Saeby (EKSA) – a tiny marvel published by Vidan Design. A small airfield with grass runways located in northern Denmark.
Pros and cons
What I like in Saeby?
- airport photoscenery
- buildings models
- airport surroundings
- small objects
- mesh around the airport
- cars at the airport
- vacuum cleaner in hangar (!!!)
What I do not like?
- scenery lacks people
What can be improved?
- volumetric grass could be denser
- small objects could be placed in grater quantity
Saeby airfield is located in Northern Denmark few miles east from a town of the same name and around 10 miles from Frederikshavn. Vendsyssel – a large island where it is located is separated from Jutland peninsula by Limfjorden strait.
A single runway (12/30) is 650 meters long and 20m wide (2130x65ft). Some sources suggest that the runway may in fact be shorter – 520m. It probably depends on the runway markings position – which can change as the runway is located on the larger meadow that serves as a glider landing strip which is 1000m (3000ft) long and around 100m (300ft) wide.
The landing fee is currently 30kr (4 Euro). Fuel is not available (the tank is closed) and there is no hangar space for visiting aircraft (although the hangar in this scenery is empty and you can use it). Saeby’s two flying clubs operate planes and gliders.
That is about all that I will share with you about the real airport. I am surprised that Vidan Design did not include a more detailed description in the scenery’s manual.
If you need any administrative info about the airport – visit it’s website – eksa.dk.
What to fly and where?
It’s a very small airfield. An-2 looks like a giant monster in here. The runway can barely fit a Duke with limited payload – 650m (or 520m) is somewhere around the takeoff distance of heavier piston twins so make sure that your load is calculated correctly. Small single engine planes seem the best choice for this location.
If you wonder where can you fly from here – there is another Vidan’s scenery nearby – Sindal (read my 4-star review) is not far to the north. South from Saeby you will find Herning, Randers and Hadsund (also from Vidan Design – the last scenery is free). Should you look for a larger airport – there is Aalborg, Aarhus and swedish cities of Goteborg and Malmo. All this airports have decent freeware or payware sceneries.
Vidan Design – Saeby
The scenery covers Saeby airfield and a close vicinity – a few hundred meters in each direction with some farm buildings and roads. The whole scenery is covered with a high resolution photoscenery and custom autogen. It also features custom buildings (as well as standard Vidan Design’s library objects) and volumetric grass.
Hangar door is animated – check the manual for the radio frequency that will open or close them.
Sindal – purchase, installation, documents & configuration
Vidan Design’s sceneries can be purchased in popular online stores (including Aerosoft’s) and in Vidan Design’s store (this option is not available for European Union residents).
As usually FlightSimStore is the cheapest – you can buy this scenery for just 9.80 Australian Dollars (around 7 Euro or 7 Dollars at current rates – November 2015).
The product is available as download. You will get a product key in an email confirming your purchase.
Typically for Vidan Design the installer is very simple – it just extracts files into your FSX folder. You will need to add the scenery to the Scenery Library manually – it’s located in FSX main folder/Vidan Design/Danish Airfields X.
Short manual (8 pages) explains how to install the scenery, how to change seasonal textures using provided configuration tool and how to configure your FSX. It also gives the frequency that you can use to open and close hangar door. Apart from that – it consists of the usual copyright notices, credits. A short description of the airfield is provided – it’s just few sentences. Apart from the aesthetics (it’s just a simple text document with few images) I can not complain about this manual – it’s just what it should be.
If you need to change the seasonal textures – there is a tool for that – a small application where you can select the season and apply new textures to the scenery. It’s located under FSX\Vidan Design\Danish Airfields X\Saeby\Manual\Seasons EKSA.
My first impression was great! The scenery looked good from the moment I opened airport selection window and I saw seven parking spots defined on this tiny airfield (plus the usual spots at runways). It’s a little unusual (in a positive way) at a small airfield to have a choice like that.
When my flight loaded the first think I noticed were the cars parked in front of the main building.
I have seen some of the Vidan Design’s cars earlier but I do not think I looked at them from a close distance. They are surprisingly detailed and they look well even if my plane is parked right next to them.
Buildings follow the usual Vidan’s style – details are at medium level – you will find some 3d features on the buildings but do not expect 3d windows or door. Instead – Vidan Design uses superb photo-realistic textures. It’s an interesting idea.
Photo-realistic textures (5*****)
Photo-realistic textures are the greatest strength of Vidan Design’s sceneries. Their buildings gain details that are usually missed by developers who draw custom textures. Here every scratch, line or ledge is visible. Thanks to a very high resolution I can see even the smallest details – like an object that was left on the inside windowsill.
Window reflections are another element that Vidan Design captures perfectly. Real world photos acting as textures make an amazing impression. Although the reflection is always the same (no matter which direction I am looking from) this is something I miss when landing at sceneries of other developers.
Small objects (5*****)
Small objects were placed everywhere around the scenery – there is a mailbox, trash can, bench and a small fence. Assortment of baggage was left in front of the main building (actually – the same bags were also left inside the opened hangar.
Vacuum cleaner made the greatest impression on me. Yes! – there is a vacuum cleaner, modeled nicely in 3d! It’s complete with a tube and a hose hanged on a wall. I am fascinated that someone would think of such a detail.
The terrain at and around Saeby airfield is an example of the best practices in fsx scenery design. A high resolution photoscenery covers the whole thing. Additionally – autogen is placed correctly and small hills around the airport look like they were modeled carefully. My only doubt is raised by the 3d grass.
Volumetric grass (4****)
Creating a good 3d grass is still a major challenge for most scenery developers. I think it was a choice between the amount of grass (which would possibly impact performance) and the looks of the scenery. In my opinion – Vidan Design should have placed much more grass around the airfield. Currently dense and high grass grows only next to buildings and other scenery objects.
That grass which was placed here looks great. I would just like to see more of it on the runway and on parking.
Airport surroundings (4****)
Scenery extends to couple of hundreds meters around the airfield. Two farms are included – one of them is quite large.
The good thing is that this area is covered with the same, detailed photoscenery and a meticulously placed autogen. With the farms that are really well designed I would rate it 5-star. Unfortunately couple hundred meters is not enough to even fly a pattern and stay over the scenery and the default FSX textures really spoil the effect. I gave a good news for FTX Global users – photoscenery nicely matches Global textures (I tested it with and without the OpenLC add-on).
Performance – great (5*****)
I have not noticed any impact on my frame-rates (even with a performance-heavy, glass cockpit plane).
Scenery as a part of a greater set (5*****)
I always consider sceneries located nearby as an additional advantage for such a VFR-focused add-on. It’s good to fly between nice airports and availability of such airports is important for me. That is why I think that the consistent plan of Vidan Design to publish Danish sceneries makes this place even more attractive. Take look at other products of this studio – they are worth it. Take a look at my review of Tuno.
Saeby is another very good scenery coming from Vidan Design. With his gift for creating amazing and detailed small airfields Vidan gave me another destination that I frequently visit. Once again he convinced me that Denmark is a really nice place to fly in FSX. Thanks to great terrain and well placed objects Saeby stands in front of many other sceneries of small airfields. I strongly recommend it!
Quality to price – great!
Less than 8 Euro (or U.S. Dollars). That’s like a cinema ticket. I have no doubts that this is a low price for the amount of fun I had with this scenery.