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Cami De Bellis

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    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Thanks, it was a second voyage of discovery!
  2. Like
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Kia Orana & welcome back Stephen! What a tremendous and comprehensive review of this South Pacific jewel. Thanks to this masterful work by Maps2X-Plane, while you've been sailing the South Seas, I've been rekindling my real life Coral Route voyages by air. The essence and magic of these majestic Isles has been captured for sure.
    Thanks for showcasing this extraordinary package, which was an absolute must for this Kiwi who lost his heart to the mighty Pacific many shimmering moon-lit nights ago.
  3. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft
    Say Tahiti, or Bora Bora and the thoughts are always... "Exotic". French South Pacific plus it's amazing scenery makes this a destination in one of the absolute top hits of any one's bucket list. It has always been on my "most" desired destination. Actually I have been to Tahiti, but a long time ago, way back in the 1970's, but also just passing through en-route to Australia. Yes I have always wanted to go back...
    So what of Tahiti in X-Plane. Actually it was well serviced by the XPFR developers, but as usual you wanted a more overall detailed and extremely high quality package to bring out the best of the Simulator and the astonishing South Pacific area.
    This "Society Islands" is a set of two packages by the renowned Maps2X-Plane, the same developer house that created both the excellent Faroe Islands, Svalbard and Seychelles XP, all the sceneries reviewed here are Maps2X-Plane releases, but released under the Aerosoft banner. In so any installations are now through the Aerosoft One application, just add in the authorisation number, and the tool will do the install for you.
    As noted the Maps2X-Plane Tahiti series is in two different area packages, the first was "Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands", released now back in September 2021 for X-Plane 11, of which you could call the "Western" area. This package was quickly updated to X-Plane 12 (v1.1) almost immediately.
    The second release is the new one "Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands", and again what you would call the "Eastern" area, both packages together then covers the whole Society Island territory.
    Although the Leeward scenery was excellent as we shall see, it was slightly compromised in that it was only a regional scenery, with only local inter-island flying. This latest Windward package is significant because it adds in the main gateway or Faa'a International Airport, situated on the main island of Tahiti. This added aspect then connects all the Tahitian areas together, not only the international routes, but also the local domestic routes from the main gateway. The now combined area is also quite significantly wide to explore and to service.

    You could say French Polynesia is in the middle of nowhere, because it is, set deep into the central South Pacific Ocean. This makes connections hard and extremely expensive, as the area is a fair flight from any landmass. But there are direct flights from the U.S. West coast, Rarotonga and New Zealand, lately Hawaii was also added.

    I did an example flight from AKL (Auckland) to PPT (Papeete), it is a route distance of 2,242 nm, translated to 4h34m flightime, and right on the edge of the A321's endurance in fuel. Tricky as there are no alternative options out here. In this eastward direction, then maybe the Cook Islands (625 nm before Tahiti) as an option, but once past that point, then there are no other places to land.

    As we are going into NTAA - Faa'a International Airport, we will cover the "Windward" package first..

    Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands
    The Windward Islands are the eastern group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. These islands were also previously named the Georgian Islands in honour of King George III of the United Kingdom. The capital of the administrative district is Papeete on the island of Tahiti.
    Tahiti, Moorea, and Mehetia are volcanic islands. Tetiaroa and Mai'ao are outer coral Atolls...  all these noted areas are available in the Maps2X-Plane Windward package.

    Faa'a International Airport
    Faa'a International Airport, also known as Tahiti International Airport is the international airport of French Polynesia, located in the commune of Faaa, on the island of Tahiti. It is situated 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of Papeete, the capital city of the overseas collectivity. It opened in 1960. Regional air carrier Air Tahiti and international air carrier Air Tahiti Nui are both based at the airport.
    The focus and highlight of both sceneries is the Faa'a International Airport, and one very long runway 3420m (11,220ft).
    Faa'a International Airport
    Aéroport international de Tahiti Faa'a

    04/22 3,420m (11,220ft) Bituminous
    Elevation AMSL 2m/5 ft

    First views of Faa'a International are simply excellent, the vista has Moorea Island in the background. How far X-Plane has come with X-Plane 12...  as finally we have realistic tropical reef water, and it is excellent here in surrounding the airport perimeters.


    In visiting South Pacific Islands, you sort of have to time travel back a few decades. Everything is not bright, shiny or new down here. At PPT, it feels like a past time, with an airport that has only basic facilities, no airbridges here, but certainly a nice South Pacific welcome.
    The Polynesian look and feel is very evident in the terminal building. Expertly reproduced here by Maps2X-Plane...

    Airport detail is quite exceptional, everything is covered both airside and landside with "Huge" detail...   "dense" I call it...  but there is a lot to admire and take in here. There is a fair bit of animated traffic airside (nicely done), but there is not much traffic movement on the ramps. A few regional connections and the odd International service is about it. But the majority of international aircraft moving in or out are significantly big long haul jets...  the old Pan Am 707's in the 60's, then DC-10's and MD11's dominated in the UTA years, Boeing 747's and even A380's can get into here. Now it is the odd A340, B787, A350, but also now the long thin route single-aisle aircraft ETOPS, which are a common sight.

    Airport infrastructure is again excellent, with maintenance hangars and three (available) Heli pads, there is plenty of static aircraft and vehicles, but the detail in gates, ramp equipment and general clutter items is excellent. West side, is the Fire Station/Control Tower and administration buildings, an inter island area (Moorea & Tetiꞌaroa) is set over here as well. More helipads are also available.

    There is no 3d grass? but the field detail is excellent, with great drainage (including even drainage pipes) and fencing. Surfaces are also first rate, with wear/tear and filled cracks. PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion is also available here, great for those summer tropical rainstorms.

    I have just been on a South Pacific cruise (talk about a coincidence)... The South Pacific has a certain look, lush vegetation and foliage, the bright vibrant colours and open sided tired buildings. It is the "feel" of the islands, and this scenery totally translates that "feel" into X-Plane. I could easily have been back in Nouméa (New Caledonia), Port Vila (Vanuatu) or Suva (Fiji )with this scenery. This Tahiti scenery is shockingly very good in translating that Pacific look and feel into the Simulator...  Again the "dense" feel and infrastructure of the Faa'a locale is excellent, it fills right up to the airport boundary and even into it, creating a perfect diorama of the area...  note the vista of Mount 'Orohena in the background.

    The capital Papeete is too the north of the airport. Again the density of the capital is really well replicated, extremely realistic and includes the extensive Papeete Port area for approach realism.

    This arrival area's aspects are all shockingly good, more real world detail than a simulator... you have to be impressed.
    There are two heliports (pads) on Tahiti... 
    The heliport NTAA of Hôpital du Taaone, located about 8 kilometers east of Faa'a International. Again no expense was spared by Maps2X-Plane to create the authentic hospital for the Tahiti scenery.

    The heliport NTHV of Hôpital de Taravao, is located about 40 kilometers southeast of NTAA

    Let us not forget that Map2X-Plane's main speciality is terrain mesh with photo-realistic textures, for the landscape and the sea. Highly evident in their amazing Faroe Islands package. It is the same here for Tahiti and these same quality custom textures. In that they cover all the areas in both Windward and Leeward packages, plus create those excellent tropical water effects. They are dazzling to absorb.

    Moorea Airport
    Moorea Airport (NTTM, 1230 meters), also know as Moorea Temae Airport, is a regional airport on the island of Moorea, located 15 kilometers west of Tahiti. It is served by Air Tahiti, and can accommodate aircraft up to the ATR 72 in size. Moorea is a volcanic, mountainous island with the highest point Mount Tohivea at 1207 meters, and for its enclosed reef that surrounds the entire island.

    Moorea Airport is also known as Temae Airport (IATA: MOZ, ICAO: NTTM) or Moorea Temae Airport for its location near the village of Temae in northeastern Moorea. The airport is located 7.5 km northeast of Afareitu, the island's main village. It is set almost directly across from Papeete.

    The Moorean Polynesian style terminal has had a lot of attention, brilliantly done here by Maps2X-Plane, it is a genuine walkaround the area and be part of the scenery experience... almost photographic in detail.

    Airport infrastructure is first rate, with a small field tower, cargo and admin area, and housing for airport staff.

    Close by Temae is replicated, as are all the locales on the island with custom autogen, very realistic it is...   highlight is the excellent water and realistic reefs.

    Moorea's coastline is excellent, with great vistas to explore, either by helicopter or seaplane... The Island's Hilton Luxury Overwater bungalows are also well replicated.

    There is one helipad NTHF on Moorea...  it is sited at the Hôpital de Afareaitu, located about 8 kilometers south of NTTM.

    Tetiaroa Airport (NTTE, 770 meters) is a regional airfield on Onetahi, one of 12 islets of the Tetiaroa atoll, located 53 kilometers directly north of Tahiti. The islets are under a 99-year lease contracted by the famous actor Marlon Brando, and is home to "The Brando Resort". It is served by private flights by Air Tetiaroa, departing at a private terminal at Faa‘a International Airport.

    The islets (or motus), in clockwise order starting from the southwest corner, include: Onetahi (with regulated airstrip and site of The Brando Resort), Honuea, Tiaruanu, Motu Tauvini (Tauini), Motu Ahurea (Auroa), Hiraanae, Horoatera (Oroatera), Motu 'Ā'ie, Tahuna Iti, Tahuna Rahi, Reiono, Motu One (emerging sandbank) and Rimatu'u (with an ornithology reserve).
    Tetiaroa is extraordinary well done in realism, you could be really here, seeing Brando's dream...

    Marlon Brando "discovered" Tetiꞌaroa while scouting filming locations for the film Mutiny on the Bounty, which was shot on Tahiti and neighboring Moorea. After filming was completed, Brando hired a local fisherman to ferry him to Tetiꞌaroa. It was "more gorgeous than anything I had anticipated," he marveled.
    Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands
    The Leeward Islands literally "Islands Under-the-Wind" are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, in the South Pacific Ocean. They lie south of the Line Islands (part of Kiribati), east of the Cooks and north of the Austral Islands (also part of French Polynesia). Their area is 404 km2 and their population is over 36,000.
    The westernmost Leeward Islands comprise a three atoll group: Manuae (also known as Scilly Atoll); Motu One atoll (also known as Bellinghausen), the most northerly of the Leeward Islands; and Maupihaa atoll (also known as Mopelia) to the southeast.

    Bora Bora
    Bora Bora is part of the central island group of the Leeward Islands in the South Pacific. The main island, located about 230 kilometres (125 nautical miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano, rising up to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu; the highest point is at 727 m (2,385 ft). Bora Bora is part of the Commune of Bora-Bora, which also includes the atoll of Tūpai. The main languages spoken in Bora Bora are Tahitian and French. However, due to the high tourist population, many natives of Bora Bora have learned to speak English.
    "Mystic" is the word used with Bora Bora, or even "Bali Ha'i" which is a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. The name refers to a mystical island, visible on the horizon but not reachable...  a lot has been said that Bali Ha'i is not Bora Bora, but actually based on the real island of Ambae (formerly Aoba Island). Ambae is located in Vanuatu...  but the images and the feel of Bali Ha'i is totally the Tahitian island. 

    The peaks Pahia and Otemanu are excellent with the custom textures, as is the detail of the island's infrastructure, small ports and all the island's locales are very well done.

    But this is a review, not a travelogue...  jumping from the latest Windward to the earlier Leeward packages, there is a difference? Also a time difference of 2½ years, and more significantly a different X-Plane era, Eleven not Twelve. Although the Leeward scenery was updated to XP12 (my guess the water)...  a lot of the XP11 elements remain, like the + trees, no active textures or burnt-in ambient occlusion effects, and not the more modern 3d style XP12 foliage. It makes a slight, but significant difference to the look and feel of this earlier scenery. It feels more plainer, even slightly flat compared to the "lush" vibrant Windward... don't get me wrong Leeward is very good, but looks not as condensed or luscious with realism as the X-Plane 12 effects created in the eastern part of Tahiti.
    Bora Bora Airport
    Bora Bora Airport (NTTB, 1505 meters), also known as Motu Mute Airport, is an airport serving Bora Bora (Leeward Islands, Society Islands, French Polynesia) and handles about 300.000 passengers annually. The airport is located on the islet of Motu Mute and is served by Air Tahiti with ATR 42 and ATR 72 propjets
      Bora Bora Airport
    Aéroport de Bora Bora

    11/29 1,505m (4,938ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL11 ft / 3 m

    Rustic and Polynesian, the excellent terminal building is not only for the air, but also a sea pier for servicing the hotels set out around the lagoon. The quaint Control Tower has housing and service buildings around it.

    Like at Moorea, there are a significant number of luxury Overwater bungalows at Bora Bora, and they are all set out around the lagoon areas, very evident, and the hotels existing here in Bora Bora are all replicated in detail.

    There are five Helipads set around the lagoon, mostly at the hotel sites. The one at "Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone" is the base for the operations around the area.
    Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone
    The hub of Tahiti Nui Helicopters on Bora Bora is located about 8 kilometers south of NTTB, XHNTTZ

    Four Seasons Helipad
    A helipad next to the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, about 6 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTF

    Saint Regis Helipad
    A helipad next to The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, about 8 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTS

    Le Meridien Helipad
    A helipad is set next to Le Meridien Bora Bora, about 8 kilometers south- east of NTTB, XHNTTM

    InterContinental Helipad
    A helipad next to the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort, about 9 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTI

    Raiatea Airport
    Raiatea Airport, also known as Uturoa Airport, is an airport on Raiatea and handles about 245.000 passengers annually. Raiatea is the second largest island of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, and has an elevation of 1017 meters. In the north of Raiatea lies Tahaa, and the islands are enclosed by a single coral reef.

    Raiatea Airport

    07/25 1,200m (3,937ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL6 ft / 2 m
    Set on the north coast of Raiatea, is Raiatea (Uturoa) Airport NTTR, the runway is actually on reclaimed land on the coral sea.

    Like all these Tahiti sceneries the airport quality is excellent. With very detailed South Pacific rustic buildings and feel... highly authentic.

    There is only one Helipad on Raiatea...
    Le Taha‘a Helipad
    A helipad next to the Le Taha‘a Island Resort, about 17 kilometers north-west of NTTR, XHNTTT

    Huahine measures 16 km (10 mi) in length, with a maximum width of 13 km (8 mi). It is made up of two main islands surrounded by a fringing coral reef with several islets, or motu. Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) lies to the north and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south. The total land area is 75 km2. The two islands are separated by a few hundred metres of water and joined by a sandspit at low tide. A small bridge was built to connect Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti. The Island's highest point is Turi, at 669 m elevation.

    Huahine – Fare Airport
    Huahine – Fare Airport is the airport serving the island of Huahine in French Polynesia. The airport is located in the northern part of the commune of Fare, on the Island of Huahine Fare,
    Huahine – Fare Airport

    07/25 1,500m (4,921ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL7 ft / 2 m

    Unusually here it is a tiled roof not thatched on the Fare Airport terminal building, but still in a Polynesian style. Again the airport is extremely well done with separate tower and service buildings, it is easy to find from the air as well with it's position.

    Maupiti is the westernmost volcanic island in the archipelago, 315 kilometres (196 miles) northwest of Tahiti and 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Bora Bora. It has a population of 1,286 people. The largest town is Vaiea. The island is a "near atoll", consisting of a central volcanic peak surrounded by a lagoon and barrier reef with four motu: Auira, Pa'ao, Tuanai, Tiapaa and Pitiahe.  The lagoon has an area of 27 square kilometres (10 square miles) and the central island has an area of 12 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) and a maximum elevation of 372 metres (1,220 feet).

    Maupiti Airport
    Maupiti Airport is serving the island of Maupiti and the airport handles about 23.000 passengers annually. It is positioned on the Northeastern coast of the island. Maupiti is the westernmost volcanic high island in the archipelago. The 3136 ft runway 08/26, sticks right out into the surrounding waters, the locale is really well designed (and detailed) to discover.
    Maupiti Airport

    08/26 956m (3136ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL15 ft / 5 m

    Maupiti Airport is another great gateway to paradise.
    Last and interesting in the Leeward Islands is...
    Tupai is also called Motu Iti, is a low-lying atoll in Society Islands, French Polynesia. It lies 19 km to the north of Bora Bora and belongs to the western Leeward Islands. This small atoll is only 11 km2 in size. Its broad coral reef encloses a shallow sandy lagoon. There are almost continuous long wooded motus on Tupai's reef. Tupai has no permanent residents apart from some workers in its coconut plantations. Tupai is a low-lying atoll and consists of two larger and a few smaller islands surrounding the lagoon.
    Tupai Airport is a private airfield on Tupai, inaugu- rated in 2001, and its use is restricted. It is noted as NTTU ICAO designator, there are no charts for the airfield.

    Of course all atolls and small coral islands throughout both packages are also all represented and customised with realistic water and landmass textures. There is also a a lot of vehicle traffic, and animated water traffic that gives off a buzz to the sceneries....  it is a very comprehensive set of sceneries, the best you could imagine for this "Exotic" part of the South Pacific.
    Lighting in these sort of packages is not the focus of the scenery... here it is of course basic island lighting. There is another element in looking at the night images to consider. X-Plane (12) and it's current state has not very refined lighting. It is all very over-exposed and quite large at their sources with large flares. So it isn't really very realistic? Here are my arrival images into Faa's NTAA Rwy 04. The lighting looks like cascading lava down the mountainsides? The airport PPT was actually quite hard to make out?

    The Faa's NTAA International lighting is perfectly fine, maybe a a better tone of light would have been more realistic... but overall it was good, but the external lighting sorta overwhelms it. The arrival globe lighting at the terminal's entrances are however a masterstroke.

    Papeete lighting is autogen(erated) but looks okay, the port area is very good.

    Moorea's lighting gives a more generalisation of the lighting across all the Windward Islands...  typical island lighting, with no highlights.

    In the Leeward Package the lighting is the older XP11 system, and it actually looks far better, as the heavy XP12 flare is more contained. Bora Bora Airport is bright and very nicely lit and the whites, whiter. Highlights are the eerie blue glow of the Overwater hotel bungalows, snaking themselves out into the Lagoons...

    My advice is to revisit the packages if Laminar Research refines the lighting of X-Plane 12, you may be pleasantly surprised, as the current night-lighting is way overdue for attention in the Simulator.
    "Society Islands" is a set of two packages by the renowned Maps2X-Plane, the same developer house that created both the excellent Faroe Islands, Svalbard and Seychelles XP, all the sceneries reviewed here are Maps2X-Plane releases, but released under the Aerosoft banner.
    The first was "Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands", released now back in September 2021 for X-Plane 11, of which you could call the "Western" area. The second release is the newer one "Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands", and again what you would call the "Eastern" area, both packages together then covers the whole Society Island territory.
    The Leeward scenery was slightly compromised in that it was only a regional scenery, with only local inter-island flying. This latest Windward package is significant because it adds in the main gateway or Faa'a International Airport, situated on the main island of Tahiti. This added aspect then connects all the Tahitian areas together, not only the international routes, but also the local domestic routes from the main gateway. The now combined area is also quite significantly wide to explore and to service.
    Tahiti & Windward Islands XP Package, includes the Tahiti Gateway of Faa‘a International Airport NTAA, and Papeete the capital of Tahiti, other islands and airports include Moorea Airport NTTM and Tetiaroa Airport NTTE (Brando Island), and three Heliports; Taaone NTHP, Taravao NTHV and Afareaitu NTHF.
    Bora Bora & Leeward Islands XP Package, includes Bora Bora Airport NTTB, Raiatea Airport NTTR, Huahine – Fare Airport NTTH, Maupiti Airport NTTP and Tupai Airport NTTU, a private airfield on Tupai. Heliports are five on Bora Bora; Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone (XHNTTZ), Four Seasons Helipad (XHNTTF), Saint Regis Helipad (XHNTTS), Le Meridien Helipad (XHNTTM), InterContinental Helipad (XHNTTI), and on Raiatea is a Helipad at Le Taha‘a Resort (XHNTTT).
    Maps2X-Plane are masters at creating extensive custom terrain mesh with photo-realistic textures for the landscape and the sea. And all the extensive land and tropical sea elements are all covered here. All land autogen is (South Pacific) custom, and significant areas and island locale's are covered like Papeete and port areas.  Airport vehicle and sea (water) traffic is also extensive. All airports including the Tahiti gateway Faa'a Airport are all extensively modeled and created, and the unique "South Sea Island" feel in the X-Plane 12 Simulator is very evident.
    Notable is that the older Bora Bora Leeward, does have still a lot of the older X-Plane 11 elements (older + trees and water) that doesn't have that later X-Plane 12 density and quality, Leeward is very, very good, but Windward is still better in feel and look. Lighting is actually the opposite, X-Plane 12 non-refined lighting is worse than the older but more stable X-Plane 11 lighting on the Bora Bora package. Notable is that both XP12 and XP11 versions are all included in the packages.
    In your face is the price, $36.99 for the older Bora Bora, and $38.99 for newer Tahiti... together $75.98 for scenery! Obviously an investment, but you get a lot of scenery including tons of detail and extensive features for your hard earned dollars. It's a brilliant set of flexible packages to use as well...  now with International Long Haul available, regional island services, helicopter inter-island and hotel services, and even just cruising around exploring the islands in your floatplane, every aspect is covered, and it all comes with a huge quality impact and the immense detail of custom terrain and noted photo-quality base mesh, as a travelogue it is all an explorers delight.
    Overall, it is the excellent "South Pacific" feel that is the immense drawcard to the Tahitian scenery, can a simulator recreate the realism of the real world, well almost and these sets of Tahitian Sceneries show off the immense talents of X-Plane 12, its all so close, you can now almost touch it with these packages....   Highly Recommended.

    Yes! the Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands, Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands by Aerosoft is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands
    Price is US$38.99
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 5.7 GB  - Installation is done through Aerosoft One Current version: 1.1 (January 26th 2024)  
    Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands
    Price is US$36.99
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 5.7 GB  - Installation is done through Aerosoft One Current version: 1.1 (December 12th 2022) ___________________________
    Installation of Tahiti/Bora Bora XP  is done through Aerosoft one installer:
    Aerosoft One Universal After you have installed Aerosoft One, click on  
    ENTER PRODUCT KEY (under the Library Tab)
    ...   enter the Serial Number provided in this order. This will give you the option to download the airport. Note the different X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 installations.
    The Tahiti/Bora Bora scenery is downloaded into a dedicated folder "Aerosoft One Library" on your system, under a file (gameDirectory) via a shortcut. Full Install size (both packages) is 15.34Gb.
    Standard Aerosoft Manuals Tahiti (9 pages), Bora Bora (22 pages) are in both English and German.

    Review System Specifications
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    -ToLiss A321 XP12 - (X-Plane.orgStore) US$89.99
    - Cessna 172-1000 - X-Plane Default fleet - Free (with X-Plane 12)
    -ATR72-500 v1.2 - Riviere 1.2.0 - - (X-Plane.org) - Free
    Tahiti Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    18th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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) All Rights Reserved

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    Cami De Bellis got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review: LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island XP 12 by Cami De Bellis   
    WOW!!!! I'm loving it! I can feel close to you Nigel, seated outside near to the harbour, sipping a granita al limone.... 
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    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in Aircraft Review : JRX Design Bell 407 v1.30 for X-Plane 11 and 12   
    Aircraft Review : JRX Design Bell 407 v1.30 for X-Plane 11 and 12  
    A derivative of the Bell 206L-4 LongRanger, Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter that uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with the composite hub developed for the United States Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, instead of the two-blade, semi-rigid, teetering rotor of the 206L-4. So the breed line is from the famous "Jetranger", but the 407 is the far bigger and powerful relation to the family.
    The Bell 407's fuselage is 8 inches (20 cm) wider, increasing internal cabin space, and includes 35% larger main cabin windows. The more powerful Rolls-Royce/Allison 250-C47 turboshaft allows an increase in Maximum Takeoff Weight and improves performance at hotter temperatures and/or higher altitudes. The helicopter has standard seating for two crew and five cabin seats.

    In 1993, Bell began the development of the New Light Aircraft as a replacement for its Model 206 series. The program resulted in the 407, a development of Bell's LongRanger. A 206L-3 LongRanger was modified to serve as the 407 demonstrator. The demonstrator used hardware for the 407 and added molded fairings to represent the 407's wider fuselage then under development.
    The demonstrator was first flown in 1994, and the 407 program and was publicly announced at the Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 1995. The first 407 prototype (C-GFOS) then accomplished its maiden flight on June 29, 1995, and the second prototype (C-FORS) followed on July 13, 1995. After a short development program, the first production 407 (C-FWQY/N407BT) flew on November 10, 1995. Since then almost 1500+ aircraft have been built.
    In 2021, only three years ago JRX Design started in the X-Plane Simulator with the dual SA 341B and SA 342J Gazelle, then their next release was the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4, a big name, but also a lot of helicopter, which was updated only 12 months ago to X-Plane 12. All sensational and quality designs.
    This is JRX's latest release with the Bell 407. Notable is that the release(s) are separate for both the X-Plane 12 version or the X-Plane 11 version, as they are not packaged together here. We will of course focus on the XP12 version for the review, in details the X-Plane 11 is identical, but missing the X-Plane 12 dynamic features.
    This is not the first Bell 407 for X-Plane. That was the excellent Bell 407 from Dreamfoil Creations, a standard bearer for it's time with a huge feature list and flying dynamics. Currently still only X-Plane 11, but with the release of the terrific Schweizer S300CB, it noted the developer was back in a big way, and he notes that the Bell 407 (and the AS350 B3+) are now being developed for X-Plane 12, expect in a few months.
    So that obviously sets up a quandary, which would be the best B407 to buy? A hard one even for me, as both as we shall see are very highly quality developed machines. The B407 from JRX is available now and for X-Plane 12, but the Dreamfoil 407 will have a bigger feature list and personal familiarity...  it is a very, very tough choice. Note, that since this review has been published, JRX Design has since updated the 407 to v1.30 (forget v1.10 as it was a non-starter). There were a few new additions, the biggest new feature was the CINEFLEX camera feature, and that item has now been included in the review.
    Design wise JRX have a superlative quality record, and to scale, and that aspect shows here. The 407 is beautifully done in modeling terms with excellent glass. Odd here though is you can't hide the glass reflections (inside or external), but it is still very well done with both front and rear doors with window (opening) hatch inserts. The huge fuel filler is excellent. Notable is that the riveting is drawn on and not modeled with highlights, same with the engine cover latches. It's well done but noticeable, but the external panel bolts are nicely 3d. The engine internals are also images, again highly realistic, so you admire them and are not as so distracted by them being only 2d

    Rear tail boom, horizontal stabiliser and upright tail support are well modeled, with the original orange/white tail-skid.
    The heart of a helicopter are the rotors and their assemblies....
    The main rotor is a 35 foot diameter, soft-in-plane flex beam (flapping flexure) type yoke/hub with four interchangeable blades. Elastomeric technology is incorporated and allows for blade movement. The blades and yoke are all composite materials. The rotor is designed to rotate at 413 RPM at 100% Nr.

    As rotor heads go it is very, very simple design, just the tower and four pushrods. Plate construction is really good, as are the arms, but we are going to lose points because only the collective bite is animated (13 degrees of twist), shame as we know the Dreamfoil 407 is fully animated, but the movements here are good.

    Rear tail-rotor is intricately designed, great detail and fine work. The yaw animations are also well done and visible.

    All doors are animated, can be opened externally and internally, and they can also be removed, but only all and not individually. Left side also takes away the cam centre panel, for a very wide open space for the Medi-Vac. So you really do wish for more selection on which doors you want removed as you can't slide the rear doors open in flight, missing also is the long and short window door panel option.

    Rear cabin seats five, or four chunky seats and a tight centre child seat in the rear. Default colour is a light grey with the very nice "Bell" logo on the seat back, the trim material is all very nicely done.

    Seating colours change to the selected external livery, with four choices in Light Grey, Red, Green and Dark Grey.

    The familiar restricted cabin roof is well reproduced here, making the rear cabin feel very authentic to those familiar with a 206/406 environment.

    Forward pilot seats are also very chunky for a helicopter, but very well designed and created. Again the materials are of a quality nature, a feel real effect if viewed in closely of the excellent chosen materials, the above roof switch and CB-Fuse panel is also excellent. All circuit breakers are active and animated.

    Side doors are beautifully realistically molded, with the authentic bell 407 logos and opening slide window, same in the rear.

    There is the option for single or duel controls, the left side pilot's cyclic and collective are very basic, with just a throttle built in. The right side pilot has a more detailed collective head, with FLOAT activation and lights with SEARCH, LDG (landing) and Start/Disengage switch.

    Chunky could also describe the instrument panel, for a small helicopter the 206/407 instrument panels are massive. But the instrument arrangement is quite simple. Top left is a Radio Altmeter, Engine readouts (TRQ - Torque, MGT, NR/NP - RPM, Davtron Clock/OAT/Volt meter, Fuel PSI-AMPS, FUEL Qty and Gearbox and Engine Oil pressure/Temp). Flying instruments include Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altimeter. Main NR/NP Tachometer dual gauge, Bendix/king HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator), Vertical Speed instrument. OBS (Omni-Bearing Selector) for ADF 1/2, OBS NAV 1 and Turn rate dial.

    Lower is the avionic stack, with a custom GNS 530, KX 155A COM/NAV 1 radio, another KX 155A COM/NAV 2 radio, Bendix/King KMA 30 radio, Bendix/King KT74 Transponder and bottom (flat) a Bendix/King KR87 ADF radio. The metal rudder pedals are also highly designed and have pretty Bell logos.
    Panel can be set in either a light or dark tone

    There are two sets of headphones, in that their cables drag across the cockpit and obscures the instrument panel, you can click (lower volume) to hide the right headset, but you can't click on the left co-pilot one to hide it? so it hangs there! and right in your view line (It can thankfully be hidden another way as we shall see later). v1.20 and the Co-Pilot headset can now be thankfully also hidden directly via a "hotspot" click.

    Power on and the panel is beautifully done, love the instrument contrast to the red radio readouts. Then simply glorious at night!

    Caution Warning Panel (CWP) is very authentic, you can also test the systems via the button right panel. CWP can be set to BRIGHT or DIM illumination.

    Other internal lighting includes rear bulkhead adjustable spot light, plus the same as a cabin (switch) light, rear cabin lights again look very nice in the darker light, single overhead panel switch, or the individual rear switches can be used. Overhead panel lighting is again sensational.

    To access the menu, you press the "Tablet" button on the far right top of the instrument panel. It is in the design of the RWP GTN 750 module. The tablet is extremely well intergrated with a support arm to the instrument binnacle. There are four option tabs on the left; MENU 1, MENU 2, RXP TAB, Avi TAB and LIVERIES.

    MENU 1
    You could call Menu 1 the options tab set into five categories (not labeled). First two, with first the Static Elements, Covers, Tiedowns and Flags, second is the external "GPU" (Ground Power Unit). Note the "Rotor Park Brake" has to be down to activate the Static Elements.

    Next category covers the pilots and passengers; you have "Fly With Copilot" that puts a crew member in the left seat, notable is when you do this that headset disappears from your POV. You also have "Crew Helmets" but those pesky hanging headsets then return... damn. Pressing "Crew Headsets" will hide only the Pilot's headset, but not the Co-Pilot's. Final option here is the "Passengers", which inserts two lovely ladies in the rear cabin

    If you adjust the X-Plane "Weight & Balance" menu, it makes no difference or adds in NO more passengers or cargo. In this area the JRX is limited in options
    Next category covers options; "Dual Flight Controls", and Doors ON/OFF...   Under the rear there is a large "Searchlight", or you can have the "Emergency Floats" installed on the skids. There are upper and lower "Wire Cutters" and last is the "ROTOR DAMPENER" cap.

    New in v1.20 were some very nice rear "Bear Paws"

    Last category is the set of options for the (optional) Reality RXP GTN 750. There is also a "Autopilot Unit" or Stability Augmentation Systems (SAS), this panel is placed lower right on the instrument panel.

    Last two options here is the "AviTab" tool (Plugin required), and the selection of the Light/Dark instrument facia.

    Also on the right side of "Menu 1" are three "Engine Exceedances" readouts, these can also be reset in TRQ (Torque), MGT and NG RPM

    Listed top of the panel is the current "Version"
    MENU 2
    In this tab you set the aircraft's configuration. Top is the "Fuel Load" in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1/1 or FULL. Lower left is the changing weights as you select the (Fuel) and Weight/Payload selections right, "ALL UP WEIGHT" and "MAXIMUM TAKEOFF WEIGHT" must balance. Lower are three options with CofG (Centre of Gravity), "Vibrations" Off-x1, x2,x3...  last is the selection of the FOV or "Field Of View".

    RXP/Avi TAB
    Are both quick button selections of the Reality WP GTN 750 and the Avitab tool
    You can select your livery via the tablet, and it gives you an image of the 407. There are 21 liveries, that covers a wide spectrum of services and countries, all are excellent.

    A new feature added to the JRX B407 in the update v1.30, was the excellent CINEFLEX camera system.

    The Cineflex V14 is a 5-axis gyro stabilized camera system that delivers images completely free from even the smallest vibrations. It has a Sony Cinealta HDC 1500 camera integrated in the carbon-fibre housing that rotates a full 360°, and all movements are operated from within the helicopter.
    The first place you would look to activate the camera is the JRX Menu, but it's not located on there? The Camera system is activated by the "Camera System" switch, on the overhead panel, row below the circuit breakers/fuses, far right. Switching it on comes with a disclaimer from the developer...  it will deliver a 25% FPS hit on your framerate (any internal to external X-Plane viewpoint, usually has this same negative effect). It is a significant hit, so if the CINEFLEX is not in use it is best switched off.

    Activated you get the camera pod assembly now visible, slung under the nose of the B407, the modeling is excellent with the detail and the quality of the camera system.
    On the left side of the instrument panel, there is now positioned a cowled screen and operators panel...

    The panel has two sets of camera operation knobs, and four buttons. Power, Overlay, Reset and Park. "Power" is to switch on the system, "Overlay" puts a frame and recording data on the screen, including REC, Timecode, Resolution, Camera Coordinates, Airspeed, Heading, Altitude, Track, (camera) Pitch & Zoom

    "Park" will foldup and store the camera rearwards, "Reset" will set the camera to it's forward "ready" mode.

    Left small knob is the "Zoom"... 0%-100%

    Right is the knob/joystick to adjust the camera angle, ROLL, ROTATE and UP and DOWN angles.

    All the camera movement controls can be set as commands, for keyboard or joystick (HAT) actions, this allows easier control while flying. The CINEFLEX is expertly done, and a great addition to the 407.
    Flying the Bell 407
    If you open the JRX 407, it will have the annoying habit of just shutting down again? even if the "Start with engines running" tickbox is active. There is a trick here...

    The issue is caused by the "Idle" button and throttle being set to closed, this is the shutoff point to kill the engine. To start you have to de-click the "IDLE-REL" and give the 407 a bit of throttle (80). Once running, then you can go back to the idle stop, but don't press the IDLE-REL, if not it will just shutdown the engine again...  or your back to square one.

    The "Start" switch is on the same collective, and as long as the fuel is on, then a press and hold of the switch is all that is needed. At first you don't think it is going to fire, then at once around 50% NR rpm, the Allison 250-C47 turbio-shaft engine (813 shp (606 kW)) gets itself together and your in the flying business...  its all a FADEC-controlled engine (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), as the FADEC system is designed to reduce pilot work load and increase engine reliability by fully automating the start procedure, and holding engine parameters to tighter tolerances in flight. It feels excellent in this JRX machine...

    ....   then twisting the throttle to "FLY" will increase the NR % to 100% 

    Does the JRX 407 sound good...  brilliant in fact. The start whine is excellent, so is the throttle adjustments through the spectrum, then the full rpm chop is really, really good, I've flown on a 407 (and a 206) and it is as good as you will get. I couldn't get any noisy internal blade slap, but external blade sounds in movement when in flight manoeuvres are excellent.
    Whoa!  off the ground with a bit of slight cyclic back, and a feel upwards movement of the collective, and you go into a perfect hover...

    ...   "Oh I like this!" I've had my time with wiggly nervous helicopters for a fair while, "This one is smooooth". Already happy, a bit more collective and a push forward of the cyclic and you are up & away. 206/407 usually need a bit of low nose to get them moving... not too much here and the speed builds very quickly.

    Bell later replaced the tail rotor pedals with the taller and slightly closer-to-the-pilot versions, as many pilots complained they were too high, as they preferred the 206 pedals than the 407's.

    The Bell 407 has a maximum speed of 140 kn (160 mph, 260 km/h), with an economical cruise speed of 133 kn (153 mph, 246 km/h). The range is 324 nmi (373 mi, 600 km) with a service ceiling of 18,690 ft (5,700 m).
    There is the vibration option...  OFF is no vibration, x1 is not really a lot, x2 is about perfect as x3 is very, very noticeable shaking, really it feels like your blades are coming loose!

    I was very impressed with the Autopilot Unit or Stability Augmentation Systems (SAS). It has had some fine tuning in v1.10, but it felt fine to me...  you can LVL (Level) then hit the AP, then HDG (Heading) and ALT (Altitude) and the transition in flight is excellent, only a slight lift as you go to the auto system. V/S (Vertical Speed) changes are 5 points either way, but honestly, if your not climbing high, then unlock the ALT and add a little collective to go up, then reselect ALT at your set altitude, the same to go down with less collective. Coming out of auto is good as well, but you need to disconnect the HDG and ALT selections before you disconnect the AP itself for a smooth transition, or it bumps coming out.

    Heading changes under the SAS are nice and smooth, long and with not any tight jumpy turns, so excellent...  yes very impressed. Really the 407 is so nice to fly manually (balanced when trimmed), you won't rely on the SAS, it is a relaxing controls machine, even distances are easy.

    Time to head back to the Jay Stephen Hooper Memorial Heliport. The 407 has a reputation for solid control feel in flight. That, combined with plenty of power, makes the 407 a real performer. The 206 (Jetranger) feels heavier than the 407 on the controls, so most pilots prefer the 407's flight control’s hydraulic boost, it is quite heavy if you turn the assisted system off.

    The Bell 407 is not a low-inertia system, it is also not a high-inertia system either like the JetRanger. So the feel is set somewhere in between, in making your approach it can be quite different. Autorotating the 407 going down I found there was still a high degree of maneuverability during the glide (power off), then the transition to Effective translational lift (ETL) was okayish, as you have to be aware on the loss of speed to avoid too much sink, so it's best to transition further out than closer to the pad in case of a sudden loss of lift.

    The flare and touchdown also requires a different technique than in the JetRanger. Timing is more critical because less energy is stored in the lighter-weight spinning rotors and the more collective pitch is used to cushion the helicopter’s touchdown. In addition, the pilot holds the helicopter in a nose-high attitude and touches down on the heels of the skids. It’s a fairly standard procedure for a lower-inertia rotor. One warning though is the 407 in the low hover is very susceptible to the swing effect, "Mast Bumping" is only present with a 2 blades rotor ...like R22 , R44, B206, but I found here the pendulum effect was very pronounced, the wrong (too heavy) input, and the 407 will swing quite violently, with the obvious results, so keep the final inputs extremely small, even pull away and do a new approach to get the procedure right.

    A few hours rest and I am airborne again, now twilight...  The 407's external lighting is excellent, except for in one area. There is a "Landing" light in the nose, and two amazing flashing strobes underside, rear red beacon and Navigation/Strobes on the horizontal stabiliser fences, the best though are the fantastic "Logo" spots on the side, I totally absolutely loved the lit logo look at night!

    It is mostly excellent, but the collective switch "Spotlight" created nasty ant lit marks all around the nose and windscreen, so you need to keep it switched off.

    Now darker, and I am cruising low and fast over the Freeways & Highways Los Angeles County...  my favorite Heli-Pilot pastime, the 407 is simply brilliant here, easy to cruise... did I say fast.

    In roles (or role-play) you are restricted here by the JRX door arrangement, there are no sliding doors on the rear, and not being able to individually remove, say the rear left door, restricts your role playing. Scouting for "News" I am playing a version of the "Nightcrawler", yes the movie , as I love this livery and the cruising above the LA landscape at night. I would have loved an open door, even a cameraman shooting the streets, but there is not even a Medi-Vac version, so it all feels all a bit limited if you wanted to be part of the action.

    So the JRX Bell 407 is excellent to fly, even say a novice could handle the aircraft and enjoy it's abilities... too benign, no I didn't get that feeling at all, it just felt right and the 407 was a totally enjoyable dynamic experience...  then what a way to end the night flying with a visit to that famous "Hollywood" sign...   perfect.

    The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter that uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with a composite hub. So the breed line is from the famous "Jetranger", but the 407 is the far bigger and more powerful relation to the family.
    The release(s) of the JRX 407 here are separate for both the X-Plane 12 version or the X-Plane 11 version, as they are not packaged together. So make your choice wisely as they both cost the same.
    JRX Design are now very accomplished developers, the Bell 407 is their third release for the X-Plane Simulator, after the earlier dual SA 341B and SA 342J Gazelle and the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4.
    Notably the aircraft is created to a very high standard, beautiful modeling and lovely intricate details to scale. However rivets and engine fences are images and not 3d, but the main exterior bolts are modeled. Rotor hub is exceedingly well designed, but only has semi-animations for (twist) collective, and tail yaw. Glass is excellent (maybe the rear windows are bit dark) and there are no reflections disable for the internally or externally for the windows. Cabin and instruments are exceptionally well done, and all is very quality work in feel and look, but there are restrictions with only a singe door hide, and there are not many options for different fitout versions (Medi-Vac, lift hook) and role-playing that is mostly common with Helicopter packages. Lighting internally and externally is again excellent, but for ant whites around the frames with the spotlight feature. Although the official Bell 407 Manual and Procedures are very nice (authentic), a JRX Design manual was also required here.
    The updated v1.30 also comes with the sensational CINEFLEX camera system, hung on the nose, you have a full control of the camera and it's storage, v1.30 also has some other nice visual and menu tweaks as well.
    The JRX Bell 405 flies very well, I loved it as it was certainly not a edgy machine to fly, too benign, no I don't think so, so great for first timers and novice fliers, performance and dynamics feel also perfect.
    Would I like JRX Design to also do the famous 206 Jetranger? After this 407 I certainly think so, as it would be an excellent idea to do a fly off of their different capabilities, but more options overall would be nice.
    I love the 407, to a point now it is my current favorite helicopter to fly, I don't love niggly machines, I want to fly, hover and do things without the stress, throw in the sheer quality and X-Plane 12 realism and the JRX Bell 407 is a worthy winner...    highly recommended.

    The Bell 407 by JRX Design v1.30 is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    JRX Bell 407 for X-Plane 12
    Priced at US$35.99
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11. If you want the XP11 version, get it here )
    Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Current Version: 1.30 (January 28th 2024)   JRX Bell 407 for X-Plane 11
    Priced at US$35.99
    X-Plane 11 (not for XP12. if you want the XP12 version, get it here)
    Windows, Mac or Linux - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Current Version: 1.30 (January 28th 2024)   Installation and documents:  download for the JRX Bell 407 is 1.38 Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopters" X-Plane folder.
    Full Installation is 2.76Gb
    AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft
    Documents supplied are:
    JRX Bell 407 - READ ME.txt Bell 407 - Operational Evaluation Board Report.pdf Bell 407 - Pilot Ground and Flight Procedures.pdf Bell 407 - Rotorcraft Flight Manual.pdf JRX BELL 407 - END-USER LICENSE AGREEMENT (EULA).txt  

    Documentation consists of three official documents that cover the 407 Flight Manual, Pilot Ground and Flight Procedures and Operational Evaluation Board Report...  but there is no JRX 407 Aircraft manual, that was badly needed and certainly required here.
    Designed by JRX Design
    Support forum for the JRX B407  
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc3 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - Hooper Heliport (58CA) -
    Review by Stephen Dutton'
    6th January 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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) All Rights Reserved

  7. Like
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in Behind the Screen : January 2024   
    Great comment, go back to the core set up, see how it runs, then add in one component at a time, certainly with Plugins, the cause will stick out, I will say a few plugins that are essential like SAM are currently very buggy and are having no updates is a problem, this is causing a lot of anguish. But like I said do a core flight with a LR default aircraft A330 or B737, and see if you get the full clean Simulation, then work forward from there...
  8. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review: LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island XP 12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Through your enchanting scenery Cami, I feel the warmth of this sun-kissed location, like stepping off a flight, taking breath, then, meandering through town, down to the glistening water's edge, across castor sugar sands, and finding that perfect, family run Ristorante, seated outside, with a cool breeze, sipping a life-giving granita, savouring the freshest local cuisine, all while watching the sun set lazily across shimmering tranquil seas.
    Am I dreaming?
    Not anymore. Thanks to you Cami, for transporting this Kiwi to distant shores and your stunning atmospheric render, and to you Dom for your beguiling review. I feel like I've just had a holiday. In-fact, now I can, anytime!
    Now... where's my suitcase?lol
  9. Like
    Cami De Bellis got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review: LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island XP 12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Dom, once more, I'm speechless!!!!
    In addition to my passion for recreating realistic scenarios for X-Plane, I have a second passion for reading Dom’s reviews.
    You can grasp the essence of my work like no other.
    Thank you eternally.  
  10. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island XP 12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Scenery Review: LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island XP 12 by Cami De Bellis
    By Dominic Smith
    Lampedusa, the largest of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean, stands as Italy's southernmost point, closer to Tunisia than mainland Italy. Spanning 20.2 km2, it is home to approximately 6,000 residents. Lampedusa Airport, situated merely a few hundred meters from the town centre, boasts a 5,889ft asphalt runway and experiences peak traffic during summer, catering to medium-sized aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.

    Cami De Bellis' rendition of Lampedusa Island and its airport, alongside Linosa Island, showcases her hallmark attention to detail. This scenery features highly accurate representations of Lampedusa Island, its associated airport, Linosa Island, over 160 custom objects, and custom terrain mesh by Maps2XPlane. The package offers high-resolution textures in both 2K and 4K, native 3D characters and vehicles, two heliports, and much more, providing an immersive experience for users.

    As some of you may be aware, I am a great admirer of Cami's work, as her sceneries are superbly detailed, embodying a unique personal touch that distinctly marks her creations as special. There's something about the way Cami infuses her projects with her own essence, though it's hard to pinpoint exactly what, that elevates them above the ordinary.

    The scenery is purchasable from the Org store at $18.90 and is notably large, with a download size of 2.8GB and an extraction size of 4.7GB. This size is substantial in comparison to many other sceneries, due in part to the mesh and ortho coverage. Within the package, there are three folders that should be transferred to the Custom Scenery folder within X-Plane. The naming convention of these folders eliminates the need for adjustments to the scenery_packs.ini file, simplifying the setup. Furthermore, the absence of any requirement for keys or activation streamlines the installation process, making it exceptionally straightforward.

    The documentation is comprised of two PDF files: one dedicated to installation and the other, aptly named "Tips & Tricks," offers guidance on maximizing the scenery's potential and highlights specific features. Both documents are well-composed, with a clear layout, making them invaluable resources to review before launching X-Plane. Admittedly, like many, I was too eager to explore the scenery after being captivated by the screenshots on the store page and so bypassed the initial read-through, so it’s straight to hell for me! 

    Aerial View
    The aerial view of the island evokes strong memories of a journey I once made to a remote Greek island, characterised by its semi-arid, garrigue landscape. The custom mesh expertly highlights the topographical diversity of the area. The western side features deep gorges, contrasting with the shallow valleys and sandy beaches of the eastern part. The entire northern coastline boasts cliffs, offering a mix of gently sloping cliffs on the east and stark, vertical cliffs on the west, catering to a variety of adventures. The custom orthoimagery of the island is outstanding, providing clear, crisp visuals free from common anomalies like cloud cover. This is a notable achievement, especially for anyone familiar with the challenges of creating ortho sceneries marred by 2D cloud textures. 

    Upon descending, the imagery retains its clarity, a testament to the high resolution used. Additionally, the custom autogen, leveraging Cami’s CDB Library assets, effectively represents the island's buildings, enhancing the overall realism and immersion.

    Airport and Taxiways
    The main runway and taxiway textures for both asphalt and concrete surfaces are custom made and demonstrate a high level of detail. The exposure to the elements from the surrounding Mediterranean has been artfully captured with a significant degree of weathering visible through cracks and pits. Tire marks on these surfaces add to the realism, with the concrete showing particularly impressive evidence of aircraft manoeuvres. These details, though small, significantly enhance the authenticity of the experience.

    Signage and Foliage
    The careful placement of foliage around the runway and taxiway adds depth without being a burden on system resources, striking a balance that complements the detailed orthoimagery. While the airport's signage is limited due to its size, what is present is thoughtfully executed, with clear apron demarcations and weathering effects on the ground, enhancing the visual fidelity of the airport environment.

    Main Terminal and Buildings
    For users familiar with Cami De Bellis's previous works, the detail in the main airport terminal and its associated buildings in this scenery won't disappoint. The terminal, while lacking an interior, showcases remarkable modelling and texturing, including local artwork that adds a unique touch.

    A particular standout feature is the lively 3D characters, including a dog, and custom passenger vehicles that populate the airport. These are all nicely modelled and contribute to bringing the airport to life. 

    Adjacent to the terminal, you'll find the control tower, hangar, additional passenger facilities, and fire station, all mirroring the high standard of modelling and texturing work we’ve come to expect from Cami. The area is bustling with ground clutter, such as bins, pallets, cones, and several airport vehicles, all contributing to the realism.

    The main car park at the airport entrance utilises a custom texture rather than a standard ortho, achieving a seamless integration with the surrounding scenery. This method avoids the common pitfalls of flat 2D cars and texture anomalies, creating a cohesive look. The car park's design, including the dividing walls and vegetation, and the non-default, atmospheric vehicles, add greatly to the atmosphere. 

    On the airport's perimeter, a building, likely a motel or hotel for passengers, echoes the airport's architectural theme. It features numerous AC units and solar panels on its roof, again showing the attention to detail.

    Venturing beyond the airport leads to the town of Lampedusa, where Cami’s custom autogen, utilising her CDB Library assets, truly shines. While it doesn't encompass every structure, the selection present beautifully captures the essence of this charming oasis. The beach scene was a personal highlight for me, featuring palm trees, deckchairs, and animated 3D characters enjoying their surroundings; a delightful scene that reminded me that I could do with a holiday!

    The bay area is dotted with small boats and a few jetties, predominantly for leisure, though a larger dock facilitates commercial operations. This blend of recreational and business elements adds a realistic layer to the portrayal of the town, further demonstrating Cami's careful attention to detail and her ability to create immersive environments.

    Further Afield
    Heading westward, the landscape transitions to a sparser housing distribution amidst more pronounced terrain, featuring numerous gorges. Yet, the attention to detail remains undiminished. Midway across the island, another beach scene greets you, alive with 3D characters revelling in the sunshine. The combined effect of custom objects with the enhanced mesh and custom ortho keeps the exploration engaging.

    At the island's far western extremity, where the cliffs become dramatically steep and the gorges deepen, we find the first of the additional helipads, just slightly before the radar station. It's here that Lampedusa's radar station emerges, its military essence underscored by the presence of soldiers and a vigilant guard dog. This setting, evocative of a scene straight out of a high-stakes drama, brings to mind the wise words of Walter White, aka Heisenberg, from "Breaking Bad": “tread lightly.”

    Linosa Island
    Located twenty-five miles north of Lampedusa Airport, Linosa Island spans 5.45 square kilometres and boasts a volcanic heritage. Its landscape is dominated by a series of craters, with Monte Vulcano standing as the tallest at 195 metres. The island's volcanic terrain is vividly brought to life with custom mesh and texturing, offering perhaps a more dramatic scenery of the already impressive Lampedusa.

    The harbours are thoughtfully modeled, although one appeared to lack vessels, a detail that, if added, could further enrich the scenery's authenticity in future updates. Just up from the tranquil harbour, the landscape reveals the second additional helipad, strategically positioned yet discreet, enhancing the island's accessibility without disrupting its peaceful charm. Cami's custom autogen,  brings to life the sparse settlements, lending a serene depth to the island's allure, highlighting its status as a quietly detailed haven far removed from the hustle and bustle of more commercial destinations.

    Night Lighting
    As dusk turns to night, the airport comes alive with an elaborate light display. The runway, terminal, surrounding buildings, and car park are all bathed in a brilliant glow. Beyond the airport, the autogen lighting and the lighthouse at the island's northern tip, ensures that the night is alive with light, contributing to the immersive experience.

    During testing, I experienced no performance issues, with frame rates remaining high and stable across all areas, despite my system being midrange. This speaks volumes about the optimization of the scenery, providing an exceptional experience without compromising on detail.

    Exploring Cami De Bellis' Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island scenery was an absolute delight, evoking fond memories of my visit to Greece. The rich foundation laid by the detailed mesh and photographic textures, combined with Cami's superb 3D modeling and texturing work, brings this scenery to life in a way that is both captivating and deeply immersive. The addition of animated 3D people and custom autogen only adds to the charm of this lovely little scenery package. It's not just the visual detail that impresses; the stability of performance despite the complexity of textures and objects ensures a seamless simulation experience. The inclusion of Linosa Island, with its distinctive volcanic landscape and quaint settlements, further elevates the overall appeal of the package. This scenery package is a testament to Cami De Bellis' exceptional skill in creating immersive X-Plane environments that are rich in detail and offer an unparalleled exploration experience, all at an asking price that represents significant value.

    In conclusion, for those in search of a scenery that not only embodies the atmospheric and realistic charm of Italy's southern islands but also offers a compelling escape into their serene beauty, Cami’s latest work might just be the perfect addition to your X-Plane collection, serving as the perfect excuse for a wonderful getaway.

    LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island by Cami De Bellis is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island
    Priced at $18.90
    Highly accurate scenery for LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island with all   buildings modeled.  Over 160 custom objects all with Ambient Occlusion  Custom Terrain Mesh for the entire island of Lampedusa and Linosa by Maps2XPlane  Custom Overlay/Autogen Scenery based on CDB assets by Maps2XPlane"  Photo real textures on buildings, vehicles, trees…  Photorealistic ground textures based on a satellite image 50 cm.  Detailed airport objects and GSE vehicles   Custom textured taxiways, runways, and apron   Custom surrounding buildings   Custom airport lights HD  Custom Overlay    High-resolution building textures – all in 2K and 4K   Excellent night effects   World Traffic 3 compatible  Native characters and vehicles created specially   Ground traffic   The terrain mesh is complemented with custom overlays: dense vegetation and country-typical autogen, as well as custom road networks with dynamic traffic.  Two heliports, for those fans of helicopters. One at the beautiful Linosa Island, and the other on the US Loran Station Base.  Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP 11)
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
    Download Size: 2.7 GB
    Current version 1.0 (January 11th, 2024)
    Review System Specifications
    Intel i5 10400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 3060 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
    Scenery Review by Dominic Smith
    23rd February 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  11. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in NEWS! - Scenery Released : LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island, Italy by Cami de Bellis   
    NEWS! - Scenery Released : LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island, Italy by Cami de Bellis

    Where is it? It's an Italian Island, but in reality it is nowhere near the Southern Italian coastline, more adjacent to Tunisia, Africa than Europe. Lampedusa is the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
    The Pelagie Islands from the Greek pélagos meaning "open sea", are the three small islands of Lampedusa, Lampione, and Linosa, located in the Mediterranean Sea between Malta and Tunisia, south of Sicily. To the northwest lie the island of Pantelleria and the Strait of Sicily. All three islands are part of the commune of Lampedusa. Geologically, part of the archipelago (Lampedusa and Lampione) belongs to the African continent; politically and administratively the islands fall within the Sicilian province of Agrigento and represent the southernmost part of Italy.
    Despite pockets of agriculture, the islands are unnaturally barren due to wanton deforestation and the disappearance of the native olive groves, juniper and carob plantations. Fifty years ago much of the landscape was farmland bounded by dry stone walls, but today, the local economy is based on sponge fishing and canning, supplemented by tourism in Lampedusa.
    Here is another detailed Cami de Bellis scenery with the addition of complete terrain mesh for the entire islands of Lampedusa and Linosa by Maps2XPlane, yes the same Maps2XPlane that did the excellent islands coverage of Faroe and Savlbard. So obviously you have a great combination of skills and quality scenery here.
    Features  Highly accurate scenery for LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island with all   buildings modeled.  Over 160 custom objects all with Ambient Occlusion  Custom Terrain Mesh for the entire island of Lampedusa and Linosa by Maps2XPlane  Custom Overlay/Autogen Scenery based on CDB assets by Maps2XPlane"  Photo real textures on buildings, vehicles, trees…  Photorealistic ground textures based on a satellite image 50 cm.  Detailed airport objects and GSE vehicles   Custom textured taxiways, runways, and apron   Custom surrounding buildings   Custom airport lights HD  Custom Overlay    High-resolution building textures – all in 2K and 4K   Excellent night effects   World Traffic 3 compatible  Native characters and vehicles created specially   Ground traffic   The terrain mesh is complemented with custom overlays: dense vegetation  and country-typical autogen, as well as custom road networks with dynamic traffic.  Two heliports, for those fans of helicopters. One at the beautiful  Linosa Island, and the other on the US Loran Station Base.   



    This LICD scenery is X-Plane 12 only
    Images of LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island are courtesy of Cami de Bellis

    Yes!  LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island by Cami de Bellis is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island
    Price Is US$18.90
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP 11)
    Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.7 GB Current version 1.0 (January 11th 2024) ________________
    NEWS! by Stephen Dutton
    12th January 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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) All Rights Reserved

  12. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review: FHSH - St Helena Airport for XP12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Peter and Dom, I'm speechless about how to say thank you to both of you! I really appreciate this review.
    It's a compensation to months of work and dedication and searching of info, details and photographs and investments as well. Keep up the good work you guys doing to our XPlane community! Thank you!  
  13. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dennis Powell in Scenery Review: FHSH - St Helena Airport for XP12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Cami, outstanding work. Not just the airport, but the whole island. I loved the review, and seeing so many familiar faces from the CDB Library. An airport needs a bit of life in my humble opinion, and you set the perfect balance. I'm also impressed by the amazing skill you have at creating the 3D buildings, not just the exterior, but interior too. Just amazing work.
  14. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: FHSH - St Helena Airport for XP12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Scenery Review: FHSH - St Helena Airport for XP12 by Cami De Bellis

    By Peter Allnutt
    Like me, you might get a twinge of recognition when someone mentions St. Helena, feeling that you should know where it is or something significant about it. Admittedly, it's been a while since my school history classes, and my memory didn't quite hold up. St. Helena is a tiny and remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean, famous as the final exile place of Napoleon in 1815. With a population of around 4,500, the island welcomed its first airport in 2016 and is the subject of this review.

    Commercial flights began servicing the airport in 2017. Before then, reaching the island required a five-day voyage by ship from Cape Town due to its seclusion. Pilots face considerable windshear challenges when landing on runway 01, influencing special operating requirements at St. Helena. 

    Keep in mind, due to the airport's unique location, pilots must have an alternative landing site in their plans, in case landing at St. Helena becomes untenable. For safety reasons, when an incoming aircraft is more than halfway to the airport, all other flight activities, including takeoffs and approaches, are put on hold to ensure a clear path for the arriving plane.

    Purchase & Installation
    You can pick up this scenery package from the Org Store for a reasonable $16.95. It doesn't just cover the airport; it encompasses the entire island of St. Helena, with approximately 80 custom objects and an enhanced terrain mesh. The download size stands at roughly 1.5GB and, once unzipped, it expands to around 2.7GB. Within the package, you'll find three folders, each of which needs to be copied to your Custom Scenery folder in X-Plane. No keys or activation is required, making the installation process refreshingly straightforward.

    Included with the package is a concise document located in the “FHSH- St. Helena – Airport” folder. It outlines the installation process, lists the features, and offers an informative section pointing to online resources about the island and its airfield. The document also describes a method for enhancing the default X-Plane map with more detailed data. However, be aware that subsequent X-Plane updates may revert these changes, meaning they will have to be repeated.

    FHSH - St Helena Airport
    St. Helena Airport nestles on the eastern side of the island, on Prosperous Bay Plain. The runway stretches impressively, with the southern end elevated to reach the necessary length. Its unique location atop formidable cliffs, introduces the challenge of windshear, thus requiring pilots to undergo specialized training before landing in St. Helena.

    Within X-Plane, the airport melds seamlessly with the undulating terrain that extends beyond the airport's primary structures. 

    The terminal buildings, depicted with great attention to detail, both inside and out, bustles with life. 

    Intrigued visitors populate even the most hidden corners, including one particularly enthusiastic spectator on the first floor viewing area of the main terminal. 

    The control tower, too, boasts a nicely modelled exterior and interior.

    Beyond the main terminal lie various smaller edifices, including a finely modelled VOR. Dotted around these structures are numerous smaller items, from satellite dishes to storage tanks, all of which maintain a newness befitting an airfield less than a decade old. The sole exception is the runway, which bears the marks of some rather intense landings.

    The car park, mirroring its real-life counterpart, features landscaped gardens, and further along, a fire training area complete with a mockup plane and a storage tank facility. Though both are reasonably well modelled, the plane at the fire practice area could have benefitted from a touch more detail.

    Cami’s rendition of St. Helena strikes a fine balance, injecting life into the scene without overdoing it. The scenery retains a sense of calm, even as commercial aircraft arrive and depart, encapsulating the airport's serene atmosphere.

    St Helena – The Island
    Cami’s enhancements to St. Helena extends beyond the airfield to revitalize the entire island with photorealistic ground textures and an improved terrain mesh. The upgrade is a marked improvement over the default X-Plane 12 offering, bringing the island's rugged volcanic topography of peaks, ridges, and valleys to vivid life. The island's vegetation is portrayed with a sparseness that occasionally belies the ground textures’ suggestions of greenery, a slight mismatch that reflects a broader issue within X-Plane rather than this package alone.

    Longwood House, Napoleon’s final abode in exile and now a museum of notable poignancy, receives a nice custom model. Despite its significance, the house is a stark standout in the scenery, with the surrounding area not quite matching its detail.

    Jamestown's waterfront comes alive with Cami’s 3D touch, featuring bespoke buildings and a docked ship, lending character to the port. The inclusion of a fictional helicopter pad here, and another by Longwood House, provides opportunities for local flights. Yet, their presence feels as though it could have been better as an optional feature, particularly since the pad near Longwood House is already occupied if static aircraft are activated in X-Plane.

    While buildings across the island show a tendency towards repetition, and attempts at reorientation don’t quite solve the issue, this stands as a minor quibble, perhaps more indicative of X-Plane’s limitations than any shortfall in the scenery pack itself.

    Night Lighting
    When night falls, the airfield dons a vibrant display of lights. The runway gleams with a full array of illumination, mirroring the well-lit terminal, its accompanying structures, and the car parks. Venturing away from the airfield, the lighting takes on a more understated quality, echoing the modest and dispersed nature of the island's population.

    Interestingly, the port maintains a lively ambience after dark, hinting at a nocturnal bustle.

    During my testing of this scenery, I encountered no issues affecting performance. Frame rates remained consistently high and stable, devoid of any noticeable lags or fluctuations. To give you an idea of my setup, I'm running X-Plane on an Intel i9 10900K with 32GB of RAM, coupled with an NVIDIA MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X graphics card, all on a Windows 10 Home 64-bit system.

    I’ve enjoyed exploring and flying around St. Helena Airport by Cami De Bellis / CDB Sceneries and Maps2Xplane. While the presence of more diverse vegetation and a wider array of generic buildings would enhance the scenery, these are minor points. In any case, they seem more indicative of X-Plane’s limitations than any shortfall in the scenery design itself. The airport and its surroundings, including Longwood House, are depicted with impressive accuracy, and the bespoke models, around eighty in total, contribute to a relaxed and authentic atmosphere.
    Although the island's seclusion means you might not fly in or out regularly, piloting your favourite GA aircraft or helicopter over this picturesque landscape is an experience not to be missed.

    St Helena Airport for XP12 by Cami De Bellis is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    St Helena Airport by Cami De Bellis
    Priced at US$16.95
    Highly accurate scenery for FHSH -St Helena Airport with all buildings modeled.  Over eighty custom objects all with Ambient Occlusion   Terrain mesh created and modified to fix bump terrain and set and correct the topography of the Airport’s area  Custom Terrain Mesh for the entire island of Saint Helena by Maps2XPlane  Custom Overlay/Autogen Scenery based on CDB assets by Maps2XPlane"  Photo real textures on buildings, vehicles, trees…  Photorealistic ground textures based on a satellite image.  Detailed airport objects and GSE vehicles   Custom textured taxiways, runways, and apron   Custom surrounding buildings   Custom airport lights HD  Custom Overlay    High-resolution building textures – all in 2K and 4K   Excellent night effects   World Traffic 3 compatible  Native characters created specially   The terrain mesh is complemented with custom overlays: dense vegetation and country-typical autogen, as well as custom road networks with dynamic traffic.  Two fictional heliports, for those fans of helicopters. One at the beautiful Longwood House, and the other on the shores of the island’s main port; Ruperts Wharf.  Requirements:
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
    Download Size: 1.5 GB
    Current version 1.0 (August 28th, 2023)
    Review System Specifications
    Intel i9 10900K – 32GB RAM - NVidia MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
    Scenery Review by Peter Allnutt
    10th November 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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.

  15. Like
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: Telluride Regional Airport UHD by X-Codr Designs   
    Scenery Review: Telluride Regional Airport UHD by X-Codr Designs
    By David York
    I'm delighted to bring you this review of XCodr Design's Telluride Airport scenery package, designed specifically for X-Plane enthusiasts. While the focus of my comments is on the X-Plane 12 rendition, it's worth noting that the scenery also performs well on the available X-Plane 11 version.

    Situated at a soaring altitude of 9,070 feet atop Dove Creek Mesa, Telluride Regional Airport (TEX) holds the distinction of being the highest-elevation commercial airport in the United States. Covering an expansive 542 acres, the airport features a single runway—TEX 9/27—which has an asphalt surface and dimensions of 7111 feet in length by 100 feet in width. Known for its challenging landings due to fierce mountain winds, especially in the winter, this runway is both one of the most dangerous and most beautiful to land on in America, according to Uncover Colorado. The surrounding terrain itself exceeds elevations of 14,000 feet.

    The landscape at either end of the runway is equally dramatic. Off one end, the terrain plunges a sheer 1,000 feet down to the St Miguel River in the valley below. At the opposite end, the terrain rises steeply, culminating in the sloping meadow that houses the Telluride Mountain Resort. A softer, engineered stop has been installed at the base of this slope to prevent serious runway excursions.

    Since its initial planning by the City of Telluride back in the seventies and its opening in 1984, Telluride Airport has been a collaborative venture between the tourist industry, as well as federal and local governments. Owned and operated by the Telluride Regional Airport Authority, the airport boasted 9,412 operations in 2019 and is home to twenty-seven based aircraft. It is primarily served by Denver Air Connection, offering scheduled daily flights to Denver, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona. Additionally, there's active charter traffic, with at least five Charter Services available. Finally, general aviation use is not only busy but also enthusiastic, making it a source of pride for those who fly out of Telluride, as per Business View.

    Why this Scenery?
    For those who relish day-to-day challenges, flying in the mountains is hard to beat, and Telluride, as a winter destination, promises the kind of excitement and realism one could desire in a flight simulator experience. As someone who has been a skier, the nostalgia of the ski slopes adds another layer of attraction for me. Despite now living in the south, I find myself yearning for the sight of ski runs and fresh powder, especially when I can experience it without the financial burden usually associated with it.

    Though it's not quite the same as landing in Nepal, the approach to Telluride's plateau-based airport offers a unique character that you won't find in eastern U.S. destinations. If you opt for an autopilot landing, you may even get a glimpse of the canyons below—but be warned! You'll need to stay alert for sudden wind changes and other environmental factors.
    The scenery pack you'll need is titled 'XP12_Telluride Regional Airport Package.zip,' or its XP11 equivalent if that's your target system. The file size is a mere 2.98GB, but once installed, it will occupy over 7 gigabytes on your hard disk. This doesn't include the 'Living Scenery Technology' plug-in that is also required. The main archive is specific to Telluride and its surrounding areas, featuring the Regional Airport, the town, and resort areas. If you're new to Xcodr Designs, you'll also need to download the Xcodr Library, available in versions for both XP12 and XP11.
    The 'Living Scenery Technology' plug-in is essential for Xcodr products and can be downloaded from X-Plane.org. Install this plug-in in your X-Plane plug-ins directory, which you'll find in your base X-Plane directory resources folder (<X-Plane Root Folder>/Resources/Plugins). Unzip and copy the X-Codr Designs Library folder into the Custom Scenery Folder/Directory of your chosen X-Plane version. Extract the three scenery folders from the 'XPnn_Telluride_Regional_Airport_Package.zip' into the Custom Scenery directory folder. These folders are Telluride_Regional_Airport_Z_Mesh, Telluride_Regional_Airport_Y_Overlay, and Telluride_Regional_Airport_Ski_Lifts. This archive also includes your Scenery Manual.
    A quick note for new users: don't forget to check the 'scenery_packs.ini' text file to ensure the order list is correct. All scenery, particularly the airport, should be listed above the 'Global Airports' entry. The overlay and mesh files, in this case:

    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Telluride_Regional_Airport_Y_Overlay/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Telluride_Regional_Airport_Z_Mesh/

    should generally appear towards the bottom of the list but can be placed either above or below the global airport’s entry.

    If you have old scenery from previous installations of this package, make sure to delete them; otherwise, they may be overwritten as they bear the same name.

    Once you're done with these steps, no further activation is required. Just load up your version of X-Plane, and Telluride will appear in your list of available airports. Although the installation process involves quite a few steps, they are pretty standard for any scenery setup. That said, it's worth noting that the developer could have provided a small script to automate what can be a tedious and error-prone process, making for a more seamless installation experience.

    The documentation that comes with the package is concise, providing all the essential information you need to get started. While it does contain some outdated information, such as references to Great Lakes Airlines, which ceased operations in 2018, it's mostly current, spotlighting Denver Air Connection as the main scheduled service.
    The provided manual offers a succinct yet insightful introduction to both Telluride and its regional airport. They even include advice that Telluride isn't a destination for novice pilots, serving as a helpful caution and an exciting challenge for those with more experience. Some simmers might appreciate more narrative details for a richer understanding of the area, an addition that could also serve as a clever marketing strategy.
    Though the documentation does an excellent job of outlining the package's features, it could be enhanced by visuals like charts, graphics, or FAA airport diagrams. Such additions would provide a more comprehensive guide to the Telluride experience in X-Plane. In summary, the documentation is practical and to the point, providing the essentials for starting your Telluride journey in X-Plane while leaving room for enrichments that could make it even more user-friendly.

    Exploration Walkthrough
    Flying in this scenic area comes with a number of caveats—such as wind, obstructions, and altitude—that make it different from taking off at sea-level. Factors like fuel-air mixture and take-off distance will need to be adjusted accordingly. For those interested in the specifics, this type of operation is often referred to as 'Mountain Flying.’

    As you prepare for landing, you're greeted with an awe-inspiring spectacle. Several plateaus are visible in the middle distance, the San Miguel River meanders in the valley below, and the Telluride Mountain Village is straight ahead, with rugged mountains continuing to rise beyond. The Ortho scenery is absolutely breathtaking and amplifies the simulation experience immeasurably. Take note of the moderately high fence at the edge of the plateau, your touchdown point needs to be clearly visible; there's no room for mistakes on this runway.

    Once you touch down, you'll taxi toward a rather modest set of well-modelled structures, including the terminal. It's a fair taxi distance to the ramps at the opposite end. Upon reaching the taxiway entrance, you proceed to either the gate area or a parking spot. Once you shut down your aircraft, you can indulge in a 360-degree sweep of the scenery; mountains surrounding you and the Telluride Resort above in the distance.

    The terminal itself is compact yet well-placed, with the public entrance situated conveniently above and to your right, just behind a wire boundary fence. While the interior of the terminal isn't modelled, the external details make up for it to some extent. For those accustomed to more detailed offerings like those found at Kenai, AK, this might be an area where future updates could add value.
    In terms of accuracy, the detailing around the terminal largely aligns with what one might observe through Google Earth. For instance, the larger entrance roadway into the main parking lot adds a touch of realism. Features like the mailbox and dumpster further contribute to this effect, although additional signage could provide an extra layer of authenticity.

    Outside, you'll find a paved area surrounded on three sides by well-presented hangars and other outbuildings. The textures used in the modelling are professional and offer excellent detail, complete with visible wear and tear. Up the hill behind the hangars, you'll notice a large fuel bunker by the access road—a nice touch! The airport is populated with static aircraft, attesting to the activity in general aviation, but the presence of charter services is less prominent than one might expect from a Google Earth survey.

    As you venture away from the airport, the quality of the provided ortho scenery becomes increasingly apparent, justifying the data investment. The animated, operational ski lifts contribute significantly to the overall immersion, offering a dynamic element to the setting. The vista from the lodge is nothing short of breathtaking. While the view does lose some of its impact if you turn around inside the lodge, this minor detail hardly diminishes the overall splendor of the landscape.

    The town, hidden in the valleys beyond the runway and plateau, is artistically well-done. You have to venture to the edge of the plateau to get a proper view of the artistic presentation of the town and streets. 

    Switching to a winter setting in the simulation adds even more detail; the ski hills are more prominent in the snowfall, and both the apron at your feet and the mailbox at the back of the terminal receive a nice covering of snow.

    Night Lighting
    As dusk turns to night, the sky is graced with a beautiful red hue from the setting sun, set against a broken layer of stratus clouds above. The existing signage, limited as it is, becomes more prominent and readable once illuminated, enhancing its realism. The runway lights add the essential touch of authenticity for a winter night. In the distance, all the ski runs are lit up, lending the entire view a high degree of believability. It's evident that no detail has been overlooked in the simulation of Telluride.

    Scenery & Aircraft Performance
    Navigating the valley revealed some frame rate challenges, likely due to my hardware limitations. This suggests that those with higher-end graphics hardware will be able to fully appreciate the scenery's intricate details. In terms of aircraft performance, adjustments to fuel-air mixture and take-off distance could add an extra layer of realism, enhancing the high-altitude experience. While I'm not a qualified pilot, these observations aim to enrich the flying experience. The immersive wind and traffic sounds notably elevate the overall simulation.
    Telluride Airport by X-Codr Design really is a feast for the eyes, boasting high-quality modelling and artwork that make the download size well worth it. While there's room to elevate the experience further, such as adding interior details to the terminal or enhancing the representation of charter services, these are opportunities for growth rather than shortcomings.
    The developer's emphasis on scenic beauty truly shines, providing a visually stunning experience that is a joy to explore. Enhancements in the business and commercial aspects could add another layer of depth, particularly in the context of an active resort area. Such additions would only elevate what is already a compelling simulation experience.

    What stands out the most is the package's performance on even modest systems, along with the inclusion of useful plug-ins and libraries. These features, coupled with the sheer joy of flying in the Colorado mountains, make this package a fantastic experience that can be enjoyed year-round.

    In summary, this package already offers an immersive and visually stunning experience, and with a few more touches, it could reach new heights of simulation realism.

    Telluride Regional Airport UHD by XCodr Design is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    Telluride Regional Airport UHD
    Priced at $21.95
    Highly detailed and realistic rendition of Telluride Regional Airport
    Ultra-detailed, high-resolution buildings Ultra-detailed, high resolution ground textures Lots of airport clutter, i.e. baggage cart, chocks, tie down cables and tires, etc. Integration with X-Plane 12 weather effects Accurate taxi routes, airport flows, and ramp starts Detailed rendition of nearby Mountain Village Ski Resort
    Animated gondolas and ski lifts using Living Scenery Technology Custom model of all major hotels Custom ski resort homes Night lit ski routes (visible from the airport and when in the pattern) Animated 3D skiers using Living Scenery Technology Custom Ortho4XP Mesh realistic runway slopes Thanks to Oscar Pilote for creating the amazing tool Ortho4xp)

    Custom overlay scenery based off Alpilotx’s UHD Mesh V4 scenery (used with his permission)

    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (both versions included)
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    4GB VRAM Minimum. 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended
    Download size: 3GB. 
    Current version: 
    XP12 - September 6th, 2022
    XP11 - 1.51 (July 4th, 2019)
    Review System Specifications
    AMD FX-8350 - 16GB - AMD Radeon RTX 570 8GB - Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
    Scenery Review by David York
    27th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  16. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: VQPR Paro International Airport XP12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Scenery Review: VQPR Paro International Airport XP12 by Cami De Bellis

    By Nick Garlick

    Every virtual pilot has that one destination, a place that beckons with the allure of adventure and the thrill of the unknown. For many, it's the quest for their personal Shangri-La, a utopia hidden amidst the digital landscapes of X-Plane. Shangri-La, a term immortalised by James Hilton in his 1933 novel “Lost Horizon”, speaks of an earthly Eden, untouched by time and far removed from the chaos of modern life. But what if such a place existed not just in literature but within the very confines of your flight sim world?

    Enter Bhutan, a landlocked gem nestled in the eastern Himalayas. A realm where the concept of time feels abstract, as if you're miles away from yesterday and yet, just a step shy of tomorrow. Bhutan, with its monasteries perched on cliff edges and valleys echoing with ancient folklore, feels like a page straight out of Hilton's masterpiece. And at the heart of this enigmatic nation lies our destination: VQPR Paro International Airport. An airport that promises not just a flying challenge but a journey into a world that celebrates serenity, culture, and nature's unbridled beauty.
    Cami De Bellis of CDB Sceneries has been a beacon in the X-Plane community since 2008. Her dedication to creating realistic and immersive sceneries shines through in this rendition of VQPR. This airport, initially released around six years ago, has undergone several updates. The most recent one, as of June 2023, brought further refinements, including corrections to certain objects and the addition of more dynamic elements like ground traffic vehicles and vegetation.

    So, fasten your seat belts as we embark on this virtual adventure, exploring the nuances, challenges, and charms of VQPR Paro International Airport for X-Plane 12.

    Install & Documentation
    Stepping into the world of VQPR Paro International Airport starts with a straightforward installation process. Once you've extracted the contents from the zip file, it's as simple as copying the folder named 'VQPR_Paro_Bhutan V3' and pasting it into your XP12 custom scenery directory. However, a crucial point to note is the dependency on Cami’s CDB Library V2.6. While the scenery package is more compact without this library, it's essential for the full experience. For ease of access, the accompanying manual provides a direct hyperlink to this library found at the Org. If you're new to this wonderful community, creating an account might be necessary to access this file.

    Documentation comes in the form of an easy-to-follow single PDF, and whilst it primarily offers installation instructions, it also provides guidance on how to get the most out of the scenery. Though brief, it covers all the essential points and is well worth reading.

    Main Airport - VQPR Paro International
    Nestled amongst the rugged contours of the Paro Valley, VQPR Paro International Airport is a beacon of modernity set against a backdrop of ancient mountains. The airport's location presents not just visual allure but an undeniable challenge to pilots. Its reputation as one of the world's most demanding airports is well-deserved, as the approach into VQPR is fraught with challenges, made even more intense by the sudden gusts of wind that can veer an aircraft off its course.
    Only a handful of real-world pilots boast the qualification to land here. Their number is so limited that they could be counted on one's fingers, perhaps with a toe or two to spare. The airport's altitude, sitting almost as high above sea level as its runways are long, adds another layer to its complexity. With a runway length of 6,500ft and an altitude of 7,300ft, even a cursory glance at the airport charts underscores the challenges posed.

    X-Plane's default mesh does a reasonable job at recreating the intimidating terrain that envelops the Paro valley. This serves as more than just a picturesque backdrop; it's a constant reminder of the flying challenge that awaits would-be pilots.

    Ground Markings 
    The runway textures at the airport, whilst of decent quality, come off as slightly too pristine. While they feature the expected rubber marks from landings, a touch more weathering could have added to their realism, given the wear and tear runways typically experience. In contrast, the taxiways do exhibit weathering, enhancing their authentic appearance, as does the apron and the surrounding areas close to the maintenance buildings.  

    Main Terminal and Adjacent Structures
    The main terminal of Paro International Airport is a blend of modern functionality and traditional Bhutanese architecture. Intricately carved wooden cornices, vibrant patterns, white walls, and a multi-coloured sloped roof reminiscent of Bhutan's fortresses (Dzongs) set the terminal apart. 

    Directly in front of the terminal is a car park, catering to both short-term and long-term parking needs. A frequent sight here are the local buses, waiting to ferry passengers to nearby towns and landmarks, all faithfully reproduced to enhance realism. 

    Bustling Environment
    Cami's trademark use of 3D characters is prominently showcased in this scenery. From locals in traditional attire to bustling passengers and diligent airport staff, the variety is commendable. Together, these diverse figures, albeit static, breathe life into the scenery, replicating the vibrant atmosphere typically associated with international airports. The inclusion of such details not only adds depth to the environment but also enhances the immersion for virtual pilots.

    Surrounding Area
    The allure of VQPR Paro International Airport doesn't end at its runways; it extends to the rich tapestry of landscapes and landmarks that envelop it. Unfortunately, X-Plane’s dated ground textures fail to do this part of the scenery justice, so I highly recommend using Ortho4XP or AutoOrtho to increase the realism. 

    While the scenery captures the essence of Bhutan's beauty, it's important to note that certain iconic structures close to the airport, like the Paro Taktsang monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, are not part of this rendition, as the coverage does not extend that far. However, the Rinpung Dzong or 'Fortress of Heap of Jewels is included in the package and is beautifully represented.

    While the scenery largely succeeds in capturing Bhutan's unique allure, there are a few distinct areas that could benefit from further refinement. Firstly, while the landscape mostly blends seamlessly with X-Plane's default mesh, some inconsistencies are evident, especially in the surrounding hills and slopes. Secondly, expanding the ortho-photo coverage would lessen the jarring contrast between X-Plane's somewhat dated default ground textures and Cami's finely modelled structures. Lastly, incorporating X-Plane 12's advanced capabilities, such as its new 3D trees and vegetation, could elevate the level of immersion and authenticity, although this would understandably require additional development effort.

    Night Lighting
    As evening settles over VQPR Paro International Airport, Cami's attention to lighting comes to the forefront. The aprons, taxiways, and runways are well-lit, making after-dark operations straightforward. While the airport's windows rely on baked lit textures rather than dynamic lighting, the effect is still convincing. It adds a layer of realism that enhances the overall atmosphere, especially in low light conditions.

    Exploring the vast horizons of the X-Plane universe reveals many hidden gems, and Cami's rendition of VQPR Paro International Airport in Bhutan undoubtedly shines among them. This scenery captures the very essence of Bhutan, a country synonymous with tranquillity, spiritual richness, and breathtaking landscapes. While many sceneries boast of high-resolution textures and an overload of pixel-perfect details, Cami's work stands out for its balance. The focus isn't on mere visual spectacle but on creating a genuine, immersive experience. VQPR is a delightful blend of simplicity and authenticity, emphasizing the serene charm of Bhutan while leveraging some of X-Plane 12's advanced features.

    However, just like any other scenery, there's always potential for growth. Whilst the custom buildings and landmarks mostly work well with X-Plane's default terrain, enhancing this integration could resolve some glaring inconsistencies, especially on uneven terrain like hills and slopes. Furthermore, the scenery's authenticity could be elevated by the addition of higher-resolution ortho-photos or even the use of photo-realistic textures. In the same vein, tapping into the advanced capabilities of X-Plane 12, such as its new 3D trees and vegetation, could offer an even more refined and immersive experience.

    But these suggestions don't overshadow the undeniable allure of this scenery. Cami's VQPR offers virtual pilots not just a landing challenge but an invitation to explore a country that celebrates happiness as a state policy. It's a journey into a world where the modern meets the ancient, where nature's raw beauty intertwines with rich cultural heritage. For those seeking a serene escape coupled with a flying challenge, VQPR Paro International Airport is an unmissable destination. As we await more such adventures from the talented Cami De Bellis, this rendition of VQPR stands as a testament to her dedication to the X-Plane community.
    So, until the next virtual adventure beckons, it's a heartfelt 'Pip, Pip, Tally Ho!' from me.

    VQPR Paro Intl Airport, Bhutan, XP12 by Cami De Bellis is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    VQPR Paro Intl Airport, Bhutan, XP12
    Priced at $19.95
    Exact reproduction 3D of the airport buildings, houses, hangars, Dzong, Pagodas and others  Detailed textures and custom objects Reproduction of staff and local people 3D Hand placed 3D trees  Volumetric grass Complete reconstruction of the airport's lighting equipment Detailed ground markings Custom night lighting  Many Animations in and around airport Very detailed 3D Models covering the whole airport Ground Traffic by Marginal  
    X-Plane 12  
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    4 Gb VRAM Minimum. 8 Gb+ VRAM Recommended
    CDB-Library is required
    Current version 3.0 (June 15th, 2023)
    Review System Specifications
    Windows 10, Intel 4790K liquid-cooled, overclock to 5GHz, 32GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, Nvidia GTX 1070ti, Titanium HD Audio Card.
    Scenery Review by Nick Garlick
    19th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  17. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in NEWS! - Scenery Released : St Helena Airport by Cami De Bellis   
    NEWS! - Scenery Released : St Helena Airport by Cami De Bellis

    Saint Helena is a British overseas territory located in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote volcanic tropical island 1,950 km (1,210 mi) west of the coast of south-western Africa, and 4,000 km (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro in South America. It is one of three constituent parts of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
    It's famous for...  In that the British government selected Saint Helena as the place of exile for Napoleon Bonaparte, after the Battle of Waterloo, his second abdication (on 22 June 1815) and his final surrender, to Captain Frederick Maitland, on HMS Bellerophon (15 July 1815). He was taken to the island in October 1815. Initially Napoleon stayed at the Briars pavilion on the grounds of the Balcombe family's home, until his permanent residence at Longwood House was completed in December 1815. He died there on 5 May 1821.
    After a list of upgraded scenery to X-Plane 12, including VNKT - Kathmandu Tribhuvan Intl, VNDP - Dolpa Airport Nepal and La Tontouta Noumea - New Caledonia. Here is a new fully created scenery of FHSH St Helena Airport from Cami de Bellis, note the extensive interview with Cami by Dominic Smith here;
    Developer Spotlight Feature Cami De Bellis With a celebration of Cami's 15 Years of creating X-Plane Scenery.
    Features Include: Highly accurate scenery for FHSH -St Helena Airport with all buildings modeled.  Over 80 custom objects all with Ambient Occlusion   Terrain mesh created and modified to fix bump terrain and set and correct the topography of the Airport’s area  Custom Terrain Mesh for the entire island of Saint Helena by Maps2XPlane  Custom Overlay/Autogen Scenery based on CDB assets by Maps2XPlane"  Photo real textures on buildings, vehicles, trees…  Photorealistic ground textures based on a satellite image.  Detailed airport objects and GSE vehicles   Custom textured taxiways, runways, and apron   Custom surrounding buildings   Custom airport lights HD  Custom Overlay    High-resolution building textures – all in 2K and 4K   Excellent night effects   World Traffic 3 compatible  Native characters created specially   The terrain mesh is complemented with custom overlays: dense vegetation and country-typical autogen, as well as custom road networks with dynamic traffic.  Two fictional heliports, for those fans of helicopters. One at the beautiful Longwood House, and the other on the shores of the island’s main port; Ruperts Wharf.   


    As Saint Helena is more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) from the nearest major landmass. Prior to the opening of the airport, the island was only reachable by sea, making it one of the most remote populated places on earth, measured as travel time from major cities. Sea journeys used to take five days from Cape Town, with departures once every three weeks.
    The first consideration of an airport on St Helena was made in 1943 by the South African Air Force, which undertook a survey on Prosperous Bay Plain from October 1943 until January 1944, but concluded that, while technically feasible, an airport was not a practical proposition. From the 1960s, there was an idea to build an airport on the Island. In 1999, this was taken up by the island government.
    The construction of the runway was finished in 2015 and the airport opened in 2016. The inaugural scheduled flight was delayed but general aviation, charter, and medical evacuation flights were able to serve the airport from May 2016.
    The airport began scheduled commercial services on 14 October 2017, when the South African carrier Airlink inaugurated a weekly service from O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, via Walvis Bay Airport, Namibia, using an Embraer E190-100IGW, or about one and a half years after the originally expected inauguration date, and with a smaller-sized aircraft, because of wind shear problems affecting the airport. Additionally, monthly charter flights now operate between Ascension Island and Saint Helena.
    This FHSH scenery is X-Plane 12 only
    Images of FHSH - St Helena Airport are courtesy of Cami de Bellis

    Yes!  FHSH - St Helena Airport by Cami de Bellis is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    FHSH - St Helena Airport by Cami De Bellis
    Price Is US$16.95
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP 11)
    Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.5 GB CDB-Library is required Current version 1.0 (August 28th 2023) ________________
    NEWS! by Stephen Dutton
    28th August 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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) All Rights Reserved

  18. Like
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: Banff National Park UHD XP12 by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini   
    Scenery Review: Banff National Park UHD XP12 by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini

    By Nick Garlick
    Once again, we venture into the vast and diverse landscapes of X-Plane 12, setting our sights this time on Western Canada's stunning province of Alberta. Renowned for its natural wonders, Alberta is a land rich with more than ten national parks, each showcasing a different facet of the region's geographical beauty. From over six hundred shimmering lakes to prairies, desert badlands, dense coniferous forests, and majestic mountains, the province offers a breathtaking panorama that we're about to explore.

    Among these treasures is Banff National Park. While there are numerous ways to explore this vast wilderness, be it through camping, hiking, or biking, I believe that flying offers a unique vantage point, and what better way to soar above these landscapes than within the immersive confines of your X-Plane world!
    First Impressions
    When I think of mountain park destinations in X-Plane, Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini's 3D Mountain Park series immediately comes to mind. Their work has always set a high standard, with their "FSC Dolomites 3D" being a prime example, and even though it stands as one of the pricier additions to my X-Plane collection, the exceptional quality and attention to detail made every penny worth it. The vibrancy and intricate details of that scenery still captivate me, making every flight in that region a delightful experience.

    Another commendable piece from their collection is the Matterhorn Park. With such sterling experiences from their previous products, my expectations for Banff National Park UHD for XP12 are undoubtedly elevated.

    Will Banff for XP12 match the excellence of its predecessors? Can it replicate the joy I've found in other Dainese and Bellini products? Most crucially, can it encapsulate the mesmerizing beauty of the park's landscape? Join me as we delve deeper and explore these questions in this comprehensive review of Banff National Park UHD for XP12.

    Documentation & Installation
    Consistency in quality is a hallmark of Dainese and Bellini, and this extends beyond just their scenery, as they consistently provide thorough documentation for all their products, Banff being no exception. Included with this package is a 7-page manual detailing the installation requirements, insight into the project's construction, plus separate maps showing the area covered (I've highlighted the route covered in this this review). The installation process remains straightforward: download, extract the files, and place them in your X-Plane custom scenery folder, ensuring the correct file hierarchy.

    Scenery & 3D Objects Quality
    Dainese and Bellini's new edition for XP12 highlights an expanded scenery footprint, covering a vast area of approximately 1500 sq km. This range spans between +57 – 177 degrees of latitude and longitude. Notably, the updated package introduces us to the picturesque Moraine, Louise, Bow, Peyto, O'Hara, and Emerald lakes. Additionally, it incorporates characteristic resorts within the park, such as Baker Creek, Storm Mountain, Bow Lake, and Paradise Lodge.

    A standout feature of this edition is the 3D water rendition within the park's lakes, capitalizing on XP12's new 3D water capability. As you immerse yourself in this expansive scenery, there are thirteen distinct locations to commence or conclude your virtual flights, embracing the park's natural splendour. Among these, you'll find a single grass runway, two water runways, and ten helipads.
    Here's a detailed list:
    •    Water Runways:
    •    LCLLW: Lake Louise, Canada
    •    LCLM: Lake Moraine, Canada
    •    Grass Runway:
    •    XLCU: Louise-Banff, Canada
    •    Helipads:
    •    HLML: Lake Moraine
    •    XCYCHLL & HLCLO: Lake Louise
    •    HLSKT: Louise Ski – Station
    •    HLEMR: Emerald-Lake
    •    HLHAR: O'HARA-Lake
    •    HCYO: Yoho National Park
    •    HCBK: Baker Creek
    •    HCBW: Bow Lake
    •    HCPY: Peyto Lake

    The Park's 3D Mountain Models
    The mountain models within this area are meticulously crafted, drawing from DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data, and then enhanced with striking 4K resolution textures. The alignment of these textures over the adjusted meshes is precise, emphasizing both the elevation changes and the primary terrain characteristics to great effect.

    3D Objects & Occasional Anomalies
    In creating this Mountain Park, Dainese and Bellini have carefully referenced numerous real-life photographs of the region, reconstructing the area based on these authentic visuals. However, as with all scenery packages, there will always be anomalies, even in high-quality offerings like this 3D Mountain Park.

    In the context of all the 3D mountain parks, such anomalies are minor and often go unnoticed during routine flights. It's only upon close examination, outside the standard flying environment, that these quirks might become apparent. Such imperfections are not exclusive to this product; they're a common thread across various simulation platforms, including X-Plane.

    Remember, these infrequent occurrences typically arise due to the platform's limitations, and they shouldn't overshadow the overall quality of the product or influence your decision to invest. Tackling these anomalies directly might improve the visuals but could also significantly compromise in-sim performance or even hike the product's purchase price.

    Balancing perfection, performance, cost, and quality is a tricky act. While acknowledging these slight imperfections, it's crucial to view them in the broader context of the product's overall value and experience. With that said, let's delve into my experience...
    The Banff Adventure
    As the first day of my Banff adventure dawns, I find myself approaching the picturesque Lake Louise with a mixture of excitement and awe. Picture this: I'm piloting the default 172, and as the early afternoon sun casts its glow, I make my way over the mountainous horizon, transitioning seamlessly from the default X-Plane world into the breathtaking surroundings of Lake Louise.

    My descent takes me over the iconic Fairmont Chateau, culminating in a gentle touch down at XLCU.

    Unique in its placement, XLCU is the sole airfield within the national park on terra firma. This quaint grass strip, nestled amidst towering mountains and bordered by pine trees, promises a memorable experience during take-offs and landings, more so during the unforgiving winter months. A closer look reveals the airfield's character: motorhomes, sporadic vehicles, parked aircraft, glider trailers, and modest structures, all of which add additional life and context to the area.

    Fairmont Chateau
    Just moments from the airfield stands my haven for the upcoming days: the Fairmont Chateau. Renowned for its impeccable service, gourmet dining, and stunning setting, the 3D representation of Fairmont Chateau impeccably mirrors its real-world counterpart, earning its spot on the "Gold List". Nestled on Lake Louise's edge, its backdrop is a symphony of towering mountains, shimmering waters, and the grand Victoria Glacier. The careful placement of 3D objects replicates the hotel's ambiance, delivering an immersive rendition of this luxurious retreat.

    After such an exhilarating day, the allure of a sumptuous dinner and a restful night beckons, as tomorrow, the vast parklands await me!

    Awakened early by a chorus of chirping birds and the refreshing scent of pine wafting through the open window, the excitement for the day's adventure pulls me from the bed. After indulging in a hearty breakfast (cholesterol momentarily forgotten), I leisurely make my way down the driveway to the helipad, nestled just short of the shimmering water's edge. Poised there, ready for my arrival, is the Default Robin R22, promising a day of breathtaking exploration

    A tingling anticipation courses through me as I hop aboard. Checklists done, I ascend gracefully (for me anyway), drifting eastwards. Soon after skirting past XLCU, I veer southward, heading straight for my initial stopover: the picturesque "Baker Creek".

    Baker Creek
    Historically, dating back to 1949, Baker Creek Mountain Resort served as a tranquil stopover for visitors traveling the old coach road connecting Banff and Lake Louise, now recognized as the Bow Valley Parkway. The exclusively wooden, honey-toned architecture radiates an aura of serene rusticity, evoking solace, and grounding amidst the urban existence many of us know.

    Storm Mountain
    Bidding adieu to Baker Creek, I soar southward, navigating towards the formidable Storm Mountain. Situated at the culmination of the "Misty Ridge", Storm Mountain peaks at an imposing 10,154ft or 3,095m. Perhaps it's just my perspective (or age), but dimensions voiced in feet resonate more impressively than in meters. Anyway, I digress! As I circumnavigated this region, it's impossible to remain unimpressed by the stupendous beauty Dainese and Bellini have demonstrated within this scenery package.

    Moraine Lake
    Our aerial odyssey ushers us next to the ethereal Moraine Lake, an enchanting location, with the lake's waters fed by glaciers, nestled amidst the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The aquatic expanse mirrors an iconic shade of azure, an effect which has been precisely replicated in X-Plane’s virtual world. The lake features a secondary water runway, LCLM, which could have been used, but I instead opted for the Helipad (HLML), positioned adjacent to the lake. 

    O'Hara Lake
    At an elevation of 6,630 ft (2,020 m), Lake O'Hara graces the alpine domain of Yoho National Park. This "jewel-blue" waterbody is undeniably a standout feature of the scenery, enhanced by log cabins lining its shores and a couple of boats resting on its tranquil surface. Whilst our tight schedule doesn't permit me to land on this occasion, a cursory flyover reveals not only the helipad's meticulous detailing but also the authentic representation of its surrounding environment, consistent with other landing zones within the scenery.

    Yoho National Park
    Yoho National Park is a newfound expansive gem that has been added in the Banff National Park update for X Plane 12. Spanning 507 square miles (1,313 square kilometres), it stands as the smallest in the quartet of national parks alongside Jasper, Kootenay, and Banff. The name 'Yoho,' originating from the Cree language, is an exclamation of wonder or astonishment. Flying through this section of the scenery, meticulously crafted by Dainese and Bellini, one can't help but resonate with that sense of awe. Nestled within the park's expanse is the helipad HCYO. 

    Emerald Lake
    Tucked within Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake stands as one of the prime jewels of this digital depiction. As the park's most expansive waterbody, it finds itself surrounded by the grandeur of the President Mountain Range. The helipad at this site, HLEMR, mirrors the high standards observed elsewhere in the package. One can't help but stand spellbound by the lake's teal-blue sheen and its meticulously recreated surroundings within X-Plane.

    Peyto Lake
    Within Banff National Park lies another glacial marvel, Peyto Lake. Located conveniently near the renowned Icefield Parkway, hailed as one of the world's most scenic drives, this lake draws its name from the pioneering trail guide and trapper, Bill Peyto. 

    Bow Lake
    Our journey progresses to Bow Lake, situated closest to the headwaters of the Bow River. Derived from the meltwater of the Bow Glacier, the lake's waters shimmer with the familiar turquoise and jewel-blue hues, a unique coloration attributed to the glacial till deposits within the lakes. 

    As dusk's tendrils inch across the sky, the R22 rises from the helipad, charting its course southwards. Drifting through the valley, I circle back to our starting point at XLCU, Lake Louise.

    Exiting the R22, I saunter back to the chateau, drawn by the promise of a robust G and T, awaiting at the bar. My evening culminates with a sumptuous dinner, accentuated by the effervescent delights of a Cave Spring 2017 Riesling Brut, Canada's answer to champagne. As I retire for the night, I can't help but glance at the weather forecast, which tantalizes with the promise of the season's first snowfall. An air of excitement fills the chateau as guests prepare for what could be a picturesque transformation of the scenery. With that, the following day beckons, marking both my departure and my concluding thoughts on this breathtaking scenery

    As dawn breaks on the third day, the magical sight of a snow-clad landscape greets me. The prediction held true; the first snows of the year fell heavily overnight, transforming the terrain into a sparkling winter wonderland. Peering out the window from the regal confines of the Chateau Fairmont, I marvel at the beauty of the season's first snowfall. Nursing a heavy noggin around the 10 o'clock mark (I'll never learn), I indulge in a duo of delectable 'pain au chocolat' and a strong, invigorating brew of dark coffee. The task before me now is to ponder over the intricacies of this 3D mountain park scenery, and how best to describe it in a brief summary. Several rich sips and 'pain au chocolat' bites later, the “Nick” epiphany strikes.

    This scenery file is nothing short of enchanting as it presents a myriad of experiences for the avid X-Plane simmer. Far from claiming perfection, the Banff national park scenery transcends expectations, revealing lush forests, pristine lakes, rustic lodges, and panoramic mountain vistas. This Mountain Park, regardless of your takeoff point, promises an unparalleled return on investment. Be it small aircraft, ultralights, floatplanes, or helicopters, it caters to the full range of general aviation enthusiasts and, if you've a penchant for VFR flying under strict yet simplistic Visual Flying Rules, then this is your haven. In this context, Dainese and Bellini’s 3D mountain park series has consistently hit the bullseye, and this Banff edition upholds that legacy.

    When you take to the skies, don't simply glide past the iconic Lake Louise or strictly follow the path I charted. Venture out and explore, for Banff, in all its grandeur, conceals countless gems waiting to be discovered, each location as breathtaking and awe-inspiring as the next. Frequently celebrated as Canada's most picturesque spot, locales such as the Ten Peaks Valley and Moraine Lake are reputedly among the nation's most photographed vistas.

    Like the original FSC Dolomites package, this 3D park for X Plane 12 has evolved, covering more ground than its legacy counterpart. One can't help but hope for more Canadian national parks to be encapsulated in future editions. Perhaps, with enough support, enthusiasm, and coin from our community, we'll witness this 3D park's horizon further expanded upon and enriched.
    So, to address the looming question, is this an exceptional scenery? My unwavering response is...absolutely! But don't just hang on my words, dive in and bask in its majesty firsthand. This package is not just VFR, it's pure VFM (value for money), costing merely a few shillings and some!

    Until our next airborne escapade... Pip, Pip, Tally Ho!

    Banff National Park UHD XP12 by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    Banff National Park UHD XP12
    Priced at US$24.95
    The area included in this new edition is about 1500 sq. Km included in the degree + 51 ° -117 °. this edition includes a larger area than in the previous one with Moraine, Louise, Bow, Peyto, O'Hara, Emerald lakes and some very characteristic resorts: Baker Creek, Storm Mountain, Bow Lake, Paradise Lodge, Field... All Textures based on 4K (4096x4096) Airports and Heliports Housing Areas Chateau - Louise Lake Moraine Lake Mountains - 3D Models This scenery is only suitable for VFR flight, only with a "visual flight"  
    X-Plane 12 only (not for XP11)
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
    Download Size: 486 MB
    Owners of the previous Banff XP11 can get the new Banff XP12 version for 40% off. Please find the coupon code in the original Banff XP11 invoice.
    Review by Nick Garlick
    22st August 2023
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows 10, Intel 4790K liquid-cooled, overclock to 5GHz, 32GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, Nvidia GTX 1070ti, Titanium HD Audio Card.
    (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) All Rights Reserved

  19. Like
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12 by HSimulators   
    Scenery Review: Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12 by HSimulators

    By Nick Garlick
    I am both thrilled and privileged to return once more to share with you my insights and impressions on the newest addition to the X-Plane 12 scenery library: Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12 by HSimulators. As we embark on this new journey, let's turn our compasses southward this time, to the other forgotten extreme of our planet: Antarctica.

    The Antarctic, a desolate, icy wilderness at the southernmost part of the globe, has, much like its northern counterpart, been largely overlooked in the world of flight simulation. Despite its vast expanse, spanning over 5.5 million square miles and including the South Pole itself, Antarctica is practically non-existent in the default X-Plane landscape.

    As I previously highlighted in my review of HSimulators' Grand Arctic XP12, the default installation of X-Plane, unfortunately, offers only sparse coverage of the world's polar regions. Exploring beyond latitude seventy-four north or sixty south reveals a desolate void, filled not by the expected expanse of ice and snow but by featureless, open water.

    Thankfully, HSimulators once again steps into the breach with their Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12. Building upon the success of their Arctic scenery, this new package aims to provide a comprehensive solution for this neglected region of the world. It covers a vast area that includes not only the Antarctic mainland, but also numerous research stations, airstrips, and points of interest scattered across the continent.

    Having thoroughly enjoyed their Grand Arctic scenery, I was eager to see how HSimulators' latest offering would compare. Can it effectively fill the icy void in X-Plane's world, and will it manage to capture the harsh, but often breathtaking beauty of the Antarctic landscape? Join me as I explore these questions, and many others, in this detailed review of Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12.

    Installation & Documentation
    Considering the sheer magnitude of the Antarctic continent, the 7GB download size of the package comes as no surprise. Unzipping the files will have you carving out a hefty 31GB of space on your hard drive – hopefully, a testament to the scale and detail captured within this add-on.

    The installation process is as straightforward as they come, as it’s just a case of dragging and dropping the 'Custom Scenery' and 'Global Scenery' folders into your X-Plane 12 directory. HSimulators have, in this regard, stripped the process down to bare bones, making it accessible even for users new to scenery add-ons. However, this straightforwardness also presents a significant shortcoming.

    The absence of documentation included with the download is notable and quite disappointing. While the simplicity of the installation might mitigate this issue for experienced users, those new to X-Plane could find themselves at sea without explicit guidance. Moreover, the lack of accompanying information for the numerous locations featured in this package feels like a missed opportunity. Maps, charts, or even simple descriptions could have provided invaluable context to users venturing into these visually stunning, yet unfamiliar landscapes. Hopefully, HSimulators will address this issue in future updates.
    Scenery & 3D Objects Quality
    Any addition to the limited default scenery of the poles in X-Plane is always a noteworthy event, and HSimulators' Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12 definitely rises to the occasion. The expansive polar wilderness isn't merely a barren expanse of ice in this sim; the intricate terrain details breathe life into the Antarctic landscape.

    Indeed, HSimulators have skilfully painted a comprehensive picture of Antarctica, complete with visible mountains and plateaus that punctuate the ice. The coastal regions, in particular, are generally well-rendered, albeit with a few anomalies. Some shorelines might appear a bit inconsistent, and mountain spikes might be a tad conspicuous in a few spots. Still, considering the monumental task of recreating an entire continent's worth of diverse terrain, these minor aberrations within the custom mesh can be easily overlooked.

    When it comes to 3D objects, I would say that they are adequate and do a reasonably good job of conveying the objects seen at numerous bases. However, it's important to note that there is a degree of artistic license used in the design of these elements. Some objects that have been included may not exist in their real-world locations but serve to enhance the overall aesthetic and immersive qualities of the scenery. This is not necessarily a drawback, but rather an artistic choice that gives the scenery its unique character.

    Quality does vary though, with some objects being a lot better than others, with the living quarters at some of the bases being excellent examples. Some of the other objects, such as a few of the vehicles and smaller huts, could use improvement, as I noticed some subpar textures and unwanted shine on a few of them which looked rather unnatural. However, much like the mesh, the overall effect is quite pleasing.

    With the above taken into account, the overall impression of Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12 is of a barren and isolated landscape dotted with unique and interesting bases. Each base, with its unique set of objects and structures, lends an authentic feel to the harsh Antarctic environment. With room for improvement in some areas, HSimulators has nonetheless done a commendable job at delivering a scenery package that makes the unforgiving Antarctic landscape come alive in X-Plane 12.

    Key Locations
    The sheer breadth and diversity of this package is such, that it would be beyond the scope of a single review to explore each of the forty-four locations in detail. Instead, I have chosen to focus on eight select destinations that I believe exemplify the quality and variety of this expansive scenery pack.

    These locations, carefully selected from the array of available bases, stations, and airfields, offer a cross-section of the different settings and challenges you'll encounter in this Antarctic scenery. From the bustling activity of McMurdo Station to the icy runways of Williams Field, these seven locations each tell their unique story within the stark, beautiful landscape of Antarctica.

    Rothera Research Station (EGAR) - UK: Rothera Station, the UK's principal Antarctic hub, stands as a testament to human determination against the unforgiving Antarctic environment. The station's coastal location presents captivating vistas of stark white glaciers meeting the steel-blue sea, an experience that really stands out in the sim. As you navigate through the array of facilities, the immersive depiction of Rothera Station effectively captures the essence of its challenging climate and natural scientific intrigue.

    McMurdo Station (NZIR) - USA: As the largest and most complex Antarctic outpost, McMurdo Station presents a unique facet of Antarctic habitation within X-Plane. Numerous buildings, representative of the station's multifaceted operations, create a bustling hub of activity. Each structure, despite some not aligning perfectly with the custom mesh, adds to the realism and enhances the sense of being part of this essential survival outpost. 

    Sanae IV (A22) - South Africa: In the icy expanses of Queen Maud Land, the Sanae IV base is a tangible testament to human presence amidst a stark, monochrome landscape. The sim presents an array of huts, snowploughs, and even a parked C130, giving a sense of real-world Antarctic operations. Dominating the scene is the large outpost structure with its integral helipad. Exploring this base in X-Plane 12 offers a unique insight into the challenges of surviving and working in this remote, icy wilderness.

    Neumayer Station III (EDDN) - Germany: Located in Antarctica's icy expanse is Neumayer Station III, Germany's primary Antarctic research facility. The station's elevated design, mounted on stilts to withstand snow accumulation, is captured quite effectively in X-Plane. The airstrip, including another static C130, plus several snowploughs and huts, add to the authenticity and intrigue of this remote location. The nearby radar dome further enriches the scene, providing a comprehensive and immersive experience for users.

    Halley VI Research Station AT11 (EGAH) - UK: Situated on the Brunt Ice Shelf, the Halley VI Research Station stands as a futuristic beacon amid the Antarctic wilderness. Its stilted, modular design, portrayed quite accurately in X-Plane, provides a sense of the innovative engineering necessary to withstand this harsh, shifting environment. Of all the locations in this package, Halley VI stands out as one of the most intriguing, not only for its detailed modelling but also for its modernistic, captivating design. 

    Rodolfo Marsh Martin Airfield (SCRM) - Chile: This Chilean station, located at the edge of Antarctica, is a noteworthy addition to the sim. Its proximity to the shoreline presents an interesting contrast between the rugged airfield and the surrounding icy expanse. The airfield, with its simple yet functional features, exemplifies the practical necessities of life in this harsh environment. 

    Williams Field (NZWD) - USA: As an essential airfield serving the McMurdo area, Williams Field effectively captures the vast and intricate landscape of this unique location. X-Plane does well in replicating the ice runway and surrounding facilities, delivering an insightful glimpse into the unique challenges faced by Antarctic aviation personnel. The scenery is teeming with numerous huts and maintenance vehicles, contributing to the sense of a bustling, fully operational outpost.  Despite the presence of some minor graphical anomalies on certain objects, their impact on the overall experience is negligible.

    Palmer Station (NZ12) - USA: Located on the Antarctic Peninsula, Palmer Station provides a unique contrast with its coastal setting and smaller size. Its proximity to the ocean gives users a distinct Antarctic experience, differing from the predominantly inland stations. This variety makes it an intriguing component of the sim, highlighting the diverse geographic and operational challenges present in Antarctica.

    In assessing Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12 by HSimulators, it's hard not to appreciate the sheer magnitude of the undertaking. The vast expanse of the Antarctic continent has been transformed into a tangible, explorable, and remarkably detailed environment. It's a change of scenery that X-Plane 12 users have long been waiting for.

    Performance-wise, the scenery is commendable as it offers excellent framerates no matter what the weather. The barren landscape of Antarctica, far from being a disadvantage, has contributed to making this a smooth-running addition to the sim. Even when exploring more densely populated bases, or navigating complex terrains, the performance remains consistently good, which is a testament to the efficient design and implementation of this scenery package.

    However, one disappointment is the lack of documentation accompanying the package. The absence of guides, maps or charts, and additional information on the various bases and locations, feels like a missed opportunity. It would significantly enhance the user experience and, I hope, is something that the developers will consider for future updates.

    At US$29, some might argue that the purchase price is quite steep for a scenery add-on. However, when you consider the geographical breadth of the package, over five million square miles of diverse Antarctic terrain, and the meticulous detailing of forty-four separate locations, it becomes clear that you're getting a significant return for your investment.

    While the inconsistencies noted in areas such as object detailing and shoreline rendering, along with the degree of artistic license employed in some parts, are worth acknowledging, they do not significantly detract from the overall experience. Given the size and complexity of the project, minor blemishes are almost to be expected. Importantly, they do not diminish the thrill of venturing into previously uncharted territories in X-Plane 12.

    In conclusion, Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12 is a daring and ambitious project that has largely succeeded in its goal. It offers a rare and exciting opportunity for X-Plane pilots to explore the often-overlooked Antarctic region. Whether you're captivated by the stark beauty of its landscape or intrigued by the challenge of its harsh conditions, this scenery pack is an invitation to a unique and compelling polar adventure. So, fire up your engines, adjust your flight plan southwards, and embark on an Antarctic journey that's sure to be both memorable and rewarding.

    Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12 by HSimulators is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    Antarctica Mega Scenery XP12
    Priced at US$29.00
    Mesh terrain covering more than five million square miles (over thirteen million km2) Forty-four airports, heliports, and localities 3D Airports
    Tnt Rodolfo Marsh Martin - SCRM - Chile Amundsen - Scoth South Pole - NZSP _USA Sanae IV - At22 - South Africa Byrd Surface Skiway - BIRD - USA Progress Station - PGRS - Russia Zhongshan Station - China - Served by Progress Station Novolazarevskaya - AT17 - Russia Mario Zuccelli Station - AT13 - Italy Enigma Lake- AT-09 Nova Zelandia Browning Pass - AT02 - New Zealand Palmer Station - NZ12 - USA Concordia Skiway - AT03 - France / Italy Dumont d'Urville Station - AT04 - France Plough Island Skiway- PLGI - Australia Kunlun - KULU - China Davis Plateau - AT07 - Australia Davis Sea Ice - ATAU - Australia Druzhnaya 4- DRUZ - Russia Fossil Buff - AT10 - UK Halley Research Station - AT11(EGAH) - (discrepancy in navdata - EGAH) - UK Rothera Research Station - EGAR - UK McMurdo Station- NZIR - USA Kohnen Station - AT12 - Germany Marambion Base Station - SAWB - Argentina Marble Point Station - GC07 - USA Mawson Station - AT21 - Australia Mid Point Skiway - AT14 - France / Italy Molodezhnaya - AT15 - Russia Neumayer Station - AT16 - Germany Odel Glacier Skiway - AT18 - New Zealand OHiggins Station - AT19 - Chile Ohiggins Station HLPN - OGGN - Chile Patriot Hills - SCPZ - USA Willians Field - NZWD - USA Pegasus Field - NZWD - USA Phoenix Airfield - NZFX - USA Plateau Station - NZFX - USA Troll Station - AT27 - Norway 2D Airports (in development 3D)
    Petrel Station - SA47 - Argentina Perseu Temporary Airfield - PRSU Rumdoodle Station - AT28 - Australia S17 - JS17 - Japan  
    X-Plane 12
    Windows Mac or Linux
    4 GB VRAM Video Card. 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended
    Download size: 7.5 GB.
    Current version: 1.0 (January 18th, 2023)
    Review by Nick Garlick
    7th July 2023
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows 10, Intel 4790K liquid-cooled, overclock to 5GHz, 32GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, Nvidia GTX 1070ti, Titanium HD Audio Card.
    (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) All Rights Reserved

  20. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport XP12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Scenery Review: Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport XP12 by Cami De Bellis
    By Dominic Smith

    In this review, we shift our gaze back to the creative sphere of Cami De Bellis, a developer known for her meticulous work on X-Plane sceneries. Fresh from our exploration of the remote Dolpa Airport, we're now taking you to Nepal's central hub - Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (VNKT), a more recent addition to Cami's X-Plane 12 payware scenery portfolio.

    Situated in Kathmandu, Nepal's vibrant capital, VNKT serves as an operational base for a host of airlines, including international flag bearers like Himalaya Airlines and Nepal Airlines, along with several domestic carriers. Beyond its pivotal role in facilitating international and domestic flights, VNKT is also renowned as a launchpad for thrill-seekers planning sightseeing flights over the mighty Mount Everest.

    As part of Cami's X-Plane 12 offerings, VNKT boasts a roster of features designed to ensure an immersive simulation experience. A meticulously modelled airport infrastructure complete with over 220 custom objects underpinned by ambient occlusion, modifications to mesh for accurate terrain depiction, and photorealistic textures adorning buildings and vehicles are just a few highlights.

    The scenery incorporates accurately modelled taxiways, runways, and aprons along with a realistic representation of the surrounding environment. Added features like high-definition building textures in 2K and 4K resolutions, professional ortho imagery, night effects, custom airport lighting, World Traffic 3 compatibility, and locally inspired 3D characters contribute to the comprehensive detailing of this airport scenery.

    Much like with Dolpa, installing Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport was a straightforward affair, especially for those familiar with Cami's sceneries. Upon purchasing the package, I received a download link for a zip file, which weighed in at 991MB. Once unzipped, it expanded to around 2.7GB, producing two folders: one for the main airport scenery and the other for the custom mesh.

    Despite the simplicity of the installation, it required a certain level of precision. The initial step was to copy both the main airport scenery and the custom mesh folder, named 'VNKT-Mesh', into the Custom Scenery directory of my X-Plane 12 installation. For the scenery to load correctly, I also needed to place the custom mesh folder below the main airport scenery in my scenery_packs.ini file.

    The final part of the installation process involved adding Cami’s CDB Library, a fundamental component for all her sceneries (both freeware and payware). Fortunately, I already had this installed, but for those who don't, a link is provided on the store product page. After completing these steps, I was all set to embark on my exploration of Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport.

    Kickstarting my journey from a bird's eye view, I took in the sweeping panorama of the Kathmandu valley, awash in the day's golden sunlight, something rarely seen in Scotland! One thing that struck me was the pronounced contrast between the airport's custom photographic textures and those found included with X-Plane, creating a somewhat jarring divide in the landscape. Due to this, I decided to generate my own photographic tiles with Ortho4XP (easily done), and so managed to bridge this visual gap rather effectively. I should also mention that I had simHeaven’s X-World Asia add-on installed, an addition I'd whole heartily recommend as it’s a vast improvement over the default autogen of the area. 

    That said, it's worth noting that the photographic textures provided with Cami's scenery are optimised for viewing from higher altitudes. As you descend, their clarity decreases, leading to a slightly blurred appearance closer to the ground. However, this is a typical characteristic of photographic textures and shouldn't be seen as a major downside.

    The airport's surroundings, punctuated by notable undulations along the runway edges, benefit from the incorporation of a custom mesh, accurately capturing the unique topography of the area. This addition is a thoughtful one, easily overlooked, but greatly appreciated. While some roads might appear slightly misaligned, this can be largely be attributed to X-Plane’s design rather than the custom scenery.

    As your altitude lowers, the custom textures for the runways, taxiways, and aprons gradually reveal themselves. Signs of wear and tear like cracks, tyre marks, and oil stains all contribute to a convincing portrayal of the airport.

    The custom foliage used throughout the scenery integrates seamlessly with the airport environment, featuring an assortment of trees, shrubs, and grasses. Although these aren't dynamic like the ones in X-Plane 12, they effectively set the stage.

    A diverse array of custom aircraft models populate the airport's apron, mirroring what you'd likely see at the real location. You'll notice a fair share of De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters, an old Boeing 727, and some Soviet-era helicopters, each adding their own slice of authenticity to the scenery. Also included are a variety of accurately modelled airport vehicles, including buses that reminded me of a journey to the area I took some years back. 

    As ever, Cami's talent for architectural detailing shines throughout the scenery. The authentic fire station, equipped with a range of fire trucks, both vintage and modern, is just one testament to this. Other standout buildings include the Buddha Air hangar with its superior texturing, the Yeti Airlines sales and ticket office and hangar, and the notable Nepal Airlines presence.

    The recently built main terminal, with its uniform brickwork and distinct sloping roof, gives the airport a contemporary edge, creating a stark contrast with the older structures around. Though it lacks an interior model, this is a minor omission when considering the performance benefits. Taxis and passengers waiting by the terminal's entrance enhance the busy, bustling atmosphere. The control tower, erected a few decades prior to the terminal, is also well rendered, featuring weathered textures that speak to its age.

    Overall, the architecture of the various airport buildings is remarkably reflective of the local style and is portrayed with fidelity. The corrugated roofs and walls, in particular, add a unique touch to the airport.

    Night Lighting
    When dusk falls at Tribhuvan International Airport, Cami's careful deployment of light breathes another layer of authenticity into the airport's façade, spotlighting well-illuminated aprons, taxiways, and runways that ease after-hours navigation. A substantial portion of the airport's windows are designed with baked lit textures. Although this method might traditionally fall short of dynamic lighting in terms of realism, it's been applied quite skilfully here, with the result being that it bolsters the airport's immersive ambience under the cover of darkness.
    A notable exception lies in the Yeti Airlines sales and ticket office, a glassy structure where the baked lighting doesn't quite hit the mark of believability. However, it's crucial to bear in mind that the alternative, which would involve creating a model for the interior, could inadvertently take a toll on framerates. Hence, the choice to employ baked textures for such complex buildings is a sound trade-off.

    Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, by virtue of its broader scale and more intricate structures, might not rival the performance prowess of Dolpa Airport, but it holds its ground commendably. Throughout my testing, framerates hovered consistently in the mid to high thirties and this included both day and night explorations. 
    Cami has once again displayed her ability to recreate another hidden gem for X-Plane 12. The meticulous attention to detail is observable at every corner of the scenery, from the weather-worn runway surfaces to the local architecture, all contributing to a palpable sense of authenticity and immersion for simmers. While a few of the photographic ground textures might not perform optimally at close quarters, this is a minor concern within an otherwise outstanding offering.
    What truly distinguishes this scenery is its encapsulation of the atmosphere of Nepal, serving as a testament to Cami's dedication that extends beyond just the physical aspects of the scenery, and into the spirit of the real location. This is more than a mere addition to the X-Plane virtual world – it's a scenery that breathes a distinct sense of life and realism into the area.

    In short, Tribhuvan International Airport further underscores Cami's reputation in the X-Plane community and is a worthwhile addition to any simmer's collection.

    VNKT - Kathmandu Tribhuvan Intl Airport XP12 by Cami De Bellis is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    VNKT - Kathmandu Tribhuvan Intl Airport XP12
    Priced at $27.95
    Highly accurate scenery for VNKT-Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport with all buildings modeled
    Over 220 custom objects all with Ambient Occlusion 
    DSF mesh created and modified to fix bump terrain and set and correct the topography of Airport’s area
    Photo real textures on buildings, vehicles etc.
    Photorealistic ground textures based on a satellite image
    Professional ortho imagery 50cm – 25 km square meters – with share license authorization 
    Detailed airport objects and vehicles 
    Custom textured taxiways, runways, and apron 
    Custom surroundings buildings 
    Custom airport lights HD
    Custom forest and flora trees 
    High resolution building textures – all in 2K and 4K 
    Excellent night effects 
    World Traffic 3 compatible
    Native characters created specially 
    X-Plane 12
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    4 Gb VRAM Minimum. 8 Gb+ VRAM Recommended
    CDB-Library is required
    Download Size: 1 GB
    Current version 12 (June 15th, 2023)
    Review System Specifications
    Intel i5 10400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 3060 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
    Scenery Review by Dominic Smith
    28th July 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  21. Like
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in Scenery Review - Svalbard XP by Aerosoft/Maps2XPlane   
    Scenery Review - Svalbard XP by Aerosoft/Maps2XPlane
    Svalbard...  No never heard of that place. Spitzbergen, yes I heard of that, a port in Norway somewhere? Probably related to the battleship Tirpitz, that was once sent to attack the garrison and destroy the settlements there, or as the English call it Spitsbergen. Otherwise no clue.
    But Svalbard is a place, a Norwegian archipelago set high in the Arctic Ocean, north of mainland Europe. it lies about midway between the northern coast of Norway and the North Pole (500 miles). The islands of the group range from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude of an area 62,045 km2. The largest island is Spitsbergen, followed in size by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. The largest settlement is Longyearbyen, but all up only 2,500 people live up here within the Arctic Circle.

    Well now Svalbard is available in the X-Plane Simulator. The scenery comes from the same team that created still the best overall scenic scenery in the Faroe Islands in the Simulator called Faroe Islands XP by Maps2Xplane. This scenery is an absolute personal favorite. Maps2Xplane also did Seychelles XP as well, another scenery worthy of your investment. So they are the perfect choice to deliver Svalbard.
    A note says in reality the islands were never in X-Plane at all, as they are positioned inside the Arctic Circle...  anything 73/74th north lines of latitude is not available in X-Plane unless you own an add on scenery, say Grand Arctic XP12 By HSimulators that covers above Greenland to the North Pole, so there is no conflict with this addon from Map2Xplane, but both situated together will certainly cover in (or fill) this expansive area.
    Can you walk to the North Pole from Svalbard? well no, but the Arctic Pack Ice (Shelf) starts not far from the Northern part of the Islands in the winter, so Svalbard is usually the first stop of a base for any Arctic Expeditions.
    Which brings us to the weather...  If you are flying into Svalbard then the time of the year to go is highly important. The average summer temperatures on Svalbard range from 3 to 7 °C (37.4 to 44.6 °F) in July, and the winter temperatures from −13 to −20 °C (8.6 to −4.0 °F) in January.The highest temperature ever recorded was 23.0 °C (73.4 °F) in July 2020 and the coldest was −46.3 °C (−51.3 °F) in March 1986.
    That is -13ºC to -20ºC EVERYDAY...  it's cold, and the weather is usually overcast low cloud. Then there is the light. A December night in Longyearbyen lasts almost 24 hours and the days start about 11 hours later, or from mid November to mid January there is no sunset (or sunrise). In May and June, the sun is in the opposite position and above the horizon all the time, or a Midnight Sun.
    Having fun yet...  So any flight into Svalbard is going to be interesting, and a place to really test your flying skills. The major airport here is "Longyear" or ENSB/LYR. If you could call it an airport, at least there is an airport here, and thankfully one ILS system to get you in (also out).
    Up for a challenge, I (stupidly) thought, I'll fly into Longyear (ENSB/LYR) from Oslo (ENGM/OSL), "That'll be interesting".

    I'm flying the Zibo Boeing 737-800. The B738's do run into LYR, as SAS and Norwegian.com, both have regular services (weather permitting) and at 2hr,55min, Oslo to Longyearbyen, it is also the longest domestic flight on the SAS route map.

    Route distance is 1,122 nm, but that is not the issue here, your going out on a limb, and the nearest Alternate is ENAT/ALF at VAKKER, back on the Norwegian Mainland, or 595 Nm back again? so your carrying INRES+ALTN 4514 kgs extra fuel. You don't really want to do a missed landing.... do you. I really love these civilisation to remote nowhere airports. The hustle and bustle of a large mega airport to the one small strip in an outlying bleak place. That was the attraction of Vagar in the Faroes, mostly you flew from Edinburgh in Scotland or my usual route from Kalstop, Copenhagen, here with another Maps2Xplane scenery I'm doing the same again, going out on that limb, but here twice as far.

    Once clear of the SID, it is a turn to the north and a climb to 34,000ft...  then settle in for the long haul (pun intended). It's an impressive flight, tons to look at while you skim over the top and the coast of Norway, X-Plane 12 can dazzle sometimes and here it does.

    I am not going to deny it, I'm very apprehensive. Not only being a fair way out into nowhere, but the weather concerns with a very low cloud forecast, which you could take as normal for Svalbard. Thankfully I'm going into LYR in the peak of the summer, I would hate to think what it is like from Nov to Jan, with no light and low dense cloud...  I have to get the approach into ENSB perfect, spot on, but to be honest I don't know what I will be faced with until I get there. Time to descend, but I do a long slow descent to get a feel of the weather and to study over and over the approach charts, imprinting it into my mind.

    From waypoint INPAR, you turn 24º heading and below is the huge Fjord of Isfjorden, you can't see it until you drop out of the 2,015 ft cloud, but you do get some breaks through the clouds to see the landscape... yes it is all very Faroe in the approach.

    But Longyear is still covered in murky goo, nothing ahead to see. Then a bit of turbulence as well, "Why not", double scare me...

    Entrance to the approach is LALAD, and final turn to (95º) to LYR is at LOLVO, height 2,500 ft. I have set the Boeing up with full flap and gear down early, all my attention needs to be on the approach... the one I still can't actually see.

    I would love to take in the magnificent scenery, but there is no time, your busy, focused. I'm looking for the ILS beams (110.3 LB) for runway 10, the opposite approach in Rwy 28 has a RNP approach profile (but X-Plane notes an offset beam 109.5 LA)...  the go-around notes are very specific, I hope I don't have to use them.
    As I start the ILS descent, suddenly the runway appears out of the murk, the airport is jutting out on a piece of land, hard to see.

    I follow the beams, but ready now to take manual control as I can now see the threshold, my heart is thumping, I need to get this right. On that note the width of the ILS beams are very narrow, you have be almost perfectly aligned to collect them, stray slightly out of the box and you will not engage, or a go-around procedure.

    1000 ft and I take manual control...

    Steady, focus...  slight flare.

    Main gear touches at 132knts,

    As soon as the nosegear touches, I hit the reversers and brakes, the runway length is 8127 ft (2477m), not that long, but enough for a Boeing 737. Runway surfaces are really well done, asphalt with a ribbed surface to help braking.

    Once the speed is arrested and everything is folded back up, I can finally look out of the window...  before me are ships, and a port (Longyearbyen) is further away down the coast, the town is only 5 km (3.1 mi) northwest of the airport.

    If you are expecting a large international airport out here, then you are going to seriously disappointed, the facilities are small, but there is a terminal building...

    There is a lot of the same quality feel as Vagar (Faroe), so it all works quite handsomely, the feeling is of real authenticity, but you know you are also in a very remote place on the earth. Seriously impressed....  and totally relieved to be down and parked.

    Svalbard XP
    To install the Svalbard scenery you will need to use the Aerosoft One client installer. You get a authorisation number on purchase, and then you enter the Product Key lower left. Both X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 installations are available.

    Then the installer will check your storage space, and then start the install process....  it's a big install of 6.52 GB, so you have to have both the storage space, and the graphic card VRAM to run the scenery, it notes a 4Gb card will work, but I recommend at least a 8Gb graphic card.

    When the installation is completed, the installer has inserted seven files, five airports, XTRA folder and a large MESH file.
    It is important to note that this scenery is basically all about the textures. Because of the huge scale of the area, your not going to get the very high-definition of the Faroe Island detail. But the quality and detail here is still highly customised and scaled far higher than the X-Plane default textures, so the quality is somewhere in the middle between the two extremes, but more to the Hi-Def Faroe quality than the average X-Plane textures. Delivered here then is very high resolution mesh that creates a full landscape of detailed coast lines and the shapes of glaciers.
    There are five separate sceneries that cover the only airports/heliports on the islands...  Svalbard lufthavn, Longyear (ENSB), Svea (ENSA), Ny Alesund (ENAS), Barentsburg (ENBA) and Pyramiden (ENPY).

    Svalbard lufthavn, Longyear (ENSB)
    Svalbard Airport is the main airport serving Svalbard in Norway. It is 5 km (3.1 mi) northwest of Longyearbyen on the west coast, and it is the northernmost airport in the world with scheduled public flights. The first airport near Longyearbyen was constructed during World War II. In 1959, it was first used for occasional flights, but could only be used a few months a year. Construction of the new airport at Hotellneset started in 1973, and the airport was opened on 2 September 1975. It is owned and operated by state-owned Avinor.
    In 2014, the airport handled 154,261 passengers. Scandinavian Airlines operates daily flights to Tromsø and Oslo in mainland Norway. Lufttransport also provides services to the two other airports on Svalbard: Ny-Ålesund and Svea, using Dornier 228 turboprop aircraft. There are also regular charter flights. One runway 10/28 - 2,484m (8,146ft) Asphalt
    Jutting out on Isfjorden. Svalbard's main (and only) international airport is breathtaking, yes again I will compare it to Faroe, as it has the same feel and look as the southern neighbouring islands.

    The textures give great photo realistic detail, but because all of the islands are based on the same texture tones, there are no airport boundaries matching up to the X-Plane default, it is all in a pure and a perfect transition into all of the surrounding areas.
    Basically the airport consists of two large maintenance hangers, a control tower, admin and airport work facilities... dead centre is the small terminal. All the facilities are quite dark in dark-greys and matt-blacks, but the detail is in there with a feel of great realistic Arctic worn textures to the buildings.

    Internally the terminal is well modeled, with waiting passengers. When on the ramp it is highly realistic with the see-through glass.

    The control tower is mid-complex adjoining the terminal, again clad in very dark material, it also well done...  tower view however puts you in-between all the aerials on the roof, but the approaches are clear.

    The biggest building and also the most seriously impressive here is the Luftthavn maintenance hangar, really authentic in detail, with a magnificent scenic view set out behind.

    There is a smaller (for the Dornier 228's?) hangar at the opposite end, again really well modeled and designed.

    North of the airport is a small port with a huge oil tanker in dock....   Longyearbyen (the capital) is just a bit north, again there is a well modeled cruise ship, and a few basic buildings on top of the photo ground textures. As per Maps2Xplane you are wanting more to cover the flat photo images, like Tórshavn in Faroe, it is all a bit bear and of wanting more fill.

    Svea (ENSA)
    Sveagruva or 'Swedish Mine', or simply Svea, was a mining settlement in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, lying at the head of Van Mijenfjord. It was the third largest settlement in the archipelago (after Longyearbyen and Barentsburg). Around 300 workers living in Longyearbyen commuted to Sveagruva for work on a daily or weekly basis. The mine was operated by Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani. There is no road to Longyearbyen or any other settlements. The airport featured a gravel runway measuring 800 by 30 meters (2,625 by 98 ft). Flights were operated about thirty times per week by Lufttransport using their two Dornier 228s.
    Magnificent and remote, Svea is a great destination...  the site is very well modeled as the mining town with a very workmanlike feel to the place.

    Small tower and operations building is excellent in detail and realism. As is all the well modeled mining accommodation and main site...

    ...  highlight is the very realistic gravel runway, great stoney textures as well. Seva is also the most southern airport in the scenery.
    Ny Alesund (ENAS)
    Ny-Ålesund Airport, Hamnerabben is an airport serving the research community of Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard, Norway. The airport is owned by Kings Bay, who also owns the company town. The only flights available are to Svalbard Airport, Longyear, operated two to four times a week by Lufttransport using Dornier 228 aircraft. The services are organized as corporate charters and tickets are only available after permission from Kings Bay.
    Between 1925 and 1928, Ny-Ålesund saw four air expeditions to the North Pole, two of which required the construction of an airship hangar and mast. The first proposal for an airport in Ny-Ålesund was launched in 1956 by Norsk Polar Navigasjon, who proposed an airport at Kvadehuksletta. Soviet protests against the airport caused the Norwegian authorities to oppose the plans, which were laid to rest in the early 1960s. Construction at Hamnerabben started in 1965 following the decision to build Kongsfjord Telemetry Station. ENAS has only one runway 12/30 - 808m (2,651ft)- Gravel. The same great gravel textures as Svea.

    Based here is the Kongsfjord Telemetry Station a satellite ground station. It was used between 1967 and 1974 as one of the four initial ground stations which were part of the European Space Tracking Network (ESTRACK) serving the European Space Research Organization's (ESRO) first generation of satellites. The station provided radio tracking, telemetry and commanding services as well as data download. Although owned by ESRO, the facilities were constructed and operated by the Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (NTNF), also represented is the Ny-Ålesund Geodetic Observatory.
    The dish here still works... and it will follow the sun as it changes direction in the sky.

    The central area of Ny-Ålesund  is a company town that is owned and operated by Kings Bay, which provides facilities for permanent research activities by 19 institutions from 11 countries. The town is ultimately owned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment and is not incorporated (i.e. is not recognised as a town by the Norwegian government). Ny-Ålesund has an all-year permanent population of 30 to 35, with the summer population reaching 114.
    Barentsburg (ENBA)
    Barentsburg is the second-largest settlement in Svalbard, Norway, with about 455 inhabitants (2020). A coal mining town, the settlement is almost entirely made up of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians. The distance from Longyearbyen to Barentsburg is about 55 km (30 mi) but there are no roads connecting the two settlements. Most contact between the two is by boat, snowmobile, or helicopter.
    Basically this scenery is only made up as a large Heliport H....  4 km (2 mi) north of Barentsburg, as the township itself is sadly not represented in the scenery as seen below.

    Pyramiden (ENPY)
    Pyramiden; literally 'The Pyramid') is an abandoned Soviet coal mining settlement on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard which has become a tourist destination. Founded by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927, Pyramiden was closed in 1998 and has since remained largely abandoned with most of its infrastructure and buildings still in place, the cold climate preserving much of what has been left behind.
    Since 2007, there have been efforts to make it a tourist attraction; the town's hotel was renovated and reopened in 2013. In summer there is a population of six caretakers. Here it is only another Heliport H
    At least at Pyramiden you have a custom if abandoned township, all nicely done right on the Sassenfjorden.

    As you spend three months of the year in total darkness in Svalbard. Lighting is important. Thankfully it is very good, even excellent.
    At Svalbard lufthavn the approach lighting is nice and bright, which conforms to the X-Plane 12 official standards. Not only do you have excellent tower lights (white and beacon red), but nice dropdown lighting on the buildings. Ramp lighting is absolutely brilliant, bright and effective.

    Longyearbyen is pretty basic, but still some nice fill lighting. Sadly the cruise ship is not lit up.

    Seva is obviously basic, but well done. Approach and runway lighting is all very good, highlight is the lit control tower/receiving building, the town is mostly just street lighting, as they usually are in these remote places.

    Ny-Ålesund is pretty similar to Seva, nice (with RAIL lighting?) approach and runway lights, lit apron area, and a nicely lit township...  highlight here is the red lit receiving dish...  glows nicely in the dark!

    Barentsburg has the Hangars and buildings lit, but Pyramiden is completely dark, and neither Heliports have any Pad lighting?...   pretty basic.

    Like Faroe, you get all the seasons up here, X-Plane 12 has of course seasons. For X-Plane 11 you get the two different seasons in summer and a white winter in provided textures (Generic Mod Enabler). It's an odd feeling though... In reality there is the nice summer season which is seen mostly here throughout the review (June), But move only to October and your already in the snow and ice, you can't really see the full winter experience because it's hidden away in the dark? This is mid-September...  a little more snow.

    Move to mid-October and the light is already fading, now with more thicker snow and ice coverage that highlights the valleys... 

    Fly here to Svalbard anytime between March to October and then vary the dates around, and every flight will reveal a totally different feel, light and snow coverage....  Then fly around these huge islands for some extreme scenic vistas, there is so much to explore and discover.
    A bit of trivia...  the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, is a secure facility built into the side of a mountain on Spitsbergen. This amazing project is built into the side of a mountain and is intended to safeguard the seeds of the world’s food plants in the event of a global crisis. The site was chosen for its cold conditions and permafrost deep in an old mine, which would help preserve the seeds in the event the vault’s cooling systems failed. Construction began in June 2006, and the vault was ceremonially opened with its first consignment of seeds on February 26, 2008. It is positioned just south of Longyearbyen just behind Svalbard lufthavn, a dot in this huge landscape, I don't know if Maps2Xplane modeled it, but it is worth a look and see where real seed bank is situated.

    These sceneries are what you call scenic vistas, but there is a realistic side to them as well. Svalbard has both, an exciting destination, with a lot of square mile exploration... 

    Svalbard is a set of islands, a Norwegian archipelago positioned high in the Arctic Ocean, north of mainland Europe. it lies about midway between the northern coast of Norway and the North Pole (500 miles). It is quite a bleak but exotic place that has three months of darkness in winter, and a Midnight Sun in Summer.
    The scenery comes from the same team that created still the best overall scenic scenery in the Faroe Islands in the X-Plane Simulator, called Faroe Islands XP by Maps2Xplane. This scenery is an absolute personal favorite of mine. Maps2Xplane also did Seychelles XP, so Maps2Xplane specialise in photo realistic landscapes, perfect for these sort of highly scenic sceneries.
    In the X-Plane Simulator anything north 73/74th lines of latitude is not available in X-Plane. So this scenery provides a complete set of photo realistic textures covering an area of 61000km² of high resolution mesh, that creates a full landscape of detailed coast lines and the shapes of glaciers, a landscape that comprehensively fills out this remote territory.
    Like Faroe XP this is exceptional scenery and visually amazing, highly realistic, it covers the main airport Svalbard lufthavn, Longyear (ENSB), single runway Svea (ENSA), Ny Alesund (ENAS) and two heliports in Barentsburg (ENBA) and Pyramiden (ENPY).
    All the settlements are well represented except the township of Barentsburg, where's there is only the Heliport...  Svalbard lufthavn is exceptional with terminal interior and great lighting. Seasonal textures are provided, built in with X-Plane 12 and winter textures for X-Plane 11, used with the Generic Mod Enabler. Other extras include a custom Lufttransport livery for the Carenado B200.
    Granted Svalbard XP is not cheap for a scenery, but if you loved Faroe Islands XP, then you will know what a brilliant investment this scenery will be, it delivers in every area, scenic, incredible scenes to absorb, challenging flying with low light and extreme Arctic conditions, plus a huge massive area to explore...  if you want the best in scenery then Svalbard XP is at the top, literally at the of the world and quality scenery.

    Yes! Svalbard XP by Aerosoft - Maps2XPlane is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    Svalbard XP
    Price Is US$38.99
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
    Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.6 Gb (Using Aerosoft One) Current Version: 12 (June 23rd 2023)   Installation and documents:
    Installation of Faroe Islands XP  is done through Aerosoft one installer:
    Aerosoft One Universal Svalbard XP is download of 2.6Gb download. There are seven folders as part of the installation;
    Svalbard4XPlane - MESH Svalbard4XPlane - XTRA Svalbard4XPlane - ENAS Svalbard4XPlane - ENBA Svalbard4XPlane - ENPY Svalbard4XPlane - ENSA Svalbard4XPlane - ENSB  
    6.52Gb is installed into your Custom Scenery folder (via designated drive)
    There are options with the scenery
    Supplied X-Plane 11 Winter Mesh Custom livery for the Carenado B200. Documents
    There is a supplied manual in both English and German. Also provided is a png Map with airport locations
    Manual_Svalbard_XP_de-en.pdf Map_Svalbard_XP_de-en.png __________________
      Review System Specifications
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - ENGM - Airport Oslo XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.95
    -Boeing 737-800X (ZIBO mod)- Free
    Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    30th June 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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) All Rights Reserved

  22. Thanks
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: Dolpa Airport for XP12 by Cami De Bellis   
    Scenery Review: Dolpa Airport for XP12 by Cami De Bellis
    By Dominic Smith
    Welcome to the world of Cami De Bellis, a seasoned scenery developer for X-Plane whose footprint spans a remarkable fifteen years. Known for her precision and high attention to detail, Cami is a respected figure within the X-Plane community, with a notable portfolio of predominantly tropical sceneries.

    In addition to the multitude of freeware sceneries she has contributed over the years, Cami is also the creative mind behind the CDB library, aptly named after her. A tool set crafted for fellow developers, the CDB library enables the creation of unique freeware sceneries, encouraging a collaborative and creative space within the X-Plane universe. One of Cami's recent additions to her collection is the payware scenery of VNDP - Dolpa Airport Nepal for X-Plane 12. This follows her successful renditions of the challenging topographies of Paro Intl Airport in Bhutan and Kathmandu Tribhuvan Intl in Nepal, further cementing her expertise in recreating airports located in the complex terrains of the Himalayan region.
    Dolpa Airport, also known as Juphal Airport, is a small domestic hub situated within Nepal's Dolpa District, a region renowned for its rough and rugged landscapes. It plays a vital role in connecting the remote region with the rest of the country. Opened to the public in 1966, the airport resides at an impressive altitude of 8,200 feet, offering a unique and challenging environment for pilots. It's the gateway to the Upper Dolpa and Shey-Phoksundo National Park, making it a vital hub for both local transportation and eco-tourism.
    With an array of features including highly accurate airport buildings, over 40 custom objects, and mesh modifications for accurate topography, this scenery reflects the breadth of Cami's expertise. Other highlights offered by the scenery package, include photorealistic textures, custom-textured taxiways, runways, aprons, and on the surrounding buildings, and much more.  

    I've admired Cami’s work for quite some time, as her attention to detail and quality of execution has never failed to impress, so the promise of such intricacy and detail at Dolpa, only served to heighten my anticipation. But, as with all X-Plane sceneries, there was an essential first step to take care of – the installation process. With that in mind, let's get started on this exciting journey.

    The installation process, much like many X-Plane sceneries, was relatively straightforward. Upon purchase, two separate download links were provided, one for X-Plane 12, and another for X-Plane 11.

    At first glance, the relatively small file size of the scenery (just 290MB), might raise a few eyebrows, given its promised complexity. However, this is due to the required installation of Cami's CDB Library, a resource already widely used and appreciated by the X-Plane community. To further enhance the scenery, the download of a custom Ortho4XP mesh tile for the specific area (+28+082) was required, along with two additional but optional scenery tiles. These ranged from between five and six gigabytes, so if you have a slow internet connection, be prepared for a wait. 
    Once all the required and optional files were downloaded, unzipped, and then placed into my Custom Scenery folder, the final step of the process was to adjust the scenery load order within the scenerypacks.ini file. Once this was accomplished, I was all set to embark on my journey through VNDP - Dolpa Airport, Nepal. 

    My exploration of Dolpa Airport began at altitude, presenting a broad view of the airport embedded within its vast natural landscape. The custom mesh and photographic scenery, impressive in its magnitude, provided a striking backdrop to the airport. As I lowered towards the airport, the textures of the runway, taxiways, and apron came into clearer focus.
    The markings were suitably done, contributing to the realistic feeling that resonated throughout the area. Also worth noting was the way in which the mesh had been used to shape smooth surfaces and adjust the airport area topography, an important aspect, especially considering Dolpa’s challenging location.

    Moving closer to ground level, the surrounding 3D vegetation came into view. While there were some slight irregularities with the trees, the overall visual impact was minimal and didn't detract from the scene's immersive atmosphere.

    At ground level, the array of 3D people and animal models added a lively touch to the scenery. The variety of characters, including passengers, locals, and even cows and pets, brought a sense of realism to the setting, reminiscent of a bustling small-town airport.

    The local buildings, all meticulously modelled in 3D, caught my eye as I walked around the airport. The texturing was notably detailed, with some surfaces featuring a weathered appearance. There were a couple of unintentional texture mishaps, but never enough to become an issue.

    The closeness of the buildings, coupled with the mountainous terrain, must have represented a considerable challenge to get right, but it all works well. The high-resolution 2K textures enhanced the visual experience, creating a detailed and realistic local environment.

    My last stop was Dolpa Airport’s main terminal, the largest building in the scenery and one that stood out amongst the smaller structures in the village. The attention to detail was consistent with the rest of the airport, maintaining a unified look across the scenery. While the lack of interior modelling might not appeal to all, it felt like a considered decision, aimed at preserving performance and fluidity during flight operations.

    Night Lighting
    Unlike many airports seen worldwide, which are often lit up like Christmas trees, Dolpa's nighttime lighting may initially seem underwhelming to some. However, upon reflection, it appears to be in line with the reality of the actual airport. Given the location, it's reasonable to assume that local power supplies may limit the scale of illumination, setting a more modest expectation for night-time lighting. That said, what lighting is present, is implemented well. Buildings are illuminated sufficiently without being overly bright, offering a sense of realism, instead of standing out like sore thumbs in the night, an issue that some other sceneries have fallen into. 

    As for the runway, it's important to note that there's no lighting available. As the saying goes, discretion is the better part of valour; so, it would be prudent not to entertain any ambitious landing plans after sundown. All in all, the night lighting feels authentic and true to the location, rather than underwhelming, adding another layer of immersion to the experience.

    Winter Textures
    X-Plane 12's enhanced weather engine allows for the creation of picturesque winter landscapes, and it would have been remiss not to experience Dolpa's unique winter rendition. Given its geographical location, it was almost a given that the scenery would transform with a sprinkle of snow and the presence of some overcast clouds. The results were nothing short of impressive. The landscape underwent a striking transformation, turning from the usual inviting ambience to something that felt somewhat more daunting, yet visually appealing. While the snow-covered landscape took on a different, more austere look, it maintained an undeniable charm that locals would surely appreciate. 

    Throughout my testing, spanning various weather conditions and times of day, I found the performance to be more than acceptable, a benefit largely owed to its geographically unique location. Despite the high detail within the village and immediate surroundings, the absence of other settlements or large forested regions, allowed the scenery to provide excellent framerates. 

    As I journeyed through this delightful scenery, it was evident that Cami’s talent and dedication have yet again created a compelling and immersive scenery. Its intricate detail, from the faithful modelling of buildings to the considerate night lighting, all attest to its high-quality craftsmanship. 

    Enhanced by X-Plane 12's seasonal capabilities, the scenery beautifully captures Dolpa's unique location. Despite the absence of bustling city lights or crowded terminals, it delivers a unique experience that genuinely captivates. Performance-wise, it excels, promising a smooth journey throughout, allowing users to fully appreciate the scenery's depth without worrying about taxing their systems.

    In short, Dolpa Airport is an impressive feat of design, a must-explore destination for any X-Plane user, and stands as a testament to Cami’s expertise, underscoring her reputation as a truly valuable contributor to the X-Plane community.

    VNDP - Dolpa Airport Nepal XP12 by Cami De Bellis is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    VNDP - Dolpa Airport Nepal XP12
    Priced at US$19.95
    Highly accurate scenery for VNDP- Dolpa/Juphal Airport with all buildings modelled Over 40 custom objects all with Ambient Occlusion  DSF mesh created and modified to fix bump terrain and set and correct the topography of the airport’s area Fully compatible with Ortho4XP_meshes Photo real textures on buildings, vehicles etc. Detailed airport objects and vehicles  Custom textured taxiways, runways, and apron  Custom surroundings buildings  Custom forest and flora trees  High-resolution building textures – all in 2K   Excellent night effects   
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
    Download Size: 2.1 GB
    Current version: 1.1 (April 18th, 2023)
    Review System Specifications
    Intel i5 10400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 3060 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
    Scenery Review by Dominic Smith
    29th June 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  23. Like
    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in Scenery Review : NWWW La Tontouta Noumea - New Caledonia by Cami de Bellis   
    Scenery Review : NWWW La Tontouta Noumea - New Caledonia by Cami de Bellis
    Positioned just above New Zealand and 1,210 km (750 mi) east of Australia in the South Pacific ocean is the French outpost of New Caledonia. New Caledonia became an overseas territory in 1946 and by 1953, French citizenship had been granted to all New Caledonians, regardless of ethnicity. A recent independence vote resolved to keep the hundreds of French bureaucrats from Paris in place and that basically keeps the island afloat with French Euros, and so the population 278,500 simply went back to their normal french lives in a paradise certainly far removed from the French Capital. And what a life it is... don't for instance arrive in Noumea (the capital) on a Sunday, because in reality nothing happens, the only action is at the odd bar or cafe where the madame will smoke her Gitanes with passion while sipping from a weak wine, and giving you the evil eye of being a customer. I know because I have been there, twice.... and twice only on a Sunday.
    But you don't come to New Caledonia for the shopping either (as there isn't any, or any bus services as well) but certainly come for the outstanding natural beauty of the islands with a French accent... find the right area and you would break down at the sheer immense beauty of the planet earth we exist on, as New Caledonia is in reality Tahiti-lite without the huge expense required to stay there.
    This is Cami de Bellis's second payware scenery after her "VQPR - Paro International Airport" late last year. It was a very good first introduction into payware for de Bellis, but a difficult first choice to do as well. Cami is highly known for her extensive detailing and the sheer object placement in numbers. Which is very good in freeware, but it can also overwhelm a scenery of simply too much placement...  but they were all freewares, and payware is a very different game altogether in finding a balance and more importantly authenticity.
    NWWW La Tontouta Noumea
    La Tontouta International Airport is the main international airport in New Caledonia. The airport is in the municipality of Païta, approximately 52 km (32 mi) northwest of Nouméa. La Tontouta International Airport serves international flights, while Noumea Magenta Airport, located 38 km south-east within the city of Nouméa, serves the domestic flights. The airport is regularly served by four airlines, including Aircalin which is based at the airport.
    Tontouta International Airport
    Aéroport de Nouméa - La Tontouta

    11/29 - 3,250m (10,663ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL 52 ft/16m


    Note: First up on the review is a note. Make sure you have or download v1.1 and if you have downloaded the original release then to go and redownload the new version. The update fixes a bad mesh join line (below right) directly in front of RWY 11, and now it looks far better. The mesh join elevation hole is still there, but now not as noticeable as with the original mesh line. This issue is a Laminar mesh issue and cannot be resolved by the developer.

    La Tontouta is a split airport with the commercial area on the central northeast that includes an extended terminal and a Aircalin maintenance Hangar...


    ...  and across the 11/29 RWY is a military zone that was originally built as a WW2 (small) US Airforce Base, now named Nouméa Air Base "BAN Tontouta".


    La Tontouta Terminal
    NWWW airport's terminal extension was completed in 2012. The completed project resulted in a significant increase in the terminal's size and included a new arrivals area, a larger check-in area and the installation of two jet(air)bridges. The terminal now has five stands capable of handling commercial jet aircraft, two of which are served by the new airbridges and three of which utilise stairs to access the aircraft. In addition, the airport has several more stands designed to handle smaller prop-regional sized aircraft.
    Sensationally modeled, this one of the best terminals I have seen in a while. The La Tontouta terminal is very detailed with a huge amount of intricate detail, and it looks extremely realistic...

    ....  the highlight is the terminal's latice work. It is to reflect the same design as the sails of the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, that was designed by the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano on the narrow Tinu Peninsula that celebrates the vernacular Kanak culture, the indigenous culture of New Caledonia. It was obviously most important to get the latice work and style correct, and the result here is excellent. The remarkable Cultural Centre is well worth a visit.
    In the extension they added in two airbridges, and they are both well defined here, they are active as well (marginal plugin required), but your parking position has to be perfect to get them to activate because of the long angle.

    Building detail and clutter is excellent, both on the roof of the terminal and in the receiving trolley bay and baggage area.

    Landside is exceptional as well, with a well laid out carpark, and huge clutter detail (This is after all Cami de Bellis!)

    The large Aircalin maintenance Hangar is very prominent and well recreated with fine weathered detail. Two static Aircalin aircraft fill out the scene.

    Service yards, freight buildings and administration areas are plentiful and thoughtfully crafted and cluttered, with great detail.

    Several new buildings are all glass, and really well modeled, but the over reflective effects are from most angles set too high and need or require a more less saturated natural look and feel.

    The Control Tower is set up on a hill to the east is excellent with great quality detail. Tower view is set and both approaches are easy to see, but at certain angles you get railings that intrude into the view.

    Northwest of the Terminal is the Fire Station that is very well detailed and runway facing building.
    Tontouta the village is well represented with authentic buildings, but not with an over population of housing, but there is still enough in here to give the area that right fill and appearance feel. The housing detail is very good, but in areas the fencing goes a little wayward here and there, and also missing is the fencing around many areas of the boundaries of the runway.

    All vehicles are French to add into the authenticity and many are animated, I love the little Peugeot 307 police car that rotates around the aprons, with the Cofely branded animated food truck.
    The airports Pacific history is well represented with the disused Douglas abandoned on the airfield.

    Nouméa Air Base
    As airbases go "BAN Tontouta" isn't very large, it is just really a collection of hangars and barracks... but it is well done and well detailed.

    Authentic is the word that comes to mind.
    Runway, taxiway and apron textures are first rate, with excellent detail and worn in treaded tyre wear detailing. Linage and signage is also top notch and highly realistic. There are some 3d grass (and plants) inserted, but not in a large area ground coverage way.

    There is however a lot of hard different ground elements that are not blended in to each other or are cut sharply to match? It gives the scenery an oldish earlier X-Plane scenery feel that we have now moved on from, you do sort of ignore it, but this is payware and you have seen and expect better.

    Lighting of NWWW is overall excellent...

    All approach lighting (RAIL on RWY11) is well defined and nice to use. Taxiway lighting and lit navigation signage is also all well done. The latice is well lit... but is it a bit too bright or blue oversaturated? The real latice structure is as highly lit so the effect is debatable, but my gut says just a little less oversaturation would just tone it down enough to make it realistic.

    The airbridges are debatable as well, because the real ones are clear at night, where as here they are shades of green.
    The Terminal itself looks excellent and has a nice feel with image window/glass night textures.

    Ramp lighting is excellent, with great coverage and different lighting tones. Landside and housing lighting is again top notch, with plenty of fill and down lighting.

    BAN Tontouta's flightline is again well done, as is the internal military hangar lighting that looks very authentic externally.

    La Tontouta International Airport is French New Caledonia's main airport. There is another called Noumea Magenta Airport that is located 38 km south-east within the city of Noumea, but that airport serves only domestic flights.
    Overall this NWWW - La Tontouta from Cami De Bellis is an excellent scenery, with great modeling and as expected also great, but thankfully not this time filled with overwhelming clutter, the balance here is lovely. Detail and especially the terminal is expertly done, with the iconic Kanak culture latice frame that is central to the look of the airport, with the texturing and quality building look that is excellent. Lighting is overwhelmingly good, except for the oversaturated latice frame.
    There are a few notes...  The newer (Glass) buildings are over-reflective in their effects, different ground visual elements are also a bit too cutout and not blended in with sharp lines defining the shapes and some of the fencing is either, not where it should be or not there at all mostly surrounding the runway boundaries, and the airbridge colours at night and even in the daytime are also debatable. But mostly this is all a nice to fix than essential.
    This NWWW certainly the best work yet from Cami and she is certainly getting into her stride in completing quality payware scenery. The most important thing here is that she has captured the Frenchness/South Pacific feel of New Caledonia as well as the reproduction of the Island's main airport, and that is hard to do, but also very essential in conveying the essence of the area and place. So a big yes as an addition to your South Pacific Airport collection, and certainly a great destination for any flying in this Oceania part of the world, Highly Recommended...  but just don't fly to Noumea on a Sunday.

    Yes! NWWW La Tontouta Noumea - New Caledonia by Cami de Bellis is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    NWWW La Tontouta Noumea - New Caledonia
    Price Is US$22.40
    Highly accurate scenery for NWWW with all buildings modeled  Animated airport vehicles (GroundTraffic) Autogate by marginal Mesh of airport corrected exclusively for this scenery, created by Matthias Seewald/Maps2Xplane and expressly authorized by Austin Meyer Photoscenery for the entire Airport area    Detailed airport objects and vehicles Custom textured taxiways, runways and apron Custom surroundings buildings  Custom airport lights  High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures  High resolution building textures – all in 2K and 4K  Excellent night effects  World Traffic 3 compatible Manual included   
    WT3: Ground routes are set in the scenery and will generate a set of routes. They do however focus on more to the GA aspect than AFRE routes. There is a set of custom routes provided by ysfsim: Ground routes for NWWW La Tontouta Noumea but they don't create much action with the AFRE selected.
    X-Plane 11 
    Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Minimum. 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended CDB-Library v.2.4 is required Version and Review copy is v1.1 (Dec 9th 2018)   Installation Download scenery file size is 397mb. With the full installation installed in your custom scenery folder as:   NWWW_Noumea_La Tontouta N. CALEDONIA (1.12gb) yxz_CDB_Mesh (95mb)  
    Total scenery Install is : 1.13gb
      The developers note you need to adjust the X-Plane "scenery_packs.INI" so the loading order is correct...  and that the ysx_CBD Mesh is below the Airport files.  
    The updated CDB-Library v.2.4 Library is Required for this scenery
    La tontouta_manual.pdf ______________________________________________________________________
    Review by Stephen Dutton
    10th December 2018
    Copyright©2018 : 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 11.26 (tested in X-Plane 11.30b6)
    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
    - Boeing 737-800 - default X-Plane by Laminar Research (Free)

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    Cami De Bellis reacted to Stephen in Scenery Review : VQPR - Paro International Airport by Cami De Bellis   
    Scenery Review : VQPR - Paro International Airport by Cami De Bellis
    Could you live in the "happiest Place on Earth", and no it isn't Disneyland either? It is actually Bhutan, and yes it does have officially the happiest population on earth as noted daily by Bhutan's "Happiness Indicator" in Bhutan's capital Thimphu.
    The Kingdom of Bhutan (འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ Druk Gyal Khap) is a landlocked country in South Asia and is located in the Eastern Himalayas, and is the place to go to if you want to convert to Buddhism or seek out the truth and become Batman. The Kingdom, also restricts tourism, as only a select number of tourists per year are allowed to visit the Kingdom and then they are tightly, highly regulated and controlled. Entrance to the Kingdom is also restricted by there only being one major international airport at Paro which is 54 km from the capital of Thimphu. And with so few tourists, being totally landlocked from commercial interests including most of the modern infrastructure, stress and bad western television, you can see why they are so happy out there.
    The Bhutan's also love to have fun with anyone who insists of actually going there, because the only way into and out of Bhutan is via Paro and it is one of the most dangerous landings and takeoffs in the aviation world, and yes VQPR did make it to number 6 of the "most extreme airports of the world" and number 1 was to Antarctica and landing on sea ice.
    Cami De Bellis
    To anyone that has been around X-Plane for a number of years then our dear Cami is well known to most of us since 2008. This nice lady has turned out ton's of wonderful scenery over the years in the mostly the Caribbean Islands and the South Pacific. Her work is usually highly populated with people and objects, but this is Cami's first payware scenery in the VQPR - Paro International Airport in Bhutan.
    Paro International Airport

    15/33 - 1,964m (6,445ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL 2,235 m / 7,332 ft
    Paro International Airport
    There are two major (If you call them a major carriers) in Druk Air and Bhutan Airways (2 A319-100's) based at Paro. Druk Air has been the Bhutan airline for longer since 1981 and started with a Dornier 228 and then switched to a BAe 146 which as you know are both STOL aircraft. But Druk Air now has three A319-100's and one ATR-500 and in 2012 over 181.000 pasengers passed through airport. The very early flights were also constricted by the exact time of landing, the number of passengers on board and even the direction the aircraft was parked on the airport apron being predetermined by the high lama of Paro Dzong, which means he was also the airport's operations manager in another capacity.
    Your first thought was going to be the "oh easy, I've landed on an aircraft carrier with a Boeing 747 and so I can do that Paro place". But to be a professional pilot of getting passengers in and out of Paro (Not to be confused with Faro Airport) is a tricky business. The above chart shows you what you have to contend with, plus the valleys are well known for their strange winds effects, in fact the winds can vary considerably at various points along the actual runway not considering also on the actual approach paths. There is no ILS here either and nav aids are restricted to just two in a VOR (PARO - 108-40 PRO) and a NDB (410 PR).
    This is all hand flying folks, no RNAV or computerised help is available either. "Your on your own" and if the weather is its usual changeable self (mostly to the bad) then you have to deal with that as well. Night flying here is strictly not available. In real flying you need a special certificate to be able to land at Paro. Airbus A320's and Boeing A737's can land here but rarely do so because of that required ticket. More importantly is that aircraft of that size would have to very aware of weight and load factors as we shall see, so the A319 is the best aircraft between size and weight here to get the job done.
    South Approach
    So I am going to try the south approach to RWY 33, the rules are very strict, almost carrier like in what to do in an aborted run, you really just climb hard and get yourself quickly out of there.
    The first part of the approach made me nervous as there was a lot of cloud around with mountain tops breaking through the tops. My equipment is the default Boeing 737-800, a bit big, but easy to handle.

    Your aim is the PRO "PARO" VOR and note it is listed at 11,483ft, Paro Airport is at an altitude of 7,332 ft so there is a difference of 4000ft, but you have to fly over PRO, so you are going to have to still descend a lot more than 4000ft in a very short distance.

    Thankfully the cloud cover cleared as I approached the VOR. Speed is absolutely critical as you go over PRO, your lowering flaps and wanting to go as slow as you can as you head down deep into the Esuna Valley and your aim is 165kts.

    You turn right then left as you swing down the valley and expecting Paro to be in front of you, but it is not, as the airport it is still hidden by Bongde at 8000ft, however you can descend from 11,000ft to 8500ft to take most out of the altitude for landing, however makes sure you don't go too low as Bongde is still there in between you and the airport.

    Gear down at this point as you approach Bongde for the drag, and as you go around Bongde the top of your speed needs to by around 145kts (stall is 130kts depending on your weight). Then like on a roller-coaster as you go over, or slightly around and down to the left and then swing to the right to finally see RWY 33 still way down below you in the valley....  time to descend, steeply.

    It is a crucial point here as your speed will increase quickly as you fall and you need to keep it no more than 163kts to control the landing...

    Even if you get it right, you will still feel you are high and too fast, but RWY 15/33 does give you a fair bit of landing space to get it right and is longer than it actually looks, like I said, total speed control is the key...   my final landing speed was 135knts.

    You could call it the "Space Shuttle" approach because that is what it feels like.
    You don't really have much time for sightseeing with this approach as your total focus is not over running the 6,445ft runway, which is more like 3500ft by the time you grab the tarmac...  the go around if required is pure carrier operations in full throttle and a full steep climb out.

    There is a small left shoulder to turn around at the end of RWY 33, but it is still a tight turn for the B738, but doable.

    First views around you and the area is full of realistic Bhutan housing and Pagodas and located up into the far distance is the Dzong or to give the building it's formal name the "Rinpung Dzong".

    There are hundreds of custom Bhutan buildings in this scenery that completely fills out this part of the valley, these certainly give you the feel that you are in a very different part of the world as is the largely wooden based architecture. Bhutanese ramp workers greet you in the local costumes, which makes a big difference from the Hi-Vis jackets of norm.

    You will need to have your "Texture Quality" slider at "maximum" as the textures are not high quality and at anything less than the Max setting will give you a slightly blurry look on any of the buildings. At max it is fine and you can set the max, texture quality setting and get away with it in that position because autogen here is almost non-existent and the texture count here is very low as well.

    As approaches go, you feel like you should get your astronaut medal for landing the shuttle from space, the approach is exciting and requires skill, the visual aspects are great as well, so overall a challenging and complex arrival at a high altitude Himalayan airfield.
    VQPR - Paro


    Overall VQPR fits in well to the area. There are joins between the custom scenery and the default textures, but you have to go looking for them, and the basic default textures are a mixed set here anyway that really doesn't help the layout as they are also a very low resolution, so in context the work of intergrating the custom othro textures is well done.

    The runway textures are good, but not sensational. In the real images of VQPR the runways and taxiways are more dirty, harder rubbered in used and tired, with more worn patches and patchy oily areas...

    There is 3d grass as well, but the feature is only used in a few places. Obviously the Bhutanese like to get their lawnmowers out to keep it all spick and span for the selected guests, but 3d grass along the runway and far more other areas would have been nice and more realistic. Where it is placed it looks very good.

    There is also a lot of placed trees. A lot of the trees are those cross-form types that don't work very well with some sun angles (I think they look fake personally) but some trees are really quite beautiful in colour as we shall see.

    Paro Airport is an exquisite place for architecture. In our constant sameness of airport terminals in this day and age, then Paro is a place to be treasured.

    Externally and Internally then Paro can only be Bhutanese in its design and feel, it is a beautiful place full of beautiful things. Going through immigration here is a pleasure not the usual painful challenge of today, no wonder the Bhutanese are so happy there.
    The scenery's reproductions of the two terminals are very good, yes two terminals! The original 1999 terminal (below left) was joined by the newer slightly larger terminal that opened Mar 18, 2016 (Below right). The new terminal is for arrivals only. 

    So this scenery is up to date and the buildings are highly detailed, but the textures are extremely low-res close up and don't reveal too much of their detailing, from a distance it is fine, but it feels texture wise slightly dated in this age of quality 4K textures.

    There is a huge amount of detail included with this scenery, and all very local and not just generic in context as you would expect from most designers. But then again Cami is not your usual designer and here she is in her element in giving you the feel of this very different culture. All people are 3d and a great mix of Bhutanese and Western cultures and the ramps and landside areas are busy, busy places.

    Very rarely do airport administration buildings look like they do at Paro, they are beautiful and part handcarved wood. But then again Control Towers don't look like this anywhere else either? The Fire Station is part of the control tower as well.

    Note the beautiful cherry blossom trees and the flags are animated and flap nicely in the wind. Detailing here is very well done and well conceived and highly realistic (or manicured). Note the highly realistic street lamps, and their lovely detail.

    Landside is very completed of objects and detail, you can feel the slight modernisation around the airport as the Bhutanese are coming more and more into the modern world. There are animated vehicles, but not many and the nice touch is that again they are locally branded and not generic. One is a fuel truck and also a baggage cart.

    North of the terminals and ramp areas is a maintenance area with a large shared hanger for both Bhutan Airlines and Druk Air...


    ...  and a secondary hangar for general aviation or aviation workshop.

    Tower View
    Both approaches are excellent with the tower view. But the charts note that the control tower can't see you until you are on short-finals...

    ...     You do however get a great overview of the ramps.
    Bhutan landscape
    The Bhutanese love their ornamental gates called "traditional entrance gates" and there is a wide variety produced here in the scenery, including the more modern traffic version.

    The exotic Bhutanese housing is very well represented, the buildings are very like everything else in Bhutan in being ornamental and also quite basic in design, it comes across like a sort of alpine Indian (Asia) feeling. The buildings are mostly placed along the river Paro Chhu that flows right through the valley and past the airport.

    The highlight of Paro is the Buddhist fortress featuring several shrines & chapels, plus wall paintings and the grand architecture of the "Rinpung Dzong".

    The monastery is situated northeast of the airport and can easily be seen from the ramps. The Kyichu Lhakhang, another important Himalayan Buddhist temple that is situated just north of Paro also on the Paro Chhu but is not represented in this scenery.
    The lighting at VQPR is excellent. Even if that flying at night here is not undertaken. You can see why with those tall dark monoliths each side of the valley and the airport, that are there and just waiting deathly as your ultimate calling card.

    However the runway lighting is really good and effective if you can get in and out of VQPR before the curfew.

    Ramps are very well lit and with the right if perfect light tone. Building lighting is excellent as well, but the standout is the four cross and two globe street lighting...

    ...  that is used to maximum effect on the landside areas of the terminals.

    Maintenance hangar gets neon lighting in contrast to the rich lighting everywhere else, which is a nice touch. Paro itself is village like with no street lighting and just window illumination that works well.

    All signage is well lit and prominent, and gives you a very authentic feel to the scenery.

    Departure from VQPR
    Getting out of VQPR - Paro is as breathtaking as getting in...

    ...   weight is critical to get the maximum performance out of those engines. You are already 7333ft high in altitude and thinner air, so those engine don't perform as well as they do at sea level. Hold the brakes and build up the thrust and then let the aircraft go. You climb, and you climb hard at full thrust.

    You are at 20º pitch and and still the mountains feel too close and riding only on pure upward thrust alone. You feel that thrust pushing you ever upwards, its a hell of a ride, Titan booster style.

    Finally you start to see space...  oh sorry, but still 18,000ft is required as per the charts going straight up to clear the range...

    ...   you don't want on that climb for the power to fall off, and so make sure the aircraft can produce it via the weights, finally clear air and a normal climbing pitch of 2500 feet per minute, and there is absolutely nothing normal about getting in and out of Paro, Bhutan.
    Only Bhutan airlines do most of the services in and out of Paro, and that is because it is restricted....  routes are mostly to Thailand and India, but Indonesia is in there as well, which is a fair distance from the Kingdom.
    Bhutan Airlines : Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Delhi, Jakar (suspended), Kathmandu, Kolkata, Trashigang (suspended) - Seasonal: Gaya Buddha AirCharter: Kathmandu Druk Air : Bagdogra, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Delhi, Dhaka, Gelephu, Guwahati, Jakar, Kathmandu, Kolkata Seasonal: Batam, Denpasar, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, Johor Bahru, Medan, Mumbai, Penang, Singapore, Trashigang (suspended)  

    From a pilot's point of view then VQPR - Paro is one of the biggest challenges in aviation. Both approach and departure requires a lot of discipline and skill in getting a medium-sized jet into and out of the airport, so it is exciting and challenging at the same time, but the trick is to do it professionally and not in a gamer sort of attitude.
    It is a tricky scenery to create. There is a lot of elevation changes and the basic X-Plane textures are not of the Hi-Resolution type you get say in Europe or America as there is a lot of very different texture styles trying or fighting to recreate a Himalayan landscape, which are fine for flying over at altitude, but close up are a bit of a mixed up set of sets. Then you are trying to match in your custom ortho textures into this complex patchwork of textures. In this area Cami has done a great job, but a wider set of ortho textures would have made the job easier and gave you a more proportional and smoother landscape over a bigger distance, Beti-X did that at Bella Coola for a better effect. Then there is the small issue that some textures gave offny winter line patterns behind the airport that is not there when the scenery is removed?
    There are no built in ground routes? So there is no access to WorldTraffic3, X-Life or the default static aircraft. No pushback or service vehicles are available either...  a big omission for any payware scenery?
    Overall Bhutan buildings and terminals are really well done and wholly represents the airport in its current fashion, textures are low grade though and it shows up close and even at maximum texture render settings, so it feels to be slight older scenery than it actually is, the textures look a a decade out of date by current X-Plane standards. Runway and taxiway textures needed more grit and dirt, as this runway gets some hard landings and it shows in the real world images, but overall at a distance the buildings work and feel fine as they are very colourful and cheerful, just like Bhutan.
    As expected with Cami, detailing and sheer object numbers are in placement is excellent with both ramp equipment and 3d people and all areas both airside and landside are covered, the valley is full cultural Bhutan buildings and their also the lovely traditional entrance gates.
    Overall this is very good scenery, and the bonus of those approach and departure challenges gives you great value for your investment, certainly more other connecting airports in India and Kathmandu in Nepal, would give you more access to the scenery on a route basis, but even as a standalone it is very good scenery to use in X-Plane...   so great work by Cami De Bellis, well done and this scenery is a great entrance to the "land of the Thunder Dragon".

    Yes! the VQPR - Paro International Airport by Cami De Bellis is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    VQPR - Paro Intl Airport, Bhutan
    Your Price is US$19.95   Features Exact reproduction 3D of the airport buildings, houses, hangars, Dzong, Pagodas and others  Detailed textures and custom objects Reproduction of staff and local people 3D Hand placed 3D trees  Volumetric grass Complete reconstruction of the airport's lighting equipment Detailed ground markings Custom night lighting  Many Animations in and around airport Very detailed 3D Models covering the whole airport Ground Traffic by Marginal   Requirements
    X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10.50+
    Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended  
    Installation :  Download scenery file size is 59.60mb. With the full installation installed at 198.60mb in your custom scenery folder.   The CDB-Library v.2.4 is required.
    But no Charts supplied. These charts are the best I could find for VQPR -Paro: VQPR_CHARTS
    WT3 : No ground routes was created for the scenery, so WT3 does not work here?
    Review by Stephen Dutton
    13th December 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 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.10
    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
    - Boeing 737-800 Default by Laminar Research (Free with X-Plane11)

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