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Scenery Review : Banff National Park UHD by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini

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Banff National Park UHD_Header.jpg


Scenery Review : Banff National Park UHD by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini


Some people never seem to go to bed...  just weeks after their amazing K2 - Karakorum 3D, Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini have now released another epic scenery that covers the Banff National Park in Western Canada.


Banff National Park (French: Parc national Banff) is Canada's oldest national park, established in 1885. And is located in Alberta's Rocky Mountains, and situated 110–180 kilometres (68–112 mi) west of Calgary, Banff encompasses 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi) of mountainous terrain, with many glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north. Provincial forests and Yoho National Park are neighbours to the west, while Kootenay National Park is located to the south and Kananaskis Country to the southeast. The main commercial centre of the park is the town of Banff, in the Bow River valley.


In this latest scenery from Dainese and Bellini we focus on the Jasper National Park area and in particular the iconic Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel, as the area is also a declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Another focus is on a secondary lake called Lake Moraine to the south with the Valley of the Ten Peaks.


Baniff Canada 1.jpgBaniff Lake Louise.jpg

Baniff Map Lake Louise_ Lake Moraine.jpg


In scale this is not a particularly large scenery by Dainese and Bellini at around 800 sq. km, but it is quite dense in detail.


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The famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel was first conceived by the railway at the end of the 19th century, as a vacation destination to lure moneyed travelers into taking trains and heading West. The Fairmont has two other sister properties developed in the same style, the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, and the Château Frontenac in Quebec . The hotel's wooden Rattenbury Wing was destroyed by fire on 3 July 1924, and was replaced by the current Barrot Wing one year later. The original Painter Wing was built in 1913, and is the oldest existing portion of the hotel. The Mount Temple Wing, opened in 2004, is the most recent wing and features modern function facilities; these include the Mount Temple Ballroom.


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The well known Dainese and Bellini design style is very much on show here, basically photo images on a model, but in saying that it looks very nice in this setting, and there is a lot of detail including the main original hotel, the new Mount Temple Wing, and other Canadian style lodging accommodation...  so the effect overall works very well, but don't go looking for an ultra detailed model and high quality textures.


The Lake Louise hamlet is also reproduced a little east from the hotel. Initially settled in 1884 as an outpost for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Lake Louise sits at an elevation of 1,600 m (5,200 ft), making it Canada's highest community, and the hamlet has a population 691.


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Thankfully the buildings are not of a regular alpine design, but Canadian lodge in feel. highlight is the custom log cabin style historic Lake Louise CPR railroad station, which is also currently as a restaurant, and the concept is well done and authentic.


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Other established areas are also represented, including the Lake Louise Ski Resort (with ski lift) and the Paradise Lodge & Bungalows resort.


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Lake Louise

Lake Louise (also named named "Ho-run-num-nay" or "Lake of the Little Fishes" by the Stoney Nakota First Nations people), is a glacial lake that It is located 5 km (3.1 mi) west of the Hamlet of Lake Louise and the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1). The unique turquoise colour of the water comes from rock flour carried into the lake by melt-water from the glaciers that overlook the lake. The lake has a surface of 0.8 km2 (0.31 sq mi) and is drained through the 3 km long Louise Creek into the Bow River.


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The lake version here is really well done, certainly the turquoise water effect is excellent, there are a set sequence of buoys to set out a runway, but the buoys are quite large and out of scale to the water? in the distance is the Victoria Glacier.


To the left is Fairview Mountain with its very nice exposed rocky facade, and behind is Mount Aberdeen...


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...   oddly the view on the right of Lake Louise is not the bast aspect of the mountains... although the peaks of Mount Whyte (2,983m) and Mount Niblock (2,976m) can be seen, and the challenge here is the Devils Thumb ascent, but this more hiking country than serious rock climbing.


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The other side of the range is more exciting visually and highly detailed. Mt St. Piran (2649m) is more prominent peak here as is the Little Beehive. Popes Peak (3,163m) and Collier Peak (2,769m) and northside is Narao Peak (2974m) and all are part of the highly rated and noted "Plain of the Six Glaciers Trail" that is a 14.6 kilometer circular trek around Lake Louise.


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The most significant mountain in the scenery is Mount Victoria, (3,464m) and the mountain is sited on the border between British Columbia and Alberta, there is the Bow Ridge and another peak in the range called the Mount Victoria North peak. Behind Mt. Victoria is Mount Huber (3328m).


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All these 3D models are derived from DEM (digital elevation model) and transformed into 3D Objects as if they were buildings, with hundreds of thousands of triangles. The textures here are all in 4K resolution, and obtained from high definition photos were then applied. The positioning on the modified meshes is very accurate, respecting the elevations and the main morphological characteristics of the terrain. A further difficulty due to the presence of 4 degrees right in the center of 3D models.


Lake Louise to Lake Moraine Route

That covers the Lake Louise valley, the route to Lake Lake Moraine is a tricky, but a highly panoramic flight...


Baniff Map Lake Louise_ Lake Moraine route.jpg


...  you could really cheat and go via the Bow River Valley, but that would be too easy. Start point is the excellent Lake Louise Boathouse.


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I'm flying the excellent Thranda Beaver DHC-2 with 450 hp (340 kW), but to be honest it struggles a little with this route, so I do recommend a more powerful float aircraft.


You need as much momentum as you can get. So with a few runs I found that a swing at speed into the marked water-lane was the best way to get the maximum movement to attempt a takeoff...


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...  there are not a lot of options here, and with no wind in your face, it is pretty hard to get right. Flaps at Takeoff (I did try full flap and even no Flap, with pretty horrendous results)...


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... but the Beaver simply refuses to build speed and become unstuck from the water...


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... full power, a bounce from the yoke and holding your breath, and the DHC-2 finally grips the air...


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Yay, I'm up...  once clear of the water drag I'm flying but my problems are not over yet...  I now have to climb and climb hard, as there is the need to get from 5,300ft to 8,000ft as quickly as possible, in the Beaver that is very tricky but doable, it just needs the perfect balance between using the weak engine power and your vertical speed, not stalling is the key...  Flaps stay at the climb position.


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Your aim is an almost very tight and high valley called "Abbot Pass" on the left at the join between between the bases of Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria.


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It is damn hard to climb enough to clear the ridge, worse is that as the towering face of Mt. Victoria overwhelms you, the aircraft drifts left, and you will need a lot of skill and a lot of right rudder to keep the aircraft straight, balanced and to get through the tight gap.


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Even when through the pass, you are still climbing, so level off at just over 8,000ft.


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To your immediate left is the bulk of Mount Temple (3,544m) the highest peak in the Lake Louise area and the mountain looks from certain angles like a smaller Mount Everest...


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...  behind the bulk are the smaller peaks of Pinnacle Mountain (3,070m) and Eiffel Peak (3,077m).


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Pinnacle Mountain is composed of sedimentary rock laid down during the Precambrian to Jurassic periods. It was formed in shallow seas, as this sedimentary rock was pushed east and over the top of younger rock during the Laramide orogeny. The Grand Sentinel is the largest of the pinnacles located on the mountain. This quartzite tower rises 120 metres above the screen slopes on the Paradise Valley side of Sentinel Pass. On your right is the Hungabee Mountain, (3,492m) also known as "chieftain". The basin here is called Horseshoe Glacier.


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Ringrose Peak (3278m) is an extension of ridge formed by Mount Hungabee, and were the ridge drops and joins to Wastach Mountain is another passage between the valleys, this is the only time period you have to actually pause to have a look at the outstanding view as you pass over Lake Horseshoe.


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The gap is again quite high and you will need 8,300ft to clear it, but once over the ridge your are then in the famous...


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...    "Valley of the Ten Peaks",


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The famous formation is made up (of course) of ten peaks, in order left to right, Mount Fay (3,235m), Mount Little (3,088m), Mount Bowlen (3,072m), Tonsa (3,057m), Mount Perren (3,051m), Mount Allen (3,310m), Mount Tuzo (3,246m), Deltaform Mountain (3,424m), Neptuak Mountain (3,233m)  and finally Wenkchemna Peak  (3,170m).  


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The mountain face detail of the range by Dainese and Bellini here of the of ten peaks is very good and provide some very highly detail rock faces...


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But in reality you don't have the time to look at all the brilliant scenery in front of you, Lake Moraine is down there and only a short distance away, and you have to lose now 3,000ft in quick time, throttle back and use your big Flap area as airbrakes, so full Flap...


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...  it takes a fair bit of flying skill to get this approach to the lake just right, you must keep as far to the right and as close to the Ten Peaks in order to get the best possible curve in approach to the lake.


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So use as much space as you can before the final turn in to the lake, like at Lake Louise there are sets of large buoys, all set out as a landing area, but they are set to short and too far to the left to be really of any use, I am to the right of the right row of buoys and it gives you a longer water landing area, there are a few boats sitting in your way, but you need the longer landing run...


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...   the really, really hard part of this approach is the transition from falling fast to finding your correct flare point, your power is off completely in the descent, but if you don't get the power volume back on again, and correct on the leveling off point, you will simply stall or fly over the lake too fast... tricky, but again doable.


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...  get the procedure right and you can slowly lower the aircraft back onto the water...


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...  sometimes if your speed is too fast the float noses might dig in, but a lot of nerve is required to get the approach right, and flare perfect.


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I took about three approaches to get the water landing perfect, so there is the need to practice the long and falling procedure to the landing sequence to get it absolutely right.


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Once down and floating, I headed for the landing stage which is very similar to the one at Lake Louise.


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Lake Moraine

Moraine Lake is another glacial lake in this Banff National Park, It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 1,884 metres (6,181 ft). The lake has a surface area of 50 hectares (120 acres) that is fed from the Fay Glacier.


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There is only one commercial facility here and that is the Moraine Lake Lodge...


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...  a local will greet you and give you a big hug, a bear hug...   the  bear actually very well done. Staying at the lodge is not cheap at around $1,000 a night, but you get breakfast thrown in for that... but it is an experience and even worth the cash for a night or two. As a recreation of the lodge it is very well done and authentic (cheaper as well).


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The lake shore is well done and all is nicely detailed as well, with signs (bears again), huts, boats and signage...


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... but overall, they mostly come to Moraine Lake for the explosive Ten Peak view.


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In most cases lighting is not a big focus on these mountain packages. but here there is a few more significant buildings here than the usual villages of the Alps and Dolomites. Basically there are only three areas to cover, the Fairmont Hotel, Moraine Lake Lodge and the Lake Louise hamlet.


The Fairmont Hotel looks excellent at night with just the right amount of lighting to make it realistic. Entrance roads and carparks are also well lit, overall it looks amazing in the right lighting conditions.


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The Moraine Lake Lodge feels more remote and rustic in the twilight, it is good, but not flashy, note the lit H-Pad.


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The Lake Louise hamlet is also very good and feels very much like a Canadian wilderness outpost, the lighting design is very Dainese and Bellini in look and feel, but it works well here. Highlight is again the Railway Station.


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ICAO Noted Airports and H Pads

There are two water runways and two  H Pads in the scenery, and provided are:

  • LCLLW – water runway - Lake Louise
  • LCLM - water runway - Lake Moraine Canada
  • HLML - Helipad Lake Moraine
  • XCYCHLL  Helipad Lake Louise


LCLLW – water runway - Lake Louise

Set directly in front of the Hotel boathouse, the water runway is long and wide, but you have to kink left on departure west.
Banff_ Moraine Water runway 1.jpgBanff_ Moraine Water runway 2.jpg


LCLM - water runway - Lake Moraine Canada

Pretty useless as a takeoff or landing zone because the layout is intefered by the land jutting out into the course, I use the long left (looking west) set of pylons to get the best full run down the lake, takeoff area is short as well.


Banff_ Moraine Water runway 3.jpgBanff_ Moraine Water runway 4.jpg


HLML - Helipad Lake Moraine

Set directly in front of the Moraine Lake Lodge, this nice H-PAD is set up on a mound, so you landings have to be quite exact, is so not to side down the sides, but a great approach into the H-Pad is guaranteed from over the Lake.


Banff_ Moraine Water H-Pad 1.jpgBanff_ Moraine Water H-Pad 2.jpg


XCYCHLL  – Helipad Lake Louise

Set directly opposite the Railway station in central Lake Louise Hamlet, this is another great landing zone, but watch out for the towering lamp post on arrival.


Banff_ Moraine Water H-Pad 3.jpgBanff_ Moraine Water H-Pad 4.jpg


I was disappointed there was no H-Pad at the Fairmont Hotel? There are several areas you could have used, and the carpark to the north of the hotel, even if fictional is perfect as a landing zone.



Another unique mountain package from the duo X-Plane mountain specialists of Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini, and this epic scenery covers the area of the Banff National Park in Western Canada.


The package covers specifically the Jasper National Park area and in particular Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel, Lake Moraine with the featured vista of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Lake Louise Hamlet and various other tourist areas (Skiing) and lodges are also represented.


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 Banff and Jasper National Park region, it comes...   Highly recommended.



X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! The Banff National Park UHD by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Banff National Park UHD

Price Is US$22.95


  • Covers over 800 sq km.
  • included in the degree + 51 ° -117 °.
  • From the valley of ten peaks, Lake Moraine to Lake Louise with the near village.
  • The whole territory was reconstructed on a photographic basis.
  • The tourist areas of the lakes are reproduced with typical buildings, hotels, residences ...
  • All the vegetation has been mapped and faithfully reproduced in 3D.
  • 2 “water runways” have been prepared for the flight from lake to lake with seaplanes.
  • 2 heliports at the respective tourist sites.
  • Reconstructed with 3D models the mountain groups with 4K textures processed from photos.
  • Ten peaks and the homonymous valley, Mont Temple, Mont Lefroy, Mont Hungabee, Moraine lake, Louise Lake...
  • This scenery is only suitable for VFR flight, only with a "visual flight".
  • ICAO codes: LCLLW (Lake_Louise Canada)    LCLM (Lake_Moraine Canada)   HLML  (Helipad Lake Moraine)     XCYCHLL (Hlipad - village near Lake Louise 


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



X-Plane 11 

Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 267 MB
Release and Review version 1.0 (6th January 2021)
Download scenery file size is download 267mb and with the full installation installed in your custom scenery folder as there are five install folders, that need to set in the order below in the provided .INI File...  the mesh has to be set below the main scenery folders.
  • Banff_CableWay
  • LakeMoraine_Louise
  • TenPeaks_Banff
  • trees_Banff_lib


Total scenery installation (Banff National Park) : 305.13mb



One manual with notes



Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton

16th January 2021

Copyright©2021 : 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

- DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series by Thranda Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$34.95


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Did I do that!...   yes I did, dumb and dumber, shows how long it has been out of the water....  actually it didn't make much difference as I ran it again, rudders up? This is at the final set of buoys, still only nudging 60 knts?


Banff_  rudder runway 1.jpg

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