Mountain Flying In Switzerland
Missions for FSX Published by Vertical Studios
Reviewed by Rob Scott
July 2010

I was rather sceptical at first when I saw the missions based element of FSX, and wondered ‘are Microsoft making FSX too much like a game?’. Over time this has proved not to be the case and developers have really upped their game with add-on mission packs. The first few which hit the market were not what we would expect from a payware product, but over time we are now able to buy add-on packs safe in the knowledge that they will work as advertised.

Next off the production line is a series of 3 missions from a new company called Vertical Studios. The team has been around since 2007 and have released several popular freeware missions which are available to download from AVSIM. They have used these missions to refine their skills prior to releasing their first payware missions.

About the missions
As the title suggests, the missions are based in the Swiss Alps. There are 3 missions in total – the first of which is freeware – and each mission follows on from where the last one finished. The missions are titled: 

1.       Col de Coux. You will leave Geneva and fly over the Col De Coux Mountain pass before landing at Sion airport in a canyon

2.       Sanetsch Pass. You will need to climb to 9,500 feet to clear the Sanetsch Pass before landing on the short runway of Saanen

3.       Col de Jaman. Depart from Saanen and climb over the Col de Jaman mountain pass, fly along Lake Geneva and land back where you started at Geneva Airport

Each mission comes with detailed aeronautical charts of your departure, route and arrival. An FSX Nav Log and flight plan programmed into the GPS, and real world voice actors to guide you.

You pay for the missions via PayPal through the Vertical Studios' website, after which you are given a link to download the mission. Installation is straight forward as long as you follow the included instructions. I would have liked to have seen an automated installer to remove the chance of human error, but the readme was sufficient for the installation.

The missions are all created based on a real world flight undertaken by the Vertical Studios team back in 2009. They used FSX to practice the flight and prepare them for what the real flight would be like. This is what led to the idea of creating Mountain Flying in Switzerland.

Flying the missions
Rather than explain each mission in detail and spoil them for you, I’ll discuss all 3 in general.

All 3 missions are professionally designed and come with more than enough information to help you during the flight. They take place in the Alps around Geneva and in total will take around 2 hours to complete. The flights are all done in the default Cessna 172 which helps keeps frame rates high in this highly detailed area. I would suggest altering your scenery settings so that the mountains do look like mountains! The voice instructions given during the missions are clear and easy to understand; you will not need to refer to the kneeboard to find out what your instructor said. There are some sections of the missions where there is a long gap between instructions, but your instructor will still chatter away giving you some tourist information about the area. It actually feels like you have someone there in the cockpit with you; when the instructor starts to talk about a landmark and tells you where to look, it will pop into view right on cue.

A small selection of views
Click for full size image
Click image for full size view
Click for full size image
Click image for full size view
Click for full size image
Click image for full size view
Click for full size image
Click image for full size view
The best part about these missions is the fantastic scenery that you will experience along the way. As long as you pay attention to the instructor you won’t get into any difficulty, and the lessons you learn can be used for mountain flying outside of the missions. After completing each mission you are given a reward for your portfolio, and upon completion of all 3 missions you are given a bonus reward which you need to contact Vertical Studios for.

Whilst the missions are not challenging with regard to flying them as there are no failures to worry about, you will need to forget using the autopilot and fly hands on and using your eyes to make sure you don’t hit a mountain. I loved the change from heavy airliners with FMCs to flying in a simple GA aircraft and ‘flying’ it.

Whilst the flights are simple and easy enough to complete, the fantastic scenery and professionally created missions make this a great add-on for anyone who loves the FSX mission engine.           

It was a welcome return to real flying for me and I loved the missions and will fly them several more times. You will need to listen to the instructor and refer to the GPS for guidance as the normal green arrows are not present to show you where to go – not a bad thing as flying direct will result in a crash. The first mission is free to download from the website, and the subsequent missions are only $1.99 each (around £1.50), plus you get a bonus reward at the end which is very nice.


Taking all the above into consideration I will award this mission add-on a Mutley’s Hangar Score of 9/10.

Points were lost for the lack of an automated installer and the lack of failures modelled. It would have been a challenge to land with an engine out. But that’s just me being picky.

An excellent add-on and I look forward to more from Vertical Studios. Try the free mission if you don’t believe me!

/Rob Scott

      System Requirements
  • Flight Simulator X (Acceleration or FSX SP2 required)
  • Windows XP / Vista / Windows7 with the latest Service Packs
  • Pentium 2 GHz (Duo2Core Intel or equivalent advised)
  • 1 Gb RAM
  • 256Mb graphic card (512 MB recommended)
  • 24 - 33Mb Download size
  • Up to 33Mb hard drive space