Some areas of the world just speak to me when it comes to aviation. Especially more extreme/wild/insane areas such as Antarctica, or Africa, for example. Or the Pacific South West in this case!
Orbx is releasing their PNG Highland Bush Strips Pack 1 on October 26th and this scenery pack covers a few airstrips around Papua New Guinea (PNG) a country North of Australia and the backdrop for a lot of amazing and beautiful bush flights, surrounded by stunning natural wonders.
The pack covers 3 airstrips: Yalumet (AYYE), Yawan (AYYW), and Dinangat (AYDN) all of which are in central(ish) PNG and, curiously, they are located within a straight line, as you can see in the image below.
Above: Orbx PNG Highland Bush Strips Pack 1 - Yalumet (AYYE)
Above: Orbx PNG Highland Bush Strips Pack 1 - Yawan (AYYW)
Above: Orbx PNG Highland Bush Strips Pack 1 - Dinangat (AYDN)
All the airfields have a small grass strip and a parking stop, which is cool as it allows for some cold and dark starts.
The airfields are, of course, not advisable for heavier aircraft or for those flying machines that can’t operate from unprepared strips. Like, you know... Helicopters!
All the airfields are very nicely rendered, with a lot of custom buildings that merge right into the environment and make it more immersive. You can also find a couple of static aircraft, so you can bond with some other (virtual) pilots if you are into the role-playing side of simulation.
Beware of your surroundings...
It’s no surprise that landing and taking off from these locations is challenging. Not only they are located in valleys, surrounded by mountains, but they also have a lot of trees around them and some of these are really tall.
The landing strips are also tilted, and they tend to have one of the ends near a mountainside, making it pretty much a 1-way runway for our fixed-wing friends. And perhaps helicopters as well if you’re not up to making some steep approaches.
These strips are pretty close to obstacles (the said trees) and some buildings, so you don’t have a lot of room to maneuver.
... and the (lack of) daylight
Speaking of valleys, the fact that these locations are surrounded by mountains adds yet another layer of challenge: lack of light. In fact, I realized these locations have maybe 10-12 hours of daylight before things start to look a bit too dark and dangerous. And no, there are no runway lights. If the sunlight goes away, the best option is to bug out and go land somewhere else – if you can fly IFR that is.
Above: Orbx PNG Highland Bush Strips Pack 1 - Yawan (AYYW). Left image was taken at 07:00 (7am), right image at 17:00 (5pm). Flying before or after those hours will be tricky due to the lack of sunlight.
If you can’t fly IFR, you’re screwed. Plan your flights.
Official features and conclusions
As per the official features list, here’s what you can find in Orbx’s PNG Highland Bush Strips Pack 1:
- 3 airstrips included (AYYE, AYYW, AYDN)
- Custom Effects
- PBR textures
- Custom 3D vegetation with modeled Bananas!
- 100 custom-built and hand-placed models
- Handcrafted mesh for each airstrip
- Custom hand-placed objects and people
- Tropical and guaranteed to be challenging
- Perfect for all bush flyers!
This is not a huge package with lots of locations, huge and complex airports filled with vehicles, and lots of traffic. Quite the opposite.
But that is what makes me like it. It’s the kind of scenery that really makes me enjoy my simming: a remote location, dangerous to fly at with a lot of challenges, and inaccessible to most air traffic. Yet, with a helicopter, well... The world is our helipad, right?
Orbx did a great job with PNG Highland Bush Strips Pack 1 and I am sure I will be spending a lot of hours getting to know this area of PNG a little better.