Outpost2
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Outpost2

TrueEarth US Washington -Flying along the virtual wall on the border

There is a new virtual wall close, some places, to where the real US and Canada border is. It’s waiting for you inside X-Plane 11 and you’ll never want to fly beyond the point where Orbx TrueEarth US Washington ends.

X-Plane has an acceptable base scenery… until you try something else. Then you understand how much better it can look. The recently launched TrueEarth US Washington from Orbx is a good example of the changes, especially when you fly on the edges of the new landscape.

After buying a flight simulator and one or two aircraft, one of the first things people buy, to enhance their experience, is scenery. If you buy an airport, it goes on top of the base scenery, and while it may look different, you accept it as part of the whole.

Things are quite different when you buy a whole area. Then, you’re in for a surprise, especially if that area looks like Orbx’s TrueEarth US Washington. Take your airplane and fly to the limits of the area covered, and you are faced with the reality the images published here show: the difference is staggering and will make it difficult, afterwards, to fly outside of the new landscape. It’s as if there is a virtual wall separating your newly acquired scenario from all the rest.

From PNW to TrueEarth US Washington

Exploring the limits of the new TrueEarth US Washington was one of the first things I did, once I bought the scenery. It’s an enormous 91,875 square miles (Orbx’s largest yet!), and it includes a host of new features and content. From the 1,100+ custom-modeled PBR landmarks, through to the millions of accurately-placed buildings and trees, “this scenery faithfully recreates one of the true homes of global aviation” says the team at Orbx.

While I can not vouch for that (others will, I believe, because they know the real area), TrueEarth US Washington is my new playground, a substitute for the original Pacific Northwest from Orbx used with FSX and Prepar3D. While this does not cover the whole area, it gives me enough of the same landscape to explore, and that’s what I’ve been doing in recent weeks.

I did acquire TrueEarth GB previously, but because I acquired the three parts of it (South, Center and North) almost simultaneously, I had no chance to explore the differences between the original and Orbx’s scenery. Now, with TrueEarth US Washington, the differences were rapidly visible, because of the areas I chose to explore. Then I decided to fly along the edges of the new scenery.

This is the end…

Flying on the border

I flew across many of the areas I know from the Pacific Northwest scenery, and while I love the PNW experience, which was my main flying scenery for a long time, seeing the same areas built with TrueEarth technology represents a huge step forward, and another reason to choose X-Plane 11 as my main flight simulation these days. My experience with PNW was with FSX and Prepar3D (it still is, as I use PNW with Prepar3D), and there, the differences between Orbx’s scenery and the base at the intersection points are not as visible as they are when you mix TrueEarth and X-Plane 11.

The differences are, in general terms, impressive, and I believe that after seeing the images I captured, you’ll have a hard time going back to the base scenery, if you’ve a chance to cover it with something like the sceneries Orbx is offering. While I do not know how TrueEarth works with Prepar3D, in X-Plane 11 it makes a huge difference, something my “flying on the border” images show.

The area covered by TrueEarth US Washington includes Washington state and some small areas of Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia. The TrueEarth scenery goes from a straight line just below Abbotsford, a city located in British Columbia, adjacent to the Canada–United States border, all the way down the south to Astoria, close to the Seaside Municipal airfield (56S), on the coast line.

TrueEarth US Washington and X-Plane 11 base scenery. Orbx still has some retouching to do, as seen on the image on the right, taken close to the Seaside Municipal airfield, south of Astoria

TrueEarth is “plug and play”

Because the scenery does not have a regular shape (see the image published here, from Orbx’s manual for the region), it does cover a section further down, but these are the main limits, North and South, for the scenery. From the West towards East it covers everything from the coastal areas to Spokane. That’s a vast area to fly across that will keep you happy for a long time. Orbx states that, “as well as rugged natural beauty, an enormous amount of detail can be found within the metropolises of Seattle, Spokane, Victoria, Yakima and plenty more. Whether it’s getting lost amongst the valleys of the Olympics in your Cub, enjoying the Seattle approach view from the deck of your 737, or keeping to schedule on your San Juan mail run, TrueEarth US Washington is truly the most immersive flying experience brought to your simulator!”

Orbx TrueEarth US Washington scenery (image from the manual)

Some people will tell you that there are other ways to discover the region in X-Plane 11, generally using Orthophotos, from which there are many options available for free. The X-Plane Orthophotos Project is usually pointed as a good place to start looking for that type of solution, but for many users, myself included, spending $69.95 AUD, US$48.17, €43,28 or £39.41 to have a “ready to use” scenery is probably the best option. While True Earth US Washington is not completely perfect (what is?), it’s an accessible way to make your flight experience “as real as it gets”. The images I share here are a clear demonstration of the differences. It’s the best “plug and play” solution I found.

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Outpost 2 is a “bridge” between the world of simulation and the real world, and the Universe around us. Sometimes, there will be no frontiers between reality and simulation. It’s an advanced scouting position from where, sometimes, a new view reveals hidden details.

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Jose Antunes

Jose Antunes

I am a writer and photographer based on the West coast of continental Europe, a place to see the Sun die on the Sea, every day.

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