The Return to Misty Moorings and the Cambria Ice field Research Project is a freeware add-on package depicting the beautiful Misty Fjords National Monument near Ketchikan, Alaska. Obviously it is based in FSX but you also need the magnificent Orbx USA/Canada Pacific Fjords (PFJ) plus some object libraries which we will look at a little later. Also recommended are FSDiscover, Plan-G Flight planner (Freeware) and Real Environment Extreme I did not install any of these so my review does not cover them). In my opinion it would not go amiss to also have the FSADDON - TONGASS FJORDS X from Holger Sandmann & Bill Womack, just to complete this superb scenic area.
To obtain the full benefit of this scenic experience you need to visit (on a regular basis) the superlative 'Return to Misty Moorings' website: http://return.mistymoorings.com/, where you are informed that "EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED TO GO FROM HERE TO THERE IN MISTY FJORDS" is available in one place and it is. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a must have add-on if you enjoy low 'n slow flying and exploration, in a place that has exceptional beauty.
I well remember Misty Fjords/Moorings from my FS9 days in that I flew to every cabin/scenic item listed in MF and the adjacent Tongass Fjords. It took me nearly a year to complete the task and so my review will cover just a few of the highlights found in this area. In reality, this scenery add-on is about navigating the RTMM website and ensuring that you download and install all the necessary scenery in order to fly in this beautiful area.
Installation and Documentation
This will of course depend on what you install but the same basic principal applies to all add-ons in the package, and I need to add that installation is complex as there are quite a number of library objects as well as scenic add-ons to install, Hence, here I will just cover the basics.
The add-ons are usually (taken from the instructions on the RTMM website) .zip files and after extraction you copy or move the resulting "Scenery" folder into the FSX "Add-on Scenery" folder. You then start FSX Go to "Settings"; then to "Scenery Library", click on "Add Area" and click on "Add-on Scenery". Locate the newly installed folder for this package you just unzipped in your "Add-on Scenery" folder of FSX Click on the main folder only. You do NOT need to open the "scenery" folder. Then click on "OK" and then "OK" again.
FSX should begin to recompile your scenery library. In the case of VFR flight plans just unzip as usual and add the ".pln" file to your folder that you store flight plans in. Standard procedure and full readme.txt are usually included in the download. All of the information about MM is contained in Misty's Place and that is where you start from anything from downloads to information.
Documentation is unique to the individual download and will vary in content, and is states on the RTMM scenery page: "Each folder comes with readme, instruction, map, flight plan, pictures and description."
Important Note: For these scenery add-ons to work you must have all of the library objects installed first.
These are the detail scenery objects that you need to install in order to use the various scenery contained in RTMM.
- OZx Libraries – latest version from OZx
- EZ-1 Object Library. These were made for FS9 so take care when installing that you choose the correct FSX location. These are a miscellany of scenery objects that enhance the flying experience.
- CeyX Object Library scenery objects including: Lodges, hangars, different wood fences, harbor objects, river houses, platforms, signs, helipads.
- RTMM Objects Library – various miscellaneous objects
- Woody's Snowdrifts - adds snow drift objects to the scenery
- Finney Air Strobes – adds strobes effects
- Rwy12 Object Library – complete library of various scenery objects.
- Len's Easy Wilderness Object Library
- Tongass Fjords – pay-ware add-on that completes the scenic area – not mandatory but worthwhile.
- FTX Latest ORBX Library – needed because you are using an Orbx scenery area that needs updated scenery libraries.
So let's start with the demographics: "Return to Misty Moorings" covers over 350,000 square miles (See map below) of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. With C.I.R.P., it now also includes the starkly beautiful glacial areas above Stewart, BC. Now that's some prime real estate to be flying in.
To get you started, the first page to locate is the "Scenery" page: http://return.mistym...enery/index.php . On this page we have an alphabetical listing of all the scenery available in RTMM. Due to time and other constraints, I will only be reviewing a representative selection of these. The scenery includes airstrips, cabins, creeks, docks, the various 'places' (including Misty's place), regattas, retreats, missions, harbors, lakes, camps, campgrounds, clubs, rivers, lodges, ranger stations, landings, resorts, etc, etc.
Courtesy Google Earth
I'll presume we have installed the library objects
Each scenic area has its own set of sub-folders (see the screen capture below) which may include any or all of the following.
- Trip Tic V2
So we'll have a look at the very first scenery folder
Aiken Creek Camp (Version 1.0) (Added 1.29.11)
The first thing that you see is the very informative 'NOTAM' which gives some details about the package
NOTAM: Many new users start here with Aiken Creek. It is actually a very difficult landing zone. You might want to first try "Herring Bay" ... be sure you have Misty's Place installed.
There then follows a succinct description of the area including video or slide show links as appropriate.
ZIP – self-explanatory it contains the zip file to dl the scenery and copy into your FSX add-on folder as above. Usually there are pictures of the cabin and a map showing the general location. I always try to compare the FSX cabin with its real life variant if there is one noting any differences etc.
This site is a great resource for pictures and locations of the real world cabins, but I couldn't find one for Aiken Creek.
Map: This is the map of the location of the scenery (cabin, etc) and the route to take from Misty's Place.
Trip Tic V2, contains the route notes including a map
The route notes detail, and can include links to the flight plan and map and allows you to print out the various Trip Tic details.
- Suggested Altitude: 1200 Feet
- Landing zone is: Water, does not freeze in winter
- GPS for destination: N55 7.18 - W132 12.19
- Distance approximately: 25 miles
- Download PRINT-ABLE copy HERE
- Flight-Seeing Flight Plan & Map HERE
There is also (in this case) a "wave top" VFR plan detailing how to fly to Aiken Creek. The flight plan is comprehensive and I followed this one implicitly in bad weather and still managed to land next to the cabin.
FS – is a .zip version of the flight plan extracted as a .pln file.
((S)) contains the associated prototypical sound files
Aiken Creek is fairly typical of the information provided for the scenery, others may contain more detail and others less but they are all great fun. Here I flew in the A2A Cub following the included flight plan plus an add-on GPS so that it made my task a little easier in finding the camp. The scenery in this area as others have reviewed and commented on is exceptional (FSX at its best)
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Next I'll take a look at a cabin that has a real world variant so that you can see how well the scenery has been rendered.
Honker Lake Cabin.
This is described as a 12' x 12' Pan-Abode precut cedar log cabin, and is located 54 miles (87 km) from Ketchikan, along Honker Divide Canoe Route between Hatchery Creek Bridge and Thorne Bay. 6 miles (10 km) S of bridge on NE side of Honker Lake (also known as Galea Lake). For access with regards to FSX we would use a float or amphibian plane as there is no landing strip.
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In FSX the cabin is located accurately (Longitude:-132.8852778 Latitude: 55.83138889) and if you followed the real world navigation instructions you would be able to find Honker Lake Cabin. To me, the FSX variant is an excellent interpretation of the real world cabin and it was great fun flying to – I chose fair weather as you can easily get lost and disorientated flying in not so good weather in this area. Another great interpretation of life imitating art (Oscar Wilde) or something.
Cambria Ice-fields Project (CIRP)
A major part of RTMM is the Ice-fields project and this has its own page on the RTMM website: http://return.mistymoorings.com/cirp/. The CIRP add-on is installed as detailed above and you also need the object libraries as I have detailed above.
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This is the menu for the CIRP webpage and it each item needs to be looked at carefully due to the comprehensive informative that it contains:
- CIRP Map
- Pilot Briefing
- Installation & Settings
- Object Libraries
- The Ice Stations (zips)
- CIRP Extras (zips)
- Air Operations
- Land Operations
- Scenery Features & Notes
- Known Issues
- Legal Stuff
- Credits and Thanks!
From the web page it appears that CIRP is 'based on/similar to' the FS9 release the "Stikine Ice field Research Project" (SIRP). This is a new version which centers on the Cambria Ice field and other nearby ice fields in the Stewart area. Included in this excellent add-on are several remote ice airstrips, glacier landing spots, outlying expeditions to re-supply and other challenging reasons to land on the ice.
The inspiration for CIRP was SIRP but also this site: Cambria Ice field & Salmon-Frank Mackie Glaciers (http://www.pbase.com...k/cambriasalmon). On the latter there are numerous pictures of CIRP and its environs.
The site encompasses the following areas some of which are included in the FSX CIRP:
- Mt. Waddington
- The Whitemantle Range
- Monarch Ice field
- Ha-iltzuk Ice field
- Garibaldi & Tantalus |
- Queen Bess & Southwestern Chilko Lake
- Homathko Ice field
- Compton Neve
- Lillooet Ice field
- Niut & Pantheon Ranges
- Stikine Ice field
- Mt. Edziza Provincial Park
- Cambria Ice field & Salmon-Frank Mackie Glaciers
- Scud Glacier & Andrei Ice field
Basically the CIRP scenery package adds 10 very isolated research camps at various locations (the fun is finding them) in the Cambria Ice field to FSX and it is just breathtaking. The ICE stations all have their own scenery files which need to be downloaded and installed before you can fly to them. These are outstanding scenery files and as I say above the CIRP area is superbly rendered with glacial textures and accurate land class from the ORBX FTX scenery package “Pacific Fjords”. It's a great package and it will take many, many hours of 'flying' to explore this isolated magnificent area.
Its VFR all the way with navigation by DED reckoning using NDB beacons (using the ADF) – I cheated and used GPS because it is extremely difficult going back to a method of navigation that requires quite a lot of skill. RTMM have included in CIRP many custom objects, plus unique sounds and other visual effects. All in all it's quite a package.
On the CIRP web page there is a relief map which is very useful plus a link to a 'Google earth' "kmz" file which gives a real world view of this wilderness area.
Other features include the following:
Camp Designations - There are 10 camps in all (shown on the map), designated PF-40 to PF-49 ie having a name based on a nearby glacier. This is from the website and you need this information in order to locate these illusive camps: "NDBs - Each camp hosts an NDB good for a range of about 20km (12 Miles), which means you'll have to first VFR your way into the proximity of a camp before the NDB becomes active. The NDB frequencies are all a variation of "24*.0" with the "*" being the camp number designation, For example, the PF45 NDB frequency is 245.0 etc. If you get lost, these NDB's will show up on the FSX GPS, but of course experienced bush pilots need no such help!"
Part of the fun is to give yourself just enough fuel to get there and back and then see if you can make it as there are no aviation fuel stations in the glacial area.
There is also an explanation about keeping to the "tire" tracks and "ground wear", otherwise straying outside these means you are on the ice and you have little or no braking capabilities. Not easy to do especially if you encounter a cross wind.
There is a fantastic pdf document that allows you to learn about the many features of CIRP and this is available via a "click" on the web page – a very worthwhile read. It is called readme_introduction.pdf.
These are the numerous features that you can discover in CIRP:
- Smoking Barrels: You'll find smoking barrels near the ends of airstrips to help line up your approach
- Custom CIRP Airstrip Ground Polygons.
- Custom CIRP Objects: Look for signs, buildings and other objects, etc.
- Custom CIRP Sounds: Blowing wind sounds and ambient noises.
- NDB for each CIRP Ice Station: (tune in on your ADF equipped aircraft to help with navigation).
- Custom NDB Scenery: Matching that custom NDB code is a scenery file that shows you an NDB object positioned near each Ice station.
- AI Hovercraft: Hama's hovercraft between Soule Glacier and Stewart.
- AI Aircraft: AI Maule aircraft with ski's that makes Bromley Peak supply runs.
- Blowing Snow Effects: We have blowing snow effects
- Hidden Scenery Locations: Most bases have helipads on nearby mountains, away teams on the ice and other sights to locate.
- Main Supply Depot: at the airport at Stewart that gives you a CIRP Operations Base and other nearby attractions.
- Ketchikan Office: see below.
- Glacier Maintenance Dispatches: Summit Ice Station and Visitors Center offers fun and challenging Hovercraft dispatches.
- Nearby Scenery: Look for several more additional scenery locations around the ice fields in our CIRP Extra Add-on Sections.
- Starting Points with Heading:
- FSDiscover! ... all the CIRP locations are in the RTMM.Dat file now.
The 10 ice stations all have zip files for installing plus a map on how to get to them, plus in many cases a detailed description on the particular scenery add-on., and they include:
- PF40 - Mt. McLeod Ice Station - 240.0
- PF41 - Otter Mountain Ice Station - 241.0
- PF42 - Cambria East Ice Station - 242.0
- PF43 - Bromley Peak Ice Station - 243.0
- PF44 - Kitsault Peak Ice Station - 244.0
- PF45 - Mt. Johnson Ice Station - 245.0
- PF46 - Mt. Pattullo Ice Station - 246.0
- PF47 - Erickson Glacier Ice Station - 247.0
- PF48 - Summit Lake Ice Station - 248.0
- PF49 - Through Glacier Ice Station - 249.0
The numerals at the end are the CIRP NDB Frequencies of the airstrip at that ice field.
There are also two versions of the CIRP office add-on for Ketchikan Airport (PAKT) depending on if you have the default ORBX PAKT or the updated PAKT airport also issued by ORBX. This is a nice touch as you can use the CIRP office as your 'home base' when flying to the various ice fields.
Other useful add-ons include
- Blowing Snow Effects by Ed Truthan, with which you apparently get a blowing snow effect in the package (not reviewed here by me);
- Woody's Snowdrifts, Etc. by Glenn "Woody" Fout, self-explanatory but not reviewed;
- The Sounds of CIRP placed and edited by Xavier Carre, these give ambient sound effects while visiting the ice stations, blowing winds, workers using tools, and other typical noises you might hear in this environment;
- Operations Base (Stewart) for CIRP created by Brad Allen with custom objects by Xavier Carre', basically being a supply depot for CIRP;
- Soule Glacier for CIRP by Doug Linn, adding some extra scenery ie 2 extra locations.
- Plus many other files covering all sorts of operations in CIRP but were not included in this review.
There are also detailed and recommended Settings for PFJ, RTTM and CIRP on the CIRP web page.
Due to time and space constraints I only reviewed one ice field namely: PF45 - Mt. Johnson Ice Station
PF45 - Mt. Johnson Ice Station - ICAO PF45 - NDB Frequency 245.00 KHz - Rwy 08/26.
Once I had downloaded and installed this add-on I also accessed the map which gives headings and timings between headings and is excellent to have on your knee pad whilst flying there. Starting from the CIRP office in PAKT, I taxied in the Aerosoft Beaver to runway 29 and took off turning south, flying at low level (1000') past Annette and Duke Islands and making a "left turn" at around Dundas Island heading up the Portland canal towards Stewart BC/ Hyder Alaska. Seriously, the flight plan supplied is excellent but does require adequate navigation skills if you are to succeed in finding Mt Johnson Ice Station.
The scenery is outstanding, as it is in any part of this area and the CIRP add-on just makes it better and better, with great peaks and glaciers closing in on you as you fly down the relatively narrow watery channel. When you get to Mt Johnson you realize it is not going to be an easy task to land there.
On the day that I flew I chose calm weather as I did not want to complicate matters by trying to land in this quite difficult airstrip in a howling gale. The approach is difficult with only one real way in or out (due to the terrain) and there is not much room for error. The airstrip is icy and quite short with the ends of the airstrip having marker poles. Even so, you need to come in fairly shallow and mighty slow so that you don't fall off the runway into the endless ice surrounding the field. Exhilarating to say the least. I do wish that I had had time to fly to the other 9 or so ice fields, so I will have to go back once the review is finished.
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Return to Misty Moorings Website
To me, a review of this scenery package has to include the RTMM website as you need to be able to navigate this site in order to ensure optimum enjoyment of the package. So let us take a look at the various parts of this site.
The Home Page
This has heading tabs for:
- Misty's Place
- Site Map
On the Home page we find various clickable areas for such things as:
Latest News and Info
This takes us to NOTAMS and news an here we find details of the latest happenings in RTMM. This is a huge list and takes a fair while to read all of the very interesting posts on any news to do with RTMM.
Donate to the site
Self-explanatory, this gives you the means to send a donation to the site and keep alive this unique package.
About the Team
This gives general details about RTMM and how it started, plus the background to the scenery add-on. It also lists the Active RTMM staff this numbering around some 9 persons at this time. Also detailed are " "Rules and Regs" for Authors Contributing to Return to Misty Moorings" covering the rules and regulations if you wish to join the contributing participants in RTMM. The last item is the "Copyright Statement for Return to Misty Moorings" which spells out the caveats surrounding the scenery, ie The criteria for contents of any/all web pages on RTMM.
Friends of Misty Moorings and
As it states this is the page that has the for direct links to "Friends of Misty." The Friends include:
•TA Software (PLAN-G)
Discuss in the forum
A direct Link to the forums which give advice and support.
The HOME page also has the famous slogans "EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED TO GO FROM HERE TO THERE IN MISTY FJORDS" and
"EVERYTHING YOU NEED … from HERE TO THERE". Basically spelling out what the website is all about; ie, helping the simmer enjoy the scenery package to its utmost. It also gives details where to go first because as it states here, "(This site is huge!!!)", and they recommend starting at "Misty's Place" because that's where it's all at. This the clincher: Looking for Something you Can't Find? - You will probably find it at Misty's Place which is linked to almost every other page on the site!
There is also an email address for information etc and "contact us at email@example.com".
Actually I chose to go the "site Map" just to familiarize myself with this huge complex site.
This is a great resource it describes with links on how to navigate this huge site. Well worth a visit for familiarization. I won't repeat my observations of this page as it contains all the links I have detailed in the review.
I've already covered some of the content on this page in the review, so I'll describe its contents as succinctly as possible, and try not to repeat myself. The menu itself is comprehensive and covers all aspects of the scenery.
Misty's Place Menu
This is basically the page for RTMM Database Updates for FSDiscover! and Plan-G
Suggestions for Flights throughout the scenery area. There are 26 or so "Dispatches" currently but be aware that they do not give full instructions on how to get to your destination, just a broad outline and then it's up to you to navigate there successfully. However there is some good news in the form of a NOTAM: which states, "Don't forget the Trip Tickets available for most locations, see Map Room Start Points for Availability or you can download them and flight-seeing plans also from the Scenery Page for many locations."
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For example I tried Dispatch02 – which is excellent for someone just starting out. It's a sort of "Round Robin" inspecting by air 11 cabins, north of YES BAY LODGE. The scenery is breathtaking and it really hones your VFR skills. There is also a list of what you need for a particular dispatch, aptly named, "This is what you will need for this dispatch ticket". For each of the 11 cabins you see a location of the cabin ie, in the case of YES BAY LODGE - Lat: N55 54.93, Lon: W131 47.87, Magnetic: 278 and Water Mooring and distance from the cabin you are at, to the next cabin. There is a brief story line as to the aims of the flight. The map shows the general direction for you to fly in, but it's up to you to find the cabins. I managed to find all of them eventually but it took me several trips over several days of flight. Very enjoyable!
Float Trips aka Misty on the water
This page gives details of all of the water scenarios that you can take in RTMM, obviously using a float plane or amphibian. I counted 20 such trips but I did not have time in this review to fly any of the. There are 4 navigation tabs at the top of the page: These cover:
Cruise Routes: (20 as above) Like the Dispatches, you get a brief story, plus a zip installation file, a Map and a TIC.
This is the Map from the Bella Coola to Ocean Falls maritime jaunt and as you can see it is great for the virtual kneeboard.
The TIC is the Sail Plan: for Bella Coola to Ocean Falls and gives comprehensive detail of all of the waypoints you need to follow,
Maintenance Shop: aka Marine Maintenance Shop (Tips and Tweaks for Boats)
There are 3 such enhancements including autopilots and a mini-panel for the boats – very useful.
Navigation tools aka Navigation - Maps & Charts
Here we find details of the My Topo – maps to aid in navigating the fjords. 'My Topo' maps. There are details on how to display the various scenery areas in these Float Trips. Also included is a section called "Interesting Mooring Starting Points". This gives the locations of the various seaplane moor9ings for these scenarios, very useful.
The Marina – FREEware
This section details the freeware add-ons for the various float trips. At present it contains 3 freeware boats that could be used in these scenarios all contributed by various simmers.
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As its name suggests, screen shots, videos and slideshows of MM and environs.
This displays all of the "mooring" or "starting" points for all RTMM scenery locations in table form. There is a detailed explanation on how to use them in Starting Points in the FAQ under "S". To view the maps you just click on the Title of the Scenery and you will see the map to that location and in the right hand column you can see which locations have trip tickets and dispatches.
All the maps are displayed here and again they refer to the MY TOPO Maps
Similar to dispatches these detail the various missions that you can undertake in RTMM. There at present 10 very interesting missions to fly and again you get full details of what is needed and navigation instructions on to fly them.
N. Air Charters aka Virtual Northern Air Charters (VNAC)
These are based on the Fed X routes, on the RTMM area. The unique aspect of these missions is that you can fly to any of the cabins, lighthouses or even many custom airstrips, etc using any aircraft in your virtual hangar. This is the link to the VNAC home page: VNAC Home Page: http://vnac.org/vnacmain/index.php/
Details the object libraries needed for RTMM and CIRP
Links to online reference maps for the scenic area.
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Self Explanatory and already discussed ie for the Gallery.
RTMM Site Map
The site map as detailed above
Tools for RTMM
Details of the various tools (as Hyperlinks that can help your RTMM experience including:
- Scenery Installation (Under I on FAQ Page)
- Trip Tix instructions for use (See T on FAQ)
- EZ-1 Zip Information
- Mission Tips and Tricks
- ICAO Codes for Misty
- Communicate on the Forum
- See the "Enhancements" Page for extras
- Starting Points for all Scenery Locations
- Webcams for Ketchikan Harbor
- FAQ Page for many Facts on RTMM
See under maps and starting points for RTMM
Depicting the real life USFS cabins that can be installed in RTMM, with full details how to do that on this page. There are full descriptions of the cabins on this page including locations and starting points. The cabins/shelters are grouped by location area: Misty Fjords, Petersburg, Prince of Wales, Sitka, and Wrangell. There are also full details of the Lighthouses seen in RTMM there being 12 authentic lighthouses to be installed. Included are special comments from RTMM about the various cabins and their locations. They also detail the Real World Rules and regulations for the cabins, plus links to the USFS Page : http://www.fs.fed.us...cabinlist.shtml
See Gallery Above
A Fabulous tool for using the real world weather whilst you are flying in RTMM. They even list two weather cams located at Ketchikan (PAKT)
The Frequently asked questions arranged in alphabetical order. A veritable treasure house of all the questions you might want answering.
All the available scenery is listed here alphabetically together with instructions on how to download and install. I have discussed some of these in the review above.
Boating aka Misty on the water
In this section we have 3 tabs:
AI Aircraft aka AI Traffic - Air and Sea Traffic for Return to Misty Moorings
Contains around 16 add-on AI items for RTMM, including planes, boats, traffic, trawlers, barges, cruise ships, aircraft carriers, etc. Full instructions are provided.
Repaints aka Repaints for the Misty Fleet
Some great repaints including The Misty's Beaver Repaint Series and the A2A PIPER J3 CUB - By Chris Brisland; FLIGHT REPLICAS "SUPER CUB" (Payware) - The Misty Checker Cub; OZx Grumman (FREEWARE) in Misty's Repaint by Reggy Smith. Plus many others all of high quality but too numerous to mention here.
There are quite a few Misty Moorings sounds in the various packages, and where they are available there is a special icon ((S)) included in the package. There are also some ATC sounds for PAKT and from my own experience they add quite a lot of atmosphere to the simming experience.
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There are excellent forums on the website at http://forum.mistymoorings.com/ These are arranged in various categories from General discussion down to Help and troubleshooting. The forums are active and there is a lot of good stuff there, which means that if you have a problem not answered by a FAQ then the forum is the place to go.
Summary and Conclusion
| Test System |
• i72600K, oc 4.8GHz water cooling
• 120GB SSD
• 8GB 1600Hz RAM
• GTX 670
• Win 7 64-bit ULT
• Dell IPS Monitor 24"
• Saitek X-52 Joystick
• CH Pro Pedals
Test Time: 125 hours
Publisher: Return to Misty Moorings
Reviewed By: Peter Hayes
It was a great pleasure to review this add-on and it is well worth adding to the ORBX PFJ and Holger's & Bill's Tongass Fjords. I could spend my entire FSX simming life right in this area as there is so much to see and do. But of course I have to move on as there's always another review to write.
What I Like About Return to Misty Moorings
- Integrates seamlessly in FSX and other 3rd party add-on scenery
- Stunning visually
- Hones your navigation skills par excellence
- No frame rate issues
- No need to fly heavy iron
- Good Forum support
What I Don't Like About Return to Misty Moorings
- Quite complex at the beginning
- A lot to download and configure until you get used to it.