Orbx was kind enough to provide us with a review copy of their recently released Prague Airport for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Today, I will talk you through its main features and my impressions of this scenery rendition from Orbx.
Prague Airport (LKPR) is the main international airport in the Czech Republic. It dates all the way back to 1933 when the construction began on the outskirts of the city. It has been opened four years later, in 1937, replacing Prague-Kbely Airport (LKKB), nowadays used by the military.
The first aircraft to visit the airport was a Douglas DC-2 from Czechoslovak Airlines on a route from Piešťany, situated nowadays in Slovakia, with stops in Zlín and Brno, both in current Czechia. Initially, there were five grass runways at the airport.
After the Second World War, the airport saw a massive construction aiming to deliver parallel runway and modernised facilities. The construction of the parallel runway was soon after cancelled, and to date, the remainings of it are at the airport acting as permanently closed runway 4/22.
Nowadays, the airport is named after former Czech Republic president Václav Havel. It is the busiest and largest airport in the country seeing over 17 million passengers annually, before the C19 outbreak. It offers two active runways and four terminals, one of which is Terminal 4, the original terminal dating all the way to 1937.
For several years already, the management of the airport is planning on building a parallel runway to the current 06/24. This should allow the airport to handle more aircraft every year.
But for now, enough of information about the real airport, let’s head out to the scenery review.
Installation and documentation
The scenery offers a straightforward installation through the Orbx Central app, which is available through the website. As soon as you purchase the scenery, you receive a license on your account and you can start downloading it immediately into your simulator. The process is automated, and you don’t have to worry about messing up the installation.
Speaking of the documentation, the scenery doesn’t ship with any kind of brochure or manual regarding the scenery.
My first impressions of this airport were good. To me, the airport seemed pleasingly done in terms of texturing and modelling at first. Even though the scenery does not offer a 3D terminal interior, I was satisfied with how it looks at the first glance.
On my medium to high settings running on a computer with RTX 2060 S, Ryzen 5 5600X and 32 gigabytes of RAM, I was able to get satisfactory performance here. On DirectX 11 setting and FlyByWire A32NX, I was sitting stable at around 40 frames per second, which I consider more than enough.
During my testing, I came across a moderate performance drop with DirectX 12 option enabled in the simulator. However, this might be an issue with the rendering engine as DirectX 12 is still in beta for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
In my opinion, Orbx has done a fantastic job of modelling this airport. There are no low-polygon count areas, resulting in seamless transitions between different models.
I have to say, overall, the models around the whole rendition are great. The terminal area is well done from the apron side, as well as from the entrance side.
However, I feel that the cargo terminal, together with the general aviation terminal didn’t receive as much attention. Despite this, they are still very good looking and I would still be impressed during a normal flight of mine.
Even though there are many things I like about the terminal, I found something that didn’t seem right, and that’s the tower. This is because the radar at the top of the tower is way too big. It should be much smaller, as its real counterpart. Not to mention the lack of details on top of it.
Also, these steel curtains that are at Terminal 2 are way too big and they cover too much of the wall. These curtains in reality cover much less area, and the terminal has a glass wall at the bottom, which it clearly doesn’t in the rendition by Orbx.
Furthermore, what I also noticed is the lack of doors on Terminal 1 model. However, I don’t feel like that is going to affect your experience much, as you aren’t going to see this, unless you are going to explore the airport, just like I did.
The textures of the airport are generally nice, as the modelling is. There is a variety of colours used over the whole rendition. Therefore, it doesn’t seem all plastic, and fake. Rather more pleasing to look at and impressive. The textures include PBR materials, which in combination with the Microsoft Flight Simulator engine create outstanding visuals.
My personal favourite are the glass reflections, which are remarkable. With these glass reflections, I have to say that I probably don’t even need a 3D interior, even though it would be much better with it. However, it still looks good. I also liked the smaller details such as oil stains and rust on the roof of the airport.
On the other hand, I’ve got rather a love-hate relationship with the glass textures at this rendition. Despite Orbx’s amazing job with the reflections, the textures of glass panes seem a little off. This is because almost every other glass pane have different colour contrast and sometimes even a different colour variant, and it seems odd to me. This irregularity can clearly be seen at the front of Terminal 2, at gates 25 to 31.
The ground textures are well done, too. The concrete tiles found all over the airport look worn-out and the textures are done in great detail. This also applies to asphalt parts of the ground textures.
Speaking of the grass found in the surrounding area, it is also satisfactory. However, it is a little more contrasty than it should probably be. Yet, they’re still delivered with great attention to detail, as with the runways and taxiways.
The special effects are good, but, I have seen better. The terminal is not affected by either rain or snow, unfortunately.
During the night, this rendition is well lit-up and it looks impressive with all the light that comes from the terminal, as well as apron lamps. In some cases though, it seems like the lights are a little too strong than they should be.
Overall, I wasn’t as impressed by the special effects as I was with other aspects of the airport.
When it comes to the surrounding area, with this rendition I am not entirely sure where the surrounding area ends. This is for the reason Orbx has done a seamless job of blending Prague Airport into the default online scenery well.
Speaking of the airport surroundings, I should not forget to mention the custom airport vehicles Orbx provided us with. Like the airport, these are also impressive, namely the models. Among these, we can find luggage transporters, fuel trucks, as well as passenger stairs.
In my opinion, this airport is worth it, it has great textures, impressive modelling, as well as good performance. The only three things that I didn’t really like were the special effects, the tower radar and the steel curtains, as I mentioned earlier. But this wouldn’t discourage me from buying this Prague rendition. Also, this is the very first payware Prague for Microsoft Flight Simulator, and I have to say that it is worth the price tag.