Beirut is the capital and largest city in Lebanon. The city is as good a place as any to start my around the world journey, but I picked the place because it has a very good freeware scenery of it’s international airport, Rafic Hariri International Airport (OLBA), made by Lebor Simulations. The same crew also offers vector scenery for Lebanon which is OK to install if you don’t have ORBX FTX Vector. They had started development of a Beirut X scenery, but after news of its development surfaced in 2013 things have been quiet.
For the first flight I’m heading off to Cairo flying a real world EgyptAir route using the default FSX Boling 737 (copied over from FSX) with FSND FSX-B737 Upgraded Cockpit by Alejandro Rojas Lucena, Garrett Smith, Stephane Verrando & Rob Barendregt, and Egyptair repaint by Paul Davies. I tried several freeware scenery offerings for Egypt and Cairo, but none of them were any good, so I’ll be using the default scenery for this trip.
This blog has gotten little attention lately, but family obligations have left me with little time to sim, and even less to blog the last couple of years. That isn’t going to change any time soon, but I’m starting a project that will give the blog a tad more focus for the next few months.
I’ll be doing a trip around the virtual globe using mostly freeware addons in Prepar3D v3.1. It would have been fun to use freeware only, but there are a few basic payware addons that I can’t live without:
- ORBX FTX Global
- ORBX FTX Global Vector
- ORBX FTX Open LC Europe
- Pilot’s FS Global Real Weather
- REX Soft Clouds
I rarely buy any payware these days (and I’ll get more into why later), but the above mentioned addons get my full support for a few good reasons. ORBX, Pilot’s, REX and FSUIPC have been in business for a long time. They make high quality addons that are simple to install and use, but most of all, they have been both willing and able to support Prepar3D while still maintaining compatibility with older versions of the ESP-based simulators.
It would have been nice if some of the functionality and graphic enhancements these addons offer were baked into Prepar3D as stock features. However, Lockheed Martin have shown very little interest in doing so and instead seem to focus and encourage third party developments for their simulator platform. Let’s face it, there have been only minor changes and improvements of geographical data (vector, mesh and land class), airport and navaid data, autogen and landclass textures and objects, ATC and AI traffic since Prepar3D 1.0 was released five years ago.
Buckle up! First flight starts tonight…
Here’s a quick comparison of three mesh products I’ve been using in Prepar3D v3.1: FS Global 2008, FS Genesis World Terrain Mesh X and the freeware FreeMesh X Global. It would have been nice to have the latest and greatest FS Global mesh from Pilot’s, but I can’t afford it, so sorry, it’s not part of the comparison. Screenshots are from Antonio Nariño Airport (IATA: PSO, ICAO: SKPS). Landclass is by SceneryTech and not the default P3D landclass.
At first, FS Genesis looked a tad more accurate than Pilot’s FS Global 2008 when comparing the mesh to the Google Earth image. But, when looking at some real life footage (see link to youtube-video above) from the area, it becomes clear that in fact Freemesh X is the clear and undisputed winner. So it seems in the world of mesh products you can have the cake and eat it too. Anyway, here are the screenshots in HD, so judge for yourself:
Africa is as ignored and mistreated in the sim as in real life. But it is a fantastic continent of great beauty that I’ve always wanted to fly around in – virtual and for real. Recently I’ve been downloading and testing Aeroworx Africa Scenery in Prepar3D v3.1. So far I’m impressed. Very good quality. Thanks a lot to the Aeroworx team. Keep on keeping on! And I should not forget to mention Ant’s Tiger Moth – A Superb freeware aircraft, and above most payware vintage aircraft in quality.
Scenery can be downloaded here: http://aeroworxsa.blogspot.no/p/f.html
Aircraft here: http://www.antsairplanes.com/freeanddemos.html
Victoria Falls. So much better in Aeroworx dressing than the dreadful default representation.
If you find that the default helicopters in FSX fly like crap then look no further. Eagle Rotocraft Simulations has converted Owen Hewitt’s stunning FS2004 freeware to FSX: http://www.eaglerotorcraftsimulations.com/fsx_bell206b.php
The Scandinavian freeware scene is currently blooming like never before. With Lockheed Martin breathing new life into our beloved flight simulator series with Prepar3D, developers again feel that their efforts are worthwhile. Great progress has been done to the Norwegian scenery with 10m mesh and a very detailed vector package currently in beta. Add to that, Lennart Arvidsson (and some good helpers), have continued developmend of a detailed scenery for Sweden with custom autogen, landclass and airports. An example of the custom landclass textures (for both Sweden and Norway) is seen in the screenshot below. Visit the swedish flight sim site for more screens of the work in progress: http://www.flightsim.se/forum/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=4729&an=0&page=0#Post4729. It is also worth mentioning that the Scandinavian freeware is being developed with ORBX FTX Global users in mind, and to get the best experience, FTX Global is a requirement.