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Scenery Review : Mont Blanc Group by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini

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Mont Blanc Group 3D_Header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : Mont Blanc Group by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini

 

One scenery a year is expected, two is very nice, but three highly detailed and extensive sceneries at that in one year is incredible, and add in to the fact the type of sceneries that have been released then you simply wonder how it all can be done, but it has and here we go again in traversing another iconic mountain range with Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini's Mont Blanc Group 3D.

 

This release is already after the hugely extensive Eiger Park 3D, and then the Cerro Torre 3D "Los Glaciares" and before that the Matterhorn Park 3D

 

So with this scenery added to the Alpine series you now have a huge amount of the European Alps set out in a very High-Definition quality. The Matterhorn is clearly visible from the Mont Blanc area, as it is positioned in the same southern mountain Alpine chain, but the two sceneries don't over lap unlike with the earlier top and bottom Eiger Park 3D and Matterhorn scenery.

 

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Within the group of rendered mountains covered here is besides Mont Blanc 4,808.7m (15,777 ft) there is also, Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Aiguille du Midi, Tour Rond, Aiguille Verte, Dente del Gigante and Les Grandes Jorasses. The townships of both Courmayeur (Italy) and Chamonix (France) anchor each side of the Mont Blanc range...  Pre Saint Didier and La Thuille, are also represented even in a  simplified form, but still well recognisable.

 

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These photo sceneries are not the usual airport with the surrounding photo textures to represent the general area. The photo textures are the scenery, or the reproduction of the typology of the represented mountain ranges, so yes they are very if extremely good to look at, but there is also a big adventure factor in that these extremely detailed sceneries are excellent to explore, learn the local geography and even make the simulator a higher quality if even flying low in VFR or even IFR in traversing the sceneries as you pass over enroute, in other words they look very nice from the high flying aircraft.

 

My general simulation approach to these sceneries is to replicate a "joy" or "Sightseeing" flight around the scenery, and that is what I have done here. I am using the MilViz Turbo Otter as reviewed and is going to start the tour from a fictional grass runway airport provided in the package at Courmayeur - LICR, there is another very similar fictional grass strip over in Chamonix - LFCX.

 

Courmayeur's grass runway is 09/27 runway is 700 m long and point north and you get a great view of the Mont Blanc range ahead, you are also already at a 4002 ft in elevation. Courmayeur is in the Aosta Valley on the Italian south side of the range...

 

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....  if you are familiar with Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini's sceneries then you will know with what you will get. Great detailed scenery with a very good if not extremely perfect layout of the area, but with a few custom buildings that are set into the scenery to represent the locale.... overall they are a great representation of an Alpine scene.

 

One thing I noticed straight away was the valley base ground textures here are far better than in the Eigar 3D package, I didn't like them as they were very plain and not very realistic on the valley floors.... here that aspect has been fixed with a more mottled look that overcomes the starkness of the others and it blends now in far better with the overall scenery.

 

Power up and let's show our passenger the exceptional scenery...  you will need a STOL aircraft to get out of Courmayeur, then to climb steeply up to 12,000ft, so all that 750 HP of the PT6A-34 turbine will not go to waste here.

 

Mont Blanc_Route 1.jpgMont Blanc_Route 8.jpgMont Blanc_Route 9.jpgMont Blanc_Route 10.jpgMont Blanc_Route 11.jpg

 

You will need all of that 1200fpm climb rate (1600fpm is max) to clear the Aosta Valley, then a turn to the west and Mont Blanc and its spectacular Grand Pilier d'Angle buttress and accompanying Brenva Glacier fill your windscreen.

 

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The eastern valley is called the "Val Veny" and you will need all of it's length to climb up to the required 12,500 ft altitude...

 

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These mountains are real photos of the area, recreated over a 3D model according to the DEM (digital elevation model) and further elaborated with many structural details... the detail is excellent with the textures based on 4K (4096x4096) size, the detail is phenomenal and my texture settings is only set to the "High" setting here, so yes if you have the power you can get a lot of visual detail. Glaciers "du Freney" and "du brouillard" (fog) are highly visible to the peak of Mont Brouillard directly in front of the Mont Blanc peak.

 

You sort of complete the climb to 12,500ft around the same time you can turn north and into France over the Miage Glacier...

 

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....  the custom scenery itself goes a little farther west to cover out the rest of the range.

 

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It is at this point over the Mont Blanc Glacier that you are now the closest to the peak...  and the view is sensational.

 

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Next is the Aiguille de Bionnassay and the Bionnassay Glacier, at this point you turn east and Chamonix comes into view below...

 

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...  the view north into France is well blended into the custom scenery, so there are no break lines or different textures, the view is realistic and of course spectacular...

 

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...  as is the detail on the Bionnassay Glacier. Once over the Chamonix Valley you pass Mont Maudit and then the showstopping view of the Aiguille Verte and Les Droites is now front and centre...

 

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... the primary mountains above Chamonix are the Aiguilles Rouges and most notably the Aiguille du Midi 3,842 m (12,605 ft) with it's spire and cable car station.

 

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Chamonix

The commune of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is made up of 16 villages and hamlets of which the central Chamonix township is the major focus and significant Alpine Ski/Tourist resort. Again 90% of Chamonix is made up of alpine objects, but the iconic Railway Station has been reproduced.

 

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And other VFR highlights include the E.N.S.A École Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinisme buildings and the Internes Hospital.

 

The second fictional airport of LFCX-Chamonix is again grass, and this runway is a little over 800 meters long. Yes it is quite basic, but usable.

 

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Watching the peaks glidepast is great flying simulation, the massive Glacier des Pélerins, followed by the glacier de Blaitière and finally the glacier des Nantillons, and all three glaciers are framed by the peaks of Du Plan, de Blaitière and the Aiguille du Grépon.

 

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Once past the range and Chamonix the view forward is of the more range dividing Rhône valley and Switzerland, fly left to go to Lake Geneva or forward to Sion. Basically the custom scenery ends about here, so you turn south around the Mont Blanc range...

 

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....  the Aiguille du Chardonnet is the highlight around here, with the spectacular Saleina Glacier and the Aiguille d'Argentière is also framing the scenery.

 

As you return to the Val Veny from the east it is now called the Val Ferret (valley names swap at Courmayeur), and if you think the show is over, then the best picturesque mountains are actually the last in this list...   with the sharp cutter peak of the Dente del Gigante, "giant's tooth" 4,013 m (13,166 ft) and followed by the dramatic Les Grandes Jorasses 4,208 m (13,806 ft)....

 

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Mont Blanc_Route 38.jpgMont Blanc_Route 39.jpgMont Blanc_Route 40.jpg

 

....    again both landscapes are beautifully recreated with the del Gigante and the Grandes Jorasses in infinite detail.

 

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This then covers the full aspect of the Mont Blanc range. They are in an area that is not as large as the other sceneries in this series, but it is the most detailed and spectacular.

 

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Now came the difficult bit...  you have to drop that 5500ft back down to the Aosta Valley floor, and you will need to forward plan or use a valley to do the steep descent...   the Val Veny is the most obvious and easiest choice but I decided to have a look at the other custom village of La Thuile, and the village of Pre Saint Didier is on the entrance of the valley, so I sort of went the long way around, but still you need a lot of distance to return to the lower altitude and without hitting anything....

 

Mont Blanc_Route 44.jpgMont Blanc_Route 45.jpgMont Blanc_Route 46.jpgMont Blanc_Route 47.jpg

 

....  there is not a lot of detail of La Thuile, and the village of Pre Saint Didier, but just some custom buildings and hotels at each location.

 

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Finding and lining up for the return to Courmayeur's grass runway 09 is far more harder than it looks...  for one it can't be seen at all on the south approach, then when you do, you are usually too high or too west, the north RWY 27 approach is far easier...  but never say never.

 

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So yes it can be done, but selecting the right aircraft to fly the terrain around here is very important.

 

Helipads

This would not be a Dainese and Bellini scenery without a profusion of helipads spread out all around the scenery.... two in Courmayeur and Chamonix are bases for GMH (Guidemonterosa Helicopter Services).

 

LICYH - Courmayeur, This is an excellent headquarter place to base your heli services from, a great pad and even better realistic surroundings. There is another pad at LIDRH - Courmayeur which is the airport position.

 

Mont Blanc_HeliPad LYCYH 1.jpgMont Blanc_HeliPad LYCYH 2.jpg

 

LFDZ - Chamonix, Another great pad position on the northern French side... 

 

Mont Blanc_HeliPad LFDZ 1.jpgMont Blanc_HeliPad LFDZ 2.jpg

 

LFCMBH - Argentière, This heliPad is the furthest east (east of Chamonix) and it is in a great position halfway up the mountain side.

 

Mont Blanc_HeliPad LFCMBH 1.jpgMont Blanc_HeliPad LFCMBH 2.jpg

 

LISYH - Helbronner, Located directly in front of Mont Blanc on the top of the cable car station and it has great views, but watch the wind gusts.

 

Mont Blanc_HeliPad LISYH 1.jpgMont Blanc_HeliPad LISYH 2.jpg

 

LFTRH - Refuge Tete Rousses, is a significant rescue hut that is located beside the Tete Rousse glacier at an altitude of 3,167 m.

 

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LFGTH - Refuge Gouter, known as the Goûter Hut is a futuristic mountain refuge located at a height of 3,835 metres (12,582 ft) on the Arete du Goûter  It overlooks the Glacier de Bionnassay, and is the highest wardened mountain hut in France...  it is positioned just above the Refuge Tete Rousse.

 

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LFTMB - Mt Blanc tunnel FR, Located at the French entrance to the Mont Blanc tunnel at Chamonix.

 

Mont Blanc_HeliPad LFTMB 1.jpgMont Blanc_HeliPad LFTMB 2.jpg

 

LIPSD - Pré-Saint-Didier is located just up the Aosta Valley from Courmayeur, and is known as the "jewel shining in the heart of the Aosta Valley" hum, okay. The township as recreated here is very nice with churches and flashy spa hotels.

 

Mont Blanc_HeliPad LIPSD 1.jpgMont Blanc_HeliPad LIPSD 2.jpg

 

LITUH - La Thuile, is located off in a branch valley just up the Aosta Valley from Pré-Saint-Didier. Thuile depends on tourism, in winter it is one of the main Italian Alpine ski resorts linked with La Rosière, the helipad is located right by the football (soccer) field.

 

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Skyway Monte Bianco

Although X-Plane is a flying simulator, it is still also a great exploring tool to understand an area's geography, iconic buildings and other infrastructure. All of Dainese and Bellini's sceneries are focused on this aspect...  the links between Courmayeur and Chamonix is a high point here, because of two infrastructure sites that join the two together, one is the Skyway Monte Bianco and the other is the Mont Blanc tunnel.

 

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If cable cars are your thing then you will have a coronary with this one...  all the stations have been faithfully reproduced. The Skyway from Pontal d'Entréves ascends to the Mid-Way Pavillon Du Mont-Frety - Point Helbronner (Eagles Nest) at an altitude of 2,173 meters, through a half-way station...

 

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.... the peak Pavillon is also the place of the earlier helipad LISYH - Helbronner.

 

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At the Point Helbronner station you can then transfer to the older Vallée Blanche Cable Car, that connects to the Aiguille du Midi on the French side and it is known as the "peak-to-peak" over a distance of some 5 km (3.1 mi) through a mid-station at Gros Rognon, you travel over two glaciers with the Vallée Blanche and and then the Géant Glacier snow valleys directly below you and Mont Blanc to the west.

 

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At Aiguille du Midi there is another connection to the Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi cable car that then descends down to Chamonix...

 

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A glass skywalk called "Step into the Void" opened at the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak in 2013. The view is 1,035 m (3,396 ft) straight down, and one can see Mont Blanc to the south and the skywalk is represented here.

 

Mont Blanc_Skyway 13.jpgMont Blanc_Skyway 14.jpgMont Blanc_Skyway 16.jpgMont Blanc_Skyway 15.jpg

 

Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi, was originally proposed around 1909, but did not come into operation until 1955 when it held the title of the world's highest cable car for about two decades. It still holds the record as the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, from 1,035 to 3,842 m (3,396 to 12,605 ft). There are two sections: from Chamonix to Plan de l'Aiguille at 2,317 m (7,602 ft) and then directly, without any support pillar, to the upper station at 3,777 m. The full system is fully represented here in the scenery, so in effect you can follow the full over the Alp cable route from Entréves to Chamonix.

 

Mont Blanc tunnel

The second route is via the famous Mont Blanc tunnel which was was opened to traffic on 19 July 1965. The entrance is actually just behind the Entréves cable station...

 

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....  the tunnel is 11.611 km (7.215 mi) in length, 8.6 m (28 ft) in width, and 4.35 m (14.3 ft) in height. The passageway is not horizontal, but in a slightly inverted "V", which assists ventilation. The tunnel consists of a single gallery with a two-lane dual direction road. At the time of its construction, it was three times longer than any existing highway tunnel.

 

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There is also a huge amount of ski cable car systems throughout the scenery, and far to many cable systems even to count...

 

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...   so if you have a personal favorite ski lift route I am sure you will find it in here, for the rest of us, then "watch your rotors"

 

Lighting

This is not a night period scenery for flying. But you do get that after dark Alpine village lighting that is mostly produced by the objects and street lighting...

 

Mont Blanc_Lighting 1.jpgMont Blanc_Lighting 2.jpgMont Blanc_Lighting 3.jpgMont Blanc_Lighting 4.jpg

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....  important infrastructure areas are covered in lighting, but in reality this area is not the focus of the scenery.

 

Summary

With the sceneries from Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini comes one word in "Adventure". These excellent representations of iconic mountain areas of the world are for exploration, sightseeing or just plain exploring...  and you could throw in a bit of geography as well. All are highly detailed of the areas they represent, the mountain ranges are of course the stars and the focal point.

Here it is the Mont Blanc massif on the western end of the European Alps, with the focus on the north and south townships of Courmayeur (Italy) and Chamonix (France). Beside Mont Blanc there is also represented the peaks of Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Aiguille du Midi, Tour Rond, Aiguille Verte, Dente del Gigante and Les Grandes Jorasses in all of their glory and high quality photographic detail.

The extensive Skyway Monte Bianco - Vallée Blanche - Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi cable car systems are also detailed in full, as are both entrances to the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Two fictional grass runway airports are also provided in the package at Courmayeur - LICR and Chamonix - LFCX, plus nine custom heliports are also included.

 

Although the area in Mont Blanc 3D is not as extensive as the other packages, it is more highly detailed and visually more stunning, and quite challenging from a flying perspective.

 

These Dainese and Bellini's sceneries are extremely popular and to a point it is hard not to see why, above all they give you a extremely detailed addition to the X-Plane simulator in both a useful and visual form, and they are a lot of fun as well...  If you loved one then you have to have them all, and well may your collection grow...   highly recommended.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! Mont Blanc Group 3D by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Mont Blanc Group 3D

 

Price Is US$26.95

 

Features of the Mont Blanc Group Scenery 
  • Area coverage of over 900 sq.Km,  located in Western Alps  on border between Italy and France.     
    • Italian side with: Courmayeur, Entrèves, Pre Saint Didier and La Thuile
    • French side with Chamonix, Les Houches, Argentière
  • 9 groups of mountains (3D models) reconstructed and placed on  meshes (modified)
  • Over 10,000 houses located, of which many are customize (many buildings and other reproduced) + about 100 types of typical houses in the areas
  • All the vegetation mapped and reproduced
  • Reconstructed the "eighth wonder" ... the SKYWAY of Mont Blanc with the three detailed stations (Entreves,Pavillon,P.ta Helbronner).
    •     Positioned the main cable ways in both Courmayeur and Chamonix.
  • All the Italian and French shelters reconstructed and positioned on the models /mesh including: 
    • Italian side: Bonatti, Boccalatte, Bertone, Elena, Elisabetta, Miage, Gervasutti, Monzino...
    • French side:  Nid d'Aigle, Tète Rousses, Gouter (normal route to the summit) ...Montenvers, Requin,Envers, Lognan...
  • Two (virtual) airports with grassy runways in Courmayeur (Dolonne area) and Chamonix (golf course area) to increase and make easy exploratory flight.
  • 3 official heliports, 1 in Courmayeur LICYH (near the Skyway base station) 1 in Chamonix (LFDZ) and Argentière (LFCMBH)
  • Another 9 heliports located in areas of interest (shelters..)

 

 

WT3: Your joking of course! no, you are on your own here

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11 

Windows, Mac or Linux
4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 765Mb
Release and Review version 1.0 (22nd November 2019)
 
Installation
Download scenery file size is download 727.30mb and with the full installation installed in your custom scenery folder as there are six install folders in order below (INI File included): 
 
  • Scenery Pack_3D_Chamonix (560mb)
  • Scenery Pack_3D_Courmayeur (558mb)
  • Scenery Pack_3D_MontBlanc (192mb)
  • Scenery Pack_3D_CableWayMB (11.5mb)
  • Scenery Pack_Mesh_MBlanc (228mb)
  • Scenery Pack_MBCC_lib (257mb)

 

Total scenery installation : 1.76gb

 

The developers note you need to adjust the X-Plane "scenery_packs.INI" so the loading order is correct and the Mesh_MBlanc must be above the Global Airport folder.

 

Documents

One manual with notes

______________________________________________________________________

  

Review by Stephen Dutton

22nd November  2019

Copyright©2019 : X-Plane Reviews 

 

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.31

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini 

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : US$19.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- DHC-3T Turbo Otter by MilViz (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$39.95

 

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