Flight Simulator X offers so many different places to fly that it can be hard to pick any one region in particular and though I do enjoy change I often find myself in the Pacific Northwest, but on occasion I find myself tootling around the Hawaiian Islands or flying out of some other obscure island chain in the Pacific.
Third party developers never cease to amaze me with their add-ons because they often introduce people like me to places that I would have never given a single thought to when perusing through the almost endless list of airports in FSX.
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 Real World Island of Kosrae
Kosrae is the eastern most Island in the Caroline Island chain and has a population of roughly 8000 people. The island itself lies between Guam and Hawaii and is located 320 miles north of the equator. Because of the island’s high mountain range much of the island remains undeveloped and is rarely visited, but the island has become popular for its scuba diving and hiking. The island itself is called “the island of the sleeping lady” and it gets this name when viewed from afar because it takes on the shape of a woman sleeping above the water.
FSX and Kosrae
The FSX version of Kosrae from Pacific Island Simulation really does present the island to what it looks like in real life and I base that on photos and maps that I found on the internet because I have not been to the actual island. Given its overall layout of communities and road systems, the island is relatively basic and most of the island has remained untouched by development and outsiders because of the high mountains that make up most of the island as most of the communities lay on the outskirts of the island near the water.
But, 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. Starting at the main airport, PTSA, to the surrounding communities that line the coast of the island all have some kind of custom designed scenery that represents a real world location in Kosrae.
The airport is most impressive, though it only has two parking areas they are large enough to park a 737 or 767 and as you deplane and arrive at the island you can stroll through the main terminal building and out into a waiting limo that is parked at the main entrance. The terminal building includes seating and other pieces of eye candy to look at in and around the terminal. Make sure to check out the old US Military Jeeps parked in front of the firehouse!
There is accurate signage along the roadway and this makes it pretty clear how to make the full circuit around the island as there are even billboards advertising local businesses. One thing I noticed was that there was no visible sign of moving vehicles and what vehicles are there are either parked or stationary on the roadway.
Other things you will see around PTSA is a boat building yard complete with the railroad tracks that move the boats once they are completed, although they do not move in FSX. Just adjacent to the airport is the port and there is a lot to see there as well. The first time I booted up FSX and Kosrae I put myself on the runway and was amazed at the huge passenger ship and freight hauler that were docked just adjacent to the airport at the port.
Touring the entire island really doesn’t take that long, but if you are going to do it, do it in something slow that way you can get the most out of Kosrae. I tend to fly either a chopper or A2A’s Piper Cub because they offer excellent visibility, but be warned that the highest point on the island is about 2400 feet and if you are not prepared for the climb over the mountain range life can be real short if you are flying low and slow like I like too. The other option you have when touring the island is to make it a stopover from Guam or Hawaii, this is roughly a 2400 nautical mile trip to and from Hawaii so be prepared to make some time for your flight.
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. The real Kosrae has some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world and the FSX version does not disappoint as the reefs around the island are just gorgeous. Now, I use REX and I am assuming that it really enhances the appearance of the reefs themselves, but from some of the pictures I saw over at PIS they tend to look good either way!
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. In fact, if you look hard enough you will see the seagulls hovering in and around the port, can’t help but wonder how that can be good for the airport!
The only thing I could find wrong with this add-on was the lack of charts and the directions for the airport, but already having most of the charts for those regions I had easy reference and I am sure the charts could be found online as well.
Kosrae is a beautiful island and is now one of my favorite Pacific Island haunts in FSX and this scenery package sells for about $24.00 and is well worth it, in my opinion, as it offers an area of the world that few get to see. I can only say that I am quite envious of those who have been there for real!
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