Orbx FTX Norway Part One
[Reviewed By: Mike Cameron] Introduction. FTX: EU Norway is the latest full regional scenery product from Orbx. If you are unfamiliar with the Orbx regions versus their Global series of products, the regional products include all four scenery layers, Terrain Mesh, Landclass Data, Textures and Vector Data all in one package instead of having to purchase & install each of these scenery layers separately. I am not going to explain in detail about each of these layers but if you would like to learn more I recommend downloading the FTX Definitive Guide located here: http://www.orbxsystems.com/forum/topic/74345-the-definitive-guide-to-ftx-products-the-go-to-source-of-ftx-information/ . The Orbx Norway region covers approximately 160,000 square miles (420,000 sq. km) of all of Norway plus narrow boundary regions of adjacent Sweden, Finland and Russia. The Arctic Ocean Islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen are not included because no suitable data was available though both airports ENSB (Svalbard Longyear) and EN67 (Broggerhalvoya) have received enhancements similar to the other 133 airports that have been added or upgraded.
There are a variety of landscapes to explore including scenic coastlines & offshore islands, deeply incised fjords, large interior plateaus that are covered with close to a million lakes, agricultural areas along corridors of large rivers, colorful villages, busy cities and many industrial sites associated with oil and gas exploration. As I have come to expect from an Orbx regional scenery product, all of these natural and man made features have been recreated in great detail and accuracy. The Landclass scenery layer has been hand placed along with accurate placement of road & railway networks, power lines, wind farms and other vertical obstructions allow for realistic VFR flying. If you are new to Orbx products, do not expect every object from every village, town and city, which is beyond what this scenery can provide. What you do receive are plenty of real world landmarks, both urban as well as natural for realistic flights. The many point of interest locations feature seasonal photoreal coverage and are fully annotated with autogen buildings and vegetation. Orbx does listen to their customers and if a major landmark was omitted and can be placed with the current object library, these may be added with a future update. In addition to these landmarks, the ground textures of this scenery are hand-annotated with custom Orbx autogen objects including the frame-rate friendly FTX Global-style night lighting. As mentioned earlier and similar to the other Orbx regions, each of the 117 listed airports and 18 unlisted airstrips have received major upgrades over the default FSX airports with more accurate placements of runways & taxiways as well as buildings, hangars, static aircraft, moving people (& creatures) and lots of clutter. Below are some of the features not already described:
• Custom models of 25 significant bridges
• 28 Stave churches and 97 lighthouses
• Highly detailed Alesund “Cityscape”
• Enhanced Oslo waterfront and downtown
• 12 photoreal natural and industrial areas
• Customized 10-m resolution terrain mesh
[Note: For format purposes, many images throughout this review are cropped. Click each image for full size resolution preview where desired.]
Norway – A Brief History and Some Demographics
I gathered this information from the www.infoplease.com website. Norway is located in the Western part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. It extends about 1100 miles (1770 km) from the North Sea along the Norwegian Sea to more than 300 miles (483 km) above the Arctic Circle, the farthest north of any European country. The size of the country is slightly larger than the state of New Mexico in the United States. Nearly 70 percent of Norway is uninhabitable and covered by mountains, glaciers, moors and rivers. The hundreds of deep fjords that cut into the coastline give Norway an overall oceanfront of more than 12,000 miles (19,312 km). Galdho Peak is Norway’s highest point at 8,100 feet and the Glama (Glomma) is the principal river at 372 miles (598 km) long.
Norwegians, like the Danes & Swedes are of Teutonic origin. Norsemen, also known as Vikings, ravaged the coasts of Northwest Europe from the 8th to the 11th Centuries and were ruled by local chieftains. Olaf II Haraldsson became the first effective king of all of Norway in 1015 and began converting Norwegians to Christianity. After 1442, Norway was ruled by Danish Kings until 1814 when it was united with Sweden, although it retained a degree of independence and received a new constitution but was an uneasy partnership. The Norwegian Parliament arranged for a peaceful separation in 1905 and invited a Danish prince to the Norwegian throne – King Haakon VII. A treaty with Sweden provided all disputes would be settled by arbitration and that no fortifications would be erected on the common frontier. The current king since 1991 is King Harald V and current Prime Minister since 2013 is Erna Solberg.
- Population (2013 census): 5,063,709 (growth rate: 0.3%)
- Life expectancy: 80.1 years
- Population density per square kilometer: 15
- Capital & Largest City (June 2013): Oslo, 629,313 Other Large Cities:
- Bergen, 270,600
- Stavanger, 197,852
- Trondheim, 170,242
- Monetary Unit: Norwegian Krone
Installation of Orbx products is very easy. After purchase you will be emailed a link to the download on your FlightSimStore account, the Order Number, Date and Registration Key. Unpack the downloaded folder and run the ORBXFTXEUNOR.exe file. The installation instructions do not specify which region you should have activated in FTX Central program prior to installation, I own other European regions so I selected “Europe” otherwise select “FSX Default or Global”. Orbx uses the FSS “Wrapper” for activation, enter your Order Number, Date and Key when requested. Thankfully, the key is not complicated so entering it should not be a problem. The wrapper will unpack the Orbx installer and will automatically begin the setup process. Agree to the License Agreement then select “Next”. Orbx products only install into your default FSX/P3D folders so you do not need to browse for an install location. If you are a P3D V2.X owner, Orbx FTX: EU Norway includes the triple installer for FSX, P3Dv1 and P3Dv2, no additional license purchase required, which is good news for simulator pilots using that simulator. I will be reviewing the FSX version of the scenery. Wait until the install process is complete before closing the wrapper. Once the scenery is installed you will be prompted to run FTX Central which will run its EU NOR file management routines and this will take some time so be patient. When the main FTX Central interface screen is open, select the “Europe” region, click the “Apply” button and you will hear a confirmation ‘ding’ and you are now ready to fly. Before starting the simulator, download and install the latest Orbx Object Libraries. Norway has a very large file size (3.61GB) so if you installed on a traditional hard drive, I recommend defragging your hard drive. An excellent 25 page user guide is included with scenery details and recommended simulator settings. I used the recommended settings but if you have performance issues adjust your simulator settings. A Google Earth KMZ file is also provided with all of the scenery point of interest locations which is handy for planning scenic flights.
My Norwegian Flight Tour
The Orbx Norway regional scenery includes a control panel similar to what is included with their airport scenery products. Your options are Open Water or Frozen Surface for the lakes and rivers and enabling the animated Wind Farm Turbines. I am going to start with the open rivers and lakes and animated turbines. I will select the frozen surface at some point for comparison purposes most likely combined with winter ground textures. Unless I encounter performance issues, I am going to leave the animated turbines activated. I like to approach my regional scenery reviews as a flight tour of the region. I am going to start at Vardo Airport (ENSS) which is located in northeast area of the country. I will then fly west and south with a series of short to medium flights. I am not going to fly over every point of interest but will go to each of the included photoreal areas and if possible provide some background information of those places. In areas with many points of interest objects such as city photo areas, I will pilot the Trike ultralite in order to capture screen grabs without my aircraft obstructing the view. I am writing this review in January and depending on the environmental ground textures, I may switch to a different season so that the ground is not completely covered in snow. I will use the default FSX Fair Weather theme and will use Google Earth to help plan my flights. I will also have a moving map open on my iPad that has a Google Map or similar option so that I know I am in the correct location to view the landmarks. It is now time to start my tour of Norway.
Most of the photo areas are located in the southern part of the country but the northern half does have plenty of interesting things to see. Most of the north is made up of the natural scenic features but there are some man made point of interest landmarks to see as well. I will be using the new free VFR Flight for flight planning because it allows me to quickly add a landmark location to the flight plan along with airports, navigation waypoints and cities. For details about this flight planner visit the developer’s website located here: http://vfrflight.org/en/index.html . I also downloaded and installed the free worldwide AI ship traffic by Henrik Nielsen so if you see some boats or ships in my screen grabs, they are probably his models. If you are interested in them, search by his name on Avsim or other flight simulator web sites. The first thing that I found out that I needed to do after I loaded my first airport in Norway is that I needed to change the season because at these northern areas, it is dark at all hours for many months of the year.
For this first flight I decided to fly in the spring, and as you can see from the first screen grab here the enhanced airports look great and are major improvements over the default FSX airports. Also, there is still some snow on the ground even in April. The small communities look great but decided to change the season to summer so that I could see the roadways & railways better. I noticed that some of the buildings are placed on top of roads but when flying at a higher altitude this probably would not be as noticeable. I will get to see some of the many lighthouses with these early flights. The thing that I needed to get used to was the lack of trees in this northern most part of the country. What I love about Orbx products is that all of the natural features are placed in their real world locations. The ground textures are also great looking. I love the amount of small scenery objects that are included with this scenery. When I was flying over the water feature on my approach to Batsfjord Airport (ENBS), I spotted a small boat & float plane dock. It is these small scenery details that make Orbx products so great. I decided at this time to enable the frozen water features to review these textures and I like that only the smaller bodies of water have frozen textures which for me adds to realism level. The frozen water textures look nice but since I will be flying in the summer I think I will return to the open water setting. Maybe someday Orbx will have a way to have the frozen textures happen automatically depending on the season so no manual switching is involved. The enhanced airports include animated workers and people which add to the experience, but it is some of the other realistic features that I really like such as the animated Norwegian flags that greatly improve these airports over the default ones.
Continuing west along the northern coast, I continue to enjoy the scenic landscapes that the Country of Norway provides. It should come as no surprise because this is an Orbx scenery product that all of the natural features from the many fjords, to rivers, lakes and other inland features are placed in accurate locations and look like their real world natural landmark. I am going to fly over a couple of man-made point of interest locations on this flight, the Kjollefjord and Havoysund wind farms before landing at Hammerfest Airport (ENHF). There are a couple of unpaved airstrips along the way and if it looks like they have been enhanced from the air, I will try landing at them. Also with this flight I will start to travel south along the western coast. I decided not to land at the unpaved airstrips because that is just what they were, remote airstrips without any ground objects but these would be great if you are part of a Norwegian virtual airline or cargo carrier servicing the nearby small communities. Besides looking very realistic, the wind farms did not have a performance impact on my system. This might be because they are not as densely populated as they were in the Orbx Northern California region so performance should not be an issue but if it is just turn off the animation using the Norway Control Panel.
From Rural to Urban
For the next series of flights I am leave the rural lightly populated northern part of Norway and continue south to the more densely populated areas of the country. There will still be plenty of natural areas to explore along the way. This flight is going to be somewhat long as I continue along the west coast passing over more scenic landscapes, along with a light house and a wind farm before arriving at the first large city on my tour, Tromso and its neighboring communities. I will also fly over the first two extrusion bridges that are included with this scenery, the Sandnessundbrua and Tromsobrua bridges. The destination airport will be Tromso Airport (ENTC). This is good time to comment that I have not installed any airport scenery products for Norway, either free or premium. All screen grabs are of the Orbx enhanced airports. If you own other Norwegian scenery products, I recommend visiting the Orbx Compatibility forum to learn what is needed to make your scenery compatible with Orbx FTX: EU Norway. Also continuing forward, I decided to try to find a Norwegian aircraft registry for one of my aircraft so that my screen grabs would be more realistic looking instead of a United States aircraft flying in Norway. I did find one for my A2A Cessna 172. I am looking forward to flying over the bridges because they provide prominent landmarks for flight planning. As I fly my route I continue to enjoy the quality of the scenery features both natural and man-made. As I approach the first bridge at Tromso, I start to see more trees for a nice change of scenery. Tromso and the surrounding communities have accurately placed scenery features which are wonderful for VFR flying.
For example, I pass over a small marina on the left side of my aircraft and this is placed in the exact location according to my Google moving map. If the community has parks, ball fields and other landclass features, these are also placed in there approximate real world locations. Tromso is the largest airport that I have landed at so far on my tour and I continue to be impressed with how detailed these enhanced airports are. This airport has some very realistic looking snow plows and other airport equipment.
Sulitjelma & Svartisen Glaciers
I decided to divide this review into two parts because there will be a lot to see in the southern half of Norway. This last flight for part 1 will be very long because I want to fly over the first two photo scenery areas included with this scenery, the Sulitjelma and Svartisen glaciers. There are also a couple of bridges along the way but if they look similar to the previous bridges I probably will not capture screen grabs. Information about these glaciers was gathered from this website with information about the larger Norwegian glaciers: http://glacierglen.ljungstrand.se/Norge/NorgeE.html. Sulitjelma is the mountain area around the large mountain massif with the same name. It lies right across from the border from Sweden, like an impregnable border fortress. The bold horn of Suliskongen (1907m) is the areas highest peak and the huge Blamannsisen some distance to the northwest is the largest glacier, while Sulitjelmaisen is also very large as well. Svartisen quite simply is the area known as Svartisen. It is dominated by two large ice caps but there are other ice fields as well. The highest peak in this area is Orfjellet (1751m) at the northeast edge. The two Svartisen glaciers (which are anything but black (svart=black in ordinary Norwegian)), “svartis” means glacier ice in the local dialect. The glaciers of these mountains are mostly ice cap type, but alpine glaciers can be found in southern Vest-Svartisen and in Beiardalen.
As I fly south and pass over the many small islands, I am very impressed with the amount of detail of these islands both large and small. The textures of the glacier areas are great looking. The first couple of screen grabs of each glacier are taken in August but I did include one the winter to compare the ground textures. Unfortunately, there is a very limited amount of daylight hours in the winter and even those looked more like dusk or dawn, so I only included one screen grab. Obviously there is snow on the ground and if I had it enabled the small lakes would have frozen textures. I like that Orbx has included dirty or melting ice textures in the summer which is what you would expect.
I hope everyone has enjoyed my first part of the Orbx FTX: EU Norway review and flight tour. The first part included many of the natural landscapes that you will see if you purchase this wonderful Norway scenery product. In part II, there will still be plenty of natural features to explore but as I continue my trips south, I will start to fly over the more densely populated urban features of this scenery including the rest of the photo areas.
The first flight of part II of the Orbx Norway review and tour is going to be very long (309 miles) as I plan to fly over the next photoreal scenery area, the Tjeldbergodden Refinery before landing at my destination of Kvernberget Airport (ENKB). I decided to use the A2A 182T for this flight. I also decided to do things a bit different with this flight. Most of the flights in the first part were along the coast, but instead of flying west again back to the coast, I decided to fly south along the eastern border of Norway until I reach the Kjolen Mountains before turning west back to the coast. I will continue to fly over the many natural and man-made features that make the Orbx Norway scenery such a wonderful product. Before continuing on, I want to add another comment about the enhanced airports. I love that some of the buildings have weathered textures; they look very realistic, similar to what might be included in some premium airport scenery packages. As I fly south I continue to be impressed with the great looking ground textures. I already mentioned the lack of trees in part 1, but if you like lakes in your simulated scenery then you are going to fall in love with this scenery because there are an incredible amount of lakes both large and small. The eastern border of Norway also provides some more variety to the landscapes included with this product, this area features a couple of mountain peaks along with the foothills associated with them.
As I fly over some of the wind farms that are part of this scenery, I continue to be impressed with the placement accuracy and the realistic amount of included turbines. When I compare the scene with Google Earth, where there are only a few in the real world, there are also only a few in the Orbx scenery. The Tjeldbergodden Industrial Complex in the Nordmore region of western Norway has three components, a gas receiving terminal, and plants for methanol & air separation. This complex was inaugurated in 1997 and its methanol plant is Europe’s biggest, and ranked at its opening as the first Norwegian use of natural gas in large-scale industrial production. This facility has an annual capacity of about 900,000 tons of methanol which corresponds to 25% of Europe’s total production capacity and 10% of Europe’s consumption. As expected the scenery objects at the refinery look very realistic, including a moored tanker.
Alesund Cityscape & Giske Island
The next flight will take me to the first two populated photoreal areas, the Alesund Cityscape and Giske Island. The closest airport to these locations is Vigra (ENAL) so I will park the C182 there and use the Trike to explore Giske Island and the City of Alesund. The information about Giske Island was gathered from www.gonorway.no website and Alesund from www.visitalesund-geiranger.com website. The Town of Giske has a population of approximately 6780 and covers an area of 40.1 square kilometers. Fishing and agriculture have always been important to the economy of this area. Today, Giske is a modern township that is located only 15 minutes from Alesund. The four islands in the community of Giske were the center of power during the Viking and middle Ages. It was also the seats of earls, local kings and Viking chieftains. Today, visitors to the area can explore the outermost islands through subsea tunnels. Driving over the Giske Bridge to the Village of Alnes is the Alnes lighthouse which has been operating since 1876 and is included in the Norway scenery. Another landmark that I plan to fly over if it is modeled is the Giske church which is constructed in marble and was built in the 12th century. What I like about the Orbx photoreal scenery areas is that you can fly at lower altitudes and the scenery objects and textures are great looking instead of having to fly at a higher altitude in order to enjoy better looking textures (usually blurry at lower altitudes). Just do not expect every house or building to be displayed, but there should be enough included landmarks to provide for great VFR flying. Another nice feature of the Orbx photoreal areas is that if they have modeled a landmark, it will be placed in the real world location, so if you see it on a map, it will be there in the scenery. This also applies to other scenery features such as parks, stadiums & sports fields, marinas etc. As I fly over the town I can even read some of the building signage which also adds to the overall experience. The Giske church is not modeled but there is a building placed at its location and the row of buildings in front of the small marina are included and are placed in the same location as they would be in the real world. There are no boats in the marina but I do not have a problem with this because they would probably not be three dimensional objects because this is photoreal scenery. As I fly over the Alnes lighthouse, I continue to be impressed with the variety of these small scenery objects. This lighthouse looks different than the other ones that I have passed over on my trip. It is these small things that make this scenery such a terrific value. I also like that the various communities (not just the photoreal areas) have an organized layout similar to what you would see in the real world, buildings are placed next to roads and trees are placed next to buildings.
On the stormy winter night of Jan 23, 1904, a devastating fire raged through the streets of Alesund. For 16 hours, the whole center of town, 850 houses, burned to the ground and left 10,000 people homeless. Only 230 houses remained after the fire. With a remarkable effort by the local population, travelers from near and far and other contributors, the town was completely rebuilt by 1907. The architects who designed the new houses were young Norwegians, influenced by both national romantic ideas as well as that time period’s popular architectural style, decided to design these buildings in the distinctive Art Nouveau style. These buildings are decorated with towers, turrets and imaginative colorful ornaments. Today, Alesund is renowned both nationally and internationally for its architecture and is a member of “Rèseau Art Nouveau Network”, a European network of Art Nouveau cities, including among others Glasgow, Barcelona and Vienna. The City of Alesund has very realistic looking buildings that are placed accurately because Alesund is a “Cityscape” similar to the optional free Portland Oregon scenery for the Pacific Northwest regional scenery product. This is nice because it adds even more value to an already remarkable scenery product.
Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier & Wergeland Halsvik Industrial Yard
For this flight I am going to fly over another two photoreal areas, one natural and one man made. After I depart the Alesund area, I am going to fly east over the Orsta, Hornindal and Stryn regions before arriving at the Tunsbergdalsbreen glaciers (say that several times fast!). After enjoying the natural features of the glaciers, I will continue southwest until I reach the Wergeland Halsvik industrial yard near Risnes, Norway. I will than continue south over the many communities in the Austrheim and Radoy regions before landing at my destination of Herdla Airport (ENHL).
I continue to enjoy the many landscapes that the country of Norway provides as I fly. I was able to see just about everything on this flight from mountainous areas to valleys with various sized communities and obviously plenty of lakes and rivers. I am going to repeat this again, I love the ground textures that Orbx has included with their FTX: EU Norway scenery product. The rock textures on some of the hills look extremely realistic. I also like that in the summer there are still some patches of snow at the higher elevations. Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier is the largest glacier arm in Norway. It is situated 500 meters above sea level in Leirdalen, a side valley of the Jostadalen valley. The Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier has been until now almost impossible to visit because of its remote location in Jostedalsbreen Glacier National Park. You can now visit this glacier arm together with a professional guide. After I fly over the impressive glacier areas, I descend as I fly southwest towards the Wergeland Halsvik area. As I continue to fly, I see less snow and start to see more green, along with more trees as I travel south. I could not find any information about the Wergeland Halsvik industrial yard but the Orbx presentation looks just like it does in the real world. I had originally planned to land at Herdla but this camping area’s remote airstrip was not designed for my Cessna 182 but would be a great location for float plane or a bush aircraft with STOL capabilities. I am going to visit this airstrip during my Bergen area tour in the Trike. After enjoying the scenery objects that are included at this airstrip from the air, I continue on to Flesland Airport (ENBR) where I will stop and rest.
The City of Bergen, Industrial Yard, Refinery and Fish Farms
There are going to be plenty of point of interest locations to fly over in this area, I am going to use the Trike to explore. First I am going to fly over the City of Bergen enroute to Herdla where I will land so that I can see this camping area from the ground. After departing here I will pass over a couple of the fish farms that are located in this area and as I work my way back to Flesland Airport, I will fly over the Kollsnes refinery, Hanoytangen industrial yard and a couple of the prominent bridges in the Bergen area.
The City of Bergen is located in the Hordaland region on the west coast of Norway, on the peninsula of Bergenshalvoyen. This city was established in 1070 AD and Bergen is the administrative center of Hordland. As of 2014, the population was 276,100 making it Norway’s second most populous city after Oslo. The area covered by Bergen is 465 square kilometers (1080 sq. mi.) and consists of eight boroughs. The city is an international center for aquaculture, shipping and the offshore petroleum industry. Bergen is also a national center for higher education, tourism and finance. This city is not an Orbx photoreal area but still benefits from all of the other traditional scenery layers and looks great from the air. Continuing on to Herdla, this airstrip provides a good example of the Orbx enhanced airstrips & airports that are not included with the default FSX/P3D and after this review I plan on visiting some more of them. Similar to the animated flags at the larger airports, there is smoke coming out of the chimneys, which is nice and is another example the great amount of small features included with this scenery.
Along the coast of Norway, there are several hundred fish farms breeding many types of fish including the famous Norwegian salmon. Aquaculture, also known as fish farming, accounts for an increasing share of the export volume. Production of farmed salmon in 1995 exceeded 250,000 tons or more than half of the world’s farmed output. Norwegian fish farmers know that all fish are not created equal. Cage design, site selection, selective breeding, veterinary care (including vaccinations) and feed content all count in the production of farmed fish. I really like that Orbx has included the real world shapes of the various fish farm pens. It would have been easy to just have one shape for all of the included fish farms included with this scenery.
The processing plant at Kollsnes, west of Bergen treats gas from the Troll, Kvitebjorn and Visund fields in the North Sea, and can handle up to 143 million standard cubic meters per day. Natural gas liquids are separated from the rich gas at Kollsnes, with the remaining dry gas pressurized before being driven by large compressors through the gas trunk lines to customers. Just like the other industrial yards, I could not find any information about the Hanoytangen industrial yard but as with the others that I have passed over, it looks very realistic from the air. Before returning to Flesland Airport, I fly near a couple of the upgraded bridges and continue to be impressed with quality of these objects. Information for this section was gathered from Wikipedia, thefishsite.com and the statoil.com websites.
Karsto & Rafness Porsgrunn Refineries and Stavenger Rosenberg Shipyard
Continuing south along the west coast, I am going to fly over the first stave church of my travels, the Fantoft church located in the Fana borough of the City of Bergen. The next major point of interest is the Karsto refinery, followed by the Stavenger Rosenberg shipyard and the Rafness Porsgrunn refinery before landing at Geiteryggen Airport (ENSN). After I land at this airport, I will now be travelling north to the final review destination, the City of Oslo. On this trip I will also fly over another wind farm, several fish farm pens and a bridge or two but will not be capturing screen grabs because I already have several examples of these objects. After departing Flesland, the Fantoft stave church is only a short flight from this airport and these stave churches is another example of the realistic looking scenery objects that are included with the FTX: EU Norway scenery. Each of the stave church entries on the Google Earth file include a link to Wikipedia and when I clicked on the link for the Fantoft church, the church included with this scenery looked very similar to the picture of the real world church. I continue to enjoy the variety of the scenery features as I fly to the next three photo real scenery areas. The Karsto processing plant north of Stavenger plays a key role in the transport and treatment of gas and light oil from important areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. The first gas arrived at the facility on June 25th 1985, and dry gas began to be dispatched by pipeline to Emden in Germany on October 15th that same year. The Statpipe trunkline system carries gas from the North Sea to Karsto. As I have come to expect, both these refineries and the Stavenger Rosenberg shipyard look great in this scenery and look just like the real world locations.
Slagentangen Refinery, Lillehammer & the City of Oslo
For the final two flights of my Orbx Norway flight tour and review, I am going to pass over the final industrial area, the Slagentangen refinery. I will overfly the City of Oslo enroute to Lillehammer which hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics. I will also see a couple more of the stave churches along the way before landing at Gardermoen Airport (ENGM) which services the greater Oslo area. As with all of the other point of interest locations, there are several more of these churches included with this scenery than I am going to pass by. The second flight of this section will be an aerial tour of the City of Oslo in the Trike.
The Slagentangen refinery near Tonsberg is owned by ExxonMobil and was inaugurated in 1961 is located in a sheltered location by the Oslo Fjord. This refinery processes crude oil, mainly from the North Sea, into fuel products for consumption and industrial purposes. The annual production capacity is six million tons of crude oil into various petroleum products and represents more than half of Norway’s total consumption. The next point of interest on this flight is the Hoyjord stave church and was built in two phases. The first phase was in the late 1100’s and the second phase following approximately 100 years later. This church was restored in 1948 and is only one of only two preserved stave churches having a stave or pillar in the middle of the church. I love that Orbx has modeled these small scenery objects to look similar to the real world buildings. Similar to the castles that are included with the Scotland & Wales regions (these are the only other European regions that I own), I like the challenge of locating these churches in the scenery.
The next church that I am going to fly over is the Flesberg stave church and was likely constructed in 1250 AD, but the first written evidence dates to 1359 AD. This church was rebuilt into cruciform in 1735 but has obviously gone through many restorations and replacements many times before this. Of the original construction, only parts of the nave exist today. As I fly over the City of Oslo, I thought it would be a good time to review the night lighting textures for a large city and I am very impressed with the Orbx lighting system, without a drop in performance on my system. If you are new to Orbx products, you can see the red and green traffic lights which are a wonderful feature. As I arrive at Lillehammer, I notice that none of the Olympic venues are included with the Orbx Norway scenery so I return to the Oslo area where I will park the C182 and take my final flight of this review.
Oslo is the capital of Norway and is also Norway’s largest city. Oslo has a population of over 600,000 people and covers 454 square kilometers, 242km of which are forests. Oslo has been the capital of Norway since 1814 when Norway gained its independence from Denmark. Oslo is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities with annual population increases exceeding two percent in recent years. The capital is the seat of Regjeringen (the Norwegian Government) and Stortinget (the Norwegian Parliament) and is home to Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonja. The Royal Palace is located at the end of Oslo’s main street, Karl Johans gate and this will be one of point of interest locations that I will try to spot on my aerial tour of the city. Many of Norway’s large businesses and educational institutions are based in Oslo, which is also home to the National Museum of Art, Architecture & Design, the Norwegian Opera and the National Theater. Over half of the greater City of Oslo is covered by forests and parks which makes Oslo a truly “green city” and Oslo’s climate is more mild than its latitude might suggest, with summer temperatures equal to those cities farther south but the winters are cold enough to make Oslo a great skiing location. Notable events that have occurred in Oslo are the 1952 Winter Olympics and every year on December 10th, the Noble Peace Prize in the Oslo City Hall. The above information was gathered from the visitnorway.com website.
The City of Oslo photoreal area is the largest of these scenery areas included with the Norway product so I am going to use the tripadvisor.com travel website to plot my aerial city tour of Oslo. This website provides a great city area map with all of the major point of interest locations that helped me greatly with my flight plan. One of these points of interest locations is the ski jump from the Olympics and hopefully this included with the Oslo scenery objects and will the first waypoint of this flight. The ski jump is included and is great looking but I think the neighborhood below the jump probably was not located there in 1952. I love the variety of urban and natural features that are part of the City of Oslo. It is also nice to see that the important city landmarks are included and look great from low altitudes. Lastly, the Oslo area has the most densely grouped scenery objects of any part of the Norway scenery and I did not have any performance issues on my system. Also for part II of this review, I decided to adjust the Autogen slider to Extremely Dense so that I could get the most detail from this terrific scenery product. The Scenery Complexity slider was already set at Extremely Dense. I did have to make a sacrifice in order to use this autogen setting by reducing the AI Traffic sliders for both Airline and GA traffic to 2% which I was willing to make in order to have the increased scenery density.
I am going to keep this brief; Orbx has developed another outstanding regional scenery product with FTX: EU Norway. I am going to resist saying that this is their best regional scenery product because they are all wonderful products in their own way. The Norway region is Orbx’s most expensive regional scenery product but it is still an excellent value because there are so many places to explore, both natural and man-made. With this two part review I was only able to see a small amount of the many scenery features included with this wonderful product. The scenery textures and features are of the usual great Orbx quality and most modern computer systems should not have an issue with this scenery. If you would like learn more about this scenery, the Orbx product page is located here: https://www.fullterrain.com/product/nor. I want to thank Orbx and AirDailyX for providing and allowing me to review the Orbx FTX: EU Norway scenery product.
- Intel Desktop Computer
- Intel i5 4670K 3.4Ghz Non OC Processor
- 8GB DDR3 1833 Memory
- 2TB SATA HD (7200 RPM)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX550Ti Video Card with 1GB GDDR5 Memory
- Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick
- FSX with Acceleration, Windows 7 – 64 Bit
- REX 4 Texture Direct
- DX10 Scenery Fixer
- FSX Fair Weather Theme
- Flight Test Time: 25 hours