• Review: Alderney Airport And Island For X-Plane 11

    A Look Around The Airport

    The airport is only a small part of the overall scenery package and is not particularly large, especially when you consider that the area of the whole island is less than half of the area of Heathrow Airport. Given that the airport is going to be the first place in the scenery package that most pilots with a shiny new install see, and that part which they're likely to see in the most detail, it made sense to start my detailed look around the scenery package here.

    The configuration of the three runways is typical of the triangular layout of a wartime airfield. Somewhat unusually though, all three runways remain operational. The longest, 08/26, is only 877m long; the shortest, 03/21, is 497m. All runways are grass, although the central part of the longer runway is paved. The approach plates for EGJA only provide information for aircraft in performance categories A and B which means that its likely to be difficult to keep anything with a landing speed of greater than 120 from barrelling off the end of the runway during its landing roll. A careful choice of aircraft is therefore the order of the day if you're planning to fly out of or into this airport.

    Despite the small size of the airport, a lot of attention has been paid by the developer to making it realistic. This not only extends to the inclusion and appearance of the airport buildings, but to the additional airport 'furniture' which makes it look like a working airport.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 5 - Alderney Airport Apron

    All the airport buildings are modelled on their real-world counterparts, and whilst this hasn't, with the possible exception of the spiral staircase of the control tower, been done to a significant degree of detail in that the untextured 3D shapes are fairly orthogonal in nature, they are solid replicas compared against photographs available online. The placing of some buildings is in places at odds with the orthophoto that is included as part of the scenery package and this is most evident in the placing of the control tower and spiral staircase which intersects the adjacent fire services building.

    The textures that Boundless has used for the aprons, taxiways and runways really do look good. The apron and taxiway surfaces show wear in places and have the same appearance as they do in satellite imagery of the airport. Grass surfaces away from aircraft manoeuvring areas are sprinkled with 3D tufts of grass, and they have taken pains to include most, if not all the apron and taxiway markings visible at the real airport. In some places the markings that have been laid down on the apron aren't aligned with each other - in other places, they appear some way away from the marking visible in the textures included as part of the package.

    In addition to the static objects on the airport, the developer has included a couple of cars and a fuel truck which drive on predefined routes around the apron giving it an additional sense of life. Unfortunately, two of these three vehicles pass at some point on their predefined routes through one or more items of static scenery included in the package.

    From The Air

    Given that the scenery package is for the whole of the island, it seems only right to look at the whole package before embarking on a tour of its individual features, and Alderney is the sort of size that makes this possible.

    The whole island is covered with an orthophoto which, as can be seen in the screen shots below, adds a huge amount of realism that isn't achievable with regular landclass.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 6 - An aerial view from the north-east

    Several things jump out at me in these images, but my favorite is the extremely detailed shoreline, with its smooth sandy beaches and angry rocky outcrops and cliffs appearing as they do in the real-world and the sea almost seeming to exhibit depth with sand and rocks visible underneath the surface. We'll all have seen the less than convincing coastlines in scenery that doesn't adopt this approach! Similarly, the patchwork of fields, roads and paths across the island is indisputably accurate.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 7 - An aerial view from the south-west

    In some places, particularly around the airfield, there are small gaps where the orthophoto has been poorly stitched together which allow the underlying land class textures to show through - elsewhere, the textures just don't align. Nothing that's particularly noticeable from the air, and difficult to spot unless you're looking hard, but like a brush marks on a wall you've just painted, once you know they're there you can't help but notice them.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 8 - Orthophoto gaps and alignment problems

    Tags: alderney, egja

    1 Comment
    1. clankilp's Avatar
      clankilp -
      I've had this scenery for a couple months now and have visited a few times.

      All in all I really like it as I mainly bought it as a somewhat fitting place from which to operate the FIS P-38 Lightning.

      In all honesty I never picked off the (now obvious) errors you brought to light. Perhaps if I had gotten around to helicoptering around a bit, i would've...

      my main nit-pick for the scenery is that the orthophoto is so detailed that missing buildings are blatantly apparent (particularly those somewhat separated from town). A fair sprinkling of even simple buildings would go a long way to helping that out.

      Other than that, though, I truly enjoy visiting the island. Though my use case is somewhat unconventional, I consider it money well spent.
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