Cloverdale Municipal Airport – ORBX – review (5*)

Cloverdale – this beautiful general aviation airport in California features the best local mesh I have seen so far in Flight Simulator X.

o60

Pros and cons

What I like in Cloverdale

  • outstanding local mesh
  • airport buildings
  • airport textures (buildings and ground)
  • high resolution photoscenery
  • airport surroundings (the town, local industry)
  • animated people

What I do not like?

What can be improved?

  • night lighting

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Cloverdale Airport – ORBX – 5*****

The airport captivated me at the first sight. As soon as took off and saw this wavy fields – I thought this is probably the best mesh I have seen so far in Flight Simulator X sceneries. It is not the only strong side of Cloverdale scenery, just the first of many. O60 by ORBX is a perfect small airport with great buildings, textures and animations. And it is surrounded by a high resolution photoscenery and custom objects. This is what I like!

Cloverdale Municipal Airport

Cloverdale (O60) is a small general aviation airport located between sparsely populated Upstate California and San Francisco (75 miles due south) with its busy airspace.

O60 is non towered airport and it can handle aircraft that weight up to 12,000 pounds. Its single asphalt runway is 3147 feet long (959 meters) and 60ft wide (18m).

There is a RNAV/GPS instrument approach for runway 32. Night landings are easier thanks to edge lights. Taxiing is a bit tricky – the rest of the airport is not lighted at night.

Southern standard traffic pattern has been established – this means left for runway 32 and right for 14. If you are unsure there is a pattern indicator circle drawn on the apron.

What to fly and where?

It is a small general aviation airport so the most common planes visiting O60 are small GA planes. The limiting factor is aircraft weight – 12,000 pounds. Also the lack of jet fuel may be considered limiting (if you care for such issues when flying at your PC).

Where to? Bay Area with all its airports is 20-60 minutes to the south (depending whether you fly some fancy Duke or Malibu or a slow Cessna 152). To the north and east you will find many small airports – pilots used to European airspace will consider them quite frequent even if they are sparser than in other parts of California. Several payware airports are available for the Northern California and others are enhanced by FTX NCA.

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O60 Cloverdale Municipal Airport – ORBX

Cloverdale is dedicated to FTX NCA (FTX Northern California) users. This scenery is required.

Airport scenery was designed by Turbulent Designs – already well known developer which created Friday Harbor, Blue Canyon and Rohnerville Airport. With my experiences with Rohnerville and Friday Harbor (both will be reviewed soon) – I was sure that this developer guarantees a quality product.

Scenery features (as by ORBX describes their product):

  • HD airport ground detail
  • HD texture details for both ground poly and buildings
  • HD scattered (optional) grass and other vegetation
  • Additional Turbulent Designs library objects with baked ambient occlusion
  • Large high-quality 15cm and 60cm coverage area
  • Incorporates Orbx ObjectFlow technology
  • Custom modelled POIs and animated objects
  • Fully seasoned to match FTX Northern California
  • Hand placed autogen, vegetation and buildings
  • Developed by Turbulent Designs

Purchase, installation, documents

As always with ORBX sceneries you can buy Cloverdale in FlightSimStore. It costs 34,95 australian dollars (22EUR / 24USD – February 2016 rates). Downloaded file requires product key, order date and order number to install the scenery.

Manual is similar to other documents by ORBX – it consists of a short description, suggested settings and credits. In the document you will also find the approach chart. Unfortunately an airport diagram is not available so a stand you choose when loading a flight may surprise you.

Configurator

You can run scenery configuration tool from FTX Central (make sure that you have a latest version by installing current ORBX libs). It allows you to turn on/off the following features:

  • static planes
  • grass
  • HD trees
  • animated people
  • vehicles
  • clutter

Turning this features off may lower the load on your PC. I never used this configurator – it was not necessary as the scenery performance is great.

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The first impressions

I still remember this! It was a flight in a Spitfire – one after a long break so I expected that I will be concentrated on handling this plane instead of looking out and admiring the views. But the views were too good to miss. The very first impression was made by the textures on the ground – asphalt was covered with grooves and scratches like a real, old and much used apron. Taxiing the spitfire – slowly zigzagging to the runway is a good opportunity to admire the taxiway details.

The second first impression stroke me as soon as I took off. The fields below me looked like a large, gentle waves with even the smallest irregularities precisely recreated. That is why, instead of flying patterns for training I spend my time buzzing around at low altitude and very high speed.

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The airport

Instead of taking you through all the usual elements (models, textures, photoscenery, etc.) let me change this review into a guided tour. Let’s start at the threshold of runway 32. On the left you will see VASI lights – two lamps that indicate a 3,5 degree glide path of instrument approach.

Moving along the runway and on the taxiway you will probably notice some nicely painted markings. They are not too worn, but neither are they fresh. Something in between – when looking at them closely I would say that they are actually quite old (hence little damaged on the edges) but someone used a high quality paint and did a good job – so they are still clear and visible. At the end of the runway you will see a lighter patch of asphalt (or concrete) covering left part of runway 14. It’s 80-120m long and confused me on my first approach.

There are the previously mentioned edge lamps along the runway and blue taxiway markings along all taxiways. When you taxi – please admire the ground colors and details – they are very close to the materials used on this airport in the real world although some dirt or mud is missing.

There are over a dozen stands marked with T-shaped lines on apron between hangars. Other stands are marked with used tires laying on gras and dirt (that would be the source of mud that I complained about).

A fuel tank and a fuel truck are located on the widest part of asphalt apron.

Hangars, buildings, people and clutter

I like the buildings and their surroundings in all ORBX sceneries and Cloverdale is not an exception. This is why I was not surprised by the “Quality Sport Planes” sign clearly visible over the hangar door. Not long ago I could be surprised by the recycling marking on the trash bin, but I am getting used to such tiny details. If you are looking for something that is above the ORBX standard – look at the building walls. They are extremely detailed – small shadows baked into their textures creates a illusion of even better 3d modelling.

There are also several animated people on this airport. For example – you can notice a big lady behind a hangar – look how she lights up her cigarette and smokes it (the amount of smoke is somehow exaggerated). When I parked my plane in front of one of the hangars I noticed a mechanic working by a table. He then stops and turns to a different table to take a bottle of water. I think I remember this guy from Palm Springs airport (but I have nothing against reusing a good library object and animation to make each airport more alive and real).

Airport clutter is not limited to the trash bin I mentioned earlier. You will also find crates, palettes, warning cones and tires. In one word – everything you can expect in such place.

The airport is covered with 3d grass. Comparing to other sceneries I would say that it is a “standard” grass – not better and not worse than grass in other sceneries. It could be a little more dense.

Night lighting could be brighter – this airport looks as it is 3 in the morning and no one is around any more. I would prefer “late evening” lighting situation.

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Surrounding area

It is almost a must for such a scenery to include a nearby town and this one does include it. It looks very nice with custom autogen properly placed around Cloverdale. What I enjoyed mostly flying around this place is the local industry – woodwork plants at both sides of Cloverdale and Asti Winery.

Performance – very good

As I said – I did not feel the need to turn any features off. The performance is very good and I did not see FPS drops on my PC. It is a better result than average for ORBX sceneries.

Summary – 5*****

The airport captivated me at the first sight. As soon as took off and saw this wavy fields – I thought this is probably the best mesh I have seen so far in Flight Simulator X sceneries. It is not the only strong side of Cloverdale scenery, just the first of many. O60 by ORBX is a perfect small airport with great buildings, textures and animations. And it is surrounded by a high resolution photoscenery and custom objects. This is what I like!

Quality to price – very good

35AUD / 22EUR / 24USD – it is a very good price for such a scenery. If you wonder whether you should pay this much for a small airport – in my opinion you should – considering the quality of the airport and its surrounding area where you can spend some time flying around and enjoying the views.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Cloverdale Municipal Airport - ORBX
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