Aspen is known as the place where the rich and famous enjoy the snow and the peace and quiet of a small town. It's also the place where we can find a whole bunch of corporate jets. Aerosoft's revisits this town with Aspen Extended for FSX and P3D.
Back in 2007, Aerosoft released Aspen X for FSX, which brought this area of the world with great detail to the sim. Almost 10 years later, it was time for a revamp, so Aspen Extended was born.
Here are the features, as per the official website:
- Up-to-date rendering of Aspen Pitkin County Airport (KASE), including extended runway and new taxiways, Fire Station (with Oshkosh Striker 1500), Fixed-Base Operator, Terminal and hangars.
- Fully baked high resolution textures with ambient occlusion shadows and light maps for all airport and town models.
- 100 square kilometers of high resolution photo scenery (30cm, LOD17) covering the Aspen Valley, with full seasonal and night variations.
- 5 meter (LOD13) mesh covering 2400 square kilometers of the Rocky Mountains around Aspen.
- Tarmac and runway markings with realistic wet weather and specular effects.
- All current VFR and IFR approaches.
- Detailed rendering of the Aspen Valley Hospital and emergency helipad (CO50).
- Dozens of custom local landmarks, including Aspen High School, Aspen Chapel, Aspen Recreation Center, Hotel Jerome and Benedict Music Tent.
- Animated `Silver Queen` gondola to Ajax.
- Extremely dense custom Aspen-style autogen houses and mansions.
- Static CRJ-700s in United Express and Delta liveries.
- Realistic new runway and street lighting system.
- Animated windsocks.
- Compatible with Vero-FS `Heart of Colorado` photo scenery.
Aerosoft also updated the runway which was extended by 1,000 feet back in 2011.
Not much to say here except that, when you open Aerosoft's Launcher, you will notice a small bug: instead of the scenery being added to the "Sceneries" folder, it's inside a folder called "Scenerie". Clearly a typo. It's nothing that will ruin your experience, though.
You can install it on 4 simulator versions: FSX, FSX: Steam Edition, and Prepar3D V2.x and 3.x. It's the same package for all the different versions.
You can then also chose between Winter (snow) and Summer (grass) textures.
Aspen is very much different during these seasons and that is noticeable in the simulator too, as one would expect.
Aspen is a beautiful mountain area and a well-known ski-resort. The whole area is one big natural wonder which is a true pleasure to fly at. The town is comprised of mainly autogen, so you can control the amount of buildings, but you also have a few custom landmarks, my favorite being the ski lift; it brings a bit of a life to the scenery and it's pretty cool to follow it uphill.
The Aspen Valley Hospital has an emergency helipad which can be selected in FSX's airport list so you can start your MEDEVAC or patient mission from there. For a more realistic feel, you should probably start at the airport (KASE) with is only a couple of minutes away from the hospital.
One of the things that I wasn't very happy about was the lack of traffic on the streets. I wasn't expecting a huge amount of vehicles but they are pretty much non-existent. Even with the slider cranked all the way to 100% I just saw a couple of cars and a truck that quickly vanished never to be seen again. It's too bad, though, as it would make the town look a bit more alive.
The manual is not too big at only 13 pages but it covers everything you must know about the scenery, including frequencies and airport/runway data. It also mentions high-altitude operations since the airport is located almost at an altitude of almost 8,000ft. You'll have to be careful as your rotors will have an hard time providing you lift so more power will be needed. If don't pay enough attention, you may find yourself in a nasty situation.
I found absolutely no issues here. Aspen Extended is not an extremely complex scenery and, even with the huge amount of autogen, it's pretty manageable on the FPS side. There's nothing else to say here.
- Good depiction of Aspen
- Challenging area and very fun to fly at
- Perfect for helicopter flights
- Specific texture sets for Summer and Winter
- Town seems a bit deserted due to the lack of vehicles
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