• FTX NA Blue - Pacific Northwest

    Orbx: FTX NA Blue - Pacific Northwest

    By Peter Carlson (19 April 2011)

    Orbx has been known for making great scenery packages, especially those of Australia, and now North America. Their ability to create such a vast and complicated landscape has drawn my attention, and the attention of the flight simulation community.

    The Region

    The Pacific Northwest is a vast region, within a not so big space. With both coastal regions, mountains and so many places to explore, Orbx has been able to model such an area, in which exploration of every detail is nearly impossible. The coastline in curvy, and is fun to go low and slow in, and the coastal region itself is a very interesting place to explore. I have flown around the Pacific Northwest in real life, and Orbx's modeling of the countless airports is amazing, with each airport looking so much like its real-world counterpart, while being part of a huge package. In real life, I love this part of the world. Unlike Southern California, there is so much variety and expanse of land in such a small space, and as easily accessible with small, slow planes, just as efficiently as the larger ones.


    First Impressions

    I purchased the Wings of Silver: Piper Cub with Accusim solely for this review, so I can explore coastlines and valleys, and has proven a blast. With so many interesting valleys, with rivers, you can spend hours on end searching for neat gravel bars and sand bars to land on, unlike the default scenery, which is boring as it is repetitive. If exploration is your thing, or you're thinking of it, this is the perfect region to start. The impressive and grand mountains jut out as if they are actually In front of you, and the textures and land classes fit together brilliantly, without the look of the default blocky sections.



    I started with flying out of (and into) airports I've been to before, and I tell you, they are phenomenal. Jefferson County International Airport (0S9) and Arlington Municipal Airport (KAWO), to name a few, are airports I've been to, and they and others have modeling that depicts their true state to a level better than you would expect with such a vast range. There are so many airports to fly into, and so many interesting ones. Orbx has also created some add-ons for specific airports in this region, which are extremely high quality, and make one think they are present at that airport.


    Snohomish County Airport (KPAE)

    One airport that has great importance is Snohomish County Airport, also known as Paine Field, the location of the Boeing Plant for wide-body airliners. I have been there on three occasions, and toured the factory, and well, the default rendition of Paine is horrible, with the factory building not being even close in size to that of the true thing. However, upon flying there for the first time from Sea-Tac using Orbx PNW I am impressed that every detail is in its place, and the factory is identical to its true form, colors and everything.


    Vancouver Harbour Water Airport (CYHC)

    I was astonished that Microsoft excluded this airport, an important seaplane base, and more importantly, Canada's sixth busiest airport. I returned from my 2008 trip to Vancouver and had the amazing experience of getting a ride in a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and seeing beautiful Vancouver on a not so normal sunny day, from a beautiful seaplane. I eagerly went home to fly in my Beaver out of this airport, which turned out not to exist in the default scenery. With Orbx PNW, everything in the airport looks correct, a dock, some static 185's on floats and the city towers over the harbor the way it should.



    The mountains in this package have detail that represents the real world extremely well, with textures that in every way emphasize each geographic feature and their unique formations. Mountains have both snow and rock and trees in appropriate places. You can see ski runs, snow variation, rocks jutting out, proper tree lines and these mountains, accurately mapped out, are believable, unlike the default scenery.



    In a scenery package, you usually don't expect sounds, but this package changes this once standard fact. As I parked my Cub at the dock in Vancouver Harbour Water Airport, I shut off the engine and hear the water hit the dock, the plane bobbing in the tide, and waves approaching the shore. These touches are quite nice, they increase the level of realism, and they offer a subtle yet satisfying background noise while stationary.

    Bottom Line

    I am greatly impressed with this package and its accurate depiction of such a complex landscape, while capturing its grandeur and mystique. With land-classes blended perfectly, great coastlines, mountains and valleys, this region is an amazing place to explore within the realms of FSX with this great package. With a price that, although somewhat high, is worth every penny if your flying takes you here regularly. Orbx has made Flight Simulator more interesting and real than ever before with this great product.



    High quality land textures, great land details, nice sound touches, added seaplane bases, and fun flying experience.


    Frame rate is a slight issue if you don't have a high-end system.


    I'd like to take this time to tell you all about the aircraft you've seen in this review. Featured is the Wings of Silver: Piper Cub with Accusim (by A2A Simulations), the Constellation Professional by Just Flight, Captain Sim 707-300, PMDG 747-8X Queen of the Skies, Wings of Power III: Spitfire with Accusim (by A2A Simulations), and the Flight1 Cessna Citation Mustang. These are all great aircraft, fun to fly, and the Piper Cub is a great plane to do exploring in and was essential for testing this product, as well as the Spitfire and 747-8X. Special thanks to the Flightsim Pilot Shop for providing me the Spitfire, and Boeing 707 both of which are featured in my other reviews.

    Peter Carlson
    [email protected]">[email protected]

    Learn More Here

    Reviews Of Orbx Products:

    Orbx FTX Scenery of Australia

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