Every now and then, a scenery comes up that we immediately identify as something that could be fun for helicopter pilots. Helgoland, by Aerosoft, Limesim and Stairport Sceneries is one of them.
The first thing that I did when I saw the scenery on the .org website (besides getting a copy to review) was to search a bit more about this area as it got me very curious.
Funny enough, all the information that I found mentions Heligoland (with an “i”) and not Helgoland. I did see this scenery for other platforms (such as FSX) so I am assuming it might be a language difference, as it happens with other countries and regions. Their names vary by country.
Helgoland (Heligoland?? – I don’t know!) is a small German archipelago in the North Sea, about 50Km (~30 miles) from mainland (both to the West and to the South).
The archipelago consists of only 2 islands that were once connected by land until a storm flood destroyed the natural connection back in 1720. There’s quite a bit of interesting history behind these islands and it’s well worth reading.
The scenery is obviously comprised of the 2 islands but also of a frigate, positioned near one of the islands but also a few landable platforms on the NE area.
Here’s the official feature list:
- Up-to-date, detailed aerial images
- 1 meter mesh resolution so you see the smallest dunes near the airport
- Helgoland-Düne airfield with extremely short runways
- Current airport buildings with restaurant terrace and transparent tower windows
- SAR helicopter of the German Navy
- German Navy frigate (landable)
- Custom vegetation
- Very good performance
- Animated ship and ferry traffic
- Many 3D people
- Animated ground traffic and more animations
- Offshore Southern harbour of energy group (landable)
- 4 Offshore wind farms with 4 platforms with their own helipads (landable)
One of the cool things is that you can select any of the platforms and even the frigate as a starting point.
On the island, you also have 3 spots you can select, designated SAR1 to SAR3, which are helipads.
The islands seem well depicted and my only complaint is that the textures could have been cleaned up of buildings. The authors have made a great job populating the island with both autogen and custom buildings so the textures kinda ruin the excellent job they did by having buildngs on them. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I would rather see them cleaned up and leave the 3D buildings to shine.
I also wish the frigate was a bit more detailed. Granted, having less polys help a lot with the framerate but I feel that some more detail could have been added without hindering performance.
Offshore platforms, a frigate, 30miles away from land, a couple of islands and some heli-specific spots to start your flights at.
That’s what you get when you put your hands on this scenery. The islands are just a few minutes out of mainland and the offshore platforms, which is enough for you to do some great flying around. Perhaps even slinging some loads from mainland to the islands, transporting some maintenance crews to the platforms or performing some SAR missions.
Helgoland is a small scenery, yes. But it’s also filled with enough features that will give you an excuse to fly your helicopters around this area of the North Sea and perform a varied number of tasks.
It might not be a complete virtual heaven for helisimmers, but it sure is fun!
I couldn’t find any hits on my framerate. The scenery works properly and is very fluid.
This scenery is not perfect. There are a few things that I would like to see improved and, for the price, I feel like there are other products out there that offer a bit more, but they usually don’t offer as much as this one does for us, helicopter pilots.
Nonetheless, I would very much like to see an update that could take care of the textures with buildings on them and perhaps a bit more detail on the frigate and a couple of other models.
In the end, I am enjoying the scenery quite a bit and it’s giving me a lot to do so the investment you make on it will be well worth it.
Where to get the Helgoland scenery for X-Plane
Review: Helgoland for X-Plane
Close enough to the mainland and the platforms to act as an hub for a lot of different operations
Lots of helicopter-specific starting spots
Textures could have had a bit more of work
I wish the frigate was more detailed