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Scenery Review : YAYE - Ayres Rock - Connellan Airport by RIM&Co

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YAYE - Ayers Rock_Header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : YAYE - Ayres Rock - Connellan Airport by RIM&Co

 

If you get a large map of Australia and pretty well draw two lines to crosshair the centre of the continent then you would find two unique rock formations called Uluru and Kata Tjuṯa or by their English names of Ayers Rock and the Olgas. They are not as expected to be the usual volcanic leftovers, but are actually basically cemented sandstone, but they are extremely unique in their prominence in such a very flat landscape. But anything this different and unusual will always attract people to see something out of the ordinary and even if they are positioned in what is essentially the middle of absolutely nowhere.

 

In fact just over 300,000 tourists are attracted to coming out here to these far reaches each year, and so if you have that many people coming to a place that is that far away from basically anything, you will need an airport. This is that airport in YAYE - Ayers Rock or Connellan Airport after Edward Connellan, who started Connellan Airways in 1942 and provided passenger transport, chartered Royal Flying Doctor Service flights and mail runs this far out into the Australian outback.

As with any major tourism attraction the people loving it quickly were damaging the environment and so it was decided in the early 1970s to remove all accommodation-related tourist facilities near the base of Uluru and re-establish them outside the park. In 1975, a reservation of 104 km2 (40 sq mi) of land beyond the park's northern boundary, 15 km (9.3 mi) from Uluru, was approved for the development of a tourist facility, and came to be known as Yulara, along with a new airport. The new facilities at YAYE became fully operational in late 1984.

 

First Impressions

Most services operate out of Sydney and Melbourne with Jetstar and Virgin Australia to YAYE, but Qantas now only uses Qantaslink which is a subsidiary of Qantas but the aircraft which are mostly B717's and are mostly operated by Cobham under the Qantaslink banner from Alice Springs and Cairns which are major tourism routes. In any route you are still 1000nm from any connecting airport except Alice Springs which is still only 500nm away, and that makes any flight to YAYE a long one no matter your starting point, and a minimum of three to four hours flying time, so short hops are out of the question out here.

 

My flight is using Rotate's MD88 (as close as a B717 I think your going to get) in Qantaslink colours is from YBBN - Brisbane and it is a four hour 1220nm flight.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 1.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 2.jpg

 

Fuel load was as close to 16,000lbs and all I could get into the MD88, I needed the range. Departure was via RWY 01 and WOODY SID and then you just head straight west over Queensland and into the Northern Territory and just follow the sun. You can debate it as much as you want to, but the Qantaslink colours on Rotate's lovely aircraft in the bright Queensland sunshine looks brilliant.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 3 LG.jpg

 

In the manual (in all ENG, DE, CN, IN and Russian) it gives you some great charts (five including a scenic chart) which are very welcome. YAYE has one runway 13/31 2,599 (8,527ft) and most approaches are via RWY31, but I am going for RWY13 because the light wind is in that direction. So the RNAV approach is via AYEWI but I am going out a little further to AYEWE to get a better feel of the approach.

 

As I came into the circuit then out on the horizon loomed up these great spectacles of nature.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 4.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 5.jpg

 

You can start to get as low as 4000ft out here as there isn't much but a flat landscape to fly into. This is my first flight into YAYE, as I have flown into Alice Springs a few times, but never way out to here at Ayres Rock Airport.

 

There is only one nav-aid in a NDB (AYE) 233 khz and nothing else. I couldn't rely on the aircraft's ARR STAR on the FMC as it went weird between waypoints AYEWE and AYEWI in drawing a complete circle on the FMS? and nothing in editing any of the FMC legs could eliminate it?  It only gave me an approx to the run into RW13 but not a definite line to the threshold...  In other words I was completely on my own.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 6.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 8.jpg

 

I was correctly lined up for RWY13 and flying by the set course and NDB pointer...  But where was YAYE?

 

My nose was right up against the windshield (the computer monitor) and I simply couldn't see any....  ..... runway, then suddenly I was over YAYE as it then passed straight by on my below left?

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 7.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 9.jpg

 

I really (really) hate go-arounds but this one had completely fluxed me? Did you see any runway...  well I didn'r see anything? I did get however a real eyeful of Uluru and it looks very good in the X-Plane11's lighting, extremely realistic...

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 10 LG.jpg

 

I did a reset for RWY31 (thank god for light winds) and started the second approach...

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 11.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 12.jpg

 

This time I did see the runway lighting, but the problem is you get seriously disoriented because you have no darker runway silhouette to focus on to get your runway angle correct, all you have is two sets of lights in the gloom. I noted on the replay that I missed the RWY13 approach lighting by being just a little to the north, not a lot but enough to hide the approach lighting, but the problem is there is absolutely nothing around you either as a marker, pointer or any landmark towards the runway...  it is just like a flat wasteland of nothing. 

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 13.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 14.jpg

 

You do actually have an aid here that I was unaware of, It is called the T (Tee)- Visual Approach or T-VASIS. This is a set of four white lights with a set back twin set of red lights that creates an inverted T on each side of the runway to give you a guide line for the angle of the runway.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 15.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 16.jpg

 

But T-VASIS is still hard to see, even if you know what to expect next time , my guess each landing becomes easier each arrival the more you are aware of the ground system, but on a first run, it was just..... 

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 17.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 18.jpg

 

I was out, and a little to the left, but "boy" I was a happy person when those wheels touched...  out here you just can't go and divert to another airport as it is 500km away at Alice Springs, it is simply a do or die moment, or a "get it down... get it ......   ....  down".

 

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There are turn arounds at both ends of the runway and they are quite tight for the larger MD88.

 

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You have to study the airport layout chart, because the taxiways are a little confusing. A few in B, C and D are not usable for aircraft over 12,566lbs (5700kgs) and you have to pick out taxiways A and E as the only route to the apron, it is a tight turn as well (look out for the ex-Ansett B737 by the Fire Station). Another note is that taxiway A cannot be used after dark and is available in daylight hours only for aircraft below the 5700kg weight.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 23.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 24.jpg

 

The biggest aircraft you can land here is a Airbus A320, anything larger and you would be in trouble manoeuvring around these tight corners and tarmac strips.

 

There is great runway and taxiway detail in cracks and hot asphalt, as obviously the hot dry sun out here can take its toll.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 26.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 27.jpg

 

General Aviation apron is large and resurfaced and is to the northwest of the main ramps.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 29.jpg YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 30.jpg

 

There are five main parking stands and two are filled with a QF B738 and a VA E180 on stands 3 and 4. I am used to tight Australian ramps, but this one is tight..  "tight", the MD88 feels like an A380 manoeuvring around on here, but if not anything else I am good at parking aircraft and used to this circular Aussie style ramp parking to park up at stand 2.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 31.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 32.jpg

 

Engine shutdown and I am totally exhausted...  That was one tough arrival!  I needed a really strong coffee and walk after that one.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_First Im 33 LG.jpg

 

And it doesn't end there either?  Chart note's include east crosswinds with sand on approach to RWY13, Windshear is also known in the area and dust-devils are also very common throughout the year? a really fun place to fly into isn't it, is this airport at YAYE.

 

________________________________________

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock Airport/Connellan Airport

 

Ayers Rock/Connellan Airport

IATA: AYQ - ICAO: YAYE

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Chart.jpg

 

13/31 - 2,599m (8,527ft) Asphalt

Elevation AMSL1,626 ft / 496 m

 

Rim&Co YAYE - Ayers Rock Airport

This is Rim&Co's first payware scenery, the idea for the scenery was when the developer passed through YAYE a few years ago and thought that "This would be a great scenery for X-Plane" and so here it is.

 

Something is to be noted this early in the overall view of this scenery. The scenery comes with downloadable and comprehensive 25000kmx2 photo scenery at 15, 30 and 60 cm/pixel resolution. Which is very nice. But at 6gb just for the local airport mesh and a huge whopping 16gb for the expanded mesh, that is just too high a number to download. If I think right I don't think I have ever downloaded more that 3gb for expanded scenery mesh, and as good as it well maybe, and I A_ don't have the hours and hours to download it, and B_ is not going to use half of my monthly download data allocation in doing so? It just seems to be just all too far over the top? So this scenery is regrettably presented without the extra texture mesh, which I do think would certainly make a great addition to the scenery, but those numbers are just simply too high in every area and including filling out what is left of my hard SDD storage (I only have 512gb of SSD storage).

 

YAYE Overview

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 1.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 2.jpg

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 3.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 4.jpg

 

The overview of YAYE highlights the significant camouflage that you are confronted with as the airport is very hard to distinguish out from its desert surroundings, even with the closeup of the runways they are still very hard until quite close to mark out, but it is also very faithful to the real life conditions as well.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 5.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 6.jpg

 

YAYE - Central area

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 7.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 8.jpg

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Overview 9 LG.jpg

 

As an airport layout then YAYE is quite simple. A heavy RPT apron for five A320/B737 size aircraft (seven are noted but only five are usable with this layout) and a large GA/Heli apron to the northwest. Lineage is a bit odd with gates 4 and 5? but it is correct to the real layout, but the the static VA E160 is slightly parked wrong to highlight it more odd than it should be.

 

YAYE Terminal

First a note in that if you use the Australian VOZ scenery by Barry Roberts then you need to either A_ then take it out of your Custom Scenery folder or B_ open VOZ up in the overlay editor, select YAYE and delete all the objects for that area, if not you will get a bad conflict of the two sceneries (Darwin airport anyone?).

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 1.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 2.jpg

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 3.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 4.jpg

 

The main terminal building is excellent, very Australian in feel, design and look with great brick and terracotta walls and roofing, and so RimCo have got this absolutely right. There is huge amount of vehicles and 3d people milling around and they make this terminal a very busy place, but I still am trying work out is what a snowboarder is doing here right in the middle of an hot Australian desert?

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 5.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 6.jpg

 

Small detailing is also excellent, names, flags and signage is really good and there is a lot of observation from the developers included here to make it very authentic.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 7.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 8.jpg

 

Glass textures are also first rate and very authentic as is all the stone paving work and markings. Overall this is top rate work, but a few trees don't have the correct transparency and they show up in a blue halo spoiling the effect.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 9.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 10.jpg

 

Ramp equipment detailing is also excellent, with equipment holding areas and branded aircraft stairs.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 11.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Terminal 12.jpg

 

There is a huge amount of static vehicles and almost everything in earthmoving and engineering equipment, but a many of the items like the fuel tankers are more eastern European than Australian.  As noted I don't know the difference the photo ground textures would have been? but I think the ground aspect would have worked far better if they had been more easily available. Certainly in the context of the great Australian outback style workshops on the site.

 

General Aviation / Helicopter Operations

There is a huge newly resurfaced GA and Heli area to the northwest of the terminal area.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 1.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 2.jpg

 

The GA/Heli area is very well laid out with animated Helicopter (It circles around and lands) and lots of animated aircraft taxiing. There is again a huge amount of objects from people to vehicles and loads of ramp equipment. At the far end of the apron there is a large outback (rough shed style) maintenance hangar that has a dirt floor inside without the proper ground textures.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 3.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 4.jpg

 

As you will know I love a lot of activity and populated airports, but here at YAYE is a bit too much of everything, and not much of what you really need?

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 5.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 6.jpg

 

Vehicles and taxiing aircraft clog up the taxiways, and so you can't easily taxi around the apron without moving directly through them in either static or animated objects which is a big no no for me...   worse is the badly set parking positions? Only one in the GA area? and in the wrong place... where it clashes badly with a animated aircraft (below left)? So although the GA area is excellent, it is not actually accessible or workable?

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 7.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 8.jpg

 

Main ramp parking positions are really bad as well? all are set wrong and all the available placements sets you down in the wrong places?

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 9.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_GA_Heli 10.jpg

 

Although you have annoying animated aircraft the scenery does not have any ATC ground routes set up either? so A.I. aircraft or X-Life and WorldTraffic users are out of luck, and that is simply crazy here?  Out on the horizon is also a animated elevated cradle truck...   and god knows why?

 

Fire Station

Fronting taxiway E is the fire station with a clapped out Ansett Boeing 737 classic in front (not really there in reality)

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Fire Station 2.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Fire Station 1.jpg

 

There is far into the background a practise fire iron horse, but the Fire Station is quite modern and well reproduced here with a tiny control tower built in on the roof.

 

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Uluru and The Olgas

Nothing can prepare you for Uluru, certainly at the sunrise or sunset spectacular panoramas, it is a must see and you are in a world far different than than you could ever imagine, and it is a bit like being on Mars with the flies, and there are a lot of flies out here. So this scenery depends on the effect of Uluru and the Olgas to make it very realistic. To check them out I flew the XP11 Carenado C90 on a short sightseeing visit to both of them.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 1.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 2.jpg

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 3.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 4.jpg

 

Uluru is about 25knm from the airport, but before you get there, there is Yulara the tourism hub for the area. Originally there was three resorts at Yulara, but they were all brought together under the Yulara Development Company which leases the land to Voyages Hotels & Resorts that operates the largest facility out at Yulara as the "Sails in the Desert" five star resort. Overall in this RimCo scenery is that Yulara is pretty basic, with not even the distinctive sails of the Voyages Hotel being modeled here, mostly it is just basic buildings placed on the desert floor...  but it does give you something which is better than nothing at all...  The small township of Mutitjulu that is closer to the "Rock" is more realistic as it uses the X-Plane default autogen which works far better.

 

The "Rock" itself is excellent, the monolith is supremely created as it blends in very perfectly well with the default X-Plane landscape...

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 5.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 6.jpg

 

...   It would have been just far to easy to just plonk a 3d mountain object down in the desert, but the base of the rock is really well intergrated into the surrounding textures and the X-Plane11 lighting effects really finish off the amazing vision of Uluru.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 7 LG.jpg

 

You do get the most amazing different light shades as you fly around the monolith, it changes with different light sources just like the real version.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 8.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Uluru 9.jpg

 

Fantastic stuff and the recreated Olgas are just as good...

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Olgas 1.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Olgas 2.jpg

YAYE - Ayers Rock_Olgas 3.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_Olgas 4.jpg

 

...  again highly realistic and certainly the best version you are going to get of the area, I was very impressed with the realism of it all.

 

Lighting

Outback airports in Australia are not known for their expansive lighting.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 1.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 2.jpg

 

One bonus is that it is a lot easier to find the 13/31 runway in the dark than in the daytime because of the runway lighting.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 3.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 4.jpg

 

On the terminal and GA aprons it is pretty low key, but workable after dark.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 5.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 6.jpg

 

The terminal lighting is not bad, but those excellent glass textures have not been refined for night lighting so they are very dark? which really makes the terminal quite darker and duller than it should be...  a really wasted opportunity there. The lighting tries to use the external lighting to do the work instead, but it can't do that of course as the internal effect has to come from the actual textures.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 8.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 9.jpg

 

The main ramp lighting is a bit weird as well as the lighting directions is only one way? and not filling the whole ramp areas.

 

Landside lighting is not very full of profusion either with no overhead lighting and so the area is quite dark, and Yulara has as expected very basic lighting.

 

YAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 7.jpgYAYE - Ayers Rock_lighting 10.jpg

 

________________________________________

 

Summary

In many ways this YAYE - Ayres Rock scenery is a contradiction. In many and even most areas it is totally excellent, but in other areas it is a bit odd and over done,  but there is nothing here a little editing can fix.

 

So lets us look at the quirks first...   One thing first comes to mind is "edit, edit and edit". It is great to have a lot of objects and I am the first to complain if a developer has not done enough to fill out their scenery...  but here at YAYE it is just simply too much of too much.

 

If you can't taxi around or park on a ramp or apron because their are just too many or moving obstacles then you have a problem? I accept that the main apron is tight, and it is, but a more parking places would help. But I couldn't taxi anywhere here without bumping into something?

 

Worse is the none X-Plane built in features with no correctly set parking placements and too few and only one on the GA ramp, ditto the odd lineage on stands 4 and 5. Tower view is ground level mid-terminal (there is a small control tower here situated on top of the Fire Station). Lighting is passable and also limited, but better glass LIT textures would have made a huge difference in the terminal and no ATC ground routes is a major and significant omission. (note in that good ground routes can create good animated aircraft that work with you, rather than get in your way).

 

There is a huge missing loss with the additional photomesh textures and their huge and if suffocating download sizes and even the small airport area mesh is 6gb in size is surely going to be a bit too overweight for your framerate no matter how good they are, but the sizes alone put me off and there has to be a refinement in that area?

 

The good is however very good. The airport has been very well reproduced with some very fine detailing, and is very Australian authentic in feel and use.

The important Uluru and Olgas rock formations are extremely good and very well intergrated into the surrounding scenery and look simply spectacular from every direction as in the air (on arrival and departure) and close up in a scenic view, and the lighting effects are very effective here as well.

 

Ground textures like aprons, runways, taxiways and pavings with all their signage and markings is excellent as well with a worn extreme heat feel to the tarmac around most areas for realism.

 

And finally is the shear physical work you have to do to fly into YAYE, you have to be on you best game to navigate and land on such a illusionary runway with only an NDB for directional help, and it is far harder to do in a heavy jet and poor weather conditions that pushes your flying skills to the limit with limited visiblity...  and god help you if you have a low fuel load. But then that is the why we fly in X-Plane.

 

So overall even with its quirks then YAYE is very good to fly into and use, the basics are excellent and it is an authentic Australian scenery that is up there with the best of them, and overall I really love the scenery and it will certainly be part of my Australian network of very good solid scenery to use and fly into and with the added bonus to give my outback flying skills a real workout.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the YAYE - Ayres Rock - Connellan Airport by RIM&Co is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Ayers Rock - The Heart of Australia

 

Your Price is US$19.95

 

Features

 

  • A very faithful rendition of Ayers Rock Conellan Airport, featuring it´s surroundings as the neighbouring holiday village of Yulara and many other landmarks…
  • A prodigiously comprehensive 25000km2 photo scenery at 15, 30 and 60 cm/pixel resolution available extra free of charge...
  • Spectacular natural sites as the Ayers Rock or the Kata Jutja Stone massive (also known as the “Olgas”) which invite you to amazing  VFR-Flights…
  • Meticulously built ground textures at 1, 2 and 5 cm/pixel resolution based on thorough research…
  • More than 200 sublimely handcrafted replicas of airport buildings, vehicles and clutter objects equipped with 2K & 4K-Textures, giving highest attention to details, featuring many animations and authentic Night textures…
  • 9 superb static planes unique to the location of Ayers Rock Airport.
  • Putting emphasis on a vivid setting: A total of 70 Ground Traffic animations evoke an as-real-as-it-gets atmosphere…
  • Being one of the first X-Plane scenery to feature animated ground staff personnel, as there are more than 20 animated ramp agents, marshaller, crew members and 50 static passengers (XP10)
  • Several airport “scenes” like an animated business jet arrival with follow me car deployment…

 

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10

Windows, Mac or Linux
2GB+ VRAM Video Car
5-20GB HD Space (if you decide to use free Orthophotos )
 
Installation :   Download scenery file size is 675.60mb. With the full installation at 949.70mb in your custom scenery folder.
 
Downloadable extra photographic textures are available with:
 

-26+131.zip (about 16 GB) and
-26+130 Airport.zip (about 6 GB)

 

Which are installed in your custom scenery folder but in order that below the main YAYE Airport scenery but above the Global Airport scenery folder

 

Libraries required are Cami de Bellis and OpensceneryX

 

Manuals supplied for English, Chinese, Russian, German and Indian (IN)

 

WT3 : WorldTraffic3 conversion is zero, because there is no ATC ground routes built into the scenery...  very poor for a payware scenery?

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

2nd October 2017

Copyright©2017: 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 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.05

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- McDonnell Douglas MD-80 by Rotate ((Rotate MD-88 - X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$59.95

- Beechcraft C90B KingAir XP11 by Carenado (Carenado - X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$34.95

 

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Initially I was excited that we finally had a Australian airport in HD, however was disappointed that they could not place YAYE - Ayres Rock in the correct location. The introduction to the scenery says "Opened up by the Australian flight pioneer Edward Connellan in the 1950s, Ayers Rock Connellan Airport has become an important Australian airport handling many daily flights from all over Australia and serving the state of Western Australia." I just want to point out that Ayres Rock is in the It is in the Northern Territory, not Western Australia...

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