Cleveland. Where is that city? Like most readers, I do not come from that area of the world so my mind told me geographical fantasies about a large place far inland mid-western US or thereabouts. Wrong. It is one of two major lakefront cities along Lake Erie, south-east of Detroit.
Aerosoft has a Google link on their product page which I show you below. One is the actual size for the coverage of the product and the other is zoomed out more to give you an idea of just where in the great lakes system it is.
At 546 MB this seventh in a series of US Cities that Aerosoft makes may not be the largest, but it may very well be the most useful for flight simmers since it boasts improvements to three airports with high res ground images and mesh, as well as four heliports. Thousands of autogen and hundreds of buildings cover the city and a few local islands. I will not try to list all the enhancements myself so I've copied over their list of features:
Features (from Aerosoft's product page):
From the 16 page manual I also copied over a list of the "photo-under-layered" airports in the package:
- KBKL – Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport
Somewhat different form earlier products, there is a launcher, which handles the online activation requiring entry of your email address used to purchase the product and the associated product key. It also manages all scenery files (I believe not the older versions), and the tree season tool. There was the usual installer before the loading of the launcher though, making it seem like you are activating your product twice, which is not the case. Be aware but not worried.
The new launcher also has pages for shopping at Aerosoft, and for their forums. There is also a 16 page manual, available the usual way from the program menu, it can also now be opened from the launcher once the scenery product you wish to deal with has been selected.
The entire product only took up 614 MB of HD space. Charts are linked to Flightaware.com pages (free registration) clickable directly from the manual. I am not reproducing any of these pages here to avoid any infringements… but you can check out the hyperlinks to see it for yourselves. From what I see it is exhaustively complete and very easily accessed. Some airfields are linked to skyvector.com, and another called airnav.com (this one is down). These help increase the immersion and game realism.
The recommended settings are unusually high and optimistic, with both scenery sliders fully to the right but with ground shadows off.
Be aware that this is recommended to get the most from the scenery and blocks of buildings, and will not necessarily result in equal fluidity on all systems.
I approached the Cleveland area from the east since I am inbound from Toronto City Center, and I made it a point to visit the islands first. The relatively isolated scenery enhancements should provide for the best performance.
As is obvious from the above snapshots, the photoreal texturing works real fine with high frame rates for my mediocre system. Being a small twin virtual pilot, I am biased towards these types of islands with their relative isolation and high frame rates.
There are three regular airports bordering or within the coverage area, and seven airfields. All of the major airports have photo enhanced underlay without much changed in the generic buildings except for improved placement.
There are four helipads, three of which are pictured below.
The only difficulty I had was getting a helicopter to be placed on top of the Lutheran Medical Center using map view, but I did manage to have it placed safely on the roof top using the FSX flight planner. I could not find the fourth helipad; it is not listed in airports or in the map view.
THE CITY of CLEVELAND:
The first four snapshots from 56000 feet demonstrate what to expect in coverage differences from a standpoint of raw FSX or with UTX installed.
An improvement that includes 640 buildings must certainly be worth the very low purchase price. I've taken some random snapshots in and about the city to give you some idea of the extent of workmanship involved.
As is the case with all Aerosoft products, this scenery package maintains a high standard that few if any can duplicate. The amount of work involved is enormous considering the small asking price. This is value. With 3 major airports improved with underlying photo terrain, realism to your approaches is enhanced even without the accurate building reproductions. Addition of the islands adds more fun for exploring, with great airfields to use as small airplane bases.
With Toronto, Chicago and Detroit default enhanced airports nearby, there is connectivity galore. Like I've always said, FSX is great as long as both departure and arrival airports have scenery enhancements.
What I Like About Cleveland X
What I Don't Like About Cleveland X
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