Threshold Review: Reg Designs Guelph Airpark

August 4, 2021
nobody, apparently.
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Introduction

Located in Ontario Canada, Guelph Airpark is situated only 1.3 miles away from the city of Guelph. The field consists of two main paved runways, both around 2000 feet in length. Interestingly, Guelph Airpark is an aerodrome, meaning It isn’t certified by Transport Canada, so It isn’t classified as an airport in Canadian law. Guelph also serves as a transport point for ORNGE, the Ontario Governments’ air ambulance service. ORNGE helicopters are seen landing on the ramp near the main terminal building, and transport patients into land ambulances. Older aircraft can also be seen landing on the grass runway, situated beside 05/23. Only runway 14/32 contains lighting, which could provide some challenging crosswinds during the night if winds don’t favour the runway, as night lighting is required to land during the night.

First Impressions:

Initially loading into Guelph I was quite impressed with the quality of the scenery, especially considering its price tag of 5 euros. Upon loading in, I entered the drone camera and flew around the airport which allowed me to notice numerous minor details which were quite appreciated. For example, RegDesigns had modelled the interior of multiple hangars with their doors open, inside, I was able to find various screws and tools, all laid neatly in boxes or on shelves, along with further minor details. Moving to the airpark café, I was quite happy to see that part of the interior was modelled. Although the whole interior wasn’t modelled, the cafe’s seating area was, which is the only area viewable from outside. I did notice some issues though, particularly with the colouring of the wood being off compared to source photos I found, although that could have been due to worn-out paint. The developer also included a couple of people lounging in the chairs of the café, although it looked a bit off due to their aviation headsets still being on, It would’ve been nice to see more people sitting at the café to make the aerodrome feel more alive. The rest of the main terminal seemed to be modelled reasonably well, although I did notice an issue with some windows, which I’ll dive deeper into later. The fuel pumps were modelled incredibly however and matched the source photos I had perfectly. My main gripe with this scenery on the first impression is the low-resolution textures in some areas, especially with a lot of text being completely unreadable or slightly blurry. Another issue I have is the lack of slope to the ground, with the whole aerodrome being completely flat.

A comparison between the real runway slope | Image Credit: Wikipedia Contibutors "SteveTheAirman"

Looking at real-life photos, the runways seem to have a slope to them, especially 23, but in-sim they were flat, you can see the slope in the real-life photo below. As well, upon initially spawning in at a pre-selected ramp, the tail of my Cessna 172 was going through the hangar, and I could imagine that issue only gets worse if you enter into a slightly bigger aircraft, as the 172 is already quite small. In conclusion, my first impressions of the airport were pretty positive, I enjoyed the various minor details, the focus on realism in various aspects (which will be further explained later), and the general feel of the airport. Although I did notice some issues with the airport, none of them are immersion breaking, besides the one where my plane was halfway through the hangar.

Modelling/Texturing

Starting with texturing, the general resolution of the textures could be higher quality. In various areas, the texturing is of a noticeably low resolution in certain areas which can make the buildings look blurry or give off the impression that they lack detail. A prime example of this is the smaller building pictured below. The textures are low-resolution and flat and don't provide any depth. As well, while some text is perfectly readable, in other places the text is so blurry that It’s completely unreadable. Considering how detailed graphics can get within Microsoft Flight Simulator, I’m pretty sure It’s possible to get the text that small readable. Although I’m being a bit nitpicky, it’s stuff such as readable text which truly enhances the scenery and impresses me. There’s also a weird metallic look on a certain building which can look passable at day, but during golden hour and beyond it suffers a weird reflection which almost makes it look like plastic (viewable below). Other locations of the airport suffer the same issue, especially the main terminal where the textures could be afforded higher resolution and the walls look blurry up close, once you get a bit further from them, however, they look completely passable. I also noticed a small hole in the wall of the main terminal, although It isn’t huge and wouldn’t be noticeable during normal flight operations, It’s  like to see fixed. If I had to pinpoint a single word to describe the texturing of the aerodrome, It’d have to be inconsistent. In some areas, the texturing is uninspiring, while in others It’s done decently well. The fences, lighting poles, and other areas such as some of the hangars are done to a high standard, and some areas such as guard rails are textured well-enough that even the nuts and bolts are visible. However, much of the airport doesn’t get the same treatment, with some walls getting close to no detail, it makes me wonder why some areas of the airport are much higher quality than others. So in conclusion, I can’t specifically say if the texturing, in general, is done well, It’s just not consistent. In some areas, the texturing is well done and in others, It’s subpar, the textures are truly a varied experience for this aerodrome. Moving on to modelling, it seems to be more consistent and is done pretty well. Although judging models is much harder than textures, I didn’t notice any major issues which took away the experience and all buildings look like they represent their real-life counterparts well. I did notice some issues though, the smokestacks on the left part of the terminal were floating. Although this isn’t noticeable when flying regularly, I did spot the issue pretty quickly while moving around in drone camera and looking for irregularities. Another error in the modelling is a window frame near the café, which in real life contained three separate window panes put into one, the window in sim only contained two. Of course, these were only minor issues I found, and in no-way took away from the experience of the airport. In general, the inclusion of various little details are modelled well, such as the guard rails, light posts, garbage cans, and more. I’d definitely say that the modelling is well-done for the airport's asking price of 5 euros.

Flat and low-resolution textures make the building appear flat
Golden-hour gives this building a weird aluminium look
A hole in the terminal modelling and a low resolution sign

Attention to Detail, Night Lighting and Ground Textures

The airport comes with multiple little details which were quite surprising to find. I was quite pleased to see keen attention to detail within various hangars, with little things such as screws lying around, and more, being modelled. I was really impressed to see that the colours of the roof on a certain hangar were textured exactly to how they appear in real life. The developer could have left the colour of the roof the same as the rest of the hangars, but they added the rusty effect that the real one had, a comparison between real-life and the simulator is posted below. Moving to the entrance of the aerodrome,  it was cool to see that the street sign, an advertising board, and an airport sign were all modelled. Of course, these didn’t need to be included and won’t be seen when flying regularly, but that’s what makes inclusions such as those so welcome. I was pleasantly surprised to see them included, and it adds a small sense of immersion even if they won’t be seen regularly. Moving on to the ground textures, they seem to be pretty well done and are a sure improvement over their default counterparts. Unfortunately, ground textures in Microsoft Flight Simulator are locked in resolution, meaning, they’re going to be the same resolution as the default ground textures, so I won’t comment on how sharp the textures look. However, the various cracks in the concrete give it a nice feel and makes it feel like you’re flying into a smaller General Aviation Airport. What impressed me most with the ground texturing was the newer concrete laid out near the terminal forming what looks like a walkway. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but looking at real-life pictures It’s that way as well. Also, the words “Guelph Airpark” were included on runway 32, matching real-life as well. In general, the ground textures seem to be very well done, with even the runway markings perfectly matching their real-life counterparts. The layout of the airport, the general look of the asphalt, and the perfectly represented runway markings all contribute to a very well-done layout and ground texturing of the airport. Various comparisons between real-life and the simulator are viewable below. Lastly, moving on to night lighting, RegDesigns has once again done an excellent job. The developer claimed that the lighting was correct according to the CFS (Canadian Flight Supplement) and checking it myself, their claim is correct. According to the CFS, only 2053 feet of runway 32/14 is lighted, with about 500 feet in total being unlighted (around 250 feet on either side of the runway). This was represented amazingly within the scenery, and It is great attention to detail as the developers could have just left the airport lighted as it was within the default simulator. It was also nice to see that runway 06/24 didn’t have any night lighting in the simulator, just as it would in real life. In general, the attention to detail throughout the airport is superb, with the accurate night lighting only adding to the immersion. The ground textures are done well and the markings are accurate, which is most important. The high attention to detail within RegDesigns’ rendition of Guelph is only a positive for people looking to purchase the scenery

Image Credit: Google Maps
The weathering on the roof is true to life
Image Credit: Google Maps

Image Credit: Google Maps

Conclusion/Pricing:

Priced at five euros, you really can’t go wrong with RegDesigns’ rendition of Guelph Airpark. Although the airport is lacking in texturing in some places, It makes up for it in others, which amounts to an enjoyable airport and a fun addition to my general aviation route list within Microsoft Flight Simulator. With decent modelling and keen attention to detail, I’d say that the scenery is worth it. However, for those who have a keen eye to textures and will be bothered by some lower resolution textures or areas where the texturing could be greatly improved might find themselves disappointed. If you’re looking for a cheap addition to your Canadian scenery list within Microsoft Flight Simulator, then Guelph Airpark is a great choice, even with its issues, I still enjoyed flying into it, and on the whole, the scenery lives up to its five euro asking price.

Fancy adding Reg Designs' Guelph Airpark to your own scenery library? The airpark is available to be purchased at SimMarket for €5 (excluding any applicable taxes).

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