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Scenery Review : K2 - Karakorum 3D by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini


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Scenery Review : K2 - Karakorum 3D by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini

 

When Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali Sherpa climber finally conquered the impossible of Mount Everest in Nepal, they summited at 11:30 local time on 29 May 1953 via the South Col route. It was a major victory to climb the most highest mountain on the planet at 8,848 m (29,029 ft). But they both knew the summiting of Everest was in a way bittersweet, because in technical mountaineering terms, Everest may be the highest and most massive mountain on earth, but it wasn't the most difficult or the most dangerous peak to actually climb, that mountain lay 1,315 km to the northwest in the Karakoram mountain range that spanned the borders of China, India, and Pakistan.

 

The name of the mountain is quite simple, in K2...  but it is known mostly as the "Killer Mountain" or the "Savage Mountain" and the "King of Mountains", but nothing about K2 is simple, getting to it, climbing it or mostly even just surviving it, and in fact 1 in 4 climbers had perished in the only 367 people who have actually completed the ascent, and there have also been 86 deaths during these attempted climbs. So talk to any serious mountaineer and they look at K2 at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level and the second highest mountain in the world, as the ultimate mountaineering challenge.

It has been climbed to the summit of course by two Italian climbers who were Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni of the 1954 Italian Karakoram expedition   , and when they finally succeeded in ascending to the summit of K2 via the Abruzzi Spur on 31 July 1954, it was not without controversy.... K2 is always highly controversial.

 

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The name K2 is derived from the notation used by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of British India. Thomas Montgomerie made the first survey of the Karakoram from Mount Haramukh, some 210 km (130 mi) to the south, and sketched the two most prominent peaks, labeling them as K1 and K2, where the K stands for Karakoram.

 

K1 was found to be known locally as Masherbrum. K2, however, appeared not to have acquired a local name, possibly due to its remoteness. as the mountain is not visible from Askole, the last village to the south, or from the nearest habitation to the north, and is only fleetingly glimpsed from the end of the Baltoro Glacier, an area beyond of which few local people would have ventured. The name Chogori, derived from two Balti words, chhogo ("big") and ri ("mountain") has been suggested as a local name, but evidence for its widespread use is scant. It may have been a compound name invented by Western explorers or simply a bemused reply to the question "What's that called?" It does, however form the basis for the name Qogir which is the Chinese name for K2.

 

K2 - Karakorum 3D by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini

You have to admit, the twin developers of Dainese and Bellini have had a mega year of X-Plane scenery releases in 2020, not only for the five exceptional packages of the Dolomites, but also the recent release of the Torres del Paine National Park, and now this a package of another significant mountain region in Karakoram.

 

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The Karakoram region is dominated by the immense Baltoro Glacier (76 kilometres (47 mi long) that is the highway directly through the region, the glacier is Y shaped with the Upper Baltoro Glacier going up the right Y arm, and the Godwin-Austen Glacier the left arm that goes directly to the base of K2.

 

Central Baltoro Glacier is Concordia, which is usually the base camp zone for any assaults on K2 or any of the other significant peaks of eighteen summits over 7,500 m (24,600 ft) in height, with also four of them exceeding the famous 8,000 m (26,000 ft) altitude.

 

Concordia

There is a snow strip at Concordia (15,056 ft MSL), so it is "Ski's on the aircraft gentlemen please"...  The runway is designated XLK2  K2-Karakoram.

 

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XLK2 is a long and flat runway with a 16/34 orientation, even then there is plenty of open wide areas for any run-overs, but there are also some very large and nasty rocks or boulders that define out the runway's boundaries.

 

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To the southeast there is the designated "Concordia Camp", which has been highly and colourfully represented. There is also another similar camp called K2 Base camp, at the floor of K2 (see H Pads).

 

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In a part of the camp is a H-PAD HEK2, mostly just a H set out in the ground with a windsock.

 

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The aircraft flown here is the Thranda PC-6 Turbo Porter (Adventure Pack). And usually I leave the scenery's highlight to the end of the review but in this case we will loop around K2 first...  We are already at 15,056 ft MSL, but we will still have bit of climbing to do. The Porter's ceiling is 8,197m (26,893 ft), so we won't cover K2's full height of 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), so it will be an altitude sorta around 25,000ft in the flight circle of the mountain, overall there is 2000 kmq of the karakorum Range- Baltoro (Pakistan) to explore.

 

This is a basic route of the flight (and yes I know it looks a bit like.... umm)

 

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To the right the K2 Peak is shrouded in mist, but the cloud cover is quite thin at only 2000ft. Power up and away we go...  You need a fair bit of power (about 80%) to overcome the drag of the ice, and it is slow moving at first, but then suddenly as the speed builds the inertia of the PC-6 falls away, you then quickly break free of the drag of the ice and the tail rises...  and you are then suddenly barreling down the icy strip...

 

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....  at 60 knts (TO Flap) you rise and fly.

 

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I need to go west and while also climbing down the Baltoro Glacier, then you loop the Porter back around and over the Concordia Camp...

 

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...  at the Biango Glacier I aim directly at the rock face, then twist the PC-6 into a steep turn back...  views out the aircraft are sublime, you have to love this extreme vista of high mountain ranges gliding past all around you.

 

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...    16,300 ft and still climbing, the Porter is actually struggling, full rich mixture and 90% throttle and you are still barely moving forward at 70 knts.

 

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Finally you turn into the Godwin-Austen Glacier, and sitting on the east corner are the Gasherbrums, but the one to be careful of is the larger Broad Peak (8,051m), one of the four eight-thousanders on your right and sitting further down the glacier.

 

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K2's towering peak is now right and square in your windscreen, and Broad Peak is to your right and you are now at 22,000ft MSL

 

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I don't want to play chicken with such a dangerous mountain, so it is time to dip to the left and then go right around the peak. The modeling and detail on show here is in closeup K2 is quite breathtaking.

 

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The mountains of K2 and Broad Peak, and the area westward to the lower reaches of Sarpo Laggo glacier, consist of metamorphic rocks, known as the K2 Gneiss, and part of the Karakoram Metamorphic Complex. The K2 Gneiss consists of a mixture of orthogneiss and biotite-rich paragneiss. The K2 Gneiss is separated from the surrounding sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks of the surrounding Karakoram Metamorphic Complex by normal faults. For example, a fault separates the K2 gneiss of the east face of K2 from limestones and slates comprising nearby Skyang Kangri.

 

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All the scenery is 3D and according to the DEM data (digital elevation model) and further elaborated with many structural details. The many textures are all based on 4K (4096x4096) extreme quality images.

 

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Close up at 24,500 ft and the K2 surface detail is the best I have seen yet, the gritty rock detail is excellent and you see and feel the contours of the rock faces, the feel and look is very similar to Everest's.

 

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On the K2 peak are our two famous climbers...    Dainese and Bellini

 

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Heading back towards the Godwin-Austen Glacier we can now take a better look at Broad Peak...

 

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...  the name is apt, the top of the mountain is wide and it has only a slight peak to the north, again the rock face detail is excellent.

 

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To your far right is the striking peak of Muztagh Tower and to your left in the distance is Chogolisa, immediately however on the corner of the Godwin-Austen Glacier and Upper Baltoro Glacier is the huge Gasherbrum massif range.

 

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The Gasherbrum massif of nine peaks contains three of the world's 8,000 metre peaks (if Broad Peak is included). Although the word "Gasherbrum" is often claimed to mean "Shining Wall", presumably a reference to the highly visible face of Gasherbrum IV, it comes from "rgasha"(beautiful)+"brum" (mountain) in Balti, hence it actually means "beautiful mountain".

 

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The nine peaks are all numbered in sequence,  Gasherbrum I (8,080m), Broad Peak (8,047m), Gasherbrum II (8,035m), Gasherbrum III (7,952m), Gasherbrum IV (7,925m), Gasherbrum V (7,147m), Gasherbrum VI (6,979m), Gasherbrum VII (6,955m) and finally the

Gasherbrum Twins (6,912m and 6,877m).

 

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At the end of the Godwin-Austen Glacier, we are now back over Concordia, but turn east up into the Upper Baltoro Glacier, the Gasherbrums are still on your left, but on your right is the Chogolisa (Great Hunt) at 7,668m, and it looks like a large tooth, sprouting out of the landscape...

 

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Chogolisa has several peaks: the highest, on the SW face (Chogolisa I), rises to 7,668 metres (25,157 ft); the second highest at 7,654 metres on the NE side (Chogolisa II) is the one named Bride Peak by Martin Conway in 1892.

In 1909, a party led by Duke of the Abruzzi reached 7,498 m (24,600 ft) from a base camp located on the northern side and a high camp on the Chogolisa saddle at 6,335 m. Bad weather stopped the party from ascending further, but their climb established a world altitude record. The first ascent of Chogolisa I was made on August 2nd, 1975 by Fred Pressl and Gustav Ammerer of an Austrian expedition led by Eduard Koblmueller.

 

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At the top of the Upper Baltoro Glacier, you get a Y branch and directly in the middle of the Y is Baltoro Kangi (Golden Throne) at 7,312m

 

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you then take the right branch of Abruzzi Glacier...  turning south.

 

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As you go around the range the peaks of Ghent Kangri -Mount Ghent (7,742m), Sherpi Kangi (7390m), K6-Baltistan Peak (7,282m) and K12 (7469m) are now visible as are all the Saltoro Mountains subrange which now come into view...

 

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...  far south is the spectacular Saltoro Kangi (7742m). The Saltoro Kangri which is the highest and most prominent peak of this Saltoro Mountains subrange, also known as the Saltoro Range. Saltoro Kangri is a name generally used for the twin peaks, the Saltoro Kangri I to the south and the Saltoro Kangri II to the north which are both connected by a saddle. While comparing the heights the generic term Saltoro Kangri is applied to the higher peak, Saltoro Kangri I, which is the 31st highest mountain in the world.

 

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I am circling around Chogolisa and heading back to central Baltoro Glacier and again Concordia, and dominating the view west is… 

 

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K1 or Masherbrum (7,821m), and K1 is the 22nd highest mountain in the world and the 9th highest in Pakistan in the Masherbrum Mountain range, K1 looks like a tripodal throne. It was also the first mapped peak in the Karakoram mountain range, hence the designation "K1". It is so huge it has not one but three of it's own glaciers in Yermanendu Glacier (east) and Mandu Glacier (west) and...

 

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...  Masherbrum Glacier on the south side. Again with this being a large focus mountain the detail is higher and quite spectacular, but more so from the southern aspect.

 

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The range of Baltoro Muztagh is opposite K1, and the highlight in the range up the Biango Glacier, is the famous (and difficult) Muztagh Tower (7,276m)...

 

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....  again the detail and shape of the Muztagh tower formation is spectacular, narrow front on, but wide to side, is is an amazing mountain.

 

Opposite is the Skil Brun or Skilbrum (7,410m), K2 peaks up (no pun intended) in the background, with Broad Peak.

 

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The next valley and you have the Muztagh Glacier and the highlight here is the Biale Kangri with an elevation of 6687m.

 

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Note the massive three pronged sentinel K1 across the valley...   Biale is In fact is framed by four Glaciers, three in Dunge Glacier, Biale Glacer (which is centre above) and the Muztagh Glacier east..

 

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...  and set north behind the Biale formation is the huge wide Sarpo-Laggo Glacier (below)...  all these glaciers are done here with great skill in this package.

 

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The next set of formations are another iconic climbing folklore...  the Trango Towers. The Towers offer some of the largest cliffs and most challenging rock climbing in the world, and every year a number of expeditions from all corners of the globe visit Karakoram just to climb these immensely difficult granite rocks. The formations are framed by both the Trango Glacier and the Dunge Glacier.

 

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The largest is the Great Trango which itself is a large massif  , with four identifiable summits: Main-Great (6,286m), South or Southwest (6,250m), East (6,231m), and West (6,223m). The Tranago Towers is a complex combination of steep snow/ice gullies, steeper rock faces, and vertical to overhanging headwalls, topped by a snowy ridge system.

 

Just northwest of Great Trango is the Trango Tower (6,239m), often called "Nameless Tower". This is a very large, pointed, rather symmetrical spire which juts 1,000 m (3,300 ft) out of the ridgeline. North of Trango Tower is a smaller rock spire known as "Trango Monk." To the north of this feature, the ridge becomes less rocky and loses the large granite walls that distinguish the Trango Towers group and make them so attractive to climbers; however the summits do get higher. These summits are not usually considered part of the Trango Towers group, though they do share the Trango name. Trango II (6,237m) which lies northwest of the Monk, and the highest summit on the ridge, Trango Ri (6,363m) lies northwest of Trango II.

Just southeast of Great Trango (really a part of it's southeast ridge) is the Trango Pulpit (6,050m), whose walls present similar climbing challenges to those of the Great Trango itself. Further to the south is Trango Castle (5,753m), the last large peak along the ridge before the Baltoro Glacier.

 

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Again all these remarkable rock face surfaces are incredibly well done, and the reproduction gives you a very authentic representation of these famous climbing walls.

 

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The last significant formation in the Karakoram scenery on the north side of Baltoro Glacier is Choricho (6597m).

 

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The boundary of the scenery ends here, but the Baltoro Glacier does go on a little longer, another significant peak but not represented in this custom scenery, but still can be actually seen from this aspect in the distance is Nanga Parbat (8,126m) another of the 8,000m monsters.

 

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Make no mistake on how much of the famous Karakoram area is covered in this package, it is impossible to cover every peak but only the most significant ones in a review...  but most of the south area I left unexplored. But not only have all the peaks been covered, but also the significant glaciers are completed here as well, like the Liligo Glacier (below right).

 

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Time to head back to base camp at Concordia...

 

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....  since climbing to the highest altitude of 24,500ft, I have gradually and slowly reduced my height back down to 16,500ft. If coming into the Baltoro Glacier from the west then you have to also watch that altitude number, so now sitting at 16,500 I still sit quite high above the glacier, but as I fly more into the cavernous glacier alley then the shifting ice floor will climb up quite steeply towards me, until I only have a 1,000ft between myself and the glacier. below...  so very steep is this ice shelf.

 

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You are always very aware of how quickly the glacier floor is coming up at you, but you still give yourself time to glimpse the magnificent Trango Towers and K1 from this lower perspective.

 

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Although now a clear day up here, XLK2- Concordia can still be hard to see (impossible in more misty conditions)...  The massive Gasherbrum l at a soaring 8,080m is your runway aim point...

 

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...  you realise you have to sort of dogleg left to get directly into the steep approach, but height and speed is critical into get the landing perfectly right.

 

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You can afford to take your time as the 16/34 runway is quite big (meaning long), but don't be too greedy, or you will run out of space...

 

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...  at 50 knts the tail drops down and it is like throwing anchor out on to the ice, and your landing speed drops away quickly.

 

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A kick of right rudder and ton of power, twists the PC-6 around, and then all you can do is stop and look at the full magnificence of the most dangerous and killer mountain on the planet...  K2.

 

ICAO Noted Airports and H Pads

There is One Ice-Strip and 2 H Pads in the scenery, and provided are:

  • XLK2 - AIRPORT  CONCORDIA
  • HEK2 HELIPAD - KARAKORUM HELIPAD
  • CBK2 HELIPAD - BASE CAMP K2

XLK2 - AIRPORT  CONCORDIA

An Ice runway set at 16/34 orientation, with large boundary boulders, the Concordia camp is set nearby.

 

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HEK2 HELIPAD - KARAKORUM HELIPAD

Set behind the Concordia Base camp, it is a rough ground style H-Pad with no approach restrictions

 

K2-Karakoram_Baltoro Concordia HEK2_1.jpgK2-Karakoram_Baltoro Concordia HEK2_2.jpg

 

CBK2 HELIPAD - BASE CAMP K2

Set at the very base of K2, it is another rough ground style H-Pad with no approach restrictions, and a small tent city base camp.

 

K2-Karakoram_Baltoro Concordia CBK2_1.jpgK2-Karakoram_Baltoro Concordia CBK2_2.jpg

___________________

Summary

2020 has been a big year for the scenery combo of Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini and not only for the five exceptional packages of the Dolomites, but also the South American Torres del Paine National Park, and now this a package of another significant mountain region of Pakistan's Karakoram.

 

Karakoram is also home to one of the most dangerous mountains on the planet, of which is K2, and at 8,611m the second highest mountain behind Everest. And if you think this scenery is just one mountain, then think again as the Karakoram has four of the noted 8,000m mountains (five if you count Nanga Parbat to the west) in the biggest climbs and challenges known to any climber.

 

The Karakoram area is well represented in peaks with not only K2, but also K1 (Masherbrum), Broad Peak, the Gasherbrum massif of nine peaks, Chogolisa, the Saltoro Mountains subrange including Saltoro Kangi, Baltoro Kangi, Muztagh Tower, Biale Kangri, Choricho and the famous Trango Towers. All the associated glaciers are also completely represented including the immense Baltoro Glacier. There is one (fictional) airport and two H-Pads included. Except for two Base Camps (one large and one small) there is no other object placement in the scenery, it is all just about the spectacular scenery.

 

All scenery is 3D with DEM data (digital elevation model) and further elaborated with many structural details. The textures are all based on 4K (4096x4096) extreme quality images.

 

Extremely difficult to do, 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 very highly detailed of the areas they represent and the mountain ranges are of course the stars and the focal point of the scenery packages.

 

Hugely popular and yes I seriously love these amazing and hugely detailed and now extensive sceneries that can change your perspective of iconic mountain areas and allow them to come to life in your simulation world, in this case the extreme world of the Karakoram region...   Highly recommended.

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X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! The K2 - Karakorum 3D by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

K2 - Karakorum 3D

 

Price Is US$22.95

 

Features:

  • Area included in the degree + 35. + 076.
  • Mountains scenery with 3D models of the main mountains of Karakorum
  • Base Camp Concordia from where the expeditions for K2, Broad peak, Gasherbrum and Cogholisa depart.
  • Base Camp K2, the real Base Camp for the conquest of K2.
  • helipad near to base camp
  • 1 snow-runway 500 mt. long, near Base Concordia
  • 3D models +textures, all in 4K :  K2, Broad peak, Gasherbrum group, Cogholisa, Masherbrum, Mitre Peak, tower Musthang, Tower Trango
  • Photographic polygons/ textures as covered of terrain typical zone of great mountains.
  • Polygons/textures 4K 
  • area covered 2000 Square Kilometers

 

 

WT3/Traffic Global: Your joking of course! no, you are on your own out here

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11 

Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 485 MB
Release and Review version 1.0 (1st December 2020)
 
Installation
Download scenery file size is download 459mb and with the full installation installed in your custom scenery folder as there are two install folders in the order below in the .INI File...  the mesh has to be set below the main
 
  • KARAKORUM_3D (780mb)
  • MESH_KARAKORUM (135mb)

 

Total scenery installation (K2 - Karakorum) : 915mb

 

Documents

One manual with notes

______________________________________________________________________

  

Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton

1st December 2020

Copyright©2020 : 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 - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.51

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

Plugins: None

Scenery or Aircraft

-  Bell 407 XP11 by Dreamfoil (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$35.00

-  Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter - DGS Series by Thranda (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$34.95

 

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