Commercial FSX Review
Swanson Airport 2W3
|Description:||Highly-detailed and realistic Airport scenery – Swanson Airport (2W3)|
|Reviewed by:||Christopher Elliott|
|Published:||May 2nd, 2012|
Computer / Software Specifications
|Computer System:||- Intel Core i7 920 CPU OC’d to 3.8Ghz
- Corsair H50 CPU cooler
- ATI Radeon HD 5720 Graphics Card
- Western Digital 500GB 7500RPM HDD
- Acer 1920×1080 Monitor
- TM Hotas Cougar + TM WCS + CH TQ + Track IR
|Software:||- Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium
- Microsoft Flight Simulator X Acceleration
- Rex 2.0 OverDrive
|Overall Time:||- Ground Testing 10 hours
- Flight Testing 5 hours
On my Way to …..
From within the little Piper Warrior at 1,800ft. I can see a plume of smoke in the distance beside Eatonville Mill Pond and I head toward it. The time is 7:25am and the sun has only been up for about an hour.
The grey clouds hang over the North West region of America. Typical for this time of the year, blocking the sunshine and intimidating the small plane. Hills sweep high above us ahead and to our right. As we descend lower, I can see the excavation site ahead and to our left we see the tiny asphalt strip that more resembles a road than a runway. We turn left base for finals and I can see trees and houses lining the runway with more plumes of smoke rising to meet us. We touchdown softly.
I can see a break in the clouds heading our way as the sunlight sweeps across the countryside toward us. I taxi to the end of the runway, turn off and park outside the CP Aviation building where our friends are waiting with a warm welcome. We have just arrived at Orbx’ new Swanson Airport.
… Orbx Swanson 2W3
Swanson Airport (2W3) is located in Eatonville, Washington, a state in the Pacific Northwest of America, near the home of the Boeing Corporation.
The airport sits at an elevation of 850ft. and has two runways. 16 and 34, which are 2,990ft. in length. 24 miles to the west is Mt. Rainier and 40nm (29min flying time) to the south, heading 160 degrees, is volcano Mount St. Helens, which erupted back in 1980. Stepping out of the shut down Piper Warrior, your feet touch the grass.
Within the grass, there are patches of dry and green textures, as well as areas of longer vegetation with white flower heads. The grass textures are inter-changeable in the control panel where you may select options for low-end to high-end systems affecting performance. However, it is also prudent to set the textures to a lower setting in bad weather.
There are no hard lines as the grass ends creating a realistic effect to the scenery as it curves and winds into the distance. Looking across from the aircraft to the building, I see plane people.
People Flow, Wind Sock etc.
Thanks to Orbx’ innovative People flow creation, characters inhabit the airport who move and walk. At the CP Aviation building, which is the location for the only parking available on the airport, there is a woman walking round and round circuit. There is also a man standing and moving his arms and appears to be speaking on his mobile – I imagine it’s an Apple iPhone.
Further along the strip there are other characters placed. Opposite this location is the BAS Inc. building, a windsock and other static features. Sitting back in the cockpit after a hearty pancakes, maple syrup and bacon breakfast, I have a look around, which is always a good idea at an unfamiliar place. To the left is a metal mesh fence through which I can make out two small yellow signs (one reads the runway designation and the other a frequency to call for back tracking).
There are a lot of green trees here surrounding the airport, with the hills and mountains beyond. In front are some buildings and static aircraft. There is even a Winnebago trailer parked next to the BAS building. Apart from this, there is the grass, asphalt strip and a couple of runway lights. With some bad weather, the simulator is showing an average frame rate of 25FPS. Just off the nose there is a gravel track and it’s time to start the engine and taxi to the active.
The wind sock is showing that take off will be on runway 16. As I approach the threshold it is clear to see the approach to runway 16 is challenging with a couple of tall trees directly in the way and I think it is time to fly a circuit and see.
I line up on the runway, place the throttles in my little Piper Warrior to full and accelerate toward rotation.
From runway 16 you are headed straight toward a large hill, which is the beginning of the mountains from the north and pointing toward Mount St Helens. As the aircraft accelerates, you whiz past houses, trees and a digger and the sense of speed here is incredible due to the framed runway – 60 knots feels pretty fast compared to open airfields.
As soon as I am airborne and at 1,000ft. AGL, I turn right into a circuit pattern. I find myself flying over Eatonville Mill Pond again and turning while climbing and watching out for the higher terrain that surrounds the airport. I turn right until I see the landmark of Ohop Lake and I aim the nose just to the right of the lake and settle at 1,400ft. and 80 knots.
It’s not long until I am turning right base for runway 16.
As I line up with the runway, it becomes apparent that the tree I saw before take off is slap bang in the middle of the approach path with high terrain before the tree. There are two choices. Go over the top and build speed on a steep dive onto the runway, land long or go around it. I opt to go around it, which seemed more sporting! On my second attempt, I landed long and returned to the CP Aviation building.
Orbx has again created a realistic and beautiful scenery with Swanson Airport (2W3). The textures of the buildings and foliage are top rate and the entire package brings a true sensation of being there. The realism depicted is detailed and inspired. Although the people walking around the airport are without purpose, they do add to a sense of being at a living airport. Not to mention the birds singing!
The modelling is flawless. This is the first time in FSX I have experienced a scenery rather than just visited it. Swanson Airport makes for a relaxing flying base for VFR and a fantastic springboard to the rest of the North West region. Orbx is able to transform FSX areas into a visual nexus of the simulator and 2W3 is the jewel in the crown of NA Blue region.
After a filling lunch and an afternoon trip to the mighty volcano, it’s time to leave. I wave goodbye to my friends and take-off into the dusk headed for my next great Aerosoft adventure.
This review is written for Aerosoft News Service and published via the Aerosoft website.
While the reviewer has complete journalistic freedom, we ask the reader to keep in mind where the review is posted.