• Review: Orbx - EGCB Manchester City Airport and Heliport

    Review: Orbx - EGCB Manchester City Airport and Heliport

    By Stuart McGregor

    Orbx - EGCB Manchester City - Barton overview

    Manchester...industrial powerhouse of the northwest of England and home to some half a million people, including the world famous City and United football teams, acclaimed bands such as Oasis and the Stone Roses, and wait for it...EGCB Manchester City Airport and Heliport (Barton) from Orbx Simulation Studios! Barton is the second X-Plane 11 release from the Orbx team and their first for the UK on the X-Plane platform.

    The airfield itself is located just west of the city and was the UK's first purpose built municipal airport in 1928; with the first chartered passenger flights a couple of years later in 1930. It is quite unique, in that it has four grass runways as well as a heliport supporting the local police and ambulance services; so as long as you are not hell bent on landing a 747 there, Barton has something to offer a large selection of the sim community.

    Orbx - EGCB Manchester City - Barton     Orbx - EGCB Manchester City - Barton

    Purchase, Download, Documentation And Installation

    With all Orbx sceneries you will need an account to be able to purchase their products, but it really is a two-minute job to set up if you already do not have one. Once set up, being a Windows user, I was able to use their FTX Central installer to download and install the scenery. At this time, this is only for Windows, so my understanding is if you are on other platforms such as Linux or MacOS, for now, you will have to manually download and install the scenery, but that is really no different to the majority of other sceneries out there.

    The whole download is quoted as being about 0.9 GB in size, so it will take a little while to download, however when it is all done, you will end up with 2 folders in your Custom Scenery folder. These are an overlay folder with buildings, vegetation, facades, etc., and the main airport scenery folder. This was my second experience of using the Orbx site, and in my opinion the provided installer really does make the whole installation process extremely easy. I do advise you check your scenery_packs.ini file once complete, just to ensure everything is in the right order, as I found that when I started the sim, I had double objects in many places due to Global Scenery objects being higher in the load list that the new scenery. A quick bit of editing in the scenery_packs.ini file and all was fixed.

    Orbx - EGCB Manchester City - Barton     Orbx - EGCB Manchester City - Barton

    FTX Central will also give you access to the User Guide and a means of uninstalling the scenery if you so wish. The User Guide can also be found within the main scenery folder if you don't want to run the tool every time, which is handy.

    The user guide, although quite short, is well presented and provides basic information on installation, graphical areas covered by the scenery, where to get tech help if required, acknowledgements, license information etc., and I found the whole thing self-explanatory. Oh, and did I mention that the scenery pack retails at just over US $25, or AUS $32.95.

    System Performance

    This assessment of Barton was used with X-Plane 11.20b5 and the default Cessna 172. My current system consists of an Intel i7 5820K 3.3 GHz CPU (overclocked to 4.0 GHz), GTX1080Ti 11 GB GPU and 32 GB of Kingston RAM at its core. My system settings are typically at the high end of the range with objects on max, HDR on, although shadows were switched off. I also use SkymaxxPro, and this was on throughout, with a couple of layers of clouds and midday to late afternoon timeframe.

    Orbx - EGCB Manchester City - Barton     Orbx - EGCB Manchester City - Barton

    Throughout the series of test flights, I was getting good frame rates, generally in the high 20's to mid-30's range when taxiing around the airfield, and the even better news was that when flying over Manchester itself, my frame rate didn't actually take too much of a hit, only dropping down to mid to high 20's, which was fabulous.

    1 Comment
    1. ColR1948's Avatar
      ColR1948 -
      Does it have the facility to remove static aircraft, there seems to be a lot with Orbx scenery, just one of my pet hates?
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