Austria Professional HD East
For FSX / Prepar3D Published by Aerosoft
Reviewed by Jessica Bannister-Pearce
Austria is a country very close to my heart. Its people are
friendly, its food delicious and its beer is welcome on a hot
summers day. By far though, its the Austrian landscape which
takes the biscuit. From the lowlands in the north east to the
splendour of the Alps which make up so much of the country, the
Austrian landscape has done more to influence the people than
Capturing the best of Austria for flight simming is not an easy
job. Flugwerk Design and Aerosoft have already tried twice with
Austria Professional for FS2004 and Austria Professional X for
FSX. Both packages use land class tiles, vector data, and a good
mesh to create a fair facsimile of the whole country. It was
fairly successful, but not without its problems. The main issue
I had with Austria Professional X was the cities. They did not
really match with the surrounding areas with problems such as
rivers changing colour within city boundaries. The use of photo
scenery as a background for these also did not match terribly
well. The resolution was rather large and the overall effect was
not the best. However, with the arrival of the latest version,
Austria Professional HD East, things look to be changing.
Austria Professional HD East is available from Aerosoft as a
download and boxed product and is priced at €54.99 (boxed) or
€52.95 (download), or the equivalent on currency cross rates.
Unlike its previous versions, Austria has now been split into
two parts. This is the first clue as to the size. Austria
Professional HD East, is not a small install. It comes on two
DVDs or as a massive 13GB download.
Photo Scenery Detail and
Austria Professional HD East has certainly been through some
changes. Gone is the land class and vector data to be replaced
with pure photo scenery. The photo scenery is around a
reasonable 1 metre per pixel, which is a fair compromise as far
as quality versus size goes. The downside to this is the lack of
seasons. In fairness, Aerosoft have been upfront about this from
the beginning, so there is no use crying over spilt milk.
The photo scenery is only one layer. Rather than leaving Austria
looking pretty from 5,000 feet, but flat on landing, Flugwerk
Design have added custom autogen to flesh out the world a bit.
Add the inclusion of every airfield found in the coverage area,
as well as two airfields which have been correctly modelled, and
a vast improvement on the originals found in the default FSX
scenery, and you can see this is no simple scenery pack.
Coverage of this part of Austria starts just the other side of
Linz, in the north on the Czech border, straight down to the
south near Klagenfurt and the Slovenian border and extends all
the way to the east, covering three big cities, Graz, Linz and
of course the Capital, Vienna. The famous Danube river flows
through the north, so let's get into an aircraft and go take a
As first impressions go, it is fairly good, if not a little
green. In fairness, Austria is a very green country, and since
the only season available is summer, the green should be
expected. Starting at Graz, I figure I can circumnavigate the
coverage area in three flights. Departing Graz and heading north
to Bad Voslau, then Bad Voslau to Linz and finally Linz to
Klagenfurt, will take me through the country, the lowlands and
into the Alps.
Graz city and the Museum of Modern Art
Graz city looks great with autogen turned up
The first flight out, I took my time and really had a good look
around. Things look great from just a few hundred feet. This is
a vast difference from some photo scenery I have used which
looks great from 5,000 feet, but rubbish below. It was
interesting to see the various bridges around the route too.
They match up with the photo base nicely, but they did not blend
well. They tend to jut out a bit in places, and with the bridges
in place, it would have been nice to see the road beneath
removed. It is odd to see a bridge cross a ravine and the photo
base road follow the contours of the land underneath. These are
little issues though. By the time I reach Bad Voslau, I am
already enjoying the beauty of the Alps and their foothills.
Another autogen error, I'm not even sure what's going on there
Leg 2 takes me over Vienna and it is all very familiar. A lot of
custom autogen has been used to bring the city to life. Leaving
the city behind, I eventually come across the first of the two
improved airfields, Tulin Air Base. It is a great improvement
over default FSX, but not without its issues and I will have a
detailed look at those later. The lowlands look great and with
the Alps off to my left, the views are stunning. Just before I
arrive at Linz, I pass out of the coverage area and pass over
Horsching Airport. It is just over the border, and outside the
coverage area, and the transition from photo scenery is so
sudden. A straight line comes from the north and on Leg 3 I keep
it to my right now and again, dancing with the edge.
Leg 2 - Vienna's city limits
Leg 2 - Heading north of Vienna to Mayerling
Leg 2 - Grass fields suffer less from being flat, but a few buildings would be
Leg 2 - These tiered fields caught my eye
Leg 2 - Some of the custom autogen
Leg 2 - End of the world time
Leg 2 - Approaching Vosendorf
Leg 2 - Heading to Linz
Leg 3 is the most fun. Into the Alps I go. Here, things get fun
with climbs and descents a plenty. There are loads of
interesting valleys to explore and with the photo textures on
the Alps, the scenery looks lifelike. By the time I reach
Klagenfurt, I am tired but happy. It has been a good trip and it
only took a few hours.
Leg 3 - Photo scenery at its best in the alps
Leg 3 - There's always something interesting to discover
Leg 3 - The burnt in shadows really add depth
Leg 3 - Arriving LOXZ
There are three main cities covered by this scenery pack. To the
south lies Graz, famous for producing the Mercedes G wagon. To
the northwest is Linz, a beautiful city which sits on the
Danube, and on a clear day you can see the Alps. Finally, to the
northeast is the capital, Vienna. City representation is key to
a package like this and fortunately I happen to know Vienna
well. So flying over the city, I was very pleased to see many of
the important buildings and sights. I will start with Vienna.
Vienna City - St. Stephen's Cathedral
Vienna City - Having passed these apartments numerous times, its
great to see them here
Vienna City - The famous Gasometers are now home to apartments, shops and even a concert
Vienna City - The Rathaus looking fantastic
Vienna City - The famous Prater Wheel
Vienna City - The stadium and Danube
Vienna is scattered with great landmarks, from the hugely
impressive Rathaus to St. Stephan's Cathedral all the way to the
UN building at Uno City. These are all included in the city,
along with several other items. The famous Gasometers, as seen
in the James Bond film 'The Living Daylights', make an
appearance, whist the Ringstrasse is just littered with palaces
and museums. The famous Prater Wheel is also there.
Moving To Linz, things are also fairly well covered. The museum
found on the banks of the Danube is modelled nicely, although it
takes some finding. The football stadium on the hill also looks
great and makes for a nice VFR waypoint if your flying by eye.
Linz City - Sitting on the Danube
Linz City - This stadium sits above the city and makes a great VFR
Down in Graz, and although I am not familiar with the city,
wandering over to the old town part of the city and you will
find the mot bizarre building I have ever seen. The Museum of
Modern Art, known affectionately as the 'Friendly Alien',
certainly looks out of place in the old city. The usual city
hall and churches are also there and you could spend hours just
picking around the various cities looking for these fascinating
The special buildings are just one part of the autogen. The rest
of the buildings are generic but fit in with the Austrian look
well. There are a few odd examples though. One or two train
stations on the U1 line in Vienna seen to have sprouted homes.
At night, things are not so nice, with the night textures being
a bit generic. Hopefully, I can edit the scenery.cfg file and
get Orbx's FTX Global Lights in to help fill out the roads.
Airports and Airfields
Every airport in the coverage area is available in the sim. This
is a huge improvement over default FSX and adds around 20 extra
airfields for you to explore. Many are grass fields which make
great places to branch out and explore the countryside. Now, in
the older Austria Professional X product, these airfields came
with their own runways and the odd buildings. For this latest
version though, things are a little different. In place of the
custom BGLs, there is, well nothing, airfields are just left
empty, relying on the photo scenery to provide the airport
layout. Basically, this is something I just do not like. For the
grass strips, things may be ok, but for the asphalt strips not
found in the default FSX scenery, they are simply left blank.
Landing on one of these strips is bumpy and because there is not
flattening of the runway surface, it is just like landing on
dirt. Added to this is the resolution of the photo scenery. At 1
metre, it is just not good enough to convincingly look like your
landing on an asphalt runway. Indeed, even some of the grass
strips are difficult to spot due to 'fuzziness' in the image.
For the grass strips, it would have been nice to see the
background image resampled and augmented to produce a sharper
A great example of on of the flat asphalt
Away from the flat strips, there are two airfields which have
been vastly improved over the default FSX ones, Tulin Air Base
(LOXT) and Zeltweg Air Base (LOXZ). Tulin Air Base sits to the
north of Vienna, just around a bend in the Danube, whilst
Zeltweg Air Base sits in the Alps between Linz and Graz. It is
fair to say both are greatly improved over the default FSX
versions. Having flown into Tulin Air Base on the sim a few
times, it is nice to see more than just a wide slab of concrete.
Tulin Air Base now boasts the barracks, the three grass runways,
along with the main concrete one. The tower and hangars also
fill out the area.
Airfields - Zeltweg has some odd bunkers on the field
Airfields - Zeltweg hidden object
Airfields - Zeltweg's buildings look a bit bland
Likewise, Zeltweg Air Base features all its hangars, tower, and
a bunch of buried bunkers which dot the field to improve matters
no end over the default FSX scenery. So, that is the good news.
Sadly though, these airports are not exactly great looking. The
buildings are ok, but the textures used are not that good. They
are low resolution and lack any weathering or dirt. The overall
result makes the airfield stand out from the scenery as opposed
to blending with it. It is frame rate friendly, but does let
down the immersion a little.
Airfields - Tulin also has several grass strips
Airfields - Tulin Barracks.
Airfields - Tulin tower is a vast
improvement on the default
This version of Aerosoft's Austria Professional HD East is for
FSX / P3D only. Other specified technical requirements are as
● Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8
● Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or
Acceleration Pack) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d Flight Simulator
● Pentium V, 3.0GHz or similar, 2GB RAM (4GB
recommended), 512MB 3D graphics card (1GB recommended, and 14GB
available HDD space.
As mentioned earlier, Austria is a country close to my heart. So
I am holding Austria Professional HD East to a very high
standard. It is a standard which it exceeds in places but does
not quite reach in others. For now, my biggest bugbear is the
lack of airfields. Even if the airfields themselves were left
blank, a building here or there and a few standard aircraft
parked up would do wonders to help fill out the airfields and
make them feel a little more real. Even the improved air bases
lack static aircraft to help fill them out. Speaking of those
airfields, the textures could just use a tweak to help lift them
from good to great. Whilst the airfields lack punch, there are a
few other issues I do not like. Roads are occasionally seen with
trees in the middle of them, some bridges do not seem to fit
and, for some strange reason, the colour saturation in P3D V2 is
very strong, leaving you feeling it is just too green.
It is not all bad though. Take a flight over the eastern Alps
and you will see some of the best scenery seen in any sim. The
hand placed autogen really adds to it, leaving you smelling the
fresh alpine air. There is so much to discover, from the hidden
gems of the cities, to the perfect little airfield hidden in the
Alps. Sure, there is only the summer, but summertime in Austria
is beautiful. Just pour a glass of Amdudler, order a slice of
Sacher Torte and listen to the sounds of Mozart and Strauss.
Verdict and Rating
A great scenery for one of Europe’s most beautiful areas.
Very good resolution.
High level and attention to detail.
Lack of detail on airfields.
Minor issues with blending.
Aerosoft's Austria Professional HD East is awarded a Mutley’s Hangar score of 8.5/10, with a "Highly Recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Silver Award.
Austria Professional HD East product page