Sequim Valley Airport for ORBX FTX Pacific Northwest. A nice small airport by ORBX. It’s not perfect but it’s strong points make up for little flaws.
Pros and cons
What I like in Sequim Valley Airport?
- autogen (!!!)
- photoscenery around the airport
- buildings and caravan
- static planes
- people at the airport
- small objects (quality)
- detailed textures
- 3d grass and bushes
What I do not like in W28?
- low-resolution textures
- airport photoscenery
- mesh around the airport
- small objects (quantity and distribution)
- airport night lighting (no runway lights?)
What can be improved?
- small mistakes
- 3d grass placement
Sequim Valley Airport (W28)
Sequim Valley Airport is a small airport located on Olympic Peninsula 4 miles outside Sequim, WA. Created in early eighties it serves the local community and tourists visiting the scenic Olympic Mountains – just a few miles south from airport.
Technically there are two runways – asphalt and grass but judging from the photos – the asphalt one is mostly used. Both runways run parallel from east to west. Both are 3500ft long. Grass runway crosses two paved taxiways connecting apron to the asphalt runway.
Runways at W28 use southern patter – right patterns for 27 and left patterns for 09.
There is a warning about deer on and in vicinity of airport.
Grand View International Airport (WN23)
Yes, I wrote “International Airport”. I really appreciate someone’s sense of humor. This is a 1700ft long turf runway located just 1500ft to the north of Sequim Airport. Plus a single hangar, owner’s house, a trailer with some barrels and a barbecue grill (I am not sure if the last to elements exist in the real world but it’s possible).
What to fly and where?
With more then 500 airports Washington state is a general aviation pilot dream. Coincidentally the airport is also called the pilots dream thanks to it’s “sunny location and excellent approach conditions”. Additionaly there is a 24/7 self service gas station (100LL fuel only).
SkyVector shows the following traffic statistics. Annual GA Local Operations: 2500, Annual GA Itinerant Operations: 5500, Annual Military Operations: 50. About the last – I saw photos of army Black Hawks landing in Sequim.
After browsing through airport’s photo albums I can say that single engine piston planes are in majority. There are also some twins and occasionally turboprops. Jets are extremely rare – I think there was only a single photo showing a business-jet parked on this airport.
If you need some inspiration – take a small plane (a Cub or a 172) for a scenic flight into Olympic Mountains or along Olympic Peninsula coastline. Other ORBX airports for the states of Washington and Oregon make great destinations.
For more inspiration and information about the airport – visit it’s website.
ORBX W28 Sequim Valley Airport
Sequim Valley is the first airport designed by Jordan Gough. It covers Sequim Valley airport and a small area around it (including WN23 airstrip less then a mile north from W28). The scenery also covers nearby Olympic Mountains with a 1m/px photoscenery.
The product requires FTX Pacific Northwest scenery to be installed (read FTX PNW 5-star review here). It should work fine without FTX PNW but some elements may be missing.
ORBX product page for W28 Sequim Valley Airport redirects to FlightSimStore where W28 can be purchased for 14,95 Australian Dollars. That is about 10 Euro or 11USD (September 2015 rates). It makes Sequim one of the cheapest ORBX airports.
ORBX wrapper requires product key, order number and order date to launch the installer. Apart from this – installation was fully automated. You do not have to worry about placing W28 in Scenery Library – ORBX Central will take care of that once you activate Northern America.
Run a config tool from FTX Central to turn on or off the following features:
- high 3d grass
- static aircraft
- animated people
- animated animals
- animated balloon
- grass at WN23
- clutter at WN23
If you encounter performance problems – turning off some of this effects may help.
2015-style ORBX manual. Much prettier than earlier manuals. Contentwise – not much different. It contains:
- product information,
- configurator manual,
- FSX setup suggestions;
- credits and copyrights.
First impressions (4****)
When I saw the airport for the first time I had conflicting feelings about it.
There is a gas station close to where planes are parkeg. It it extraordinary! The resolution of signs and information panels is superb – I could easily read AVGAS. Even 100LL in small lettering is visible and sharp. Price of $5.74 is not much different from current prices ($5.95).
A different impression was made by the ground where the aircraft is parked. It has a color and texture of a dirty, stained carpet owned by someone who has no taste at all.
Airport photoscenery (3***)
Green grass patches are mixed with sandy-yellow ground color. That’s ok. But there are also unfortunate pinkish, purple-ish and green-ish (vibrant!) stains that look like high ISO noise that was not removed or masked in the photo. It may be a chromatic aberration between two colors on the photo. Without getting too deep into technical details – it is something that should be corrected. It does not matter when looked from an altitude of 1000ft, but seen from the ground – it’s awful.
Beside the colors of grass at airport – using photoscenery for the airport grounds is not the best idea at all. 30cm (per pixel) is a nice resolution everywhere around the airport. It looks nice on approach and when aircraft departs. But may be not enough when viewed from a taxiing plane – and I did a lot of taxiing on the grass. The turf runway has no texture beside the 30cm photoscenery – it should! I do not like to take off this runway – that is why I nearly always chose the paved one.
Photoscenery – elsewhere (5*****)
Once I took-off my opinion about the photoscenery changed drastically. 30cm/px image resolution close to the airport is well chosen. 60cm/px images further form the airport also make a great impression (I flown at 1000ft or higher).
There is also a photoscenery covering Olympic Mountains above the tree-line. The resolution of 1m/px makes it nice if you fly 1000ft above or higher but strangely – it’s not that bad when you get closer (that surprises me – usually 1m/px looks bad from 400-500ft).
It’s a small one. It’s easy to list all the buildings at W28 – two hangars, shed, small office building and owner’s house. That’s all… at the airport. WN23 has two more buildings and there is a detailed farm close to the airport – another two or three buildings plus two combine-harvesters.
I did not have great expectations. At about half the usual ORBX price I did not expect the quality and details of $30 scenery. But the impression is good. Building models have enough details to be viewed from a taxiing plane. Texture resolution is low compared to other ORBX sceneries I have, but it is almost the same as the market average. This means that if you park your plane just next to the hangar – it will look blurred. Choose a spot on the grass (beside other aircraft) and your view will be much better. You can also taxi to the smaller hangar – it’s resolution is much higher.
There is a nice gas station next to the larger (higher) hangar. Excellent details and texturing! The only problem with this gas station is… that it disappears in winter. There’s just a gray polygon on the ground left.
The scenery includes seven static planes at the airport. I like it when there are planes in the scenery so I do not have to use AI Traffic. Apart from a strange looking low-poly Trislander – these static planes look very nice.
Small objects and people (5*****)
Let’s go for a walk. We will start by the owner’s house. Usually I look at it from my plane (100m / 300ft away) so the lack of detailed windows or door does not matter. What can be distinguished from this distance is modeled nicely – a balcony and a deck with barbecue grill. A man is reading his newspaper on the deck. He is calm, but from time to time he rises his head to look – like he was watching a bird on a tree in front of him.
There is also a pick up truck, some crates and a fence in front of the house. A trailer stands next to the truck. It’s the same model (with the same barrels) that I found at the “International Airport” (WN23). I don’t mint cloned objects – it’s a good idea to re-use this model to add more clutter to the scene. As I move towards the airport I find the third trailer – this time without barrels (the plates match – N592W). Still – good idea to place it behind the office building.
The office building is a first place where the varied level of details can be seen a a problem. The building itself lacks high resolution textures. Wooden walls are far from sharp and the windows are full of compression artifacts (that should have been cleaned). On the other hand – there are all the small objects that make up for building’s imperfections. Budget (car rental company) dropbox is modeled. A information above it states that you need to “Fill out contract folder” and “Drop keys and folder thru mail slot”.
There is a warning panel located next to the office building – most of the texts are sharp and readable – that is a level of details that I can only wish for. It’s perfect. I would not mind if some of this texts were unreadable.
Generally speaking – all panels and texts in this scenery are outstanding! Check out this panels at the end of the runway and by the taxiways – they could not be better.
There is more. The place around the airport office is the best part of the scenery. A caravan stands on the left. There is a parking lot on a right – wooden logs mark it’s edges. A couple is sitting at the table – they are animated too. Do not expect complicated animated scenes – moves are basic and delicate. Just a turn of a head or a slight movement of hands – but it’s enough to put live into people.
Moving further east – in direction of hangar – I see a gas station. Once again – a marvelous model and textures. Too bad that the hangar next to it is covered in low-res images. A something is placed next to the gas station. I have no idea what is it… a black object… it could be a cat sitting on a small wall. But I am not sure. From the side it looses cat’s shape.
Another couple (by their looks – the same as before) sits on a crate next to the hangar. A giant pixelated (and awful) cockroach lurks behind them on the hangar wall. Did I say that the hangar texture resolution is too low? I can not say what the thing on a wall is – but it looks scary.
Three other things worth mentioning – there is a large stone next to the taxiway. A portable toilet is located at the end of the eastern hangar and there are beautifully designed runway and taxiway lights. Unfortunately – the number of small objects decreases in the eastern part of the airport.
In terms of small objects this airport is slightly above the market average. It’s clear that the designer has potential to create something great next time. In here… it was a move in a right direction… but he stopped before he reached the goal. When compared with a real world photos (or just a common sense) – this airport lacks many small objects that could have easily been placed here – even simple crates, warning cones, a chair or a ladder next to the eastern hangar would make it perfect. Instead – it’s just good.
I do not see any examples of a good mesh. The only place where the mesh is visible at or around the airport is where the ground suddenly rises a feet or two in some distance around the airport (actually quite close to the eastern end of the runway). It does not look good.
3d grass (4****)
Good – generally. Perfect – in places. Missing – often.
I like how it looks at WN23 runway – dense and realistic. On the other hand – there is no grass on W28 grass runway… Grass grows only around the paved runway and on apron. There is also no grass around WN23 runway and apron – that looks strange – I thought that grass should be more visible around the runway and trimmed on it…
Buildings and vegetation – autogen (6*****)
It’s good. No – it’s perfect. Extraordinary. Good job Jordan!
You have probably already noticed tree lane leading to the airport. What a marvelous thing. But it’s not the only place where trees look so good. Everywhere around the airport trees are matching the photo-background.
There is this place right beside the approach to runway 27 where the trees grow dangerously close to aircraft flight path. For a moment I fought that it’s a common scenery bug – trees on approach – someone have not thought it over or never checked… but then I looked at the Google Maps and there is something growing in the exactly same spot. So I went to airport’s navigation warnings – “60 ft Trees 830 ft from runway, 40 ft right of center”. Spot on! Just think of it – 40ft right of center. The runway is 40ft wide. These trees grow just 20 feet (6 meters) right from the extended runway… scary.
Buildings are equally well placed. I even noticed that they were placed at the same angle to the road as the real buildings. It makes flying at low altitude a pleasure.
Night lighting (2**)
Runway and taxiway lights are broken… Sorry – this is a serious bug (confirmed – other users have the same problem, even some reviews mention it).
Performance – very good
I did not see any adverse effect on my frame rates.
Summary (rating – 4****)
Considering it’s price level – it’s a good scenery. It has several strong points and some flaws – apart from the night lighting bug – all flaws I mentioned are something that you can expect in a cheaper scenery. On the other hand – in some ways this scenery reached the level of products that I consider perfect. That is why I can recommend it to you. It’s a good addition to Pacific Northwest area scenery and a nice place to fly to. I’m looking forward to the next scenery published by this developer.
Quality to value ratio – very good
10 Euro is a small price for a scenery. At this price it’s a very good choice.
Add-ons visible on my screenshots: