• Interview With Lawrie Roache


    When did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    I've been a user of Microsoft's Flight Simulator since Flight Simulator for Windows was first launched and I've had every version of MSFS since.

    Prior to creating my own scenery, I was always a 'taker' of scenery, so to speak, and it wasn't until FS2002 that I decided to try and improve on the simulator myself. This was for my home country of New Zealand, which was very poorly depicted in MSFS.

    I started with a few simple tools, like Lee Swordy's AFCAD (freeware), and also Runway-12 Object Placer (freeware).


    When FS2004 ACOF arrived on the market at the end of 2003, I purchased it on its release day and that's when I started to get serious about scenery building, as FS2004 was a major leap ahead over all previous version of MSFS.

    I persevered with Runway-12 Object placer for some time, until the wonderful EZ Scenery by Abacus Publishing came on the market. It was so much simpler to use! I also used Lee Swordy's AFCAD-2 for FS2004, which was a huge improvement over the previous version for FS2002.

    A fellow flight sim user and friend (here in my home city of Tauranga) saw the add-on airports I had created, and mentioned that because they were of such good quality, I should share them so that others could enjoy them; which I did. It gave me great pleasure to be able to give something back to the Flight Simulator community, especially after being a 'taker' of freeware scenery and add-ons for so many years. I learned many valuable lessons while using FS2004, and have now moved on to FSX as my preferred simulator.


    What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    For me, the most challenging aspect for most of my projects is during the research stage, before building the scenery.

    A lot of the smaller airports I have built, both in New Zealand, and in the Pacific Islands, have been quite difficult to reproduce because of the lack of quality imagery. Airport charts and other such information is relatively easy to come by for New Zealand airports and airfields, but very hard to find for a lot of the Pacific Island airports I have built.

    Google Earth satellite images are of course a big help, but some of these are unfortunately outdated by some years, and sometimes the ground detail is partly obscured by cloud in some of the images.

    The second most challenging aspect I find about creating scenery, is trying to piece everything together into a workable scenery package. This is mainly due to a lack of photographs of the real scenery. Sometimes it's a case of trying to interpret all the pieces you do have of the real airport, and to make the best likeness you can.


    I have however been both fortunate, and lucky enough, to find people who have taken photos for me at various airports in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. I was fortunate enough to find someone who used to fly an Air Samoa Twin Otter for a number of years, and he provided me with good photos of a couple of the Samoan airfields I've created.

    Also, with one of the New Zealand airports I modelled earlier this year, I was lucky enough to find someone (whose business it is to take passengers up for scenic joyrides from the same airport) who provided me with invaluable up-to-date information and photos.

    My scenery work, New Zealand in particular, is designed and built specifically to work well with the payware Vector Landclass add-on for New Zealand. From reports that I've had from users over the years, most of my work also works well with the default FSX scenery and also with Orbx's NZNI and NZSI add-ons.

    1. scottm's Avatar
      scottm -
      Great person to interview; Lawrie, I'm a big fan of your work. Thanks for all you do.
    1. kerikiwi's Avatar
      kerikiwi -
      Hi Lawrie, A huge thank you for all your untiring efforts over the years to fix my mistakes with your incredible FS9 sceneries. Kind regards from the old Keri Codger!
    1. Antares's Avatar
      Antares -
      Many many thanks Lawrie!
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Great interview Lawrie. Thanks for giving to the flight simming community!!
    1. thies's Avatar
      thies -
      Lawrie, your sceneries are not only top quality, but also harmonious masterpieces of FlightSim Art, pleasant to move around in, stimulating the phantasy, that flightsimming is for a lot of us. You certainly have put NZ and the Pacific Islands on the Map. Magnificient job, many thanks.
    1. snowman1nz's Avatar
      snowman1nz -
      Quote Originally Posted by thies View Post
      Lawrie, your sceneries are not only top quality, but also harmonious masterpieces of FlightSim Art, pleasant to move around in, stimulating the phantasy, that flightsimming is for a lot of us. You certainly have put NZ and the Pacific Islands on the Map. Magnificient job, many thanks.
      Many thanks for your kind comments, and the comments of others as well.
      Its nice to know that the work you do is appreciated by some.
      I will continue to develop airports for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands for FSX for some time to come.


    1. melvingasson's Avatar
      melvingasson -
      Dreams of becoming a pilot and have you as a role model now! Melvin! Sweden! / 11
    1. whitegn's Avatar
      whitegn -
      Lawrie - I think you'll find the work you do is appreciated by many, rather than by some. It's just that many of us are probably a bit slow, or struggle, to express appreciation. I am using some of your sceneries, in FS2004, with others waiting to be loaded. They sure make Aotearoa more interesting!
      Cheers, G White (Lower Hutt)
    1. garrybank's Avatar
      garrybank -
      Hi Lawrie! I got a mail from Dom this morning, telling me about this interview. I was delighted! Hope you are keeping well. As soon as possible, I am going to have a search for your latest sceneries. So good to hear you are still making your great scenery packs! Best regards, Robin (royaloak)
    1. mllgrennman's Avatar
      mllgrennman -
      Yes..payware quality work!...But I can't get any AI to show up at any of Lawrie's airports even with WOAI maxed out....and the [email protected] is coming back undelivered..any ideas how to contact him?...thanks
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