Ah yes, French Polynesia, a tourist’s paradise. Relaxed and after a few exotic drinks, I flew around the island of Tahiti several times looking for a monument to Captain James Cook, HMS Bounty, Marlon Brando, or some half-naked native women but none could be found. What I did find is the main island is not only surrounded by picture perfect blue water but a highway that encircles the entire island. With only one runway on it, you may find yourself using your water pontoons for the big island of Tahiti. But wait, there’s more. There are 8 airports among the 14 islands that make up French Polynesia and for 20 Euros; Aerosoft brings them to you in all their exotic flavors. French Polynesia actually consists of 14 islands 8 hours from Los Angeles in the South Pacific. From Bora Bora in the north to the big island of Tahiti in the south, it’s no wonder the early sea fairing pioneers found these islands enchanting and kept coming back. Covering a massive two and a half million kilometers, the distances are great as I made a flight in the Learjet from Bora Bora to Tahiti in just over 30 minutes. Discovered in the 1600s by the Spaniards, it was the French who made the islands a protectorate more than 200 years later. When they first arrived the Europeans found approximately 50,000 native inhabitants but by the time they were frequent visitors, the population shrank to a fraction of that. The standard plagues of corruption, greed, crime and disease decimated the natives until there were only 6,000 left. Now a popular tourist haven, tourism is the significant industry, mostly to the islands of Bora Bora and Moorea. In July, the Heiva festival in Papeete celebrates Polynesian culture and the commemoration of the storming of the Bastille in France. The airports and airfields include Faa’a, Tahiti (NTAA). Fare, Huahine (NTTH), Fetuna, Motu Nao Nao, Raiatea (NNAO), Maupiti, Maupiti (NTTP), Motu Mute, Bora Bora (NTTB), Temae, Moorea (NTTM), Tetiaroa, Tetiaroa (NTTE), Tupai , Tupai (NTPX), and Uturoa, Raiatea (NTTR) and if you can pronounce that mouthful, you’re a true native.
Tahiti X is a 205 MB file that automatically installs the program to the FSX scenery folder and adds Tahiti X to your scenery list.
Unique to Aerosoft’s scenery is a six page Adobe portable data file with details on all the islands, French Polynesian cities, and airports including a map of the region. Additionally, there is a link to navigation charts for navigation plates on individual airports.
While it isn’t photo-real, the scenery is very tropical with many animations including cars, boats, dolphins and seagulls. The multiple shades of blue water are just as amazing as the unique geography. Late evening and early nightfall are especially attractive times to fly between the islands. The graphic representation of volcanic remnants is spectacular and you too will want to visit Tahiti. I think the texture and rendering of the mountains and cliffs are the only things I would improve in this package. I don’t know why, but with few exceptions rock faces on cliffs don’t appear realistic in flight simulator. To double check the differences, I went back to the default scenery and went over several islands again. This time, I realized the generic scenery is less dense and devoid of the volcanic mountains. Several atolls and lagoons are missing too and the islands just don’t have the mystique this package brings to French Polynesia.
While the author suggests flying in twin motor aircraft because of the distances, I actually enjoyed leisurely flying low and slow, close to the surface to appreciate the myriad of vegetation and animated sea life. Chasing cars around the big island was fun too. If you are a fan of the Hawaiian Islands you will enjoy Tahiti X from Aerosoft. With a variety of tropical destinations and quite a bit of eye candy in the form of hotels, people, cars, and sailboats, French Polynesia is a sure bet to expand your simulator world and enjoyment.