The Millionaire's playground.
Principality of Monaco is the second smallest
independent country in the world after the Vatican.
It is perched on a rocky promontory extending
into the Mediterranean
with some of it's land in the Fontvieille region being
reclaimed from the sea in 1970 and plans to reclaim more
in the future.
At only 0.75 sq miles (1.95 sq km) There are many international airports with more land
than this sovereign state.
Airport serves Monaco and is 15 miles (24 Kilometres)
away. There are several ways to travel from Nice Airport
to Monaco, the quickest way is via helicopter to the
helipads in the Fontville sector so the
heliport must be one of the most used in the
world given the clientele!
So why bother with such a small area of scenery.
Well small is beautiful some
people will say and the that is truly the case here, it
boasts stunning architecture with an interesting terrain.
There are beaches, quiet harbours with yachts in total
costing more than some small countries GDP!
PICTURE FOR FULL SIZE VIEW
is encouraging to note that one
of the biggest flight simulation developer/publishers out there still cares about the smaller regions, Lukla is another prime
example with rumoured plans for a FSX version too. This is
not the first rendition of Monaco from Aerosoft and
their loyal customers are rewarded with a discount if
they upgrade to the FSX version.
Approaching Fontvielle Harbour.
The software is available in both download and boxed CD
versions, so what do you get for your money? Well
besides the program, 2 pdf manuals, one with hints on the best
setup for your PC, although quite rightly it is
mentioned that is scenery is best run in high detail and
this will have an impact on the lower spec PC's, the
other pdf has a detailed approach chart and heliport
There are two start up flights provided with this product. The first puts you on Pad B in a small helicopter. The second one will load the default Goose moored at the buoy in front of the museum.
I started parked at the helipad or more rightly,
heliport. There are 8 pads, 2 of which are on extended
ramps over the sea. I was greeted with a wide vista
(Small v!) encompassing the heliport buildings,
Espace Fontvieille building, the Palace (Which has the
best views of course overlooking the Fontvielle and Monaco Harbours!), the hillside
and plenty of other autogen.
PICTURES FOR FULL SIZE VIEW
from Helipad B
Bloke (Animated) on
phone, "Where's my
A point to note here is that Aerosoft have actually
added Monaco into the country list of FSX, an FSX first
they claim! The 2 extended pads are listed in the runway
selection for the heliport. There is also a
starting point for a float plane attached to the Ocean
Museum buoy in the harbour.
Upon take off you are greeted with the highly
detailed and densely packed buildings throughout with
textures so good they are immediately recognisable.
Being a formula 1 fan I immediately found myself tracing
the course of the Grand Prix where certainly the Hotel
de Paris, Casio, Fairmont Hotel, Tabac and Mirabeau can
As mentioned earlier the harbours (There are 3) are full
of yachts and are circled by flocks of animated seabirds
waiting for a juicy morsel from the sea. There are ambient sound effects
which is nice when you are just boat watching in the
harbour, it was quite funny watching the default MS
boats which are not controlled by the scenery, on
occasion just ploughing through these expensive yachts and
jetties. Perhaps this is avoidable through programming,
it wasn't a problem for me.
There are two big AI yachts in the main harbour.
The Lady Moura, which has a land-able helipad the other
The Atlantis 2
has a pad but don't try landing on that one either as you will get
wet. Both yachts have sailing times detailed in
the manual so don't leave your expensive helicopter on
the Lady Moura at breakfast and expect it still to be there at
In the bay is a huge default FSX liner anchored
offshore, don't be fooled by the helipad on it though as
it is not land-able (Yes I did try!)
PICTURES FOR FULL SIZE VIEW
The Lady Moura
getting up steam
Breakfast at the
bistro beside the harbour
more obvious than others. There is the distinctive Stade
Louis II, home of AS Monaco, the Palias Princier
Home of the Grimaldi family, Musée Océanographique,
Hotel de Paris, The Japanese Gardens, the Casino and
places to discover.
After taking in the metropolitan scenery for a while I
decided to fly the included missions. The first
mission is to take the helicopter to Nice airport to
pick up some passengers. On arrival at Nice
heliport you are greeted with some additional scenery by
way of a 4x4 with young ladies and luggage awaiting your
arrival. You are prepared for this as the ATC on
the way in tells you! On completion of the first mission
you are given an Aerosoft award.
The second mission finds the young ladies on board and
you taking them back to Fontvielle heliport, no reward
this time but hey, the flight was a joy!
PICTURES FOR FULL SIZE VIEW
Next I found myself exploring the coastline and some of
the French country-side as the software is not just the
buildings and harbours on Monaco it includes a small
amount of the surrounding area too. The scenery
was nicely blended into the default, but you can easily
see which is which.
Night scenery and seasons
Of course, any town with a Casino and thriving night
life needs textures to match. To get a feel of the night
textures I started my flight in the float plane attached
to the buoy. Again those buildings just jump out at
you, the Hotel de Paris certainly had me snapping away
as I could not believe the detail. The scenery at
dusk is simply stunning, once the ship in the bay
has turned it's lights on, one by one so do the
buildings, you will find yourself immersed in the
vibrancy of the city at night.
As this scenery is mostly object based the seasons do
not really come into play, the base textures do change
colour slightly as the surrounding and distant ground
textures do but obviously the buildings do not. This is
really as expected.
fixed wing aircraft.
Not having an airport
does not detract from this scenery. If flying VFR
into Nice you can hug the coast and take in the views, or
if you are inbound to Nice 22R or 22L via the SALEYA or
the VOR/DME "ARZ" U/S approach, you will still get great
views of Monaco too as nearly all approaches have to be done
over sea to avoid flying over populated areas.
Also, all departures
North and East from Nice will fly right in front of
Aerosoft have made a
fantastic job with this scenery. There were a few
teething problems that were soon sorted out by their
technical team. Monaco X certainly lives up to their
high standards of innovation, detail and value for money.
I can't think a better
way to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon. A
chance to get away from the everyday stress of flight-simming!
If I had to give it a
score, I would say 95%
Mutley's slide show, click on the images for a
full size view.
back from Italy
More taxiing around
The city starts to come alive
||AI Yachts in
Helipads at dawn
View from the balcony
F1 fans recognise this hotel
Hotel de Paris lit up
The Goose facing the beach
Over the Stade de Louis II
football team owner!
My review machine
Monaco X Links:
MSI Intel 975X PCI Express Motherboard
Intel E6600 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo
4x 512Mb DDR2 667Mhz PC5400
Nvidia 7900GTX 512Mb DDR3 PCI-E
Windows XP Pro SP2
FSX with Photoscenery Fix
Aerosoft web site
Monaco X Home page
Aerosoft Scenery Forum