• Review: Orbx EGSG Stapleford Aerodrome

    Look And Feel

    In much the same way as their FSX/P3D offerings, Orbx has gained a reputation for scrupulous attention to detail in their X-Plane sceneries, and their rendition of Stapleford is no different.

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    X-Plane's default and also freeware sceneries are already of a high standard, so Orbx had to deliver...and deliver they have!

    The aerodrome buildings have all been modeled with astonishing detail. Add-ons like these really make me miss a "walk-around" option in X-Plane, it motivates us to perform that often forgotten initial walk-around section of the checklist. I believe this is available with the X-Camera add-on, but unfortunately I haven't gotten around to getting this yet.

    Among the buildings that are modeled in detail, you've got Stapleford's reception, the Bar & Clubhouse with an observation area, a Flight Simulation Centre, maintenance hangar, etc. You also have some livestock in the area. Actually, it occurred to me that the next step to increase immersion and make you feel like you are in a "live" aerodrome, is to properly animate people and livestock. Maybe this will be something that will come in X-Plane 12, who knows. But for now, this is as close as it gets to the real thing.

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    At 430 MB this package is quite heavy for such a small airfield, and if you factor in that the Orbx Libraries weigh another 300 MB, this is packing a lot. However, how much of the libraries are used in this airfield, I'm not sure. Dissecting the folders, we realize more than half of the size (around 266 MB) are for the Ortho imagery of the area, whereas most of the rest is in the objects, and therein, mostly for the texturing.

    When taking the Cessna for a couple of traffic patterns around the airfield, one can see why Orbx chose this airfield for an add-on. The surroundings are quite peculiar and exquisite. There's a lot of green, farming fields, industry, etc., and so close to downtown London! It's perfect for firing up your favorite GA aircraft, going for a sightseeing tour around London and coming back when you're ready to go home. If you haven't purchased Orbx True Earth Great Britain South (like myself) the visual anomalies that are expected are easy to spot a few moments after takeoff. I am using ZL16 ortho imagery using Bing for the source, and compared to Orbx's imagery, the colors feel very washed out and dull. Looking at the textures, Orbx has achieved a very good balance between eye candy and realism in terms of contrast and saturation. It means even though they are "screen shot-friendly", they are still very believable and don't kill the immersion. If you plan on flying VFR over England a lot, it is probably a worthwhile investment.

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    What about night flying? Well, Stapleford is your typical VFR GA airfield, and offers no lighting whatsoever. As we are in the countryside, and mostly with green fields, the area is pitch black at night. Nonetheless, I loaded the scenery up at night just to check out the night textures, and I'm happy to say that Stapleford didn't disappoint at night. This means that if you arrive late in the evening as the sun is kissing the day goodbye, you have a good chance of taking some really good looking dusk photos.

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    Final Thoughts

    Stapleford is a small GA airfield which is used today extensively for training. If you fly at this airfield and would like to practice your approaches or traffic patterns, I would easily recommend this scenery. It would probably be a good idea to get True Earth Great Britain South so as to make sure you have all visual references correctly placed and depicted in the simulator. The Orbx ground textures also look significantly better compared to creating ortho imagery yourself. If you're simply looking for a nice GA airfield in London's vicinity, I leave it to you to decide whether or not Stapleford is the best decision. Personally, I think the airfield is very peculiar with its crossed, partially asphalted runways, and the amount of detail is great. The textures look awesome and I particularly liked how real and weathered they looked. In terms of performance, I did experience a significant performance hit, but I'm not sure what I can attribute this to. As I haven't seen others reporting the same, it could be something local from my machine. As usual, your mileage may vary. At its price tag, I consider this scenery to be good value and would recommend it to anyone with a particular interest in Stapleford.

    Orbx - EGSG Stapleford     Orbx - EGSG Stapleford

    Resources

    Orbx EGSG Stapleford Aerodrome for X-Plane 11 user manual

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stapleford_Aerodrome

    This review was completed using X-Plane 11.31r1 and Orbx EGSG Stapleford Aerodrome for X-Plane 11 v1.0. Also used was ASXP B6965 and ortho imagery using Ortho4XP v1.30.

    Bruno Esperanca

    Purchase Orbx - EGSG Stapleford Aerodrome


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