• Review: Orbx EGSG Stapleford Aerodrome

    Review: Orbx EGSG Stapleford Aerodrome

    By Bruno Esperanca

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    Local Information

    Stapleford was established in 1933 as Essex Aerodrome, a base for Hillman's Airways, a British airline which later became part of British Airways. It is located in the Epping Forest district of Essex, England, near the village of Abridge. It is just within the M25 which encircles Greater London. The airfield was requisitioned shortly after the Second World War as RAF Stapleford Tawney. Today, Stapleford is used as a general aviation aerodrome, home to the privately owned Stapleford Flight Center. For roughly 40 years it has been used to train pilots for PPL all the way up to CPL and ATPL qualifications. The airfield has two long parallel runways 04/22, one of them being partly asphalt at one end, and a shorter grass runway 10/28.

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    Stapleford Aerodrome for X-Plane 11 is part of a series of British aerodromes released for X-Plane, following their popular True Earth Great Britain South release. This release has brought photoreal textures, hundreds of custom objects and accurately placed autogen to X-Plane, to the delight of many simmers. Orbx has a long range of successful add-ons for FSX and P3D, but only recently joined the X-Plane platform.

    Purchase, Download, Documentation & Installation

    In order to purchase Orbx products, you need to create an account. It's a fast procedure, similar to other online stores. If you're a Windows user, you will also be able to use FTX Central 3, which is basically an installer for the products you have purchased. If you are using another OS, you will have to manually download and install your products, but with X-Plane this is extremely simple. All you have to do is copy the scenery into your "Custom Scenery" folder and adjust the "scenery_packs.ini" file accordingly. I place add-on airport sceneries next to the default Aerosoft airports that come with X-Plane.

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    Stapleford takes up around 430 MB when installed, excluding the Orbx Libraries which are also necessary. This includes high resolution photoreal textures of the area, custom objects, a user-guide with installation instructions and charts, etc. I couldn't really see an option to remove static aircraft, but this is quite easy to achieve with basic knowledge of the WED tool. If you are planning on participating in some online events, this is probably a desirable thing to do. One would think all sceneries would offer a comfortable way of removing static aircraft.

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    System Performance

    To check the performance hit from Stapleford, I used X-Plane 11.31r1 and the default Cessna 172. Currently I'm sporting an i7 9700k, an MSI GTX1070 and 16 GB of RAM. My settings are generally high with world objects maxed out. I'm also using ASXP update B6927, with real weather, on realism mode. Also, I don't have Orbx True Earth installed, but I do have HD Mesh V4, with Ortho4XP with ZL18 close to the airports, and ZL16 elsewhere.

    Default - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford
    Before (left) and after (right)

    Default - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford
    Before (left) and after (right)

    A before and after comparison shows a decent rendition of the airfield only with the HD Mesh and Orthophoto. In fact, for a default airfield, it's great, and the frame rates were situated between the upper fifties and lower sixties, so a pretty good performance considering the maxed out world objects. With Orbx's Stapleford we see quite a substantial performance drop. On my setup, the frame rate decreased to the mid thirties, and then back up to the lower forties, so we are looking at around one third of drop in frame rates. However, we can see why. The airfield and its surroundings were reproduced meticulously. With a different setup and settings, perhaps the drop will not be as significant.

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