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Review: Orbx EGPH Edinburgh Airport

Review: Orbx EGPH Edinburgh Airport

By Stuart McGregor



Edinburgh, the Capital of Scotland andhome to some 500,000 people is a beautiful city in the Central Belt ofScotland and sits on the Firth of Forth on the east coast. It is oneof the places you should definitely visit if you are planning on atrip to Scotland as there is so much history to see and places tovisit.

With the famous old castle looking down from its site at the headof the old town, to Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia moored in Leith, tothe shopping and bright lights of Princess Street, Edinburgh hassomething to offer for everyone. In my experience, it is also one ofthe few places in Scotland where you will actually see kilts and hearthe unmistakable sounds of the bagpipes pretty much year-round.

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There are also two very famous football teams, namely Heart of MidLothian Football Club (Hearts) and Hibernian Football Club (Hibs), andtheir rivalry across the city has never been higher. In addition tothe above, Edinburgh is also home to Murrayfield the home of ScottishRugby. If you ever get a chance to take in a game when Scotland areplaying at home, it is well worth a visit. 65,000 Scots singing theirlungs out is quite an experience, especially if England are theopponents.

One other feature when flying in and around the Edinburgh area thatstands out as you come from the north by road or rail are the threemajestic bridges that span the River Forth. The Forth rail bridge wasbuilt way back in 1890, with the second Queensferry Crossing roadbridge being added as recently as 2017. These bridges connect Northand South Queensferry and all three bridges are distinctive landmarksparticularly when lit at night.

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The city is serviced by the main international airport located 5 kmto the west of the city. The airport handles somewhere around 15million passengers a year and employs about 2,500 people. A widerange of operators use the airport and offer flights both domesticallywithin the UK but also internationally to locations such as Spain,Finland, Turkey and even as far as the USA.

When the team at Orbx Simulation Systems announced that they werereleasing Edinburgh (EGPH) for the X-Plane 11 platform, I wasdelighted to have the opportunity to review this airport (being fromScotland myself). The following review hopefully gives you someinsight into what the scenery offers, and is based solely on my ownviews, thoughts and experiences.

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Purchase, Download, Documentation And Installation

As with all Orbx sceneries you will need an online account to beable to purchase EGPH, but this is a two-minute job to set up if youdon't already have one. If you do, I am sure you will know what todo. Being a Windows user, I have always had the option to be able touse an automated installer, which was not always the case for allplatforms. However, the team at Orbx have introduced their new OrbxCentral installer which now also caters for Linux and MacOSplatforms. The prerequisite high-speed internet connection is requiredto ensure the scenery package download takes place in a reasonabletime-frame as the scenery is in excess of 1.5 GB. Once you see thequality and level of detail, I am sure you will see why it's solarge. Once done however, you will end up with a single folder in yourCustom Scenery directory, with everything you need located there. OrbxCentral will give you access to the included User Guide and a means ofuninstalling the scenery if you so wish, and in my opinion, it is allvery easy to use, even for beginners.

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The small user guide is well presented and provides the usualinformation on installation, airport chart, links to where to get techhelp if required, acknowledgements, license information, etc. Allfairly routine stuff, but worth a quick look just to make sure youhave not missed anything.

It is important to note that to get the best out of Edinburgh, OrbxTrueEarth Great Britain North is recommended, although the scenerywill run quite happily without it. This review is with TE GB Northinstalled, and with it, adds a whole new dimension to the airport andits surroundings. If your pocket can stretch to it, I highly recommendgetting a copy. If you do, many of the features I have described inthe introduction will be visible across the Edinburgh area, whichmeans you really will get the most out of your flight simexperience. In my view it is well worth it, particularly if you likeVFR flying.

The base EGPH retails at a price of AUD $39.95 or just under US $27,although I am sure that at some point in the future there will besales and you can get it at a significantly discounted price if youare lucky.

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System Performance

My assessment was done using X-Plane 11.40 and one of my favoritehelicopters, the payware Bell 407 from Dreamfoil. In my opinion,helicopters provide a great way in which to explore an airfield, andas such I took full advantage of the manoeuvrability and large windowsof the Bell, to give Edinburgh and the surrounding area the good onceover. Well...several times actually...

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 were switched off. I also use SkymaxxPro andTraffic Global and they were on throughout, with a few weatherpreferences selected. On this day the weather was fine with three layersof cloud, a light breeze and good visibility. Throughout the series oftest flights, frame rates were generally in the high 30's to mid-40'sduring the day, and dipped (due to lights) to the high 20's tomid-40's depending on where you were on the airfield. My system wasable to cope well with the scenery and I had no issues throughout. Theintegration with Traffic Global seemed to work well in the tests thatI carried out, with lots of familiar airlines lined up at variousgates and aircraft taxiing, taking off and landing as you wouldexpect.

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Look And Feel

As with all Orbx products (I have a few now), Edinburgh EGPH looksfabulous and feels great! The development team have once again done amarvellous job of not only presenting an accurate rendition of theairfield, but also the surrounding area. The use of HD PBR texturesadds a whole new dimension to the user experience and really makes thebest out of both what Orbx but also X-Plane 11 can now offer. I amstill impressed just how much development and improvement there hasbeen in recent years, even since X-Plane 10 was the go-to sim in theX-Plane world, and this all bodes well for the hobby and particularlyfor X-Plane.

The airfield has a very open feel and is spread out over a fairlylarge area. It has several areas to explore and these include the mainterminal, maintenance and logistic sheds, a fuel storage area, firestation, surrounding offices, carparks and hotels, and all of whichare decked out in fabulous levels of detail. The HD PBR texturing isreally fabulous and so realistic. This is clearly the way to go andthe future of our hobby from what I have seen. Definitely somethingthat all developers, including myself should be aspiring to thesedays.

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There are numerous ramps from where you can set out from, and theairfield is peppered with 3D people and apron clutter which adds asense of realism. These features bring the airfield to life, and Iparticularly enjoyed the use of numerous animated ground vehiclesgoing about their day to day activities. As you taxi around theairfield you can just imagine stepping onto the tarmac with the freshScottish air in your nostrils and the sound of ground vehicles, jetand turbine engines ringing in your ears. Seeing the courtesy busesand fuel trucks going about their business and even one of the firetrucks driving to the fire station really brings the airport tolife. This is the sort of level of detail that turns a good virtualairport into a great one in my opinion.

One of the most striking features of the airport is the iconiccontrol tower with its very distinctive curved outline. This becomeseven more impressive at night when it is lit up with stunning purpletones. This in itself is a great reason to visit EGPH, and as Iunderstand it, in real life the tower has up to twelve different colorswhich can be changed to commemorate various local and country wideevents. Maybe something for a future update Orbx... wink, wink!

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Whilst we are talking about lighting effects, the airport-widedynamic lighting brings a very different feel to the airfield afterdark, and the feel and mood really changes across the whole airportonce the sun goes down. I really enjoyed exploring the airport whenall lit up, and with the city as your backdrop, it does make for avery pleasant virtual experience. The apron lighting along withvarious illuminated buildings really brings the scenery to life atnight.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, the Orbx team really have done a fabulous job inbringing 'The Gateway to Scotland' to X-Plane 11, as I found the wholeexperience extremely realistic and enjoyable. I literally spentseveral hours just taking it all in. If your pocket can stretch to it,I personally suggest combining Edinburgh with Orbx's TrueEarth GreatBritain North. By doing this, it will give you the best sense of beingin the real world. There are just so many features to see, and if likeme you enjoy VFR flying, landing at Edinburgh is certainly somethingto remember!

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Stuart McGregor

Purchase Orbx - Edinburgh Airport For X-Plane 11

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