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Orbx 1S2 Darrington Airport for Microsoft Flight Simulator: The FSElite Review

Product Information
Developer
Orbx
Purchase From
Orbx
Price
16.99 AUD
BUY HERE
Version Reviewed
Press Copy Provided By
Orbx
SimMarket
FSElite's preferred Flight Sim vendor is SimMarket. (Why?)

As per our Community Charter, all of our reviews are free from bias, prejudice and favouritism. Don't forget, each reviewer has their own style and thoughts, although they all abide by the Review Guidelines - something I suggest you read.

Watch our full video review above.

1S2 Darrington Airport is a small municipal airport located in Washington, nestled in a valley in the Cascade Mountain Range. Orbx has modeled this airport for the new Microsoft Flight Simulator, so let’s find out if this airport meets the mark, and is worth picking up.

Background on Darrington

Before we get started, let’s orient ourselves with where Darrington is in the world. Darrington is about 55 miles North-East of downtown Seattle. Darrington is about 30 miles inland into the Cascade Mountain Range. There is a wide valley directly to its west that will lead out to the water, or you can fly through a narrow valley to the north, which will lead you to North Cascades National Park, or Concrete airport. As you can see, there aren’t a lot of airports nearby here, so this airport is great if you are looking for an excuse to explore this region of the PNW.

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Installation

Purchasing this product is made easy using Orbx Central, just a matter of a few clicks and you have it installed. The product comes out to about $12.00 US Dollars, but you can get a 40% discount if you already own the product for a previous simulator. You also have the option to purchase this product in the sim through the store in Microsoft Flight Simulator for $12.99.

Updated Darrington

Orbx has built a completely new version of this airport and town, adding landmarks and points of interest all around the area. The texturing and modeling the airport buildings is fantastic, starting with the main building right by airport parking, it looks beautiful. The modeling of the objects near the runway and taxiway is well done and adds a feeling of immersion. The town is great for flying over, and the textures look gorgeous, especially from the distance that one would enjoy in VFR flight. With that being said, the colors from the lumber mill stick out too much, and do not look realistic.

Ground Textures

The ground textures of the pavement look good, not great. The runway and taxiway have a very solid pallette, and I would’ve appreciated a bit more coloration, or some visible cracks showing in the pavement to add some depth. The ground around the runway and taxiway looks very nice though, and it is dotted with well done ground vegetation. Additionally, the ground textures outside the airport have been updated. Perhaps most notable is the river near the airport has been revamped.

Sloped Runway

The runway is sloped, and good care was taken while doing this sloping, as it provides a smooth ride when taking off and landing.

Night Lighting

The night lighting of the buildings near the airport is very well done. With that being said, there is a road right next to the taxiway leading to runway 10 that has floating lights. It is pretty distracting when taxiing, and I don’t believe that road is lit up in real life. The town is incredibly well done at night, and is quite enjoyable to fly over.

Winter Experience

Flying into this airport in the winter leaves a bit to be desired, the modeled buildings look the same when covered in snow – which I do believe is an SDK limitation, and the runways and taxiways look wet when covered in snow, as opposed to reflecting some snow build up. Additionally, the pavement has very harsh boundaries that really stick out in the snow.

Ground Experience

The ground experience at this airport is alright. On the positive side, Orbx has placed a Pitts Special near the parking area, which adds to the homey experience. There are 2 people working on the Pitts. When combining those 2 people, with the ground service people that will be working your own aircraft, that is going to give the feeling of a pretty busy apron – which feels pretty unrealistic for an airport that sees about 6 flight operations per day.

Comparison to Default

In terms of comparing this airport to what default Microsoft flight simulator looks like, I think Orbx has done a fantastic job. To see the difference, take a look at the comparison shots below.

Discrepancies to the Real Airport

With all these points being said, there are a few discrepancies to the real scenery that I need to point out. Some of these are SDK limitations that Orbx doesn’t have the ability to fix yet, but nonetheless, I should point them out to you, the user. 

  • The runway centerline is dashed in the scenery – it is a straight line in real life
  • The aircraft parking spots are yellow in the scenery, but white in real life
  • The taxi lines near the main parking aren’t connected
  • The size of the runway numbers is larger in real life than it is in the sim. This is an SDK limitation
  • The runway edge lights are too far separated from the runway, they should be on the runway edge. This is an SDK limitation

With these points being said, Orbx has a good history of updating their products – I hope they do the same here.

Performance

From a performance perspective, this airport will cost you a few frames, you can expect a 5% FPS drop from my experience. These numbers are based on data I collected in the simulator in Dev Mode, and my performance was bottlenecked by my GPU, a GTX 1070 – other users performance may vary.

Intel Core i7 7700K 4.2GHz
NVIDIA GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
16GB (2 x 8GB) 2400MHz DDR4 Desktop (DT-RAM-0014-x2)
256GB M.2 AHCI 2280 Internal Solid State Drive

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Value

This airport sells for about $12, or $7 if you own a previous version of this airport, which I think is great value for what you are getting. If you are someone who plans on flying often in the Pacific Northwest, I would definitely pick this airport up.

Overall Summary
Bottom line, ORBX Darrington Airport is a small General Aviation Airport in an area that is beautiful to fly though. The modeling of the airport and surrounding area adds a level of immersion that will be worth the while of any flight simmer who wants to explore the pacific northwest. The price tag for this scenery comes in at about 12 US Dollars, which makes this a great deal.
Likes
Dislikes
  • Discrepancies to the real world airport
  • Lack of winter modeling

Where are scores?

After listening to your feedback, we have decided that from February 5th 2020, we will no longer implement review scores. We will continue to provide high-quality reviews via our written, video and imagery to help you make an informed decision about a product. You can read more about it on our Review Guidelines Page.

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Tags : 1S2AirportDarrington AirportORBXUpdate
Spencer te Wildt

The author Spencer te Wildt

Spencer got interested in the aviation community when trying out Flight Simulator X at a friend’s house in 2008 - and has been hooked ever since. A long time member of the flight simulator video community, he launched the SJT375 Youtube channel in 2009 and founded MyFlightDirector in 2012, a site he ran for 6 years focusing on development of the flight simulator YouTube community. Outside of Flight Simulator, Spencer followed his passion in aviation to become an Engineer at Boeing, and enjoys soccer and cycling.
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