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FTX: EU England
For FSX/P3D Published by Orbx Simulation Systems
Reviewed by Rob Scott
January 2013

I cannot remember a scenery add-on which has been more anticipated than Orbx’s latest offering which covers the whole of England. Orbx’s product line-up is packed with award winners and stunning representations of airports and different regions of the world; how does FTX England compare to the rest?

This was always going to be a product which either attracted widespread praise and firmly placed Orbx at the top of the tree, or it would be released to much criticism due to a lot of flight simmers being based in England because we already know how the scenery should look. There is also other scenery available which FTX England can unfairly in some cases, be compared to.

What’s Included

    ● Over 130,000 sq km of scenery
    ● Brand new ground textures
    ● Roads, rivers, coastlines, lakes and railways
    ● 10m Holgermesh
    ● All major and many minor airports upgraded
    ● Hand crafted landclass
    ● Much more


These days it’s hardly worth including a section on the installation of an add-on. It’s simple: Buy the add-on from Flightsimstore, download the installer and run it, enter your purchase details, select the installation path and click ‘Install’.
It couldn’t be easier!

Initial Impressions

Before I even installed FTX England there was widespread criticism on the internet from people saying that their house wasn’t included, this road is wrong, this church is wrong etc.. etc.. It’s worth remembering that FTX England is not photo scenery. If you want photo scenery then maybe that’s what you should buy.

M62 & M18 Junction

After installation, naturally, I loaded up at my local airfield and went for a quick flight over where my house should be and then on to Doncaster Airport.

Before installing FTX England I was using the default scenery and the difference was immediately obvious; the colours were much better and a lot more like how I would expect England to look.

The major roads (A1 & M62) were clearly visible and easy to navigate by – this was confirmed by following my flight track afterwards on Plan-G. The performance was also fantastic at over 80fps with the settings adjusted as per the manual. So far so good and I was happy with the improvement over the default textures.


The majority of the manual is just a copy and paste from other FTX manuals with some extra pages added in specific to this product. That’s all that is needed. Read the manual and follow the set-up instructions to get the most from FTX England.

Digging Deeper

Now that I had a general feel for what was on offer I set about making a few flights in the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter months, the first of which was an Autumn flight from London to Leeds.


The route I was going to take was very simple: fly up the M1 to Sheffield, take the M18, merge on to the M62 and then turn towards Leeds when I reached Normanton. And it was just as easy as that, although not without a few problems along the way.

Following the roads was very easy and the major junctions were all there and easy to navigate by. What I did notice was that some major landmarks that pilots could navigate by were missing, such as the Hallam FM Arena, Don Valley Stadium and Meadowhall Shopping Centre near Sheffield. Also I couldn’t pick out any sporting venues at all along the route. Whilst this isn’t photo scenery I would have expected to see these landmarks.

Where's Meadowhall?

Autumn Ground Textures

Crisp Textures

Autumn Trees

The next flight departed from Blackpool with the aim of navigating to Manchester. Again, the roads and rivers were present but the Trafford Centre and Old Trafford Stadium were missing, which made it a little harder. Blackpool itself looked very nice with Blackpool Tower nicely modelled, but the autogen buildings in the area were not very realistic. All the buildings looked to be residential; this is not the case on Blackpool Front.

Blackpool Tower



Swinton Interchange

Doesn't Manchester have a couple of football teams and a shopping centre?

Sale Water Park


Now I changed the season to summer and flew from Newcastle down to Hull, landing on the River Humber. The summer textures looked gorgeous and are great for screenshots, but they seem to be a little too vivid and cartoony, the same can be said for the spring textures. A key landmark near Newcastle is the Angel of the North, in reality it is quite big, but took some finding in the scenery even with using a map.

Newcastle Summer Textures

Angel Of The North

Other notable areas en-route to Hull were the Redcar Refinery, Whitby, Scarborough, Dalby Forest and the numerous holiday parks which litter the east coast in this area of the world. Scarborough and Whitby are nicely represented in terms of the coastline, but again, all the buildings look to be residential. The areas were easy to pick out being the only large built up areas in a region of National Parks, but could be better represented.

Redcar Refinery


Dalby Forest

Holiday Park


The spring textures, like summer, are fantastic for taking screenshots but are maybe a little on the vivid side. However, the fields of East Anglia looked brilliant at this time of year with lots of yellows, greens and trees lining the borders of the fields.

Some of the plough lines are perfectly lined up on either side of the road, which possibly wouldn't happen, but are you really bothered about such a minor detail? I’m not. Low down the textures are crisp and perfect, I think spring is my favourite season even when taking into account the small imperfections.

The Farmers Have Been Busy

Maybe a touch too colourful?

Simple trees look good when close together

Crisp detail low down


Brrrr! Winter looks cold. Hull is a cold and miserable place at the best of times (the weather!) but these winter textures emphasise that fact; they really give it a dull and dreary appearance.

It was still easy to navigate from Hull over to Manchester Airport using the M180, M18, M62, M60 and M56 but it just felt a bit colder and more uninviting than in the other seasons. We do experience snow/frost covered ground like this in this area of England, but not for the whole winter.

Hull in Winter

Snow Covered Fields

FTX England is advertised as having a detailed City of London included, which it does. Although people who have owned Aerosoft’s VFR London X will be left disappointed.

The major landmarks are there but the area around ‘The City’ is full of residential buildings, which isn’t the case. One thing I thought was very sloppy was the inclusion of the Old Wembley Stadium which was closed in the year 2000 and demolished in 2003. Don’t let this put you off though as the London scenery is still miles ahead of Microsoft’s offering and it is very easy to fly low-and-slow over London using the major landmarks for navigation.

Olympic Park

Canary Wharf Doesn't Have This Many Houses

Tower Bridge At Night

Westminster Abbey

England's Most Famous House

Royal Albert Hall


The night and dusk textures, whilst not many people will fly with them, are very nice indeed. London is lit up fantastically at night and looks a very busy place.

The Holgermesh is also a vast improvement and areas which are hilly in reality appear hilly in FSX. Flying around the Lake District was a lot of fun and I flew over an area near Lake Derwent which I recently visited and it is represented very well.

The airports are an improvement over the default offering, but as I own a lot of payware airports for England I won’t be using the ones offered by Orbx. For someone who is not native to the region, or doesn’t have other airports installed, they are a nice addition to the package. No doubt Orbx will expand their add-on airport range for FTX England as time progresses, in the same fashion as they have done with their North America and Australia add-ons.


FTX England was released to much criticism from the flight simulation community, which was always going to be the case. Yes, compared to the North American and New Zealand product it does appear to be inferior. But these are regions of the world with mountain ranges, fjords, harsh weather and stunning natural beauty to help enhance the package.

Sadly, England is mostly flat and covered with fields and built up urban areas so the scenery is never going to blow your socks off like the North American sceneries. The places where Orbx have had something to work with are fantastic i.e the Lake District, but in places that are flatter than flat i.e East Anglia, all they have had to work with are the ground textures, which are still done very nicely.

When people from outside England come here for a holiday they don’t go to visit Hull or Newcastle, they head for London or the Lake District because these are the areas which appeal the most, and these areas have been well done by Orbx.

As was mentioned earlier, if you want photo scenery then buy photo scenery. FTX England is not photo scenery, but it is a very good representation of England yet it still has room for improvement.

    ● Excellent Performance
    ● Easy to navigate via major trunk roads and rivers
    ● Price point is spot on
    ● Brilliant colours

    ● Colours can appear to be too cartoonish
    ● Some landmarks incorrectly places, missing or wrong (Old Wembley)
    ● Autogen houses not necessarily in the right place


    • Level of detail:
    • Performance:
    • Scenery Coverage:
    • Quality of Buildings:
    • Documentation:
    • Value for Money:

FTX England earns itself a Mutley's Hangar score of 8.5/10, well done!

Publishers Note: Since this review was written Orbx have released SP1 which may address some of the issues above.

Rob Scott
Review machine Spec:
Intel i7 2600k @3.40GHz | 8GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz |NVidia GTX570 1280MB GFX Card |Windows 7 64bit Home Premium