Ice, snow, pitot heat, thick coats, anti-ice, penguins, seals,… Yep, you’ve just guessed right, I’m talking about Antarctica! Aerosoft has released Antarctica X v1.1, covering the entire continent, 47 helipads and runways waiting for VFR enthusiast pilots!
After downloading the .zip file (7.3 GB!) I couldn’t wait to install the scenery and start flying! However I did have to calm down because unzipping a 7.3GB file does take some time. The installer is a normal Aerosoft installer: after filling in your email and license key, you get the option to install the scenery to either FSX, FSX SE or P3D and after checking the simulator folder location it’s just a click away from installing. Finally after installing, I was ready to fly, there was just one problem: what airport shall I spawn on? Apart my knowledge of a few bases and expeditions on Antarctica, I didn’t know anything about flying on the continent. So I opened up the manual.
My eyes were wide open when I saw the length of manual: 100 pages! I scrolled down to the content list, I was very surprised to see how many topics were covered by the manual, despite its large size. Impatient as I am, I started scrolling down not really reading what the manual covered (I told myself I’d read that later) until I found what I was looking for: the charts. I decided to spawn at Rothera air base (EGAR). After spawning, I directly switched to exterior view to gaze at the landscape around the airport. You’d expect a flat wasteland, only covered in snow, but you’d be surprised: even though it’s all covered in snow/ice, the ‘mountainous’ terrain makes the scenery amazing.
I was also surprised by the weather, I was expecting a snow storm or some precipitation, but then I remembered something out of my geography lessons (which was a miracle): there’s a constant High-pressure zone above the two poles making the weather mostly fair. After slipping a few times on the runway (ski-equipped planes are recommended), I finally managed to take-off. After circling the airport ( which for a small airfield had quite some accommodation and was highly modelled.) I headed for Fossil Bluff skiway. Unfortunately I had to stop my flight about half way, but I must say I didn’t get bored one single moment during the flight: the scenery made the flight quite interesting.
As mentioned above, Antarctica v1.1 covers 47 runways/helipads, the entire continent and many other things.
The entire continent is covered in highly detailed terrain mesh, giving us the opportunity to view breath-taking, outstanding landscapes all from the comfort-zone behind our simulator pc at the control of our favourite VFR aircraft (hopefully equipped with anti-ice systems ). But not only the landscapes can be admired: Aerosoft has also included 7 major (highly detailed) research stations! And that isn’t all! Three extremely detailed icebreakers, breaking ice on schedule! (e.g. there’s an icebreaker sailing between Teniente R Marsh Martin (SCRM) – Rothera (EGAR)).
The package includes also a DHC-6 twin otter (ski-equipped). You’d expect that the aircraft isn’t that detailed, however you’d be quite surprised! Although not all switches are clickable, the VC is quite detailed. You get a kind of virtual binder which contains all the normal procedures checklists (and trust me you will need this to start the aircraft; a simple ctrl+e won’t start the aircraft).
The manual consists of 100 pages (including the 4 publicity images and the cover image). Normally I don’t spend that much time reading the manuals of sceneries, but this manual is not a manual like any other: it covers many topics; from an installation guide to flying as a pilot in Antarctica to airport/field charts.
A question that some of you might be asking yourself is “What routes do they fly in Antarctica?”, normally one would google it, but with this manual there is no need to! Real life flight plans are explained including in which aircraft they’re flown! There’s also a section in which a pilot tells how it is to fly in Antarctica.
Only once after reading this manual, you’ll see how incredibly detailed this scenery is: from active airports during the seasons till the time schedules of icebreakers!
Antarctica X v1.1 also comes with a scenery configurator giving you the options to select what season you’re flying in (this will activate airports depending in what season you’re flying in), an option to turn on the McMurdo approach lights (which are very useful flying during the night). It also gives us the option to fix blurry terrains by setting the LOD radius to 4.5 or 8.5 and this without us even going into the configuration files! If you don’t like flying with static traffic, there’s also an option to disable it.
Aerosoft/ Limesim has done a fabulous job modelling this continent. The details that are added to it makes it nearly endless fun. If you’re looking for a scenery with sometimes difficult approaches in weather that can change from clear to low visibility in matter of seconds, I really recommend this scenery!
Due to the snow coverage the airfields might be difficult to spot
Flying over EGAR
Taking off an ice runway isn’t always the easiest thing without skis!
McMurdo can be illumlinated or like in this case not
The DHC6 is quite detailed with most switches clickable