Innsbruck LOWI – ORBX – review (6*)

One of a few “must have” sceneries I can think of. An airport famous for its beautiful and difficult approach and a perfect scenery in Flight Simulator X and P3D. Amazing.

Pros and cons

What I like in Innsbruck (LOWI)

  • detailed airport
  • animated and static people (airport and heliports)
  • plenty of static planes at the airport
  • animated trains (WOW!)
  • photoscenery that covers a very large area
  • landmarks
  • autogen
  • small details – like the crew waiting for a helicopter on hospital’s helipad

What don’t I like?

  • still looking for something!

What could be improved

  • the usuall (in ORBX sceneries) – I would like to see parking chart
  • a chart showing route to helipads would be useful

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In short – why 6 stars?

It’s a Jarrad Marshall’s scenery. That means it’s a 6-star scenery. Period. My constant readers may remember this name from my previous reviews.

What do I like in this particular scenery? Simply everything. It’s a detailed rendition of Innsbruck and the developer showed his high skills crafted the airport and surrounding scenery meticulously. “Surrounding” is a bit of an understatement – it’s a region 30 by 80 kilometers.

For me Innsbruck (in my sim) is a place where I fly. It’s a place where I can take a plane for a shorter or longer ride and spend an hour or two just flying above the scenery. That is the best in this scenery. Don’t think of it as another destination or place of departure. It’s so much more.

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Innsbruck

An airport that does not need introducing. Innsbruck is often ranked among the most difficult (or dangerous) airports in the world. Its localizer approaches follow the narrow valley cutting through Austrian Alps. Try the western approach and you will find yourself doing narrow visual turn just before you land. Even the “straight in” approach requires a significant course correction before landing. I always found this approach chellangin. With this scenery – it’s not only challenging but it can be beautiful too when the 737 passes over a detailed city and with the mountains covered with high-res photoscenery in the background.

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What to fly and where?

Possible aircraft?

Innsbruck is a small airport but you will find variety here – from flag carriers (Innsbruck is served by BA, Austrian Airlines, and SAS) to small glider clubs that operate at this airport. With anything, you can imagine, in between – small planes, business jets, and military aircraft.

If you are into soaring – wait for Foehn. The warm, southern wind creates perfect conditions over the slopes of mountains to the north. Be aware – this wind also causes dangerous turbulence south of the airport (check the VFR chart that shows appropriate VFR routes for Foehn season).

Those who prefer heavy iron can choose A320 family or a 737. You will find British Airways, Austrian Airlines, Finair, Scandinavian among scheduled carriers. Easy Jet flies to London and Eurowings to Germany. Several charter and holiday carriers visit Innsbruck too – Transavia, Thomson, Niki and others.

Until recently Avro RJs or BAe 146s were popular here, although their use in Europe declines. Some routes are (or were until recently) operated with ATRs, Dash 8s, and Fokkers. Smaller planes fly to Milan (Dornier 328).

The largest aircraft to fly to and from Innsbruck was a 767 of Lauda Air. You will have trouble squeezing it on narrow taxiways of LOWI. 2km runway doesn’t give much space for takeoffs.

Innsbruck is also a popular destination for business aviation and air taxis. Any jet or prop twin will be perfect here.

There are five helipads in this scenery, which makes it perfect for helicopter flights.

Where to fly?

There are scheduled routes to London (Easy Jet and BA), Dusseldorf (Eurowings), Frankfurt and Vienna (Austrian Airlines). You can try flying smaller planes to places like Milan (Malpensa). For charter or seasonal flights, there is a choice of smaller and larger airports in Europe. I’d suggest large cities during peak season in Austria (winter) and Mediterranean destinations during summer holidays.

Air taxi’s and business jets’ destinations are only limited by the range of the aircraft.

For local flights, I recommend scenic route along the Inn river or a South-North route – from Brenner pass (on Italian border) to Germany. I’m still waiting for weather that would allow me to attempt a long range glider flight – I hope to reach Samedan in Switzerland with favorable winds.

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LOWI Innsbruck Airport

It’s the lates scenery by Jarrad Marshall – the creator of such beauties like Monterey (6*), Palm Springs (6*) and Eagle County.

ORBX’s scenery is not limited to Innsbruck Airport, covering a huge space – ca. 80 by 30 kilometers! The whole area is covered with photoscenery (30cm/60cm/1m per pixel) with precisely laid autogen and custom objects. You will even find moving trains on the tracks!

Scenery features (as ORBX noted them):

  • Ultra-detailed rendition of LOWI
  • Enormous 2500km2 coverage area at 1m/60cm/30cm with 10m DEM
  • Five additional heliports including LOJO, LOIU, LOJT, LOIN
  • Over 160+ Landmarks and POI in coverage area
  • 30km of animated train routes
  • Custom HD GSE exclusive to Innsbruck
  • Crisp 2048 textures for priority buildings
  • Highly detailed and AI-ready APX by Graham Eccleston
  • Advanced AO, rendering and night lighting techniques
  • City centre and many other focus areas in high detail
  • Over 20 custom bridges and overpasses
  • All-new static aircraft types unique to Innsbruck Airport
  • Ultra-HD groundpoly
  • Huge extended coverage area 275km diameter
  • Painstakingly optimised for best performance across all sims

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Purchase, installation, documents

The procedure is the same for all ORBX products – one buys the scenery at ORBX Direct store (there are no retailers). When the purchase is complete – ORBX Central will download and install the scenery into FSX or P3D. ORBX Central is a small app by ORBX that manages all ORBX sceneries. ORBX Global Base or openLC is required for all the features to work correctly.

You can buy it for 39,95 Australian Dollars.

The manual describes the scenery, its features, and recommended settings. There is also a simple (too simple!) map that shows the locations of all helipads. Included screenshots may help with recognizing this places.

Airliner pilot view

I can divide my views on this scenery into three categories depending on what (and how) I fly. Airliners define the first category (not necessarily my favorite – actually probably my least favorite). Business jets would fit here too – but I don’t have any that I would like to fly at this particular moment.

When I arrive in Innsbruck it usually dark or cloudy. Or both. This means that Innsbruck appears at the last moment before landing and I have few moments to enjoy the view (usually at this moment I’m busy managing my plane on approach). One thing that caught my attention on landing was how the extended approach lights lead the pilot over the city. Look at this lights and you will also notice the dense city center. Then I’m busy turning for landing, so the next thing I notice is the airport when I taxi. It’s very immersive with a number of static planes parked on the apron.

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Air taxi

Air taxi. For me, it’s usually a small air taxi. Beech Duke. Or the Caravan II (one of the ugliest twins I fly, but Carenado’s model is nice to fly).  I like that kind of flying one does in these planes – low and close to the mountains but with moderate speeds.

During those flights (I usually fly to Italy and Switzerland) I enjoy watching views. I love seeing mountaintops at the level of my flight or above and Duke gives me just that. It’s here where the scenery around Innsbruck starts to shine (honestly – you will miss much of this in a 737).

I like the size of this scenery – 80km on the larger side gives me quite a place to fly. And there’s even more – surrounding area (275km) was also enhanced!

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Local flights – gliders, helicopters and Cub

I’m amazed by the number of 737 or A320 screenshots and videos on youtube and facebook groups. Yes – it’s nice to shoot this approach and then land an airliner here, but it’s just a small part of what this scenery has to offer.

I spent most of my time over Innsbruck flying helicopters (mostly Bell 222) and small planes – Cessna 172, Piper Cub and Piper Comanche. I love seeing every detail of this scenery passing slowly below me. This scenery makes me long for a high-quality Super Cub or Carbon Cub. Instead, I take A2A’s Cub and with this plane, I’ve done some really low and slow flights. Just try it (you can take the default Cub in FSX or P3D) – follow the Inn river flying just above the trees that grow on the banks. In a slow plane like Cub, you will be able to see all the details. And I’m sure you will be impressed as I was.

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When you are bored with the buzz of Cub’s engine – try something that doesn’t make any noise. A glider. With Cumulus X you will get termals and (more importantly) the ridge lift on mountainsides. As I said before – southern wind creates the best conditions for soaring – try the Karwendel ridge – it’s 6k feet from foot to the top and you will easily climb to 8 or 9 thousand feet with no power but the air rising over the slopes.

Since I mentioned my local flights I must not forget about my helicopter flying over this scenery. As you can see – I mostly flew Bell 222. It’s a rescue (or helimed) helicopter by Cera Sim. Five helipads (plus the airport) open several routes that can be further extended if a pilot wishes to simulate mountain rescue or media flights. With helicopter you will notice additional details of this scenery – like the hospital personel waiting on a helipad for me to bring the accident victim.

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What I like most

There are several features of this scenery that grabbed my attention. There was one positive surprise too.

Treeline on the banks of Inn River

Leave your 737 for a moment and take a small plane (or a helicopter). Go for a trip along the river (you can go either west or east from the airport). What you will see is a treeline on the banks of the river. I’ve noticed these trees on some photos from the real locations and I confirmed that with satellite images. I have to say that I’m impressed with this detail. It looks just like in the real world.

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Trains

The big surprise. Ok, I have to admit – they said that there are 30km of animated rail routes. But I thought that there is a single train running somewhere in the scenery and I will see it maybe once. I was wrong.

The trains moving on tracks are noticeable and they just reminded me of something that I miss in the flight sim very much. We really need the trains. And this is the first scenery where I saw them. That’s a good start.

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Ski jump and other custom objects

There are 160+ landmarks in this scenery. I take ORBX’s word for it – I have not counted. The most prominent is a ski jump. But there are churches, a stadium… and many, many more. It’s nice to see that a building that exists in a real world was recreated in my sim – just for us to watch.

And the bridges – I love the bridges in this scenery!

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LOWI – the airport

Well… it’s the most important feature of this scenery, isn’t it? I missed it because I’m not entirely sure if it really is. I consider this scenery as something greater than just another airport add-on. I’ve also spent more of my time flying around than sitting at the airport (taking off, landing there). What I like most in this airport is that it doesn’t overwhelm it’s surroundings – as many airports in FSX or P3D do because of the contrasts between the highly detailed airport and low-res surroundings. There is no visible contrast here – the airport blends with high-quality regional scenery.

But I feel that something should be written in this part. So let’s check out the usual boxes. Volumetric grass – checked. Animated and static people – checked. Ultra high-resolution textures – checked. Scenery options/configurator – there is, of course. Actually – I can’t think of a single feature that I would consider important that wouldn’t be included in this airport. In terms of the number of 3d people in the scenery – it’s probably a new record.

And the airport itself? I don’t particularly like it. I mean the real thing. It’s not the prettiest airport in the world. Probably not even in the top 200. It has beautiful surroundings but apart from that – it’s just another airport – lot’s of concrete, some glass, some steel. The developer is not to be blamed – his job was to create the copy of the real thing. He did this.

But in doing that the developer went the extra mile creating the immersive feel for the virtual pilot who visits this airport. It’s the number of static planes and the number of people that seem to be everywhere around the apron. And there are additional details – all this small (and big) objects and devices you would find at the airport. And cars. And buses, fuel trucks, etc. It’s all there. And this changes a good rendition of an airport into something great.

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Performance – very good

It’s another scenery by Jarrad Marshall, that I review and once again – I don’t find any issues with performance. In fact – I feel like it’s even better than previous sceneries. With this amount of details and coverage – it’s impressive!

Summary – 6 stars

It’s a Jarrad Marshall’s scenery. That means it’s a 6-star scenery. Period. My constant readers may remember this name from my previous reviews.

What do I like in this particular scenery? Everything. It’s a detailed rendition of Innsbruck and the developer showed his high skills crafted the airport and surrounding scenery meticulously. “Surrounding” is a bit of an understatement – it’s a region 30 by 80 kilometers.

For me Innsbruck (in my sim) is a place where I fly. It’s a place where I can take a plane for a ride and spend an hour or two just flying above the scenery. That is the best in this scenery. Don’t think of it as another destination or place of departure. It’s so much more.

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Quality to price ratio – very good

What can I say? For me it’s a must have. 40 Australian Dollars for such a scenery? It’s a deal.

Add-ons featured on my screenshots:

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