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Scenery Review : Faroe Islands XP by Aerosoft - Maps2XPlane

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Faroe Island XP_Header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : Faroe Islands XP by Aerosoft - Maps2XPlane

 

Sited almost directly between Norway and Iceland, and 200 miles (320 km) north-northwest off the coast of Scotland is the Faroe Islands. This archipelago area of 18 islands is about 540 square miles (1,400 km2) with a general population of 50,322 and is part of the 1814 Treaty of Kiel that granted Denmark control over the islands, along with the two other Norwegian island possessions of Greenland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948.

 

In world terms these islands are absolutely nowheresville, and buffeted by the strong winds of the North Atlantic on one side and the cold arctic winds of the Norwegian Sea with a  climate that is classifed as subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc) or very windy, wet, cloudy, and cool. Temperatures are usually average to above freezing throughout the year, and it is all so desolate and windswept that there are the only two images that comes to mind when thinking of these groups of windswept rocks, so why would you want to really go there?...  then why not, because the Faroe Islands are perfect for everything we love to do in flying simulators. It is a remote destination, it is very challenging flying wise and it is somewhere very different to explore... Faroe has got it all in three and plus with a great name like "Vágar!" that is very Viking in origin, and that makes it all sound like a brilliant destination.

 

Large Faroe.jpgFaroe.jpg

(Apple Maps)

 

I will note from the off  that the scenery is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde, but a very clever one but also hence the requirement of a large download (1.5gb) and the install (2.35gb) of which in reality supply two sets of the same terrain mesh and textures...  one for summer and one for winter. They switch depending on the time of the year, so if you want the summer textures then set your calendar to July or August, if you want the winter then set the date to December or January, the best way to switch is via the reload scenery selection in the developers X-Plane menu, also the "Runways Follow Terrain Contours" checkbox needs to be on.

 

As it is currently January at this time of the review my settings are set in the winter mode, but I will show both seasons.

 

First Impressions

I started services to the Faroe's with a twin hop... one from EGKK (Gatwick) to EGPH (Edinburgh) and then the second service on to EKVG (Vágar). I am flying FJS Sim's Dash Q400, so I figured I needed an extra service to sharpen up my skills in that I haven't flown the Dashy for a few months and that the approach to EKVG was going to need all of my skills ready and fine tuned for a interesting landing, and certainly my foresight was well founded.

 

Faroe Island XP_First Im 1.jpgFaroe Island XP_First Im 2.jpg

 

Being the dead of winter it was certainly very cold up at FL220 (22,00ft) and the Dashy needed the de-icing switched on to cover the -38º cold air, It was already on my mind what conditions I would have to face when I got to the Faroe's as Scotland was already at it's freezing drizzly best.

 

40nm out and the start of descent and it didn't look any better as the cloud cover was thick and far to the horizon, once under it was as expected seriously murky...

 

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Approach was from the south into EKVG RWY30, there are no VOR stations on Vagar (the island) but only two NDB frequencies in (VAGAR - 348 VG) and (MYGGENAES - 337 MY) close to the airport (there are overall four NDB stations). Both runways have ILS approach systems with RWY 30 (110.30 MF) and RWY 12 (109.10 SF) but to note that RWY 12's ILS is offset to 111º. So with the conditions I picked RWY30.

 

In the murk I finally saw the canyon terrain as you thread your way up the Hestfjørður between the southern part of Streymoy the main island of the Faroes and smaller Hestur Island on the east, on the tracking you go slightly west and the chart notes not to go lower than 4,000ft, with reason. I didn't and went down to 2000ft to help with the visibility to my bad...  

 

Faroe Island XP_First Im 5.jpgFaroe Island XP_First Im 6.jpg

 

The next island after Hestur is Koltur and it is all mountain peak and it made it's presence known very quickly within the murk... I judged the height, but it was still very close with the terrain warnings raining over me, next time I will stick with the 4,000ft limit.

 

Faroe Island XP_First Im 7.jpgFaroe Island XP_First Im 8.jpg

 

Once past Koltur then Vagar Airport is directly in front of you on Vagar Island, but again still don't start descending as the terrain is still quite high on the left.... and spectacular it is!  and more of a warning if you want to do a short approach and cut around through Vagafjørður to avoid Koltur Island, as you still need that height judgement on the approach.

 

Faroe Island XP_First Im 9.jpgFaroe Island XP_First Im 10.jpgFaroe Island XP_First Im 11.jpgFaroe Island XP_First Im 12.jpg

 

If you have the tools then use them, and ILS glideslope into RWY30 is a good guide, but be very aware if you want then switch over early to do the manual landing phase, as with switching off the Autopilot can then put you in a very tricky place as the side crosswinds across the Vagafjørður are savagely ferocious... I held on, but it could have also gone all seriously wrong and right down to the threshold, as I really had my hands full just keeping the aircraft tracking the centre approach lighting correctly...  the charts are noted with a lot of cautions!

 

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Just to note this is midday in Vagar as daylight in January from sunrise at 9.41am to sunset at 3.26pm as that is barely six hours of daylight, and it is mostly dull even then.

 

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Both runway approaches have RAIL guidance, but to note the runway 12/30 1,799m (5,902ft) on approach looks very short, it isn't but sloped, but I would call it more curved at both ends...  Maps2XPlane have done a great job getting it very exact to the the original gradients.

 

Faroe Island XP_First Im 17.jpgFaroe Island XP_First Im 18.jpg

 

Both ends of the 12/30 runway have turnaround areas, but they are both quite small, so watch the tight turning for say a B737/A320... the taxiway in is central runway, so it is a fair taxi back to the turn entrance... the Vágar airport looks however extremely authentic that was created by Albert Ràfols, so I am certainly getting a quality feelback to the scenery, it feels a little like the old Truscenery Tampere-Pirkkala airport, but not quite as detailed.

 

Aerosoft in their manual noted to turn on the "draw parked aircraft" selection in the X-Plane menu, but what appeared was not what I expected, but a Hawaiian A330??? I though that Aerosoft had their own static aircraft library? They do, and obviously it doesn't work... so the HA A330 was quickly banished.

 

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I parked at stand 4 in front of the newer opened 17th June 2014 terminal, with the older one to the left and a small cargo facility to the right (Stand 5). Stands 1 and 2 are both turn around stands as 3, 4 and 5 are nose in parking and there are three helicopter pads are available directly in front of the main apron (one has a static aircraft).

 

Faroe Island XP_First Im 23.jpg

 

So the first impressions are overwhelmingly great even if you can't actually see much of the scenery, and even more so with the difficult conditions raging around me, but I would expect that at this time of the year as it is possibly normal, but with the winter effects running it certainly was very realistic in creating that extreme environment (note the weather was created by xEnviro).

 

EKVG - Vágar Airport

The airport was built by British Royal Engineers during World War II on the island of Vágar. The site was chosen mainly because it was hard to see from the surrounding waters and the area was hidden from any potential guns of a German warship. The first aircraft landed here in Autumn 1942. Also British engineers had similarly first built Reykjavík Airport in Iceland in 1940, then known as RAF Reykjavik, following the British Occupation of Iceland.

 

After the war, Vágar airfield was abandoned and left unused until 1963 when it was reopened as a civilian airport at the initiative of two Sørvágur residents, Hugo Fjørðoy and Lars Larsen. The two worked with the Icelandic airline Icelandair which began the scheduled flights to Bergan, Copenhagen and Glasgow using a DC-3 aircraft (Just think flying around here in a DC-3! good god). In 1964 a separate airline, Faroe Airways, operated flights, The company ceased operating on 28 September 1967. In 1971, Icelandair was then operating Boeing 727-100 jetliners into the airport with weekly nonstop services to Glasgow and Reykjavik. In 1988, Atlantic Airways was formed and flying British Aerospace BAe 146-200 jet services nonstop to Copenhagen. Until 2004 Maersk Air also operated flights into the airport. Maersk Air flew Boeing 737-500 jetliners into the airport with services to Copenhagen, with aircraft's short airfield performance of the British Aerospace BAe 146-200 which was the best type until the runway was extended on 3rd December 2011. Atlantic Airways is now the only Faroe airline with one A320-200 and two A319.100's. SAS also started a Copenhagen service in March 2016.

 

Vágar Airport

Vága Floghavn

 

IATA: FAE - ICAO: EKVG

 

EKVG.jpg

 

12/30 1,799m (5,902ft) - Asphalt

Elevation AMSL 280 ft / 85 m

 

Faroe Island XP_Head 4.jpgFaroe Island XP_Head 1.jpgFaroe Island XP_Head 2.jpgFaroe Island XP_Head 3.jpg

 

As a landscape the setting for Vágar Airport is breathtaking, certainly in the winter setting. Note both approach lighting pylons that are in brilliant detail.

 

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Airport and terminal layout and is exceptional by Albert Ràfols, you have the detail and weathering for authenticity and for the perfect local Faroe ambience.

 

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Basically there are three areas, the long rear Cargo/New Terminal/Old Terminal area, the forward Control Tower and built-in fire station and the only large airport maintenance hanger which is also a base for Atlantic Airways.

 

There is a great contrast between the two terminals, with the glass and steel of the new building and the old wooden timber feel of the original 1963 terminal, note the original hut style "Customs" hall.

 

Faroe Island XP_Terminals 5.jpgFaroe Island XP_Terminals 6.jpgFaroe Island XP_Terminals 7.jpgFaroe Island XP_Terminals 8.jpg

 

There is really great lattice work on the modern terminal landside and all the glass and surfaces are reflective and PBR active...

 

Faroe Island XP_Terminals 9 LG.jpg

 

...     carpark detail is also first rate with great ground textures and markings, with the excellently detailed covered walkways and the quality 3d static vehicles.

 

Faroe Island XP_Terminals 11.jpgFaroe Island XP_Terminals 10.jpg

 

Only notable omission is the no active ramp vehicle traffic, but the point is that EKVG is not going to be really buzzy busy airport, so I think that aspect would work more against the scenery than for it.

 

The hanger/base for Atlantic Airways is visually the standout, mainly because of it's yellow colour scheme, but it looks very authentic, shame the doors don't open, SAM style.

 

Faroe Island XP_Atlantic 12.jpgFaroe Island XP_Atlantic 13.jpg

 

Control Tower - Fire Station

The distinctive control tower is really well recreated, as two levels cover the approach and ramp activities... there is a static S&R helicopter on standby out front...

 

Faroe Island XP_Control Tower 14.jpgFaroe Island XP_Control Tower 15.jpgFaroe Island XP_Control Tower 16.jpgFaroe Island XP_Control Tower 17.jpg

 

No poking out the door with any Fire Engines, but again I think that is again for the better here, as with the static vehicles in there is enough, but not an overwhelming feeling of clutter...  in other words perfect.

 

Tower view is set perfectly... with the setting just above the aerials and with that you get a full complete 180º unobstructed view of both the approaches (on a clear day).

 

Faroe Island XP_Control Tower 18.jpgFaroe Island XP_Control Tower 19.jpg

 

Helicopter Pads

Besides the main airport at Vágar there are also eight helipads that are spread out all over the islands as in most cases it is only by air that is the main way (or the only way) to navigate the islands, all have this great infrastructure or buildings built around the pads and as they are not just plonked straight in there as most scenery developers usually do... the Heliport at Tórshavn is the standout (below left).

 

Faroe Island XP_Heli Pads 1.jpgFaroe Island XP_Heli Pads 2.jpg

 

Runway textures

All textures and ground elements of the runway confines and surfaces are excellent, there are also perfect ground surfaces that looks realistic with weathered  wear.

 

Faroe Island XP_Textures 1.jpgFaroe Island XP_Textures 2.jpg

 

note the authentic snow sticks for taxiway edge navigation....  all surfaces are also reflective and fully PBR active, nice.

 

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Faroe Islands

The scenery is not just a focus on the airport, but on the whole archipelago area of the18 islands that makes up the Faroe chain. Provided is high resolution HD terrain mesh that is extremely detailed.

 

Faroe Island XP_Mesh 1.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 2.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 3.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 4.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 5.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 6.jpg

 

There is 1.400 km² of Faroe area to be explored and all are in high quality mesh landscapes, yes it is all very highly impressive, and highly realistic as well. As the only thing missing are the puffins on the craggy cliff faces.

 

Faroe settlements, villages and townships are dotted totally throughout the scenery on all islands with connecting active traffic (unless on the outer islands)...

 

Faroe Island XP_Mesh 7.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 8.jpg

 

...  with the township of Sørvágur which is on the approach to RWY 12...

 

Faroe Island XP_Mesh 9.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 10.jpg

 

...  and Sandavágur that is on the right on the approach into RWY 30...  note the fishing circles. And the village is voted the most famous village in the country, and also best voted as a traveling experience and highlighted by the beautiful red-roofed Church has a distinctive architecture that was built in 1917.

 

Faroe Island XP_Mesh 11.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 12.jpg

 

Faroe Island XP_Mesh 13 LG.jpg

 

This point highlights the only real adverse area of the Faroe scenery. There are yes the distinctive Faroe architecture in houses and dwellings but not much else... as the distinctive churches are also critically missing, as say there also is neither any industrial buildings in sheds or warehouses... not even the fishing boats on which that the Faroe economy depends on? Which brings us the capital of Faroe in Tórshavn. Overall Tórshavn is very disappointing in context with the very high quality of the rest of the scenery.

 

Faroe Island XP_Mesh 14.jpgFaroe Island XP_Mesh 15.jpg

 

The capital is just more of the same of a lot of Faroe housing with no port? or any commercial infrastructure or buildings visible either? There is no ferry in the harbour or really anything at all... The capital has a lovely fishing village feel with coloured housing surrounding the port (very Dutch) with the distinctive buildings on the entrance to the port... you are not expecting a complete recreation of the capital here, but you do expect something to sort of represent it?

 

Summer Seasonal Textures

Switching to the summer season in Faroe is visually extremely dynamic, it is almost a completely different style and feel of scenery. I debated on which seasonal scenery was the best season to represent the review... but in reality they are really completely Jekyll and Hyde in comparison.

 

Faroe Island XP_Summer 11.jpg

 

Faroe Island XP_Summer 1.jpgFaroe Island XP_Summer 2.jpgFaroe Island XP_Summer 3.jpgFaroe Island XP_Summer 4.jpg

Faroe Island XP_Summer 8.jpgFaroe Island XP_Summer 9.jpg

 

The landscape is all quite breathtaking in scale and detail...

 

Faroe Island XP_Summer 5.jpgFaroe Island XP_Summer 6.jpg

 

Faroe Island XP_Summer 7 LG.jpg

 

Faroe Island XP_Summer 10.jpgFaroe Island XP_Summer 12.jpg

 

Faroe Island XP_Summer 13 LG.jpg

 

Night Lighting

Overall the lighting is very good at EKVG - Vágar... with a nice contrast between the airside and the brighter landside illumination.

 

Faroe Island XP_Night Lighting 1.jpgFaroe Island XP_Night Lighting 2.jpg

 

Aprons are bright and workable, but like most developers with reflective glass the new terminal feel is a bit flat, and even dull....

 

Faroe Island XP_Night Lighting 4.jpgFaroe Island XP_Night Lighting 3.jpg

 

...  the nice spot lighting on the lattice work terminal landside however does lift it up, as does the great lighting in the carpark.

 

Faroe Island XP_Night Lighting 5.jpgFaroe Island XP_Night Lighting 7.jpg

 

The Atlantic Airways hangar is very imposing and there is a large amount of very well done drop down spot lights on most of the buildings...

 

Faroe Island XP_Night Lighting 8.jpgFaroe Island XP_Night Lighting 6.jpg

 

.... so it is a high pass on good lighting.

 

Summary

At US$45.99 then Faroe Islands XP scenery is not cheap and that high price might put some users off in purchasing this excellent scenery... but even with that high price then there is a lot of value to take in here.

 

As for being quality scenery Faroes XP does certainly deliver, and it is also an interesting diversity as in reality you really have two sceneries in one as there is the huge contrast between teach of the seasonal textures which are quite unique...  and they both certainly deliver that "Wow" factor, as noted was my arrival in mid-January which was very dynamic and authentic, but any arrival in the summer would give you just another style of an astounding experience. And there is this huge expanse of high quality landscape to explore, either by helicopter or even with a general aviation aircraft, or say a very light aircraft (or glider) of even the Aerolite 103 style, which would allow you to soar around those magnificent cliff formations.

 

Airport quality and detail is excellent, but Faroe has no active apron traffic, (dynamic vehicle traffic however covers all the drivable islands) but as noted it is debatable that a lot of ramp activity is actually required. Night lighting gives you a dull terminal, but otherwise it is all very good.

 

Negatives... actually not a lot, but for the money, the oversight of not developing even a basic foundation of the Faroe capital in Tórshavn with a port, is one that should be quickly rectified, these islands are here to be explored and the area with Tórshavn in my mind is very important into delivering the full exploring island experience, a few local (colourful) churches would not go amiss either.

 

If you read a lot of X-PlaneReviews you will know that I support that scenery value comes from the usage, or the versatility within the simulator. Even considering the remote aspect of this Faroe scenery in that context the scenery is a very worthy addition to your X-Plane simulator, certainly if you fly within the northern European context. For one the scenery is extremely challenging on approaches (certainly in poor weather conditions), but also visually it is very comprehensive and dynamic. Routing can be very interesting between Iceland, Norway, Denmark and the UK, but Atlantic Airway's do services as far away as the Mediterranean ports and SAS also do services...  overall it is the huge amount of landscape that is on offer and in very high quality visually aspect as well, and that credible distinction will certainly draw you here, it is just one of those types of sceneries you could get easily addicted to like I did with Aerosoft's Keflavik Airport, and keep coming back to again and again, Faroe XP is a very worthy addition to the X-Plane landscape....  Highly Recommended!

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! Faroe Islands XP by Aerosoft - Maps2XPlane is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Faroe Islands XP

 

Price Is US$45.99

 

Features:

  • Realistic recreation of the complete Faroe Islands with an area of about 1.400 km²
  • High resolution terrain mesh with various texture sets for a seasonal representation
  • Customized local terrain details, e.g. realistically sloped runway at the Vágar Airport
  • Detailed rendition of the Vágar Airport and the eight helipads spread over the archipelago
  • Faroese themed autogen, navigation obstacles and dynamic traffic on the islands
  • Hundreds of custom objects with PBR materials, 3D vegetation, night lighting

 

WT3: Ground routes are set in the scenery and the scenery will generate a set of routes. No custom routes are yet available. Yes they work, but only in a limited capacity with only the Atlantic A319's doing all the traffic work...  Many GA or Jet arrivals just disappear on landing, but the runway layout with turnarounds makes EKVG hard to navigate... a custom adjustment would certainly help...  but overall WT3 works.

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11

Windows, Mac or Linux
4Gb VRAM Minimum
Download size: 1.3Gb

Review version v1.0

 

Installation
Download scenery file size is download 1.5gb and with the full installation installed in your custom scenery folder as there are three install folders:
 
  • Faroes4XPlane - Overlay (206.40mb)
  • Faroes4XPlane - Airport (2.01gb)
  • Faroes4XPlane - Terrain (311.4 gb)

  

Total scenery Install is : 2.35gb

  
The developers note you need to adjust the X-Plane "scenery_packs.INI" so the loading order is correct...  and that the Faroes4XPlane - Terrain Mesh is below the Airport and overlay files.
 

Documents

  • Manual_Faroe_Islands_XP11_de-en_web (In German and English)

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

16th January 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 11.30

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin : US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

- Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 by FlyJSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$30.00

- AW139 4.0 - By Laminar Research (default) - Free

 

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