This airport release is the first title released exclusively for P3Dv4 and is the result of a collaboration between the team at Turbulent Designs and Orbx - yes, you read that correctly. If you have not already heard, Turbulent Designs are now producing scenery for 64bit systems under the Orbx umbrella. This is exciting news for anybody who has followed Turbulent Designs' work and I for one am looking forward to what the team have to offer us in the future.
Glacier Park International Airport is located in Montana, which falls within the Orbx Northern Rockies scenery area, just below the Canadian border, and gives scope for doing some cross border flying. The airport was built in 1942 as Flathead County Airport. Airline flights operated by Northwest Airlines began in 1950, however, passenger traffic was sparse for years. In 1970 the airport was designated as an international airport and received its current name. In the 1970s and 1980s passenger traffic increased as Hughes Airwest (previously Air West), Western Airlines, Delta Air Lines (which acquired Western), the original Frontier Airlines (1950-1986), and Horizon Air offered new jet services. Jetliners operating into the airport in the past included Boeing 727-200, Boeing 737-200, Boeing 757-200, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 and Fokker F28. The Boeing 757 operated by Delta is the largest aircraft ever to have provided scheduled passenger service at the airport. The terminal was upgraded in 1981 and upgrades to the terminal, runways, and other facilities occurred in the 1990s.
There are six charts included in the user manual, two samples of which are below and the source of these charts comes from www.airnav.com/airport/KGPI .
Orbx NA KGPI Glacier Park International Airport is designed to work exclusively with Lockheed Martin Prepar3Dv4 and is available from Orbx Direct as a 'download only' product. The full download for this product is a healthy 3.34GB. The price at the time of writing this review was AUD$32.95 or a few pennies over £18.00 - a steal in my opinion! Installation is extremely simple as the FTX Central 3 application does all the hard work for you.
Note. To take full advantage of Orbx KGPI Glacier Park International Airport, you will need to have Orbx NA Northern Rockies installed.
What you will miss out on if you don't have Orbx NA Northern Rockies installed:
blending of the Glacier Park International Airport photoreal into
the surrounding terrain;
moving traffic on roads, properly aligned to the photoreal ground terrain; and
enhanced FTX Global 3D lighting system with improved FPS in urban/township streets around the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.
Orbx NA KGPI Glacier Park International Airport has a coverage area of 33.6sq km and coupled with this area is another 102.6sq km of mountain terrain to explore. The airport is covered with a 60cm high definition resolution and covered with superbly modelled custom buildings both in and around the airport confines. The mountain area to the east of the airport is covered with a 1m resolution. Both provide outstanding textural resolution for the respective terrain covered.
There are also several helipads/landing platforms to discover, some of which are easier to find than others.
Specific features of Orbx NA KGPI Glacier Park International Airport include the following:accurate representation of Glacier Park International Airport;
It is very difficult to not sound too sycophantic when I say that this release has been afforded all the love and attention of someone that loves their job. The detail is quite superb from the ground polygons and textures to the buildings and objects surrounding the airport and mountain areas. Texturally speaking, all the ground markings line up perfectly, the ultra-real scuffs and scrapes on the ground and buildings, oil spillages, and water puddles are very well textured also. This all adds to the immersion factor and the guys have made every effort to impress with this product. The high resolution textures around the airport, again bring Glacier Park International Airport to life with superb clarity.
The ground polygons and associated textures are photographic in nature, which adds that extra dimension to the scenery. Admittedly, they do tend to get a little blurry as you descend but it does not matter. The fact is they look stunning.
Runway and taxiway textures are superb, complete with worn edges, tyre skid marks, grooves, and cracks along them. Other textures such as rust, stone, concrete, etc., are used around the airport for the infrastructure, buildings and clutter are also given the Turbulent Designs treatment. Nothing looks out of place and the believability of the textures really makes Glacier Park International Airport pop.
There are numerous animated personnel and various types of airport vehicles around the airport, which also add to the immersion factor of this airport. All of which have been modelled and textured very well.
As you would expect from Turbulent Designs and Orbx, the buildings are of a very high standard throughout. The only gripe I have is the lack of interior modelling in all but one of the buildings. This does not detract from the user having a pleasurable experience when flying in and out of Glacier Park International Airport and the use of the airport as such, but interior modelling has become something that a growing number of flight simmers are looking for nowadays. That said, the quality of everything that has been placed in this scenery is of a high calibre. These guys know what they are doing when it comes to scenery design and in particular, the structures, the airport clutter, and especially the textures covering those items. Grime, shading, photographic textures, it's all there in spades.
As you can tell, the attention to detail in both the buildings and the surrounding airport objects is quite superb, although I did notice a distinct lack of human life on the landside of the terminal. It seemed quite odd that there were no pedestrians milling about outside the terminal. Further afield there is a good swathe of the Flathead National Park to explore with several helipads to find and land on. This area is covered in photographic textures and looks stunning, especially from altitude. Even so, it still looks pretty convincing when you descend to the helipads mentioned earlier. It is also covered with the Turbulent Designs' trees and foliage, which brings the mountain approaches to gorgeous, colourful life, no matter what the season is. This area is textured in a 1m resolution and includes nicely detailed small lakes.
Even the humble lakeside helipads have been modelled extremely well, including various objects strewn about. Again, the thought that has gone into making this scenery is very pleasing. The inclusion of Turbulent Designs' trees really adds depth to the mountain area and also has textured trees and shrubs for all seasons. Even though there is a map showing where the helipads are located, it has been fun trying to spot them, especially if you are at a decent altitude. You really need to be hugging the mountains and lakes to find them. Great fun!
Glacier Park International Airport has the full seasonal treatment. Every season has been rendered in beautiful textural quality. This is even more evident on the runways as snow begins to gather in the winter months. Beautifully rendered trees and foliage also add extra depth to each season.
As well as the full seasonal textures included with Glacier Park International Airport, Turbulent Designs have also been able to model various textural, weather related conditions that become evident on the various areas of the airport. For instance, heavy rain will show wetter patches and snow will accumulate on the runways and taxiways.
The lighting used in and around Glacier Park International Airport is very good and all the correct runway, apron, and approach lighting is there. The use of dynamic lighting is nicely executed, although if overused it has a tendency to frighten my frame rates in to submission somewhat. I don't normally use Dynamic Lighting so switching it off was no big deal for me personally. In addition, the roads and streets are well lit at night and if you know this area, it is not very difficult to navigate your way using the streetlights as your guides.
There is an 18 page user manual included in the download, which explains all the user needs to know. There are also six charts included in the download, every chart you are likely to need for Glacier Park International Airport. Also included is a control panel. In the control panel, there are several items of interest that the user can configure to suit themselves or their system to get as much performance from their system as possible. Items that are configurable are things like 3D grasses, vehicle and aircraft mass, and lighting. All this can be done from within the very easy to use control panel.
Performance using my system was excellent. There was no discernible downgrade in performance and no stuttering except when using Dynamic Lighting, as I mentioned previously. My frame rates are locked at 31 within the sim as always and this was achieved throughout my time flying to, from and around Glacier Park International Airport. The team have optimised Glacier Park International Airport but with the ability to further optimise it with the control panel can only serve to boost the overall performance.
At AUD$32.95 (£18.13), I feel Orbx's NA KGPI Glacier Park International Airport is well worth your hard earned cash, especially if you would like to fly in the North America region and into Canada. Also with Glacier Park, there is the ability to fly either the heavy airliner or general aviation aircraft and with the inclusion of the interior modelled, open hangar, there is somewhere to keep your small aircraft dry for the night.
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
Maximus VIII Hero Motherboard;
Intel i7, 6700K, 4GHz 'Skylake';
Asus Strix GeForce GTX970 OC 4GB;
32GB DDR4, Corsair Vengeance, 3000MHz;
500GB, Corsair Force 3 SSD, Windows 10, 64bit;
2TB WD HDD, Prepar3D v4; and
1.5TB WD Sata HDD, programs.
Additional Major Add-Ons. Orbx FTX Scenery; FSGlobal Ultimate Next Generation; Active Sky Next; Active Sky Cloud Art; SPADnext; FSUIPC+ WIDEFS.
Orbx's NA KGPI Glacier Park International Airport has something for everyone whether it is a heavy airliner, small general aviation aircraft, or helicopters, there is room for all. Orbx have delivered pure 64bit eye candy!