Alongside its larger partner, Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly airport is France’s second busiest airport and in terms of domestic flights, the busiest. Located in the region of Orly to the south of the city centre, the history of Orly airport extends to a pre-WWII era and was opened in 1932 to serve Paris as a civilian airport in addition to the existing Le Bourget airport to the north. It encountered many extreme situations and faced a period of occupation by the Luftwaffe during the Nazi occupation of France in 1940. Orly Air Base as it was called then, faced heavy bombing and was a major target for the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force and suffered the might of the Allied air strikes, scarring it with damaged infrastructure and cratered runways.
After the liberation of France, the United States took to using Orly as an air base and repaired much of the major damage caused by themselves such as the runways and major buildings. In 1948, Orly was finally returned to the French government and was reopened as a commercial airport. It served as Paris’ principal commercial airport for a period alongside Le Bourget until 1974, when CDG was opened in the northeast of the city with the striking avant-garde Terminal 1 attracting the attention of many air travelers around the world.
Today, the two major airports of Paris work together with Orly providing much of the domestic traffic and acting as hub to some low cost carriers such as easyJet, whereas CDG serves as a more international hub, operating 3 terminals and around 56 million passengers a year compared to Orly’s 26 million.
Installation and Documentation
As with most Aerosoft products, once the initial download has been completed, there is little for the user to do other than to follow some basic instructions. During the installation, an internet connection is required to validate your product and serial number which should be sent to you in an e-mail.
The installer package includes everything you need including the important task of adding the scenery to Flight Simulator’s scenery library. As well as the scenery itself, the relevant documents will also be installed and include a brief manual which includes background information on the airport and some guidance to installation.
One useful feature that I always appreciate in an Aerosoft product is the inclusion of charts for the airport. Since most simmers do not have readily available access to airport charts, it can become quite an important issue and one that Aerosoft has continued to address in scenery product releases. With Paris Orly X, a page link can be found in the product folder which is a direct link to the French Aeronautical Information Package (AIP) website. Using this obviously requires an internet connection but the user can be guaranteed the most recent and up to date information and airport charts available and since all popular chart manufacturers use information from these AIP pages, there is nothing you will be missing out on.
Paris Orly airport serves as a base for many airlines including Air France as well as many new low cost carriers. The introduction of the low cost carrier phenomenon has undoubtedly given rise to the growth of the air travel market as a whole and with that, we have seen many airports throughout the world increase their capacity with a wide range of new terminals, aircraft stands and infrastructure. Paris Orly however, has remained very much true to its original platform and has seen little change. Much of the new development to accommodate the rise in growth has been diverted on Paris’ major international hub of Charles de Gaulle airport.
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. Runway 06/24 is the longest with 3650m of paved surface for pilots to use and 08/26 is the second longest. There is a short crossing runway 02/20 which is long enough to accommodate smaller airliners as well as some larger ones.
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, as well as numerous remote stands lying just a short bus ride away from the main terminal building. Low cost carriers dominate at the south terminal with easyJet being a principal user and serving several international destinations in their network from the terminal. The south terminal is also next to the stunning control tower which dominates the skyline with its unique design.
The west terminal (Terminal Ouest) is considered the main terminal at Orly and is where the majority of flights operate to and from. It is home to large airlines such as Air France who operate their extensive network of domestic and regional flights from this terminal. Terminal Ouest has undergone plenty of renovations and expansions to upgrade areas such as the passenger halls and check in areas.
Unlike many of the Aerosoft airport sceneries, 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; at Paris Orly, the same aircraft loaded with the same settings gets me as low as 10-15 fps. This produces a noticeable effect on the fluidity of the sim and to an extent where it compromises the sense of simulation.
One thing to note though is that a patch has recently been released to bring the version up to 1.04 for FS9 which promises better performance. After installing this patch, I am happy to announce that the performance issues have now been rectified and as a result, I am seeing my personal minimums of 20-25fps being achieved.
As with scenery reviews, it is often best to keep my mouth shut and to show you more pictures of the scenery itself for you to make your own judgments. So enjoy the scenery!
Summary / Closing Remarks
As with most Aerosoft products, 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. There is nothing like flying a large airliner like a 747 on final approach with a myriad of cars driving by the airport perimeter and right under the approach path whilst you prepare yourself for a smooth touchdown! It adds an extra depth of realism into the scenery.
One advantage of being an Aerosoft product is that is comes AES prepared straight out of the box. AES has become one of the most popular scenery enhancements to come to flight simulation and it is not uncommon for many flight simmers to choose to only fly to AES airports.Initial performance concerns have been greatly reduced and with the updated patch, it has become an airport that I will fly to a lot more often. Now that I have a stunning place to park my aircraft, maybe next time I choose to fly to Paris, I will choose to go to Orly instead of the vastly complex and land hogging Charles de Gaulle!
What I Like About Paris Orly
What I Don't Like About Paris Orly
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