediently extinguish when the area is clear to proceed." "Aerosoft has outdone themselves to bring Mega Airport Munich to life."

  • Oslo-Gerdermoen X (Feb 9, 2011) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins heads to Norway to land at Aerosoft's Oslo-Gardermoen airport. "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." "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." "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." "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." "This part of the world is very beautiful and picturesque and Oslo X gives you a reason to pick this area as your next destination."

  • Hanoi Noi Bai (Feb 5, 2011) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt looks at Thai Creations' Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport. "It is no doubt that Thai Creation’s Hanoi Noi Bai scenery is a hidden gem. The modeling and texturing work together to give you an airport that is beautiful in almost every respect. The performance was good for me, even when taxiing the PMDG 747 around the apron instead of a small Cessna." "This is a great airport and I hope to see AES support with the next AES release. I recommend this airport to people that like flying around Asia, or who simply want to make a short flight to and from Hong Kong."

  • Ultimate Terrain X - Europe (Dec 25, 2010) Staff reviewer Robert Mariani flies over a new Europe after applying Flight 1's Ultimate Terrain X - Europe. "Ultimate Terrain X – Europe will “upgrade your Flight Simulator X world to a whole new level of reality. Commercial quality scenery data accurately places roads, coastlines, rivers, streams, parks, golf courses, cemeteries and much more in their real world locations and shapes.”" "The coverage is limited to what used to be known politically as Western Europe. The areas that are covered are done extremely well, with properly placed roads, rivers, railroads, landclass, bridges and more. Along with excellent coastlines and many more roads that have FSX cars on them, you will also get the outstanding night lighting. Ultimate Terrain’s greatest feature for me is its scalability, or the flexibility to adjust not only the individual settings of this product, but many display settings of FSX itself."

  • Buffalo International Airport (Dec 23, 2010) Staff reviewer Aidan Sandri heads to upper New York State to visit FlyTampa's Buffalo International Airport. "The airport serves Buffalo, New York and Ontario, Canada. Buffalo Intl Airport is the third busiest airport in the state of New York, with JFK being the busiest and LGA being the second in terms of boarding numbers." "Everything during my taxi was detailed from the taxiway signs, to the taxiway lights (for use at night). Minor things like gas tanks, cars and even cracks in the taxiways are included in the scenery. When looking straight ahead at runway 05, to the right you will be able to see the terminals which we just taxied from and the nice crisp, clear runway straight ahead." "The textures outside the airport all appear to be photoreal textures. Some of the textures seem to have autogen placed on top of them, but for a large majority of the product, I did notice that the autogen was 'sparse' and not as much as you would expect when having your sliders set to 'Very Dense.' The main roads/highways are all clearly shown, which makes for great VFR waypoints for the general simmer." "FlyTampa have raised the bar again with FlyBuffalo. This airport package represents what all international airports can achieve, highly detailed sceneries yet at the same time still achieve fantastic performance rates. If you are considering getting this package, I seriously cannot see a reason why not to."

  • Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, SCEL (Dec 19, 2010) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt heads to South America to land at LatinVFR's Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, SCEL. "I have enjoyed hours of flying around the Andes in a smallish turboprop, landing at airfields on these mountains. It seems that now we do have a nice, big airport to fly to in this long and terribly thin South American country; for now LatinVFR has released Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, SCEL, at Santiago de Chile, Chile’s capital." "The terminal is relatively well modeled on the aircraft side, but on the passenger side it really is extremely basic. The textures appear crisp and look very good, also from close up. The photoscenery on the ground, however, is blurry and has some noticeable edges where you can see how they have been “cut” to fit them into the scenery. LatinVFR is going to revise this and issue a patch sometime soon to address this." "The gates and jetways in general look good. The quality of the texturing is really very good, but the modeling doesn’t seem to be as precise as it could have been. I quite like how the gates generally look, despite the flattish jetway looks. Texturing, however, is great. I love how crisp the textures are. The ATC tower looks exceedingly good; it’s well modeling and the texturing is great." "How does the airport look at night? It looks good, albeit with what I think may be a problem; the taxiway lights are very hard to see. You’d expect the normal blue and green lights, but the blue lights are nowhere to be seen and the green lights are very dim. The strange thing is that this isn’t very far from reality." "Not only the airport itself features in this scenery: also a bit of the surroundings have been covered with photoreal ground scenery. The covered area is 125 square kilometers, and features (and I quote) “thousands of hand placed autogen”. I really like the surrounding photoscenery and it certainly adds to the entire experience of flying into this airport. SCEL is compatible with AES. If you are interested in South America and Chile, this is an airport I recommend you to get, with the knowledge that the biggest issues will soon be fixed."

  • Paris Orly (Dec 17, 2010) Staff reviewer Gary Yip heads to Europe to check out Paris's "other" airport...Orly, as presented by Aerosoft. "Paris Orly airport is France’s second busiest airport and in terms of domestic flights, the busiest." "Orly airport operates with 3 main runways and 2 main terminals. It also boasts a freight terminal and a large maintenance complex to the north. The south terminal (Terminal Sud) is the smaller of the 2 passenger terminals, however it incorporates 38 aircraft stands, many of which are connected by an air bridge." "I found that I encountered a rather large performance penalty flying in and around the airport. Where with other larger airports within the Aerosoft range such as Barcelona X, Madrid and Paris CDG my typical frame rates end up hovering around the 20-25 mark with a complex aircraft add-on such as the PMDG 747 operating. A patch has recently been released to bring the version up to 1.04 for FS9 which promises better performance. I am happy to announce that the performance issues have now been rectified." "The quality can be expected to be high and there is no doubt that they have not compromised this value with the release of Paris Orly X. Stunningly modeled landside areas have become a trademark of the X series of scenery add-ons by Aerosoft and the attention to detail within the car parks, roads and terminal drop off areas is incredible. One advantage of being an Aerosoft product is that is comes AES prepared straight out of the box. I will now choose to go to Orly instead of the vastly complex and land hogging Charles de Gaulle."

  • Kosrae International (Nov 22, 2010) Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis heads to the South Pacific to fly into Pacific Island Simulations' Kosrae International. "Pacific Island Simulations (PIS) has been around for some time and have put out products like the PNG Bush Flying and The Atolls of Tuvalu, both being Pacific Ocean based add-ons. This time around the gang at PIS has introduced us a new island to explore and this island is Kosrae and it is located in the Caroline Islands as part of Federated States of Micronesia." "The FSX version of Kosrae from Pacific Island Simulation really does present the island to what it looks like in real life. Where Kosrae really shines is from all of the custom scenery objects, sounds, boats and ships that really help bring this add-on to life in FSX. The airport is most impressive, though it only has two parking areas they are large enough to park a 737 or 767." "The island itself is made up of photo real scenery that has been made to blend into FSX quite well and uses different varieties of autogen for that region of the world to populate the areas that do not use custom objects in and around the island. An island in the Pacific would not be complete without the sound of crashing waves and seagulls and Kosrae from PIS has delivered there as well as you will hear the sounds of crashing waves and seagulls." "Kosrae is a beautiful island and is now one of my favorite Pacific Island haunts in FSX. I can only say that I am quite envious of those who have been there for real!"

  • Hawaiian Airports Volume 1 (Nov 20, 2010) Staff reviewer Mike Cameron goes on a tropical vacation to check out FSDreamTeam's Hawaiian Airports Volume 1. "This title contains two airports, Lihue on the island of Kauai and Hilo International airport on the Island of Hawaii." "FSDreamTeam have included a demo with this product. The timed demo stays on for about six minutes and contains all of the scenery features. After six minutes the demo stops and reverts back to the default FSX scenery. If you need more time to evaluate the scenery, exit and restart FSX and the demo timer starts again." "The scenery includes everything that you would expect from a medium to large airport. Passenger terminals that are modeled from both the aircraft side and the passenger arrival/departure side, jetways, cargo terminals with cargo containers on the ramp, general aviation facilities with parked aircraft, helicopter area, ground equipment & vehicles, rental car terminal with vehicles, parked cars at both the airport parking & general aviation area, control tower and fire station. Hilo International Airport also includes scenery objects representing the old terminal, tower and military parking facilities on the western side of runway 3-21. Also included are very realistic looking palm trees that you would expect from airports in Hawaii." "FSDreamTeam has done a lot of things right with Hawaiian Airports Volume 1 and not having all of the ground objects be of the same quality does not detract from a wonderful experience. Of the two airports, I liked Hilo more than Lihue, simply because Hilo is a more unique airport with the included old section of the airport. Lihue is nice but is more modern and looks like a lot of other large airports."

  • Porto Francisco de sa Carneiro Airport (Nov 14, 2010) Staff reviewer Marlon Carter looks at an Iberian airport from Tropical Sim, Porto Francisco de sa Carneiro Airport (LPPR). "Porto Airport is the international airport of Greater Porto, Portugal. It is located approximately six miles northwest of Porto city centre, in the municipalities of Maia, Matosinhos and Vila do Conde. The airport is currently the third busiest in the country." "TropicalSim sceneries always tend to be simple yet very detailed and the LPPR scenery does not fall short of the standard that TropicalSim has set. The scenery focuses mainly on the airport itself and not so much on the immediate land area around it, so don’t expect to much change to the terrain." "The main terminal of Porto airport is quite a masterpiece of architectural construction and TropicalSim has been able to replicate this for FS9/FSX. The main terminal has been modeled accurately and is up to date along with other surrounding buildings such as the control tower. At night, the scenery comes to life with subtle but adequate lighting." "Porto Francisco de sa Carneiro Airport is a great scenery package and I think you will be happy with what you get."

  • Barcelona X (Nov 9, 2010) New staff reviewer Gary Yip herads to spain to check out Aerosoft's Barcelona X. "Barcelona is one of the 2 major airport hubs in mainland Spain, the other being Madrid. The fact that this highly popular airport has been faithfully reproduced for flight simulator is a fitting tribute to its success and taking on the challenge is none other than the huge European giant in the flight simulation world; Aerosoft." "What sets this scenery apart from the others though is the extraordinary detail in the parts of the scenery that you are unlikely to encounter flying around in your aircraft. The level of detail in areas such as the parking lot, landside areas and airport boundary are extremely satisfying and whilst your aircraft is busy being cleaned and refueled for your return flight, you should definitely spend a bit of time looking around the other areas of the airport." "Naturally with an Aerosoft package, this scenery is fully compatible with the AES software that has become so popular with scenery developers all around the world. One nice feature (and one that has been a long time coming) is the ability of moving vehicles on the ground to stop and give way to your aircraft, just as it is in real life." "I found Barcelona X to be a very true representation of the airport and a great up to date version adding the likes of the new T1 to the flight simulation world. What sets this product apart though is the high level of detail to areas of the airport otherwise forgotten by many developers out there. Adding high quality landside areas and in combination with AES lite means that it is a great, true to life product that will put a smile on your face."

  • San Francisco Bay (Nov 2, 2010) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne tours around Vero Hi-Fi's San Francisco Bay area. "This is an exciting new development in the optimization of ortho-photo imaging for photographic terrain textures in FSX. VERO-FS reveals some of the best scenery available in FSX with added digitization to balance the luminosity, color, and contrast." "I also have UTX USA installed which will load road traffic in the exact places for roads, no mismatching at all. It adds a lot to the otherwise at times barren looking roads." "Vero's San Franscisco Bay calls for VFR flights, not because it needs a slow moving aircraft but because you will want to look out the window and admire the passing scenery. Also it is not a huge coverage area, so a long IFR flight would be mostly FSX default which could lessen the sense of realistic immersion. The value added to this product in terms of well matched packets of scenery, seasonal variations, high resolution airports, annotated airfields, night lighting, and some autogen make it a good deal in my opinion."

  • Lille Lesquin (LFQQ) for FSX (Oct 28, 2010) Staff reviewer Mike Cameron looks at FranceVFR's Lille Lesquin International Airport (FSX) 2 years after the publishing of the FS9 version. "Lille airport, LFQQ, is also known as Lille-Lesquin or Lesquin airport. The airport is in the community of Lesquin that happens to be approximately 7 km south of Lille. Lille is the capitol of the Nord Pas de Calais region of northern France. The airport has two runways; 08/26 which is 2825 meters long and 02/20 at 1580 meters." "The scenery package includes this mid sized regional airport and approximately 50 sq km of area surrounding it. The neighbouring towns and villages use the same photo scenery base textures as the airport. If you have FranceVFR's Nord Pas de Calais installed, the two sceneries will blend seamlessly." "They have populated the airport with many objects that you'd typically expect to find; objects such as the DME/VOR, wind socks, blast walls, runway taxiway and apron lighting, ground markers and signage, cargo containers, freight and lamp posts to name just some of them. They are detailed and add to the overall appearance." "FranceVFR's Lille Lesquin is a huge improvement over the default FSX airport and because of that, it does make the airport much more enjoyable to fly in and out of if you are interested in French scenery."

  • FSGenesis Terrain Mesh (Oct 14, 2010) Staff reviewer Harold Zimmer flies across various locales in the United States and looks at how FS Genesis alters the Terrain Mesh. "Terrain Mesh enhancement is right up there in the “must have” category. The folks over at FSGenesis have been “meshing” around in the flight sim world for quite a while now! Terrain Mesh is a compilation of digital information that is used to describe the contours, hills, valleys, and mountains that are found in the simulated world." "Even with “high and fast” flying, it is still easy to see the appreciable difference the mesh files make. Flying at certain times, such as morning or late afternoon, you can almost feel the terrain jumping out at you. Frame rates are not impacted by the use of this product (on my system). The mesh is compatible with other scenery or mesh add-on products (just make the FSGenesis Mesh a higher priority in your Scenery Library)." "FSGenesis' Terrain Mesh is one of those products that make it relatively easy to build up your virtual world a little bit at a time, starting with the areas that you fly in the most. How it looks, how it works, compatibility, support, and cost of course, are all top considerations. The team at FSGenesis has met each of these points admirably! That’s probably why they have been around for so long!"

  • Ingalls Field (Oct 13, 2010) Staff reviewer Mike Cameron heads to Hot Spring Virginia, to check out Ingalls Field. "The airports elevation is 3793 feet and is the highest public use airport east of the Mississippi. Ingalls Field has a single 5600 foot runway. Because the airport’s runway is located on a ridgeline with drop-offs on each end with unforgiving wind shears at times, Ingalls Field makes the perfect location for military aircraft testing and touch & go’s from all aircraft." "I looked up Ingalls Field using Google Maps and the Pacific Island Simulations version is very accurate compared to the Google Maps image. As far as I can tell the airport buildings are also in their correct locations. I love this level of realism with the scenery." "Everything that you would expect at an airport is there. The terminal building, the hanger, lots of parked vehicles in the parking lot, perimeter fencing, even some machinery at the opposite side of the airport indicating some construction is about to begin. The area surrounding Ingalls Field has also been upgraded with customized real world vegetation and there must be a ranch nearby because there are grazing horses along with a man riding a horse." "Ingalls Field is very well designed and because it sits on top of a hillside with drop-offs on both ends of the runway, it should provide an approach challenge depending on the weather conditions. The runway is long enough to support medium sized aircraft or smaller ones without any issues."

  • Santorini X (Oct 10, 2010) Staff reviewer Aidan Sandri heads to the Greek isles to check out Aerosoft's Santorini X. "Santorini is a volcanic island in the Southern Aegean Sea (120mi/200km South-East of mainland Greece). Santorini National Airport (LSGR) is north of the village of Kamair and serves as a civil and military airport. It has a small apron and the airport is able to hold six civilian aircraft at the same time. Santorini is one of the only major airports on the Cyclades islands. The main asphalt runway is 16L/34R which is 6792ft/2125m in length and large enough to accommodate a Boeing 757." "The inside of the airport is very detailed, it isn't a major international airport nor is it too complex to make your way to and from the active runway. The terminal building has been nicely modeled by Aerosoft showing the buses out the front of the entrance and cars scattered around the parking area with the tower nicely situated in the terminal building." "The entire island of Santorini has been modeled into FSX, all having custom photo real textures placed on them, including the island in the center. The one thing I liked about the outside of the airport were the mountains just south of RWY 34 of the airport on Santorini." "Santorini X is an excellent airport created by Aerosoft and this simulation represents it very well."

  • Alicante Ultimate (Oct 4, 2010) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins heads to Spain to look at EireSim's Alicante Ultimate scenery. "The Spanish airport of Alicante, LEAL, was originally opened in 1967 and is sometimes referred to as El Altet. The airport is situated next to El Altet and 9 km from the city of Alicante in the province of Alicante which is on the Mediterranean coast." "When I first loaded the airport I was impressed by what I saw. This is a large airport and you immediately get a sense that this is a very busy place. Comparing the Eiresim version to the FSX default is like night and day." "To enhance the very detailed ground scenery textures they've added weathering and soiling as appropriate. Parking spots, runway touchdown zones and areas of high traffic all show the wear and tear and dirt stains you'd expect to see in such a busy place. The paint markings are also extremely well done and also very realistic." "Static airport vehicles, cargo containers, tow bars, baggage carts, baggage tractors and assorted freight can be found around the apron. They also include some AI vehicles, mainly pushback tugs and buses that are predominantly found in and around the apron area as well. On the outside you had cars and trucks moving about the roadways that were near the terminal complex and around the perimeter of the airport. On the other side, adjacent to the apron and tarmac, you had everything from large passenger buses to small pushback tugs driving around." "In addition to what I refer to as the major airport buildings, there are many other smaller buildings located on the north side of the terminal complex and comparing the scenery to aerial photographs, I saw that most were modeled. Night time brings in a whole new dimension to the scenery you are flying in. I found the night lighting at Alicante to be very well done." "This is a busy airport with lots to see and is a major destination on the Mediterranean coast. If you are looking for an airport that can handle the heavies or somewhere new to check out than you should give Alicante serious consideration."

  • Singapore (Sep 28, 2010) Staff reviewer Gary Yip travels to a well known Asian destination with ImagineSim's Singapore airport. "Lying well in the middle of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) Singapore also gets a lot of weather phenomenon designed to put pilots to the ultimate test. Tropical thunderstorms are commonplace in Singapore and CB clouds are the only type of cloud you are likely to see. Typhoons can mean that wind speeds can blow you way off course and make things interesting as well as adding some heavy rain to the mix just to make sure that you sweat during your approach!" "Terminal 1 is home to many international airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Emirates. The H shape is designed to maximize gate space so as a result, the small area has enough capacity for 29 aerobridge gates as well as an additional 16 remote stands. Terminal 2 is the main base for Singapore Airlines and is the most recently upgraded out of the 3 main terminals. A380 flights to take advantage of the 8 new A380 gates in Terminal 3, in addition to the 11 A380 capable gates in Terminals 1 and 2." "The docking system at an airport is one of the most important aspects of flying. ImagineSim has created a very easy to use parking guidance system that will accurately and precisely guide you onto the line. The airport upgrade does not come with any form of moving jetway. Instead, what the developers have done is let all the hard work be done by Aerosoft’s AES program for FS." "The scenery as you’d expect from ImagineSim is of very high quality and designed to make your simming more fluid with good performance. This Singapore add-on is true to its word and with my dated system, flying complex aircraft such as the PMDG 747-400 aircraft, I gained a not perfect but perfectly useable 20fps in the virtual cockpit. Overall, the impressive credentials that ImagineSim have are testament to their products and this latest release will not let you down. It provides accurate and spectacular scenery to add to an otherwise desolate and bare default airport and in such a beautiful country such as Singapore."

  • Andras Field (Sep 9, 2010) Staff reviewer looks at a different kind of scenery package from Aerosoft....Andras Field. "Andras Field is an experimental scenery title, a fictional airport located in Southern Bavaria, close to the Swiss and Austrian Border. After purchasing the product, Aerosoft would like you to become part of an online social community. This is done with the Andras Field community website and forum. A major part of the social experience is the airpark. When you purchase the scenery many of the airpark plots are unoccupied. Aerosoft plans to sell the various plots from time to time to Andras Field owners for real money." "Aerosoft has done a wonderful job with this scenery. Every ground object that you would think would be included at a regional airport and airpark is included with the scenery package. All of the objects are hand placed and the textures are very good looking and have a three dimensional look to them." "As for the airport itself, all of the scenery objects that you would expect are included. There are the usual parked aircraft & cars, hangers with & without aircraft parked inside, flying school, other general aviation related buildings, a restaurant and much more. The old military section of the airport, the glider & helicopter areas and the seaplane base have all been included with excellent looking scenery objects. Night lighting with Andras Field scenery is also very impressive." "Aerosoft’s Andras Field is a fantastic scenery package that is reasonably priced and is constantly being upgraded with new scenery objects. The sense of community is what really makes the Andras Field scenery so impressive. Even if you decide not to purchase property in the airpark, I encourage you to become part of the online community."

  • Dallas Fort-Worth (Sep 5, 2010) Staff reviewer Aidan Sandri heads to the Lone Star state to check out FSDreamteam's Dallas Fort-Worth. "Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport (KDFW), is between Dallas and Fort-Worth and generally serves the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. It is the busiest airport in the US state of Texas. It has seven runways, four of which are heading North-South, all four are over 13,000 feet. In 2009 over 56 million passengers went into Dallas-Fort Worth making it the eighth busiest airport in the world." "The runways and taxiways are all at a very high resolution, making it crisp and clear to read the markings from your Virtual Cockpit. The taxiway lines are realistic, even down to where it marks where each aircraft type is required to stop and line up with the jetway. The jetways also connect up with the aircraft you are using. With the high resolution textures, I had noticed whilst flying over this airport several times that at the edges of the scenery some of the textures are blurry and do not have custom 3D objects placed on top of them." "I did not see an FPS loss whilst flying around Dallas-Fort Worth. A lot of care seems to have been taken in making sure users, who fly heavies, can still use this airport with minimum frame impact. FSDreamTeam have done a fantastic job with Dallas Fort-Worth, and I have enjoyed flying around it. There is plenty to explore in this airport and it has a lot of great features to keep a simmer occupied for many hours."
  • 3W5 Concrete Municipal and WA56 Israel’s Farm (Sep 2, 2010) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura visits the Pacific Norwest of the USA to look at 2 new airfields from Orbx - Israel’s Farm (WA65) and Concrete Municipal Airport (3W5). "Israel’s Farm is part of Orbx’s new “budget line,” and doesn’t include a whole town, the way Concrete does. But both products are built to the same specifications, with .60 m/pixel photographic ground textures for the surrounding area and higher-resolution textures for the airfield proper (.15 m/pixel for Israel’s Farm, and .30 m/pixel for Concrete)." "A lot of the effort in these products has gone into making them viewable from ground level: not just on the airfield, where you taxi between parking ramp and runway, but in the adjoining town (for Concrete) and on the adjoining farm (for Israel’s). Texture resolutions vary, which helps framerates, but where it’s important for something to look sharp (e.g., signage or the mural map of Concrete), it does." "In all of the Orbx products that I’ve owned -- including three of the Australia region packs and two of the Australia airfield sceneries -- the level of detail and polish has been quite high. I like Concrete better than Israel’s Farm, because there’s more to see. It’s a great jumping-off point for exploring the Cascade Mountains, with fast access to Baker Lake and Baker Mountain; and if you have the Darrington scenery, it’s only twenty miles to the next Orbx-enhanced airport."
  • Monistir X (Aug 27, 2010) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins travels to Tunisia to discover Aerosoft's MonistirX. "Habib Bourguiba International Airport (DTMB) is located next to the city of Monastir which is a major tourist resort in the north-eastern part of the country on the Mediterranean." "This airport is off the beaten path so to speak. This is not a large airport nor does it have a complex layout. The main terminal building is centrally located and there are no jet ways. Overall the buildings look good but there are several that stand out." "I'll begin with the main passenger terminal; the two story structure has a distinctive looking roof which is made up of triangles arranged in circular patterns. It is an unusual roof and I thought they did a really good job in recreating it. The other building that catches your attention is the large EADS hanger located on the eastern end of the runway. It is an imposing structure because of its contrasting blue color and its size." "The ground textures like most everything else at this airport were good and appear to be hi-resolution textures so that washed out look close up is minimized. The runways and taxiways look weathered and stained but the aircraft parking area directly in front of the main terminal building shows no signs of wear and tear, no oil, fuel or dirt stains you would normally expect to find." "In addition to recreating Habib Bourguiba Airport the surrounding area has also been improved to be more in line with how the area actually looks. In the FSX default rendition the entire area shows up as desert but after installing the scenery you can see that the individual salt lagoons are defined and that a built up area to the east is representative of the city of Monastir." "Overall, I thought Monistir X was well done, is a good value for the price and is a huge step up from the airport that exists in FSX."
  • Maldives X (Aug 21, 2010) Staff reviewer Jason McKee goes on vacation while checking out Aerosoft's Maldives X. "The Maldives Atolls stretch over an area of about 90,000 square kilometers. There are 26 double chain atolls in the Maldives territory which run in a north-south direction. Maldives is one of the smallest Asian countries and is the lowest country on the planet with the highest point on the atolls being just 2.3 meters above sea level. There are several airports in Maldives, there is two international airports at Gan and Malé, there are also three domestic airports at Hanimaadhoo, Kaadedhdhoo and Kadhdhoo. But by far the most popular and easiest way around is by amphibian seaplane." "Aerosoft has included a fully detailed version of Malé International Airport in this package. The airport is also fully compliant with the AES system and uses zero credits, so you get to use AES for free. Aerosoft’s version of Malé looks spot on, with well detailed buildings and very nicely done night lighting." "Beside Malé airport is the Malé seaplane base, this is the home for the Twin Otter seaplanes. The seaplane base itself is well detailed, with the piers for the seaplanes to unload and load passengers included. Aerosoft has covered the North Malé Atoll and the South Malé Atoll with the package. Covered in the package are seventeen seaplane bases which service the resorts spread around the atolls." "Will it run on my computer? On my PC this scenery works really well, with no dips below 25fps. Even with heavy traffic and not so nice weather I struggled to get below 20fps. Overall Maldives X is a great scenery to have, not only does it cover the long haul fliers with a good representation of Malé International (with AES for free), it also covers the VFR fliers with some stunning scenery of the Atolls. If you fly with an amphibian even better."
  • Dublin 2009, Shannon Ultimate, Cork Ultimate (Aug 7, 2010) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt heads to the Emrald Isle to look at 3 titles from Eiresim; Dublin 2009, Shannon Ultimate and Cork Ultimate. "This is a multi-product review. In it, I review multiple products, instead of just one. In this particular review, I will discuss the airports one by one, in a chronological order (first released is discussed first). This way I hope to make clear how every airport by Eiresim gets increasingly nicer and more functional. To give a global idea: Dublin is okay, but Cork is awesome." "Dublin International Airport has two terminals. In general, it is an okay looking scenery and I like what I have seen. There is no unnecessary detail that bogs down frame rates, but here and there the scenery does tend to look a bit stale, or light. This is mostly because of the lack of shadow effects, reflections and more detailed ground textures around the terminal buildings. Fact is that the developers would have liked to have an aerial ground image, but they couldn’t due to copyright issues. I have heard there are plans to redo all of this airport and when that happens, an aerial ground image will be added." "The scenery of Shannon Airport by Eiresim covers not only the airport itself, but also the industrial park and some other buildings on what seems to be airport premises, including two big houses and an oil storage facility. Shannon Ultimate is a very nice rendition of the real airport. The buildings are all well modeled, but the same texturing “flatness” and “depthlesness” is present here, too. As it is, it is still a very nice airport scenery and shows a marked improvement over Dublin 2009 in various departments." "Eiresim has made its own Cork Airport scenery, and here we have a sudden and very big leap in quality from Shannon Ultimate. The biggest improvement is the appearance of satellite ground imagery. With Cork Ultimate, Eiresim has shown their true potential. In short, this is the very best scenery of all currently released Eiresim sceneries, improving over Shannon Ultimate by leaps and bounds. The terminal looks stunning and the satellite ground imagery is among the best I have seen. All the other buildings show a pattern of nice modeling and texturing. Eiresim has set itself a high standard with Cork Ultimate."
  • Small Airfields Switzerland Parts 3 and 5 (Jul 24, 2010) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura grabs his hole punch and heads for the land of cheese and Heidi, by touring Small Airfields Switzerland: Parts 3 and 5. The products are brought to you by Aerosoft and developed by FlyLogic. "Each package comes with five airfields. All of the fields have photographic ground textures that adjust to the seasons. What sort of objects will you see? It varies from field to field (which is part of the fun, of course). All fields have static aircraft, depending on which kind the real field is host to. Most of the fields have gliders, but there is more than one model of glider." "The architecture is varied as well. There are hangars, of course, but each one seems to have a unique design or roofline. There are some generic signs but most of the signage is unique as well, naming fields or stating elevations. Some of the fields here have night lighting and others don’t; that’s how it is in the real world too. There’s some animation but not a lot. There is moving traffic on the local roads, but no moving service vehicles on the field grounds proper." "The other challenge with these fields is finding them from the air. But even when you know where to look, the smaller fields aren’t immediately visible. That’s by design, because in real life, they blend in with the landscape." "I think Orbx sets the standard for GA fields rendered in extreme detail -- keeping in mind, though, that they’re just doing one field at a time. Small Airfields Switzerland are less detailed, and there’s considerably less effort to model the surrounding area; you’ll get some VFR landmarks, but not a whole township. On the other hand, you get five airports instead of one, frame rates are noticeably higher, and they’re in Switzerland. I like the Swiss airfields: they’re somewhat exotic (to American eyes) and they’re grouped close enough for short hops."
  • US Cities X: Chicago (Jul 20, 2010) Senior staff reviewer Bert Pieke goes back to where it all started with a look at Aerosoft's US Cities X: Chicago. "If you are a long time flight simmer, you may well have started your virtual flying career at a little airport situated just off Chicago on a peninsula in Lake Michigan, Meigs Field." "U.S. Cities X is a series of city sceneries that should be positioned between the high end city scenery like Manhattan X and the default scenery. Fully aimed at daytime VFR flights, it does not include seasons and night textures." "The performance impact is not really noticeable, at least until you fly to KORD, Chicago O’Hare airport. Overall though, the performance is acceptable for VFR flight and the amount of visual detail presented here is a feast for the eyes. If you liked Aerosoft Manhattan, you are sure to like U.S. Cities X Chicago. You get some breathtaking views when flying around the downtown core."
  • Mega Airport Amsterdam (Jul 18, 2010) AVSIM staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt takes a look at his "home airport" with Aerosoft's Mega Airport Amsterdam. "This series of products includes well-known airports, such as Paris Charles de Gaulle, Stockholm Arlanda, Madrid Barajas and Budapest Ferihegy. This title is also AES and AESLite compatable." This screenshot intense review takes you to every corner of the airport and the surrounding area outside of the security fencing. Once back inside the airport's perimeter, Benjamin takes a detailed look at all of the concourses, terminal buildings, cargo area, as well as the runways and taxiways. Not only does he look at Aerosoft's offering but mentions its compatability with other titles such as Ultimate Terrain Europe and NL 2000. "Schiphol Airport is a huge scenery. It might even be one of the biggest projects undertaken in flight simulation scenery design, with some notable other projects such as FlyTampa’s Kai Tak and various other “Mega Airports” such as Paris Charles de Gaulle. Mega Airport Amsterdam is a good scenery package, portraying EHAM quite accurately, but it needs more work. One more patch that resolves the last issues is truly needed, but in its present state it is still perfectly usable. It looks very good, works as hard as you’d expect, and should give you lots of fun."
  • Dublin X (Jul 11, 2010) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins visits the Emerald Isle as he looks at Fly Wonderful Islands' Dublin X. "Dublin Aiport, EIDW (known as Aerfort Bhaile Átha Cliath in Irish) is located in Collinstown in County Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. As Ireland's busiest airport more than 20 million passengers passed through it's facilities in 2009." "This is my first time ever flying out of an airport created by this group and my initial impressions of this scenery was very positive. The difference between the FSX default version of the Dublin airport and this one from Fly Wonderful Islands is like night and day. This rendition of Dublin airport has two active runways; 10/28 at 8652ft and 16/34 at 6798ft." "Observing the airport at ground level you quickly see that this is indeed a busy place. There are vehicles of all types parked on the tarmac and around the various structures within the airport grounds; baggage carts, trailers, pushback tractors, fuel trucks, mobile stairs, cargo trucks, cars, etc. Overall the ground textures for the grassy areas, adjacent roadways and the hard surfaces such as aprons, runways, taxiways and aircraft parking areas look good and are fairly well detailed." "Besides the buildings you will find that there are all of the other items you normally find at an airport such as VOR/DME, PAPI lighting, approach lighting, runway and taxiway signage and lights, antennae, perimeter fencing and more. As with most everything else the objects were detailed and realistic in appearance." "The developers recently released an update that corrects a few problems, but despite those you are sure to enjoy Dublin Airport from Fly-Wonderful-Islands. You should seriously consider having this airport as a part of your flight simulator world."
  • Ultimate Alaska X (Jul 9, 2010) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne heads north to check out Flight 1's Ultimate Alaska X. "This is the fourth in the Ultimate Terrain Series offered by Flight1 Software. The area covered is that forming the Alaskan state with its Aleutian Island chain. There is a little bit of cross coverage with UTX Canada in the vicinity of Prince Rupert (CYPR)." "There are 5 layers unique to Ultimate Alaska (see introduction above); Mesh, Cities, Water, Railroads, and Roads, with two shared UT Exclusions for Default Scenery and UT Landclass-Vegetation which must be at the end of all UTX layers. There are five different object sets in the environmental presets that have differing loads on the performance. My choice is 1-alt for fidelity and performance." "I'm happily impressed with Ultimate Alaska X and recommend it to anyone interested in Alaskan flying. I am glad to say this is an excellent terrain enhancement product."
  • Oregon (Jul 2, 2010) Senior staff reviewer flies to the Pacific Northwest to check out MegaSceneryEarth's Oregon. "With this latest addition you get 47,000 square miles (47.8%) of high quality, hi-resolution scenery covering the western region of the state and more of the visually spectacular Pacific Northwest region of the USA. Coverage expands from Portland all the way down to the California border. Some famous places and landmarks include: Cities of Portland, Salem, Eugene, Roseburg, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls. Mt Hood and its 11,000 ft peak, Crater Lake, Klamath Lake, numerous National forests and 200 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline. There's so much to see, too much to mention here but you're in for nothing short of a spectacular VFR flying experience - day and night!" "This small US state has stolen my heart and I really mean that. Not only is the 1.19 resolution is ok, also the ground colors and thus the ground textures, are realistic. Overall an impressive piece of software that doesn’t have any FPS effect."
  • Dutch Harbor X (Jun 12, 2010) Staff reviewer Mark Kolo heads out to the Aleutian islands to take a look at Aerosoft's Dutch Harbor X. "Dutch Harbor is a relatively small fishing town located on the island of Amaknak in the volcanic Aleutian Island chain jutting out over 1000 miles into the Bearing Sea. Dutch Harbor is often described as one of the final frontiers in the US and as a boom town (the island’s year round population of 8,000 is often doubled during the days leading up to the opening of the next fishing season) due to its importance to the Alaskan fishing industry, particularly crab, and cod as documented on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch." "I was immediately struck by the high level of detail and sharpness of the textures that were visible from the ramp, and the intricate modeling of some smaller scenery elements (such as road signs near the airport) that would suffer or be looked over in larger airports. Unalaska Airport, also known as Dutch Harbor Airport and Tom Madsen Airport, is located in the city of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor at the foot of a small mountain on Amaknak island. The airport’s layout is dictated by the harsh surrounding terrain and has room for only a single runway (the 3900 foot runway 12/30) and two small ramps at one end of it. Dutch Harbor’s somewhat sheltered waters allow for a seaplane base to be located just across the street from the airport, and for amphibious aircraft the ability to taxi up the ramp, across the street and park in a hangar or just on the ramp." "Dutch Harbor X covers a large part of the Aleutian Island chain, and includes not only landclass for many islands surrounding Amaknak, but also some enhanced scenery for two seaplane bases and the small towns they are located in, as well as improvements in scenery for many other small gravel airstrips in the area. Furthermore, relics from the World War II era including Quonset huts, revetments, blockhouses, and a ship are also included in Dutch Harbor X. Four other airfields are included in the scenery, though the coverage is more of small enhancements rather than actual scenery coverage." "Dutch Harbor X comes with its own introductory mission. The included mission is a short flight in a recently repaired Goose with a copilot who has some basic knowledge of the area. The mission includes a takeoff, introduction to the area and the nontowered nature of the airport, the generally bad weather, and a water landing in Dutch Harbor followed by an optional extension to taxi up the ramp back to the airport after the splashdown." "During the time I spent with Aerosoft's Dutch Harbor X, I was able to do the type of flying I rarely am able to in the lower 48 states where I normally fly. Between the precarious location, and terrible weather, there aren’t many airports that are as tricky as Dutch Harbor. When the wind calms down enough to fly however, you are able to enter an incredible world of custom objects and landclass that span a large part of the Aleutian island chain. There was always something new and interesting to explore in the area."
  • Sucre (Jun 9, 2010) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt heads to South America to check out Latin VFR's version Juana Azurduy De Padilla airport, in Sucre, Bolivia. "Sucre is the capital of Bolivia, yet its administrative seat is in La Paz, and I dare say that LatinVFR’s scenery is probably the only payware scenery for Bolivia. I praise each developer that goes out there and captures real world airport in FS sceneries that would otherwise have been forgotten." "The manual says we get the airport, photo scenery for an area of 300 square kilometers and mesh scenery to complement both. Therefore, this is a complete scenery package that gives you everything to enjoy this airport. The airport is tiny. There is one runway, a rather small terminal building, some small warehouses and a BP petrol station. I like the details, the texturing and the modeling of the buildings." "You can say many things about the textures found in this package. Some probably find it too blurry in some areas, while for others it’s just fine. What you can’t say is that the detail of the textures used for the apron, taxiways and runway is bad. They are very sharp and they look very good. Tiny cracks and holes are spread over the apron and give a wonderful sense of a used, South American airport." "SLSU is unique because of various parameters. The elevation of the airport is over 9000 feet. The runway is sloped. It looks like they poured concrete over a hill and called it a runway! The approach is occluded by hills right before the runway, and at the other end there is a valley. So, either you crash onto the hill, or you fall into the abyss. The runway is 9000 feet long, meaning you can land somewhat bigger planes here than, for example, at Lula, another airport with a sloped runway." Benjamin includes an interview with LatinVFR's developer Ricardo, who goes into the intricaies of this airports and why it was developed as it is. Benjamin concludes the Latin VFR Sucre review with, "the scenery gives you a nicely detailed airport with some unique characters that you’ll hardly find in our FS World, like the geographic (and cultural) location, the sloped runway and the lack of ILS. Together with that we get some nice mesh and photo scenery to complement the airport scenery and provide a very nice visual experience on approach to this airport. I truly recommend this airport. It looks good, it’s extremely entertaining and fun to operate in and out of."
  • Twin Oaks (Jun 1, 2010) Staff reviewer Philip Wilson looks at a small airport from Bill Womack that fits in with Orbx's Pacific Northwest, the Twin Oaks Airport. "Weekdays are quiet at Twin Oaks, with only a handful of operations—mostly student pilots taking instruction from one of the several CFI’s based here. But on weekends when the weather cooperates, the place is alive with the buzz of aircraft engines as hordes of weekend pilots flock to the field. For pilots looking to explore the Pacific Northwest, Twin Oaks is an ideal base. The rocky Oregon coast lies just beyond the mountains to the west. Eastward, past Portland, is the entrance to the Columbia Gorge, where the broad Columbia river cuts a gash through the Cascades. Mt. Hood is nearby, as is the humped dome of Mt. St. Helens. Even in a slow plane, there’s a wide variety of stunning vistas within reach of the airport." "The airport and immediate vicinity is highly detailed at 30cm and the surrounding area comes in at an impressive 1m. Scenery and ground textures are fantastic as is the mesh which gives you the rolling hills and various elevations around the airfield. You are limited to one runway for takeoff. While on the ground, when you call up the FSX ATC dialog box, your only option for takeoff is runway 20. This is also true at the real airport as runway 20 is downhill. I’m glad to see it was the same in FSX." "It is clearly stated in the user guide, you MUST set your mesh resolution to 2m. This may also lower the FPS on some systems. The manual states: 2m is mandatory for this airport scenery to correctly display Bill's unique multi-elevation mesh at the airport. Setting it to 5m or higher will result in less defined slopes and elevations around the airport." "Bill Womack has exceeded my every expectation with this scenery package. The picturesque Stark’s Twin Oaks airport itself is fantastic, but when you combine the fact it’s also the worlds first multi-elevation airport, the package is simply amazing. Given that this airfield is only a short flight from the Oregon coast as well as Portland and numerous small airports, it makes the perfect base for all your virtual GA flights."
  • Lubeck (May 26, 2010) Staff reviewer Robert Mariani isolates a scenery from Aerosoft's German Airports 3, Lubeck-Blankensee. As the other airports included in this title were also reviewed as standalones, this one deserved its moment in the spotlight as well. "Aerosoft’s version of the Lubeck airport is available for both FS9 and FSX, and according to Aerosoft, “the goal was to provide the community the best possible model of the airport.”" "The scenery includes only the airport, which is rather small, but covered in detail. The scenery of the airport itself is very detailed and includes photorealistic ground textures and numerous custom buildings at the airport. In addition, the scenery comes with the small program called EDHL Traffic, which configures AES." "The textures that come with the airport - just like in another of Aerosoft’s product that I had the pleasure to review - are excellent. There is a mixture of several textures of grass and dirt, and the runway surroundings appear very realistic. The buildings are done very well, but the inside of the terminal is non-existent. The runway at EDLH is fairly short at 2102m, but long enough to accommodate your typical A319 or 737. Runway textures are also custom-made and really well done, and so are the approach lights and satellite buildings surrounding the field, including the sailplane base." "Aerosoft's Lubeck has many details, moving traffic in and around airport, and great textures. It also boosts excellent performance on an older system, and provides a flyer with another detailed airport to visit and explore. One thing to keep in mind is that the airport is small, and even in real life there are not that many things happening there."
  • Menorca X (May 24, 2010) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison travels to a favourite European vacation spot with Aerosofot's Menorca X. "Menorca X is the third individual release in the Balearic Islands series developed by Sim-Wings for Aerosoft. While this release once again covers the entire island with high resolution photo real textures it is the airports themselves, of which there are two." "Menorca X is three sceneries in one featuring the complete island itself and the two airports located at the eastern end. Like the two previous releases in the Balearic island series, sim-wings have used 0.5m/pixel resolution as the base allowing for excellent clarity. On top of this are the two airports that have been built in high detail and then autogen has been added to the rest of the island leaving you with a highly detailed and accurate representation of the real-world equivalent." "The terminal and areas either side that make up the Menorca ramp are a bustling hive of activity primarily thanks to AES Lite which adds fuel trucks, vans, baggage carts and other vehicle types that drive on set loops around the airport. The terminal building has seven gates with 6 of these having animated jetways available to the aircraft. Each has a safe dock system that as mentioned identifies what aircraft you are flying and adapts its guidance based on that. Additional ramp parking is located close to the taxiway and this is where prop-jobs and regional jets tend to park." "The taxiways and runway itself are very detailed with signs, 3D edge lighting and taxiway markings clearly defined. The level of detail on the taxiways is very high particularly at the ends where I could see the remains of the approaches for the two closed runways. All the appropriate navigational aids are included allowing full ILS approaches on both runways. At dawn, dusk and night Menorca lights up and is bathed in a glow that brings the best out of this scenery." "Beyond the airports lies a world waiting to be explored. With photo real textures Menorca is a VFR pilots dream with the clarity allowing you to see cars and road markings very clearly at very low altitude. I was very impressed with the coloring of the textures and unlike Mallorca, I didn’t see any areas that suffered discoloration or cloud coverage that led to a bleached look in a few areas." "If you are looking for hi resolution photo real scenery for FSX and haven’t dabbled with it up to now, you couldn’t go too far wrong with Aerosoft's Menorca X. It has the best of hi detail photo real airports with all the bells and whistles and then gives you 650 square kilometers of VFR flying."
  • Toncontin International Airport (April 23, 2010) Staff reviewer Vikto Lakatos heads to Honduras to fly into and explore LatinVFR's Toncontin International Airport (MHTG). "Toncontín Airport (TGU/MHTG) is on the plains of south Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Toncontín International was the 7th largest Central American airport in 2008 handling 565,000 passengers. Its asphalt runway is 7,096 feet/2,163 meters long (rather short) with the direction of 02/20. This measure limits the aircraft types to land in Tegucigalpa to a maximum of Boeing 757s. This airport is known as one of the smallest international and most dangerous airports in the world." "The airport texture is relatively well shaped, but not containing overly complicated buildings. We can find static ground handling vehicles on the apron (i.e. stairs) and a few cars at the parking area. There is very light traffic on the road passing by the main terminal building. Light means a bus and two cars. An approach by night followed by a missed approach shows the good general quality of lights." "The unique runway 02 approach puts Toncontín to the discussion of the most dangerous airports. The glide path of runway 02 leads just above the bushes on the ground, some land also had to be removed at the RWY 02 threshold to provide enough safe area for landing aircraft. The available runway length is extremely short and your job is not completed with touchdown; you have to make your wheels stop on the runway. Real airmen fly runway 02 approaches here, 20 is for beginners." "LatinVFR’s Toncontín Intl. Airport scenery is: an inexpensive, friendly add-on that really makes our Latin flights alive. The scenery is compatible with the definite must-have Aerosoft AES (and it is a great advantage). I strongly recommend this add-on for pilots who are interested in challenging (sometimes dangerous) airports worldwide."
  • Approaching Innsbruck X (April 18, 2010) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison heads to Austria to check out Aerosoft's Approaching Innsbruck X. "Aerosoft’s Approaching Innsbruck X is, in this reviewer’s eyes at least, unique in that it does three things. 1 - It provides detailed scenery of Innsbruck Airport. 2 – It provides localized scenery of Innsbruck city itself and surrounds, and most importantly 3 – It provides flightsim enthusiasts with the opportunity to fly one of the most dynamic and exciting approaches and departures of any airport in the world." "The overall level of detail is one of the outstanding features of the scenery with lots of custom built buildings and other scenery items that adds 3D context to the underlying photoreal base. Where Innsbruck Airport and surrounds excel in my view is when the sun sets and the lights come on. I have never seen such clarity in textures as those featured on the main terminal windows, the effect achieved is as real as it gets." "The resolution of the photo real base looks to be around 1 or 2 meters per pixel given the level of detail provided, with coverage across both approaches and well into the mountains on either side. This makes for some very impressive views as you climb out. Some featured effects include smoke and at night, flashing lights to help prevent collisions. The road network is another impressive feature with amazing bridges spanning deep ravines and tunnels running through the mountains." "While you can fly any aircraft around in FSX happily enough if you went disregarding any level of realism, you might as well not bother flying in Innsbruck because the real depth that is present in this region is not so much the pretty scenery but the challenge of flying in it. I do encourage anyone considering this scenery to take a look at the charts and learn how to fly these approaches by the book. Of course Innsbruck isn’t just about the non standard procedures and heavy aircraft, or even fixed wing aircraft for that matter. Helicopter operations are well supported with a couple of helicopter pads available for use." "Approaching Innsbruck X is another quality product from Aerosoft. Heavy jet flying and learning the approaches can be a steep learning curve but a rewarding one, and then adding layers of difficulty via weather takes it to another level. Add chopper sorties and gliding and I feel you have a real destination for fun flying rather than just another airport on the way to somewhere else."
  • Pacific NorthWest (April 17, 2010) Staff reviewer Philip Wilson flies around his home territory with Orbx's Pacific NorthWest. Orbx states, "We chose to begin our North American series of regions in the Pacific Northwest simply because it offers some of the most diverse and beautiful areas in the entire planet to explore in Flight Simulator X. It's a bush flyer's paradise and for good reason, with spectacular geographical features unlike anywhere else on Earth." Philip adds the compatibility notes from Orbx in case you have other 3rd party sceneries added to your sim. He then explains all the texture and eye candy features of the product. "Orbx reworked nearly 450 FSX default airports within the PNW region, correcting the various faults in the stock airports. This is an overwhelming makeover and now every airport they have touched has lots of eye candy in the form of vehicles, aircraft, and military helicopters to name a few items." Since this is a scenery review, it wouldn't be useful unless there were screenshots. Philip has added a sampling of the various areas covered to give you a good idea of the treats you are in for. He adds, "the detail of this scenery package is unbelievable. The manual has 5 pages dedicated to FSX slider settings and explaining what works best and why." Wrapping up the review of the Pacific NorthWest Philip concludes, "the textures and terrain mesh are breathtaking and flow accurately from the majestic mountains and valleys of Washington State to the rolling hills and farmland of central Oregon. Beautiful coastlines from northern Vancouver, BC to Bandon, Oregon, and photo real city textures finish off an exceptional product. This is definitely a must have package for every FSX user."
  • Massive Photoreal Scenery (April 8, 2010) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen takes a scenic tour of the US West Coast with Sim Savvy's Massive Photoreal Scenery package. "TWO MILLION square miles of photoreal Scenery for FSX. First there’s the AMERICAN WEST with 11 STATES and over one million square miles. It covers the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Then there’s the AMERICAN EAST COAST with 23 States and over 750,000 square miles. The following states are included: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia." Through the aid of screenshots, a road map and a descriptive narative of her cross-country flight path, Angelique comments, "The whole idea of this trip is just to cross a couple of Massive Scenery states and see how this works out. During this trip I’ve seen very good / realistic ground texture tiles, but also some which are overexposed, or with a wrong color balance while at some places the ground texture tile border was clearly visible between the two texture tiles. Overall, the VFR flight was fun." "Although I didn’t cover every state and every corner including the high level detailed areas, my general impression of this Massive Scenery Western USA product from Sim Savvy is good. The quality of most of the textures equals 2 meters per pixel, with some areas being even higher."
  • Honolulu (April 1, 2010) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins says "Aloha" as he tours around FSDreamTeam's Honolulu International Airport. "This is the primary airport for the City of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii and additionally shares its facilities with Hickam Air Force Base." "This scenery is the complete Honolulu airport complex so you get both the civilian airport, PHNL Honolulu International which includes the main terminal building plus the cargo areas and the Hickam Air Force Base. Overall the airport looks good and is well done. Lots of details in the buildings and ground textures. Apart from this small area I must say the scenery developers have done a great job in adding details and they have added lots of them. There is an abundance of airport vehicles and they come in every variety you’d expect to see, you also have cargo containers, blast walls and fencing." "The runways and markings are crisp; the colours are not over emphasized and appear realistic with a weathered tone. The YouControl feature is their way of allowing you to open and close certain hanger doors. Trying out the ParkMe was fun. First of all you choose where you wish to park. Once you arrive at your chosen gate there is a digital readout that shows your aircraft type. From this point as you slowly move in, you are guided with visual cues to your exact parking spot. This certainly adds to the realism." "I enjoyed FSDreamTeam's Honolulu and found that it added nicely to the Hawaiian experience, providing a very detailed gateway airport to this beautiful part of the world. I found that the details were abundant and well done, with lots of little touches adding to the overall experience."
  • Trondheim Vaernes X (March 28, 2010) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison visits Norway and Aerosoft's Trondheim Vaernes Airport. "As an active military airbase for the Norwegian Air Force as well as being a civilian airport, Værnes is host to a diverse range of aircraft from both heavy lift USAF C5-Galaxies to the more sedate Twin Otter. Whatever aircraft type either real or virtual aviators call home, they must all face the unique flying conditions that can be expected in a country that sits around the same latitude as Greenland." "The level of autogen in this area is very dense with the hills surrounding Værnes covered in trees and housing and other buildings to the north, so all of these factors combined left me with a very favorable impression of Værnes performance. The jetways, gate area and Terminal A itself are very well built with some gorgeous detail. The jetways use transparent glass and these are fully see through that actually allow you to see what’s on the other side. The ramp area has various vehicles and items you would expect to find that add depth and ‘clutter’ without impacting on performance." "Beyond the terminals, Værnes has several other areas of interest. Behind Terminal A can be found the control tower, parking facilities and a detailed service station that sits inside the airport boundary. The buildings in this area are also well detailed and connect with the road system that has vehicles following the road around in front of the terminals and away south." "The runway and taxiways at Værnes X are all rendered atop hi resolution photos with an AFCAD file providing taxiway lines and the unseen pathways AI traffic follow. Both ends of the runway have approach lights and a PAPI system installed with the lights PAPI connected to 3D units sitting alongside the runway." "In my view this is another quality product from Aerosoft. I was impressed with the level of detail and modeling gone into the airport buildings, runways and taxiways. Norway may be known for its snow but it does have four seasons and these are all depicted in the scenery. Visually, Trondheim's textures fit seamlessly with the default FSX textures and I felt it looked pretty good."
  • Atolls of Tuvalu (March 26, 2010) Staff reviewer Philip Wilson heads deep into the Pacific region to visit some historic islands with Pacific Islands Simulation's Atolls of Tuvalu. "Tuvalu, pronounced "too-VAH-loo", is an independent constitutional monarchy in the southwest Pacific Ocean between latitudes 5 degrees and 11 degrees south and longitudes 176 degrees and 180 degrees east. Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, they separated from the Gilbert Islands after a referendum in 1975, and achieved independence from Great Britain on October 1, 1978. The population of 11,800 (est. 2007) live on Tuvalu's nine atolls, which have a total land area of 10 square miles, or 27 square kilometers." "There are 7 Atolls/Islands in this package, and they each have a different feel and character about them. Since there are so many elements at play here, I’m going to give you the tour starting with NGFU and ending in NGTO." Philip goes on to describe each stop along the way during this cross-country (cross-atoll?) adventure. Each section is accompanied by some great screenshots to give you a feel of what to expect at each location. "The Atolls of Tuvalu from Pacific Islands Simulation is a first class product. From the smallest animals to the breathtaking panoramic scenery, it is an amazing recreation of this beautiful country. Each Island/Atoll has a unique feeling to it, and with the sounds of local birds and waves crashing onto the beach. This product is a definite “must have” for anyone who loves the “low and slow” island lifestyle."
  • German Airports 3X (March 22, 2010) Staff reviewer Jason McKee looks at a composite package from Aerosoft, German Airports 3X. "The latest package in the German Airports Series is German Airports 3X, this covers the following five airports: Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel, Bremen, Berlin-Tegel, Paderborn/Lippstadt and Lübeck." Since 4 of the 5 airports were reviewed individually, Jason concentrated on the missing airport Luebeck. "The airport itself is a small sized airport that can handle up to 767/757 sized aircraft. There are six gate positions at the airport, these handle 737 and A320 sized aircraft and larger when required. The airport for FSX is well detailed and has all the building in their correct locations. The main runway and gliding runway are accurately placed and modeled, the textures around the airport from the tarmac to the ramps looks exactly like the pictures on Google Earth. The night lighting is great, with the runways and taxiways are easy to follow. From the air there is a nice white glow around the ramp from the floodlights at night." "Overall, German Airports 3X is a great value for your money. You get five airports for the price of two. Even better is that all the airports have full AES support. Aerosoft seems to have a knack of creating realistic and well priced airports and these airports included in this package live up to this reputation."
  • Nice Cote d'Azur (March 18, 2010) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison takes us on a tour of Aerosoft's Nice Cote d'Azur. "Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (pronounced ‘niece’ as opposed to ‘nice’) is France’s second busiest airport located on the Mediterranean coast in the south of France. Nice (IATA: NCE ICAO LFMN) is also located close to Monaco. With two runways (04L/22R – 8432ft and 04R/22L – 9711ft) Nice can comfortably handle 50 movements an hour and has the capacity to handle 13 million passengers a year using two terminals." "It appears to me that Nice is a mixture of both classic and modern architecture that spreads across the expansive area it fills with a natural flow that doesn’t require airport charts to help you figure out where you are. The airport space is dominated by two large terminals and the control tower. The level of detail is very high with the Terminals distinctive angled roof captured perfectly." "The quality of the scenery items remains high across all the areas and attention has been paid to the details, right down to the large ‘Rock man’ (my name for it) that sits in the middle of a round-about near one of the entrances. The Nice ramp area has plenty of static scenery items such as buses, push back tugs, vans, cars and the other kinds of paraphernalia you would expect to find at any large airport. In the middle of the ramp area are a number of aircraft parks and plenty of blast fences, and sitting here is the red airport fire services building." "Nice sits atop hi-resolution photo’s which cover the airport and surrounds. The textures themselves provide a good deal of detail and create a very realistic environment. I particularly liked the effect achieved with the taxiway and runway textures that also have signs and 3D lights across them. For those wanting to fly precision approaches, Nice has fully operational ILS approaches and various other accurate real world navigational aids to assist you. The AFCAD file included is very well done with all the gates and ramp parks utilized. Both runways operate and on a few occasions when I was flying ILS approaches, I shared the approach with an AI aircraft landing on the parallel runway." "I feel Aerosoft has added another excellent airport scenery add-on to their collection that performs well. From the included charts to the fantastic night lighting and detailed buildings, there is a lot to like about Nice and plenty to explore around the airport and beyond the perimeter fence as well."
  • Bretagne - Brest (February 25, 2010) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen heads to the northwest of France to look at France VFR's Bretagne and Brest scenery titles. "Since I’ve included the airport and surrounding Brest area - which makes sense because it lies within Bretagne VFR - the differences between FSX and FS9 Brest software aren’t that big within Bretagne VFR except for the LOD outside/inside the airport fences. Still I’ve split up the review into two parts and where and when needed, I’ll be referring to each of them." "You can see for yourself it’s very difficult to pinpoint default FS9 Brittany locations versus the real Brittany if you’ve chosen the France VFR software. What I like about the France VFR software is that you can use it in combination with VFR charts or if you wish, just an ordinary Michelin car route chart." Angelique takes us on a descriptive tour of these titles by conducting VFR cross country flights fromm Rennes to Brest. There she looks at the Brest airport. Then she flies another route, Rennes - St Malo - Brest, to cover more of the title's scenery. "Is Bretagne FSX better than its FS9 counterpart? The answer is yes, but that’s not strange due to the LOD difference. Remember, FS9 is based on a LOD10 (38.2 meters), while the FSX version is LOD13 (4.75 meters). The Brest airport scenery is more or less the same for FS9 and FSX. Probably there are some small differences but honestly, I haven’t noticed them. One thing is for sure; the amount of FS9 ground vehicles/airport ground equipment is more present than in FSX. However, FSX allows the adding of default ground stuff via the menus. My overall impression of these titles are that they are very good with some slight discrepancies."
  • Sion X (February 21, 2010) Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins heads to Switzerland to check out Aerosoft's Sion X. "Sion can be found in the Rhône valley in the Swiss Alps. Surrounded by picturesque mountains this is a very beautiful area. The airport currently operates two runways; a 2000 meter concrete runway that was upgraded with ILS capability in 1991 and a second 600 meter grass runway. In 2007 there were over 44000 combined aircraft movements making this small airfield a busy place." "The first thing that jumps out at you is that you're in a valley surrounded by the Swiss Alps. Panning around, you begin to notice that there are lots of little touches that bring the airport to life. Looking to the west there is a line of cargo hangers, once again you have items such as boxes and crates and a variety of airport vehicles, some of which are animated. It was not uncommon to see a fuel truck driving around the airport." "On the south side of the main runway is the military portion of Sion airport. Just as with the civilian side you will find a variety of static objects but this time, as you would expect, they are military in nature. There are some static military vehicles, personnel and aircraft. Beyond the borders of the airport you'll come across some extra objects included to spruce up the area." "Flying in and out of this airport can prove to be a challenge depending on the aircraft type you choose. As is recommended, I normally approached the airport from the east. Doing so provides certain advantages, the ILS is active on runway 25 which includes approach lights and the valley is much longer and wider from this direction making it easier than a westerly approach. Most of my departures were also to the east as the initial climb is not as steep." "There are lots of little extras in and around Sion X that give you the feeling that the airport is alive and not just a deserted concrete strip. The scenery is not without its faults but overall it's nicely done."
  • Norman Manley Int'l Airport - MJKP (February 19, 2010) Staff reviewer Philip Wilson heads to Jamaica, man. Here he looks at Latin VFR's Norman Manley International Airport - MJKP. "The Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) is located on a picturesque peninsula twenty minutes from Kingston’s business center. It is bordered by the seventh largest natural harbor of the world and is one of Jamaica’s global gateways. The Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) is the primary airport for business travel to and from Jamaica and for the movement of air cargo." "The scenery's textures are where the MKJP product starts to lose its glamour. Unfortunately there are more disappointing areas than positive ones. Based on earlier titles, I have a lot of respect for the LatinVFR team and it is with great sadness I have to report this. There were positive scenery areas however." "The Norman Manley Intl. Airport from LatinVFR is the best rendition of this airport available for FS, but unfortunately the use of photo ground textures and lack of attention to detail were the contributors to this products downfall."
  • Luxembourg Airports (February 13, 2010) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt stays home in Europe to explore Aerosoft's Luxemburg Airports. "Luxembourg Airports: a remake of Luxembourg for FSX. It’s the biggest region Aerosoft has set out to replicate (biggest landmass, anyway), and it includes all (three) airports, a lot of landmarks, mesh, and around the airports some nice photoreal ground textures." "Findel international Airport, which I’ll call by its IATA code hereafter: ELLX (Same goes for the other two, smaller airports). This is not a big airport, and it’s probably one of the smaller international airports in the world. What it does have, is a huge cargo center. The modeling of the cargo centers is good. The textures are very sharp, even from close up, and there is quite a lot of detail. Even if the buildings themselves are not extremely detailed, there is a slew of tiny objects in the form of trucks, cars, baggage loaders, you name it. There is a lot to see, and it is all nicely modeled and textured." "Luxemburg Airports also contains two more, very small airports. They might not be good enough to land a Boeing 737 at (these are grass strip, VFR airfields), but they have a lot of atmosphere. ELNT: It is a tiny, but it is very charming. It is nothing more than a grass strip, but look how airport buildings are built along the road. Even the aircraft are simply parked along the road. I think it looks great." "In Luxembourg Airports, not only are the airports modeled, but also some landmarks and landclass and mesh add-ons have been included. So, flying over Luxembourg City we come across some nice spots. The night textures are very good, and I enjoyed looking at them." "Think carefully about what Luxembourg Airports is. It is a (sort of) “mega airport release” (namely, ELLX), combined with an extra add-on that includes Luxembourg landmarks for people who like to fly VFR. So, essentially, this product gives both heavy metal guys and VFR guys a nice environment to fly in."
  • San Andres & Providencia (February 11, 2010) Staff reviewer Philip Wilson heads to South America to visit Latin VFR's San Andres and Providencia airports. "Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport, also known as Sesquicentenario International Airport, is an international airport located on the San Andrés Island, Colombia. The airport serves the cities of San Andrés and San Luis, but also commercially serves the nearby island of Providencia; all being major vacation spots for South and Central American tourists." "The runway and taxiway textures are wonderful. The use of photo textures for the surrounding areas, although better than some of their other products, still leave a lot to be desired. The building textures are a mix of great and not so great. Several other LatinVFR titles have superb night lighting and this one falls somewhere below their other work. I feel it could have been better, but it’s not as bad as other products I’ve tested." "In addition to Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport (SKSP), you also have Providencia airport. The jewel here is the ramp textures at the terminal and the sign describing the airport."
  • FS Global 2010 X (February 6, 2010) Staff reviewer Etienne Martin transforms the world with Pilot's FS Global 2010 X. "FS Global 2010 X is a worldwide terrain mesh product for Flight Simulator 2004 / FSX. It adds 20 gigabytes of high resolution terrain elevation data to augment the fidelity of the virtual landscape features." "Like its predecessor, FS Global 2010 adds detail to the visible (above water) landscape features such as mountain ranges, fjords, peaks, gorges and other geographical points of visual interest. The product includes coverage the entire world (based on available data) in one package." "During flight, I noticed my hard disk was getting a workout, especially as I was flying low with a fast aircraft – a visual experience that simply cannot be passed up with this product. Of course, that always gives the hard drive a workout, FSG or not. I didn’t see any difference in FPS between FSX scenery only and FSG 2010 only. All I can say is that FSG was transparent to the FPS on my test system and didn’t register the type of FPS hit I see with certain aircraft or scenery add-ons." "FS Global 2010 X is an improvement over its predecessor in many areas. Using recently improved data sources means more areas of coverage worldwide, most notably at latitudes nearing the poles were good data sources were unavailable before, or areas where improve source data is now available. A clear benefit of FSG 2010 is its all inclusive nature. No purchase of separate continents or area necessary, you get it all. I find it a solid and complete product, and FS Global brings the flight simulator experience ever closer to the real thing."
  • Boston (February 5, 2010) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen comes to America to check out Fly Tampa's Boston. "Boston International is wrong but General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport is correct (IATA: BOS, ICAO: KBOS). It lies in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States (and partly in the Town of Winthrop, Massachusetts), and is one of the 20 busiest airports in the United States with over 26 million passengers a year." Ángelique first takes us on a tour of the airport grounds to get us acquainted with its layout and features. "We’ve stopped at gate C40. This means we’re standing at the end of terminal C. It seems nothing is forgotten and every tiny detail is there like the mobile heating/cooling (airco) unit, the wires, the jetway skin, the ground light units, the fire extinguisher on the airco unit, and where applicable, the hose between the airco unit and the airplane, of course the stairs." "Not only are the taxiways looking good, but also all the other things we’re automatically dealing with like the taxi lights, the signs, the text on the signs and taxiways and runways, and the lawns around us. I’m impressed about how it’s made and the eye for details, even here far away from the terminal buildings." Angelique has added Aerosoft's AES to this airport and describes all the additional items that can be found at this airport when using this utility. "While driving around on the platform, hovering at a normal altitude and seeing how every detail is simulated as well as the coast lines and the water surface around it, it all fits perfectly in its designated place with lots of tiny things added to make it a little more attractive.""Keeping in mind that Boston Version 3.0 supports Aerosoft’s AES Version 2.05 or is it the other way around ….. and the smooth integration with Flight1 products - Ultimate TerrainX USA, Ground Environment Enhanced USA and Ultimate Traffic II – makes this a great add-on."
  • YCDA, YCNK, YMAV, YWAV (January 30, 2010) Staff reviewer Jason McKee takes us on a tour of 4 airports from the Orbx FTX series. YCDA Caloundra, YCNK Cessock, YMAV Avalon and YWAV Warnervale. "For those of you not familiar with the Orbx products, they comprise of four different areas of Australia and specific airports which are being added all the time. The four specific areas cover the ground texture and autogen for FSX, and the airports focus on the airports and their surrounds." "Caloundra airport is a small GA field which has a thriving aero motive industry based on the airport. The airport ground texture is rendered in 15/60cm per pixel, also included is a GA traffic file which adds some nice local traffic. And to top it off there is 120kms of photo real ground texture, water mapping and a sound pack." "Cessnock covers 120sq km of photo real ground work at 60cm/pixel it also includes custom sounds of the township of Cessnock. Avalon is Melbourne’s second major passenger airport. It is also home to Qantas’s secondary training and maintenance base. Avalon air show is held at this airport every two years, and is the major event for Australia; this air show attracts visiting aircraft from around the world. This airport includes 30sq km of photo real ground texture." "Warnervale airport is locates in native bush land on the central coast of New South Wales and is within a short flight of Aeropelican, Cessnock and Coffs Harbour. The airport includes 57sq km of photo real ground textures sampled at 15/30/60cm/pixel, it also has its own traffic that uses the airport, the local township of Wyong and VFR landmarks to aid navigation in the area. It also has custom night lighting for the airport." "It is hard to write words to describe scenery products and these airports really do need to have the Orbx base packs installed to get the best out of the entire area. That said, all of these airports have everything well placed and they look accurate. They give you the feeling of really being there."
  • Ostafyevo (January 23, 2010) Staff reviewer Xavier Noche heads to Russia to review AlfaFly's Ostafyevo. "Oddly, this airport does not exist at all in FSX; it is just regular landscape and trees. This airport opened in 2000 on a former military air base near Moscow, Russia. The Ostafyevo airport is located South from Moscow, exactly midway between Vnukovo and Domodedovo, and has a single 6600 ft long concrete runway 08-26. It is mostly dedicated to general aviation." "The scenery includes the airfield with all the buildings and parking lots with busses, cars, animated people in various places. The surrounding areas add real buildings, the real lakes and ponds, the approach lights structures, the roads with car and truck traffic, local trees like fir trees and birch trees, and much more. Lots of areas in the field are what we could call “sub-sceneries” of their own with custom details such as specific 1940’s cars. There are civil works scenes, and military storage of various vehicles." "Ostafyevo proves to be amazingly detailed, in all areas, providing new things to discover each time you fly or taxi in the area for quite some time."
  • Hong Kong (January 16, 2010) Staff reviewer Tim Capps looks at the "other" Hong Kong airport with ImagineSim's VHHH. "Kai Tak is history. Flying into Hong Kong now means a straight in approach to the luxuriously long, wide and comparatively boring runways of Hong Kong International Airport, known as Chek Lap Kok for the island upon which it was built." "Chek Lap Kok seems to consist mostly of empty space. This contributes to the sense of newness: there just hasn’t been enough time for a lot of new growth, perhaps. Lights along the extended centerline of the runways march out into the surrounding sea on pylons. In addition to the buildings, numerous airport vehicles both static and in motion add to the ambiance. Long baggage trains and boarding busses are at the ready, and many of the vehicles have flashing lights. Jetways are modeled in detail, but are not animated." "If your fleet includes a car, this is a fun airport to drive around. You can really appreciate the details from ground level, including fixtures like 3D lighting, parking areas with guidance systems, and lots and lots of moving vehicles of various types. Night lighting deserves special mention. The taxi lighting is beautifully subdued and pinpoint sharp." "It may not be Kai Tak, but Hong Kong International at Chek Lap Kok is a big, interesting and beautiful airport with practically unlimited choice of carrier and equipment. By day or night, Imaginesim has a winner here."
  • Juan Santamaria International Airport (January 8, 2010) Staff reviewer Philip Wilson heads to Central America to fly at LatinVFR's Juan Santamaria International Airport. "Currently, Juan Santamaría is the second busiest airport in Central America after Tocumen International Airport in Panamá. The airport's major airlines are TACA/Lacsa with its international network and TACA's subsidiary Sansa for domestic flights. The airport's long runway allows for operations of large, wide body aircraft. Currently some scheduled flights are operated with Airbus A330, A340; Boeing 747 and 767, for both passengers and freight. A Concorde landed in the year 1999 for that year's air show." "LatinVFR optimized the ground textures surrounding the airport for 2m in FSX and 10m for FS9. But MROC is more than just ground textures, and the textures on the custom scenery is good, and in some places, great. Topping the list are runway and most building textures. The runway detail is excellent with scuffing, fading, cracked paint and expansion joints clearly visible. The ramp area is modeled to include the concrete parking spaces imbedded in the asphalt ramp. The concrete slabs have visible oil stains and erosion from heavy use. In addition, many areas of the custom buildings definitely have the WOW affect. If there was one surprise here it was the night lighting. From the flood lights on the airport cargo ramp, to the entire valley, the night lighting was superb." "When you load up MROC for the first time, you are greeted with flowing ground traffic. There are busses, cargo trucks, cars, airport vehicles and fire equipment. The commercial vehicles have authentic names and logos, and the busses have real ads on their sides. There are even taxi’s lined up in front of the airport to whisk your passengers to their destinations." "The Juan Santamaría International Airport by LatinVFR is a great product. Overall, I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives and recommend this scenery to anyone with a dream of flying around Costa Rica."
  • Ibiza X (January 7, 2010) New staff reviewer Jamie Whiting kicks off the new year and his first review with Aerosoft's Ibiza X. "This scenery offering from Aerosoft gives you a chance to explore and appreciate not only the airport of Ibiza but also the Islands of Ibiza and Formentera. The airport of Ibiza, LEIB, located near the southern tip of the island of Ibiza, serves as the primary port of entry for anyone wishing to get to these islands. During the course of a year approximately 4.6 million passengers pass through its gates flying in and out on over 57,000 flights." "Overall this airport blends in seamlessly with its surroundings but then I would expect nothing less as the entire island of Ibiza is included as part of this product. The ground surfaces are very crisp and detailed. They have really done a great job here. There are subtle differences in the coloring of the concrete, the runway markings are all there and not over stated, and you can clearly see the well worn paths where the majority of the aircraft traffic is concentrated and the tell tale signs of rubber skid marks in the landing zone on the runways. There are 3D lights and markings along the runways and taxiways. Everything about this airport screams details." "The island of Ibiza is quite large with an area of about 571 sq km and a population around 114,000. With a topography that is a mixture of both low lands and hills there is plenty of variety and you are kept busy taking in all the sites. The northern half of the island is more rugged and secluded. The splendour of the island is everywhere. To bring the area to life there are lots of autogen buildings in this scenery and for the most part they are very well done. I was amazed at how breathtakingly this scenery is." "The Island of Formentera located just to the south of Ibiza is much smaller. As you fly around exploring, you see the island's natural beauty. Just as with the Island of Ibiza they use photoreal textures and autogen throughout. Several of the more notable natural features of the island have been included." "When you have islands, you have water and Aerosoft have clearly not forgotten this with Ibiza X. They have made good use of color to give you the perception of shallow versus deep; this is especially evident along the beaches and in the shallows."
  • YSTW: Tamworth Airport (December 26, 2009) New reviewer James Culleton starts off his first review with Orbx FTX YSTW: Tamworth Airport. "Situated inland between Sydney and Brisbane, Tamworth is a city of approximately 40,000 people. The field serves as a regional gateway for several airlines including the Qantas regional subsidiary Qantaslink. Additionally, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) bases its Basic Flying Training School." "I started out on runway 30R, had a quick look around, and then got airborne. It didn’t take long for my jaw to drop, and I subsequently turned back to have a closer look at all the buildings. This scenery has incredible detail of both the ground and building textures. This scenery was specifically designed to be used with the FTX AU Gold package, and the FTX website stresses that functionality is lost when it is not combined with this package." "Through clever design work and tweaking, FTX have managed to come out with a product that seems to affect frame rates half as much as products half its quality. The most noticeable performance drop occurred when viewing the whole airport building complex from around 500’ AGL." "YSTW: Tamworth Airport is an excellent product. Anyone that is interested in seeing what visual wonderment FSX is capable of should not hesitate a second to give this scenery a try."
  • German Airports 3: Bremen (December 19, 2009) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne visits another of Aerosoft's airports in the German Airports 3 series, this time it's Bremen. "Bremen airport (EDDW) is a medium German airport serving about two million passengers per year to European destinations handling 38,876 commercial landings and takeoffs in 2008. There is quite a lot of non-commercial activity as well, totaling about 9000 aircraft movements last year such that this airport will allow you to be amongst similar types (AI) with either your heavy irons, biz jets, twins, and/or general aviation preferences, unlike some very large airports where you can actually feel out of place in your cherished Cheyenne next to an exclusive club of 747s and MD-11s." "It has two CAT III ILS approaches for runways 09 and 27 which are detailed in the supplied charts as a pdf document. A smaller runway, 23, is only 700 meters long. BMN is the VOR and HIG and BW are the two NDBs. The included charts are exhaustively complete and detailed. The reproduction of this small airport is outstanding. Night lighting effects are well covered, as is the nice blending of its photo-real tiles with neighboring ones." "My medium computer was sufficient to allow for a fluid approach through to a landing with most settings a notch less from their highest. Even with an LOD radius manually extended to 8.5, frame rates were always in the mid-teens. My overall impression of Aerosoft's German Airports 3: Bremen is, as is usual with Aerosoft's products, one of unequalled high satisfaction."
  • Berlin Tegel (December 7, 2009) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt visits Germany to look at Aerosoft's Berlin Tegel airport. "Berlin has three airports: Schönefeld, Tempelhof and Tegel, also known as Otto Lilienthal. Of these three, Tegel is the most important. Tempelhof is closed, and Schönefeld is a lot smaller. Tegel airport doesn’t lie in Berlin, though: like most airports, it’s outside of Berlin." "The level of detail of this airport is rather uniform, and in my opinion you can see the same from the air as from the ground. I’m happy with what I’ve seen: neat texturing and professionally done modeling. The amount of detail in FS9 isn’t really expanded upon in FSX. Moreover, I noticed that some of the blurriness that was present in FS9 is also in FSX, which is a pity. I’m happy to report that AES works for the FSX and FS9 version of Berlin Tegel." "The buildings and objects in Berlin Tegel are all very nicely done, with great attention to detail and a complexity that we have come to expect from Aerosoft products. The vehicles on the airport grounds and the roads outside of the airport are a very nice touch, and stuff like a vehicle crossing where vehicles stop for aircraft is something that I greatly value. Overall, I think this airport scenery is quite good and represents the real airport in a realistic way, and I can recommend its use to whomever fancies flying into Berlin regularly."
  • Lelystad X (December 5, 2009) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen heads down the raod from her house to visit Aerosoft's version of Lelystad X. "Lelystad Airport (IATA: LEY,ICAO: EHLE) is an airport 3.5 NM (6.5 km; 4.0 mi) south, southeast of Lelystad, Netherlands. It is the biggest general aviation airport in The Netherlands and is also home to a large aviation museum, the Aviodrome. The museum's former KLM Boeing 747-200, which they have on display, is a prominent feature on the airport." "Aerosoft's version shows the huge difference between the default FSX scenery and airport area according to Microsoft. As with many other small airfield/airports, EHLE is hardly known for how it really looks and therefore the default airport looks horrible, but that’s no exception compared with other worldwide unknown airfields. However, the moment you install Lelystad X from Aerosoft, you’re Dutch lifestyle will change and you’re impressed with what’s possible these days in FSX." "Lelystad Airport is not very big and offers one paved runway and a smaller grass version, while most of the buildings, hangars, taxi-ways, cars, and other objects etc. are located east of the paved runway, yet there are still lots of things to create and to take care for and thus a lot of work. This scenery covers the complete airport area, the Aviodrome museum area and the immediate surroundings. The small grass strip for the Ultra Lights is also included as well as the three car circuits located nearby." "Overall impression …. Great! Probably many others and I were waiting for this. Aerosoft created a great airport with lots of details. Almost every building is simulated – since I haven’t counted them all – the presence of the great Aviodrome with an overall ground texture quality of 50cm/per pixel, but as said before for the runway and taxiways it’s 7 cm/per pixel. I’m very satisfied and for me, Aerosoft's Lelystad X will be one of my favorite airports in my daily growing FSX airport collection."
  • Ft Lauderdale Hollywood Int'l Airport (KFLL) (December 1, 2009) Staff reviewer Mark Kolo heads to his home airport to check out FSDreamTeam's version of Ft Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (KFLL). "Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International (KFLL) is located in one of the world’s busiest tourist and business areas, being only a few short miles from downtown Ft. Lauderdale, as well as Port Everglades, and is situated just over 20 miles north of Miami. Its location makes it a very important airport in that it handles much of the area’s domestic traffic as well as international traffic from Canada, the Caribbean as well as any spillover long hauls from nearby Miami International." "I was immediately impressed by not only the quality of the scenery, but also the relative frame rate friendliness and a few nice touches. As I took the active it was hard to miss the aerated concrete barrier at the threshold of the runway, the high detail taxiway signs, 3D grass around the edges, as well as thousands of 3D taxiway and runway lights. Unlike most airport sceneries, FSDreamTeam chose to do some selective modeling of some of the nearby off airport features that helps to identify FLL." "The buildings are modeled as well as I have ever seen in FS, matching the real thing almost perfectly (including the front side on departures level). The textures on the buildings are also a perfect match for the style and feel of the FLL terminals, and really help to pull off the look of Ft. Lauderdale International. The ramp around the gates is cluttered with all sorts of ground equipment ranging from baggage trucks and trailers, to catering vans and everything in between, some of this is animated, which I will discuss later. Even the jet blast deflectors near the Spirit terminal are present, which protect cars in a nearby lot." "I’d like to move on to the animated objects and FSDreamTeam’s YouControl features. YouControl is a “custom action manager” that is part of the Coutal engine mentioned earlier. It has been implemented in FSDreamTeam packages in the past, though this is the first I have used it. Three of the GA hangars have it, as well as the Signature Flight Support, Embraer, and Sheltair FBO hangars." "All in all, I have to say this is definitely one of my favorite scenery packages of all time and is right up there with FlyTampa St. Maarten in realism and fun. Between all the custom animations allowed by the Coutal engine and the extremely detailed 3D and texture aspects of the scenery I never failed to be amazed, finding something impressive around every corner, with every control input to my exploration vehicles. Despite modeling or texturing applied to just about every detail on and near airport grounds, FSDreamTeam was able to keep frames relatively high with use of variable level of detail. I highly suggest downloading the demo to see it for yourself."
  • Hervey Bay (November 15, 2009) Staff reviewer Tim Capps flies "down under" and explores OrbX FTX's Hervey Bay. "The Fraser Coast adorns the eastern seaboard of Australia, and is home to ecological marvels like Fraser Island and The Great Barrier Reef. Hervey Bay is located 300 kilometers north of Brisbane. The seafront community of Hervey Bay City is set in the middle of 40 miles of beaches and has one of the fastest-growing populations in Australia. It is a holiday magnet, not least for being “The Whale Spotting Capital of the World.”" "There are no less than 19 options for Hervey Bay, including 13 ambient sound sets that are tied to various locations both at the airport and in the surrounding area. Other options include static vehicles, animated people and other filler objects, 3D grass and a fictional helicopter pontoon at the marina for rotary wing fans." "The airport is recreated in loving detail from the baggage flats to the rusty roofs of the hangars, and you don’t want to miss any of it. Beyond the aprons and runway is a dry, dusty, weedy, rutted patch of land that makes you thirsty just looking at it. Airport fixtures from radio equipment and lights all the way down to tall grass and concrete cones are modeled. Depending on where you set your sliders, Hervey Bay City is a bustling place with lots of vehicular traffic." "Orbx is recreating an entire continent, bit by bit. Hervey Bay is among the best examples of the loving detail Orbx lavishes on its projects. The sights, the sounds, the attractions, the challenges, the ordinary and even the ugly are all there to pull you into a virtual representation of this tiny piece of Australia."
  • Cuzco (November 10, 2009) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen heads to Peru in South America to visit Latin VFR's Cuzco. "The real airport is located in the city of Cuzco, a city in southeastern Peru. Cuzco, a principal tourist attraction in Latin America, receives various domestic flights as well as some international flights. Currently, it operates at a limited capacity due to its precarious location near the city's center." "The FSX Cuzco airport offers outside of the fences approximately a 1.5m quality, while within the fences it’s less than 1.0 m. For FS9 it’s slightly different; it’s approximately 10.0m per pixel outside the fences and 1.0m pixel within the fences. Angelique describes the sceneries from different approach angles and compares this scenery with the default MSFS scenery with words and screenshots." "Compared to the default FSX scenery, Latin VFR's Cuzco does dramatically change the old look into something highly realistic. Thus I think I’ve proven this by being on the same longitude/latitude location and making a screenshot from the default FSX scenery and then when Cuzco is activated. Only looking at those screenshots and seeing the huge differences, do I think it’s worth every Euro/cent. It’s 200% better than the default Cuzco."
  • VFR Germany 4: East (October 24, 2009) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura completes his tour of Germany with Aerosoft's VFR Germany 4: East. "This is the fourth and final installment in Aerosoft’s VFR Germany project, which combines aerial photography of the country with a database of buildings." "The basis of the whole VFR Germany project is aerial photography. Volumes 4 (and volume 3, which I reviewed earlier) are noticeably better in this regard. Like previous volumes, this product also comes with thousands of VFR reference points. Most of them are generic: power pylons, nuclear reactors (which emitted steam in volume 1, but not in any of the subsequent volumes), animated wind farms, various types of broadcast towers, and observation saucers. In larger cities, such as Berlin, Dresden, and Erfurt, there are also custom churches, castles, sports stadiums, bridges, and other local monuments." "One of the first products I ever reviewed for AVSIM was called VFR Berlin 2006. Compared with VFR Berlin 2006 for FS2004, VFR Germany 4 for FSX has fewer custom buildings and bridges. For the most part, it reuses the default monuments and relocates them on the photographic background. Even though the models are the same, the monuments themselves usually look better against the photographs. Even with the default scenery, Berlin has a variety of water features and monuments. With this product, the water features are more nuanced and, with the photographic ground textures, you get a better sense of the city’s green spaces: its parks, playing fields, and gardens." "This series has its own custom objects, such as houses and apartment buildings that look more German than their default counterparts. The real trick, however, is how they’re distributed. With photo-based scenery, there’s no repeatable pattern; every tile is unique. Aerosoft’s solution is to place buildings using an existing database of real-world structures. To my knowledge, Aerosoft is still the only scenery maker that uses this technique." "To my knowledge, VFR Germany 4: East is the largest project of its kind so far. Instead of hours, you can fly for days, even weeks, and not exhaust everything there is to see.” Two years and three volumes later, that is still true."
  • Approaching Innsbruck (October 12, 2009) Staff reviewer Viktor Lakatos heads to Austria to check out Aerosoft's Approaching Innsbruck. "Innsbruck airport gives us something special. It is not a JFK, Heathrow, Frankfurt, or Hong-Kong-scale airfield. However, this airport is also a famous one, but not because of its complexity, nor its passenger statistics. Its location and unique surroundings put it in the list of the most enjoyable airports in the world." "As we look down at Aerosoft’s Innsbruck scenery from a bird’s eye view, we can see a nice photographic landclass with relatively smooth borders. The GMAX designed 3D objects have good quality; we meet many custom buildings that also raises the level of reality. The city is alive: vehicles are moving in the streets continuously, traffic is always huge on Motorway A12. I cannot go on without making a note on train traffic. As the train passed the level-crossing, the gates opened. Great small details: the pantographs of electric locomotives were sparking." "Innsbruck is a relative small airfield with one concrete strip. Taxiways A and B connect the apron with the runway. Taxiway Z couples the northern hangars to the runway. Good news for helicopter fans, there are two helicopter landing facilities included in the scenery. I liked the nice grass texture between the apron and the runway. The night textures are very nice, although dark vehicles are moving on the apron at night. I cannot say anything bad about the textures at all. The airport is fully compatible with Aerosoft’s Airport Enhancement Services" Viktor goes into the details of the approaches into Innsbruck and some of the special limitations of arriving there by taking you through the approach, with tips to help you along the way. "Aerosoft’s Approaching Innsbruck is a definite must-have for those who fly not (only) because of the moving jetways and automated docking guidance, or large airports with tons of ‘shiny’ features, but like challenges and are not afraid of navigating in foggy weather between high snowy peaks. Aerosoft’s Approaching Innsbruck scenery shows that Innsbruck is in deed: A small, lovely airport at a beautiful place."
  • Mallorca X (October 3, 2009) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison heads to a European vacation getaway with Aerosoft's Mallorca X. "Mallorca X is a little bit different to other releases from the Aerosoft stable in that while Palma de Mallorca is rendered, as is the smaller GA field of Son Bonet, it doesn’t stop there. To quote the Aerosoft Mallorca X page, this product comes as a “complete island in a breathtaking resolution of 0.5m/pixel” and when the DVD version is released Aerosoft say this will be extended to include the other two islands in the Balearic group." "Palma De Mallorca has four areas of operation with the international terminal being the larger area of the four taking up what is effectively two sides of the main terminal space. Here visiting aircraft are served by single air bridge equipped gates and terminal buildings that have plenty of glass in them providing virtual passengers great views of the ramp operations. The air bridge’s themselves are highly detailed and emblazoned with airberlin.com. The textures on these were very clear and crisp as they were for the majority of the buildings. A good portion of the domestic terminal sits on stilts so airport traffic such as push back trucks, buses and catering trucks are clearly visible running under the buildings and in and out of the ramp areas and this is supplied by AES Lite." "Son Bonet (LESB) is a sleepy little airport that lies about 4 or 5 km’s north of Palma and as a result is closer to the city centre and is primarily used for general aviation. Four large hangars with either fully or partially open doors dominate the ramp area and sit in front a series of workshops and other facilities. All of the scenery items in this area are very well constructed with excellent levels of detail and textures. Cars and trees also populate this area making it quite dense scenery wise." "Mallorca X comes with AES Lite. In its simplest form this adds a myriad of traffic both on the major roads around the airport but also ramp side buses, catering trucks, push-back trucks etc. Pretty much anything you would expect to find at a major airport can be seen following pre-defined loops. A simple click of the mouse will turn traffic flows on and off for the three areas of the scenery this covers." "Mallorca X is in my view a destination that caters for pretty much any form of flying one might care to partake in. Topographically speaking Mallorca varies from steep mountains protecting its northern coastline to the sweeping fields that roll into the ocean to the south. Farmland, vineyards, desert and holiday retreats dot the shorelines and hinterland making this a VFR feast for those who like it low and slow. Both helicopter and GA pilots will appreciate the resolution of the photoreal textures as the island unfolds beneath them. For those who want an even more intimate experience get in a car and follow the roads and tracks clearly discernable across the island. The combination of high detail airports that sit on a complete island of hi resolution photoreal textures makes it in my view a complete destination for flying."
  • Tongass Fjords X (September 5, 2009) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura goes "way up north" to take a look at FSAddon's Tongass Fjords X. "The original Tongass Fjords came out a couple months before FSX. It was the third major payware scenery by Holger Sandmann (after Misty Fjords and Vancouver+) and his first full-scale collaboration with Bill Womack, who did the airfields and settlements. The product received several awards, including the AVSIM Gold Star, and in my mind still represents the high-water mark of scenery development for FS2004." "Tongass brings everything up to 38m standard for the coverage area (which extends into British Columbia) and fixes some anomalies. In general, though, flyers of the default scenery won’t notice a huge difference in this regard. What you will notice right away are (a) richer landclass and (b) more detailed shorelines." "There are 4 new airfields, bringing the total up to 13, and 11 new forestry cabins, up from 20 in the original. Bring some pontoons, though, because most of the cabins are only accessible on floats. So are most of the product’s 44 seaplane docks, which outnumber the region’s landing fields (listed and unlisted) by a factor of almost 3. There are also 11 helipads (including the emergency Coast Guard pads at Five Finger lighthouse and Cape Decision lighthouse)." "This product covers a very wide area, and its two main developers, Holger Sandmann and Bill Womack, have been building it up, detail by detail, for at least five years. Hardware aside, there is one big variable and that is weather. Some days are clear, and some days you can’t see anything. In-between, there are days with big cumulus clouds that cut your frame rates in half (and look great in screenshots). If you want to, you can adjust the level of detail with the scenery slider and get higher frame rates; I didn’t find that necessary, but the option is there if you want it. Meanwhile, what works for me is to fly something that places low demand on system resources. I’ve had lots of great flights with the Aerosoft Beaver -- which, of course, is better for STOL and water operations anyway." "It has been a long time -- maybe since the first Tongass -- that I have reviewed a scenery product where everything was this polished: terrain, harbors, traffic, even charts. What makes Tongass Fjords X stand out is its comprehensiveness: terrain plus traffic (air and water) plus airfields plus settlements. The quality of each element is uniformly high."
  • US Cities X: Indianapolis (September 1, 2009) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne heads to Indianapolis, not to go racing but to fly the scenery as presented by Aerosoft. "This scenery for the city center of Indianapolis is geared mainly towards VFR flyers and will interest our copter pilots in particular. There are no custom airports but there are some heliports inside the city that can be fun to use." "This series "USCitiesX" is a separate endeavor of lesser complexity and size than that of Manhattan X, yet it is still much more than just custom FSX scenery as seen in the many large FSX-customized cities throughout the default FSX world. Aerosoft's products are "wall-to-wall" enhanced custom design without any autogen at all within its borders. There are no airports in this package, and KIND lies outside of the photorealistic tile." "Again, a master class "work of art" forms our undeniably brilliantly skilled developers at Aerosoft. What you get is a reproduction of the city core and some outlying points of interest such as the Indy 500 Raceway track, along with 9 semi-detailed heliports."
  • Australia & Western USA (August 31, 2009) Staff reviewer Tim Capps climbs to altitude while exploring Australia then heads across the Pacific to the Western USA to check out 2 titles from France VFR / FSAltitude. "When you gain some altitude, you notice that your realistic world is made up of a limited number of repeating terrain illustrations. Everything is where it is supposed to be, in a general sense, but there isn’t a lot of variation. VFR France’s brilliant idea is to give you your FSX scenery (whether stock or gussied-up) in your immediate vicinity, but -- here’s the trick -- replace it farther away with photorealistic scenery. There will always be a “footprint” (their word is “cone”) of native scenery directly beneath your airplane. This will occupy more or less of your field of vision depending on your altitude, and will usually be tucked discretely out of sight until you need it for take-off and landing." "To test the concept, I studied Australia in Google Earth and tried to discover a flight that would take me over as much varied terrain as possible. I have never visited Australia much in FSX, perhaps because the standard scenery is so dismal. But when someone gives you a realistic treatment of the whole continent, with New Zealand thrown in, suddenly you’ve got eight million square kilometers of some of the world‘s most interesting terrain to explore. FS Altitude Western USA (which gives you most of Mexico, too, incidentally) works the exact same way." "Unless there are heights in the distance, FS Altitude is not a factor until after you take off. At altitude, however, you can see that you are flying over the real deal. With some realistic cloud cover and visibility limits, it is darn near as real as it gets. In addition to the two products reviewed here, there are also editions for the Eastern United States (available at a discounted bundle with Western USA as an option) and Western Europe." "VFR France has devised an elegant solution to the up high-down low scenery dilemma, and one which does not so much cooperate with your other scenery as benignly ignore it. If you like to fly airliners, cruise will become something more than the time you do something else between taking off and landing. It will be an entertainment, an education, and at times a reflection on this beautiful planet of ours. FSAltitude Australia and Western USA are 2 of those products that truly elevate the flight sim experience."
  • Scotflight: Version 2 for FSX (August 17, 2009) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura goes VFR over Scotland with Scotflight's Version 2 of the scenery for FSX. "In FSX, the default scenery for Scotland is not bad. All of the (major) airports are represented and there is good terrain mesh; in Glasgow and Edinburgh, there are numerous landmarks. What’s still missing are the smaller airfields, a detailed road network, accurate landclass, accurate shorelines, and rural landmarks (such as castles, wind farms, and broadcast towers). Scotflight: Version 2 addresses most of these shortcomings and then animates the landscape with moving traffic." David takes us on atour of the various Scottish regions and compares the default scenery with that of Ultimate Terrain and Scotflight. "First, the landclass coverage of UT is much broader than Scotflight’s: it covers all of Scotland (and all of Europe), not just the areas around custom airfields. But the Scotflight landclass, for the areas the areas that it does cover, is hand-tuned. Second, the shorelines in UT are both less angular and more accurate than the shorelines in Scotflight -- and both are much improved compared with the default (as you can see from the screenshots). Third, UT and Scotflight both have more roads, and more road traffic, than the default scenery -- though again, UT has slightly more of both. Finally, Scotflight has something that UT doesn’t even attempt, which is more traffic on the waterways, with boats on three different lochs and ferries running between the islands; the ferry ports are modeled as well." "A list of new or enhanced landmarks is available on the Scotflight product web page. By my count there are 15 wind farms, 8 broadcast towers, 11 major bridges, 2 oil terminals, 2 canals, 10 forts or castles, 3 new or refurbished structures at Glasgow, 14 ferry ports, 2 marinas, and 4 larger sites that I can’t classify: the Old Man of Hoy formation, the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, the ruins on Iona, and the Knockhill racetrack. Version 1 of this scenery, “Highlands & Islands,” had 27 enhanced airfields. Version 2 has 52."
  • German Airports 3 - Hamburg X (August 15, 2009) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen revists her old home base with a look at Aerosoft's German Airports 3 - Hamburg X. "Hamburg Airport (IATA: HAM,ICAO: EDDH), also known as Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel Airport (German: Flughafen Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel), is an international airport serving Hamburg, Germany. It originally covered 440,000 square metres. Since then, the site has grown more than tenfold to 5.7 square kilometres. The main apron covers 320,000 square meters. The Airport is 8.5 km north-west of the centre of the City of Hamburg in the Fuhlsbüttel quarter." "My first impression while driving around at the apron, I see so many things, so many details, all very well created and even sharp. Just have a look to the gates or airways. Above you’ve seen a real gate/airway and below you see the Aerosoft version. Ok, not 100% the same but let’s say 99% the same as the originals. Even the electrical cables are hanging on one side of it and probably not as detailed as the real ones, but altogether a very good replica of the original ones. While walking on the tourist promenade it seems that the developers had a tremendous eye for many details. Look to the light masts, the passenger terminals, all the cars, trucks, baggage carts, movable stairways, belts and more of that." "All the buildings – hangars, shops, offices etc. - of the LHT maintenance area are made with a highly realistic value and give me a good idea of the overall quality. While standing just a few yards… oops meters, from the dominated yellow/amber control tower, I must say that this tower, including the offices, is showing what’s possible and tells me something about the overall quality of this airport area." "As you can see at some locations, the border equals the road but at other positions, it is the forests which divide the Hamburg X airport scenery with the rest of the FSX default scenery. Wherever you are, you will always see the border between the end of an add-on product and the default FSX scenery. This is also applicable for this combination but this will change the moment you decide to buy Aerosoft’s Germany 2. Together with all the autogen options set, it looks as real as it gets." "Hamburg X itself including all the buildings gives me the feeling that a lot of work is put into it with the result of having a highly realistic replica of the real EDDH. For one price you get both the FSX and FS2004 version, not too many adjustments are needed except the ones written in the manual. Just follow their advice and check afterwards if your system can handle it. If it can, play with them since ending with a stable 20-25 FPS is perfect."
  • Lisbon X (July 25, 2009) Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt visits Portugal to cover Aerosoft's Lisbon X. "The airport is a rather old one, existing pre-WW2 where it was used by both Allied and Axis planes. Lisbon’s Portela airport was largely left alone and it continued to increase the annually handled amount of cargo and passengers. In the meantime, it was engulfed by Lisbon itself, bringing officials to the final decision of building a new airport outside of Lisbon. The village of Alcochete was finally chosen in 2008 as the place this new airport would be built." "After visiting every corner of the airport, the simple conclusion is that the detail is quite amazing; although I noticed how sometimes the tarmac textures are not always continued over all surfaces that require them. What probably stood out most in this patch of the airport is how well the buildings look. The tarmac texturing could have been laid out with more precision but these are only minor gripes. The amount of detail from the air is good, although some of the texturing on the roofs of these buildings are blurry, but the roofs will only be seen when you are flying. Overall, I am impressed with the detail I have seen." "The lighting is extraordinarily good. I honestly have no idea how they pulled this off, but first of all, these are not the standard lights being used. It’s also not the Shockwave lights redux package you’re seeing: these are custom lights you get with Lisbon X, and it looks stunning. When far away, the lights stick together, forming a white, beautifully looking band of light and the closer you get, the more the lights appear as single entities." "It’s when you arrive at Lisbon that you get to see the last of a wide range of features, the interactive parking lights that direct you exactly to your final gate position. This truly is a product with an Aerosoft amount of detail! If you have any interest in flying to Portugal and be a regular visitor, then this is the best you can get and an airport scenery every simmer would wish to have."
  • AeroPelican (YPEC), Warnervale (YWVA) and Avalon (YMAV) (July 21, 2009) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen completes her tour of Australia withe the 2nd part of her Orbx/FTX tour. "This time I'll take you on a cross country flight through AUGOLD and AUBLUE Australia, while discovering the FTX airports AeroPelican (YPEC), Warnervale (YWVA) and Avalon (YMAV)." "Ok, each individually reviewed airport costs you no more than US$28.63 (€21.69) and is worth every penny. You could, and I strongly suggest to, add to this FTX AUGOLD and/or AUBLUE. Each of the FTX scenery products will be US$35.80 (€27.12) but for that you get the entire scenery area and for AUBLUE, the airports YWVA and YMAV are located in this part, which gives you the overall FTX sensation. One really important item; when you own one of the colored FTX packages - AUGOLD | AUBLUE | AURED| AUGREEN - don't forget to download and install the road fix. When you forget this, the cars and trucks are crossing through the airport registration building at AeroPelican. FSX settings and the final performance of your FSX depends on lots of other things but it's very helpful using the suggested settings including AI boats, GA aircraft and cars." Angelique goes into great detail as she treks her way across the country and intimately describes each stop along the way. This is a fairly long review but well worth the read, as Australia is an exciting and diverse continent to fly in and across.
  • Canary Islands & Milan Malpensa (July 19, 2009) Staff reviewer Etienne Martin visits 2 locales from Sim Giants, the Canary Islands and Milan Malpensa. "The Canary Gold for FSX product contains three airports: El Hierro – GCHI – is near the town of Valverde on the westernmost island of Hierro in the archipelago. Tenerife North – GCXO – is one of two main airports on the central island of Tenerife near Santa Cruz de Tenerife. To complete the Canary Gold package, we also tour Fuerteventura – GCFV – near Puerto del Rosario on the eastern island of Fuerteventura. Then, we move to Europe and northern Italy where we visit one of the three major airports near Milan - Malpensa International airport – LIMC." "I found the overall quality to be good and balanced between detail and performance. What also immediately caught my eye were the ground textures, in particular the numerous ground markings and variety of ground textures that really make the scenery standout. The signage is excellent, so is the associated night lighting for taxiways and runways. For example, some hold short markers are associated with alternating red/yellow flashers, a nice touch." "There is a good effort in blending the add-on scenery with the default scenery. SimGiants uses background textures based on satellite photo scenery and manages to blend quite well with its FSX scenery surroundings. SimGiants supports all seasonal changes for Milan Malpensa, again blending well with the surroundings." "SimGiants adds a few interesting details, such as construction vehicles, coffee tables with umbrellas, glass lined gangways leading to the terminals that are amazingly transparent. Parked cars and other static objects can be found scattered about the airport although all are static. Some of the construction workers are animated, and there are some static figures around terminal entrances." "I found performance to be quite good compared to some other scenery add-ons that take a heavy toll on the visual frame rates. I am very pleased with the overall renditions of the airports in the packages. I can only ask for many more airports to get the SimGiants treatment."
  • Nantes Atlantique (July 16, 2009) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison heads to Europe to review FranceVFR's Nantes Atlantique. "Nantes Atlantique (ICAO LFRS) is a medium size regional airport in the west of France. Serviced by one 2900 ft runway operating on 03/21, it has a modern terminal facility, GA parking and general ramp parking. Situated close to the nearby city of, wait for it, Nantes, the airport currently serves around 3 million passengers a year. One of its claims to fame is the location of the Airbus production facility just across the road from the airport." "I had a look around and was suitably impressed with the level of detail in the scenery. The main terminal is purpose built and while it doesn’t comply with the FSX SDK, and I say that because it has no bump mapping or reflectivity so I am assuming this is the case, it looks great. The resolution of the textures is not as high as some I have seen but they are effective, well colored and no doubt add to the performance. The gates are standard FSX default jetways but their placement is realistic as per their real world counterparts. Nantes is a compact airport with GA facilities to the north, cargo and ATC tower to the south and what appears to be an old terminal next to a hangar on the other side of the airport to the west." "The ramp area has plenty of static objects such as buses and service trucks and these are complimented by default FSX vehicles roaming around as well. Out the front of the terminal, additional parking can be found with more buses and cars populating the area. I noted the scenery does utilize levels of detail so items will appear the closer you get to them and it utilizes simpler versions of the item when you are at a distance. Moving south from the terminal is a fairly busy area containing the airport control tower, the fire station with purpose built fire trucks, and a cargo area that is a combination of purpose built scenery and default FSX trucks and scenery objects which populates this area. Next to this is the fuel depot which has various default FSX fuel trucks parked at it." "Beyond the airport fence to the north and east is an extensive area that covers a number of hotels and, of course, the sprawling Airbus factory that’s well worth an explore. All of these items are well detailed with a very large number of scenery items actually sitting on top of the photoreal base. From what I could see, all of the facilities have been modeled creating a very distinctive landmark. For the amount of detail presented, I didn’t note any drop in performance, but as I always say that will vary from machine to machine." "Overall I really enjoyed Nantes Atlantique. It has a cozy, friendly feeling and that’s because it’s not a huge airport but it has lots of facilities and you can comfortable fly a twin engine heavy in and out if you wish. The overall level of detail is very high, both within and outside the airport’s grounds and the photoreal base it sits on completes the effect. If you fly in this part of the world then I see no reason at all why you wouldn’t want to add Nantes Atlantique to your collection."
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (July 12, 2009) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison goes for broke with his look at FSDreamteam's Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. "McCarran International, or as ICAO refers to it KLAS, is the latest release from FSDreamteam. I was also intrigued by two innovative new features that take advantage of the Couatl engine FSDreamteam have developed that allows a high degree of interaction between FSX and FSDreamteam add-ons. In this case Park Me™ and YouControl™." "KLAS covers a large area with three unique terminal buildings as well as cargo and private operators. From the start it was clear the quality I have associated with FSDreamteam’s previous releases continued with a high resolution photoreal base the scenery sits on. The runways, taxiway areas and gate ramps all use higher resolution textures so are crisp and clearly defined with taxi signs and 3D lights guiding aircraft around the facilities during the day and night. On the ramp areas additional ‘dirtying’ has been done at the gates and shadow effects have been added around the building bases and scenery objects." "By night KLAS becomes a different place and FSDreamteam have managed to create night lighting effects that are the best I have seen to date in an FSX scenery. I was immensely impressed by the way light splashes across the ramps and gets progressively darker, particularly as it reflects spill light from the terminal windows. The lighting through the terminal windows looks very realistic." "FSDreamteam have delivered another quality add-on with KLAS. The attention to detail and quality of the scenery objects, the texturing of the runway, ramps and taxiways and photoreal base come together to create an immersive airport experience, throw in ParkMeTM and YouControlTM and you have a complete package that performs well and looks bloody great. There was nothing in this package that disappointed me. Great work FSDreamteam, keep producing work like this and you may well redefine the meaning of as real as it gets."
  • World Airports 3 - North America (July 8, 2009) Staff reviewer Marlon Carter looks at several North American airports presented in Just Flight's World Airports 3. "The World Airports V.3 contains airports such as :Atlanta International, Charlotte Douglas International, Cincinnati Northern Kentucky, Nassau Lynden Pindling, and San Juan Luis Munoz Marin." "Features included in this package are custom made runways, airport vehicles, breathtaking night lighting, interactive docking, full ILS navigation and more. This package is a fantastic addition to enhance some of the many frequently used airports around the world. Having accurate surroundings certainly takes the flight-sim experience to another level no matter what aircraft you are flying. What stood out to me with these sceneries were the stunning ground textures and the docking gates." "Just Flight's World Airports 3 is definitely worth the price. This package is a great addition for anyone who is looking for a great all-in-one package."
  • San Jose International Airport (July 2, 2009) Staff reviewer Roger Curtiss flys in and out of ImagineSim's San Jose International Airport (KSJC). "ImagineSim has sought to show KSJC as it will be in the not so distant future. A new terminal is under construction and this scenery package depicts that terminal as completed and operational. The result is a good depiction of a busy commercial airport." "This package greatly enhances the scenery of KSJC. In default configuration the airport is a rather bland place with two blocky terminal buildings. The ImagineSim offering changes all that by introducing a custom terminal treatment with an array of jet bridges, support personnel and equipment and a choice of parked aircraft and animated vehicles. Suddenly, the airport is alive with activity and feels vibrant." "I was especially interested to experience what the airport would look like at night. Once the lighting came on, it was a joy to behold. The taxiway lights are crisp and the main taxiways feature bright green low visibility centerline guidance. The ramp areas are spot lit making it easy to move about the terminal areas and the interior lighting for the terminals and hangars is very well done." "ImagineSim has a reputation for producing quality airport sceneries and this rendition of KSJC continues the trend. KSJC fits in seamlessly with the default scenery."
  • Mexico City & Central (June 14, 2009) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne goes south of the border to fly the numerous airfields presented in FlyMex's Mexico City and Central that is available through Aerosoft. "If you have an older computer that just cannot perform well with the new high definition candy out there, maybe this one is just for you. 18 airports of acceptable, yet not demanding, quality that will not bring your P4 to its knees so fast." "Most airports are laid over photo-real ground textures probably made for earlier versions of Flight Simulator. Some tarmacs featured dynamic luggage carriers and personnel. Textures for both tarmacs and runways/taxiways are of a lesser than expected quality. The west coast is much more interesting than the Gulf coast, probably due to the extensive topological twist and turns that supports a great visual treat from any angle. On the other side, on the Gulf coast, it is barren and flat. Some charts are also included." "I can safely conclude is that if you like to have a lot of airports to fly to and from, FlyMex's Mexico City and Central is a good inexpensive product for you IF you are not too fussy about having the highest quality for ground textures. Building textures and drawing quality were, on the other hand, quite nice at most airports."
  • Gran Canaria (June 13, 2009) Staff reviewer Jason McKee looks at a relatively newcomer to Flight Sim Scenery with his review of Fly Wonderful Islands' Gran Canaria. "Gran Canaria Airport is also known informally as Las Palmas Airport. It is the only airport in the Canary Islands with two runways. The airport is located in the east of Gran Canaria on the Bay of Gando (Bahía de Gando). This airport is also an emergency backup landing site for the space shuttle." "The first impression when you land or take off at the airport is it is a nice airport that is faithful to the real life version. At the gates the air bridges connect to your aircraft and AI aircraft, if you have the doors set up on them. The airport traffic moves around realistically, but you need to have the detail level set high enough and airport traffic active. The night lighting casts good light over the apron and looks realistic. If you are flying at night, the runway is well lit and is very easy to find." "The airport surroundings look good and fit in well with the airport. Traffic flows on the motorway and the water looks Mediterranean. The autogen around the airport fits well and matches the pictures of the area I have seen. AI traffic works well within the airport. Fuel trucks and airport ground vehicles move around without getting stuck, or cross runways or block taxiways." "I enjoyed reviewing the Gran Canaria Airport. It is a fast, modern airport which can handle a lot of traffic dury busy times. Once you have used this scenery, the default area looks barren and inaccurate in comparison."
  • Orbx - AU Green, Blue, Red and Gold - Pt 1 (June 12, 2009) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen goes down under to bring you the first of a 2 part review of Australian scenery from Orbx - AU Green, Blue, Red and Gold. "This review covers all the FTX AU scenery products and with that, I'll try to give you an overview of what FTX products do with your default Australia scenery," says Angelique. "Altogether to give you a well balanced and open view of the FTX Australia products, know as the GREEN (Tropical North), the RED (Central Outback), the GOLD (Subtropical East) and BLUE (Temperature South)." Angelique flys VFR from west to east, and then north to south, finally ending up in Tasmania. She'll also take you on an IFR journey to compare the differences you will experience with the scenery from a higher flight plan. She summarizes Orbx - AU Green, Blue, Red and Gold with, "this add-on series of sceneries, which covers the whole of the Australian continent, are of an awesome quality. The FTX support forum is very helpful and they also answered my e-mails straight away. I had a lot of fun reviewing these titles, although it was a lot of work and there is still a lot FTX scenery to discover." Angelique, you're work's not over...we're all waiting for Part II.
  • Sydney Professional X (June 11, 2009) Staff reviewer Arjun Murthy takes a look at a city in his home country, namely Commercial Level Simulations' Sydney Professional X. "Sydney’s Charles Kingsford Smith International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. Being one of the major inbound airports for traffic into Australia, it experiences mostly heavy traffic from all edges of the world." "The texture of the ground in the terminal has been changed from the default settings. The main change has been the colour. It uses different colours in different areas. There are a few add-ons of aprons. The apron south of Taxiway Juliet has been added. This is there in the charts in real life but not in the Default scenery. The landclass textures of the ground at Sydney have been drastically improved in this version." "The autogen in the scenery has most of the default autogen plus some more. There are lots of added special extras such as the new multi-storey car park, McDonalds, 2 petrol stations and a Krispy Kreme store, an extra bridge for cars and numerous passenger jetways. More interesting effects at night include the runway approach lighting. They are beautifully set out on Rwy 16. They seem to have a realistic amount of elevation from the ground and have a nice shine on those lights. This doesn’t forget the PAPI included on all the runways, unlike the default." "Sydney Professional X is an excellent scenery for a person with a computer having high specifications. It gives the desired realism, has extra add-ons with so much detail as to have shops (McDonalds, Krispy Kreme) included. They even claim to have trees in the same position as in real life. CLS seem to have put in a lot of work to enhance all aspects of this scenery and it can be seen."
  • Raw Grit: PNG Bushpilot (June 4, 2009) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura visits Papua New Guinea in his exporation of Pacific Islands Simulations' Raw Grit: PNG Bushpilot. "Do you like bush flying? Even if you’re not sure where Papua New Guinea is, this one is fun." "24 airfields, 7 with seaplane facilities plus additional helipads are included in this package. Each field in the package is closely modeled on a real-world airport or strip. There are also obstacles. These range from mountains to boulders to trees, with the main obstacle being trees. In addition, some of the runways have bumps in the middle and others are sloped." "Now, thanks to Graham Michael, Papua New Guinea has come alive again, with more fields, more objects, and sound. No one field has as much detail as, say, Bill Womack’s version of Plum Island. Instead what Michael has created, almost single handedly, is a system of fields, a series of combinations that opens up a whole environment to exploration."
  • Malta International Airport V2 (June 2, 2009) Staff reviewer Alan Bradbury travles to the Mediterranean to visit Malta International Airport from the Malta Scenery Design team. "One of the nice things about Flight Simulator, is that every once in a while somebody decides to adopt part of the FS world and really go to town on making scenery for that particular spot. Such is the case with Daniel Chircop, who is the man behind Malta Scenery Design’s rendition of Malta International Airport and the surrounding terrain, which is quite clearly a labor of love." "All four runways: 14, 32, 05 and 23 have approach lighting, PAPI lights and VOR/DME. Runways 14 and 32 are ILS equipped, only runway 05 lacks high intensity lights and the airport itself is an ATC centre for the region with full approach and weather radar coverage, meaning that pretty much any kind of approach you want to make into the place is possible in just about any aircraft. What all that boils down to as far as Flight Simulator is concerned, is that Malta International is a great place to have scenery for in that it is suited to long, short and medium haul flights with a variety of aircraft and airlines." "In terms of visual fidelity, there is no doubt that this scenery is up there with the best of them; much of the detail is placed with what can only be described as pinpoint accuracy when compared to photographs. The 3D modeling of the buildings and ancillary equipment is of a similarly precise standard too, with some excellent texturing which captures the stark contrast between the slightly neglected older buildings of a military vintage and the glamorous newer additions." "With its own custom terrain for the surrounding countryside to blend into, this airport scenery is certainly in no danger of falling into the trap many such add-ons suffer by sticking out like a sore thumb; instead it blends seamlessly into the countryside, making it occasionally tricky to spot from a distance, as is the case with most real life airports in daylight hours." "Malta International Airport is a great add-on for FS and for all the right reasons too, especially if you like replicating airliner flights. It looks absolutely like the real deal right down to all the minutia of detailing and is set to receive regular updates too, if and when things change at the real location. Virtual airline fans should not miss this one, and nor should fans of add-ons such as Cargo Pilot and Air Hauler, as it is well suited to these titles with its location and excellent navaid facilities."
  • Manhattan X (May 10, 2009) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison visits the "Big Apple" with Aerosoft's ManhattanX. "New York or specifically Manhattan Island and its surrounding smaller Islands are a global icon. It has some of the highest buildings in the world and it’s a major movie and television set. It’s been sung about, written about and is also the location of what can be considered the very best and worst in human behavior with the 9/11 attacks and more recent successful ditching of the U.S Airways A321 in the Hudson. From this perspective Aerosoft had quite a bit to live up to." "Aerosoft have spent time discovering where the sweet spot is in the FSX settings, so if you learn from my initial mistake and follow those guidelines you will, my friends, have smooth flying performance across the city. Yes that’s right, you didn’t read it wrong, smooth flying with frame rates that fluctuate between 15 and 35 FPS. Aerosoft, I congratulate you for what you have achieved here. I was genuinely surprised by how well Manhattan X ran once I configured my settings and as long as I loaded them prior to spawning, everything was fine." "Manhattan X sits on a layer of photo real scenery which adds to the authenticity and all of the landmarks you would expect, such as the Empire State Building, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. All of the buildings and scenery objects are constructed to a high degree of realism with some including animation. The developer Andras Kozma has achieved in Manhattan X something quite extraordinary with the level of detail to be discovered, particularly at some of the heliports which made me look twice because I thought I was seeing things for the first time." "Manhattan and the four smaller islands all have very effective night lighting and I was particularly impressed with what has been done on Liberty and Ellis Islands. Manhattan itself looks very impressive lit up, and if you move your water effects up a few notches the reflective effect is fantastic. One of the cool additions in Manhattan X is the inclusion of sounds with the scenery. Manhattan X has atmospheric sounds and levels of detail that take city scenery design to a new level in FSX." "If it seems like I am gushing praise it’s because I am, Manhattan X is something special. The level of detail that has been achieved is nothing short of amazing and with the little touches, such as sounds and the mission, Aerosoft has provided us with a complete experience of one of the world’s greatest cities."
  • Tahiti X (May 9, 2009) Contributing senior reviewer Alexis Esguerra goes on a trip to paradise with Aerosoft's Tahiti X. "Tahiti X makes alterations and enhancements to fourteen different islands, as well as the nine airports that service the majority of them." "On the more heavily populated islands, marinas, docks, resorts and the occasional beach side umbrella are found everywhere. Quieter islands that are still visited by tourists may have them as well, just on a smaller scale, and have the bonus of some rather interesting items (like an airport-side campground, for example). And let me not forget about the cabanas strung out over the water from the shore." "If there is one thing I found interesting about the airports in and around Tahiti, it’s that they’re different from the standard norm. NTAA, the largest of the group contained within, is at least traditional in its size and scope. Just as it should beings its the primary gateway in to and out of the region. It nonetheless has a certain tropical flair about it, evident at the terminal’s entrance and the scenery that surrounds it. Those factors well set the stage for the other eight airfields that it services." "People are also present at the airfields, sometimes with movements that work out (example, someone chatting on their cell phone), and sometimes not (walking in place, really to nowhere in particular). An extremely nice bonus to the standard FSX movement realm that I’ve slowly become accustomed to, has to be dolphins." "So who would I recommend this package to? Those with Tahiti on their mind? Fledgling bush pilots? Island hoppers? Yes, yes, and yes. Tahiti X has a lot of appealing elements that break up the routine - interesting landscapes and sceneries, charming atmosphere, and unique airfields that can provide a challenge."
  • Tropical Sim: Aruba, Curaco, Tocumen, Provinciales (May 5, 2009) Staff reviewer David Rogers heads into the caribbean for a look at 4 sceneries from Tropical Sim: Aruba, Curacao, Tocumen and Providenciales. "This is a refreshing set of Caribbean airports for FSX. While there are countless FS versions of places such as St. Maarten’s Juliana Airport, and Nassau’s international airport, it is sometimes nice to investigate lesser known places. Tropical Sim’s scenery is available as single airports, or as ‘bundles’ which include a number of airports." "My first impression of Tropical Sim’s Aruba for FSX was that the scenery was pleasantly detailed, pleasing on the eye but not state of the art. The plus points at Aruba is that the main terminal, and in fact all buildings, are nicely detailed and well textured. This is a nice little field to take off from and fly visually around the island before returning to the field for some touch and go’s, or to land." "The detailing at Curacao seems a little better than Aruba’s to me. Most of the quality is high at this airport, but it is not always consistent. Curacao looks nice and I’m pleased to say that its performance in FSX is almost identical to that of Aruba." "Tocumen is the largest airport in Panama and the only one with two runways. My single biggest criticism of this airport scenery is that it does not blend into the default FSX surroundings as well as the other 3 airports do. Frame rates and FSX performance at this airfield are again great." "As I land at Tropical Sim’s Providenciales, the airport immediately becomes my favourite in this batch. There is something about the palm trees, or maybe it’s the lovely static aircraft that are abundant at this airport. Providenciales feels a little like FlyTampa’s St. Maarten, alive and really ‘local’, like you’re there!"
  • VFR Germany 3: South (May 4, 2009) Senior staff review David Wilson-Okamura continues the German landscape exploration with Aerosoft's VFR Germany 3: South. "This is the third volume in Aerosoft’s series of German photo sceneries for FSX. Volume three covers the south of Germany and includes Baden-Württemberg and most of Bavaria, including the Bavarian Alps." "The basis of the VFR Germany product line is aerial photography, licensed from GeoContent. Aerial photos are taken at lower altitude than satellite photos, and therefore have more detail. After processing, these photos have the same resolution, 1 meter per pixel, as the default scenery tiles. If you look at them long enough, you’ll notice that the default tiles are crisper-looking, because each of them has been worked over in Photoshop so that it looks as good as possible." "VFR Germany 3: South is my favorite volume in the VFR Germany series so far, for two reasons. First, it seems to have fixed the problem with autogen sometimes obstructing runways. Second, southern Germany is more mountainous and therefore -- to my California-trained eyes -- intrinsically more scenic."
  • Indo-Pacific Landclass (May 1, 2009) Staff reviewer Arjun Murthy takes a look at Scenery Tech's Indo-Pacific Landclass. "Indo-Pacific Landclass Scenery covers a large area from New Zealand to Australia to Papua New Guinea to Indonesia and many other places. This scenery is a part of the many Landclass sceneries including South / North America, Asia and Europe published by Scenery Tech." "This landclass uses the default FSX scenery files and modifies it to form a more realistic representation of what it is like in real life. A few places in the scenery are exactly the same as the default. The majority of mountains ranges are changed. Since this landclass uses the default FSX scenery files, there should be no increase or decrease in frame rates." "The Indo-Pacific Landclass add-on scenery from Scenery Tech is very good in some areas but not so good in other areas. Although the same formula is used for the definition of cities (that can be viewed by Virtual Pilots), each city and town is different in small ways. Although it may take away a little touch of realism, it certainly does counteract it by inputting realism into other areas."
  • CYUL Montreal (April 11, 2009) Staff reviewer Jason McKee visits Canada with his look at Blueprint Simulations' CYUL Montreal. "Montreal-Trudeau Airport is the busiest commercial airport in the Canadian province of Quebec and is the forth busiest airport in Canada." "Starting out on the runway, the airport looks well laid out and well detailed. In fact looking on Google Earth, the simulated version looks very close to the real thing. Buildings look accurately placed and taxiways and runways are in the correct positions. The runway and taxiway textures look bang on and match the real pictures I have seen. There is no animated scenery with this airport add-on. Blueprint Simulations has done this as there is not enough room to have the animated scenery work correctly at the airport." "The actual airport night lighting looks great. The approach lighting changes depending on where your aircraft is, and looks realistic. Taxiways and ramp areas are well lit, and the floodlights on the ramps light up the area well. Terminals are custom built along with the hangers and airport facilities. I could not find any texture issues or missing textures on the buildings or the ground." "CYUL MOntreal adds so much over the default scenery, but for a payware add-on, it could add so much more. It is hard not to recommend this scenery, but I could go either way. Overall, in my opinion it's a good scenery add-on."
  • Plum Island (April 2, 2009) Senior staff reviewer Bert Pieke steps out for a $100 dollar hamburger as he explores a little part of Massachusetts called Plum Island. "Bill Womack is no stranger to most FS enthusiasts. His meticulously crafted airfields are a true work of art. Here then, is a new production, a tiny local airport on the Massachusetts coast which can serve as a great starting point for exploring the area. The scenery is only about 40 square miles, but for that, every little detail is lovingly colored and finished." "Taxiing around the airfield shows all custom buildings, signs, and vehicles. Not a trace of default FSX scenery. Lots of detail and everything done really nicely. A notch of flaps and take off from the one and only runway. Once airborne, it is all pastoral scenery up and down the beach and over towards the town of Newburyport." "I did not splurge for the “$100 hamburger”, but, given more time, there are lots more things to be seen up and down the coast, and the city of Boston is not far off! This is a great gateway to use if you have not spent much time flying in this part of the world. Plum Island is a real gem of a scenery package. The airport is pretty and sleepy and the surrounding area looks like a perfect summer beach vacation destination. The inland waterways look just right and the beaches are a great improvement over the FSX default shorelines."
  • AU Green (February 26, 2009) Staff reviewer Jason McKee continues the Orbx series of sceneries with his look at AU Green - Tropical North. "The tropical north of Australia has a wide range of topographical features; from wild coastlines, sun soaked sand, native bush lands, wetlands and the top of the outback with its red soils. There are small settlements around the area, several larger cities and cattle stations that rival some countries for area covered." "AU Green covers the top of Australia and blends in perfectly with AU Gold, AU Blue and the latest area, AU Red. Orbx includes custom tiles for the cities and towns. They also include tiles for mines, farms and general landscapes." "AU Green is highly recommended and Orbx should be congratulated on producing another outstanding product."
  • RAF Collection (February 17, 2009) Staff reviewer Alan Bradbury looks at 3 UK airbases with Scotflight's RAF Collection. "As its name suggests, developer Scotflight concentrates on scenery for Scotland, which is good news if you are looking for UK military airbases to use in FS, because Scotland is home to some of the most famous and busiest ones to be found in the UK, and this is exactly what you get in the RAF Collection. Specifically, the three real-world Royal Air Force stations replicated in the RAF Collection are: RAF Kinloss, RAF Leuchars and RAF Lossiemouth." "Both versions of the RAF Collection contain scenery for the three aforementioned RAF stations and both include configurable static aircraft scenery too, which does actually include one or two of the more exotic visitors these places see from time to time. Where the FSX and FS2004 versions in this package differ, is in an enhancement to the Scottish coastline. You’ll find coastal enhancements in both versions for the most part, however a tweak to the coast near Leuchars is only in the FSX incarnation." "Intelligent decisions on how best to portray such busy places without compromising either frame rates or a sense of realism abound in this scenery. The potential difficulties of modeling military locations courtesy of these security stumbling blocks, Scotflight have come up with something which I suspect fans of RAF operations in FS are going to be particularly pleased with. RAF Collection is a solid enhancement for FSX and FS2004; it does exactly what it says on the tin and with considerable élan too."
  • Paderborne/Lippstadt X (February 10, 2009) New staff reviewer Vybhava Srinivasan takes a look at Aerosoft's German Airports 3 - Paderborn/Lippstadt for FSX. "Paderborn/Lippstadt Airport (German: Flughafen Paderborn/Lippstadt) (IATA: PAD, ICAO: EDLP) is an airport in Germany that serves the Ostwestfalen-Lippe area in North Rhine-Westphalia. While the name implies a location within the city of Paderborn or the town of Lippstadt, the airport is actually located in the town of Büren, around 18 km from Paderborn city centre. The location also plays host to the annual German Flight Simulation Conference." "One thing I should comment about the terminal of the airport is that it is "impressive". The buildings and structures created in the airport seem to match the real-world buildings. Each gate is well modeled and while taxing, one will notice the various cargo baggage carts, push-back vehicles and passenger buses along the apron." "The airport looks even better at night. I would agree with Aerosoft's claim that the scenery has "excellent night effects" like the name boards and the light posts. Great graphics comes at a cost. More extensive the graphics, the more will be lost in frames per second (fps). Hence, it is important to strike the right balance." "Paderborne's main terminal building, gates, parking areas are well designed. The scenery glows and blossoms under the lights. In addition, the charts that are available, along with downloads, I am a satisfied reviewer."
  • Madeira X (February 5, 2009) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne visits the Canary Islands as he looks at Aerosoft's Madeira X. "Just north of the better known Canary Islands and 326 miles southwest of Portugal, two islands of this autonomous (only since 1976) Portuguese archipelago called Madeira are inhabited; Madeira and Porto Santo." "The instrument approach to Porto Santo's runway 18 (by VOR/DME or NDB) is unspectacular until short final. First you encounter dangerous cliffs, then you have a sloped runway with walls of rock on each side, and finally the nice little terminal only becomes visible half way to the end of the runway. The experience is well worth the price of admission: it is quite interesting, with a well done rendition of this tiny airport." "Madeira is the airport with an architecture that defines eye candy. Although not stylistically superb, what catches your imagination here is the geographic challenge and the engineering marvel of the elevated runway, a third of which is supported by pillars. On one side you have the sea, and on the other, a rocky slope or a manmade inclined wall." "Performance was fluid at all times in this scenery (<15 to >35 fps) with my system. I was expecting a little more custom buildings in the cities of Porto Santo and the Madeira Islands, as was the case with both Helgoland, Monaco X and Venice X. I enjoyed flying back and forth between airports and taking leisurely tours of the mountainous terrain. The Madeira X package makes a nice little playground if you are short on time and just want to scoot around."
  • VFR London X (January 3, 2009) Staff reviewer Jason McKee takes us up and down the Thames to have a look at Aerosoft's VFR London X. "London City is a small area inside the larger greater London area, this is an historic area which the rest of London has grown around. Most people will be familiar with the landmarks of London, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and the London Bridge, and more recent landmarks such as the London Eye." "If you bought the download when it was released you did not get the London City airport, which is included in the later downloads. You can download the airport for free through your account on the Aerosoft website." "London is, by its very nature, a lovely city to look at with its old world buildings combining with the modern day architecture. It makes for an interesting mix, and looking down from the air, it seems to all fit together well. London City Airport (EGLC) is crammed into London downtown itself. This creates some interesting operational issues as only certain types of aircraft can operate out of the airport. The only aircraft permitted to operate out of London City are aircraft that can fly a 5.5 degree or steeper approach, and as the runway length is only 1508 meters long." "As we fly around London, all the major landmarks and smaller buildings are accurately placed, as are all of the roads and railways. Flying at night opens a whole new world. The buildings and lights look very, very realistic, and there is not too much glare from them at all." "Overall, VFR London X enhances the area so much it is definitely worth the money. If you fly in or out of EGLC, this will benefit you greatly as the airport itself is very well reproduced. So would I recommend it? Yes, I would. It is worth the price and for what it covers."
  • Coffs Harbour (December 25, 2008) Staff reviewer David Rogers continues his adventures "down under" with a look at Coff's Harbour from Orbx. "Coffs Harbour is a small coastal city located on the north coast of New South Wales about 540 km north of Sydney and 440 km south of Brisbane. 70,000 Australians call this place home, although the holiday season raises this to over 100,000. The harbour has a long jetty and is a hub of activity." "FTX changes everything. It feels a little like having 'FS Eleven' years before anyone else. Everything is improved and of stunning quality; roads, traffic, landclass, textures - it just lifts flight simulation up in terms of immersion and realism by a nautical mile." "When I first installed Coffs Harbour I was blown away by the visual feast. This is the most stunning scenery area I have ever seen, in any version of the sim to date. As well as the airfield (which is actually quite large for an airfield in it's category, spreading over a significant area), there are the built up areas of the city, and the jaw dropping harbour area." David says of Coffs Harbour, "It could be easy to miss out on just how stunning this airport and surrounding area scenery is, because the area itself is not well known to the majority of flight simmers. From every angle, this product deserves the highest accolade; quality, attention to detail, performance, value, support. I would not have any hesitation in recommending this product."
  • Lille Lesquin International Airport (November 28, 2008) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne crosses the pond and explores Norther Germany with Aerosoft's VFR Germany 2: North. "This title includes highly innovative geo-referenced orthophotographic scenery tiles with precisely placed custom autogen and scenery for one quarter of the German territory, namely the Northern part." Allen goes on to explain how this scenery titles interacts with default FSX scenery as well as several other Aerosoft releases, namely German Airports 2 and German Airfields 2. He also describes its interaction with Ultimate Terrain Europe. He concludes with, "The VFR Germany series of scenery enhancements is by far the most remarkable and innovative scenery add-on I have yet reviewed from any vendor. I cannot fully express my satisfaction with what Aerosoft is doing. Always a step ahead of the crowd, they have managed to develop photo realistic aerial imagery with objects and autogen placed to near precision. In addition, the highly skilled renditions of many airfields and airports available from other Aerosoft products for the German territory flawlessly compliment this VFR Germany scenery and gratefully amplify my already orbital level of enjoyment."

  • VFR Germany 2: North (November 19, 2008) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne crosses the pond and explores Norther Germany with Aerosoft's VFR Germany 2: North. "This title includes highly innovative geo-referenced orthophotographic scenery tiles with precisely placed custom autogen and scenery for one quarter of the German territory, namely the Northern part." Allen goes on to explain how this scenery titles interacts with default FSX scenery as well as several other Aerosoft releases, namely German Airports 2 and German Airfields 2. He also describes its interaction with Ultimate Terrain Europe. He concludes with, "The VFR Germany series of scenery enhancements is by far the most remarkable and innovative scenery add-on I have yet reviewed from any vendor. I cannot fully express my satisfaction with what Aerosoft is doing. Always a step ahead of the crowd, they have managed to develop photo realistic aerial imagery with objects and autogen placed to near precision. In addition, the highly skilled renditions of many airfields and airports available from other Aerosoft products for the German territory flawlessly compliment this VFR Germany scenery and gratefully amplify my already orbital level of enjoyment."

  • Switzerland Professional X (November 16, 2008) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura Takes us on a scenic tour of Aerosoft's Switzerland Professional X as developed by FlyLogic Switzerland. "The product comes on five DVDs. and two versions are included, one for FS2004 and FSX." "The basis of this package is a series of real-world aerial photographs that has been color corrected and then broken up into scenery tiles. This product (both the FS2004 and the FSX versions) seems to be different. I don’t know whether it’s due to better processing or better source photographs, but to my eye the colors in Switzerland Pro X look very well balanced." "Switzerland Pro X takes a different approach to night lighting. Instead of creating a separate sheet of night textures for the whole landscape, it illuminates the daytime textures with little points of light, which represent street lamps. The package’s winter textures are more successful. The original photos have been reprocessed in a way that convincingly simulates winter conditions, including snow. Combine this with winter autogen, and the effect is very satisfying." "Switzerland Pro X also includes 784 three-dimensional structures which it calls “landmarks.” A better name for these might be “hand-placed objects.” More than a third of them (283) are small buildings in the Old Town section of Bern. Two thirds of the remaining objects (324) are industrial structures, especially holding tanks, which clustered in seven different plants. The next largest group consists of ships and docks at Biel and Genf (70), followed by broadcast towers (52) and wind turbines (35), including a farm of eight turbines at Mont Croison. Rounding out the total are an assortment of churches, castles, high-rises in Zurich, the covered bridge in Lucerne, at least one soccer stadium, and five nuclear reactors (which emit steam from their cooling towers." "High prices generate high expectations. Switzerland Professional X is expensive, by almost any standard. What sets this product apart is the accumulation of features, each of which is either expensive to license or labor-intensive to create: aerial photographs, plus snow in winter, plus night lighting, plus autogen, plus custom lakes and rivers, plus customized structures; but no one else covers Switzerland in this much detail."

  • JFK International Airport (November 14, 2008) Staff reviewer Colin McFadden visits JFK International Airport as presented by FSDreamTeam. "To celebrate JFK’s 50th Anniversary in 1998, the Port Authority gave the airport a new slogan, which resembled JFK Airport in every way: “JFK: Where America Greets the World.”" "The buildings, without doubt, are the most beautiful aspect of this scenery package. When I first received the product, I roamed around JFK for about an hour, getting familiar with the airport and inspecting its quality. The FS9 version is AES compatible, and as stated in the documentation, FSX uses the default docking system. However, two of the most exciting features in this scenery are the ParkMe and YouControl functions." "ParkMe is extremely simple to use and only requires you to select your desired gate form the ParkMe menu. Once the gate is selected, the gate will become “active” and the A-VGDS will activate. YouControl allows for the doors of various maintenance hangers to be opened by selecting the hanger in the YouControl menu." "Overall, I’m really enjoying FSDreamTeam's JFK International Airport. It’s a great add-on though, with a lot of neat features as well as quality buildings that’ll keep you drooling! The obvious weakness is the ground textures, but if you can get over that shortcoming, than it’s 100% worth it. My favorite aspect of the scenery is the ParkMe and YouControl which go a long way in the realism department. I think FSDT did a great job and deserve a pat on the back."

  • FTX AU Gold (October 13, 2008) Staff reviewer Jason McKee continues the Orbx scenery series with his look at FTX AU Gold. "The FTX AU Gold area covers South East Queensland, which is a small (for Australia) area but covers a wide variety of terrain, from the outback desert to the bustling city of Brisbane and the coastal area that is Surfer’s Paradise." "The package includes custom buildings and autogen files. With the customization you get better frame rates than the default autogen, and the effect is great. You can turn up the autogen settings inside the simulator with no or very little performance hit. Another item included is a utility to change the brightness and halo of the lights installed. It allows for a great range of realism and customization to suit your own tastes." "Orbx's FTX AU Gold is one scenery package I recommend. It makes so much of a difference to the area that it is like night and day comparing the default to the Orbx product. The very handy installer and the ease of installation makes this package great for anyone from a beginner to the seasoned pro, and everyone will notice the improvement."

  • YMML - Melbourne International Airport (October 11, 2008) Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen flies to the otherside of her locale to check out Orbx's AU YMML - Melbourne International Airport. "Melbourne Airport is located to the north of the city, next to the suburb of Tullamarine, Victoria. The airport was originally built to replace the outdated Essendon Airport, which did not have facilities to handle Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft." "I ticked every option in the control panel including all adjustments in the FSX.cfg file and the result is … very impressive, even with no clouds in the sky. That’s not that strange since the manual and control panel tells you what every impact means and since my system is not the best of the best, I do agree with it. Nevertheless, the airport view and surrounding grass is really great and does reflect a realistic airport." "I am first impressed by the apron or concrete platform. It looks to me like all of these are digitalized pictures and if it isn’t, then it's unbelievably realistic. My goodness, all the concrete details are visible and not only visible, but also sharp. Touring outside the airport by car is not spectacular until the moment we reach the “simulated” YMML area, I start becoming exited about all the 3D looking cars, the road signs, and there’s even a McDonalds and a BP petrol station. Quickly turning left at the lights, I see the Holiday Inn and the Hilton hotels. I really enjoy the view of this “virtual” outside airport, since I’m not even at the apron." "What is the scenery covering? It covers the airport scenery, which means of course, all the airport related buildings on and outside of customs. That means you get the passenger and cargo terminals, aprons along all the airport buildings, and highly realistic concrete areas. Furthermore, there are lots of airport vehicles, static and movable ones." Not only did Angelique expore YMML - Melbourne International Airport inside and outside of the perimeter fences, but she also interviewed John Venema, the Managing Director of Orbx and got detailed answers to the many questions a simmer would like to ask, but never gets the opportunity.

  • HannoverX (October 1, 2008) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison takes a look at the Airbus A380 from Wilco Publishing> and takes it from it's home base and landing it at Aerosoft's HannoverX. "Hannover International Airport comes to flightsim, and specifically FSX, courtesy of the team who created the original German Airports series and who are now behind the development of German Airports 2; with HannoverX being the first release in this new series designed with the advancements both FS2004 and FSX have to offer in mind. The A380 is no different, with various versions from both the freeware community and payware developers coming online over the past few years. I wanted to learn more about this aircraft, so I was keen to see what Wilco have come up with in their version of the A380. " Jon has produced an extensive, detailed combination review of this aircraft and scenery. It is well worth your while to read the complete details of both these titles. While putting the A380 through a test flight while enroute from its homebase in Toulouse, France to Hannover, Germany, Jon has merged the presentation of these two titles. His final comments of each read, "The Wilco A380 is a mixture of high aspirations but average implementation, with many ‘faults’ that should never have got past the beta testers. While I was impressed with the functionality of the 2D cockpit, the VC really doesn’t stack up to what you expect from payware products these days. Externally, the model is very good, yes it’s let down by some poor animation in the leading edge slats and strange emissive qualities on cargo doors, but overall the sheer size of this aircraft and its shape have been captured well. I’m not convinced the flight dynamics are where they need to be, she flies heavy and that seems to contradict what pilots are saying and what I have seen in video footage of the aircraft's ability to respond quickly. Overall, I was disappointed with the A380, particularly when the majority of the issues it has could have been so easily fixed prior to release. It's still worth a look if you’re an Airbus fan, but there are other options if your keen to own an A380." "HannoverX is a great scenery package. While it doesn’t use the FSX SDK to its full potential (no animated jetways is a pet peeve for me and a few reflective windows would be nice) it certainly doesn’t detract from what is a comprehensive and highly detailed representation of this airport. The level of detail is excellent, the development is sensible in regards to what appears in your field of view to maximize performance, and the photoreal nature of the buildings and ground textures gives you a realistic experience. The developers of German Airports are clearly back. If they keep producing scenery of this calibre, German and European simmers who operate in this part of the world will find little reason to leave the homeland." So take a tour of Wilco Publishing's A380; inside and out, from the flightdeck to the passenger cabin. Then step outside as you arrive in Hannover and tour Aerosoft's HannoverX in all its detail.

  • German Airports 2 - Liepzig/Halle (September 21, 2008) New staff reviewer Marlon Carter Flies the German skies with Aerosoft's German Airports 2 - Liepzig/Halle. "Leipzig/Halle Airport, sometimes called Schkeuditz Airport (EDDP), serves Leipzig, Saxony and Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany." "The terminals, after being compared to real photos found online, are indeed very accurate and up to date. While they are very detailed they do not rob us of precious frame rates. The ground textures were apparently created from high definition aerial photographs and adds even more to the realism of this scenery package." "Some of the features that stand out are the AES light, Taxiway Bridge over the highway and the animated trains. Taxiing to the runway and passing over the highway is a big treat and by far one of the features many can enjoy as part of enhancing the virtual flight experience. Over at the DHL cargo area, the atmosphere is no different. With static aircraft enabled, DHL aircraft can be spotted with more cargo ramp equipment making their way around the aircraft." "In the event that anyone is worried the about loss of frame rates, there are tools provided that will enable you to tweak the performance and display features. Tools such as the CarConfig Tool can adjust the areas where you may want vehicle and train traffic displayed. Also, by adjusting the density of the dynamic ground scenery in your version of MSFS, performance issues can be adjusted with regard to ground traffic." "This is a marvelous product. Features provided in Aerosoft's German Airports 2 - Liepzig/Halle are refreshing to the virtual flying experience and makes virtual flying very realistic."

  • German Airfields 2 and 9 (September 14, 2008) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura takes us on a scenic tour of some of the smaller airfields in Germany with Aerosoft's German Airfields Volumes 2 and 9. "The airports covered in this series are smaller in scale, and at the same time more intimate. Each of these airfields feels unique. There are elements, of course, that are common to all airports; for example, all of them have runways and a majority have control towers. But support services vary widely, and so do the types of traffic." "Some fields are urban, others are rural. Each package covers a relatively small region, and some of the fields are only a few minutes apart; because of the variety, though, you don’t have to fly a long distance to see something different." "GA2: Nordlichter is a newer product than GA9, and feels like it. For most airfields, products in the GA series try to cover the airfield proper and the surrounding terrain for about 2 km in each direction, including bridges, church spires, observation towers, windmills, smokestacks, and other aerial obstacles. For Kiel, though, the team has modeled the entire harbor, including the marina, the cargo loading facilities, an off-shore lighthouse, and numerous buildings." "GA9: Northern Bavaria is fully compatible with FSX, including SP2 and Acceleration. GA9 airfields tend to blend in better with the surrounding default terrain. Each field has variety, and surprising details abound. GA9 also has seasonal textures." Concluding his local tour of Germany, David says, "But both of these products are fun and -- what’s kind of rare in Flight Simulator -- they’re fun right away. With German Airfileds 2 and 9, you just jump in your favorite small plane and pick a couple of airfields to fly between. There’s a range of distances, so if you have an hour you can fill it. But if twenty minutes is all you have, that’s enough too: not just to fly somewhere, but to fly somewhere interesting."

  • Kai Tak International Airport (August 26, 2008) Staff reviewer Mark Kolo braves the elements and the unique approach aspects of Fly Tampa's Kai Take airport. "Though closed in 1998, the iconic Hong Kong Kai Tak International Airport is still one of the world’s most recognizable airports, thanks to the infamous IGS approach to runway 13. On July 6, 1998, after 74 years of heart stopping landings, Kai Tak was officially closed with the final departure: Cathay Pacific Flight 3340 departed runway 13." "FlyKaiTak is more that just an airport scenery. It contains scenery, mesh, landclass, and photoground for the city of Hong Kong, more specifically the Kowloon neighborhood. The scenery also contains many effects and AI features that enhance the realism and feel of Kai Tak. The Main Apron and terminal area of Kai Tak was the original parking area at Kai Tak during the passenger era, with the east and south aprons being added later." "The East Apron of Kai Tak is home to HAECO Airplane Maintenance, overflow parking for airliners, the Kai Tak cargo terminal, and the remains of China Airlines 605 which crashed at Kai Tak in 1993. Kai Tak’s South Apron is inhabited by the ever present static aircraft. (Passenger Versions)" "Kai Tak’s only runway (13-31) is a thing of beauty, marked with years worth of tire skid marks from countless heavies landing in stiff crosswinds. The main goal of this scenery is, in my opinion, to replicate the famous IGS checkerboard approach to runway 13, and I believe that Fly Tampa hit the nail right on the head. The Kowloon city scenery is stunningly replicated under the approach, including all the lighting and buildings." "Unlike the other Fly Tampa products that I have tested, Kai Tak has a noticeable impact on performance. Even though it has a higher frame rate impact than others that I have tried, the extensive installation options allow it to run on lower end hardware." "Thanks to Fly Tampa, Kai Tak is now re-opened. Despite the two issues with this scenery it is definitely a winner in my book. Unlike most scenery packages, you get most of a densely packed city as well as the airport in the package, and it is all extremely well executed. I truly enjoyed my time at Kai Tak, and it will be an overseas destination of mine for years to come!"

  • Beale Air Force Base (August 25, 2008) Senior staff reviewer touches down at Beale Air Force Base from AlphaSim and reports that, "Beale AFB is a small add-on for FSX that will give you a few enhancements around its military-grade runway. The package was originally made for FS9 and was ported into FSX. AlphaSim's intent seems to be to use Beale AFB as a home for another product, the AlphaSim SR-71. You can have Beale AFB on its own, or you can also buy the SR-71 and use Beale AFB as a staging point for reconnaissance missions." "AlphaSim's Beale AFB comes with four flying AI aircraft: the SR-71 Blackbird, the KC-135Q support tanker, and the RC-135W and U-2R surveillance jets. Some black-clad Northrop T-38's are included as static aircraft. You might have to pretend that you have gone back in time to the 1970's when you visit AlphaSim's Beale AFB, as most of the aircraft that are included with the scenery have in the real world either been dismantled or redistributed to other bases. Only the historic U-2 spy plane has resisted the budget cuts and reallocations." "After the loss of the SR-71 program, the real-world Beale AFB faces new missions. It is host to the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and the massive pyramidal PAVE PAWS radar array. Unfortunately, the AlphaSim version of Beale AFB does not include these features." "The buildings I found with AlphaSim's Beale AFB seem to be few and unimpressive by FSX standards. There are a couple of token animated pieces that I feel would have looked better had they been omitted. Features like parking lots, most roads, and trees have been left out. Landmarks like the PAVE PAWS site are totally absent. AlphaSim's AI aircraft fare better than the buildings. Although they probably would look more at home in FS9, the aircraft have a decent amount of detail and look attractive enough." "Overall, this Beale Air Force Base scenery is okay if you don't expect too much from it. I think it's a fair base of operations if you own the add-on SR-71, as the AI aircraft are handy for mid-air refueling if you want to perform a realistic Blackbird flight."

  • VFR Scenery Vols 1-4 with Denham & White Waltham Airfields (August 16, 2008) Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis does on a scenic tour of England with several Just Flight products. Name VFR Real Scenry Vols 1-4 and touches down at Denham and White Waltham airfields. "Now available at Justflight are five different downloadable scenery titles taken from the VFR Real Scenery Volume products and compiled into five smaller versions. They are Volume 1 London; Volume 2 Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton; Volume 3 Isle of Wright; Volume 4 Cardiff and now Volume 5 Leeds and Bradford." "The scenery covers relatively small areas of England. If you buy all four of these scenery volumes, you are looking at a total coverage of England, north, south, east and west! Personally, I don’t think I would have had it any other way and I really don’t think I would have settled on just one area. The scenery includes day and night textures and offers some fantastic looking night lighting." Gene gives a general overview of what each volume includes and goes on to say, "The scenery itself not only enhances the Flight Simulator visually, but it offers an option for those who do not get good frame rates with the default stock scenery. The photo scenery removes all of the autogen and scenery objects so the only thing you are relying on and using, is the photo scenery and from what I can tell, Flight Simulator sees to really like it or you might say that your PC likes it!" About the two airfields, Gene generalizes with, "The airfields are good and they do graphically enhance the terrain as well as add for some interesting places to fly to. I would definitely recommend getting at least one of these airfields, if not both." "The VFR Real Scenery Volumes will, at times, leave you breathless as you tour the English Countryside. You will quickly forget about things like scenery objects, buildings and autogen and just take it in for what it is; four volumes of scenery goodness! I am relatively happy with Real Scenery Volumes 1-4 and if you like to fly in England, these are a must have as they offer total and unrelenting coverage of one single country."

  • Ellsworth Air Force Base (August 11, 2008) New staff reviewer Jason McKee takes a look at Ellsworth Air Force Base from SkySim. "Ellsworth AF base was not always known as Ellsworth. When it was built in 1942, it was known as Rapid City Air Force Base. Ellsworth Air Force Base has had a long history of different aircraft stationed on the tarmac, ranging from B-17’s during WWII, B-29’s and B-52’s during the cold war era to the modern B1-B’s that are stationed there now." "This airport is a military base, and as such, doesn’t have as much going on as a busy commercial airport would. Having said that, there is still a lot to look at around the airport. Included in the package are static and AI traffic of the B1-B and C-130 Hercules aircraft. The base layout consists of one main runway, one main taxiway and ramp areas at the northern, southern ends and a small parking area on the south-western end of the base." "There are static B1-B’s outside of the hangers on the northern end ramps and on the outskirts of the base to the south. They look good, but to my eye, don’t quite look like the pictures I have seen. The other aircraft that is included is the C-130 Hercules, and these look really good as they look exactly like a C-130 should." "Skysim’s depiction of ellsworth is not 100% accurate and only covers the air base itself and the base township, but it gives a good feel for the air base. The main runway textures look good and so do the taxiways. However, what is depicted in the simulator looks like a well used but well maintained air force base and the textures for the runway and taxiways look like they are modified default textures. None of the hangers are animated. There are some emergency service vehicles parked outside the rescue centre, and that is all the vehicles that are on the airport, apart from the static B1’s that are on the ramp and the northern end. The night lighting is good, with approach lighting and taxiways lit. The light towers cast good light over the ramps and getting around the base is not hard at night at all." Jason sums up SkySim's Ellsworth Air Force Base with, "This is a nice add-on. There are a few rough edges as mentioned. But having said that, I enjoyed flying around as the default scenery looks so bare in comparison."

  • Madrid Barajas 2008 (July 31, 2008) Staff reviewer Viktor Lakatos takes us to sunny Spain with a look at Aerosoft / Sim-Wings Madrid Barajas 2008. "Real ‘Madris Barajas Airport’: the largest Spanish airport – is the 11th largest in the world and 5th in Europe – got its name from the adjacent town of Barajas. This airport handles most transatlantic flights of Iberia and is a key airport for organizing the air traffic between Europe and Latin-America, as well a major hub for worldwide connections." "Positioning our aircraft somewhere on the ramp, we find ourselves in the everyday life of Barajas Airport. Vehicles are moving, shuttle buses are continuously carrying passengers from gates to the aircraft and vice versa. The airport has no rectangle shape from the air, it has very nice borderlines. All the asphalt markings are crisp and clear, readable even from the air with a little zoom." "There is no moving jetway systems nor active ground handling service in Madrid Barajas 2008. Aerosoft's Airport Enhancement Services gives full ground support. The custom terrain textures do not match Flight Simulator's default textures, therefore there are cuts in the motorways. Unfortunately, this is the difference between default and custom textures." "Aerosoft's Madrid Barajas 2008 is a good product in the series. With this product we know what we get: good quality and high level of realism."

  • Atlanta International Airport (July 20, 2008) Staff reviewer Jeremy Fletcher visits one of the wrold's busiest airports, KATL, Atlanta International Airport from ImagineSim. "This airport has five parallel runways heading east and west; two north of the gates, two south of the gates, and one all by itself on the south side of the airport." "The south cargo area of the airport is made up of a lot of hangars and miscellaneous buildings, all of which are textured to appear weathered, and most of which have some form of company logos or other identification. There are some static and AI aircraft that frequent this area, as well as a number of static and dynamic ground vehicles. If you like flying cargo aircraft you will feel welcomed to the north area of this airport. UPS and FedEx hubs have taken over the eastern portion of the north cargo ramps. Both areas contain a host of ground support equipment, static and AI aircraft, and plenty of static and dynamic ground vehicles." "In the center of the airport is where you will find the terminal, tower, and all of the passenger gates. The gates come complete with jetways, Delta parking systems, and more ground support equipment. The Delta parking system is a handy traffic light type of system that will help you to position your aircraft properly for correct jetway docking." "ImagineSim has modified all pavement textures to resemble well used, yet sufficiently maintained taxiways, runways and ramps. Each runway now has much more authentic looking identifiers, markings, and touchdown marks. All pavement has indications of cracks here and there, some natural weathering and discoloration, and all markings are moderately worn." "I have very few complaints about KATL from the folks at ImagineSim. I give this product my thumbs up, and am grateful that ImagineSim has kept those of us still using FS9 in mind."

  • Austria X Professional (July 17, 2008) Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis visits a country on his wish list with Flugwerk Design's Austria X Professional. "What Austria X does for Flight Simulator X is quite remarkable, as it adds the entire road network, custom buildings and objects, landclass, photo type scenery for several cities and accurate terrain mesh data for the entire country. Thus giving the Flight Sim user an all-out true to life representation of Austria in FSX." "All of the buildings in Austria Professional, aside from the autogen, are native to that country, and if you are flying in places like Vienna, you will see accurate landmarks and commercial buildings plucked right out of that part of the world.Included in this package are four of Austria’s biggest cities; Vienna, Linz, Salzburg and Graz. Each have been designed from the ground up using aerial photographs for proper placement of all of the buildings, landmarks and bridges, along with a photo-real overlay that blends in well with the surrounding terrain textures." "The roads, rivers and landclass is where the heart and soul of this product comes in to play as it covers the entire country no matter where you fly. If you are flying VFR, as this product is intended, then you should be able to find your way via geographical references with little or no instrumentation. The terrain mesh that is included with this package really enhances the look and feel of the surrounding mountain ranges, especially in areas like Salzburg! Salzburg is inherently mountainous, and you don’t have to go far to find that mountainous terrain and the valleys to fly into." "Austria X Professional is a beautiful product and it adds a lot to that particular region of the world," says Gene, "the box calls it an “accurate visual model” of the places in question and I really do think they deliver on that statement. You are getting roads, landclass, terrain mesh, custom objects and buildings, and photo real scenery for four different cities all in one nice little package; and if that was not enough, the product covers the entire country instead of just a portion of it."

  • Holloman AFB (July 3, 2008) For those of you who remember Brian Fletcher (aka Capn), his son Jeremy (aka Rightseater) has taken control of the yoke and has sent in his first review. He steps back to look at an older Alphasim product Holloman AFB and to remember his time spent at that base. "Over the last half century Holloman has been host to a number of support operations for a variety of aircraft, including the F-84, F-100, QF-106, B-57, F-4C/D/F, F-15A/B, and the HH-60G among others. But perhaps the most notable aircraft to be stationed here is the F-117A Nighthawk. This mission will cease in 2008, however, to make way for Holloman’s newest addition – two squadrons of the F-22 “Raptor”." Jeremy goes into great detail reflecting on how he remmebers Holloman AFB and how Alphasim has recreated it. "AlphaSim has got the Main ramp right, and though I might end up adding a few scenery objects to fit my taste, I am more than pleased with the improvements. AlphaSim has remedied the West ramp problem by adding these hangars, which are positioned correctly facing east and west. Some of the hangars, the open ones of course, have an AI F-117 in them that will taxi out, takeoff, and return. The Nighthawks are also detailed quite well for AI aircraft, and add a much needed sense of authenticity to this base. By default, the North ramp is pretty much wide open, and it is with this add-on as well." "AlphaSim helped the BEAR Base area out quite a bit by adding some more accurate buildings on the east side, and though they missed the small building to the south, they have really improved this area a lot by removing the two story buildings that were there before. Put a few fuel trucks behind them, add some other support vehicles, and this place would liven up a lot. Otherwise, AlphaSim has done a great job here." "AlphaSim has done a great job of recreating the German Air Force hangars, which are located just east of the main ramp (some call it part of the main ramp, which it might be). In fact, they have included all 12 of the hangars on the ramp positioned just how they are supposed to be. The hangars are all detailed fairly well, each with a tan color similar to the hangars on the west ramp, though in reality they too are brown, but no big deal. They are spaced appropriately, and as a nice surprise to me some of the hangar doors are open and some are closed. Without this add-on the GAF is simply non-existent." Departing Alphasim's Holloman AFB, Jeremy comments, "I had a great time reliving memories of Holloman Air Force Base, and I had an equally enjoyable time exploring AlphaSim’s version of this historical facility. AlphaSim has pretty much got it right, and have, without exception, created a far superior Holloman than you will find in the default scenery. If Holloman is your FS9 destination, than I would advise making a layover at AlphaSim first."

  • Lanzarote X (June 12, 2008) Staff reviewer David Rogers flies to a resort island that he is all too familiar with, Lanzarote as presented by Fly Wonderful Islands. "The island of Lanzarote is part of the Canary Islands (Islas Canarias in Spanish), an archipelago of islands located off the North West African coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Lanzarote is an elongated shaped island, the most Northerly of the major islands. It has a reputation for being the windiest of the Canary Islands, with year round sunshine. It is popular with surfers and water sports fans, as well as more traditional holiday makers." "Lanzarote in the default FSX world is certainly not the worst scenery area in the sim, but it is rather bland and ‘samey’. While there is a lot of nice sand in Lanzarote, FSX has not considered that this is a volcanic island. It is not simply a slice of the Sahara that has drifted off the west African coast, as FSX would have you think." "The improvements that Lanzarote X brings are visible from the second you load your flight. The town of Arrecife, just North-East of the Airport, is now rendered in far more detail compared to the default FSX version. It is clear that new Landclass detail is included and I also immediately noticed that the coastline has been corrected. It is now representing a far more accurate depiction of the island’s east coast. As I navigate North West from Arrecife, I see more of the wonderful new ground textures in the undeveloped regions of the island – the sand is now speckled with patches of blank volcanic rock. The effect is extremely realistic and very close to what you see in the real world when taking a Southerly visual approach over the island, then turn and land on Runway 03." In summation of Lanzarote X, David comments, "Lanzarote X puts the virtual pilot into an area that is large enough to explore, but small enough to enjoy in a 30 minute flight sim ‘window’. For the VFR GA pilot, the scenery is heavenly. It is realistic, looks just like the real thing, and performs superbly in FSX. As you set off from your home airport, you have the knowledge that your approach and landing into Arrecife Airport is going to be a real visual treat."

  • Lord Howe Island X (June 7, 2008) Staff reviewer Etienne Martin flies way off the beaten track with his look at Aerosoft's Lord Howe Island X. "This special subtropical destination preserves some 565 square miles (1,476 square km) of unique coral reef, volcanic geology, rainforest fauna and 32 species of birds. The main island itself is only 11km long and 3 km at its widest point, and sports a lagoon 6km long." "Lord Howe Island is majestic and the virtual re-creation is equally impressive. Arriving at the site is reminiscent of an adventure movie scene, especially on a hazy day where the island just appears from the middle of nowhere. The scenery uses photoreal textures, which are very effective for the sea and vegetation from a distance. The airport and immediate surrounding area are rather detailed, yet the attention to detail can be sporadic outside of a few areas (jetty, some houses, animated birds in the north east). Overall, it makes for a good atmosphere. The FSX AI had aircraft flying in and out of the scenery, including Dash-8s. My add-on AI aircraft package had no problems creating traffic to/from the Island." "Lord Howe Island is a unique product", comments Etienne about this scenery add-on, "little can describe the approach to the island the first time as it comes into view. The product feels right out of a movie set, reminiscent of the helicopter approach to the island in the movie “Jurassic Park”. The airport is a great place to practice touch and go’s or even launch a seaplane tour with hard to beat visuals. Lord Howe Island screams to become the perfect demo to neighbors and friends."

  • Ground Environment X - USA/Canada and Ultimate Terrain X - Europe/USA/Canada (May 17, 2008) Staff reviewer Angelique van Campen takes on a huge challenge as she looks at Flight 1's Ground Environment X - USA/Canada and Ultimate Terrain X - Europe/USA/Canada and layers them separately and in combination with each other on top of the default FSX environment.
    "The main features of Ground Environment X - USA & Canada editions are:
    - Complete coverage of the United States of America and Canada,
    - 1m/pixel, 1024 x 1024 Texture Size - Hand Crafted To eXtreme Detail,
    - High Performance, eXtreme Density and Perfectly Aligned Autogen,
    - Realistic Custom Designed Accompanying Night Textures,
    - All Seasons,
    - Fine tuning add-ons and ongoing updates and enhancements will be made available through the built-in update feature, based on customer feedback."

    "Ultimate Terrain X - Europe/USA/Canada changes and modifies:
    - All the roads; every available road from the chosen commercial navigation data set, with each road accurately placed to match its real-world location,
    - Enhanced railroads; greatly enhanced railroads, including rail-yards,
    - Spectacular night lighting; a new night lighting environment unlike anything else on the market. It adds actual 3D points of light to simulate street lights and automobiles (a functionality seen only in professional flight simulators, until now),
    - Detailed oceanic coastlines; plus islands, lakes, rivers and streams. No more roads over water,
    - Accurate landclass; better representation of metropolitan areas,
    - Detailed land polygons; parks, golf courses, and cemeteries are much better represented. Their boundaries will align with the road boundaries, just like you see them on high quality mapping services and GPS units."

    Angelique's review of these products goes into great details of how they will affect your flying environment, how to gt the most from these products and tips and hints about their installation with help from the product developers themselves. It's not just a matter of purchasing all of these environmental add-ons and start loading them in in any order you choose. It is a long read, but highly recommended should you either own these products or are considering adding them to your FSX software collection.
    Angelique wraps up her look at Flight 1's Ground Environment X - USA/Canada and Ultimate Terrain X - Europe/USA/Canada with, "My general impression about these products and their interaction gives a huge and impressive impact on the default FSX ground textures, landclass modifications and water textures. UTX and GEX work perfectly together, and apart of a view minor items they give us flight simmers a highly realistic VFR and IFR flight environment. These products altogether change the way how FSX looks, the change of the ground textures/scenery is really great."


  • German Airfields 3: Lower Saxony (May 12, 2008) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura continues looking at European scenery series with Aerosoft's German Airfields 3 - Lower Saxony. "German Airfields products (there will eventually be twelve of them) features about fifteen local and regional airports, plus their immediate environs." "In this package there are fifteen airfields. The smaller airfields don’t usually have passenger terminals, but they are all detailed and all different. There are parked aircraft, parked cars, and parking lots. There are lamp posts, control towers (in some places), windsock carts, lots of gliders, glider cases, and signals squares (although the signals don’t get updated). Most of the airfields seem to some sort of eatery or outdoor café, and several have flight schools or repair hangars. Few of the fields, except Brunswick, have ILS facilities, or even PAPI and VASI lights. For on-site buildings, there is night lighting provided, but often not for runways, many of which are grass anyway; it depends on whether the real airfield is used at night, and many small ones are not." "All of the airports have parking spaces (which hasn’t always been the case with these products), but so far as I noticed, none of the hangars could be parked in. Outside of the airfields proper, for about 2 km in every direction, there are also VFR landmarks such as would be marked on a real-world chart. For the full effect, Aerosoft recommends that you also get VFR Germany 1 and 2, which will fill all the intervening spaces between airfields with glorious aerial photography and custom-placed autogen." "All of the airports are built on top of aerial photographs, which have then been overlaid with matching runways, taxiways, and aprons. To my eye, the effect is seamless. What’s more, all of the tiles have matching autogen: that’s unusual with photoscenery, because all of the placement usually has to be done by hand. Another feature worth noting is seasons. Most photoscenery (including VFR Germany) has only one season, spring or summer, because more seasons would consume too much disk space. In this case, however, the total coverage area is small enough that a second season, winter, can be included without breaking the disk bank. The result: airfields blend in with the surrounding default ground textures even in winter." David says of German Airfields 3, "The question that I think many readers will be asking is, “Should I bother with it if I don’t live in Lower Saxony?” I’ve never set foot there (yet), but I’ve had a wonderful time flying there. With fifteen detailed airfields, there’s a lot of variety. It’s also possible, at GA speeds, to make longer flights, but often we don’t have time for a long flight, and for occasions like that, this type of package is ideal."

  • Sydney Professional (May 6, 2008) Staff reviewer Laurie Aston leaves Europe to head half way round the world to explore Commercial Level Simulations' Sydney (YSSY) Professional. "The airport's first runways were built in 1933. By the 1960s the need for a new international terminal had become apparent, and work commenced in late 1966. In the 1970s, the north-south runway was expanded to become one of the longest runways in the southern hemisphere. The international terminal was expanded in 1992 and has undergone several refurbishments since then." "The Sydney YSSY scenery that is included in the default program is acceptable, but adding “Sydney Professional” makes a world of a difference. The terminal buildings are all in the right place, and are well placed. The taxi-ways are well defined and traffic within the airport is evident. Aircraft come and go and they are parked nicely in the right terminals and at the gates as well. The runways are detailed, all the runway crossing points are in evidence with marker boards just the way they should be, and the lighting is great." Laurie comments, "CLS Sydney has a lot going for it, and I wish Aaron Clark all the success in continuing to improve Sydney YSSY, as a lot of his work does reflect a real difference from the default scenery. CLS Sydney is pretty good, but not nearly as good as it could be. However, the service pack will make it better."

  • AUBlue - South Australia (April 19, 2008) Staff reviewer Chris Balmer flies "down under" and looks at Orbx Simulations System's AU Blue - South Australia. "Orbx is building on the advanced scenery and texture techniques pioneered with the Vista Australis (VOZ) project first launched in December 2005." "The scenery has the following description provided by the developers: “ Full Terrain Experience introduces a radical new modular design with a level of visual fidelity unprecedented in Microsoft Flight Simulator since its introduction over twenty years ago. For the first time ever it is a pleasure to fly low and slow and take in the depth of features that our ground terrain textures provide.”" "Keep down low and the scenery comes to life without destroying your simming session and reducing it to a PowerPoint presentation in terms of frame rates. Flying low and slow will really allow you to see the improvements over the default FSX textures, and the added levels of detail that have been put into this scenery. The roads, houses, and general buildings have all been blended into the scenery extremely well. Climb up to a few thousand feet, and you will start to see the “photographic” elements of the scenery. The vistas can be breathtaking in Australia, and they are here for you to see with some lovely detail." "This is what scenery add-ons should be all about!" comments Chris about AU Blue - South Australia. "The area of coverage is pretty vast, and is only 1 of 4 elements of the Australian continent. Having all 4 would be simply awesome! This will be a popular add-on for many people from all over the world."

  • Lukla X (April 16, 2008) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison takes Aerosoft's Twin Otter X for some approaches and landings in Aerosoft's Lukla X scenery pack. "Lukla’s runway can only be approached from one direction due to it being snuggled up to a rather large mountain, is on a precarious 19O angle and has a 2000 foot drop at the end. So access is restricted to either Helicopter or STOL aircraft, which leads me nicely into the aircraft known as the DHC-6 Twin Otter." About the Twin Otter, Jon starts on the outside. "My initial impressions upon seeing the Twin Otter was, Aerosoft had developed a classy model. The download and boxed editions come with five versions that include the DHC-6-100 with wheels and another with skis, and feature 4 liveries depicting various military, private and airline operators. The DHC-6-300 also comes with a wheels model, one with floats for water operations, another with a skis/wheels combination and then 11 liveries across these 3 types, like the 100, these also cover a diverse range of operators." "Two panel types are provided as standard equipment but these are only in VC view, no 2D panel is included. The panel itself is well laid out. All the standard gauges are placed in front of you and given this aircraft was developed in the 60’s, all the gauges have that weathered well used look about them. Both pilots have a ‘steering wheel’ which is connected between both pilots using a Y shaped bracket that disappears into the floor in the middle of the cockpit. Most of the switches on the panel work but not all, given the level of detail included in the model it would have been cool if they all did. The interior lighting is excellent, bringing atmospheric across the panel and throughout the rear cabin." "On the taxi, I found the Twotter to be very nimble, the throttles only needed to be open slightly to get her moving and the effective brakes were used repeatedly until I got a feel for her. Once lined up and I opened the throttles I was away as the Otter really loves to fly. I did like the ability to slow my descent and approach considerably using reverse thrust in flight, which is the first time I have actually come across this in FSX. The Floatplane version of the Otter is a real bugger to taxi, you either have to control it much like you would a sail boat and use the wings to help move you into position, or, if you have a flight yoke, use separate power inputs into the engines to help assist making turns." Moving on to Lukla, "LuklaX is not just an airport scenery, nor is it improved mesh or photoreal scenery. The sum of all these parts makes up LuklaX as a whole, creating a transformation across the region with particular emphasis on Lukla Airport and Mt Everest." "The foundation of this package is its mesh and landclass. The area covered by these is a large rectangle that starts just south of Phablu in the lower left corner and extends to finish just north and east of Mt Everest. The Photoreal areas are small and limited to Lukla Village and Mt Everest itself, with the textures used being around 5m/pixel (5 meters equals 1 pixel). This certainly enhances both these areas, with Mt Everest looking particularly impressive." "The terminal facilities sit at the far end of the ramp area with various scenery items such as freight, people and another aircraft sitting on the ramp with you, all adding atmosphere and detail. The control tower is located on the other side of the runway as is the rest of Lukla village that lines the walking track that heads further up the mountains. All the buildings use what appear to be photo textures and provide suitable enough detail. The village, and in fact all buildings throughout the scenery, use purpose built autogen with textures more fitting the construction types for the region." Concluding this indepth look at Aerosoft's Lukla X and Twin Otter X Jon says, "Singularly, both packages bring enough to FSX to make them worthwhile, but put them together and you have something quite unique. There is no doubt LuklaX adds a level of detail to the region it covers that leaves the default FSX scenery in its dust. Flying in and out of Lukla brings with it enough challenge to make this a region you are likely to want to fly around in for some time. The DHC-6-100/300 Twin Otter is the best twin engine prop I have flown to date. Aerosoft has captured the aircraft's shape well, packed it full of details and wrapped it in flight models that seem to be very realistic. The quality on all aspects of the visual model show a real dedication to this aircraft. The fact different interiors and types, such as floats and skis, have been included adds real value to the product. I can certainly recommend both packages, the Otter in particular, if you are looking for a highly functional and realistic Twin prop."

  • VFR Real Scenery: Vol 3 & Vol 4 (April 7, 2008) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura goes on a scenic tour of England with Just Flight's VFR Real Scenery: Vol 3 & Vol 4. "These last two volumes of the series covers Wales and Southwest England and Northern England respectively." "For photographic ground scenery, the main determinant of image quality is the photo source. For VFR Real Scenery, the photo source is identified as GeoPerspectives, a commercial supplier of aerial photography for all of England and Wales. The photos have a resolution of 25 centimeters per pixel; which is to say, that the smallest object you can see in the source photographs is about one foot. After processing by Just Flight, this resolution is reduced to 1 meter per pixel; which is to say, that the smallest object you can see in the finished scenery is about one yard. This is a massive improvement over what was possible in the previous version of the sim." David comments on VFR Scenery Vol 3 and Vol 4, "like nearly all similar products, VFR Real Scenery has only one season, spring; again, that is standard. At night, lighting will be visible on major roads and in towns; this is a common feature for this type of add-on, but not quite standard, and I am glad we have it here. Unless the product includes autogen, which this one doesn’t, photo-sceneries tend to have better frame rates than other types of scenery, because there’s less for the rendering engine to calculate. Expect, then, to get better frame rates than you would have had for the same area in the default sim. Bottom line: this product will perform about as well as other products in its class (i.e., photo-sceneries with no autogen)."

  • RAF Alconbury (March 24, 2008) Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis takes a look at 2 historic aircraft and an historic airfield. The aircraft are Alphasim's F86 Sabre and Flight 1's MiG 15. The airfield, RAF Alconbury from Alphasim."The Alphasim F-86F offers both a working FSX and FS9 model that does include some pretty nice features, but I think you will find the FSX model more to your liking, at least I did. With all of the new features in FSX, this aircraft model takes full advantage of the FSX engine. Features like self shadowing, bump mapping and bloom are fully featured. The exterior model of the F-86F is masterfully done. Every conceivable part that can be seen visually from outside the aircraft moves in a realistic manner; items such as landing gear, flaps and the air brakes." "Visually, the cockpit of the F-86 from Alphasim is one of the best I have seen from them, but again functionality is somewhat limited in the virtual cockpit mode. The gauges have a glazed over look that make them stand out more and frankly make them look more realistic and 3 dimensional. If you have used or just looked at Alphasim products of late, you will know what I am talking about." "First off, I chose RAF Alconbury as my original base of operation for the F-86, but decided after using it that it had too much of a frame rate impact on my flights in FSX with the F86. The base itself has a nice layout and all of the objects are custom designed to match that of their real world counterparts. Included in this package is a nice set of flying AI aircraft, the C130E, F-4C Phantom, and the U2-R are the ones you will see flying in and out of the base as well as parked at the many different hangers. There are also several static aircraft, the C-5 Galaxy and the F-5E Tiger as well as many static vehicles parked throughout the scenery for your viewing pleasure." "This product will work with either FS9 or FSX. This is a great base to have if you are flying any of the older military jets in FS9. Personally, I think that RAF Alconbury blends in better with the surrounding scenery in FS9, as the FSX versions looks out of place. This is not the product's fault as it is more of FSX’s fault with the texture colors surrounding the airports." "I spent quite a bit of time with the MIG in FS9 and FSX and found that the aircraft performed best in the world it was created for, FS9. This didn’t come as much of a surprise. Climbing into any one of the 53 different MIG's you can’t help but think how crazy some of these guys must have been; you're essentially riding a rocket with guns attached to it." "The Flight 1 Mig-15 is a magnificent aircraft; it features an array of moving parts and extra eye candy. Most impressive is the ability to take the aircraft apart and view the jet engine. The cockpit is 100% authentic and is fully functional, either from the 2D panel or the virtual cockpit. I was amazed that the aircraft was completely flyable from the virtual cockpit as everything is accessible, and if you turn on the cockpit tags within MSFS you won’t have to learn how to translate Russian." In his review, Gene adds a conclusive paragraph for each of these 3 products. Briefly: "The F-86F is one of the best add-ons I have seen yet from Alphasim and if you don’t have it, get it. RAF Alconbury is good and it represents an airfield that is rich in history and you have to take into account that this add-on was built from the ground up. The Mig-15 is really an oldie, but it is truly a goody! Made for FS9, this wonderful aircraft will definitely challenge even the most accomplished sim pilot. With accurate system modeling and flight management from within the cockpit you can’t go wrong."

  • French Riviera and Cote d'Azur (March 20, 2008) Staff reviewer Angelique van Campen continues her adventures in Europe with a flight along the French Riviera and Cote d'Azur as presented by FranceVFR. "Apart of the great villages, white beaches, wine, beer, excellent French cuisine, boats, extraordinary cars like Lamborghini, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and many more, this piece of Franc is famous for the Film Festival of Cannes; and what about Monaco and Monte-Carlo?" Angelique goes into depth about this multi-faceted scenery offering. She takes you on several flights throughout the region and has fun navigation her way through the scenery at low level via IFR (I follow roads). As usual, her screenshots tell a lot of the story. Angelique goes on to describe the "JetSet" package that is also offered by FranceVFR as an add-on to the Base Pack and Autogen Package. Wrapping up her "Excursion Francais", she comments about FranceVFR's French Riviera and Cote d'Azur, "you need the base pack as a minimum. This can be extended with either the AutogenPack and/or the JetSet pack. The JetSet creates more special buildings or landmarks or interesting places including detailed airport buildings like at LFMN (Nice) but also smaller ones like LFMD (Cannes/Mandelieu). According to the France VFR website, you can – if you want to use only the JetSet package – also buy the standalone BasePack with the JetSet and forget the Autogen Pack. Flying this wonderful scenery is fun and it even becomes more fun when you fly cross-country VFR flights. It's a high quality product where navigation can be done with an official ICAO chart, but also with Michelin auto route charts.

  • Indianapolis X (March 9, 2008) Staff reviewer Etienne Martin looks at DreamScenery's Indianapolis X. "Indianapolis International Airport (KIND) opened in September 1931, and received its current name in 1975 after being called Weir-Cook airport in 1944. It now occupies some 7,700 acres located 8 miles south-west of downtown. According to the operator, the Indianapolis Airport Authority, KIND saw over 8 million passengers last year and 1.15 million tons of cargo." "DreamScenery depicts the airport with the new midfield terminal still under construction (the facility is scheduled to open in October 2008). The scenery comes complete with cranes, unfinished buildings and structures, and even a picnic table under a tent. At first glance, everything around the airport points to a high amount of detail and many small objects that add to an immersive ambiance." "DreamScenery adds an interesting twist to the rendering of ice in the virtual winter, using optional polygons in winter time. The effect is quite pleasing as it allows ice and snow to make it across the taxiways in irregular lines – much more realistic and a good idea. Moving towards downtown, we find that autogen fills the 8 miles between the airport and downtown and does a good job filling the gap. The quality of the 3D modeling is good to excellent." Etienne's screenshot intensive review of Indianapolis X concludes with, "it provides a high fidelity rendition of the Indianapolis International Airport and adds many of the buildings and landmarks found in Indianapolis and vicinity. The package’s ability to tune details through its configuration utility will certainly help mitigate the frame rate hit that is sure to come. Seldom has so much detail made it into a scenery add-on at this scale."

  • Europe & Asia Landclass (March 2, 2008) Staff reviewer Etienne Martin reforms Europe and Asia with Scenery Tech's Landclass software. "Scenery Tech’s Europe and Asia Landclass products provide accurate terrain mapping data for large areas of the world." "The Scenery Tech landclass visibly increases both the variety and resolution of the terrain type across the areas covered. The effect is drastic in areas of the world neglected by FSX where pervasive desert textures make the visuals rather bland and uninteresting. I also found the Scenery Tech data refines the transitions by utilizing more classes on the Olson scale, in particular for population areas. This makes urban areas from small villages to large cities magically appear in the terrain, while providing a gradual transition from rural to urban types. The new textures and texture map file impacts mountains and rocky areas significantly. It adds “more rock” to mountains, and second, it eliminates some of the zigzag effects on sloped surfaces." "Because the additional landclass data must be loaded and processed, one can expect an additional burden on the scenery engine, primarily in load times. This said, I did not notice any frame rate impact on my system outside of a slightly increased load time. It should be noted that landclass data increases the variety of textures loaded, which increases the number of textures cached in memory for a given region." This screenshot intense review of Scenery Tech's Europe & Asia Landclass is one that has to be seen more than read. "In the narrow confine of terrain classification, Scenery Tech’s landclass does the job well and fills major gaps in the default landclass data. For these reasons, Scenery Tech’s landclass deserves a good look if you’re looking at improving scenery in FSX."

  • Zurich X (February 25, 2008) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison heads off to Switzerland to review FSDreamteam's Zurich X. "(Flughafen) Zürich, also known as Kloten airport (IATA: ZRH, ICAO: LSZH) is an airport on the move, selected as Europe’s leading airport for the fourth year in a row (World Travel Awards) and with increasing passenger numbers (20.7 Million in 2007) Zürich has become one of the key European hubs." "Zürich Airport is split into 6 main areas. I was immediately struck by how compact the airport is, a lot is located in a smallish area. One of the first things that comes to mind is ‘modern’. There is nothing 1940’s about this airport. Extensive use of glass in the main hall and midfield terminal mean this airport is very open, allowing the dramatic views of the alps in the distance to be a key feature for visitors, and this scenery is no different." "I’ll say from the outset that this is a true FSX scenery package, no tweaking the FS9 version to make it work in FSX here. Every building features reflective bump mapped textures of a very high quality, and what really impressed me was the extensive use of transparent materials for glass. The external models for all buildings and facilities have been done to a very high level of detail; this is particularly evident in the main building frontage and the midfield dock, mainly because of the detail that has been built into these." "One of the challenges in doing reviews of airports, when you have never visited or don’t live close by, is how do you actually know what’s real and what isn’t? It’s easy to say the main building ‘looks realistic’, but how does one say that with any credibility? In this case, I had the advantage of webcams located at Zürich which I was able to access through the official airport website (ZURICH Airport). Overall, I think FSDreamteam have developed a very realistic simulation of the real world equivalent, and have done so in a way that won’t bring your PC to its knees." "Zürich is quite literally alive with animation. Whether it's the distinctive red airport buses moving throughout the airport grounds, security cars, vans or tugs, the activity levels right across the airport is extreme. Being an area of the world that experiences truly freezing winters, you also have the opportunity to interact with de-icing crews prior to departure." Concluding his tour of Zurich X, Jon closes with, "Overall, I was very impressed with ZürichX. FSDreamteam have bought together all the elements and produced a scenery that is realistic, alive with animation, and allows FSX users to enjoy the enhancements the latest version of our favorite sim offers. ZürichX caters to machines of varying performance in terms of the ability to not only adjust scenery settings in-sim, but also adjust the config file settings with regards to autogen etc, through the Add-on Manager. If you are a regular flyer through Europe, this is a must have add-on to enhance your Switzerland stop-over’s."

  • Venice X (February 18, 2008) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne heads across the pond to review Aerosoft's VeniceX. "Did you know that Venice was built on 117 small islands, many of which are artificial? Being a walking and boating city, there is scant room for cars and even the public transit uses water buses." "There are two custom airports included in this package: Teressa (LIPZ) is the main local airport, and San Nicolo (LIPV), a small island airport south of the city. It is suggested to approach Teressa via the Alps which are a visual treat in themselves, then to hop over to San Nicolo using your general aviation favorite." " LIPZ is a package in itself with local terrain made from satellite imagery, this nice airport makes for a fine destination. LIPV is a smaller airport and has a tower, so you may want to follow procedures for a visual approach according to the supplied charts. The runway is grass and makes for a rough landing and bumpy when taxiing, but it is worth visiting." Concluding his tour of VeniceX, Allen closes with, "This must be one of the more impressive packages I’ve reviewed lately. Covering the entire island areas of Venice, this was indeed a lot of work on the part of Aerosoft. The main airport is practical and makes for an interesting destination when flying around the European continent. This is indeed a work of art, as is the real Venice."

  • MegaSceneryX Las Vegas (February 12, 2008) Staff reviewer Angelique van Campen buzzes the Strip and the outskirts of town in MegaScenery X Las Vegas. "MegaSceneryX does not add custom 3D buildings but instead adds photo scenery around the buildings. A great, impressive looking ultra realistic scenery of the surrounding area and of course all the highways, local roads, parks – as far as possible in this desert area – mountains, mountains and more mountains." "Even though the covered area is limited, there’s still enough to see. 2100 square miles of Las Vegas and surrounding area (approx 45 x 45 miles) created from 1 foot per pixel aerial photos and displayed at 1.19 meters per pixel and includes 10 meter high resolution terrain mesh. Megascenery X provides as realistic a scenery display of the area as is possible by today’s standards. It includes an equally realistic night, dusk and dawn flying experience." Angelique takes you on a descriptive day and dusk VFR tour of the area covered in this add-on. Summarizing her review she says, "My overall impression is that it is awesome. The only thing you have to keep in mind is the fact that it doesn't cover a large area but a relatively small area of Nevada. The name says “Las Vegas” and nothing more, so in other words; you shouldn't expect anything else."


  • FSGlobal X 2008 (February 1, 2008) Staff reviewer Etienne Martin covers the world with Flight 1's FSGlobal X 2008. "FS Global 2008 delivers a completely new flight experience in the virtual skies by adding a massive topographic database to the default scenery in Flight Simulator. The package contains four DVD's, a double-sided pair for the FS9 version, and a pair for FSX. FS Global 2008 is all about enhancing the simulator’s visuals and bringing the terrain to life." Since this program enhances your scenery files, the majority of the review is explained through screenshots and commentary. Etienne says, "FS Global brings an incredible level of detail to the entire world except for the Arctic and Antarctic, and this should entice anyone to fly outside the high detail areas included in the default scenery. I found myself leaving my high altitude heavies in the hangar in favor of the down low, down slow exploration. This is definitely a product that once installed will not likely be removed."

  • German Airfields 1 - Island Hopping (January 22, 2008) Senior staff reviewer Bert Pieke heads back to a place of his childhood as he looks at Aerosoft's German Airfields 1 - Island Hopping. "Because these airfields are situated on a string of narrow islands off the northwest coast of Germany, Aerosoft made the fortunate decision to not just package up the airfields, but also the islands." "Immediately obvious is the great detail with which this scenery is crafted. All the airport buildings are custom designed and additionally, there are cars and people to complement the airfield. The custom objects, houses, trees etc are so well done and so carefully placed, that it is a real pleasure to look around and admire the scenery. As you fly from island to island, you notice that there is no simple repetition of scenery from place to place, but that each airfield is custom designed with taxiway textures, runway lights, and buildings etc, to match the actual location." This quick tour of German Airfields 1 is summed up with, "This is a truly enjoyable scenery package. I was expecting an impressive product and was not disappointed. The area looks exactly the way I would expect these islands to look; wind blown and rugged, perfect for some peaceful time away from the big city. The authors have produced another winner in my books!"

  • San Juan, Peurto Rico (TJSJ) (January 12, 2008) Staff reviewer Juan Llobera takes us to a different part of the USA, San Juan, Puerto Rico (TJSJ) as presented by Imaginesim. "The San Juan, Puerto Rico Airport's real name is actually Luis Muñoz Marin, and it's the biggest and busiest airport in Puerto Rico." "After comparing both the airport diagram and the scenery, I couldn't notice many differences. It seems that every taxiway has been reproduced. The runway textures look just great. Lots of skid marks have been added and that's exactly what you would expect to see at an airport that is operated mainly by heavies." "Terminals have been modeled to the latest detail. They look really good and near every gate you will see some trucks ( cargo and catering ), GPU’s and luggage carts which really gives you the idea of a real airport. Also I’ve noticed that near the terminal buildings dozens of ground personnel were added to the scenery. At certain gates you’ll have the option of using the operating jetways." "One of the best things about this scenery ( and maybe about every ImagineSim product ) are the night textures. The guys at ImaginSim have achieved a level of realism that, in my opinion, is just amazing. The airport is fully illuminated with some smooth lights in order to help ground personnel during nighttime. 3D taxiway and runway lights are also included in the scenery." Wrapping up this jaunt south, Juan says, "San Juan (TJSJ) has been modeled to the latest detail, it has nice textures and awesome night lightning. Plus, it's the perfect scenery if you are the kind of simmer that enjoys the sunny destinations of the Caribbean area."

  • Dortmund (January 12, 2008) Staff reviewer Robert Mariani gets back into the aerial cockpit and heads to Germany for a look at Aerosoft's Dortmund Airport. "The scenery of Dortmund Airport includes only the airport and the immediate vicinity, but is compatible with other Aerosoft add-ons such as Scenery Germany 3 and World Cup Stadiums." "The scenery of the airport itself is very detailed and includes photorealistic ground textures and numerous custom buildings at the airport as well. In addition, the airport comes with the option to install static aircraft. At the aircraft parking positions 0-4 there is an AGNIS docking system which worked well on a couple of freeware Airbuses and 737’s I experimented with." "The textures that come with the airport are just amazing. There is a mixture of several textures of grass and dirt, and the runway surroundings appear very realistic. The buildings are done well, but the inside of the terminal is non-existent. The buildings all have custom textures and just like the ground, and they are done extremely well. The runway at EDLW is fairly short at 2000m, but long enough to accommodate your typical A319 or 737. Runway textures are also custom made and really well done, and so are the approach lights and satellite buildings surrounding the field." "In the performance department, this scenery is a winner all the way. Even with all the dynamic add-on scenery turned up, and autogen at very dense, I had little or no frame rate impact while flying or driving around Dortmund. If you live in Germany or have any sort of tie to the airport (EDLW), you ought to go get it. You should also get it if you plan to fly there often, and on approach while watching the moving cars, it is really immersive."

  • Mega Airport London Heathrow X (January 9, 2008) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison combines 2 legends of aviation in this double review. The 747-400 X from PMDG and Mega Airport London Heathrow X from Aerosoft/Simwings. "Neither the 747-400 nor London Heathrow is new to flightsim. PMDG ‘talk’ about their original intentions to ‘patch’ the 747-400 for FSX and how the project they expected to take a few weeks took 18 months. Aerosoft had already released Mega Airport London Heathrow for FS2004; the question was what would they do for FSX?" About the 747-400, Jon says, "Everything about this model is highly detailed, and I was unable to observe anything that was out of place. Clearly the attention to detail achieved in the FS2004 model has been replicated and advanced in FSX. Systems and panel wise, the 747-400X is no different than the FS2004 version, at least at face value. One of the enhancements in FSX is additional views in the VC, and close ups of the FMC, overhead panel and the throttle/comm's panel. The flight dynamics of the 400X feel great and users who are familiar with the FS2004 version will notice no difference in FSX. Personally, I found the aircraft to feel like I imagined a 747 would. It's heavy but at the same time sprightly, surprisingly so at times." Landing at London's Heathrow, Jon comments, "The quality of the buildings and other scenery objects throughout London Heathrow X is excellent. It's clear a lot of time and effort has been spent researching and then making the various airport structures, and given some are based on buildings that have yet to be completed, the final result is very effective and realistic. Simwings have included FSX effects in some of the buildings. Terminal 5 has the reflective glass effect, and at the right time of day when you catch the sun just right, the glory of bloom can be seen across most buildings. The more I explored in and around the terminals, the more the depth of the detail that has been included revealed itself, and many times I was struck by the detail that Simwings had managed to get into the scenery." There's a lot more detail about these two releases within the review. Summarizing PMDG's 747-400X and Aerosoft/Simwings' Mega Airport London Heathrow, "I come away from just over two weeks of flying the PMDG 747-400X in and out of Mega Airport London Heathrow X, and feel I have experienced two add-ons that truly start to show what FSX is capable of. The 747 is nothing short of a must buy in my view; it captures the physical presence of the 747 magnificently with an external model and VC that is truly second to none, and a sound set that puts you in the left hand seat and keeps you there. It has all the bells and whistles for those who enjoy working complex aircraft systems, but is also easy enough for the average flightsim aviator to access and get flying quickly. A very clever scenery design means you won't get many fully realized simulations of a real world airport this size that are much more FPS friendly than this. The overall quality and attention to detail are certainly highlights of this scenery, and if you can manage some AI, then its just as much fun spending a day watching as it is flying."

    2007

  • Vancouver+ for FSX (December 29, 2007) Senior staff reviewer Jeff Shyluk stays locked in his hometown as he explores FSAddon's Vancouver+ for FSX. He adds a new element to this review with a personal interview with product developer Holger Sandman as both Jeff and Holger were in attendance at this years Conference and Exhibition in Seattle. "FSAddon is a small third-party developer with some big ideas. Their latest creation is Vancouver+, a beautiful re-working of the city of Vancouver, Canada. This is a fully featured add-on that utilizes LOD11 custom mesh, landclass, photoreal textures and three-dimensional models. AI aircraft, boats, and land traffic are included as well. Vancouver+ extends far past the boundaries of Metro Vancouver, the main population center. Mountains, rivers, fields, and valleys are rendered in a rectangle 200 by 150 kilometers (124 x 93 miles), well past Vancouver's boundaries. High altitude lakes are carefully placed in this region, and they will even freeze over in the winter." "The scenery includes two popular regional airports in detail, plus literally dozens more are spruced up as well. The two airports that get the full treatment are CYPK (Pitt Meadows) and CYNJ (Langley). CYVR, the Vancouver International Airport, is left untouched by Vancouver+, though. Heliports, floatplane bases, and unlisted airstrips are sprinkled throughout the region, and are there for you to discover." "There are hundreds of fine-tuned details in Vancouver+ that makes this add-on especially attractive for sim pilots who like to explore rugged terrain in FSX. If you like big-city transport hubs, small regional airstrips, a glacial lake at the base of a mountain, or a private airstrip with a log cabin as your base of operations, you will find all this and more in Vancouver+" "The Vancouver+ add-on is virtually bug-free, and it runs well on Windows XP, Vista, and in FSX SP1 or SP2. This version of Vancouver+ is for FSX only, and not FS9. It is compatible with other scenery packages, including the freeware Victoria+. If Vancouver+ has a downside, it's that it takes up a large amount of hard drive space, and using it will probably cost you a small amount of frame rate." "I highly recommend Vancouver+ for FSX to sim aviators, especially anybody fond of exploration in flight. I have spent hours upon hours over this virtual countryside, and there's an incredible wealth of things to see and do in Vancouver+. Beyond being gorgeous, a lot of effort has been made to make this add-on immersive and thought provoking. Following the links in the manual and the suggested pre-saved flights will give any avid user many more hours of discovery and adventure: you can check out the history, culture, and geography of Vancouver on-line, and then you can see for yourself what it looks like in Vancouver+. This is a very high-quality add-on that might just spoil you for flying anywhere else in the virtual world."

  • LaGuardia (KGLA) (December 27, 2007) New staff reviewer Etienne Martin submits his first review, ImagineSim's LaGuardia (KLGA), which has been updated for FSX. "At 680 acres, LaGuardia is the smallest of the three airports serving the New York City metropolitan area. Its two 7,000’ runways, 4 terminals and 72 gates serve among others Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue, US Airways and Air Canada." "The marine terminal, the main terminal with its four concourses, the US Airways and Delta terminals are depicted faithfully. Located on a strip of land between the Grand Central Parkway and the East River, the airport is void of much greenery. It favors the utility of concrete, heavy fencing, blast shields and 40s-era hangars mixed in with modern terminal buildings. The ground textures are particularly well done, especially up close. The ground shows the appropriate wear and tear expected for a well traveled airport." "LGA for FSX does not use the animated jetways found in FSX. The scenery only has a handful of selected gates that have FS9 style animated jetways triggered only when you enter a special frequency in the nav radio with your aircraft at the door. Each gate either has a parking system or the “2D” ground crew, or both. Each responds appropriately to the aircraft position as it nears the gate and helps guide the pilot to the proper parking position." "While slower than the default scenery, I didn’t notice a significant drop in performance. I did notice significantly higher levels of traffic, both airport and airline in the FSX version compared to similar traffic levels selected in the FS9 version. As with other large airports, this add-on can lead to very slow frame rates if the AI traffic is high." Concluding his tour around LaGuardia, Etienne remarks, "Imagine Sim provides a faithful rendition of the LaGuardia airport and a significant improvement over the default scenery. The level of detail is pleasing without a major hit to performance, although at the cost of simplified building textures and low outlying detail outside of the airport flight area. The tarmac itself is nicely done with detailed markings, with static and moving objects."

  • VFR Germany 1: West (December 23, 2007) Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura travels back to Europe to fly Aerosoft's VFR Germany 1: West. "Last summer I reviewed the last three titles in the Scenery Germany series for FS2004, I only wish they worked in FSX. So now I'll look at the first FSX installment of the base layer, VFR Germany 1: West." "The bread and butter of this package is photographic ground textures, taken from airplanes. With FSX, the resolution can go up to 30 centimeters per pixel. With FS2004, photographic ground textures looked blocky up close. With this product, the coverage area looks much, much better than you’ve ever seen in Flight Simulator." "As for blurries, they are no better and no worse than any other photographic scenery product I have ever seen, owned, or reviewed. If you fly too fast, the textures will blur; it’s a limitation of Flight Simulator. If you like flying the Cessna 172, this won’t be a problem. If you primarily fly jets, this product is probably going to be frustrating, and so will every other product that uses photographic ground textures." "Photoscenery is not new for Flight Simulator, although with FSX we are seeing more and more detail. Ideally, you want a 3D house object to be placed on top of a 2D house, a 3D tree on top of a 2D tree, and so on. With VFR Germany, you get this effect for the entire coverage area. This is a big deal. I know that, with FSX, a lot of people have given up on autogen because turning it off improves frame rates." Concluding his latest European tour, David concludes that with VFR Germany1: West, "you can keep looking at it, for hours even, and notice new things. You can fly for days, even weeks, and not exhaust everything there is to see."

  • Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCEL) (December 21, 2007) Staff reviewer Roger Curtiss goes to South America to review Skymaker's Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCEL). "SCEL utilizes 2 parallel runways of 10,500’ length in a north/south configuration (17L/35R and 17R/35L) with the terminal area located midfield in between them. Runway 17L/35R is certified for CAT III and ILS IIIA operations." "I started my tour from the southwest corner of the ramp area where there are 2 open-air parking spots. I proceeded northbound past the terminal area and it was obvious that the terminal textures went beyond the standard FS airport buildings and certainly appeared to represent actual buildings. This impression was confirmed when I viewed some photos of the actual airport provided to me by Skymakers and this allowed me to appreciate the attention to detail that went into the product." "The taxiway lines were “freshly painted” being quite vivid and clear and the taxiway signs were large and easy to read. But not every taxiway was marked with a sign. I passed one of the two fire stations where a few green trucks sat outside and took a look at a large LAN Chile hangar. The hangar was open and the airplane could be brought inside but it and others at the airport were generally of a generic construct and devoid of any interior appointments." "For the return taxi to the main terminal area I reset the clock to night hours. The taxiways were beautifully illuminated with green centerline lights clearly showing the main and low visibility routes around the airport. But I did come to some taxiway intersections that did not have signs so it is imperative to maintain great situational awareness in order to avoid getting lost." Roger sums up his tour of SCEL with, "while SCEL appears to be a sincere attempt to depict the Benitez Airport, it falls short in a few areas and offers few surprises and for those reasons I cannot place it in the same category as other titles that do offer these amenities. But I believe the Skymakers crew has room for improvement and enhancement that I hope will be forthcoming in updates or new offerings."

  • Tatra Photoscenery for FSX (December 17, 2007) Staff reviewer Jon Murchison goes mountain flying with SimDesign's Tatra Photoscenery for FSX. "Simdesign offers a pixel resolution of 2.4 m (that means each pixel equates to roughly to 2.4 meters on the ground), double that available in the FS2004/2002 version, and digital terrain mesh at 19m’s." "Textures for all four seasons and custom night textures are provided with TATRA; this adds character and depth to the scenery and really shows off these mountains in all their glory as they change so much depending on the time of day and year you visit them. I have to say that TATRA highlights why including all the seasons is such a smart move, and I hold TATRA up as an example of exactly why doing them is worth it. But, including them and doing a good job of it are two different things, and I’m pleased to say Simdesign have achieved a stunning result with their seasonal and night textures." "To be totally honest, initially I was a little skeptical about this package and wondered why I would get excited about some rocks in Europe. But TATRA is stunning. The mountains and the surrounding land slowly began to reveal themselves to me in a way I hadn’t expected as I explored the seasons and different areas of the region. The quality of the mesh and photo real is excellent, good enough in fact to draw me into the scenery and begin to move it away from being a simulated environment and into something a little more special." Concluding his exporation of the Tatra mountains Jon says, "TATRA won me over and does exactly what it says it will, so you do get what you pay for. The more I flew and explored, the more I wanted to continue. The attraction is the mountains, they are not on the way to a destination, they are the destination. I whole heartedly recommend this scenery to anyone who enjoys VFR flying, and has the time and inclination to spend exploring and delving deeply into a region. TATRA needs and deserves to be explored to maximize the potential this scenery offers."

  • MegaScenery X - Southern California (December 16, 2007) Staff reviewer Angelique van Campen continues her treks around the globe. This time she explores MegaScenery X - Southern California. "The MegaScenery Team raises the realism ante again with the first "LARGE AREA" MegaScenery release - MegaSceneryX: Southern California For Microsoft Flight Simulator X. At 18,000 square miles (135 nm x 135 nm) this new title for Flight Simulator X displays scenery at 1.19 meters per pixel - 16 times the resolution of Flight Simulator 2004." "The covered area contains no more then two large and famous cities between mountains, mountains and more mountains with some rocks and small deserts. Although it depends a little in which direction you want to fly, still what you see is beautiful. Although this scenery is mainly for VFR flights, you can still enjoy its beauty during an IFR approach or departure." "First the offered airports, KLAX and KSAN. They give me a good impression of what kind of busy airports these are with some details. Remember, MegaSceneryX is a photorealistic scenery enhancer and not a complete package with many airports. If you’re not satisfied with the offered airports, you’re always free to add other airport sceneries." "Focusing on the ground textures, I see that the higher we go the more realistic and beautiful this area becomes. This is mainly due to all the added ground textures and I’m impressed. Entering the mainland via the ocean gives also a very good idea about the quality of this MegaSceneryX software." Concluding her LA to San Diego trip with MegaScenery X - Southern California installed, Angelique comments, "the only thing you have to keep in mind is the fact that it covers a large, and at the same time, a small area of the United States. This is an excellent product, extremely highly detailed scenery, lots of charts, VFR Terminal charts and Sectional Charts. Let’s hope Northern California will be available soon."

  • DillinghamX (November 24, 2007) Staff reviewer Angelique van Campen goes on a Hawaiian vacation to check out Aerosoft's Dillingham X. "Dillingham is located on the north shore of the island of Oahu near the unincorporated town of Waialua. It is primarily used as a recreation facility, a base for glider soaring, hang-gliding, parachuting and sky jumping." "The photo scenery underlying Dillingham is sampled at 60cm/pixel. To get the most out of it, set your Texture Resolution in the sim to 60 cm. Setting your road traffic to 15% or so mimics the amount of traffic the road to Dillingham gets on an average day. The 3D objects in the scenery are activated in two stages of complexity. At "normal", you see the buildings, some cars, and a few humans. “Dense" shows the rest." "Although it is a local glider airfield which, under certain conditions is also used by the US Air Force, it is full of details ranging from static airplanes, gliders, buildings, trees, bushes, lost history parts and so on. So how does DillinghamX look compared to the default FSX scenery? Amazing when looking at the default FSX pictures. I'd think seriously about adding this to MegaSceneryX Hawaii (if you have it). It makes it all complete!" Angelique sums up her visit to DillinghamX with, "When comparing the default FSX Dillingham airfield with Aerosoft’s DillinghamX scenery, we can only conclude that it is a worthy product. Although it is a very small, simple airfield without any jetways, passenger busses and carts driving around etc, it looks very realistic, with lots of details, nice looking trees and bushes and perfect looking cars."

  • North America Landclass v1.3 (November 22, 2007) Senior staff reviewer goes hog wild over Springfield in his review of Scenery Tech's North America Landclass v1.3. "SceneryTech is a new developer of scenery add-ons for FSX. Previously, SceneryTech published a landclass that covers Europe, so this new product hopes to build on that success." "The SceneryTech North America Landclass is a data file for FSX that re-arranges the landclass, which is an information table that FSX uses to decide which land texture goes where, like a big jigsaw puzzle. It doesn't actually add any new textures to FSX, but it does arrange them in such a way as to look more logical and realistic from the air. It's simple to install, and integrates completely into FSX, so once it's there, you won't have to worry about it." "The effect the SceneryTech North America Landclass has on FSX is dramatic. Farms, forests, cities, towns, ice fields, tundra, and even deserts look more realistic. Many small towns and even some cities that were omitted in FSX are now depicted properly by SceneryTech. In my opinion, this makes sim flight more enjoyable: the low-flying general aviation sim pilot has more places to visit, and the high-flying jet jockey can spot more urban and rural landmarks." "SceneryTech uses a system called ISL (Improved Slope Landclass) to make mountainsides look more realistic. As well, SceneryTech controls "desertification", the process where FSX assumes that if a location is dry, it must be covered with sand. Arid regions now look more realistic than before." In conclusion, Jeff says, "the SceneryTech North America Landclass is a high quality product. A lot of good work has gone into making this landclass easy to install and appealing to look at. It's rare that a scenery product will cover as large an area as a continent but not have problem areas. For the SceneryTech North America Landclass, I believe that the parts of it that I don't like are greatly outweighed by the things I do like. Overall, my feelings towards this product are very positive!"

  • Brussels 2007 (November 17, 2007) Staff reviewer Kevin Boydston travels to Europe to take a look at Dream Factory Studio's Brussels 2007. "Brussels is home to the Headquarters of the European Union, thus having many government flights from all around the world. In addition, Brussels is one of the biggest Cargo hubs in Europe, and has many cargo flights including DHL, Saudi Arabian Cargo, Singapore Cargo, and Korean Air Cargo." "Brussels contains one passenger terminal with three concourses, A, B, and C. Concourses A and B are fully operational with AES functionality. All cargo complexes are modeled fully as well, creating a great visual experience when pulling up to the ramp in your freighter." "AES adds dynamic scenery to Brussels, such as moving jetways which dock perfectly with the aircraft, cleaning trucks, air stairs, cargo loaders, and catering. You can see clearly where the DHL area is, where the other cargo area is, and get a pretty general idea of the domestic European area with a few internationals here and there." "I can say that if you like being a "Trash Hauler", Brussels 2007 would be a fantastic addition to your library, with or without AES. Even if you fly small European carriers, this is a great airport to purchase. I also recommend AES along with it."

  • Pyrenees (September 6, 2007) Staff reviewer Angelique van Campen takes us on a scenic tour of the Pyrenees mountain area as presented by FranceVFR. "The Pyrenees are a range of mountains in southwest Europe that form a natural border between France and Spain. They separate the Iberian peninsula from France and extend for about 430 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea." "It is indeed very, very photorealistic. It doesn’t make any difference if it's daylight, sunrise or sunset. Some screenshots look so unbelievably real, it’s scary! As with every photorealistic scenery, it shows you what is possible and with the additional autogen package, it makes it even more compatible with the real world." Angelique taks you on a VFR tour of the area included in this add-on and words cannot describe the screenshots along the way. Although, Angelique does a very good job with her descriptive flight route. How does this add-on perform? "No frame drop at all. At least it was not noticeable by me if I had any frame rate drops." Summing up FranceVFR's Pyrenees, Angelique says, "For this photorealistic scenery I can say, it is and it stays impressive. I think it’s mainly because of the reality. If France is your favorite country and you want to spend a little more money, I can recommend you to buy the Mediterranean Base and Autogen package and the Riviera packages as well. Based on these flight experiences, I can conclude that this package is definite a worthwhile investment."

  • MegasceneryX - Dallas/Fort Worth (August 11, 2007) Staff reviewer Angelique van Campen takes us on a scenic tour of a small part of Texas with PC Aviator's MegasceneryX - Dallas/Fort Worth. The website says, "Every highway, road, interchange, street, house, factory, warehouse, mall, stadium, ball field, golf course, sand trap, playground, river and stream is visible and identifiable from your Flight Simulator skies as if you were actually there flying over the skies above Dallas/Fort Worth." "Included in the installation you get a detailed booklet on how to use this scenery and how to make final adjustments, but you also get more then 100 pages of official charts from every airport covered in this area. You get airport diagrams, SID and STAR charts, ILS, VOR/DME, and GPS approach charts and last but not least, a full colored Sectional Chart of Dallas/Fort Worth." "When flying at an altitude of 3000-4000 feet, you can sit, relax and enjoy the outside view. It’s astonishing! When using MegaSceneryX for IFR flights, you also get a great view of this photographic scenery. The details of this megascenery are so incredible that you can fly via roads, crossing rivers, lakes, railroads etc." Angelique takes us on a VFR cross-coutry flight so we can see the extent of this add-on. "One thing is for sure, I’ve got an excellent impression of the VFR details from MegaSceneryX Dallas/Fort Worth scenery. The offered Dallas/Fort Worth area just covers 8000 square miles (21.0000 square kilometers), which means in combination with an IFR flight, it's a little limited." "When flying north, passing some lakes, it’s shocking what Microsoft thinks about inland water color. It’s such a strange blue color while the MegaSceneryX gives you a truer water color, which reflects the reality. Don’t believe me? I confirmed it with Google Earth and the water color/reflection of MegaSceneryX is what is should be." Concluding her review of MegasceneryX - Dallas/Fort Worth, Angelique comments, "My first reaction is, after a thorough review related to the question “is this a worthy add-on?” … yes, absolutely! You get an excellent product, extremely highly detailed scenery, a lot of charts and even a VFR Terminal chart. If that’s not enough, you also get the MegaCity Dallas/Forth Worth 2005 product, in case you want to swap between FS9 and FSX. Above all, it’s very frame rate friendly!"

  • Rio de Janeiro International Airport (August 4, 2007) Staff reviewer Angelique van Campen heads to South Ameerica to check out the Rio de Janeriro International Airport from TropicalSim. These developers state, "the sceneries must be extremely detailed and similar to the real thing, may not have impact on frame rates, must bring an enjoyable atmosphere when in use, and our support service has to be fast, effective and transparent for our customers. We do not reproduce adjacent and nearby areas, nor hotels, restaurants, resorts, cities and things like that. The target is just the airport!" "I checked the three default FSX large worldwide airports that have more or less the same complexity as Rio de Janeiro. Conclusion, the frame rate impact of this TropicalSim scenery of SBGL (Rio de Janeiro), is kept to a minimum! In other words, the FPS reduction due to this add-on scenery is more or less the same as the default airport sceneries from FSX itself, so that’s ok! Since we are busy checking FPS, let’s have a quick what the impact is in Flight Simulator 9. It’s amazing! With a default FS9 airplane standing on several locations at the airport, an average of 20 FPS is reached and that’s good." "Apart from the missing dirty spots on the aprons and the missing carts, belts and others vehicles, I have the feeling that this Flight Simulator 9 airport scenery is a good detailed representation of SBGL. Personally, I think it’s quite detailed although others will always want more, but it gives a very good impression what’s happening there. Close to runway 15/33, we find the local cargo terminals with the postal/logistic distribution centers from Correios and VARIGLOG. Some of the buildings are not bad, although I have my doubts if the flight simmer is coming and parking here, except for the cargo freaks." "The airport scenery doesn’t look different in FSX. One thing that FSX offers is the creation of extra cars, baggage carts, belts etc. The upcoming free patch not only solves the disappearance of buildings at the airport, but it also makes movable jetways possible." "For €18,00 / $24.77 you get a realistic impression of the Rio de Janeiro International Airport and you can download both Flight Simulator versions while using the same registration key. We cannot complain about the fact that it’s only the airport scenery itself and nothing around it. TropicalSim informs you on their website what this scenery is really covering. Making the airport aprons and runways look more realistic by introducing more dirty spots and touchdown stripes on the runways is in progress."

  • Megascenery X Phoenix (August 1, 2007) Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis heads south to visit Phoenix Arizona with PC Aviator's Megascenery X Phoenix. "What you get with Phoenix is not only 7000 square miles of scenery of the Phoenix area and its surrounding rural areas packed onto two DVD’s, but you also get 96 approach charts, SIDS, STARS and airport diagrams for the entire coverage area of this scenery package as well as a full color VFR chart and a full color terminal chart for quick and easy reference." "Megascenery X Phoenix offers up a high resolution representation of Phoenix Arizona and its surrounding rural areas at a whopping 1.19 meters per pixel reformatted from 1 foot per pixel photo scenery derived from actual aerial photography. Not only are the day textures enhanced, but the nighttime textures have been given the same attention to detail. As you fly around the region you will notice that all of the surrounding airports and airfields have been given some kind of special attention and are remarkable realistic looking when compared to actual photo’s of the real deal. I mean after all, you are essentially looking at a photo of the real thing! I was ultimately impressed with the overall look of Phoenix Sky Harbor, the buildings have all been placed correctly and the surrounding textures are pretty amazing looking." "The Phoenix scenery looks and performs well within FSX; in fact, I have experienced some of the best frame rates with this scenery package and FSX. With the Phoenix scenery I can turn up my autogen and scenery sliders as well as turn on the moving vehicle traffic and experience some of the best looking Flight Simulator flying I have seen to date in that sim and it really has to be seen to be appreciated. Also included in this package is scenery designed for FS9 of this region. This scenery is displayed at a lower resolution than that of the FSX scenery package but nonetheless looks good in FS9." Getting back on the ground, Gene comments, "I have come to one realization and that is I find FSX is my home for any and all of my photo scenery add-ons as it has produced an excellent engine for such titles. I was in no way disappointed by this title and if this is the future of Photo Scenery titles, then I can’t wait for the next one!"

  • La Guardia - KLGA (July 19, 2007) Staff reviewer Juan Llobera tours one of New York's busiest airports, La Guardia (KLGA) by ImagineSim. "KLGA New York La Guardia is the smallest of three airports serving New York. "One of the first things I do when I check out a new scenery is to go to the top-down view and compare the scenery with the real airport diagram. This is really useful because it will rapidly give you an idea of what level of realism you are going to find. Because I'm afraid nobody actually cares about how well done the runway textures are if runway 22 is heading 320, or how many details the taxiways have if some taxiways are missing. The good news is that every single taxiway seems to be present. The airport’s layout is exactly the same as in real life." "Buildings look incredible real, and the glass textures are just fabulous. Every single terminal has been reproduced as well as the fire station, hangars and maintenance and base facilities. You’ll find every single gate with their number, jetway and everything. Another feature you’ll get is the Automatic Docking System, which is nothing more than moving jetways. This is really cool and it's a detail that I feel should be a standard feature in every single payware scenery. Probably one of the things that I love about this scenery are the night textures." "Considering you have the chance of actually testing this add-on before buying it, I’ll just say that overall it runs great on my PC. LaGuardia is an over-crowded airport, and when I say over-crowded I mean waiting in line for half an hour in order to get your take off clearance. Now that's "as real as it gets!". Wrapping up ImagineSim's La Guardia, Juan comments, "is ImagineSim’s KLGA worth the money? I'd definitely say it is. It has every single building, light, taxiway and detail you’ll find at the real LaGuardia. Plus, the high density of vehicles and cargo containers really gives you the feeling that you are “there”. If you love to see a real crowded airport or simply love challenging approaches and adrenaline-charged take off’s, then I would recommend this one to you."

  • German Airports 2 - Munster/Osnabruck (July 17, 2007) Staff reviewer Marc Radford explores the Munster/Osnabruck Airport as part of the Aerosoft German Airports series. "Münster/Osnabrück Airport is currently the 4th largest International commercial airport in the North Rhine-Westphalia area, located 25km from Münster (Westfalen), and 40km from Osnabrück." "There is little doubt Aerosoft has been successful in recreating the airport and surrounding areas. On final to runway 25, you can see the dynamic scenery cars zooming by on the Autobahn! It is amazing the added sense of realism you get when you are trying to focus on your instruments; you almost get distracted by the variety of cars zooming along the road underneath you." "On the ground things are quite lively around here with buses, trucks, Exxon Mobile Tractor Trailers, and Lufthansa Service Trucks, just to name a few, which are all busy doing their jobs. When the models are viewed up close they really stand their ground. The same goes for the static aircraft, when zooming in it's surprising the level of detail. I found the night effects to be satisfying, and aligned to the quality of the overall package." "When the airport first loaded, I was shocked with next to no difference in my FPS from the default scenery. I was surprised to see Münster/Osnabrück did not have any large or heavy gates. I did some checking to see what kind of airplanes usually take off from there, the majority of the jets are Boeing 737’s." Wrapping up this review of Aerosoft's Münster/Osnabrück Airport, Marc says, "I have tried a handful of add-on airports over the years, they all looked great but killed my FPS. This package started impressing me right from the manual, and followed through like a champ all the way to the end."

  • USA Extreme Landscapes V2 (July 7, 2007) Senior staff reviewer Jeff Shyluk takes us on a photoscenic journey over North America, with USA Extreme Landscapes V2 from Abacus. "This is a very large add-on for FSX, which does not promise the world, but it does try to give you a more lifelike North America." "USA Extreme Landscapes V2 is a high-resolution terrain mesh for FSX that covers the United States, Mexico, and Canada in detail. This means that three-dimensional landforms such as mountains, hills, valleys, and canyons will all show up in your flight sim in greater detail than ever before. USA Extreme Landscapes is a re-packaging of the North American terrain mesh from FSGenesis. It can be purchased on DVD only, and in fact, comes as a set of three disks. When installed, USA Extreme Landscapes will take up 10 GB of hard drive space, but in terms of performance, it should not have a large negative effect on simulation frame rates. USA Extreme Landscapes installs easily on FSX, FSX+SP1, and FSX on Vista systems." "As a bonus, Eaglesoft’s fine Liberty Aerospace XL2 touring aircraft is included in the USA Extreme Landscapes package for free. You may use this modern and engaging little prop-driven plane to follow Abacus’ excellent flight plans, which cover some of America’s most beautiful scenery." "FSX significantly boosts the visual resolution of the terrain mesh from the default levels of FS2004. USA Extreme Landscapes increases the resolution of the terrain mesh for FSX up to 9.6 meters for the United States. Is the boost in resolution enough to justify paying out for this add-on? That’s a bit hard to say. If you are not satisfied with the level of terrain mesh detail in FSX, and want to see more contours in the land, and you primarily fly over North America, then you might want to try this product. USA Extreme Landscapes is about as good as I would expect to see from a newer terrain mesh for FSX."

  • Cape Canaveral X (June 26, 2007) New staff reviewer Angelique van Campen flys around a US restricted area as she takes an in-depth and up-close look at Aerosoft's Cape Canaveral X. "During special NASA activities, a 30NM circle is drawn around, let’s say the main building. Any flight within this 30NM circle is strictly prohibited and elevates from AGL (Above Ground Level) to unlimited flight levels." Angelique takes us on a complete tour of the area and describes what we see, "Flying along the coastline at an altitude of 2500 feet, we fly south where we reach R-2934 (R-Restricted) area. The first thing we notice is the smooth change from the default to the Aerosoft scenery. Looking out of the window, we first see the Space Shuttle landing strip, KTTS and the huge Vehicle Assembly Building, located close to the strip. Flying above Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge park, we see that the Aerosoft's swamp looks very close the real swamps. One thing already mentioned is the Vehicle Assembly Building, where the space shuttle, fuel tanks and rockets are mounted together. The default FSX scenery shows these as well, but with fewer details." Summarizing Aerosoft's CanaveralX, Angelique comments, "The scenery or green areas representing swamps and lakes are not that bad. The only limitation compared to the FS2004 version, is the level of detail and the performance on your PC. The three runways on the other hand are realistic when I compare these with actual pictures from Google Earth. It’s a nice add-on, but to me after comparing the Aerosoft FS2004 with the FSX version, it appears Aerosoft just transferred the old FS9 version into a FSX compatible one without any additional features and/or improvements. However, you have to keep in mind that it only covers Cape Canaveral."

  • VFR Real Scenery - Vol 1 (June 21, 2007) Staff reviewer David Rogers takes us on ascenic tour of a section of his home country, the UK, with Just Flight's VFR Real Scenery Vol 1 for FSX. "Up until now, photographic scenery in general has held something of a love-hate status among flight sim hobbyists. Enter FSX." "So we know it’s scenery, but what exactly is all the fuss about with this new type of photographic scenery in FSX? Well, although Just Flight may have replaced the word photographic with ‘real’, make no mistake, the main feature of this type of scenery is that it is based around digital aerial photographs of the featured area." "The area covered by this volume is a rather slim but tall Easterly slice of England. The most obvious area to mention in terms of the coverage provided, is that it includes the City of London. But when you tire of checking out the City, you also get the eastern section of the South Coast area of England as well as the flat and generally rural East Anglia region. (The ‘hip’ of England!). As well as the Capital, towns and cities such as Brighton, Folkestone, Dover, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough, Cambridge and Luton are also featured in this area. The Counties covered being Kent, East Sussex, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and parts of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and West Sussex." "I decided that a good way to check out the eye candy, and try some true VFR navigation, would be to start from an area I know and check out some references on the ground that I know. While FSX has reasonably accurate main road placement for the UK, what I immediately noticed was how better the Just Flight Real Scenery sits alongside the main roads. As I reached 600 ft, I was exceptionally pleased to note that the quality and focus of textures are immeasurably better at this low altitude than they were in the previous VFR Photographic Scenery software for FS2004. I noticed that the coastline is far more accurate and detailed with VFR Real Scenery, as opposed to FSX’s default scenery. Flying over London is a treat and you could spend hours hunting out the sights. It really is great fun and about as good as we’ve seen yet for VFR flying." Summing up this first Volume of Just Flight's VFR Real Scenery, David concludes, "Whether you want this scenery on your hard drive will largely depend on your preferences within the hobby. If you are into low and slow VFR flying, then I could not recommend this product highly enough. The world of photographic scenery within the sim is a developing technology and this product is not perfect. But generally, this is an awesome add-on that will transform the way you see and even think about the ground below you."    

  • St Maarten (June 17, 2007) Contributing reviewer Chris Kiehl takes us on a Carribean tour of St Maarten from FlyTampa. "St. Maarten is the smallest island divided by two nations - France and the Netherlands. The French control the north side of the island, while the Dutch retain control of the southern portion and the international airport." "Many features of this scenery make the whole experience into a visual show. At each airport and the immediate surrounding area, there are highly upgraded and detailed textures which add so much to the immersion. The runways have a very realistic appearance to them, and to me, appear as real asphalt or concrete. This gives you the sensation of speed on landing and takeoff which the FS default runways and taxiways simply fail to do. On top of these taxiways and runways is the yellow and white paint, which actually appears to have been painted on and not floating on top of a good base texture." "Princess Juliana International is a world famous airport for everything that makes it special, and even more for that seemingly daunting approach that airliners make at 50-100 feet over the fence. All of these details, at least the ones that I can think of, are seamlessly represented. St. Maarten itself is done remarkably well. The ‘Sunset Beach Bar’ at the end of the runway can be seen where many of those famous low flying airliner shots are taken; along with little beach chairs and umbrellas and a few people here and there enjoying the festivities." "St. Barth’s airport is located right on a little bay, next to a hill surrounded by dense jungle and is highly detailed in this scenery package. The graphic of Barth’s terminal and surrounding towns of Gustavia and St. Jean is simply amazing in my opinion. Saba is the show stealer. A small runway and airport out on a small peninsula, perched atop a 200 foot island cliff. The whole island is really spectacular, as the peak of the island simply climbs out of the ocean, almost like an island out of a movie like Jurassic Park when flying to it." Summizing FlyTampa's St Maarten, Chris says, "I think anyone who buys either the St. Martin/Juliana standalone, or opts for the whole package, will greatly enjoy them. If you’re simply a fan of flying in this region or these islands specifically, get this scenery as it will greatly enhance your flying time here."    

  • MonacoX (June 14, 2007) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne takes us on a tour of the glamorous micro-state Monaco as presented by Aerosoft. "Also known as the Principality of Monaco, it is where royalty is still glamorized and where the noblest amongst its 30,000 inhabitants live in Monaco-Ville’s palaces." "Since Monaco does not have an airport, you will have to fly to Nice’s LFMN and take a helicopter from there. I prefer the long route and will come in from Nice using the visual approach charts provided. Another way, is to approach from behind the hills with a suddenly emerging Monaco making for a pleasant surprise." "The autogen (AG) is custom made for MonacoX and follows the graphic slider like other AG does. A full right position is desired, if possible, as a lack of AG will severely thin the scenery detail. There are a lot of buildings in this small area, which makes for a nice view while doing a slow approach in a helicopter. There are also ships, with schedules, included in this package." "There are 2 missions included with this package: Part 1: Helicopter flight from Monaco to Nice. Part 2 is the reverse of Part 1. Helicopter flight from Nice to Monaco" Concluding our tour, Allen notes, "With SP1 installed, I found helicopter handling much better, with frame rates often 20+ and smooth as opposed to 12- without the SP1 patch. This scenery is ideal for helicopters, usable for amphibian craft, but somewhat limited for fixed-wing aircraft. I appreciated MonacoX for its beauty and fluidity fps-wise, but found it somewhat limited to sightseeing. The two included missions were useful in getting familiar with the local approach and departure procedures from the helipads, but that was all there was."    

  • Cincinnati-North Kentucky Int'l Airport (May 24, 2007) Senior staff reviewer Alexis Esguerra tours ImagineSim's Cincinnati-North Kentucky International Airport. "Famed moonwalker Neil Armstrong once referred to the ICAO code of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky as meaning “Cincinnati Very Good”. It has consistently rated quite highly in numerous independent customer surveys over the years, serves as Delta Airlines second largest hub, and currently runs better than 500 flights per day." "The airport itself is brought to current standards in both FS9 and FSX; updated to reflect the appearance of the airport circa late-2006. Three terminals along with three concourses, forming the basic meat and potatoes of the airport, are present; as are the numerous outlying tenant and airport structures and aircraft plots. The scenery also includes the basic set of aircraft (big surprise that the majority are in Delta colors), ground equipment, and the occasional ramper hanging out on the tarmac, adding the general populated feel to the field. Standard flair of animated jet bridges, guidance signs, marshallers, and ground traffic are present (the first three at specific locations), either further lending some credence to the operational appearance of the field, or helping the virtual pilot get to where he/she needs to go." "Which one is better, FS9, or FSX? At first glance, I might’ve said neither; ImagineSim did use the same textures for both renditions, so when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. In many respects, both FS9 and FSX get a badly needed shot in the arm from the installation of KCVG. Be you a die-hard FS9 user, or a hardcore FSX user, KCVG has something in store for you." Wrapping up this tour, Alexis comments, "When boiled down to its essentials, I found that KCVG performed as advertised. After all, it is a scenery package that was designed to bring its subject to a whole new level of realism, and from what I saw, there’s no question that it did so. Given its merits, KCVG stands well on it’s own two feet, both FS9 and FSX."    

  • XCity Rome (May 12, 2007) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne takes us on a tour of Roma with Cloud9's XCity Rome. "Rome, an entire city with widely varying complex buildings rendered in 3D, covering an area of 100 square miles." "My first impressions are that Xcity Rome meshes well without a drop in fps at all. Although it is quite visible and in its entirety, it does not clash with its surroundings, which to me is a very important requirement for quality. Approaching outlying neighborhoods of XCity Rome for the first time, entire blocks are wrapped around with one wall touching the outside of streets. What makes the illusion work is that the rooftops are actually cutouts from the underlying area of the matching satellite photo for that rooftop. They’ve made for a fairly good resemblance in my opinion." "Placement accuracy in the city center is remarkable.Most roofs are simply the section of a satellite photo of what should be underneath that block of buildings. When the building actually does occupy the entire block, this works rather nicely. LIRA, the old Ciampino airport southeast of Rome, has little to offer the candy hunter. With simple generic buildings and an ILS approach for runway 15, its only attribute being that XCity Rome is within sight as soon as you depart from 33." "There are two customized heliports included in the package, with nice night lighting added. Many bridges along the Tiber river were reproduced, with a couple near the Vatican made in very nice detail, even underneath, and at night are quite pretty. The others are still similar to their counterparts in the real world." Closing out this tour of Cloud9's XCity Rome Allen notes, "I would strongly recommend getting Xclass for Europe from Cloud9 first, and then if you want to visit Italy, get XCity Rome. Especially if this is a regular stop of yours with enough visits to merit a purchase. The overly generic facades and rooftops could use some work, but that might raise the price of development and affect fps performance which I found to be on par with what FSX default was giving."  

  • Helgoland (May 9, 2007) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne flies around a "chunk" of land off the coast of Germany with Aerosoft's Helgoland. "The island’s ownership, simplified, has gone back and forth from Denmark to England to Germany over the past 250 years. It was heavily fortified during both wars, and has even been used as target practice by the British." "There are 3 small runways, of concrete surface: 15/33 (the longest), 03/21, and 06/24 (way too small), without lights, no FSS, no working tower although there is one on top of the terminal building, not even a local traffic advisory frequency. There is a VOR, with the ICAO code DHE (116.3), but no NDB nor ILS. Doing a complete circuit around the islands, there was never the slightest blinking of any object or building. Very well done and quite smooth. The level of detail was beyond my expectations, with numerous detailed buildings, structures, and sailboats." "One way Aerosoft helps you tour the island is using the supplied mission called “Helgoland Tour”. In this mission an accompanying tour guide talks you around the island, pointing out the various highlights just like a tour operator would do. Very helpful in getting to know the various aspects of this island: the frigate, the piers, the heliport, the lighthouse, and that popular rock extrusion known as “Lange Anna”. The second mission, called “Helgoland SAR Oilrig” is a harder challenge where you are sent to rescue an injured worker on the oilrig Mittelplate (EM08) using a Bell 206 under difficult weather conditions." "If this product is any indication as to the quality we can expect from Aerosoft’s upcoming small but detailed scenery packages for Monaco, Aspen, and others, they will be indeed worth looking into. I will continue using Heligoland for my own amusement. Its visual isolation from any adjacent bland default land textures in FSX allows you to totally immerse yourself in the illusion of realism. Aerosoft has done a magnificent job on this small island, and I dare say they achieved the highest level of realism available to date in FSX. If you like a half hour flight of distraction once in a while, Aerosoft's Helgoland is ideal for you."    

  • XClass Australia and Canada (April 10, 2007) FSCloud9 covers Australia and Canada with their X-Class series, and staff reviewer Fred Clark covers these releases. "What the X-Class series does is “render a better visualization…of the terrain making it more close to reality…adding many more small urban areas and recreates more faithfully the big urban areas”" "After an hour or so over an area, the change was noticeable. In particular the industrial zones. These were greatly cut down on, and I found them in more appropriate places. FSX seems to use the industrial style ground textures too much, including in the middle of cities. After X Class was installed, they began to appear in more appropriate locations, such as on approach to an airport. Not only this but all texture areas were of a much more believable size." "It’s all very well and good taking a quick look at areas, but how does it feel to actually fly over areas of newly reshaped terrain? Well first of all, flat open areas are no longer lifeless. Especially in the far north of Canada. There is far more ruggedness to the surroundings and it is far more believable. It's also far easier to fly VFR. Instead of having to spot towns by kinks in the road, it is now possible (in the majority of places) to spot them by buildings and in some cases even the layout! Although in many places I actually noticed more autogen after the X-Class install, there is no frame rate impact." Concluding this scenery review, Fred says, "Is it worth buying? Well, at the moment I would say yes. What it does is something that should have, in all honestly, been done in the original Microsoft release. There is very little difference to be seen at 33,000 ft, on the other hand, if you love flying VFR in FSX (as I do) then this will make your experience even more complete."

  • German Landmarks X (April 9, 2007) Staff reviewer Allen Lavigne takes us on a scenic trip around Germany with Aerosoft's German Landmarks X. "I was amazed at the number of additional oblects that can be placed within my flight sim environment." "You can use the MapViewer to see just where you are in relation to all these hundreds of landmarks (it shows regular airports too) andd FSX does not have to be connected in order to use the MapViewer. When flying, the MapViewer can connect (through FSUIPC) to FSX and display your aircraft position as a small red cross on the map." "The term “landmark” is used in the VFR navigation sense, not in any historical “tourist” context. It can be any visual aid to navigation such as a mountain, a tower, a windmill, buildings, etc… Added airfields and heliports are, for the most part, generic and are in no way meant to reproduce the actual site. There are reportedly 5000 VFR landmarks featured from more than 800 different objects. New airfields are included in the FSX GPS database and can be loaded as the “direct-to” destination. By doing a search in the airfields list for the nearest large city, it is then easy to find nearby airfields for gliders and helicopters." "Landclass and terrain features are greatly improved over the default scenery for the entire area. Railways and railyards are properly placed and cities and towns are better represented overall. It seems that most cities have something added to them in the form of large buildings (some custom designs, some generic), port facilities (these are mostly generic with customized layouts), industrial sections, factories, railyards and rail terminals." As far as performance goes, Allen comments, "Flights between small cities and during departures/approaches to and from them showed fps performances that were acceptable to me, but in the areas of large metropolitan cities and larger airports, it certainly was not great, as can be expected in FSX. A high-end computer is an advantage, as usual. German Landmarks X is an excellent VFR-navigation scenery enhancement best used with slow moving aircraft or helicopters. I enjoyed using this add-on and would recommend it to anyone with the right equipment. I really enjoyed playing about with this add-on."

  • Budapest 2007 (March 10, 2007) New staff reviewer James Li takes us on a tour of the Budapest airport as presented by Aerosoft. "Budapest Ferighey International Airport was opened in 1950. Originally opened with one terminal, runway, and hangar, Ferighey was only a shell of what it was destined to become." "The scenery itself was very impressive and made the most out of a smaller airport. Personally, I am always impressed by the little details and Aerosoft has not held back in this aspect. Speaking of the details, the ground and building textures were all very sharp and pleasing to the eye. Both building and ground textures in the airport were sharp and lacked the blurriness that some sceneries have. Budapest 2007’s detail doesn’t stop with the airport, the detail extends to the city with the entire area being covered in a photoscenery with new terrain mesh." "At first, I was slightly dismayed over the performance of Budapest 2007. It seemed to be slightly below the average benchmark set by other developers with much larger airports. However, the newly released patch seemed to do wonders for me." In summary of Budapest 2007, James says, "Overall, Budapest 2007 left me with a very good impression. I was very impressed with the attention to detail. It has to be one of the better sceneries that I have seen in terms of accuracy and details. Even if Budapest is not the hottest, biggest hub that the entire Flight Sim community has been clamoring for, Aerosoft has executed Budapest 2007 very well and has given us another wonderful scenery."

  • Dominican Airports (March 3, 2007) New staff reviewer Robert Mariani takes us on a carribean trip to the island of the Dominican Republic as presented by Dominican Aerodromes. "Christopher Columbus found it, claimed it, and explored it on his first voyage in 1492. The island became a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and American mainland. These days the Spanish, and others, are still coming, albeit onboard Boeings and Airbuses versus the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria." "This package consists of seven airports, but you can have two of those for free. The author has released Santo Domingo La Isabela (MDJB) and Santiago Cibao (MDST) as freeware sometime ago, and four other ones (Punta Cana - MDPC, Puerto Plata – MDPP, Las Americas – MDSD and La Romana – MDLR) have feature-limited demos in the AVSIM library. Finally, there is the MDSI or San Isidro Air Base." "Las Americas International Airport, the largest and busiest airport, is the main airport of the country, it sees 747’s, 777’s and A-340’s regularly. In real life, many of the European, North and South American passenger and cargo airlines fly there. MDSD, or Las Americas, is highly detailed in this add-on and features animated marshallers, animated gates, and service trucks that are activated by setting the NAV2 frequency to 112.00. In addition, the surrounding area is customized to represent real life as much as possible." "Punta Cana’s single runway is 10,171 feet long (3,100 m), which is also more than enough to accommodate jumbos in real life. Just like Las Americas, Punta Cana offers many details and a uniquely shaped passenger terminal that is very well reproduced. Other notable features at this airport are; the perimeter fencing, subtle apron lighting, some static GA airplanes, detailed parking lots, and main road with light poles on the backside of the airport." "Puerto Plata is another resort town on the northern Dominican coast, with capability to support all types of commercial air traffic with its 10,108 ft. (3081 m.) long runway. Some static GA planes are sprinkled around, and night lighting is done well here, as is on all the other airports." "The first thing I noticed about La Romana is the way the runway is textured. Gone is the grey or black of the concrete and asphalt and instead there is the creamy beige runway. The distance markers on the runway are barely noticeable, as they do not offer much contrast to the light shaded runway covering. Plenty of detail at this airport as well, good night lighting, and animated folks ready to wave you in to your parking position." "The San Isidro Air Base is not documented, or at least I could not find a manual for it, but it is mentioned on the developer’s website. It features plenty of static aircraft and an opening hangar, as well as detailed portions of the highway leading to the airport and some custom power lines that can be seen behind the buildings. Unlike all other airports, this one has two runways." After this whirlwind tour of the Dominican Republic, Robert sums up this scenery review with, "while on the ground or within the airports approach path, the drop in fluidity and slow performance of my system reduced the previously high excitement levels significantly. If you have the system that can deal with all the eye candy, or you don’t mind the slowish performance on final, this scenery is the only choice as far as the area covered is concerned. I think the scenery could have been better optimized. However, I applaud the authors for the enormous amount of detail, as well as the great demo policy and two freeware airports they provide."  

  • 5 Caribbean Airports (February 27, 2007) New staff reviewer Allen Lavigne debuts with a review of 5 Caribbean Airports from Tropical Sim. "Although I've reviewed 5 airports sets, they are available as single downloads and/or as bundles." "The 5 airports are MYNN Nassau, MMUN Cancun, MDPC Punta Cana, TNCB Flamingo (and 2 other airports; TDCF, TDPD), and SBMO Maceio Brazil . So there are actually 7 included in this review. In Nassau, the runways and taxiways have borders that merge well with the surrounding ground texture tiles and other runways/taxiways. This makes for a noticeably realistic visual approach. At night, the tarmac lighting is dispersed rather than cone shaped. I like its effect. On approach to Cancun, the view while on approach is more realistic than most. I find their airports blend very nicely with surrounding textures. Punta Cana is on the eastern end of a topographically delightful large island, but the nice mountains are on the other end. So it’s flat at our destination. Flamingo (TNCB), on a rather deserted island, is quite pretty. The colors are truly pleasant and the architecture is nice: A real jewel in the middle of nowhere. This is indeed the nicest airport of this set. Taxiways are wide enough for a 747 to pass without much ado." As this is just a taste of what Allen has written about, his complete review of Tropical Sim's Caribbean airports goes into all the details. He sums up this multi-airfiled review with, "let me say that these 5 airports (actually 7) are quite well done considering there are only two guys making up TropicalSim. Would I buy these? As singles, maybe one, my favorites being MYNN and SBMO. As of now, I only see an FS2004 bundle (you’d get 40 small airports to hop to and from) with one maybe two in the package for FSX."

  • Environment Boost (February 22, 2007) Senior staff reviewer Brian Fletcher adjusts the way we see the world with Environment Boost from Commercial Level Simulations. "This FS9 and FSX compatible scenery enhancement package is designed to alter, and hopefully improve, the realism of many different day and night ground and building textures, runways, taxiways, parking ramps, and more in Flight Simulator." "Runway and taxiway textures are bolder, usually due to the fact that they are darker and have more defined markings, or in some instances, because they stand out from their surroundings so much. Grass runway textures are included for all four seasons, in addition to two winter textures, one with snow and one without. The taxiways, and to a lesser extent the runways, all have a lot of texturing to indicate cracks and other impurities in the concrete. Perhaps these new runway and taxiway textures do not suit your taste. If not, you might want to take a look at the three alternative texture sets available in this package." "Pull up to the aprons and parking areas at many airports in FS9 and FSX with Environment Boost installed and you will notice a big change from the default ramps. Shades of brown now replace the default grey textures at many airports and the detail is more defined. At other airports you will not notice as much of a difference because shades of grey similar to the default textures are used." "There are a variety of replacement textures for the buildings in FS9, some of which are an aged green look, others with a cleaner grey appearance, and some that just clean up or dull down the default building textures. In addition to the outside walls of the buildings, Environment Boost also includes new rooftop textures. Many of the terminals have also been redone with this package, some of which have cleaner lines and others that appear more worn." Along with the altered building textures comes new lighting that, in my opinion, is much improved over the default lighting but not quite as eventful as some of the other add-on night lighting that I have seen. The new night textures also include runway lights, halo effects, and a variety of additional ground lighting." After flying around the world to examine Environment Boost in a variety of locales, Brian concludes, "Overall, I would say that I was pleased with the texture alterations at most of the facilities I visited, but a few of my favorites would have been best unchanged. The darker runway textures have been a positive addition to my FS9 environment, and I like the option to choose which runway textures I want to use. I like the taxiway details that are included in the add-on, and in many cases I also like the runway details, although they can be hard to see on the darkest of runways. The runway and taxiway lighting, building lighting, and halo effect were also a nice addition to this package. Finally, keep in mind that there are a lot of add-on textures, both freeware and payware, that also deserve to be included in your decision making process."

  • World Extreme Landscapes Version 2 (February 18, 2007) Staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura revisits the latest version of World Extreme Landscapes (WEL) from Abacus. This time it's Version 2 for FS-X. "My main task here is to show what the product looks like and how it compares with the default terrain mesh in FSX." "This version of World Extreme Landscapes covers the whole world except North America. The results of my comparison can be summarized quickly. In regions where the default mesh is already good, like Europe, Australia, and apparently New Zealand, there is little or no discernible difference. But for Asia, Africa, and South America, the WEL screenshots are noticeably more nuanced: peaks sharpen into points, and mountainsides show ripples and folds." David describes in his review the 4 main areas where Version 2 differs from Version 1. In his summation of World Extreme Landscapes, David notes, "The Abacus version, on DVD only, sells for US$30 plus $7 shipping. (There is a substantial discount for purchasers of version 1) The advantage of the Abacus version is extra features. In addition to the terrain mesh, you also get an aircraft and 23 saved flights that highlight the world’s mountain ranges. If you’re indifferent to scenery (and some people are), then I suppose you can let this one pass. Ditto if you never fly outside of North America. But if, like me, you use Flight Simulator to explore the world, then WEL is an obvious BUY. The World Extreme Landscapes terrain is both more well defined than the default mesh and more detailed. It makes the land look like itself."

  • Lyon Saint-Expury (February 4, 2007) Staff reviewer Gavin Hendrie crosses the English Channel and takes us on a tour of SimuDesign's Lyon Saint-Expury. "Lyon Saint-Exupery is named after the French writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery and was previously known as Lyon Satolas. It is France’s 4th largest airport." "At first glance the airport itself was quite nice. The terminals are modeled well and the satellite-type image for the ground textures makes for a realistic looking scene. Except for one thing, the place is devoid of any static aircraft. No static aircraft are included in the package. Which is a great shame because the custom ground textures, realistic landclass objects, moving service vehicles and highly detailed buildings are let down by an empty apron." "This add-on has numerous gates at which you can park, every one of them empty. Two of the gates (one passenger, one cargo) have an active marshaller who guides you in, and two other gates have the safegate docking system which shows you if you’re on the centre line and how far you have to go before telling you to ‘STOP.’ The add-on comes with version 1.3 of Simudesign’s SDScene module which can make runway and taxiway lights (and also some others objects) automatically switch on when the visibility becomes too low. This module requires a free version of Pete Dowson’s infamous FSUIPC." "In conclusion, I found SimuDesign's Lyon attractive, frame rate friendly airport to be a massive disappointment," says Gavin, "Don’t get me wrong, the scenery is quite well done, but the absence of any static aircraft, which even freeware developers regularly provide, is too big of a deal to go unnoticed. It lets the overall package down considerably. I think those of you who particularly want a good quality add-on for LFLL will get some value from it. For those who have little or no interest in flying to or from Lyon, I’d say not to bother with it."

  • Hannover (January 30, 2007) Staff reviewer Fred Clark flies us in and out of Hannover, as presented by Aerosoft. "Hannover airport first opened in 1952 with 2 new terminals (A and B) opening in 1973. The 2 terminals were joined in 1998 with terminal C. This gave the airport the capacity to serve 33 aircraft at any one time, with 20 being served with a jetway." "The way that the German Airports team program their scenery, in particular the ground vehicles, is fairly unique. They use a system called Dynamic Airport enhancement services, utilizing a special module created by Maurizio Gavioli. This allows ground movements that are far more advanced than what FS itself can offer. After playing with the settings to optimize my ‘rig’, I clicked fly now and braced myself for the expected slide show. But it never came. What I was greeted with, were frame rates comparable to non-detailed default airports. Obviously a lot of time has been spent getting this just right, and the result is high frame rates even when using highly detailed aircraft." "The research done by the German Airports team is evident. Because of restrictions nowadays, they rely a lot on airport staff. Aerosoft have developed quite a good relation with the airports, and the end result is highly detailed sceneries. One structure certainly worth taking a look at is the German Police Helicopter station. Not because it is stunningly modeled, but because it adds yet another type of aircraft to fly at Hannover. When selecting your start position in the FS menus there are 3 helipads to choose from." "Hannover is built onto of 1m/pxl ground photos and they look superb. It’s become a standard feature of add-on sceneries now, and really adds a tremendous amount of realism because you no longer fly from one generic field to another generic field. Another feature that finds itself in the Hannover scenery is the seasonal textures. This is further assisted by the stunning custom textures on buildings. Colors are exactly what you would expect of an airport of this nature and none of the textures come across as garish. A service pack for the scenery was also released recently, showing that the German Airports team and Aerosoft are certainly willing to give the customer the best possible product." Summing up Hannover, Fred says, "I have always been a firm believer that the feel of a product makes or breaks it. Hannover certainly feels right. I would completely recommend this scenery, especially to those living in Europe. If you enjoy flying real schedules in heavy aircraft or even small, regional jets, Hannover will provide you with a perfect hub. This scenery is perfect for all your virtual flying needs."

  • Ground Environment (January 18, 2007) Senior staff reviewer Alexis Esguerra re-covers the world with his look at Flight 1's Ground Environment. "GE is not like any of the available world scenery packages who’s textures are designed to maximize the accuracy of the appearance of any one area. Instead, it is a set of general textures that were designed to improve upon the ones that are supplied with FS2004, complementing the general appearance of a location. Major landmarks, such as famous structures, landmasses, and airports themselves remain unaffected." "Autogen Scenery goes through a change, with primary emphasis being on alignment and appropriate placement. How many times have you looked down and wondered why Building A was canted at a severe angle to Road A? Flight 1 looked into this in GE, and worked their magic. In reworking of the textures, the program seemed to be coded to acknowledge placement or no placement of autogen objects based on whether or not the texture was appropriate to the object. Textures that suggest any undeveloped, open fields are vacant of any structures, the roads appear clear of any clutter that would hinder virtual car traffic, and where the buildings are plopped down suggests a good degree of orderly placement." Summarizing Ground Environment, Alexis notes, "There is no denying that GE really makes the grade in improving the appearance FS2004 default world. I personally would not hesitate to recommend GE to FS2004 users."

  • FlightZone 02: Portland (January 4, 2007) Senior staff reviewer Zane Gard kicks off the new year recreating a flight around his real airport as depicted by FlightScenery with FlightZone 02: Portland. "It took almost a full year to get the final release of FlightZone 02 KPDX out on the market, and it should be clear to all that the wait was well worth it." "You can see the progression of scenery skills as each new release added features not present in the last. FZ02 adds some animations that I found very well done. These include road traffic around the main airports, animated marshals and wing walkers at KPDX and wig wags. The road traffic looks better than FSX’s road traffic and moves more realistically. The highways and roads close by the airport have correct signage, the intersections have traffic lights, and there are poles for street lights. All of these things are kind of subtle, they don’t jump out at you but as you’re landing, you notice them to the sides and as you pass over them. The illusion is set for your mind to take in." "My first flights with FZ02 were ones I make in real life between Hillsboro and Troutdale and back. Let’s just say all of the flights were impressive. All the detailed airports are pretty neat to fly out of. There are four other airports that the scenery area covers, Fly for Fun (W56), Evergreen (59S), Grove (1W1) and Green Mountain Stolport (WA67). There are no associated buildings with these airfields, but the ground textures and surrounding area are far superior to the default offerings FS2004 had. There are several free additional sceneries that I found work very well for flying in and around FZ02." Zane sums up FlightScenery's FZ02: Portland with, "I am a private pilot and this is the area I actually fly in and am familiar with. I awaited this scenery with baited breathe because I knew what Stéphane Lepage was capable of and the teaser screenshots and videos on FlightScenery’s website only fueled the anticipation. I am overjoyed to report that this not only met my expectations, it managed to exceed them."

  • 2006


  • Xclass USA & Xclass Europe (December 31, 2006) Staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura takes us on a comprehensive landclass tour of the USA and Europe with Cloud9's Xclass USA and Xclass Europe. "These products are continental in scale. For Europe, I chose five areas to look at: the English Channel, northern Spain, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and the Alps. To my knowledge, this is the first third-party landclass for all of Europe, so I compared it with the only thing available: the default landclass that ships with FSX. For the United States (not including Alaska or Hawaii), I chose four regions, each centered on a major city: East Coast (New York), northern California (San Francisco), Nevada (Las Vegas), Midwest (Chicago)." "Looking at the big picture, we can see that the Cloud9 products are more precise than the default landclass. But are the new products accurate? When you fly over them in the sim, do they look like their real-life counterparts? This question can only be answered on a case-by-case basis." "Performance is not a serious issue with these products. In pre-patch FSX, the biggest hit seems to come from autogen. Will using Xclass decrease your framerates? I doubt it. If you install Xclass, you will see more varied ground textures and therefore your system will have to process more files." Concluding these two Xclass programs from Cloud9, David says, "the default landclass that ships with FSX has obvious, even glaring defects and these products address those defects in a satisfying, affordable way. I say “address” rather than “solve” because, as the comparison with Google Earth shows, the Cloud9 landclass is not perfect. Xclass is inexpensive to purchase, easy to install, and makes large areas, even whole continents, look more realistic. Also, it is getting better. Xclass: Europe has been out for a little more than one month and already there have been three updates."  
  • Orlando International Airport (December 30, 2006) Staff reviewer Lydell Stelmack visits "Mickey's Corporate Office" with his review of Cloud9's Orlando International Airport. "Comparing FSX's default scenery to the Cloud9 Orlando scenery is just as before. FSX missed some of the details. Now every detail of the sim could never possibly be covered by FSX, so thanks to creative developers like Cloud9 we can still enhance our simming." "With reflections on the numerous small lakes within KMCO, details abound within the scenery. Grasping the size of this airport in full detail and every nook and cranny was an adventure in itself. Based on real ground and in-flight photos, Cloud9’s KMCO has a long list of features. Included are; photographic terrain textures, detailed runways, taxiways and aprons, animations, realistic night lighting, and the list goes on." "Roadways and people movers network the mid-field and terminal area. Cars traveling to the various parkades and the animated people movers (trains) bring KMCO to life. For FSX native aircraft only, ground handling equipment, fuel trucks and animated jetways are detailed. The terminal and four airside gates are also highly detailed clearly showing the differences in each airside terminal gate." Summarizing Cloud9's Orlando International Airport, Lydell comments, "for this pure FSX product, Orlando International Airport really does fall right inline with FSX. Flights both in and out of KMCO, the transition of the airports scenery to the surrounding area is seamless. There are no definitive differences or “borders” that are commonly found in add-on scenery. KMCO can be spotted in-flight from a distance which is a reflection of its true size. It most definitely makes me look forward to the progress in this hobby and lean towards FSX."  
  • Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (December 25, 2006) Senior staff reviewer Brian Fletcher takes us on a tour of two US National Parks, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, as presented by Georender. Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, is the world’s first and oldest national park. Yellowstone spans across over 2.2 million acres, most of which resides in Wyoming, and is home to nearly 10,000 hot springs and geysers, which totals 62% of the world’s hot springs and geysers. South of Yellowstone lays Grand Teton National Park, which is named after the highest mountain in the range at 13,770 feet, and the second highest in the state of Wyoming, Grand Teton. This park covers 309,995 acres, much of which is made up of the Teton Range. "My first experience with Georender’s Yellowstone scenery enhancement began at West Yellowstone airport (KWYS), the recommended starting location for touring the park. I immediately noticed three major improvements over the default scenery, including the more defined landscape, better ground textures, and relevant scenery objects, such as the geysers. I also noticed several effects that would otherwise not exist, such as the hot springs, geysers (when active), chimney smoke from the lodge, and more. The highlight of Yellowstone, at least in my opinion, is the Old Faithful area. This includes a number of buildings, vehicles, bleachers for watching the geyser, a herd of buffalo, and of course, Old Faithful itself." "The Grand Teton National Park scenery has the same types of enhancements with the mesh and terrain textures that Yellowstone has, but is focused even more so on these features and less on the geothermal objects, buildings, and effects than Yellowstone. Many of the features of Grand Teton listed in the introduction to this review are included in Georender’s version, but undoubtedly the grandfather of them all is the Grand Teton mountain range itself, which is leaps and bounds above the default scenery with its towering defined peaks and jagged terrain." Brian comments, "One of the many impressive features of Georender’s Yellowstone and Grand Teton scenery add-ons is that you do not need to have your scenery settings maxed out in order to enjoy enhanced realism. In fact, it is recommended that you do not push the sliders too hard in order to prevent excessive loading times and a case of the stutters, plus the scenery receives only minimal improvements by doing so, as compared to the frame rates you will save by using Georender’s recommended settings." With the expanse of these two areas to cover, Brian descibes in detail an outing he flew in both areas. He states in his summary, "These first two offerings from Georender’s U.S. Parks Series have certainly lived up to my expectations and then some. The improvement over the default scenery is massive, especially with the geothermal effects throughout the parks, the tremendously improved terrain textures, and the increased definition in the mesh. The countless autogen and various scenery objects, most of which are very well detailed, also add to my satisfaction for both of these products, as does the fact that the area covered is large enough to keep me busy hunting for more treasures for a while to come. It is virtually impossible for me to have examined every square inch of these add-ons in a timely manner, so you might want to ask what other points of interest exist, and if there are any glaring issues that I have not encountered. All in all, I am very pleased with these products and have had a great time reviewing them, but it is always wise to get a second opinion."
  • Alpes Basepack Nord (December 5, 2006) Staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura takes us on an expedition to the French Alps with France VFR's FlightAlpes BasePack Nord. "According to the documentation, BasePack Nord provides 19m terrain mesh and photographic ground textures for approximately 18,000 square kilometers." "From the border with Italy and Switzerland, the coverage area extends west as far as Grenoble. Looking now from north to south, the scenery starts at St-Claude and leaves off after St-Jean en Royans. In addition to terrain mesh and photographic ground scenery, BasePack Nord also provides basic airport scenery for the region, including 12 airports that do not appear in either the default installation of FS2004 (which has 8 airports in this region) or FSX (which has 10)." "The mesh that comes with BasePack Nord is LOD 11. This is the most detailed mesh that FS2004 will actually display: one data point every 19 meters. For comparison, the default mesh in FS2004 is LOD 5 (one data point every 1,223 meters). This is a big difference and you’ll notice it right away in the form of craggier mountains, deeper valleys, and more abrupt cliffs. BasePack Nord is made from aerial, not satellite, photos and the results are nothing short of spectacular. Detail is crisp, even from a far distance." David wraps up his excursion to the Northern French Alps with, "The extra airports are a nice bonus, and the ground textures are smoothly rendered. But what really sets this package apart from other photosceneries—including MegaScenery—is the house-by-house and tree-by-tree placement of custom autogen. The effect is especially convincing at Megève, west of Mont Blanc, where the runway is lined with trees and then you take off over 3D buildings which are themselves, generic, but have been placed and grouped with painstaking care. In the areas where custom autogen is available, the illusion of being there is complete."
  • Ronald Reagan Airport (November 26, 2006) Contributing reviewer Chris Smith takes us back to the site of our 2006 Conference with a look at Cloud 9's Ronald Reagan Airport. "For years Ronald Reagan (formerly Washington National) KDCA has been the gateway for Senators, Congressman, and Dignitaries alike to the United States Capitol area. Recent world events have reduced the amount of general aviation traffic seen here due to flight restrictions." "The ground and building textures Cloud 9 has utilized with this package are HIGHLY detailed. They are not for the faint of heart, or slight of processor. Night textures are very well produced with amazing shadowing and layers to please the eyes on approach. Runways were visually accurate, although the distance at which the runway detail generated seemed to vary, but without any discernable pattern." "Several “eye candy” items have been included by Cloud 9 with this package. First and foremost is the Jetway and Aircraft Marshalling System. The system automatically recognizes a variety of the most popular 3rd party aircraft on the market and places realistic jetways and ground vehicles beside them once parked at the appropriate gate. Another nice feature is the “active hanger” configuration you will find down on the general aviation ramp. As you approach the hangars, the doors will open for you." "Cloud 9 has done a very good job reproducing both the look and feel of Ronald Reagan Airport," says Chris, "The artistry in the textures and the complexity of the layering truly give you the sense of being there."
  • Ultimate Night Environment (November 26, 2006) Staff reviewer Gavin Hendrie goes VFR at night to look at Zinertek's Ultimate Night Environment. "Zinertek have taken up the challenge and tried to improve upon the default night lighting at major airports and for built up areas." "Installing these new textures didn’t affect performance on my setup at all. In fact, there really is little to say about it in this respect as it makes for a very trouble free add-on in all but one unusual respect – uninstallation!" Gavin comments about the overall program, "There’s no doubting there is an added ambience and a more realistic nighttime glow, however for me, the scenery textures were repeated across too many other parts of the world. Zinertek are hoping to make this FSX compatible by way of an upgrade and will be better able to make use of the more detailed textures in FSX, rather than the 256 x 256 pixel textures in FS9." Concluding the Ultimate Night Environment review, Gavin says, "In short, this package did little to inspire me. All the night time textures appear the same irrespective of where you go and, if like me you have a lot of freeware or commercial airport addons, then the enhancement to certain major airports will be non-existent."
  • Salzburg (November 25, 2006) Staff reviewer Lydell Stelmack takes us to the land of Mozart with a look at RGFlight's Salzburg. "In full photo scenery, RGFlight brings a dramatic view of the contrasting mountains and rolling plains of Salzburg and its surrounding areas." "The visual improvements from a product such as RGFlight’s Salzburg is quite stunning. With all four seasons and night lighting, Salzburg also includes custom detailed buildings and landmarks throughout the city area. Autogen trees are reflective of the season throughout the area and a nice touch is the animated smoke from the power station in Salzburg. Detailed roads and rivers throughout the scenery give a realistic impression of the area." "Custom landmark buildings like The Festung are featured in high detail and several other structures such as the Ikea store, the Salzburg Cathedral and towers in the area are detailed. Vehicle objects, terminals and hangars, LOWS has a fresh new look for FS2004. Runway, taxiway lighting and ramp lighting is included, as well as terminal and hangar lighting which gives an expected night look." Summing up RGFlight's Salzburg, Lydell notes, "Salzburg fits right in with my other Austrian scenery addons in FS9. In a nutshell, RG Flight's highly detailed LOWS airport and the exquisite surrounding Salzburg area in photo realistic detail is a great addition for your flight sim library."
  • Ultimate Terrain Europe (October 30, 2006) Staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura takes us on a tour of "the continent" with Flight 1's Ultimate Terrain Europe. "Ultimate Terrain Europe (UTE) is the third product in Allen Kriesman’s Ultimate Terrain (UT) series and the last one for FS9." "UT products include their own land- and water-class, which is superior to the one that ships with the sim," reports David, "The default landclass is somewhat crude and leaves out thousands of small towns and villages around the world. The make-up of cities that it does reproduce is also very generic, and is based on the notion of a typical city has a high-density core at the center and suburbs around the edge. UT cities are more nuanced. Are there better, more accurate landclasses than UT? For the whole coverage area, no." "UTE, like other products in the UT series, has little effect on framerates. However, in cities with dense road networks, there is a tendency to blurring. That is annoying. Some of it, I suspect, is perceptual: with UT you look at the ground more because there’s more to see, and as a result, you notice more when the sim’s rendering engine falls behind. In my experience, both with this product and with UT USA, there is really only one thing you need to do: disable all roads except major roads, especially in the cities. With all roads turned on, a densely populated city looks like a plateful of noodles. Turn off the minor roads and the city will immediately look better than it did with the roads turned on. Don’t worry, “major roads only” is still a lot of roads." In wrapping up Ultimate Terrain Europe, "Ultimate Terrain Europe is the biggest UT package so far and, at US$40 for the download and US$45 for the DVD, the most expensive as well. In my view, a product doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be great. UT Europe isn’t perfect, but it is one of the great scenery products for FS9."
  • Nassau (Lynden Pindling) International Airport (MYNN) (October 23, 2006) Sr Staff reviewer Alexis Esguerra heads to the Bahamas to look at ImagineSim's Nassau International Airport (MYNN). "The largest airport in the country, it serves airlines coming into and going out to such places as the US, Canada, Great Britain, and of course, the numerous other islands of the Bahamas." Alexis reports, "The major changes to the airfield are numerous. Retexturing the airfield’s area in general so that it matches satellite imagery, accurate layout of the taxiway system as it is today, and adding the Million Air FBO ramp (complete with it’s tarmac stenciling) on the southeast end of the field are but a few of the major improvements that will leap out at you. Closer up, the finer points are also enhanced." "MYNN is one of the more frame-friendly airports out there on the market, averaging 23-25 FPS under test conditions. I feel it is important to point out that the field never handled a large amount of air traffic at any given moment (I never saw more than four active aircraft at any one time), so there wasn’t a lot of resource-stealing activity going on," says Alexis. In summation, "Overall, the improvements are great. Crosschecking the scenery against photos and other reference material would seem to indicate that ImagineSim did their research well. MYNN is a great scenery add-on that easily accomplishes its goal of making its slice of the default world a better place to fly into or out of."
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (October 15, 2006) Staff reviewer "Mike T" Toussaint takes us on a tour of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport as presented by ImagineSim. "In 2005, KCLT was the 16th busiest airport in overall nationwide flight operations (19th for Passengers and 35th for Cargo) and served 25.5 million passengers with non-stop service to 125 cities from a terminal area that now exceeds 1.7 million square feet." "One of my biggest pet peeves with airport scenery designers is when the scenery is surrounded by a large green square! Imaginesim instead decided to place a photorealistic base to the airport scenery that blends in seamlessly with GE Pro’s photorealistic generic textures. The final effect is an airport that is beautifully integrated into the surrounding area rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. Flying into Imaginesim’s KCLT is a very believable experience and there is nothing to diminish from the suspension of disbelief." "Imaginesim made it a point to stock most gates with either a marshaller or an automatic aircraft parking system. KCLT is a very busy place because there is abundant dynamic ground traffic bustling around the airport. All of the ground traffic follows the vehicle road markings on the ramp and taxiways and have a random sense of purpose to them." Mike concludes his review of the Charlotte airport with, "Imaginesim’s fifth scenery release is simply solid. With that said, Imaginesim has released a good scenery that provides great integration into the surrounding scenery area, is very representative of the real world airport and exacts no frame rate penalty for its use. Do I recommend this scenery? Absolutely, yes! It is a welcome addition to the list of high fidelity airports to which we can fly."
  • Cook Islands (October 12, 2006) Now that the new season of "Survivor" is in full swing, staff reviewer Lydell Stelmack takes us on an aerial tour of the Cook Islands as presented by Red Baron Entertainment. "The Cook Islands, the heart of the South Pacific, consists of 15 islands scattered over some 2 million square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean." "As compared to the default scenery of green patches of Islands in the great big ocean, Christian Stock's scenery adds real life terrain features and accurate airstrips, bringing life to these Islands. Developed using the Land and Information New Zealand (LINZ) digital data, the final 40m mesh scenery provides a high resolution, realistic and accurate scenery for flight sim." When fying these islands, Lydell reminds us, "There are significant distances between these Islands, so a trip from one favorite to another may need a stop over on several others to top up the fuel. Now with the lack of references over the spans of water, flying with a GPS is the only way to go. Even though the coral strips of the Cook Islands can be a challenge on a fair weather day, most are suited to the smaller GA aircraft. Multi-engine prop flyers won’t have any troubles here but trips in and out by heavy airliners are only suited at Rarotonga." Lydel summs up his visit to the Cook Islands with, "the scenery reflects the remoteness and beauty of the Islands. Though you may expect more frills from the scenery, the realism is that the Islands are not over commercialized or over populated and the scenery is a reflection of that realism. This scenery package will definitely test your "over-the-water" flying skills."
  • Tongass Fjords (October 10, 2006) Staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura goes north to Alaska to review FSAddon's Tongass Fjords. "Set in the Alaskan wilderness, it is marked everywhere by natural grandeur, steep cliffs and long channels of water. Tongass Fjords is the third in a series of Sandmann sceneries published by FSAddon." "The primary ingredients of Tongass Fjords," explains David, "are the detailed terrain mesh, custom landclass, waterclass, and ground textures, AI traffic of various kinds, realistic roads and shorelines, forestry cabins, enhanced airports and floatplane bases, and two detailed towns (Sitka and Petersburg). Sandmann has been making terrain mesh for several years now. The main virtue of the new mesh is it matches perfectly with the rest of the scenery. For land and waterclass, there are two ways of making it. One is to generate it from existing data (usually from someone’s government). Sandmann works from satellite photos instead and the result is more precision than you can get from data alone." "To my knowledge, there is no real place called Tongass Fjords," says David, "There is a Tongass National Forest, though, and it is riddled with fjords, lakes, and rivers. These different water types are carefully distinguished in the waterclass. Glacial lakes are turquoise, and rivers are brown (because of silt). Even more striking, to my eye, is the way the shorelines have been carved out. Another thing that sets Sandmann’s sceneries apart is moving objects. Sandmann’s look alive. Other sceneries (though by no means all) have AI traffic, but Sandmann’s are the only ones I know of that feature floatplanes and helicopters." "Finally, there are two airports, Sitka (PASI) and Petersburg (PAPG), that have been given the full beauty treatment, including ground vehicles and tire smudges on the tarmac. Nothing’s animated, but the level of detail is very high. Womack’s real triumph is Sitka harbor and the surrounding town. It’s not big, but it’s very densely populated with custom 3D objects: sailboats in the marinas, docks of several sorts, marine signals, breakwaters, a low bridge (which is not too low to fly a helicopter under), and various town buildings." In summary of Tongass Fjords, David concludes with, "Not everyone can benefit from this degree of fit and finish. Like many of the products I’ve reviewed this summer, Tongass Fjords is squarely aimed at VFR pilots. If you only fly the big iron, don’t bother: it’ll be over before you know it. However, if what you like is low and slow, Tongass Fjords will not disappoint. There is no better VFR scenery, in this price range or any other."
  • Indianapolis International Airport (October 7, 2006) Sr Reviewer Brian Fletcher takes us on a tour of the Indianapolis International Airport from Dreamscenery. "The Indianapolis International Airport, owned by the city of Indianapolis, is the largest airport in the state of Indiana." "There are so many interesting features in and around this version of the Indianapolis Intl. Airport, everything on the chart is included with this scenery package. The runway on the left side of the chart is the 11,196 ft long concrete rwy 5L-23R, ILS ID IIND / IUZK. To the right is runway 5R-23L, which is a little shorter at 9,997 ft, also with a concrete surface, ILS ID IOQV / IFVJ." "The FedEx hub is located on the east side of the airport and contains a series of connected buildings surrounded by static and dynamic vehicles, crates, forklifts, semi trailers, stair trucks, and more. The parking ramp is located on the west size of the ramp and is capable of accommodating up to 30 of the largest aircraft you’ve got. On the other side of the airfield you will find 5 of the animated hangars, the two maintenance gates, and a variety of miscellaneous structures. The main terminals are located on the north side of the airport. The terminal area consists of the jetways, ground servicing equipment, both dynamic and static vehicles, and a selection of hangars and other buildings." "There are four areas of the airport that contain animations; the main terminal consisting of gates A1-D7, the FedEx hub at ramp 2-5, the maintenance facility building, located at gates 1 and 2, and all 11 hangars, which are scattered throughout the airport. The main terminal has accommodations for small, medium, and large aircraft where the jetways will conform to your aircraft, but you will need to know which gates suit which aircraft." "So let me sum up my thoughts about this package," says Brian, "If you are going to wipe your hard drive clean of FS9 when FS-X is released, then you might want to wait and see how the new Indianapolis Intl. Airport looks before taking this plunge. Also, if you cannot afford to lose a few frame rates, then I would suggest passing on this one. But if you really want to turn Indy into a realistic and dynamic rendition of the real deal in FS9, then I would definitely take a flight over to the Dreamscenery website for a closer look."
  • Phoenix V2.0 (September 4, 2006) Staff reviewer Zane Gard, Jr takes us on a tour of his old stomping grounds with Simulating Art's Phoenix V2 by Art Martin. "This version basically doubles the coverage area. You now have the Phoenix valley from Gila Bend up to Lake Pleasant and spanning all the way East to Roosevelt Lake." Zane describes the local flights he took in the area and compares various scene qualities using default textures as well as such programs as Bird's Eye View, Ground Environment, and Ground Environment Pro. He goes on to compare the real city and it's unique features to that as depicted by the Simulating Art designer. "Art's downtown looks a little more like the real place with the addition of several of the real buildings, complete with their signs and even some with murals painted on them. The Bank One Ballpark looks like the stock building but watch the roof and you will notice that it opens and closes, another added touch from Art. The America West Arena is just west of the Ballpark, like it should be. I noticed that all kinds of stadiums and ballparks are in Art’s scenery, they're good landmarks for flying too." In conclusion, Zane remarks about this rendition of Phoenix, "Art has not only laid down photoreal images to create a true to life representation of the Phoenix valley, he has added that magic touch that only a local with a real appreciation for the area would give to make it stand out and have the ability to capture that real feel of flying in the Valley of the Sun."
  • Wanaka & Tekapo and Rotorua & Tauranga (September 4, 2006) New staff reviewer Hector Davila takes us on a two part journey in New Zealand with Godzone's airports in Wanaka & Tekapo and Rotorua & Tauranga. "The first thing that might pop into your head about New Zealand could be a Kiwi; but for me, its New Zealand's beauty," says Hector. About these different airfields, Hector comments, "The first thing that comes to mind when you land or start at Tekapo is how small the airport is. Wanaka is larger and has a lot more features than Tekapo. Both airports share amazingly modeled and textured buildings as well as photo realistic surrounding scenery." About the other two, "Rotorua is an incredible add-on. Geothermal features and the lakes are directly attributable to continuing volcanic activity which has formed and reformed the surrounding landscape. Tauranga city airport is a medium sized airport with 4 runways; 3 of which are grass strips. What makes this scenery so great is not only the great airport, but also the surrounding scenery." Summing up this 2-in-1 review Hector says, "Definitely a must buy for all you New Zealand flyers and a good buy for all you GA lovers. Godzone has made a work of art with their scenery. You will get your money's worth with this package and more; you have to see it to believe it and you have to believe it to love it." Read both reviews of Wanaka & Tekapo and Rotorua & Tauranga, and see what you've been missing in the land where the "Lord of the Rings" was filmed.
  • Southern California Version 2 (August 23, 2006) Staff reviewer Joseph Ellwood takes us on a repeat tour of Southern California with MegaScenery Southern California Version 2. "For those who are not familiar with Southern California (like me), a good idea is to take some time to get to know the region. Get your favourite single GA planes out for some good VFR flying. You’ll need to spend a few hours exploring the area and getting to know various landmarks. Every aspect of the eye candy of this package is just awesome. The mesh, textures and autogen work in perfect harmony, simultaneously." "There is a huge amount of diversity from one particular group of mountain ranges to another, and they are quite enjoyable as you aren’t faced with repetitive textures we sometimes experience in the sim. Socal obviously includes the densely populated areas such as San Diego and Los Angeles, but also has a variable array of mountain ranges to the west. The only bad thing I noted with this product is some of the suburban areas. Sometimes the ground textures can appear very mushy, and are not clear and do not replicate real life features." Joe's summation offers some advice for those who are contemplating this program, "I recommend flying reasonably slow aircraft due to some blurries. Simmers that are familiar with Southern California will get a lot of enjoyment out of this package. If you think that your system can cope with the highly detailed textures, then by all means, go ahead and buy this wonderful scenery package."
  • Scenic Germany - Bremen (August 17, 2006) Staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura continues his journey through Germany with Aerosoft's Bremen. "Scenery Germany Bremen uses the same elements as other Scenic Germany products, but applies them to a smaller area." "Bremen improves the default scenery in a number of ways. First, there are more roads. Second, the brown ribbon rivers that we see in most of the FS9 world are replaced with real blue water that winds through the scenery. The Landclass is customized as well. The boundaries of existing cities are more precisely defined, the cities have more variety inside them and little villages that got left out of the default scenery are restored." "In addition, the whole coverage area is seeded with VFR landmarks, I have yet to find a landmark feature that is noted on my chart which does not also appear in the scenery. Like many coastal regions, Bremen and the area around it are flat. That’s nature’s fault, not Aerosoft’s. Fortunately, the cities make up for this. I didn’t appreciate the architecture of this city properly until I switched to a helicopter and started exploring it from up close. With all of the detail, how was performance? Framerates dropped, but not so much that I was distracted by them." David sums up his latest scenic tour with, "What’s missing in Aerosoft's Bremen? Not much. Bremen is smaller and as a city, it’s less dramatic than Berlin. Still, it has all the features I’ve come to expect from a Scenery Germany product. It doesn’t cost a lot, but it doesn’t feel cheap, either."
  • Ground Environment Professional (August 2, 2006) Staff reviewer Joe Ellwood enhances our senses with a look at Flight 1's Ground Environment Professional."Clearly GE Pro replaces all ground textures, but it does much more than this," states Joe, "You enter your departure and arrival airports (ICAO codes); then the program automatically retrieves the METARS (weather reports) for your selected locations and it will then install the most appropriate ground textures according to the weather in the area." "Of course, you don’t have to mess around with the program before each flight. You can simply install a base set, which is not overly bright, or not moodily dark. Either way, the sim looks amazing. The default scenery puts in partly cloudy, but when flying in bad weather you’ll notice the ground is too bright. That’s where GE Pro shines. Not only does your new environment look beautiful, it looks realistic and is not overdone. All autogen buildings are aligned with the texture, which means no annoying buildings in the middle of the road." "Previous purchasers of the original version have the option to upgrade to Professional. To original buyers: this is a must have," says Joe, "Ground Environment Professional is another “essential” product that you simply cannot go without, and the satisfaction never seems to wear off. GE Pro enhances your simulator in ways that you thought weren’t possible."
  • Pisa (July 29, 2006) Staff reviewer "Mike T" flies us through the city with the "crooked tower", Pisa. "Pisa has a long history behind it and is an ancient Etruscan settlement turned Roman city. The city itself is distinctly “anciently modern” with much to offer those seeking ancient sites as well as modern conveniences." "Cloud 9’s Pisa scenery is not at all limited to the Pisa airport. Instead, the title is true to its name and reproduces Pisa, Italy in all her glory. Cloud 9 continues to please with its faithful rendition of the airport property. Textures are photorealistic and pleasing to the sense of “suspension of disbelief”. Leaving the airport property is also a treat since the entire city center of Pisa is faithfully recreated from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to bridges, roads, highways and canals that are pervasive throughout the city. Additionally, Cloud 9 has captured the ancient, crowded feel of the city center itself with custom buildings placed within the scenery to give one the feeling of actually having arrived in Pisa." In conclusion, Mike says, "Pisa continues Cloud 9’s tradition of extremely well-done scenery. There is a lot to explore and see. If you have ever wanted to experience the beauty of Italy’s timeless Tuscany region or haven’t been able to save the money to visit the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa, I would highly recommend a virtual trip to Cloud 9’s Pisa."
  • Scenery Germany 4 (July 28, 2006) Staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura takes us on a scenic trip around the Germany countryside with Aerosoft's Scenery Germany 4. "In addition to the scenery, Scenery Germany 4 comes with a flight calculator and a version of their popular Piper Super Cub." David comments about the product, "The goal of SG4 is to provide the visual landmarks that a VFR pilot relies on for navigation, and having all of the roads, rivers, and lakes is a major step toward realizing that goal. Other landmarks which are useful for navigation and are reproduced in SG4 include tall buildings, radio towers, panoramic sightseeing towers (a rarity here in North America but apparently not in central Europe), windmills, church steeples and domes, utility pylons, factories, smokestacks, power stations, hills, a big white industrial waste dump (affectionately know as “Mount Potash”), a radar dish, Soviet-style housing projects, all manner of civic monuments, park areas, bridges, and castles. If it’s on the VFR chart, it’s almost certainly in the scenery, and if it’s not on the chart but still used by VFR pilots, it’s probably here anyway." "This scenery is for people who like flying small planes over picturesque countryside, into and out of quaint little airports that foreigners (or just people from out of town) have never heard of," continues David, "Each airport is individual and there’s lots of detail, just check out the screenshots at the website. I simply had no idea Scenery Germany 4 would be so interesting. Not only do I want to keep flying here, but I also want to go back and revisit Berlin now, not the city so much as the little airports around it. There is still a lot to discover. What makes the place feel alive is that the details make sense, as if there were an intelligence behind them, which there is. Unlike most countrysides in Flight Simulator, this one feels lived in."
  • France VFR - 7 Titles (July 22, 2006) Our staff reviewer from "down under", Joe Ellwood, travels to Europe to take us through 6 different scenic areas of France as prsented by France VFR. Along with the sceneries, he looks at an aircraft package also available from France VFR. Joe reports, "All of these scenery packages were developed from quality aerial photographs, and all include custom mesh. All of the airports that are covered have been given new AFCAD’s, but unfortunately only Mayotte contains a whole new look. Each and every scenery package is simply astounding. My favourite airport is Corte (LFKT) which is covered in the Flight Corse package. The mountains around here are simply incredible. The airport is squeezed tightly amongst the mountains, and approaches into here can get tricky." "If you’re interested in these products, you may be asking yourself “which one do I choose”?" notes Joe, "You may base your purchasing decision upon what sort of flying you do. I am pleased to say each product is worth the price being asked – so you won’t regret any decision you make." About the aircraft package, Joe says, "I honesty was disappointed by the quality of the aircraft. Mainly because they all contain default gauges and sounds. Simply put, these are freeware quality, nothing more, nothing less." The complete set of France VFR Scenery and Aircraft packages have been summed up with, "If you’re on the hunt for some visually amazing VFR scenery – then have a look at the publisher’s or developer’s website. In all honesty, I’d stay away from the Aircraft Collection. To be frank, there are better VFR aircraft for free. Thumbs up for the scenery, thumbs down for the aircraft."
  • Margarita 2005 (July 22, 2006) Sr Staff Reviewer Brian Fletcher takes us on a quick jaunt around a Caribbean Island, namely Margarita 2005 from BSS Holdings. "Our adventure will include a trip to the island’s Del Caribe International General Santiago Marino Airport, a tour around Margarita Island, and we’ll top it all off with a trip to an amusement park," say Brian, "Margarita Island, or Isla Margarita, is the largest of the three islands making up the Nueva Esparta State off the northern coast of Venezuela, which also includes the islands of Coche and Cubagua." Describing the product, Brian reports, "Though Margarita 2005 contains a lot of scenery enhancements for the entire island of Margarita, the Del Caribe International General Santiago Marino Airport is the heart of this product. In between the buildings you might be able to make out patches of grass, fencing, and the occasional car driving around behind the terminal. There are also some animated ground servicing vehicles that will pass in front of the parking area on a loop from one end to the other, over and over. The animations are mildly acceptable, but certainly not overwhelming. The animated ground servicing vehicles are of satisfactory quality, but they do not have any operators at the controls." Brian continues with, "Using aircraft, cars, and boats, I have toured this island from every angle, and after countless hours of exploring Isla de Margarita I still continue to find new scenery enhancements with every pass. The island contains countless houses and other structures, two grass strip runways, and a lot of different varieties of trees and shrubs, all of which are encompassed by a nice beach that wraps around the island. My favorite part of the island are the roads that you can use to tour the perimeter of the island, go up into the mountains, or just take a Sunday drive through the different towns. The new mesh terrain included with this package is a welcomed change from the flat and undefined terrain on this island by default. The most noticeable terrain is the mountains northeast of the airport, which helps to make for a great approach if you’re coming in from the north." Brian wraps up this tour by stating, "I am pleased with the Del Caribe International General Santiago Marino Airport enhancements, not overwhelmed, but pleased. The quality of the modeling and texturing of the airport buildings and vehicles must be described individually, as some of the items are very well done, and others, such as the fire trucks, yield much room for improvement. I am also a little irritated with the presence of default scenery objects, not all of the scenery is taken from the default library, but perhaps a little too much is. If I were to rate this product, I would say it's better than default, but yielding room for improvement.
  • Gatwick Pro (July 21, 2006) Sr Staff Reviewer Paul Middleton guides us around "the busiest single-runway airport in the world", Gatwick Pro from UK2000 Scenery. "Gatwick is not only busy with air traffic, it is at the hub of rail and road traffic also, and these forms of transport are also well-represented," reports Paul, "I particularly like the strips left on the grass by the mower, this gives a very convincing feel of depth and proximity as one is about to flare and land." Commenting about the activity around the airfield, "There is a convincing amount of "furniture" around in the form of luggage trains and service vehicles, and other service vehicles move around if you have "Dynamic scenery" set on. If you use certain specific gates, then there are working Precision Docking Lights and Docking Boards to guide you to your final parking place." Paul concludes with, "this is a scenery designed for performance rather than for total effect, and in that respect it is completely successful, and is better than any other scenery I have seen for this airport. For anyone who wants to operate in and out of the busiest single-runway airport in the world, I would certainly recommend UK2000 Gatwick Pro."
  • Atlanta (July 19, 2006) New staff reviewer Jeremy Jeffreys takes us on a quick tour of Atlanta, GA. MegaCITY Atlanta is about the surrounding area of the city more than the airport itself. It lets you explore, from your cockpit, all the names and places you know in Atlanta. See all of the suburbs, all of the landmarks and all water bodies - right down to small ponds. Jeremy says, "I have never owned a photoreal scenery because I have always been an IFR pilot who never really thought there was a need to have the extra resources spent on the scenery. MegaCITY has just changed my perception of life in the FS world. I was able to follow roads and see landmarks that I would normally not be able to follow in the default FS world." "MegaCity and PC Aviator have done a fabulous job in meticulously recreating one of the USA’s most frequented destinations. Both day and night is accurately reflected in a complete package that I would highly recommend to anyone that is a scenery lover from anywhere in the world," Jeremy concludes in his review.
  • Islands of the West Indies (July 9, 2006) Sr Staff reviewer Gene Davis takes us on a tropical vacation with his look at Flight 1's Islands of the West Indies. The original Islands Of The West Indies titles from Flight 1 was released some time ago as 4 individual volumes for each different region, Flight 1 has taken all of the individual volumes and compiled them into one great package, creating the new Islands Of The West Indies scenery package on CD. So what do you get with the combined package? "Over 44 different airports covering the entire Island chain of the West Indies as well as graphically enhanced islands with their own textures and custom scenery objects. As you tour each island you will notice that a lot of care went into designing an accurate match for each island. Touring the islands is literally a visual treat as every island in the chain is modeled with accurate terrain textures and elevation data. The island chain covers almost 700,000 square miles of the Caribbean and not only covers the more popular islands of that region, but all of the lesser known ones as well," Gene reports. Gene concludes this Island adventure by asking, "Is this package for me? Well, I have to tell you that it really does dress up this particular region of the world and makes for some nice island hopping adventures." His answer, "I would have to say "get this package". Very few titles can match the size and beauty of the Islands Of The West Indies package."
  • Brest (July 3, 2006) Sr Staff Reviewer Brian Fletcher takes a look at a southern French city that this editor has a warm spot for, Brest, as presented by SimuDesign. "Not only is this recreation of Brest leaps and bounds above the default scenery, but it has joined the next level of scenery enhancements." As a general overview of this airfield, Brian describes the many features included in the add-on. "The Brest Bretagne Airport has many exciting features and the layout is a near perfect recreation of the real airport. The parking spots are home to an array of dynamic and static ground support vehicles, a detailed terminal, and even a marshal that is available at parking spot 4 only. This parking area is where the majority of the AI traffic will reside, and it is also where your aircraft will be serviced. Once you are properly marshaled into position, you can use NAV 2 frequency 117.50 to activate the dynamic ground support equipment. The module included with this product will permit the vehicles to pull up to each aircraft as appropriate. A fuel truck, stair truck, and two baggage handling vehicles will pull up to your aircraft from their previous position on either side of the parking spot. If the weather is fair, the stairs will have an open top, in fowl weather, the stairs will be covered." The review concludes with Brian stating, "I really enjoyed reviewing the SimuDesign Brest scenery add-on for FS9 and have no reason not to recommend that you consider adding this facility to your virtual world. I am very pleased with the modeling of the buildings, all of which I find to be detailed very well. I am also more than satisfied with the new ground textures and overall photo realistic land class. So all in all I would definitely place my stamp of approval on this product. It is my opinion that this add-on has something to offer for just about every simmer."
  • KLAX (June 25, 2006) KLAX is the world’s fifth - and the US’s third - busiest airport. Sr Staff Reviewer Alexis Esguerra flies us in and out of this release by Cloud9. "I give Microsoft kudos in the fact that KLAX is one of the better default airport sceneries in FS2004," says Alexis, "but it takes something like Cloud9’s rendition to do it justice. The main terminals take centerstage, and the efforts are immediately apparent. The southside of the airport now has new life breathed into it in the form of various cargo carrier and GA ramps." "Animation and interactivity are rapidly becoming the norm these days in scenery add-ons, and Cloud 9 decided not to make an exception here. If you happen to look towards the ‘Theme Building’ at night, you might discern a sudden change in its appearance as it changes colors. As for interactive details, selected gate positions around the terminals all have animated jetways and marshallers." Alexis was really impressed with the framerates achieved with this add-on, "Using MSFS default aircraft under the baseline settings, I was shocked to find myself getting framerates during the day in the 26-28 FPS range. It isn’t very often when a commercial payware scenery goes this easy on the system, and it’s a rarity when one takes into account the extra animation that’s been thrown in around the place." Alexis sums up this airport offering with one word, "Excellent. That’s all I have to say about Cloud9’s latest offering to the sim world. Now if you excuse me, I’ve got a little more Socal flying to do."
  • Barksdale Air Force Base (June 22, 2006) Sr Staff Reviewer Brian Fletcher takes us on a nostalgic look at AlphaSim's Barksdale Air Force Base as it looked in the 1950's. "Currently, Barksdale houses B-52’s and A-10’s, and is often frequented by scores of transient aircraft from all over the country. In the 1950’s Barksdale was no less important as it maintained the B-47’s and F-100’s." "From 3,000 feet I was very pleased with how well the base blended in with the surrounding ground textures," remarks Brian, "Once I landed, I took the opportunity to taxi around the base for a while to get an upclose and personal look. The first thing I noticed was that the ramp was full of static aircraft. Both B-45’s and F-100’s, which I had seen while airborne but could not identify, were scattered throughout the ramp from one end to the other. Taxiing around the rest of the base I came across a few other nice features of Barksdale as well. Ground vehicles, including 2 ½ ton trucks, fire trucks, and forklifts, were scattered around the hangars and other buildings" "There are a few things missing from Barksdale, but not much. I am otherwise very pleased with this rendition of Barksdale AFB. If you happen to be running a modest system that does not take well to high scenery settings there are some options to help you get the most out of this scenery enhancement without putting a big drain on your frame rates." Brian concludes in his review of Barksdale AFB, "I certainly had a lot of fun exploring Barksdale Air Force Base the way it used to be, but now it’s time to consider whether or not this scenery add-on has met the requirements to remain in my virtual world. But what about the 20 NZD ($12.64 USD) price tag? I think that it is very fair given the current trend of scenery add-ons. I like AlphaSim’s version of Barksdale, I frequent there regularly, and it will remain in my virtual world at least until someone else can do better."

     
  • Megascenery Hawaii: Honolulu and the Island of Oahu (June 21, 2006) Low and slow. That's how Senior Reviewer Gene Davis says is the best way to see Megascenery's Hawaii, the Island of Oahu. The Island Of Oahu has been beautifully rendered in almost crystal clear photo real scenery; the cities have all been enhanced with the Megacity technology thus giving greater detail to populated areas around the island. Whether you are flying over Honolulu, Waimanalo, Kailua Bay, Kaneohe, Laniloa Beach, Turtle Bay, Waimea or Kalaeloa you will find the coverage complete throughout. Because the scenery area is confined to such a small area, this is the first Megascenery title that I have been able to fly just about any aircraft I want with little or no performance hit." This quick review around this little Pacific Ocean gem is well recommended, "this is a remarkable deal at only $9.95 and I hope that is a sign of things to come as I would love to see ALL of the islands covered in this level of detail."

  • Lukla-Mt Everest (June 20, 2006) On a mountain far, far away there lives a real world airfield that attracts some very good pilots. Now courtesy of Aerosoft, you can try your skill at landing at Lukla, on Mt Everest. He is Avsim reviewer David Wilson-Okamura's adventure into this remote and unique airstrip. David describes this package as, "divided up into two main parts: man-made objects and natural landscape features. Lukla - Mt. Everest combines several elements to make the coverage area more realistic. There is only one way that I have seen in Flight Simulator to get really sharp-looking ridges, and that is to overlay the mesh with photographic scenery tiles. This is what Aerosoft has done here, using commercially-obtained satellite photos." On the man-made side, "you will find Buddhist shrines and, on the normal route from Lukla to the Everest base camp, the famed Tengboche monastery. If you follow the glacier up to the summit, you'll find four smaller camps along the way and, at the top, a climber carrying a German flag." About Lukla itself, David notes, "At 9,373 feet above sea level, Lukla is the highest airport in the world with scheduled airline flights. The turn-around time for small aircraft is very short, only fifteen minutes, because there are only four parking spaces. My first thought, on loading up Lukla and seeing the colorful buildings clustered around the parking area, was "This is going to be fun." My next thought, as soon as I taxied out of the parking area, was "This is going to be hard." David concludes with, "If you're interested in extremes, both of natural landscape and of aviation difficulty, this is a fun environment to explore." Read the complete review and see why David found this scenery release, fun, hard, and extreme.

  • Melbourne 2006 (June 15, 2006) Staff reviewer Joseph Ellwood takes us down under to look at Melbourne 2006 available at FS Pilot Shop. "To my knowledge, this is the first payware FS scenery package for an Australian airport," comments Joe. "The entire airport has been re-created in great detail, including custom taxiway and terminal textures. This package is a massive upgrade from the default, and I’m sure it will please the many Melbournian and Aussie simmers out there. Other great features include new taxiway signs, static vehicles around the aerodrome and even the roads and buildings around the airport have been modeled." Joe comments about his nighttime experiences at this airport, "I particularly enjoyed the night arrivals on my flights into Tullamarine (as Melbourne airport is referred to), all the aprons and taxiways are appropriately illuminated." His review summation states, "Considering this is a one man effort (to my knowledge) Andres did an awesome job with his attempt at an accurate Melbourne airport. The price tag this title wears is dirt cheap, I will even go as far as saying you are almost stealing the product for $11 US dollars!"
  • The Islands of Malta (June 13, 2006) A new staff reviewer Gavin Hendrie takes us on a quick tour of the Island of Malta as presented by Aerosoft. The Republic of Malta is an archipelago of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. It is situated in the centre of the Mediterranean; (58 miles from Sicily, 180 miles from Libya). "The islands are quite small and, as I remember it from the time I went there in 1986, quite barren in appearance. The docks look good and the terrain mesh is excellent, giving nicely formed sharp cliffs where you’d expect them, and subtle changes in the landscape across the islands. The airport is a massive improvement on the default version." "One thing I did particularly like about the airport is the marshal who guides you into your stand. There are no piers here so aircraft are positioned in a row in front of the terminal building much like your average municipal or regional airport. The marshals actually do give you signals to move left, right and stop, which is a nice touch." Gavin wraps up this short review with, "Overall, two or three things let this product down in my opinion. The bland appearance of the island of Malta does little to inspire pilots. If you are a resident of Malta then this may be of interest to you."
  • VFR Berlin 2006 (June 3, 2006) "Ich bin nicht ein Berliner. I am not a Berliner," says staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura about his review of Aerosoft's VFR Berlin 2006. "VFR Berlin 2006 adds scores of landmarks to the main city, provides a more detailed and accurate landclass for Berlin and the surrounding area, cleans up and refines the road system, sculpts out the waterways, and spruces up a dozen of the local airports." "Berlin encompasses a wide range of land types, from parks and gardens to towers and skyscrapers to residential neighborhoods to farmland. Berlin looks more like itself: a sprawling microcosm of the whole country. I should point out that many of the landmarks used for VFR are not monuments or famous buildings. Windmills, radio antennae, church steeples, utility pylons, highways, railroad lines, lakes, and rivers are just useful -- and they are included, too." "Clearly, the developer has made an effort to balance detail with frame rates. There’s no point in wasting frame rates on detail you won’t normally see anyway. For Berliners, it offers the pleasure of recognizing familiar sights, and making them new again by seeing them from the air. For the rest of us, it is an opportunity to explore a detailed VFR environment that is rich in both cultural significance and visual interest."
  • Casablanca (May 25, 2006) Another new staff reviewer submits his first review. David Wilson-Okamura "plays it again" with Aerosoft's Casablanca. "Outside of Egypt, though, the cities of Africa are not well served by Flight Simulator. Casablanca is a good place to start, because it’s in Morocco, on Africa’s northern coast, which makes it accessible to Europe. The scenery includes a terrain mesh, but the land here is so flat, there’s not much of topographical interest. What the package concentrates on, therefore, is the man-made elements of the urban environment." "Mohammed V airport (GMMN) is the hub of Morocco’s national airline, Royal Air Maroc. Casablanca has one other airport, Anfa (GMMC), which is in the western part of Casablanca itself. The flight between Anfa and Mohammed V is only 12 nm. The city of Casablanca is reconstructed using several elements. The coastline has been carved out, so it follows a curvier and more realistic line which includes the harbor. Custom buildings have been added everywhere. In addition, there is very dense custom autogen. Finally, all of this is on top of photoreal textures derived from satellite photography." David concludes his look at Casablanca with, "Although the area covered is small, you get a lot for your money."
  • South Atlantic Series 1 (May 22, 2006) Sr reviewer Gene Davis takes us way south of the equator, with a look at the Falkland Islands with Prolific Software's South Atlantic Series 1. "One of the many things I enjoy doing with MSFS is finding out of the normal places to fly," comment Gene, "this scenery package covers the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island thus giving the Flight Sim user accurate representations of 3 major airports in those particular regions in the South Atlantic." "Flying over the Falkland Islands is a visual treat, as it has been given a virtual facelift and there are over 50 different airstrips all over these islands to journey to. As you explore the airport and surrounding military base you will see that a lot of care went into the placement of these objects to make them as accurate as possible to that of their real world counterparts. I found Ascension Island to be the most impressive, as it uses custom land textures and gives a very real representation of what the island looks like. The add-on does include custom AFCADS for each airport, so if you don’t have a program like My Traffic 2006 or the military traffic package by the same people, you might find it a little lonely at these out of the way places." Gene concludes his review by saying, "Though some of the scenery objects are a little dated in this package, it does offer some much needed scenery to this particular region of the world. I really do enjoy flying in out the way places and this was a different type of flying for me as it re-introduced me to military flying."
  • Fly Vienna (April 22, 2006) Avsim reviewer Lydell Stelmack takes us on a scenic journey around Vienna with Fly Tampa's latest release Fly Vienna."Vienna is featured in skillfully realistic detailing around every nook and corner. Attention to airport lighting, from buildings, terminals, taxi and runway lighting, to light poles and the animated vehicle traffic are highly detailed. Available hangar space, detailed inside and out, for your heavy can be found as well as ample parking areas for both commercial and general aircraft. As described in previous reviews of Fly Tampa sceneries, performance is once again outstanding," says Lydell about this release. Summing up his review, Lydell comments, "this scenery is a delicate balance of performance and detailing as well as developing a product for an ever evolving flight sim community."
  • Amsterdam (March 12, 2006) Senior staff review Paul Middleton takes us to the "lowlands" of Europe for a look at a major European hub, Schipol airport in Amsterdam by cloud9. "This is a very large and complex airport. There is evidence of a great deal of careful well-researched work," comments Paul, "but it's not just things to look at, there's plenty happening as well, some of it quite innovative. For those who like flying helicopters, or perhaps come in too low on the approach, this scenery also models the centre of Amsterdam itself, canals and all." "There is a great attention to detail that we nowadays expect, but there is also considerable innovation with the service vehicles for AI aircraft, and the fully automatic active loading bridges, and the range of options for getting realistic runway usage," Paul concludes in his review, "I would recommend cloud9's Amsterdam to anyone who enjoys operating out of a complex and extremely busy international hub."
  • Idaho Exposed (March 6, 2006) Veteran AVSIM reviewer Steve "Bear" Cartwright brings us a review of a different kind. A review of a real world flight DVD - Idaho Exposed, a bush plane tour of Idaho's back-country airstrips. "The nature of this DVD film is something I believe would be of great interest to those individuals that are active “bush pilot” flight simmers," comment Bear. With Kevin Griffin operating the camera, and shooting from the right-hand seat, this film gives you the opportunity to ride along with an accomplished Idaho bush pilot, Herb Millhorn, and his trusty tail-dragger, a Cessna 185 Skywagon. Herb states in the beginning, he is not a flight instructor, and this DVD is not intended as an instructional video, in any shape or form, and is merely a tour video that gives you some idea of what to expect, if you ever plan on flying into these remote strips. Though the film is actually a home style video, with flying sequences shoot entirely with a handheld video camera from the right hand seat of Herb’s Skywagon, don’t assume this film is anything other than a film of excellent quality and Kevin has very smoothly and professionally edited the final product into something you’d expect to find on the cable Travel Channel or other similar cable network. Bear reports, "The 12 airstrips you visit are; Johnson Creek, Big Creek, Flying “B” Ranch, Sulphur Creek, Dixie Town, Wilson Bar, Cabin Creek, Soldier Bar, Vines, Lower Loon, Dewey Moore, and my personal favorite, Mile Hi! I very much enjoyed this 89 minute film and give it an enthusiastic thumbs up and do recommend it to anyone interested in real-world videos on the subject of aviation!"
  • Vancouver + (Part 1) (February 8, 2006) Avsim reviewer Lydell Stelmack reviews a scenery add-on of a city that is near and dear to both him and this editor - Vancouver, British Columbia. Here is FSAddon's Vancouver + (Part 1). "Vancouver, Canada’s gateway to the Pacific Northwest, also the future host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, has recently been voted (for the second time in a row) as the top city in the Americas," quotes Lydell, "for those of you who may be familiar with the works of John Patch’s Victoria Harbour/Ogden Pond or Holger Sandmann’s Misty Fjords you will not be disappointed." Lydell describes what is included in this release. "With over 19 listed fields, 7 seaplane bases, 13 heliports as well as 11 unlisted strips, I had several choices of real estate to cover in the Vancouver + area. For those of you who have the FSCargo Addon, Vancouver + also includes ready made FSCargo aerial files for missions in the Vancouver + area." "Does the Vancouver + Part 1 addition measure up to what I consider to be my own high expectations? You bet your boots it does," boasts Lydell in his review wrap up, "Vancouver + far exceeded my expectations for a scenery addition."
  • EZ Scenery (February 7, 2006) Staff reviewer Brian Fletcher takes us on a guided tour of the scenery utility EZ Scenery from Abacus. "The advantage of EZ Scenery lies primarily in the fact that you get to actually see and adjust the object you are placing, as you are placing it. While using EZ Scenery, you have the ability to scale the object, adjust its heading and elevation, and move it until it is right where you want it," he explains. EZ Scenery is defintiely easy to use. Brian describes how EZ Scenery offers the ability to use objects from the Flight Sim scenery library, in addition to many that have been included by Abacus. Plus, you can use freeware libraries that have been uploaded to many aviation website libraries like AVSIM's. Unlike other scenery placement utilities, it does not take much time to master this program. It doesn’t matter what you place or where you place it because if you don’t like your work, then just delete it and try again." "Quite simply, the name “EZ Scenery” says it all. This is the easiest way to add that certain something to your favorite airport," Brian concludes in his review, "whether adding a jetway to a terminal, or completely revamping an entire airport, there is no easier or more precise way to get it done than with EZ Scenery."
  • Mega Airport Frankfurt (January 15, 2006) Avsim reviewer "Mike T" takes us on a guided tour of the largest airport in Germany, Frankfurt Main Airport (EDDF). This scenery program is a product of Aerosoft. Since Mike has a wealth of personal knowledge of this airport, his review takes on a personal touch. After completing a trans-atlantic flight to Frankfurt, Mike says, "I became instantly aware that Mega Airport Frankfurt was ALIVE! From catering trucks to pushback trucks, and from administrative cars to emergency service vehicles, the airport was alive to the likes I’ve yet to experience in FS2004." Reviewing the scenery from the ground rather than a cockpit, Mike notes, "Turning my Lufthansa bus to proceed along the ground traffic road adjacent to the taxiway, the busy nature of the airport is even more apparent. Mega Airport Frankfurt is built on a photorealistic map base with three-dimensional scenery built on top. Even the surrounding highway and overpasses are rendered crisply and added to the credibility of the title. With the sun setting on Mega Airport Frankfurt the lights flickered to life and I simply had to stand and applaud." His summation states, "Mega Airport Frankfurt has been eagerly anticipated by many in the flight simulator community and Aerosoft did not fail to deliver. It is as revolutionary as it is beautiful. Well done Aerosoft, WELL DONE!"
  • Ultimate Terrain USA + FS Genesis + BirdsEyeView (January 7, 2006) Staff reviewer "Chappie" Chappel looks at 3 different scenery programs and guides us on how to install them the best way to get the maximum effect. The three programs are: Ultimate Terrain USA, FS Genesis and BirdsEyeView. "FS Genesis is the skeleton because it provides detailed structure to your Flight Sim world, Ultimate Terrain is the outer layer or the skin, and BirdsEyeView is the makeup to complete the detailed outer look", explains Chappie. "Any one of these products will add to your simming experience. Hopefully, these products reflect something you can grab at and say “that is where I want to be with my visuals”. I would recommend UT, FSG and BEV in that order to build toward your super scenery." Steve says in his review's conclusions.
  • Abacus - World Extreme Landscapes (January 2, 2006) Avsim staff reviewer Brian Fletcher looks at the world from yet another perspective with World Extreme Landscapes from Abacus. "The World Extreme Landscapes program is an add-on utility from the crew at Abacus that enhances the scenery within Flight Simulator by creating more data points throughout the world’s scenery", explains Brian, "by adding World Extreme Landscapes to Flight Simulator, your virtual world will become filled with a never before seen realism of mountains with actual peaks, rivers, lakes, and streams with defined banks, and terrain with a level of detail considerably more definitive than the default terrain. Once installed, the simulator will load the new scenery terrain the next time you start Flight Simulator. After this, the new terrain is ready to use, and will be present everywhere in the sim." "Personally, I am very impressed with how much of a difference this add-on really makes",Brian concludes in his review, "since the entire world is covered with the new data points, the program is suitable for people who like to fly in all parts of the world. I would certainly consider this to be one of the best moderately priced add-ons of 2005"