Airfields East Frisian Islands
Welcome to the wonderful world ofMicrosoft Flight Simulator 2020, but...is it really a wonderful world?This review is for Aerosoft's scenery package, 'Airfields East FrisianIslands' and is my first step into the world of Microsoft andAsobo.
I have been an ardent X-Plane fan for many years, and up untilrecently had avoided the temptation to go and see what all the fusswas about. X-Plane is simply fine I kept telling myself, no need for twosims, no thanks, and on and on the mental merry go round went for acouple of months. However, even the most hardened of simmers out therehave a tipping point, and one wet and windy weekend I thought, 'whatis the worst that can happen?', what the hey... and well folks, herewe are.
However, this review is not about the pros and cons of MicrosoftFlight Simulator as there is plenty to read about this on variousforums. Be warned though, as there are some 'very' strong views, bothpositive and not so positive...
Anyway, this is my inside look at Aerosoft's package of small GAairfields located on the North Sea coast of Germany. The FrisianIslands are a group of islands that stretch from the north west of theNetherlands, through Germany, and right on up to the west ofDenmark. The package in question covers the German section andincludes six airfields in all.
As I had previously lived in the north of the Netherlands for a fewyears, as well as having visited a couple of the islands on that sideof the border, I was keen to take a look at this package.
Purchase, Download, Documentation And Installation
I obtained my copy of the package over at the FlightSim.Com Storeand the retail price at time of writing was US$24.99. The package is2.1 GB in size and comes with an installer. The version in question isversion 126.96.36.199 and was released on 4th November 2020. Once you havethe package, the installer nicely takes care of the rest (no issuesduring the set up). For reference I am running the Premium DeluxeSteam version of MSFS 2020 (v188.8.131.52) and the installer placed aseries of files and folders in the Packages and Community folders.
There is a small manual provided in the download, and it is printedin both German and English. The manual is pretty basic in comparisonto some others I have seen, no photos for example; however, it is fitfor purpose and provides info on each of the airfields, such as runwayinfo, elevation, radio frequency etc. There is also the usual info onwhere to find support and copyright statements. Again, nothing fancy,but does the job in my opinion.
As mentioned, my assessment was using the Steam Premium Deluxeversion of MSFS 2020, and my favorite GA Aircraft, the default RobinDR400/100 Cadet. I was also using the Smooth Track head tracking appas I really like the unobstructed view you get from the cockpit of theDR400. I also use Lorby's Axis and Ohs to connect both my Saitek andinformation panels (works a treat), with everything else beingstock. My current system consists of an Intel i9 9900K 3.6 GHz CPU,GTX2080Ti 11 GB GPU and 64 GB of DDR4 Kingston RAM at its core. Having afairly hefty system allows me to run the sim at Ultra on mostsettings, and so throughout my various test flights I was gettingframe rates in the high 30s to mid 40s, both on the ground and in theair over the islands.
My flights were undertaken in the middle of the day and at dusk,with various weather conditions selected. These ranged from sunnywith clouds, to snow and rain. In each case the frame rate did notreally waiver too much, and I was happy with my system's performance.
One thing I should also mention was the fact that I hooked up anold X-Box controller I had handy, as this really helped in navigatingaround the various airfields. I am not a fan of the current cameraoptions in the sim as I find them very limited and frustrating attimes. However, using the X-Box controller in Showcase mode, allowedme to wander round each airfield really easily and meant I could getup close to all the finer details on offer. It really made a bigdifference.
Look And Feel
Being primarily a GA VFR armchair pilot, I look for details andrealism when it comes to scenery packages. In the VFR world this iswhat it is all about for me. I am less concerned with systems,procedures and the formality of 'tubeliner' flying, and more concernedwith what I can see out of my cockpit window as I taxi around theairfield, takeoff, land and fly overhead. This is what really makesthe overall flight sim experience for me, and to be honest, even inits current state of release, MSFS 2020 still ticks most of the rightboxes. In saying that, there was one significant issue I encounteredwhen testing this package, as I found floating buildings at one of theairfields. I am unsure if this is related to the Aerosoft scenery oris an artefact on the sim itself, so it's something to be aware of(the airfield in question was Wangerooge EDWG). However, the good newsis that the other five were all fine and firmly rooted to the ground.
As I mentioned in the introduction, you get six small GA airfieldsfor the price of one in this package, namely, Borkum (EDWR), Juist(EDWJ), Norderney (EDWY), Baltrum (EDWZ), Langeoog (EDWL) and finallythe floating Wangerooge (EDWG).
Each of the airfields is unique, and although I have never been toany of them in real life, based on what I know about living in thatpart of the world, they felt very realistic.
The PBR texturing was excellent, and as good as I have seen inother sims, plus the variation and modelling of the buildings was alsoauthentic for this part of the world (based on what I remember).
I loved the details such as gates, fences and signboards (all ofwhich were very clear and easy to read), hedges, children's playareas, grass and the occasional bit of clutter. If I was allowed asmall suggestion on where things could be improved slightly, then moreclutter would be nice. However, this is just my personal preferenceand should not detract from the quality of the package. You will alsofind several static aircraft at various sites, all with authenticregistration numbers for the area, so this is a nice touch. And hatsoff to Aerosoft for including 3D people... I really like thisfeature, as too many third party sceneries are devoid of people, whichin my opinion makes them feel very sterile and empty. Thank youAerosoft for ticking one on my most important boxes.
From what I could see, each airfield has details associated withtheir specific site, and looking at what online photos I could find,Aerosoft have done a decent job of representing each airfield.
The night lighting is best described as subtle, and in keeping withwhat you would likely encounter at airfields like these. Although youwould not expect GA airfields to be lit up like a football stadium, Ifelt that the night lighting could be expanded just a little bit, assome of the airfields are a bit dark in places for my liking.
As a relative newcomer to Microsoft flight simulators, it has beenquite a novel experience trying out something new, and based on myexperience elsewhere, I believe Aerosoft have done a pretty good jobof bringing these airfields to life in a realistic and authenticway. If you have a passion for VFR and GA aircraft, and are looking forsomewhere to head out from in this part of the world, then thispackage is well worth considering in my opinion. I really enjoyed thefeel of each airfield, and the fact you basically get six for theprice of one, is a bonus.
The only major issue I found was the floating buildings atWangerooge (EDWG), but this may be a sim issue rather than a packageone. With my limited MSFS 2020 knowledge, at this time I could notreally be sure. In saying that, I did check the default scenery of thesame area and everything was located on the ground, so perhapssomething for Aerosoft to look into?
This apart, the airfields of the East Frisian Islands package fromAerosoft really transforms the existing default scenery and showcaseswhat this new sim is capable of. I believe that with the introductionof MSFS 2020, as armchair flyers, we are fortunate to be involved withthe hobby at this time, and I am convinced our flight simulatorexperience will only improve across all platforms.
So, should you buy it? Well as always, that is up to individualtastes and budgets, however other than the one technical issuedescribed above, this really is a nicely constructed and presentedpackage of airfields, and in my opinion worth considering./images/reviews/eastfris/title3.jpg
Purchase Aerosoft - Airfields East Frisian Islands for MSFS
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