• Nicholas Mayson

Ballina - Byron Bay (YBNA) for MSFS by AUscene Review

AUscene has released their long-anticipated hand-crafted rendition of Ballina Byron Gateway Airport for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Situated 186 kilometres south of Brisbane AUscene’s latest project takes advantage of the power of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. The Australian Flight Sim community has been waiting to see more Australian Airports come available to the brand-new simulator and now another release sees just that.

Ballina Byron Gateway Airport is one of Australia’s popular regional airports mainly serving those within or visiting the town of Byron Bay and is a 20-minute drive North. The airport has seen an increased number of passengers in the past few years thanks to border restrictions placed upon NSW, forcing holiday siders to look at holidaying regional as opposed to interstate at places like the Gold Coast.

AUscene has recreated the popular airport in amazing detail, so I thought I would experience the new scenery on a flight from Sydney to Ballina. The approach into Ballina was fantastic with the default photo geometry from Microsoft Flight Simulator.

However, the highlight of the trip was landing over the hills onto runway 06 and then backtracking to meet this little airport terminal buzzing with life. This scenery screams detail!

Details have not been overlooked here by the development team. Everywhere I looked there were new details to be seen. From static AI aircraft down to lawnmowers parked outside the airport gate

Starting with the amazing Dash 8 Q-400 as I rolled into the terminal. Wow! Personally, I am a big fan of the Dash 8 so I may be a bit biased. Firstly this aircraft looked much better than your default static AI, it has reflections on the blades and had a set of see-through cockpit windows. Additionally, crews and baggage surrounded the aircraft giving it a sense of life. This was also seen around other parking areas loaded with various containers and trolleys. There were even static passengers walking on the zebra crossing going to the aircraft which brings me to my next detail.

The static 3D passengers waiting on the tarmac and at the terminal entrance was great to see. In past simulators, we have seen this in a 2D format which provided an amazing sense of life to the airport. This notion is continued with 3D passengers making it even better!

The airport building and surrounding locations were amazingly detailed. Starting with the main terminal building. Yes, there is no interior modelling but this does not draw back from how well the building is detailed from both the drop-off side and the tarmac. The circular windows on the roof are familiar to those that travel into Ballina, allowing for great natural lighting into the terminal. The building showcased great textures of rust and paint chips on the trim too. Buildings located on airport property saw a GA section with small hangars and a fire station running alongside the runway on the southern side.

The surrounding buildings near the airport were fantastic as well and did not drop in the level of detail. Popular buildings such as the brewery, automobile repairs and car rentals were all done to a high standard. Sheds were also seen with parked vehicles and oil tankers.

Around this area vehicles such as the Byron Bay Shuttle and the iconic VW transporter showcases the personality and identity of Byron Bay. A fantastic touch that certainly goes a long way. Small details also fill the area with high-quality airport signage, parking meters, drinking fountains and roadway signs.

Texturing is fantastic, I honestly believe that the ground textures done here by Auscene are some of, if not the best in all Australian Airports we have seen. It had a realistic level of weathering in markings and had the depth to the 3D texture of the ground. This level was also consistent through the grass and runway textures.

Night lighting was very good as well, especially in the rainy weather which creates light patterns along the apron reflecting with the rain.

The surrounding area of the airport also saw some additional buildings brought by AUscene including the iconic Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse.

In my opinion, I believe the scenery developed by AUscene is excellent. There are many levels of detail here in this scenery pack to be discovered. I believe you would have to go back on a few occasions to find everything. This airport is essential for anyone looking to fly Australian commercial routes or even tour the amazing scenery in the area with a GA aircraft! We here at Aus Virtual Pilots look forward to bringing some events for our members that showcase the area!

Currently, you can pick up your copy of AUscene Ballina Byron Bay Gateway Airport from their website and Contrail. It will soon be available through Orbx and Sim Market late next weekend and should become available for Xbox within 2-4 weeks.


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