• Review: Aerosoft - Antarctica X

    Antarctica X

    Publisher: Aerosoft

    Review Author:
    Meng Yu

    Suggested Price:
    $34.99

    Buy Here

    Only discovered in the mid-19th century, Antarctica lays claim to the title of least densely populated continent. During its winter months, only about 1000 individuals reside on the continent, all of whom are scientists manning scientific equipment for various countries. Scientists staying here have to combat both the cold and each other. In fact, for several weeks a year, scientists experience both 24 hours of sunlight and 24 hours of night (at risk of stating the obvious, these are a different "few weeks"), making for some long hours spent indoors near each other. In these parts of the world, oversleeping and missing your boat out of the continent could very well mean only being able to get home the next year.

    Aerosoft - Antarctica X - Casey

    Despite the harsh conditions, Antarctica perhaps isn't one of the first locations to pop into your mind when thinking of challenging flying conditions. Airports such as Nepal's Lukla or Hong Kong's Kai Tak usually come to mind for simmers looking for that.

    Nevertheless, through my experiences flying there for this review, I can attest to the fact that the runways here certainly give even the most challenging airport elsewhere a run for its money. Strong winds bounce your aircraft around as you attempt to land, and, on the ground, ice runways make for some very poor braking action. If you should venture out into this part of the world, turboprop aircraft with reverse thrust capabilities are almost mandatory to tackle these Antarctic airports.

    To fully experience the hostility of the cold, let's take a look at what Aerosoft has created for Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D.

    Aerosoft - Antarctica X     Aerosoft - Antarctica X

    Aerosoft - Antarctica X     Aerosoft - Antarctica X

    Scenery Coverage

    Although there is an active tourism industry operating in Antarctica, terrain data for Antarctica isn't readily available. Despite being rather desolate, terrain data on Antarctica is considered by many countries to have strategic importance, and hence, maps and other data are rather rare. Runways and other aviation data is also a closely guarded trade secret as pilots and companies operating there prefer not to get drawn into stiff competition with others over who gets to fly these supply runs.

    Despite these hurdles, it seems that Aerosoft has managed to obtain this very data and recreated the entire island of Antarctica (within the limitations of flight simulator) for us to enjoy. It is claimed by Aerosoft to be perhaps the most comprehensive model of Antarctica publicly available as this is the first time data from multiple agencies have been combined, barring, of course, the work of any clandestine agencies.

    All in all, there are 47 airstrips included in this package, with particular attention paid to the following research stations:

    • McMurdo (USA)
    • Rothera (United Kingdom)
    • Sky Blu (United Kingdom)
    • Neumayer III (Germany)
    • Casey (Australia)
    • Scott (New Zealand)
    • Sanae IV (South Africa)

    Besides the high-detailed strips above, there are 13 other airstrips made with "medium detail" and the rest with lesser detail (but still a significant upgrade over default scenery!). A full map of which airports are covered is available here.

    Moreover, Aerosoft has fixed the scenery glitches in the default scenery (shown later) when approaching the southernmost parts of the earth, giving you a larger flyable area. However, despite Aerosoft's best efforts, airports such as the South Pole Station are not modelled simply due to how terrain is handled by current flight simulators. From the screen shots of default scenery below, at the South Pole Station, even the clouds take on a very compressed shape.


    1 Comment
    1. marknie's Avatar
      marknie -
      I wonder if its compatible with ORBX scenery. Price is a bit steep.
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