Orbx Dundee Airport
By Stuart McGregor
Dundee Airport (EGPN) is the 3rdScottish airport after Sumburgh and Edinburgh to be released by theOrbx development team, and personally, I am delighted to see thisbeautiful corner of the globe getting some additional focus in theX-Plane virtual world.
The city of Dundee is an east coast city and is the 4th largestcity in Scotland with a population of just under 150,000. It sits onthe Firth of Tay at the mouth of the river Tay, which incidentally isthe longest river in Scotland. Traditionally known for the 3 'J's, ofjam, jute and journalism, Dundee has been a thriving industrial cityin its time, although not much jam or jute are made locally anymore. It is more known for its Universities, modern shoppingfacilities, museums, new vibrant waterfront area, and not forgettingit is now an Amazon storage and delivery hub. Dundee is still howevera thriving centre for journalism in Scotland, with several popularlocal newspapers and magazines being printed there. For any50-somethings who may be reading this, and who grew up in Scotland,the good news is that Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan, Billy Whiz andthe Bash Street Kids are still all alive and well!
As the city and its airport are located on the banks of the Firthof Tay, this setting provides an ideal spot for shooting a fewlandings in some typical Scottish weather, or just going on somesightseeing in the area. This part of Scotland is also very famous forits many golf courses, so perhaps why not pop up to Carnoustie,Gleneagles or even the Old Course at the world-famous St Andrews.
The Orbx team have brought their usual high standards to thisrelease with beautifully modelled 3D buildings and objects, stunningPBR texturing and night lighting, all wrapped up in the traditionalOrbx high quality look and feel.
I must admit, I have not been to Dundee airport, so my review hereis very much based on what is provided in the simulator, and also whatreference material I was able to find online, so I openly admit, Icannot say for certain that it is an exact replica of what currentlysits there today. That being said, from what I can see, it appears thedevelopment team have done a pretty good job in bringing theirinterpretation of Dundee Airport to life in the X-Plane virtual world.
Purchase, Download, Documentation And Installation
EGPN retails at a price of AUD$34.95, which is the equivalent ofUS$25.07 or £19.15 if you are from the UK. This is in thetypical price range for scenery like this.
As with all Orbx sceneries you will need an online account to beable to purchase, but this is a two-minute activity to set up if youdo not have one. If you do, I am sure you will know what todo. The prerequisite high-speed internet connection is required toensure the scenery package download takes place in a reasonable timeframe, as the scenery is in excess of 1.5 GB. Once done, you will endup with a single folder in your X-Plane 11 Custom Scenery folder witheverything you need in there. Orbx Central will also give you accessto the User Guide and a means of uninstalling the scenery if you sowish, and in my opinion, it is all extremely easy to use, even forbeginners.
The small user guide is well presented, and provides the usualinformation on installation, an overview of the area covered, airportcharts, links to where to get technical help if required,acknowledgements, license information, etc. Well worth a quick lookbefore you start, and ensures you haven't missed anything.
It is important to note, that to get the best out of the Dundeeairport scenery, Orbx TrueEarth Great Britain North is recommended,although the scenery will run quite happily without it. My review iswith TE GB North installed and this does add a whole new dimension tothe airport surroundings. In my view, it is well worth the additionalcost, particularly if you like VFR flying. If you don't have TE GBNorth, remember to install the free Orbx Libraries as you will need itto avoid errors.
My assessment was using X-Plane 11.41 and one of my favourite GAaircraft, the paywarePiper Cherokee Modernfrom vFlyteAir.
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. Mysystem settings are at the high end of the range with objects on max,HDR on, although shadows are switched off. I also use SkyMaxxPro v4 andTraffic Globaland they were on throughout with a few weather preferencesselected. On this day the weather was fine with three layers of cloud, alight breeze and good visibility. Throughout the series of testflights, frame rates were generally in the high 30s to mid-40s duringthe day, and dipped a bit at night; high 20s to mid-40s, depending onwhere you were situated at the airport. My system was able to copewell with the scenery and I had no issues throughout. The integrationwith Traffic Global seemed to work well in the tests that I carriedout, as I did see Logan Air Saab 340Bs, coming and going onoccasion.
Look And Feel
When you first open the scenery package, you can't help but beimpressed by what you see. First impressions are everything they say,and I believe you will not be disappointed if you decide to purchaseEGPN. The level of detail in the buildings and objects, the stunningtexturing and lighting, particularly after dark, along with other nicetouches like the animated baggage truck and fire tender, add a genuinefeel of realism to the scenery. Movement brings the scenery to life inmy opinion. I really enjoyed seeing the fire tender heading off fromthe apron to the fire training area in the far corner of the airfield,and the truck itself is very nicely detailed and animated.
The general airport texturing really is something to behold, notjust in the airport buildings, but also in the surrounding buildingssuch as the Riverside Inn, which is just along the road.
The apron is peppered with numerous incredibly detailed objects,and the texturing used in objects such as snow ploughs, and numerousmotor vehicles, is really the best I have seen. They are just sorealistic in my opinion.
At EGPN, as with most X-Plane airports, you have the option tostart on each of the runways, in this case 09 or 27, as well asseveral ramps including the main apron, general parking and also quitean extensive GA area. In the GA area you will find several nicelydetailed static aircraft, and you can start from hard tarmac surfacesas well as the grassy areas. The grass textures and use of 3D patchesreally blends well with the scenery, again giving it that real feel asyou taxi around the airfield.
Most of the signage you come across is clear and easy to read, andI loved the use of 3D people around the airport and in the nearbyRiverside Inn. This area is well worth exploring, because again, thetexturing of the building, the beer garden and children's play area isfantastic. The inclusion of realistic vegetation also adds anotherdimension of realism to this area, and it is a great spot to stop andwatch the traffic arriving and departing on runway 09.
Next door to the pub you will find a highly detailed warehousearea, with numerous vehicles and general clutter, like waste skips andbins. This perhaps does not sound much, but for me, it is thisattention to detail that makes a scenery like EGPN stand out.
Back over at the apron, you cannot miss ZE700, the Royal Air ForceBritish Aerospace 146-100, as it stands majestic on the apron as youtaxi past. Perhaps some of the Royal Family have been up visitingScotland; as I understand it, No.32 (The Royal) Squadron have beenknown to fly a couple of 146's whilst chauffeuring VVIPs around thecountry.
I must be honest and say that I really enjoyed flying in and outfrom Dundee, partly because the east coast is an area I know well, andalso because of the quality of the work being reviewed here. I caneasily see this as being one of my favorite airfields to visit as Ifly around Scotland. This is particularly the case if you arriveafter dark, because the night lighting of the key buildings and apronreally have a beautiful feel to them; they just feel so genuine andrealistic. You really can imagine yourself stepping out onto thetarmac for an evening flight with Logan Air.
One final check I made when testing the scenery, was to test theATC package Pilot2ATC, as I use it quite frequently these days. As faras I could tell, it all combined very well, and the taxi routes fromthe parking spots I used were picked up and I was guided to therelevant runway for take-off. As an aside, if you do not havePilot2ATC and are a bit fed up with the default X-Plane 11 ATC system,this add-on is worth thinking about. It adds another level to ATCinteraction options if you are looking for a little bit moreimmersion. One of the features I particularly love about it, is youcan add additional voices and customise them to your taste. Forexample, I have several additional Scottish voices loaded which makesme feel right at home!
So, Dundee Airport? Worth considering as your next purchase?
Based on my experience in these tests, I would certainly suggest itis worth considering if you are looking for a beautifully presented,small regional Scottish airport for flying in and out of in this partof the world. I guess it all depends on what individuals want fromtheir simulator time, and just how much immersion they are after. Yes,you can just stick to the global default airports or use some of thevery good freeware out there, however, in my opinion, if you arelooking for just that extra level of immersion, EGPN from Orbx, isworth your consideration. This is particularly the case if you combineDundee with the True Earth GB series, because then, not only do youhave incredibly detailed and realistic airports, but also thesurrounding cities and landmarks too. For example, with Dundee, assoon as you leave the airfield, you can see the waterfront area,stacked drill rigs, the two famous football stadiums of Dundee FC andDundee United, the Amazon distribution facility, the famous Taybridges and numerous other landmarks and features.
With companies like Orbx bringing more and more high qualityproducts to our virtual world, as armchair pilots, we really areseeing big leaps and bounds in what simulators like X-Plane 11 can do,and I for one, am very positive about the future of our hobby for manyyears to come. I strongly believe that scenery packages like Dundeewill continue to raise the bar, which can only be a good thing as weenter a new age of flight simulation.
So, Dundee or not? Well, ultimately I will leave that up to you thereaders to decide, however what I can say from my own experience, isthat it is definitely a keeper for me. If only they would somedaydevelop an equivalent Aberdeen scenery for EGPD, I would never haveto leave the house! Happy days!
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