Tucked away in deep Washington state lies a
insignificant farm strip hardly known outside the local area.
Although the airfield will probably never gain any international
notoriety; renowned scenery developers Orbx started development
on this airfield for users of FSX. Israel's Farm is
pretty typical of most airfields within the mountainous terrain.
Orbx began development in 2009 but it wasn't until March 2010
that Orbx released their product to the Flight Simulator Market.
I asked Orbx's John Venema why Orbx had developed such a quiet airfield and he answered:
"To be honest we pick projects to do based on their location, the character and charm of the airfield, and how we can innovate with new types of objects and technology. I chose WA56 because it was such a picturesque location and it gave me the chance to try to make a really immersive long grass field for the first time in FSX ".
I also asked how long did it take to develop the add on and he responded:
400+ man hours of development time put into WA56 with mainly Tim Harris and myself doing the main work, but contributions from Holger Sandmann, Graham Eccleston and John Hockings as well".
He also mentioned that Kagit County (Where the airfield is located) had provided high resolution imagery to the team.
Download and product install
Just like most other Orbx add-ons; it is only downloadable from Australian based company Flightsimstore. Priced at $24.95 or £20.61p (as of August 2010) this product is inexpensive which is common for most airport/airfield pricing nowadays. Although it may seem inexpensive it is worth noting that WA56 retails at a price similar to typical airport sceneries from other developers.
The size of the download is hefty- at 612Mb it may take a while for it to download if you don't have a decent internet connection. I use "Download Accelerator Plus" which I find speeds up the download time so you don't have to spend hours upon hours watching a download screen!
Just like all most other Flight Sim add-ons these days installation its easy. All the user has to do is run the installer and select the path for the main FSX folder in Program files. However when I installed the product I experienced a common bug associated with Flight Sim and Windows 7 where the user needs to manually activate the scenery. As this is a common bug and is easily rectified it would be right to knock any marks off the actual product.
With this product Orbx have included a 23 page user manual which covers everything you could wish to find out about the product. It contains details on where the most detailed scenery is, how to use the control panel and most importantly how to tweak you scenery settings so you can get the best visually without destroying those all important frame rates.
As the product was downloaded; the only way to have a hard copy of the manual is to print one off as the one included is only viewable through Adobe Acrobat . Just like other manuals Orbx have released, contains extensive detail and some fantastic screenshots designed to entice the buyer into the scenery!
The airport and surrounding airfield
Just like other airport sceneries developed by Orbx, the scenery "doesn't stop at the airport fence" and with this add on the motto still stands.
The scenery itself covers approximately 30 square kilometres of photo real area and ground imagery that ranges from 15cm per pixel closest to the 'strip and 60cm per pixel in the surrounding area.
The layout of Israel's farm is simple with one
grass runway and one taxiway leading to home of the owner. The buildings and farm machinery included in this
product have been modelled to perfection and look so realistic.
I love how on the wooden homes each individual wooden panel has
been modelled as well as rust on the roof's of the buildings. Orbx
have also added minor details like skips and scrap parts which
really make this something special.
Home and Farm
The Local Area
As previously mentioned in this review, Orbx don't finish the scenery at the airport gate so the detailed scenery continues and gives the bush pilot a wider area to explore. A river runs in front of Israel's farm and when I saw it for the first time one word crossed my mind- Amazing! The water looks some of the best around and easily surpasses Real Environment Xtreme's.
The surrounding area has been completed in 60cm per pixel so the detail included in superb. It's not just the quality of the water that continues to amaze me it's the quality of the ground textures! The roads, fields and dirt tracks are so easy to spot from the air and every time you get airborne you discover a new gem that was previously undiscovered.
Reviewing Orbx's products always presents a difficult challenge to even the most seasoned reviewer simply because the area Orbx have created scenery for is so vast.
I am the owner of most Orbx airports in the North Western USA and with all the products the user see's how every time John and his team of talented scenery developers continually push back the boundaries of what is possible for scenery add on with every release.
I absolutely adore the long grass feature which has distinguished Israel's farm from others previously released by Orbx and other developers.
Overall I have to award this add on a Mutley's Hangar score of 9.5/10 - awarding this product anything less would be criminal
Review machine Spec: Core i7 email@example.com | 6Gb 1600mhz DRR3 RAM |Radeon 5700 GPU |Windows 7 64bit Pro