Browse Author

Ryan Parry

Aircraft Dispatcher, FSElite Editorial Writer, and one heck of a pilot.

Orbx Valdez Pioneer Field (PAVD): The FSElite Review

DEVELOPEROrbx Simulation SystemsPRICE$40.00 AUD
PUBLISHEROrbx Simulation SystemsBUY FROM Orbx Direct

As part of our Community Charter, we provide full disclosure at FSElite.

Orbx Valdex Pioneer Field was provided free of charge to FSElite for the purpose of reviewing for the community.

One of the newest Orbx sceneries is Valdez Pioneer Field, located in Valdez, Alaska. We’ve become accustomed to a certain high quality in Orbx releases, so have they done it again? Join me in this journey around the area to find out in the FSElite review!

A little background on Valdez before we begin. Valdez is an interesting quaint little town that is located in South Central Alaska on the northeast tip of Prince William Sound. Despite its small size, Valdez is an important part of the Alaskan economy as it sits at the southern end of the Alaskan pipeline. Oil is loaded on to ships at the Valdez Marine terminal and shipped all over the world. Additionally, a large amount of freight moves through Valdez destined to the interior of Alaska. Tourist often flock to Valdez to experience the nearby glaciers and marine wildlife, as well as those looking for a deep-sea fishing experience or heli skiing on the nearby mountains.

Now onto the review starting with the installation. The installer file was a Flight Sim Store installer that extracts the files required for installation into a temporary directory and then deletes them once you’re finished. It’s a slightly different than normal approach because the FSS installers remains open after launching the product installer. It doesn’t present any difficulties or challenges, but it is different from what I am use to. Installation was fairly easy to do. I should point out that I also installed the recommended Southern Alaska region for this review and that I am running Prepar3d version 3.4, so those of you with FSX, FSX:SE, P3D V1.x or P3D 2.x may have some slightly different results in the performance portion of this review.

After installation I left the scenery configured “as is” in FTX Central with the exception of the frozen lakes. I turned that feature off simply because of P3D compatibility issues. I loaded up my sim and verified the scenery was in my scenery library. Everything looked good so it is time to fly!

I decided for this review I wanted to fly something modest so that I could take in the beautiful surrounding area. I opted for the A36, Beechcraft Bonanza, for this flight. As I loaded into the Valdez scenery the first thing I noticed was the obviously high texture quality. Since it is fall, which means winter in Alaska, the airport was covered in snow and the surfaces were frosted over, a very nice and immersive detail. I did a quick look around I noticed birds flying in the distance and the people moving in the distance which only increased the immersion. But enough of the looking around, I need to get up and fly!

I started the engine and began a taxi out to runway 24 for a departure out over Port Valdez. On the climb up to 1,500 feet and took in the view of the port as the sun rose, yeah it was absolutely stunning! I started my left hand turn in the pattern and observed the detailed buildings and trees below. Orbx has spared no detail in this scenery and you can tell. As I turned to final for runway 24 I decided that after this touch and go I’d go out and explore more of the town, the port, and try to find the end of the Valdez Marine Terminal.

I once again started to climb out from the main airport and flew runway heading. It wasn’t long before I was over the small town of Valdez, modeled to perfection, covered in snow and frost. As I began to make my way south to fly along the other side of the port and stumbled upon some large white tanks. As I got closer I realized this was the Valdez Marine Terminal and where the oil was being sent by the Alaskan pipeline. It seemed as if Orbx spared no detail on this either as it looked very realistic and even included what appeared to be a flare stack where the gases are burnt off. This was fun to see but it was time to make my way back to the airport, so I began a turn to the east to follow the port in. I noticed the frozen river flowing off into the steep mountains which I thought was pretty cool. The port would look better if it was frozen, however I have the P3D limitation to account for here. I landed the aircraft and taxied in to park nearby some other aircraft, but the review doesn’t end here!

Because I am using P3D I have the unique ability to go into “avatar” mode and freely walk around the field to observe some of the finer details you won’t notice from within the aircraft. I began on the western part of the airport and started walking along the frozen ramp. My first stop was a couple having a nice discussion in front of a small hangar. While people flow is a neat feature of Orbx scenery, they can be a bit awkward to walk up and see closely. I got a good chuckle out of it and moved along to other parts of the ramp including an aircraft that was parked and being worked on by a mechanic (with a British registration), a ramp full of parked aircraft and people, a gate with security and even a dog, the passenger terminal with a parked Era Alaska Dash 8 (should be Ravn Alaska as Era rebranded to Ravn a while ago), and finally an Era Alaska hangar with another Dash 8 parked inside. As I walked around I couldn’t help but noticed the immense amount of detail Orbx has put into this scenery, staying to true themselves and detailing even the smallest of things on the field.

Orbx did leave some weird things in though, I noticed a few as I walked around the airport. An interesting oddity I noticed, the aircraft on the ramp getting repaired was a Cessna with a British registration number. Maybe I need a better imagination, but Valdez, Alaska seems like a long journey to make in a Cessna 172 and I felt as it that took away from things a little bit. Furthermore, this same aircraft is spotted again later on at the airport parked by other aircraft. So we have an aircraft with a British registration, FAR away from home, spotted in two different locations, I’m not a fan of that. Another oddity I spotted as I continued my walk was a random gentlemen in a suit all alone in front of the fire station. He felt very out of place for me. I felt as if somebody like this should be near the terminal or by a business jet and not way over in front of the fire station all alone (especially when it is cold out, he’s going to catch a cold). Lastly, and not an oddity or anything negative, but Orbx included a fat ramper standing by the Era plane. I got a good laugh out of that (#stereotypes).

So we know it looks great, we know the scenery creates a high level of immersion, but how does it perform? Well, before I dive into this I want to reiterate that I am running P3D 3.4 and the recommended Southern Alaska region. FSX users may get some slightly different results. As I did my flight in the Bonanza my VAS stayed steady at just slightly over 2GB and never went above that. It did very well actually. I think FSX users can expect 2-3GB (depending on other installed addons) to be a starting point, but the VAS will increase. My FPS stayed steady at 30 were I have it set and never dropped at all. Overall it was a very enjoyable and smooth performance. I did want to try this out with another aircraft so I loaded the Flight1 Cessna Citation Mustang to see how it compared. Out of the gate my VAS was at 2.3 GB and my FPS was again smooth at 30fps. The VAS never really changed despite flying much longer and the FPS was only getting an average of 2-3FPS dropped at the most. All in all, the scenery performed fantastic for me, but again I caution the FSX user that VAS will be different for you. The installed scenery takes up 3.36GB of space on the hard drive, which is a lot in my opinion. For reference, my entire FlightBeam folder is only just over 2GB and includes all of their products.

In conclusion I think the Valdez Pioneer Field by Orbx is a fantastic addon that stays true to the high level of detail and quality we’ve come to expect from them. My biggests issues with this scenery are the out of place guy by the fire station and the two British registered C172’s on the ramp. The size of the scenery is a bit much for me as well. This is all very little to be upset about though. For $40 AUD/ $29.67 USD this isn’t too shabby if you are looking for a fun small field that isn’t too far away from bigger airports such as Anchorage, Fairbanks or Ketchikan. Valdez will prove to be a perfect combination for flying between any of the other Orbx airports in Alaska. I recommend the product to anybody looking for just that. Last but not least, I want to thank Orbx for giving FSElite the opportunity to review this product.

 

Just Flight HS 748 Propliner Released!

Just Flight has released their HS 748 Propliner product! The aircraft includes 16 liveries, the 2A variant, a GNS 430 and an easy to use Autopilot. It’s $37.99 and you will earn double Just Rewards if you buy this aircraft from now until Friday, December 9.

This should be a fun classic aircraft to fly if you want to take a trip back in time to the 1960’s when flying was so much less automated.

If you’d like to check this out head over to Just Flight today!

Black Friday Sale Mega Post!

With Black Friday among us we figured we might as well tell you guys where to get the deals this Black Friday! We’ll try to keep this up to date as the weekend goes on.

Real Flight Shop – Up to 60% off some big publishers. Some of the cheapest prices on the net.

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Aerosoft Offering 20% off through Monday November 28, 2016.

Orbx is offering 35% off all products released before November 1 running for 39 days | We already reported on this sale.

FSDream Team is offering 30% off FSDT products and 70% off Cloud9 Products with the use of their promo code.

FlightBeam is offering 30% all products plus bundle savings.

JustFlight is offering 60% off select titles.

Simmarket has multiple sales going on.

Flight Sim Store has 50% off REX Products through November 30.

FSPilot Shop has a 66% off sale as well as an Aerosoft sale.

PCAviator offering multiple sales based on product type.

Cielosim has up to 30% off on select products.

Abacus is offering 25% off all downloads.

Drzewiecki Design is offering 60% off all products (info on their facebook).

Imaginesim is offering 20% off selected titles.

FlyTampa is offering 25% off Montreal and Sydney scenery.

Dreamflight is offering 30% off all products.

Hifi is offering 30% off AS16 and ASCA.

That is all we have for now, if more sales pop-up over the weekend we will update this story with links and details. Happy shopping and happy simming!

 

Dovetail Games Flight Simulator Postponed

In a short post on the /r/flightsim Reddit sub, Dovetail Games announced they would be postponing the project as they work on visuals, performance, and experience after the feedback they have received from the flightsim community.

DTG says they do expect to have a detailed development update ready for us in the New Year. I guess now we wait some more.

Interestingly enough, we are running out of days in November and haven’t seen an XP11 release yet. Perhaps November isn’t too kind to the new simulators?

FSElite has a Discord community!

Are you looking to find a fun, knowledgeable group to hang out with while you sim? Look no further than our new FSElite Discord server!

We’ve setup a Discord server for you to come and chat with your friends, or make some new friends, while you fly. This is a great chance to meet some of the FSElite writers and discuss flight simulation and more. We’ve got music, ranks, banter, and all kinds of other stuff! Come check us out today!

Here is the invite link: https://discord.gg/uuRWP4h

See you on Discord!

Pac Sim to create Reno-Tahoe after Salt Lake City!

PacSim announced on their facebook page they will be creating Reno-Tahoe International Airport and will include the city of Reno just as they are creating the city of Salt Lake.

They have been gathering information and pictures since August, and have already started the photoreal groundwork, afcad and autogen placements, according to the facebook post.

Personally I am extremely looking forward to this release as it is my home town airport. Can’t wait for now Salt Lake City and Reno from Pacific Island Sim!

Exclusive preview of the ENVTEX UI!

We’ve got an exclusive preview shot of the work in progress ENVTEX user interface by TOGA Projects! Keep in mind this is still being worked on, but it looks good so far!

If you’re still unfamiliar with this project, ENVTEX is a comprehensive texture enhancement addon that will offer a new immersion level to FS9, FSX and Prepar3d with high quality, framerate and VAS friendly textures and effects. Not only will this add sky and water textures, but also airport textures and even special effects like the Aurora Borealis and more!

For those of you who can’t wait to get your hands on this, little birdies have told me there will be a way to win a FREE copy of ENVTEX upon release! Give TOGA Project a like on facebook and keep your eye on FSElite for exclusive information regarding ENVTEX!

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TOGA Projects ENVTEX will support AS16 + ASCA!

TOGA Projects announced today on their facebook page that their upcoming release “ENVTEX” will fully support Hifi Simulations Active Sky 2016 and Active Sky Cloud Art; Both developers are collaborating on this project. This will allow for users to easily use the stunning textures of ENVTEX with their AS16/ASCA installation, including dynamic depiction offered the ASCA.

ENVTEX is really shaping up to be one fantastic project, I really can’t wait to get my hands on it. Don’t forget, there will be a contest where you can win a FREE copy of ENVTEX when it comes out. Will you be looking to purchase ENVTEX?

Aerosoft A318 Research Edition Released!

Aerosoft has released and officially launched it’s A318 Research Edition. This will serve as a test bed for Airbus features and testing that will be implemented in both the A330 and A32X series aircraft. To be clear this is NOT a paid beta program or a paid pre-release or prologue to another project. For detailed information on the project please read this forum post by Mathijs.

If you’ve purchased Aerosoft’s A318/319/320/321 you can join in on this project for free. All you need to do is register on the A318 Research Edition site using your information and product key code. From there you can get the latest version of the A318 Research Edition for testing. This is a cool project and the more of us that can help out with development the better the A330 and A32X products will be, so I suggest everybody help out!

NOTE: If you bought the A318/319/320/321 bundle your product code will not work when registering. Aerosoft is aware and working to include those serials. We will update this post when we see they have it fixed.

TFDi Design Tablet!

TFDi released a video demoing a “tablet” feature in their B717 that allows you to do thing such as connect the GPU, view checklists, and more. They’ve taken steps to make sure it doesn’t chew up VAS and destroy performance. It not clear if you can load payload and fuel through this tablet, but I sure hope so!

A very neat feature in my opinion! Check out the video here.