Orbx True Earth Great Britain South: The Future Of X-Plane Scenery Is Here

Yesterday I was able to download and install (on my own dime, not as a promotion) the new True Earth Great Britain South scenery from Orbx for X-Plane. I had posted about this upcoming scenery earlier in the month, along with some Orbx screen caps. It looked fantastic, and in all candor this was an announcement I’d been waiting some time to see. I used Orbx scenery extensively when I used P3D, and while the ability to create your own photorealistic scenery in X-Plane (for free) is a huge asset, as is the availability of HD mesh (also for free), there’s nothing quite like photo scenery, mesh, and landmarks created by someone who’s really doing it with intention.

And after spending about 90 minutes kicking the tires on the scenery in VR yesterday, I can say without hesitation that Orbx has created an amzaing product for X-Plane. I streamed that VR flight online, and it’s posted below. It was my first flight in the scenery, and we started in London, in part to find out what it does to my frames, optimal settings, etc. So if you choose to watch the video, know that much of the first 40 minutes or so are me trying different settings, re-loading the scenery and X-Plane, etc. Summary of the London experience? Really hard on my frames in VR, although people in the comments noted that it seemed to be much easier on frames in their physical cockpits. So perhaps it’s something about the VR rendering. It was not unflyable — nothing is unflyable if you compromise your settings — but to have what looked like a natural draw distance of objects, and a decent density to my taste (one notch below full on the object slider), my frames were really being tested. I can tolerate it, but it doesn’t make me eager to spend a lot of time flying around London (at least not until I upgrade my PC and video card).

We also ported to three other locations, though, and that experience was spectacular. Good-looking tiles, fantastic color-correction of the ortho scenery, trees everywhere (and of many different varieties), fantastic autogen buildings, gorgeous blending of the water textures on the seashore, and many, many custom local objects just where they should be — with highly flyable frames (at least on my rig). It was nothing short of thrilling in VR, and it looks good at all times of day (including at night, with all kinds of unique strobes, flashing red lights, etc. on different objects).

Summary: If you like to fly GA, this scenery is a must have. GB Central and North are next, and then Orbx plans to move to the US. And if you are tracking the path of X-Plane scenery development, all I can say is that Orbx have done it. The future is here.

Video and screen caps from the video are below.

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RealSimGear GNS 430 Unboxing

The good folks at RealSimGear were kind enough to send me one of their GNS 430 units for testing in the home cockpit. I already have the 530, which is fantastic, but as I use a 430 in the real world I was eager to have a similar unit in the basement sim. I likely won’t get the unit installed for another week or so, but here’s the unboxing. Like the 530, the quality is excellent, and I’m excited to use it.

 

 

A Quick Hop In The Physical Sim

Captain ShaneGo–one of my best mates and the man who helped me construct the sim over a weekend almost three years ago–was in town this past weekend and climbed into the cockpit for a quick virtual hop. A Citation jet pilot in real life, I was impressed with his willingness to simulate work on a day off. We had a great time, right up to and including the point where I crushed the tires. “You did seem to flare a bit high,” he said after I’d turned off the stream …

ORBX TrueEarth Great Britain South

I was very happy to see in my inbox yesterday an email from ORBX announcing that their TrueEarth Great Britain South package is on the way and planned for release later this month. Since ORBX announced that they would be developing for X-Plane I’ve been eagerly awaiting their products as, even with the wonders of orthoscenery for X-Plane, ORBX scenery really is top notch and I enjoyed it when flying P3D very much. The official announcement is here, with plenty of screen captures. I’ve also posted a few caps and the promotional video below. I really do feel that ORBX development for X-Plane is a fantastic thing for our community.


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RW Landing At Albert Whitted

Two weeks ago I was able to get up for a cross-country flight to Crystal River with my CFI just to keep the rust off. A good buddy of mine was in town, so with my CFI in the right seat as Pilot In Command we took him along for the ride. We had a great flight — beautiful weather, advisories from Tampa Departure, C-17s going by on their way to MacDill AFB, and a near-miss with a bald eagle at 3,500 feet. My buddy managed to capture the landing back at KSPG, which I post below. One night flight to go and then it’s checkride time. I’m getting excited!

GDPR

I’ve updated the site today to reflect GDPR compliance. You’ll notice the cookie approval on first loading the site, and there’s an approval checkbox for comments as well. I’ve also put a privacy policy online, which is linked in the Legal Marginalia at right.

X-Plane At Night To Punta Gorda

I took a little sim night flight this evening in VR to Punta Gorda for some pattern work — something I’d scheduled to do tonight in the real world but needed to scrub. I decided to stream it, and watching the YouTube video after the fact I’m still amazed at how great X-Plane can look at night. Incredible.

Video Review: The xVision Shader Utility In Action

xVision, a new (and free) shader utility for X-Plane is getting a lot of attention. I’ve never used shader tweaks, although I have modified some art assets via my own Lua script, so I decided to give xVision a try. Below is a flight in VR from KSBP to L88 and back, at dusk and into night using the XtremeRealistic Enhancement preset. Having used xVision a little bit, I have two conclusions:

  1. It works great, at least for me. And the XtremeRealistic Enhancement preset is excellent and X-Plane absolutely looked the best I’ve ever seen it look. It sharpened the image a bit more than I like (it gave me jagged edges in VR), but I was able to turn that down in the xVision Pro settings.
  2. The xVision preset improved the clarity of the VR image for me, enough that I probably could have turned down super sampling. This was a surprise for me, but I was happy to see it. I could read the GPS frequencies with absolutely no difficulty.

Absolutely give it a whirl – but be sure to back up per the instructions! (And if you are wondering where the activation key is that xVision asks for on installation, it’s in a text file in the folder you downloaded.)