Orbx leads the way in flight simulation at Essendon Fields

Essendon Fields based Orbx, a company that creates true-to-life scenery and richly detailed aviation simulation graphics, has a special gift for Essendon Airport as it celebrates its centenary – a brand new state of the art flight simulation experience of its grounds.

Orbx has been a tenant at Essendon Fields for two years at the terminal building on Hargrave Avenue. In a special touch, the company has included Essendon Fields Airport in its latest generation simulation experience, ensuring all new development is showcased such as Hangar 82 currently under construction for Bombardier. Pilots and other aviation enthusiasts will even recognise the terminal’s internal fit-out that includes the Orbx headquarters when they fly into YMEN using the simulation.

Orbx CEO Dr. Anna Cicognani says the move to Essendon Fields for the company has been a great success, both creatively and professionally.

“Our Melbourne-based team was growing, and we initially considered a few options for our new office. Essendon Fields ticked a lot of boxes for us, and given we are in aviation, this seemed the best location for our headquarters. The founder of Orbx, John Venema, also arrived here as a child with the rest of his family, landing at Essendon Airport in May 1971. Their arrival story featured in the Herald (now Herald Sun) at the time, and it’s a beautiful full circle moment to now host our HQ where he started in Australia,’’ she said.

About 12 Orbx employees work at the company’s Essendon Fields headquarters, however the company has around 40 employees in total based all over the world, from the USA to Korea and many places in between. Orbx has another office located in the UK, with its main development studio in Havant. For Dr. Cicognani, a direct flight from Shellharbour in NSW to Essendon Airport brings her to the office in the mornings, landing in front of the company’s office by 9am.  She calls it an “easy” commute to work.

Dr. Cicognani believes the company, and its employees based at EF, are particularly excited about the latest version of YMEN.

“We originally released YMEN in 2011. After 10 years, and especially for the 100-year anniversary of Essendon Airport, we wanted to freshen it up. The flight simulation platforms we work with have advanced greatly in the past few years, and YMEN has been rebuilt from scratch so we can utilise many of the new features of the modern sim platforms, such as Physically Based Rendering (PBR). With Microsoft launching its new simulator in August last year, we have seen a number of people picking up their controls again to fly on their simulators,’’  Dr. Cicognani said.

“Essendon Fields Airport will be available on the three main flight sim platforms: Microsoft Flight Simulator, Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D and Laminar Research X-Plane 11.’’

“Being locally based at EF has given us a great start to developing YMEN. Our staff were literally able to walk and intimately photograph the airport from both a landside and airside perspective with the assistance of the EF Airport Operations team. Our numerous photo sessions have provided our 3D artists plenty of reference material to use when creating all the assets. This has resulted in true to life representations of all the hangars, the retail precinct and offices as well as the auto district.’’

Dr. Cicognani said that all of her team looked forward to getting back to their office at Essendon Fields once lockdowns end.

“It’s been a hard year and a half for everyone with the lockdowns, but we are optimistic for the future, and look forward to having the team back together in the office at EF – not just the Australians, but those overseas too. We would love to get to know all the business here at Essendon Fields, and build some connection with them,’’ she said.

For more information on Orbx please click here.