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Calum Martin

Pilots - FS Global Real Weather Review

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Weather engines for the world of Flight Simulation have always been of great debate. X engine looks really snazzy, whilst Y engine has all of these neat features. Z engine uses real-world data to create my weather patterns. The debate goes on and on. The big contenders at the time were Active Sky and REX. Even OPUS was a major contender, but all of them had flaws or something that some users just did not like. Then, out of the blue, Pilots, typically known for their Mesh packages, released a brand new Weather Engine, claiming to be the best available. Whether it still holds true following various updates from other developers, we will now find out.

 

 

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The installation process is very straight forward and it gives you a range of language options to choose from, catering to a range of users from all over the world. The clean UI is consistent throughout the installation process. One thing I was pleased to see was the inclusion of an update list. Using this, you will be able to easily identify the changes made to the latest version of the software. Handy to ensure you have the latest and greatest version.

At this point, you’re then presented with the main User Interface. A clear, clean and easy to use system with logic applied throughout. Unlike some weather engines, everything looks great and is systematic. You want to inject the selected weather, just hit the button to do so. Want to find options, just find the options tab and select your sim. It’s easy and intuitive to use. It sounds petty that I am commented so highly on the UI, but it’s surprising how you miss such intuition when switching to other add-ons.

 

Once you have selected whether you want to download either current weather or historical weather, it will take just a matter of seconds to download the data. Once it has, you can search any airport for its current conditions. If you don’t know where you want to fly from, you can also filter the different kinds of weather you want to find. For example, if you want to try some CAT3 approaches, you can search very specifically for those conditions. It will then give you a list of airports meeting your weather requirements. Simply load up the sim, import the weather and BAM, there’s the weather conditions to go flying in.

 

 

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It’s all very intuitive and each to use. 

 

Once in the sim, you can see clearly the effect Pilot’s FS Global Real Weather is having on the environment. Clouds form giant overcast conditions above you and you can almost feel the breeze of the winds around you. Often one of the biggest complaints is the way in which the clouds form above you, in that they form in a pattern-like way. I’m pleased to say Pilots have managed to avoid this and have created an elegant solution. You can see cloud formations above and for miles away. No longer will you see the same FEW or SCT surrounding you, even if the nearest airports are experiencing something completely different.

You can see from my screenshots, that each cloud formation is unique, different and carries a real sense of realism. For those interested, I’m using REX4 clouds.

 

One of my favourite features for the weather engine is the ability for the developers to create, what they call “Local Weather Effects”.

 

 

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This fantastic feature allows you to experience forces, winds and tremors experienced by real pilots as they approach airports known for their unique weather. For example, as you approach Funchal, Maderia, the surrounding terrain and high cliffs cause the wind to get extremely turbulent on final approach. The FSGRW Weather Engine and the “Local Effects” simulate this exact behaviour based on the current weather at the airport. It’s not random and is incredibly realistic. There are loads of “Local Effects” programmed into the software, with more released with each new build. There’s a full list available on their website. It’s certainly my favourite feature and one that can make that challenging approach even more challenging.

 

Further options include the ability to reset the AI traffic, to not cause any inconsistencies whilst on the ground, and also the ability to change the ‘look’ of the clouds from big, fluffy and picturesque, although less realistic, to a more realistic and flat look. This ability really gives the user the freedom to create scenarios they want. Another nifty feature is the ability to tell the engine what aircraft you’re flying, and at what altitude, and it will give you a fairly accurate en-route weather report. It will give you information such as head/tail wind, as well as a rough flight time, based on the aircraft’s performance. It’s all these extra features that set FS Global Real Weather apart from the rest.

 

 

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Incredibly, another Weather Engine add-on manages to impress me. Further improving the user interface and adding some incredibly unique features, Pilots have created an immersive and realistic weather engine. It’s fast, easy to use and allows for some smooth weather changes. It’s clear that Pilot’s mean business and with their frequent updates and compatibility with several simulators in one package, it’s clear that FS Global Real Weather is a serious contended in the crowded market.

 

 

 

 

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Final Summary text version:

 

4/5  |  Publisher: Pilot's  |  Developer: Pilot's  |  Price: 39.99EUR

 

Packed to the brim with features, FS Global Real Weather is a fantastic contender with the likes of Active Sky and Rex. Although it may be just a “weather engine”, it’s Local Weather keeps the software fresh and inviting. The easy to use set-up and speed the weather gets injected certainly gives Pilot’s the edge they need against the competition.

 

+ Easy to use and quick to install. Also very quick to inject the weather.

+ Great local weather effects based on surrounding terrain and weather.

 
- Some problems when flying payware aircraft against strong crosswinds.
- Not as visually appealing as other weather engines.
 
 

Purchase Pilot's FS Global Real Weather Here

 

My Specs: 

Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz)
RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800)
GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5
Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD
Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit)

 

Add-ons Used In Screenshots: 

Scenery - UK2000 Scenery's Bristol Airport (EGGD), UK2000 Scenery's Heathrow V3 (EGLL), Flight Beam Washington Dulles (KIAD)

Aircraft - A2A's Piper Cherokee, PMDG 777-200LR/F
Utilities - REX4 Textures, FS Global Real Weather, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global

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I also noticed bugs with visibility depiction with version 22. Flew with C172 around EDDM, and visibility was around 20km, then suddenly it was changed to 80km in a second, after a bit of research I found that I entered the area of another weather station. It's not realistic that 2 neighbour stations depicted visibility completely different. It is a real immersion killer for me, using OPUS since then until they fix that problem.

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