The Everest and Lukla are two major landmarks in sims. Not only as a geographic feature but also as one of the most interesting challenges for any virtual pilot.
Pretty much everyone knows about Lukla and I don’t remember of anyone that I know that never tried to land and take off at this airport and tried to conquer the Everest.
Of course, it was also a challenge for the kings of mountains: the team comprised of Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini.
First of all, I really want you to understand this: Frank and Fabio don’t use orthophotos. They use them as references, but not as textures in their scenery.
Instead, they make their own textures and place trees and other details, manually. That’s right: they go through all the trouble of drawing and working all textures. This on top of all the custom 3D work.
Their process is described in the manual if you are curious about it. I highly recommend you give it a look as it provides you with an amazing insight on the amount of work this team has to make their scenery look good for our entertainment.
That being said, here’s the official features list:
Everest Park 3D includes a territory of about 1000 square kilometers in the Himalayas along with other eight thousand, on the border between China and Nepal.
Other famous mountains include the Lhotse (8516), Makalu (8463), Nuptse (7861), Pumori (7161), Ama Dablam (6812), Taboche (6543), Baruntse (7129).
- The Lukla airport (icao VNLK) is considered by the pilots, one of the most difficult especially in the landing phase, the track is just over 500 meters long. and has a significant change in slope in the initial part during take-off (12%).
- Syangboche (icao VNSB) in clay ground, just over 400 meters long, secondary airport but officially coded. It is located just above the village of Namche Bazar, a mandatory stop for hikers to the Everest base camp.
- 7 Helipads: inserted in the most important points of the scenery, normally located in residential areas, scattered at various points along the route to the base camp.
Ultra-High Definition Scenery Pack
- The main mountains of the area have been rebuilt with 3D models.
- DEM data was used and further corrected with 3D graphics programs.
- Later the textures were applied, mostly in 4K, taken from high definition photos.
- The positioning on the modified mesh was very accurate, respecting the dimensions and the main morphological characteristics of the terrain.
- Summer only scenery
- Manual included
The obvious stars are the Everest and Lukla. They are the kings of the scenery and the obvious reasons why there’s an interest in the area.
A mountain is a mountain, right? Well, yes, but Frank and Fabio add all the extra love, make it extremely realistic (just check out the image below, taken from the manual) and add points of interest and stuff to do.
It’s not just about the mountains and they always find ways of adding something for us to look for or do in their scenery (more on that later).
As for Lukla, what can I say? It’s one of the ultimate airports and probably 8 or 9 out of 10 times people ask for a hard airport, Lukla comes up. And, let’s be honest, it needed some love in X-Plane for some time.
Frank and Fabio did an excellent job on the airport and there was even someone (I don’t remember the name, sorry) that mentioned that he knows Lukla personally and the screenshots and videos Frank had been releasing for some time just reminded him so much of the place that he was being transported there in his mind.
The amount of detail added is excellent. You have some aircraft parked, folks loading/unloading them, cargo and a helicopter parked as well, on the helipad part of the airport. All it’s missing is animated people. But the people ARE there, which is a much welcome addition! It’s so nice to see developers adding them to their scenery. I would love to see more people scattered on the scenery, but Frank and Fabio decided not to fill the place.
Or perhaps the other locations are just to harsh for folks to be outside!
A note: you can start at the helipads but they are not part of Lukla itself. You have another entry in your airport list for the Lukla helipads. Those are the helipads from the airport.
The real star: helicopters
Here’s my opinion, though: helicopters are the real stars in this scenery.
Granted, the approach and takeoff in this region is challenging for any type of aircraft and the view is breathtaking from high above, but the details down on the ground are fantastic, despite the are being very hostile and deserted.
Still, we were given the little things for our enjoyment.
There are small areas with houses here and there, small wood bridges crossing rivers, showing this inhospitable region is, indeed, populated by very resilient people that might even need your help as a pilot, for example. And, of course, there are the 7 helipads scattered around the region, in the most important areas, giving you a very quick access to them.
These small details, along with the helipads, which are normally neglected or never found by those that fly higher are our kingdom. It’s where we, as virtual pilot shine and what we look for in a scenery. And, granted there are not a ton of them out there, the helipads alone make it for a very nice network around the area that you can use for transportation or medevac points, having Lukla as the main hub and perhaps Syangboche as the secondary or just another pick-up point for you to ferry people and cargo to and from Lukla.
Oh yeah. Check out the top of the Everest and you’re up for some nice treat. I couldn’t but laugh at the image of these 2 folks, very happy about reaching the top of the almighty Everest.
They are not moving though… Uh-oh…?
There’s no noticeable framerate drop. You should expect the same amount as in any other mountain region. You might see a bit of a drop at Lukla (2-3FPS for me) but the rest of the scenery is pretty normal for a place with so many polygons.
Even in VR, the experience was smooth (I did try it in 11.30). And what an experience it is!
Everst Park 3D is another brilliant work by Frank and Fabio, that transports us to one of the most emblematic places in the world – and in the sim. Not only that, but it gives us a background set for us to perform several types of missions and flights around the area.
The amount of points of interest added to the region is big enough to keep you busy for some time. Especially if you use real weather as the challenges are even bigger if you add this variable to your sim.
Do get acquainted with the region and learn where everything is. You’ll might find yourself, more often than not, having to divert to other places and land until the weather gets better and you can fly to your final destination.
If you are already a user of other scenery by this team, you know you need to get this one as well. If you are new to the world of Frank and Fabio: welcome. We have mountain-shaped cookies and you’ll want to eat the whole plate. And get some more from the kitchen.
No one will blame you if you do. These folks are called the kings of mountains for some reason, after all.
Where to get Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini’s Everest Park 3D for X-Plane
You can purchase it here.
Review: Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini Everest Park 3D for X-Plane