Telluride – ORBX – review (6*)

Telluride in Colorado. This is how FSX/P3D sceneries should look like! ORBX’s Jarrad Marshall did a great job and I absolutely love this place.

ktex

Pros and cons

What do I like in Telluride?

  • high quality mesh
  • excellent models and textures
  • a large number of static planes
  • static cars
  • animated people
  • grass
  • 3d model for airport surroundings
  • hi-res photoscenery for surrounding mountains
  • small objects / airport clutter
  • animated cable cars
  • great performance

Cons?

  • … (still searching for any)

What could be improved?

  • I have no idea…

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Short version – 6*****

Jarrad Marshall’s Telluride Regional Airport is perfect. This is the short version. In this review, you will read what makes it so great and why I like it so much. I will describe the models (buildings and a unique 3d model for airport surroundings), textures (including a hi-res photoscenery) and other features – and there is a lot to write about.

I like this place. I love it. I just spent a couple of weeks flying over this mountains in helicopters and small to medium size planes. If you need a good scenery for mountain flying – that would be my number one choice!

Telluride

It is a holiday resort in Colorado. Telluride was built as a mining town a long time ago and it was nearly abandoned in the sixties when the mines were closed and the population dwindled from two and a half thousand to just a few hundred. Then it was re-invented as a skiing resort.

In winter tourists come to Telluride to enjoy one of the best skiing spots in the USA. All “top 10 skiing destinations in US” lists I read mention Telluride – often very high on the list, even though it is the place with the smallest average snowfall on the list.

The place does not close in summer. Trekking and mountaineering enthusiasts come to Telluride for the magnificent views. Movie and music fans drive in for yearly festivals.

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Telluride Regional Airport – KTEX

Until recently Telluride Regional was the highest located airport in the USA that was served by a scheduled airline. Since 2014 no airline flies to Telluride, but the airport is still a popular destination for general aviation. There are 9000 GA operations annually.

KTEX has a single runway (09/27) which is 2167m (7111ft) long and 30m (100ft) wide. The airport is located at 9038 feet.

Due to noise abatement procedures runway 27 is recommended for departures (09 for arrivals), but this is not a one-way runway and you can take-off in opposite direction if the winds are unfavorable for 27. In such case, you should avoid overflying inhabited areas.

Instrument rated pilots will find a localizer for runway 09. LOC, VOR (based on ETL VOR) and GPS/RNAV approaches are published. When doing circling approach make sure you circle to the south. Circling approaches are unavailable after dusk.

If you ever considered airport fees when flying on FSX or P3D you should know that landing fee is $2 for each 1000lbs of MTOW (for planes up to 12,500lbs) and $4,75 / 1000lbs for planes over 12,500. King Air 350 landing would cost you around $70. Parking and hangar fees are calculated on the basis of area. 2 cents for square for – piston planes; 4 cents / sq. ft. – turbine planes; 11,2 cents for hangar space.

Whispertrack provides additional noise abatement information.

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What to fly and where?

It is a small airport located at considerable altitude so the choice of aircraft is limited. Nothing of the size of a 737 or A318 ever landed in Telluride. Historically airlines operated turboprops like Dash 7, Dash 8 and Beech 1900. Jets were operated by when charter planes or bizjets landed here so if you have a Phenom, Falcon or a Citation – it is a good place to fly it. Small GA planes are a great fit but keep in mind that normally aspirated piston engine performance will be severely decreased at this altitude. This makes flying a Cessna 172 much more interesting!

Where to? If you wish to fly airliners – try one of the routes that airlines operated – to Aspen, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Laughlin or Bullhead City. Considering which airports have good sceneries you may choose Aspen, Phoenix or LA. I love flying from Telluride to Eagle County Regional Airport (expect a review soon). It’s located nearby and it was created by the same developer.

If you fly GA aircraft, bizjets or air taxis – there are no restrictions and US airspace provides a lot of small airports nearby and further away.

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The scenery by ORBX

The scenery was developed by Jarrad Marshall, whose name is a great recommendation by itself. Jarrad had created such beautiful sceneries as Palm Springs (6* review) and Monterey (another 6* review). This is the third scenery by this developer which I rated with 6 stars, and this does not happen often in my reviews.

Features (according to product description):

  • Ultra-detailed rendition of KTEX Telluride Regional Airport
  • Huge 1250km2 coverage area
  • Unique High-detail Static Aircraft
  • New, updated and unique GSE fleet unique to KTEX
  • Advanced rendering, ambient occlusion and lighting techniques.
  • Custom landclass, vector data, custom seasons
  • Accurate 10m Elevation Mesh
  • Telluride, Mountain Village, Ouray and Silverton townsites
  • Highly detailed rendition of Mountain Village
  • Animated Telluride Gondola modelled
  • Unique airport Custom Terrain Model for higher fidelity
  • Unique full seasonal variations
  • General Aviation AI Flight Plans included
  • Highly optimised for good performance with complex aircraft types
  • Blends with FTX GLOBAL (Base) in P3Dv3/v2/v1 and FSX/FSX:SE
  • By Acclaimed Developer, Jarrad Marshall

Purchase, installation, documents, and configuration

Telluride, as all sceneries by ORBX, can be purchased in the FlightSimStore where KTEX costs $39,95 (Australian Dollars) – around 27 Euro or $30 (USD). The installation procedure is the same as in any other product by ORBX (check my review of Monterey).

Documents are larger than other by ORBX (again – check my description in the review of Monterey). Additionally, it contains approach and departure charts for Telluride. It is 44 pages in total. It also includes location images with pointers to interesting features of the scenery – for example, it shows where should you look for the cable car. As with other manuals by ORBX – there is no airport diagram with stands.

The configuration tool is extensive and I advise you read the manual before using it. Configuration starts with compatibility settings for FTX Vector. Then you can choose to have (or not have) AI planes landing in both directions. There are also options for static planes, ground equipment, and airport hardens (which I will explain later). P3D users who customized shaders should also adjust scenery shading – there is an option for this too.

There are two options that may affect performance. In the case of static planes and shadows I chose to have both, but for my tests, I did not use hardened terrain around the airport. What is it? The airport is surrounded by a 3d model. This makes the terrain more detailed than normal mesh-based terrain, but it has a downside – terrain model is as not “hard” – you can literally fly into a mountain – and you will see the “real” mesh beneath. This makes it hard to move with P3D avatar or to land a helicopter off airport. This is where the choice is helpful. Avatar users and helicopter pilots may select basic, semi of full detailed harden. The range of each option is shown on the image. I did not feel the need to use the hardens.

harden

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The first impression – it is a huge area

This was the first thing that came to my mine – it is a huge area! It is not a typical FSX airport with the closest surroundings. Instead, ORBX created a scenery that is approximately 35km by 50km.

map

The terrain is covered with a photoscenery (1m/px – a correct resolution for area photoscenery), which is covered with autogen and scenery objects (like hotels, cable car, and cable car stations).

In most of my flights I arrived from the northwest so the last leg of my trip took me over a narrow, red-walled canyon.

Alternatively when flying from Aspen or Eagle County I flew through Ouray, and then I followed the narrow valley in the direction of Silverton passing Red Mountain and a pass of the same name. When you fly this route – make sure you do not miss the pass that is just a few miles south after the Red Mountain – it is the place where you can easily jump over the mountains. Then it is a simple IFR (I Fly Rivers). Just keep in mind the noise restrictions and avoid populated areas below.

30cm/px photoscenery and the Mountain Village

The closest vicinity of the airport is covered with a 30cm/px photoscenery. I usually consider 30cm/px a good resolution around the airport but here it extends further than normally which makes helicopter flights to the Mountain Village much nicer.

The Village itself looks like a small independent scenery. There are several hotels which look just like those I saw in real world photos. As I said – I mainly flew helicopters here so I could look at them from the really close distance. What shocked me was a number of details. For example – the swimming pool in front of one of the hotels is modeled in 3d. There are tennis bags and tennis racquets on the tennis courts! I do not think I have ever seen such attention to details so far from the airport. There are benches too. And fence. And tennis net. Actually – if I were to complain I could point to a mistake here – the net is improperly strapped/anchored in the middle. What a mistake…

The Mountain Village is also the lower station for two cable cars. Both are animated and models are so detailed that you can see wheels and the mechanism which connect (and disconnects) the gondola to and from the line.

The airport

Oh yes. I was supposed to write about the airport and I got carried away and stayed in the skiing resort. Sorry.

Did I mention a 3d model of the terrain surrounding the airport? What is the advantage of this solution? Take a look at the images below – you will never see a vertical wall that is properly textured in a scenery that uses mesh. It is possible with 3d models only. This also gives the developer the ability to create any shape he desires without the necessity to increase mesh resolution. This is how this run-up area and the tunnel entrances were created.

Telluride is easy to spot on arrival as it is located at a plateau. Just before landing you may notice a distinctive light part of the runway – it is the EMAS – Engineered materials arrestor system. EMAS is constructed with soft materials that will stop an aircraft which overshot the runway.

Another thing I noticed on the first arrival – grass and airport clutter – all this small objects that make airport scenery much more believable. Starting with the runway – there are 3d lamps, windsock that is lighted at night and dark markers showing the distance to the end of the runway. Each digit stands for a thousand of feet. So 6 means 6000ft to the end of the runway, 3 = 3000ft and so on.

I especially like the grass here. Recently I said that developers refrain from placing the grass all over the airport and tend to place it just around the runway and aprons which save the performance. In this case, the same solution was used, but the area covered with grass is actually quite large (larger than usually) which makes a really good impression. For variety, small bushes and flowers were added in some places.

Static planes and people

The apron surprised me with the number of static planes. There are 19 static planes here – it is more than at many larger airports in FSX. Do not worry – you will still be able to find a parking for you and your friends (if you fly online).

I like to fly to or from Telluride at dawn – when the lights are on and I can admire the night lighting. All planes have night textures that fit the location and lighting conditions at this airport at night.

Everywhere around the airport, you will see people who are sitting, standing or walking. Some of them are working (like the mechanic repairing the radar antenna in the King Air).

Not so long ago I thought that animated people kill scenery performance but Jarrad Marshall proves that the developer can place them with almost no performance loss. It is one of the most “populated” airports in my FSX. ORBX again “broke the system” and created something that seemed impossible in the sim.

Buildings and small objects

Can you imagine the airport without the buildings? I cannot. Let me tell you about those in Telluride. For starters – the level of detail is amazing. Just take a look at this antennas below – not only the truss construction was modeled but the author did not forget to place small red lights on top.

Although you will not find 3d interiors here – window textures give the impression of the interior behind.

 

Performance – great

This scenery runs great on my system. If I needed this I would consider selecting more detailed hardens.

Summary – 6*****

Jarrad Marshall’s Telluride Regional Airport is perfect. This is the short version. In this review, you will read what makes it so great and why I like it so much. I will describe the models (buildings and a unique 3d model for airport surroundings), textures (including a hi-res photoscenery) and other features – and there is a lot to write about.

I like this place. I love it. I just spent a couple of weeks flying over this mountains in helicopters and small to medium size planes. If you need a good scenery for mountain flying – that would be my number one choice!

Quality to price ratio – very good

$30 (US) or 27 Euro is a lot for a medium size airport, but the quality of this scenery and its area successfully compensates for this.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Telluride Regional Airport - ORBX
Author Rating
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