One thing I have always found intriguing about the Orbx airport scenery series is the airports chosen for development. With some notable exceptions, I am often trying to fathom what it is about a particular airport that resulted in it being elevated to the dizzy heights of flight simming popularity – and now, as part of the Orbx FTX: AU series, we have Broome International Airport (YBRM).
Now, I am an Australian and I don't know how much you know about Australian geography, but I would say the average Australian would even have a hard time telling you much about Broome, let alone being able to tell you exactly where it is. To provide a reference point, Broome is over 1,685 kilometres (1,047 miles) northeast of Perth and over 3,100 kilometres (1,926 miles) to the northwest of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, in a remote region known as 'The Kimberley's – and for that, it has its own international airport.
With a permanent population of approximately 16,000, it has to be the smallest town in Australia to boast it's own international airport and this is in an area that has a population density of approximately 0.07 per square kilometre (0.18 per square mile). Putting that into perspective, compared to an average for Australia of 2.9 per square kilometer, the USA of 33.82 per square kilometre and the UK of 257.23 per square kilometre, you start to get a sense of what is in Broome or, more to the point, what isn't.
However, enough with the geography and demographics lesson. Broome is a gorgeous tourist mecca and the southern gateway to the beautiful and remote Kimberley Region of northwest Western Australia. This is an area that is characterised by rugged terrain and the rich red soil that coins the name the 'Red Centre'.
Availability and Installation
FTX: AU YBRM, Broome International Airport is available from Orbx resellers as a 'download only' product (some resellers also offer a master back-up CD service for a minor additional cost). It is priced at AU$32.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The file size of 686MB is reasonable considering the detail and quality of the scenery and it requires approximately 820MB of HDD space for installation. A key code is issued and used during installation.
The installation process is easy and intuitive and the scenery installs seamlessly as part of the FTX: Australia or FTX: AU Green products, either of which, you must have installed. As with any Orbx product, it is highly recommended that after installing the product, you install or reinstall the latest version of the Orbx Scenery Libraries (ORBXLIBS).
As part of the installation, a 21 page User Manual is provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) that is accessible from the FTX Central application. Other than providing an overview of the FTX: AU YBRM, it also provides comprehensive information on the following:
● Specific tuning notes;
● Manual scenery library configuration;
● The YBRM Control Panel;
● The FTX Aero Tool;
● ERSA aerodrome information from the official Airservices Australia Aeronautical Information Package (AIP); and
● Recommended settings for FSX scenery.
As with most of the FTX airport series, you get more than just what's within the airport boundary. In the case of FTX: AU YBRM, the coverage area measures approximately 13.5 by 10.5 kilometres (8.4 by 6.5 miles) and includes the whole township of Broome and the peninsula on which it is located.
Other than the airport, this coverage includes all the suburbs of Broome, the CBD, shopping centres, schools and sports grounds, the lighthouse on Gantheaume Point and the jetty. It even includes the Broome Turf Club, and if you are wondering why it's not green, that's because most Australian outback turf clubs are sand tracks. Outside of this area, it's pretty much just expansive Australian landscape until the next outback town or station. A comparison of Google Earth and FSX images of the coverage area demonstrate the accuracy in detail in FTX: AU YBRM.
Google YBRM Coverage
FTX AU YBRM Coverage
The resolution coverage in the airport precinct and the immediate surrounding area is 7cm. The Broome CBD and other selected areas of the township have a 50cm resolution coverage, with the remainder of the area having an 80cm resolution coverage.
For level of detail, FTX: AU YBRM is simply both, outstanding and stunning. The detail around the airport precinct is something to behold. If you are impressed by the images on the Orbx FTX web site, all I can say is, it is exactly like that in FSX.
There are nearly too many things to mention, such is the level of detail and realism modelled in the PAPI lights, and runway and taxiway lighting, to the static model of the real world Grumman G-73 'Mallard', VH-PPI, complete with it's Pratt and Whitney, PT6A-34 engine conversion. This iconic aircraft of Broome and Australian aviation is faithfully represented in FTX: AU YBRM.
The airport scenery is resplendent with animated and static scenery on both the ramp area on the south side of the runway and the general aviation area on the north side. The detail of individual buildings are accurate, in both their geographical positioning and physical size and a review of comparative images from FSX and Google Earth clearly demonstrate the incredible level of accuracy and detail represented in FTX: AU YBRM.
One scenery anomaly which I could not account for was the Control Tower and Emergency Services station. These are not reflected on current Google Earth imagery and there is no mention of them in the most current edition of real world Airservices Australia DAP and ERSA publications. Whether it is currently under construction, I cannot verify, however it is represented in the scenery. There is a vast array of both static and AI aircraft, ships and vehicles and a review of the manual provides the optimum settings for FSX so as to get the most out of these features.
FTX AU YBRM
The township of Broome is also both faithfully and accurately reproduced. Now let's be serious, this is not photo scenery and some artistic latitude is taken into account, however, if you lived in Wongai Crescent, Cable Beach, Broome, you would be able to individually identify your house.
FTX: AU YBRM has not cut corners in one area at the expense of another. Nor has it focused on "eye candy" to distract the flight simmer from areas of less detail. In short, the same level of quality already seen in the product overall is also evident in the quality of the buildings both in the airport precinct and the surrounding township area.
With the exception of requiring either FTX: Australia or FTX: AU Green installed, there are no other stated, specific system technical requirements, other than a system capable of running FSX. The FTX: AU YBRM User Manual provides some excellent advice on the various scenery slider settings for a range of hardware specifications that will maximise the performance of the software and FSX.
FTX: AU YBRM performed excellently within the existing settings I have in FSX. I have my frame rate locked at 30 frames per second with most of my settings set high to very high and there was no need to make any adjustments to compensate for performance issues. There was only a marginal impact on frame rate performance, but this was no more than I have experienced with detailed default FSX scenery. Having said that though, and as I have mentioned earlier in this review, paying heed to the relevant sections in the user manual should avoid any disappointment and provide optimum performance for your particular system.
Value for Money
Value for money is always a difficult assessment and often subjective. In this case, FTX: AU YBRM is considered reasonable in the value for money stakes. With other FSX add-on products, such as aircraft, for the same value, you can get far more use than a single airport scenery located in a remote region. However, it is fundamentally down to the individual, the type of flying they do and the areas in which they fly that determines value for money. If Broome International Airport (YBRM) fits into that category, then FTX: AU YBRM is a scenery add-on that you will want to have and you will not be disappointed.
Orbx FTX: AU YBRM is, simply, an excellent scenery add-on, rich in detail and quality and Orbx continue to push the boundaries with this latest release. Whilst it is an airport and small town in a remote region of Australia, it brings incredible life to what is otherwise a barren area in FSX, even if you have FTX: Australia or FTX: AU Green. For anyone who flies in this region regularly or is simply a fan of Orbx products, FTX: AU YBRM will be an addition to your scenery you will enjoy having.
FTX: AU YBRM is another solid product from Orbx that displays the usual high quality and attention to detail as other products in their offering.
● High quality;
● Excellent level and attention to detail;
● Excellent animations.
● No major cons found.
|• Scenery Coverage:||9.5/10|
|• Level of Detail:||9.5/10|
|• Quality of Buildings:||10/10|
|• Value for Money:||8.5/10|
|Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.5/10, "Highly Recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Silver Award.|