• Review: Chilliwack X By OryxSim

    Review: Chilliwack X By Oryx

    By Bill Stack
    February 15, 2012

    Screen shots by Oryx Simulation Software

    Chilliwack is a city of 80,000 people in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is in Fraser River Valley just north of the border between Canada and the United States. Surrounded by tall mountains, broad rivers, and deep lakes, its primary economic activities are agriculture, mining, and tourism. The City of Chilliwack website boasts numerous recreational facilities such as hiking, skiing, camping, fishing, and horseback riding.

    Chilliwack Municipal Airport (CYCW) serves the city and region with one 4,030-foot (1,229 meter) runway. Its passenger terminal is designed to accommodate aircraft carrying up to 19 passengers according to the City of Chilliwack website. These passengers would be on private or charter aircraft because this airport has no regularly scheduled airline flights. About 75 private and commercial aircraft are based there, and it is home to more than 20 aviation-related businesses such as charter companies and flight-training schools. Although this airport is in a mountainous region, its official elevation is only 39 feet (12 meters) MSL according to the FSX facilities directory.

    During the last weekend of August, the airport hosts an annual air show called Chilliwack Flight Test featuring "top-name performers." According to Wikipedia, pilots often call ahead by radio for meals in the airport cafe and Chilliwack Airport "is known across the West Coast of North America to flyers as the little airport with fresh-cooked pies." I found several websites that verify this fame.

    Oryx Simulations Software highlights these features of its Chilliwack scenery:

    • Highly detailed version of Chilliwack Airport
    • Seasonal textures
    • Added vegetation in direct surroundings.
    • Corrected roads
    • Custom vehicles
    • 3D grass
    • Special version for compatibility with Orbx's Pacific Northwest scenery

    Screen Shots by Bill Stack

    The Scenery

    Oryx Sim's Chilliwack scenery comprises the airport (described later) and urban areas around it. Scenery around the airport is enhanced several miles from the airport with autogenerated scenery terrain, roads, and buildings that reflect urbanization in those areas. Compared with satellite photos available on the Internet, Oryx's overall depiction of these areas is reasonable. Buildings outside the airport are not realistic depictions of anything that is really there, however, because they are autogenerated by FSX.


    Oryx Sim

    FSX Default

    Oryx Sim

    FSX Default

    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    The Airport

    Oryx Sim's rendition of Chilliwack Municipal Airport is fairly realistic compared with the satellite photos I found on the Internet. The runway, taxiways, and aprons seem true to the photos, but not all the buildings are represented, and not all the represented buildings are accurate. In its manual, Oryx Sim says: "OryxSim does give no guarantee that the Chilliwack Airport depicted in this scenery is accurate as this scenery is based on the sources available in the public domain. Should you have additional material which we can use to improve the scenery, please sent it to us and we gladly update it based on the new information."

    The 3D grasses, the likes of which I've seen in other sceneries, makes the taxiing experience more realistic if we assume that Chilliwack doesn't mow the grass around the runway and taxiways. Oryx Sim advises disabling the 3D grasses if they diminishes performance. This procedure is explained in the manual. I didn't find any diminished performance, but I'm operating a high-capacity home computer with Windows 7. Flight simmers with lesser computers might have different experiences than mine.

    In response to my questions about the runways and taxiways being fuzzy instead of sharp and distinct, Oryx Sim said the following:

    "First off all, as developers we felt that taxiways edges were inappropriate for an airport of such a size. Still, we have experimented with it and passed the most satisfactory result onto those doing beta testing. However, we got quite a bit of comments in regards to those edges and many people thought they looked very much out of place. We decided to pull them from this project and play around them for longer for the next releases. I hope that we will be able to retrofit Chilliwack at some point if we think that what has been done works."

    Screen shots by Bill Stack


    There are no animations other than the motor traffic on highways outside the airport. The developer said its Chilliwack will likely be the last release without animations. "Our goal for 2012 is to up the game and get our airports more alive than before!" he said.

    Night Views

    Night effects are acceptable. Buildings that are lighted at night are realistically lighted by interior light through windows and sometimes by "street" lights. But some buildings are totally dark at night. Airport ground lighting appears to be realistic based on information I found on the Internet. Both runways have Medium Intensity Runway Lighting System (MIRL) and Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), and these are shown in Oryx Sim's depiction.


    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Using the Scenery

    Chilliwack Airport seems ideal as a launching point for bush flying and sightseeing around the Canadian Rockies. It's also a good destination for general-aviation and charter flights from other airports in Canada.

    Use of this airport for realistic flight simulation would be restricted to general-aviation aircraft, small multi-passenger aircraft, and business jets &#8212 all under visual flight rules. Without scheduled commercial airline traffic at Chilliwack, any commercial activity would be by private charter companies. Indeed, all the aircraft I saw in satellite photos appeared to be for general aviation, and that's all I found in Oryx's scenery. The closest commercial airport is Abbotsford International about 18 nautical miles to the west.

    Without published instrument approach procedures or approach lights for landing in foul weather, IFR activity would be disallowed, limiting this airport to visual flights.

    This airport is not listed as an airport of entry, which means no Customs, which means no inbound flights of any kind from outside Canada. But Wikipedia says the airport is well known as a "fly for pie" airport because of the "popularity of their airport cafe that attracts mainly weekend pilots from the US and the Lower Mainland." This implies that flights from outside Canada are allowed.


    Screen shots by Bill Stack


    Oryx provides an 11-page manual in portable-document format (PDF) that explains installation procedure and provides basic information about the airport and this scenery.


    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Technical Features

    Oryx Sim's Chilliwack scenery is for FSX only. Acceleration, SP1, or SP2 are not required. The scenery is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

    Purchase and installation from the Pilot Shop are very easy. Downloading and installation are quick because the files are not huge.

    The installation program installs the scenery files into the FSX Addon Scenery folder. A small program called "SceneryActivator.exe," together with "ActivatorConfig.ini," ensures the scenery is added to the library when Chilliwack is installed. Then it can be used for verifying that the scenery is correctly placed. The scenery can be manually activated without Scenery Activator if desired.

    No special settings are required for using this scenery because there are no high-demand features such as animations or clutters of static objects that could diminish frame rates.

    To make my comparative screen shots, I first made a series of shots with Oryx Sim's scenery activated, and I then went to precisely the same vantage points with Oryx Sim's scenery deactivated (FSX default). Any differences in positions of objects results from differences in the depictions, not from faults in the viewpoints of my screenshots. In one photo, however, I was forced to move the viewpoint about 50 feet to the left to get the comparison effect. Otherwise there would have been nothing in the shot. It's no uncommon for add-on scenery to differ from default FSX because default FSX isn't absolutely accurate in all locations.

    Technical support is available via an email form on Oryx Sim's website. Responses to my inquiries were quick, clear, courteous, and helpful.

    Readers with technical questions not answered in this review should ask the developer. Using the links below, go to the Pilot Shop page where the product is listed and described, then click on "Manufacturer Tech Support" in the right column.


    Instant download from the Pilot Shop


    Installation program


    License key


    Copyright acknowledgment


    Manual included


    Uninstall program included



    MSFS Version


    Operating System

    Windows XP, Vista, 7

    Special Settings


    Frame Rates


    Tech Support



    $10.50 US

    More Information

    Information about Chilliwack is available from several reliable sources:

    Oryx Simulation Software specializes in scenery design for flight simulators, custom 3D objects, and web design. "OryxSim strives to make sceneries that are known as being of high quality, and always tries to do its very best when it comes to the graphical representation of an airport and performance," its manual says. The company was incorporated in the Netherlands in 2011. Oryx Simulation Software is not to be confused with Orbx Simulation Systems, which is a different company. Oryx also makes Muscat International Airport. I recently reviewed its Kelowna X (also in Canada).


    Oryx Sim's Chilliwack scenery helps make the experience in this beautiful region more enjoyable. The airport is fairly accurate given the availability of source materials. Oryx Sim invites users to submit source materials for further enhancements. Autogenerated scenery around the airport provides the urbanization missing from FSX default scenery. Night effects are reasonable. The manual provides useful airport information, including an airport diagram. Technical support is timely and useful. Although this scenery is not the caliber of other sceneries I have reviewed, it also costs considerably less, so the experience is adequately enhanced for a low price.

    Bill Stack
    [email protected]

    Learn More About Oryx Simulation Software's Chilliwack for FSX.

    Bill Stack is author of several books about flight simulation, a regular author in flight-sim magazines, and a contributor to Flight Sim Com. His website is www.topskills.com

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