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FTX: EU Scotland
For FSX/P3D by Published by Orbx
Reviewed by Brian Buckley
 February 2014


After publishing EU England and EU Wales, Orbx released EU Scotland covering over 30,000 square miles of terrain, of which nearly 2% is water based. There are a large number of glens, mountains, lochs, rivers and, thousands of acres of farmland to explore, not forgetting the plethora of islands (over 790 including Orkney, Shetland and the Outer & Inner Hebrides) and extensive coastlines. All of this makes up the great country that Scotland and the Isles are.

Orbx advertised Product Features:
FTX EU SCO includes a range of custom-built landscapes including farmland, plains and highland to recreate the luscious rolling green hills that Scotland is renowned for. Assortments of urban landscapes are included, exemplifying the variation found between urban areas. The scenery also includes the Shetland Islands which can be found off the north coast. The landclass textures are drawn from aerial and satellite photography of Scotland and hand placed so as to accurately render the visual environment.

The region pack models most of the aeronautical hazards, obstacles and cultural features mapped in the VFR visual navigation charts for Scotland. This includes towers, power lines, bridges, tunnels, golf courses, dams, lighthouses, power stations, prominent buildings, race courses, radar facilities and wind farms – all the visual aids required for VFR flying. You will also find over 40 registered airfields to land at. The registered airfields have been enhanced with the accurate placement of hangars and facilities, terrain adjustments to closely match their real-world counterparts. The airports are full of vehicles, aircraft and clutter making them busy locations to land at and take off from.

When flying down low and slow, you’ll see a world full of buildings and trees. Taking the lead again in pushing the boundaries of what FSX can offer, we’ve developed new technology making custom autogen tree models and textures. We have also modelled houses, farm facilities, factories and office blocks drawn from an extensive portfolio of photos of Scotland’s natural and built environments. Many of the countries’ famous landmarks have been custom modelled and accurately hand placed inside the simulator.

The product includes an integrated network of major roads, motorways, bridges and moving vehicle traffic. Accurate shorelines, rivers, waterfalls, streams and beaches have been professionally developed from GIS data and applied for use with FTX.

Come and fly around some of the finest scenery in Europe, you won't be disappointed.

Area Covered

I wholeheartedly recommend you download Google Earth, as this is a great tool to view interactively, the whole area covered by FTX EU Scotland.

You can view the coverage and features map shown in the manual interactively in Google Earth by loading the FTX_EU_SCO.kmz which you will find in your ORBX\User Documents folder in your FSX/P3D root folder.

Once loaded into Google Earth, you can select all or some of the features included in the scenery, and the corresponding icons will appear inside the map boundary. You can click on each item on the map for a popup balloon which provides details for that airport or POI (Points of Interest).

Included within FTX Scotland are, over 40 airports major and minor that have been upgraded. Custom autogen textures and objects and photo real Edinburgh town and Docks.


The download and subsequent install of FTX Scotland was painless and easy. As per the usual FlightSimStore wrapper installer, everything was placed correctly into my scenery library.

Once the installation is taken care of, it's always good practice to run FTX Central, which would be on your system already from installing FTX Global. When the FTX Central screen pops up, you should now have a Europe icon. Click on this, then click the 'Apply' button. This will ensure you will be flying over FTX Scotland and not the default.

Finally, downloading and installing the latest Orbx Object Library from their support page completes my installation.

Here is the statement issued by Orbx in the user manual for FTX Scotland. Followed by the suggested settings table.

Because FTX uses much denser, more accurately placed autogen objects in its annotation, having it set to Extremely Dense in large cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow will bring even the most powerful PC to its knees.

We won't mince our words - FTX is not designed to give you a 60FPS experience with all sliders maxed.

The key thing to remember is that FTX EU SCO is designed to be used both today and in the FUTURE, meaning that we did not cripple the product on release to cater for a broad range of PCs, but rather created a standard which will be enjoyed by most people as hardware catches up.

Here is a simple table which should be used as a guide for the Autogen Density slider. This has been indexed to PCs as at January 2011, which means this table will become dated rather quickly. We expect the 'Extreme' spec PC to be the Entry Level by mid 2012, so of course as FSX/P3D gets older, your PCs are likely to get faster.

That said, if you adhere to these slider settings in FTX EU SCO you will get a good balance between visuals and performance.

Seasonal Variations

Anybody who knows me well would know that in the past I was an avid photo scenery user. I have now rid my mind of all that due to the fact that on the whole, photo scenery does not give you seasonal variations as the photo real scenery was flown over at a given time or season and committed to software.

I can now say, that for this reason, I am now a convert of Orbx and the seasonal choices offered to us, with the advent of FTX Global and the associated bolt on regions.

Now I have seen the light, so to speak, here are my screen shots of FTX Scotland showing the different seasonal changes.

Ben Nevis - Spring

Ben Nevis - Summer

Ben Nevis - Autumn

Ben Nevis - Winter

Another set from above Edinburgh airport, looking north across the Firth of Forth.

Firth of Forth - Spring

Firth of Forth - Summer

Firth of Forth - Autumn

Firth of Forth - Winter
As you can see from the screen shots above, Orbx have worked their magic on the Scottish scenery and given us very credible seasonal variations, so much so, that it would be a keen eye to notice you weren't actually flying in the real world. The variants are beautifully rendered without going overboard with any garish colouring. I think you will be pleasantly surprised if you installed FTX Scotland, especially if you have never been here. I live here so it's even more pleasant to me.

If you ask the question, 'how real is it', just take a look at the following two screen shots. I will leave it up to you to decide which is real world and which is FTX Scotland.

Ok, you guessed. When I overlaid my FTX Scotland screenshot, over the Google Maps screenshot, I was very impressed with just how close Orbx has come, to getting every single detail in their rendition of Scotland. Having flown all over Scotland now, I see that the rest of the coastline is also matched with the real world.

There are however, some things that are not quite right.

Here for instance is Wick harbour on the far north east coast of Scottish mainland. The harbour jetties and piers are well placed and fairly accurate. But the rows of houses and road placements are out of line and look nothing like the real world of Wick. Also the shores are not quite right either. If, as I said earlier, you have never visited these areas, then what you are seeing is quite believable and a joy to fly over.

Another anomaly I noticed was at another old stomping ground of mine. Fort William, the home of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK standing at 4,409ft. I've spent many days both climbing and walking around these mountains and I noticed part of the River Nevis is missing and there are farm fields on the mountain side. I tried several settings but could not get the river section to appear.

Having taken so much care over this release, I feel a little disappointed at these small but not too distracting anomalies. 
Now, let's get back on track. The following is a small selection of the many, many 3D objects and points of interest Orbx have included with FTX Scotland. They have been carefully designed and rendered, to provide the 'low and slow' pilots out there with some wow factors as they fly around Scotland. The detail in some of these is quite remarkable, showing just how many hours of careful study and design that has gone into each one. If you know Scotland, you won't mistake any of them. If you've never been to Scotland, you will be impressed at what points of interest we have, in this great country.

Scot Monument

Edinburgh Castle

Murrayfield Stadium 

Forth Road & Rail Bridges 
As you can see, Orbx have gone to great lengths to insert 3D objects, all over Scotland. The quality in my opinion is superb and they serve to draw the pilot in to the scenery as you fly. There are many more for you to find during your exploration of Scotland. I was tempted to post more examples for you but that would only serve to ruin the fun for you, the pilot. The settings I used to get these results were Scenery complexity: Dense and Autogen density: Normal

By using these settings I was more than happy with the resulting scenery and frame rates, given the specifications of my system. (see my system specs at the foot of this review) 

Before venturing into the wonderful world of FTX, I had to first rid my mind of photo scenery flying. i.e. Gen X, Just Flights VFR scenery etc.

I had to realise that FTX Global and associated vectors is not of that ilk. Once I'd accomplished that, I was hooked. The difference being, FTX EU Scotland is a combination of photo scenery and custom built landscapes, including farmland, plains and highland. This culminates in what I feel is a very realistic interpretation of Scotland. Scenery, that I will be happy enough to fly around, given that I live here and convince myself that I really am, in Scotland.

A few small niggles that I spotted, only because I know the area so well, which I hope will be ironed out in the future with patches, they didn't spoil my overall enjoyment of FTX EU Scotland.

So come on, let Orbx and FTX transport you into the wonderful land that is, Scotland and whilst you are doing so, why not add FTX EU Wales and FTX EU England to your library also. By doing so, you can fly the whole of the UK mainland, country by country, county by county, seamlessly.

Orbx have released a Patch for EU Scotland, which addresses some issues that were reported prior to me doing this review. This review therefore includes the patch. After installing FTX EU Scotland, it is advisable to then download and install the patch named, EU SCO.001. This can be found on the FTX support website here:

Review machine Spec

    • Asus P8Z77-V Motherboard: Intel i7 3.4Ghz sandybridge;
    • 16Gb DDR3 Corsair Vengeance 1600Mhz Ram: Geforce GTX 570SC 1280Mb;
    • 500Gb WD Velociraptor - OS: 128Gb Corsair Force 3 SSD - FSX;
    • 1.5Tb Flight Add-Ons;
    • Matrox TripleHead2Go - 3 x 23" Acer lcd Monitors; and
    • Operating System - Win' 7 64bit.
 Verdict:   silver
• Level of Detail: 9.0/10
• Performance: 9.5/10
• Scenery Coverages: 10/10
• Quality of Objects & 3D Models 9.5/10
• Documentation: 9.5/10
• Value for money: 10/10
Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.5/10, "Outstanding" and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award.