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FTX - EGHR Chichester / Goodwood
For FSX/P3D, developed Orbx Simulation Systems
Reviewed by Kevin Firth
 April 2013

I have always liked the very detailed look of Orbx airfields, despite them being in places I rarely fly, so I have been looking forward to seeing Orbx start improving some of the UK airfields, starting with Chichester/Goodwood.

This review will aim to cover all aspects of the scenery. Firstly I will cover it as the developer intended, looking at it installed with OrbX FTX England. Not everyone may own the FTX-England product, so I will also separately review how well it integrates with the popular GenerationX photo-scenery.

So, this review may be a little like Marmite in places. Some people will love it and I’m afraid some may hate parts of it. It is most definitely not, however, intended to come down on one side or other of the photoscenery v FTX debate. Whether you prefer FTX-England or GenerationX photo-scenery it is something that is entirely subjective and down to your own personal opinion!

The blurb says

“EGHR Chichester/Goodwood Airport is located in Chichester, West Sussex and is the first airport developed for FTX England. We have tried to capture both the history and the natural beauty of the aerodrome and the surrounding area. Almost every single object seen at the real airport has been modeled and placed, allowing you to immerse yourself in a realistic flightsim environment. The airport was created on Goodwood Estate which was the home to the Dukes of Richmond for over 300 years and was donated by Freddie March, the 9th Duke, to help in the Second World War effort and was used by the RAF. The airport's surrounding road was converted into a racing circuit after the war and creates the unusual cocktail of racing and aviation, which we have captured.”

The product contains the following features, which we will look at throughout the review.

* Ground imagery at 15cm & 60cm per pixel
* Fully custom modeled airport and houses
* Custom modeled static aircraft and cars
* TextureFlow optimised and great FPS
* Expert 5 seasons color matched imagery
* Features most of Orbx Flow tech
* Dense vegetation options for amazing realism
* A race circuit for you to try something different

Chichester/Goodwood comes in at a fairly hefty 402Mb download.

The download was fast and contained in a DRM wrapper which installed the product without any apparent problem.

On starting FSX, the installer had added the Chichester/Goodwood and Orbx libraries entries into the scenery manager.

What is also installed is a configuration editor. If you already have some Orbx products you will probably already know what they do and how to use them. If however, like me, it’s new to you, the configuration editor allows you to add or remove various scenery elements from the installed product such as volumetric vegetation, detailed trees and animations etc.


The manual provided is pretty comprehensive, and covers manual scenery library configuration, use of the control panel and FTX Aero tool, different available bump map textures, airport charts (including noise abatement procedures), recommended FSX slider settings and technical support. I won’t go into this in minute detail other than to say every conceivable bit of guidance you might need is in here to set up your simulator for best effect.

It is worth noting however, that the manual is candid about you NOT needing to have FTX-England installed, in contrast to the Orbx website. The manual does clearly specify that you will miss out on the following though:

- Blending of the airport photoreal into the surrounding terrain
- Moving traffic on roads, properly aligned to the photoreal ground terrain
- 3D light poles along roads and in urban/township streets and around the airport
- Orbx's modified houses and trees which match the European houses and trees
- The FTX Central application, which is used to launch all the Orbx tools and also switch FTX off


First, let’s have a look at the wider area, which is approximately an 8 km by 8 km square roughly centred on Chichester/Goodwood airfield. The 60cm photo-scenery coverage is cleverly and almost seamlessly integrated into the FTX region. Whilst it is possible to spot where the photoreal coverage meets the landclass if you view a static image, as you fly along from one to the other it is well enough integrated to be absolutely believable. The roads, railways and field boundaries all match up correctly, and the colour matching is almost perfect. You get the same quality of match in each season. The photoreal area includes some well presented water features and some newer and very noticeable landmarks such as the Rolls Royce factory just to the east.

Water features and Rolls Royce Factory

As far as integration into the FTX England region goes, I cannot see any reason for disappointment at all.

Integration with FTX England

Integration with FTX England - Winter

Let’s look at the airfield itself, which is situated a short distance North-East of Chichester town. The airfield ground image is at a 15cm per pixel resolution and even from a very low altitude it does look highly detailed. Patches of earth where the grass has been worn away are clearly visible and right down to landing I could almost see the lines on the grass where it had been cut in neat rows parallel to one of the runways. Here’s a shot of the airfield itself with the 60cm extended photoreal area. 

EGHR Overhead inc. extended 60cm

15cm airfield ground image

Again, in order to blend in fully with the FTX-England region, the airfield base image has seasonal variations, just like the extended 60cm photoreal area. As you would expect this fits perfectly with the wider photo-real area and the seasonal textures and colouring are excellent.

As far as the ground imagery is concerned, as it is designed to be used with the FTX-England region I would have to go to extreme lengths to find much to criticise. There will always be something at the boundaries of photoreal and landclass where you can be picky, but given the obvious limitations the developer (sim720) have clearly taken their brief from Orbx and executed it very well indeed.

The photoreal area is populated by the same autogen buildings that you find throughout the rest of the FTX-England product, but they are in the correct places, rather than the generic landclass representations. There is a good spread of different building types in the right places, and there are some bespoke 3d models such as Chichester Cathedral included as well. It creates a very believable representation of the local area. My only criticism here is that the photo real ground image clearly shows more trees and vegetation than is actually represented in the built-up areas. I would have liked to see more but possibly this was limited deliberately to reduce impact on FPS?

Airfield Elements

So the ground image is pretty good, what about the rest of the airfield scenery itself? ‘Fully custom modeled airport and houses’ was what was promised on the box. The airfield itself is beautifully crafted, although with a couple of minor issues.

The 3D trees are excellent, even close up. Some of the 3D hedges look a little too solid and smooth in places when you get up close to them, but unless you go exploring the scenery in depth for the fun of it, you probably won’t notice that through usual use. Also, being fair, unless you want a developer to start modeling individual leaves and volumetric hedgerows and you have a 50GHz processor to run FSX with, there’s very few other ways to do it!


Solid hedges

On the ground, the grass looks pretty good. It is placed around the edges of the taxiways, runways, parking areas and other non airside sections of the airfield. It is very noticeable on approach that the grass is only placed parallel and on each side of the runways though.


Grass by runways

Some of the vehicles around the airfield are excellently modeled.

Nice vehicles

Ok Vehicles

One or two of them look a little square close up, it’s still possible to tell what model they should be but they don’t blow your socks off. There are some variable details too in that some have registration numbers, some don’t. A little thing I know, but I would have liked to see different vehicles with different registration numbers, and you actually find the same ones cropping up again and again around the airfield, sometimes right next to each other. I’m sure the DVLA would have something to say about that! Does that compromise the general feel of the airfield? No, it doesn’t, but it demonstrates the attention to detail here only goes so far.

Would you be happy with one of these on your drive?

The static aircraft are very realistic and are really believable. You get a mixture of small helicopters, a twin and lots of single engine Cessnas. Some of the aircraft have transparent windows, some don’t, and they suffer from the same registration problem as the vehicles. To find two aircraft with the same registration at an airfield is wholly unrealistic and I wonder how much extra effort it would have really taken to do individual ones? It’s another attention to detail thing but not a deal-breaker.

Static aircraft no transparent windows


I have some reservations here, but they are my personal feelings and you may or may not agree! Firstly, let’s examine the quality. Top notch, absolutely. There are a good range of animated people, from an apron marshaller, to an engineer, to a window cleaner.

Apron Marshaller


Window Cleaner

The feel of the animation is nothing short of totally believable – I watched the window cleaner polish the window and then lean in and blow off some dust! If you want to see a bit of life in your airfields this will 100% tick your boxes.

But…Is it really necessary or is it just a gimmick? I can’t honestly make up my mind. On the one hand part of me feels it’s the airfield I want to run smoothly and look good, but the other half of me likes to see the eye candy because I get a warm fuzzy feeling when everything looks really detailed. The control panel does allow you to turn the animated people (and other elements) off if your system can’t run with them well enough though, but it would be prudent to be aware of what your system is capable of running, otherwise you may find yourself paying premium price for features you have to disable.

Other animated features are at various places in and around the airfield. For example, there is a butterfly which is really pretty, but I don’t really see what it adds to the scenery other than to use CPU cycles. There are a few animated cows, but again, I didn’t really see much of a benefit from them – when I’m flying I’m not usually looking at cattle and it would be difficult to discern much movement from them when travelling at speed and altitude. I rather get the feeling they were included because they were a library object from a previous scenery. Your opinion as to their usefulness may of course differ!


On the racecourse there are some animated flags which look ok. I took a closer look at the control tower, thinking that it would be a nice touch if the weather vane had been animated too to match the local weather. Unfortunately not as the screenshot shows the weather vane seems to be stuck at 000 degrees when there is wind from 230. Perhaps Weatherflow might be the next new thing?

Control Tower weathervane not animated

Airfield Modeling

The airfield buildings themselves are mostly top quality.

EGHR airfield buildings

Airfield building-look at the hedges around the door

Photography - how not to do it

Where the Douglas Bader statue should be but isn't!

There are one or two minor quality issues, for example, on the front of the main Earls Court Motor Show building you can see some very flat hedges on the front of the building that just don’t look right.

Airside, there is one building image where the photographer who took the photoreal building images has managed to include himself in a window reflection, an absolute no-no photography-wise!

There is a good enough level of detail to make it believable on balance, but one glaring omission is that the Douglas Bader statue is missing. I would have thought that so unique a feature would have HAD to be included, perhaps the developer had no idea who DB was and thought it an irrelevancy? I would be really interested to know why it was left out.

It’s instructive to note that one monument to WW2 servicemen did make it in though. Do I detect a little history revisionism and bias towards the good old US of A here? I wonder if the modeler was British or not? (Tongue firmly in cheek!)


Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader
31st Fighter Group

Some of the buildings around the racing circuit are only approximations. They are recognisable but they are not accurate and true to life. A quick Google search turned up some images of the real buildings where you can see the texturing is not quite right and some physical features like vertical support columns are just not there. Since these model features would not have been difficult to do, and due to their simplicity would have had extremely little impact on performance, the only conclusion is that either the developer was rushed, or just didn’t think accuracy here was of paramount importance. If time was the issue I would rather have waited until it was right. There will always be a balance to be reached about how much detail to include in sceneries, you obviously can’t put in every single blade of grass, but if you’ve chosen to put in a particular feature my preference would be to at least do it accurately!

Airfield building 2 FSX

Airfield building 2 RW

One other problem I noticed – and this may be a technical restriction I’m not sure – was around the underpass that allows pedestrians to access the airfield going underneath the racing circuit. There is a chain-link fence around the circuit that disappears where the underpass goes beneath it.

Fence by underpass – now you see it

Fence by underpass - viewed from another angle-now you dont

The one other glaring omission seems to be the VOR installation. I could only find one image of this in real life, but a model of it has not been included in the scenery.

Air Navigation Beacon - Goodwood Airport


Night lighting at EGHR is pretty limited. There are some floodlights from the hangars and several of the ground installations.

Night Lighting

Chichester-Goodwood is listed in the CAA’s information as having runway lighting, as can be seen from the following extract.


However, I could see no evidence of said runway lighting on 32 for example either in the day or the night.

No runway lighting rwy 32

There are also 3d lights included as part of the 60cm photoreal area. The number of them is limited, but they certainly provide a good feeling of street lighting as you fly overhead.

Night Lighting

 Since this product’s release, Orbx have announced that they have developed a way of including many more lights in scenery without much or any frame rate impact, so there is always the possibility that that technology may be added to already released products such as this one as an upgrade?

Parking Locations

At the point of release Orbx had not included any parking spots at the airfield. If you fly on-line on VATSIM for example, this would be a problem for you because the only starting locations provided were on runways, something which the VATSIM rules explicitly prohibit! However, an update has been published which includes some GA parking locations. The update is welcome, but it adds to the general feel that this scenery was initially rushed out for the Christmas market without being fully completed?


This is a very good piece of scenery that will fit in with the FTX-England region beautifully. The modeling is good, with some accuracy issues in places, but not so much that you’ll be tearing your hair out. The animations are great and the detail that is there is pretty convincing.

I am left with the feeling that good though it is, it could be better. The static aircraft and vehicles could have been more detailed in places, the lighting seemed almost non-existent, the texturing in one or two areas wasn’t perfect, the Douglas Bader statue was missing and the grass looked a little too ‘placed’ for me.

No scenery nowadays is really ever 100% perfect on day 1, and you expect to have service packs and patches released to deal with problems, or simply just to improve the scenery. On that basis I think that the attitude of any developer to communication about problems is just as important as the scenery itself. So I contacted the developer for Orbx, Sim720, directly and put some of the issues to them. They responded to my questions almost immediately, which is very impressive bearing in mind this was on a weekend and with a very important rugby match on!

As a result of raising the issues they have checked their information with the airfield in real life and said that they will now add the missing runway lighting, Douglas Bader statue and VOR station model as a patch. You cannot really ask for much better than that. If you are an Orbx fan and own the FTX-England region, I can’t see any reason other than absolute and utter poverty that should prevent you from adding this scenery to your collection.


    • Level of Detail:
    • Performance:
    • Scenery coverage:
    • Quality of Buildings:
    • Documentation
    • Value for money:

9 stars
Mutley's Hangar score of 9.5/10

GenerationX users - Read on

Wait, don’t click back yet, because this review still has something to offer. Not everyone prefers landclass based scenery. Over the years I have invested a great deal of money in GenerationX photo scenery and associated Treescapes products. I am a real world pilot and I tend to like to do all my simulator flying with visual references which are as realistic and accurate as I can get.

So, let’s have a look at the question of compatibility with existing photo scenery (Horizon Generation X). There are two obvious issues after installation that GenX photo scenery users will notice.

Firstly, while the 60cm detail photo scenery provided by Orbx is seasonal, GenX only displays summer textures. The seasonal texture variations obviously blend in with FTX, but with a GenX only system, the texture differences will be obvious, especially in winter, as you can see.

Fig 1-Extent of 60cm photoreal area_winter over GenX.jpg

What this means if you wish to retain your existing photo scenery, is that you have to be prepared to either overlook the conflict in seasonal textures, or disable the 60cm photo scenery bgl file, or make sure you set your FS to only fly in one season that is the least incompatible, such as summer.

Extent of 60cm photoreal area_summer over GenX

Disabling the file is as easy as changing the file suffix from .bgl to something else, so it doesn’t require any technical knowledge, but the fact you have to do this manually and it isn’t a configuration editor option demonstrates that Orbx fully intend you to use this product with their FTX-England – no support for compatibility with anything else is provided!

EGHR with 60cm photoreal disabled + GenX

Secondly, the 60cm photo scenery sits on top of your existing scenery and will suppress any autogen that is there. If you have ES Treescapes combined with your GenX scenery this means that a large square of your trees will have been removed around the airfield – not the most positive result, and it gets worse because nothing is replaced at all. But “hang on” I hear you say – “didn’t you say earlier that there were very believable autogen buildings?” Well, yes I did, BUT… won’t get to see it unless you own FTX-England because the autogen libraries are only distributed with that product! That said, there are a few bespoke modeled buildings thrown in but really there aren’t many of them and they don’t make up in any way for the lack of autogen objects.

The combined effect of these two issues is that you must make do with conflicting seasonal textures and very flat surrounding scenery, or disable the 60cm photo-scenery, or copy across the relevant Treescapes (or other) autogen files from your GenX folder to the Orbx one.

Extended photoreal coverage showing treescapes added

Which one you plump for will obviously depend on your own preference. If you are handy at these things, you could fairly easily enough add more Autogen using the SDK annotator to raise the immersion level, but I suspect a lot of potential users will not want to go down that route. I found that the months of June through to September were pretty acceptable and complemented the GenX textures well enough. It took me about 15 minutes to find the relevant .agn files and copy them over. If you don’t want to have to set your flight to a particular month each time, or aren’t comfortable copying agn files you may want to disable the extended photoreal area. However, if you purchase this product and end up disabling the 60cm scenery, you may justifiably feel a little cheated at having to disable a significant portion of what you have just paid for!

Fig6-EGHR Overhead no extended photoreal.jpg

As noted earlier, the airfield base image has seasonal variations just like the extended 60cm photoreal area. You won’t really want to disable this ground image though, so your only options are to live with the conflicting seasonal textures or make sure you set your simulator to a compatible month. For me, I found that ground textures are actually pretty acceptable, with the exception of hard winter in January.

There has been some criticism of hard winter in the region product, as we don’t usually get much of that kind of weather here in the UK (and when we do everything stops so there won’t be any flying taking place!), but that is outside the scope of this article. All you need to know is it’s there, and if you fly in January, the white airfield base texture will be very, very obviously out of place.

Airfield base in January with GenX

I did not spot any terrain mesh problems around EGHR, using GenX. The Orbx airfields are designed to work with the terrain mesh that comes with FTX-England though, so if you use a different mesh, you may discover that there are terrain cliffs in some places, if your mesh is a different level of detail than the one that the product was designed for.

As well as the autogen, you also won’t get any of the lighting poles around the airfield, because they are included only if you have the FTX-England region.

So, there are compromises to be made left, right and centre. Do you only fly in the summer? Are you happy to disable the wider 60cm photoreal area? If you run Treescapes or have any other autogen in the area are you comfortable finding the .agn files and copying them to the right place? Do the seasonal conflicts matter to you or not? You will find difficulties and compromises to be made every which way you turn.

It is possible to run Chichester-Goodwood with GenX, with your existing (NOT Orbx) autogen and the 60cm photoreal area without it looking too bad, but are you willing to pay top dollar to have to go to that trouble? Especially since some features seem to have been deliberately crippled? Only you can answer that….

My final thought is around the specific way in which Orbx products are marketed. They clearly wish to encourage you to buy other products of theirs, in this case the FTX-England region. Now there’s no problem with that; its business, but the way in which they choose to do it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. You can only get the full benefit of the Orbx autogen in the wider 60cm photoreal area if you buy their other product. In simple terms, it’s like buying a car, but finding out that the air conditioning and the lights don’t work unless you also buy a motorbike from the same manufacturer. I just can’t see how it’s right to sell a product where a significant portion is deliberately crippled unless you also buy another product as well. That is a business model I intensely dislike.

I have exchanged a few words with John Venema, (CEO of Orbx) through their forum, and fed back one or two issues (politely!) and asked if they would consider releasing a version that was compatible with existing photo-scenery. You can read the response for yourself HERE . For those who just want to know the answer, it was a straight NO. I am a little disappointed by that, because I suspect there are a good number of existing photo-scenery users who would quite happily have bought a lot of airfield sceneries if they were compatible ‘out of the box’.

However, Orbx have spoken, and photo-scenery users now have their choice. (1) Manage with what you have, (2) buy the Orbx airfields and accept they will be partly crippled and you’ll have to do some work to get them to fit your photo-scenery; and (3) go and buy FTX-England and sacrifice your investment in photo-scenery and autogen.

Or of course you could go for an interesting fourth option. It is possible to integrate the FTX-England region autogen with your existing FSX autogen files (I used Earth Simulations MergES program). What this means is that as long as you own FTX-England, it’s possible to enjoy your existing photo-scenery including any existing autogen, but also including full Orbx autogen as well. I found an interesting side effect was that selecting OrbX trees from the FTX Central control panel gives you much better tree textures throughout the rest of your Horizon photo-scenery. Is this a reason to buy FTX-England even though you don’t want to use the landclass textures? Possibly so, everyone will have to weigh up the cost against the benefit for themselves.

It’s worth noting that I received this scenery as a freebie for review purposes. If you buy it, the download version will currently cost £21.81.


My scores for this product (and please bear in mind these scores here relate only to its compatibility and intended use with GenerationX photo-scenery without FTX-England) are…

    • Level of Detail:
    • Performance:
    • Scenery coverage:
    • Quality of Buildings:
    • Documentation
    • Value for money:
(Due to the lack of autogen) 10 if it was provided

(Due to the lack of autogen) 10 if it was provided

(Due to compatibility problems) 9 if they were resolved

9 stars
Mutley's Hangar score of 7/10