The first thing you’ll notice about Stairport Sceneries’s rendition of Aspen–Pitkin County Airport is the claustrophobic feel of it’s surrounding area and the tight grip the land has over the airport. You’re quick to realize why this airport is so dangerous. But in it’s danger I found a level of detail that I grew to love. I kept coming back to this airport for the beautiful approach, the detail and just like previous releases an astonishing sense of realism. Stairport Sceneries has another beautiful product on their hands.

The Details

  • 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
  • 19.000 square kilometres of high resolution photo scenery (30cm, LOD17) covering the Aspen Valley with day and night textures
  • Tarmac and runway markings with specular effects
  • Helipad at Aspen Valley Hospital included (ICAO 6V7)
  • Dozens of custom local landmarks, including Aspen High School, Aspen Chapel, Aspen Recreation Centre, Hotel Jerome and Benedict Music Tent
  • Custom Aspen-style autogen houses and mansions
  • Custom static aircrafts and 3D people
  • Autogate plug-in animations included
  • Custom mesh representing exact runway slope
  • Compatible with HD Mesh v4
  • Compatible with World Traffic 3
  • Winter season (to be released in autumn 2018)

The Airport

We’ve grown to expect this level of detail from Stairport Sceneries and it shows in Aspen. For starters there are a scattering of tie downs, terminals and starting areas. I enjoyed the canopy area personally. There are two wonderfully crafted terminal buildings with personnel and passengers waiting outside. There are hangers, a fire station and enough eye candy to distract you from your flight preparations.

Runways are 15 and 33 with a length of 8,006 feet. This length would support larger aircraft but because of the characteristics of the airport and surrounding area there is a limitation to aircraft with a 95 foot wingspan. More details are below direct from KASE’s website.

“The Aspen Airport sits at 7815 feet above sea level, higher than many pilots have ever had their aircraft. A calm, and cool, spring morning at 10:00 am and the density altitude is 9,555 feet. Mid-day, mid-summer, the density altitude could rise to 11,000 feet. These call for very careful planning of the weight and amount of fuel that you intend to carry, as well as the time that you wish to arrive or depart. Remember, even if you have a huge engine in your craft, the wings and prop are subject to the thin air and your plane will not perform as you are used to.”

The Town

Once taxied to the runway you’re off like a shot. For a quick spin I flew out runway 15 and flew right towards Aspen. Everything is so well done and the custom autogen is highly appreciated. After reviewing Telluride I really appreciate these architectural difference in these sceneries.

I love the screen shot detailing the city streets. Just a little detail that I noticed while flying past.

There is also a helipad at the local hospital. Pretty neat effect to have the landing pad illuminated by a green outline clearly seen from above.

If you can’t tell from the screenshots taking off in this direction is not ideal. You have elevated terrain and hills on every side, and with Aspen nestled in an almost cove like area you need a steep climb to get above everything. Even in the approach you see your rate of decent at times be pretty drastic to deal with noise abatement and other concerns. It’s tricky for sure.

It’s recommend that as long as weather permits all landings take place on 15. It’s pretty straight forward.

Night

The last departure at KASE is at 22:30MST so no night time operations occur, but if you want a real challenge go for a quick flight. That claustrophobia I mentioned earlier takes full shape. It’s nearly impossible to fly into this airport at the dead of night. Thankfully that doesn’t take away from the beautiful landscape.

Impressions

Design

This airport has everything. Down to the luggage and passengers awaiting their flight. The airport is alive, the surrounding area beaming and as always there is a sense of realism that Stairport Sceneries has achieved yet again.

Performance

First thing you’ll notice is the size of the download package. 5GB! Plus an optional texture package as well. I was going into this assuming performance would take a hit but I was gladly mistaken. Performance is solid. I had little to no FPS drops or issues whatsoever. I flew in using an Arrow III Turbo, Cessna 172, and similar smaller aircraft with no issues. Also using Ultra Weather and Forkboy’s Orthos with the updated HD V4 Mesh for the surrounding areas.

Overall

There is a comfort knowing a certain brand brings a a certain quality. When I found Stairport Sceneries I was instantly immersed in the realism they bring to the table. It is an excellent addition. It’s beautifully crafted and with Colorado having some of the best flying in the entire US, this gem is a perfect stopping point along your journey in the skies.

Do yourself a favor and pick this up. Aspen is available now for $26.99 at X-Plane.org or Aerosoft’s Store.

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2 Comments on "Review: Aspen XP by Aerosoft"

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Matthias
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Nice and helpful review. Just one suggestion: I would always mention the developer, not only the publisher of a scenery package, because that would say more about the quality to expect: Aspen XP was developed by “Stairport Sceneries” (Aerosoft is only their publisher).