Introduction & History
Bundaberg, a city of 47,000 people, is 220 km north of Brisbane, and 15 km upstream on the Burnett River which enters the northern end of Hervey Bay. Developing rapidly from the 1880s on the basis of sugar and associated industries, especially rum, Bundaberg is still surrounded by sugar cane farms and its sugar mills remain dominant features in the landscape. Being well situated near the coast in north west Queensland. it is known as the southern gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
|Bundaberg, hereinafter referred to as
"Bundy" also has a place in aviation history as
the birthplace of Hon. Squadron Leader Herbert John Louis Hinkler AFC DSM (8 December 1892 – 7 January 1933) - better known as Bert Hinkler,
he was a pioneer Australian aviator (dubbed "Australian Lone Eagle"), inventor, first person to fly solo from England to Australia, and the first person to fly solo across the Southern Atlantic Ocean.
Hinkler flew the first solo flight between England and Australia, departing England on 7 February 1928 and arriving in Darwin on 22 February 1928 and back in his home town of Bundaberg on 27 February 1928. This reduced the England-Australia record from 28 days to just under 15½ days. The aircraft used was an Avro Avian, registration G-EBOV.
The council owns and operates Bundaberg Regional Airport. More than 110,000 people pass through the terminal annually, with daily services to and from Brisbane and the Coral Isles. The Airport is conveniently located just off Childers Road (Isis Highway) at the southern approach to Bundaberg.
During WWII Bundaberg Airport was requisitioned by the
military to develop it as a Royal Australian Air Force Flying
Training School. Nowadays it is well known for the location of
the the Regional Aerial Emergency Services Headquarters; Royal
Flying Doctors Service and Energex Emergency Service
The old Hinkler Airport sign can be seen on the way in to runway 07
The increasing number of passengers, both tourists and business-related, has created the demand for the redevelopment of Bundaberg Regional Airport. The much anticipated upgrade was undertaken in 2009/2010. The significant improvements included: lengthening and strengthening the runway, taxiway and apron improvements; terminal extensions for a departure lounge, check-in hall, baggage collection facilities and security equipment and significant improvements for car parking. These facilities have positioned the Regional Airport to be 'jet' airservices ready.
|07/25||3701ft / 1128m||98ft / 30m||Clay|
|14/32||5030ft / 1533 m||98ft / 30m||Asphalt|
|Elevation||107ft / 33m|
Bundy and Orbx
This scenery is the first one led by Ian Routley who, if you are an Oz scenery fan, you will recognise following his many releases for the OZx project. As with a lot of sceneries of this complexity, it has been over a year in its making. A look at the team list at the end of the manual you will see other flight sim supremos involved such as Holger Sandmann.
This package is really designed to work with their FTX AU GOLD base back, if you don't have the base pack installed it will still work but you are going to get such a shock flying in this 15/60cm per pixel scenery to the lack-luster FSX default. If you already have Orbx FTX Australia SP3 (DVD) you've already got a system ready for installation.
It is important to look at what the developers claim and what you actually get. Quite openly Orbx admit it is unlikely that there is a FSX PC currently available to run this software with "sliders right" but in a years time there probably will be. I have what I would call a high end machine (Specs below) so let's list those selling points and see how they stack up later in the review.
● Ground imagery at 15cm/60cm per pixel
● Buildings textured from actual onsite photos
● Expertly modeled in Gmax by Ian Routley
● Compatible with Orbx FTX Aero tool
● Includes over 100km sq of photoreal area
● The entire city of Bundaberg is included
● Canefields, crops, the brewery, industrial area
● Precision autogen annotation and objects
● Includes custom GA AI Traffic movements
● Full custom 3D night lighting included
● Only a short hop to YHBA Hervey Bay
● Full weather fx on runway and aprons
● NEW! Includes PeopleFlow animation
|My installation was via download, at 807Mb,
Bundy is a perfectly normal size for highly detailed
scenery. This scenery (At the time of
review) is also available from many sites worldwide
as a DVD, a look at their website will point you
straight to these online stores.
Remembering to set your FTX Central to Australia region first, follow the on-screen instructions and you won't go wrong. After installation you may want to check the Fullterrain.com website to see if there is a newer version of the Orbx Libraries.
As with previous sceneries from Orbx, you will get a area specific control panel, this is available via FTX Central (See previous reviews for details on FTX Central).
Each tick box has a detailed description to help you decide if you want to display extra detail which may have an impact on performance of older machines.
Included is a manual in PDF format, you really should have a good read after your initial "play" in the scenery, yes I do it too! As with all their previous manuals you will get a fascinating insight to the local history as well as locations of interest to find and explore.
Hints on display settings are essentially unchanged from previous versions so you may already have your ideal settings. If not, then follow the advice here. There is also a specific section on autogen density and suggested settings base on your CPU speed and the locality (Urban / Rural)
A point to note when reading the manual there is an error in the requirement section where they mention that AU Blue region pack is required, this may direct a new simmer to buy the wrong pack, it should be AU Gold. In the next section regarding the SP3 DVD. AU Gold is correctly referred to. This is just a heads up incase you are new to FTX. Also beware other mistakes such as the FTX Aero tool section refers to YBCS Cairns in the intro, easy mistake. Perhaps this needs more attention in future releases.
A nice inclusion is the aerodrome and arrival procedures charts, this really saves hunting for them on the net, there is also a handy link to Air Services Australia for other info you may want.
Bundaberg is serviced by a Non-Directional Beacon (NDB). The NDB has a range of 65 nm during the day and 60 nm at night and is located on the northern side of the aerodrome.
• Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) on runway 14/32.
• One illuminated wind direction indicator, located on the northern end of the main runway.
• A white flashing beacon is located adjacent to the main terminal building.
• Runway aligned, NDB and Area Navigation (RNAV) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) approaches are published for runway 14.
• Runway aligned, NDB approach is published for runway 32.
• Circling instrument approaches are also published for Global Positioning System (GPS) arrivals.
The scenery resolution within the airport boundary is very high at 15cm, this gives you plenty of detail for all the eye-candy included, from the smallest texture to the largest building, the quality is maintained
The ground textures are very well colour-matched and the grassy areas have 3D grass which really helps with realism.
Runway and taxiway textures are helped along with the Aero tool which can change the coarseness of the textures as well as the type of taxiway markings to suit your taste. There a couple of animated windsocks which do turn into the wind at higher speeds.
To the left of runway 14 there is a very highly detailed NDB station, it is fenced off and with many warning signs on the fence. Inside the fence there are a couple of towers with linking cables such is the detail.
Further north from the NDB but still within the airfield boundary is the Bundaberg Clay Target Club with shooting ranges pointing towards the runway, surely I have got that wrong, they must shoot the other way!
|The apron area has many characters either stationary, or following a pre-determined pattern, this is Orbx's latest innovation called PeopleFlow designed by Russ White. The people didn't seem to be affected by the proximity and movements of aircraft and followed a pre-determined path which was sometimes a bit monotonous but to their credit they certainly added extra life.|
Moving back now towards the terminal we pass a couple more detailed hangars onto the RFDS hangar. It's quite big and at certain times of the day has RFDS aircraft parked outside. (I used the ORBX freeware ai, available for their freeware page)
The terminal is not all that big but has beautiful gardens with seats, palm trees and a welcoming sign front and back. There is some limited detailing inside with seating, a Qantas Link desk and the "Blind Pilots Cafe" featuring an aircraft logo with sunglasses.
In the area in front of the terminal are the many expected buildings such as car hire and aero clubs. The roads are superbly rendered as are the trees, shrubs and A-signs. Driving out of the airport you will pass the Hinkler Flying Club.
Exploring the City & Suburbs
Right next to the airfield on the eastern side there are some ground-works. This is the site of the planned airpark called "Kensington Lakes" that will eventually have commercial, industrial and retail developments, along with luxurious residential buildings and residential airparks where you can park your plane outside your house. The idea is not new new and has been based on the best of the American designs. I expect the economic situation has postponed it although the website is still active
The city of Bundaberg is very well modelled, from the residential areas to the commercial areas and into the town centre areas. There looks to be hundreds upon hundreds of houses in the suburbs, all interconnected with an accurate network of roads. If you have your road traffic ai activated there are cars on most of the major roads, they even go around the roundabouts the correct way!
There are many easily identifiable shops and bigger warehouse outlets in various locations. In the city, there is a Mitsubishi Auto dealer that dominates that street corner, in a smart move Orbx have not tried to place individual cars, instead they rely on the underlying photo-textures which give a great level of detail. You will recognise many other world brands on the store fronts depicted as accurately as can be achieved. There are some humourous, typically Aussie establishments like my favourite, the Nemo Car and Dog Wash!
There is a river, the Burnett which divides the city thus creating an area called Bundaberg North. There are three bridges serving road and rail. In the North there is the botanic gardens which house the Aeronautical Museum and the Bert Hinkler house, these important buildings can only be seen in the underlying photoscenery, this is a shame as I would have loved to see the Museum and possibly the house modelled as they are integral in the city’s history.
Also in the north there are some small commercial areas but not the most important, the distillery! Cross back over to the south and head east, notice the yacht haven in the river to your left, home to many bobbing watercraft and ahead of you, you will come across two smoke stacks, all around are crates and a huge bottle of Bundy standing outside the bright yellow retail store. Other industrial machinery can also be seen all around the site. The distillery occupies quite a large area so you shouldn’t have trouble finding it.
Head back into the city centre and placed in the main street are some historical buildings in very good detail along with well-established retail stores. Further on is the train station with a few carriages parked on the tracks.
Heading further out, the river meanders inland one way to the sugar cane fields and out to the sea in the other. As the land turns agricultural so does the scenery, you will come across a few plantation style houses overlooking the fields. There are also many smaller tributaries off the river serving, I guess as irrigation. I came across a few timber carrying trucks but not that many trees, however I still have a lot of exploring to do.
From above you can see how well the roads are placed and drawn, there are some semi-complicated intersections but they all make sense! I have seen some scenery where no care was taken in the placement and you wonder what the point is wasting your processor time rendering it!
The airport is not all that easy to find at night if you are new to the area. I flew in to Bundy as part of the Great Australian Air Race and had to use the NDB to find my way there . The surrounding roads have a distinctive pattern to help you make your way around the area at night. Apron lighting is good as are the lights in front of the terminal which are very if not too bright!
From the air there are hundreds of 3D pinpoints of lights, this is another feature of Orbx scenery and is just another little touch to improve your experience.
There's no doubt that with this level of detail and autogen you need a reasonable specification machine. In the manual they illustrate recommended settings for CPU's as low as <2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo and 512mb graphics, you should still be able to run the autogen density at "Normal" or even Dense in the rural areas. But even with the top end machines I doubt you will get a faultless steep-banked turn in the city with sliders right, that's technology for you, we are always chasing the ultimate flight sim experience and these programs are built with the future in mind.
As the machine spec gets better so does the recommendation for display settings. I had no jerkiness even at Dense autogen setting in the city, this still gives you an immense amount of detail. In the rural areas Extremely Dense was no problem for me. If you already have any Orbx scenery installed you probably already have your system set up to achieve the best results.
I have always found that Orbx textures are well optimized giving you the best performance you will achieve from your machine.
A fascinating place both in its history and its geographical position and in the detail of Orbx's rendition.
FTX scenery, for me, just keeps getting better and better. I have learnt to take time and explore all those little details from all angles as you never know what is around the corner. What you get as standard with this scenery is like having dozens of Easter eggs in others.
High performance, high quality and with Hervey Bay just down the coast, it doesn't get much better than that for GA/VFR enthusiasts!
On the negative side if there has to be one, the omission of the Aeronautical Museum and the Hinkler house was an over-sight.
Yet again, I find myself awarding an Orbx title a Mutley's Hangar score of 9.5/10
Review machine Spec: Core i7 Extreme 965 @ 3.6 Ghz | 12Gb Corsair DDR3 Ram |GTX580 Graphics |Windows 7 64bit