As Aerosoft start reeling out scenery on a more regular basis it is getting interesting, I do admit to be giving Aerosoft scenery a bit more attention than other products because I feel they are a serious game changer for our simulator and for our view of the future of XP10.
Aerosoft have invested a lot of time and money into our platform over the last year and we are still waiting if the other big scenery development houses will follow them down the same path, I certainly hope so and that is why Aerosoft is again the watershed on how the others will respond, If Aerosoft start to make a return on their investment then surely the others will then follow them into our market – and also more importantly so will other simulator users.
If the experiment fails then X-Plane will then always be a marginal player – a good one but never mainstream.
Early products have been Flight Simulator (MSFS) converted scenery and have been a little hit and miss, their MSFS underpinnings have shown through and in some places quite glaringly, to note the differences you see how really quite different the platforms really are and how if Aerosoft wants to be successful in this new medium it will have to lift its game and that certainly shows through in this exercise of to join two of the newly released sceneries together and starting in Lugano and then flying over the Alps to Zurich – A service that runs everyday by a Darwin Airlines subsidiary called Baboo – which is a great name by the way and is known locally as “Flybaboo”.
Flybaboo operate DashQ400′s but there is no way to use the great FJS Dash for this exercise because for one I don’t have a livery and for two I feel the Q400′s 3d cockpit will overwhelm the framerate too badly at Zurich (I was certainly correct in that).
riviere did however create a very nice (If old) Saab2000c Saab2000c Crossair and it has a very functional 3d cockpit as well (you have to dump the pilot as his damn head gets in the way too badly), but a nice aircraft it is.
First off I did have to put it through the X-Plane9 planemaker to convert it for X-Plane10, but that done then it works fine, there is a Darwin Airlines livery for it as well Saab2000c (Darwin Airlines) – so that also helped the idea along very nicely.
The first big complaint of Aerosoft scenery is that that are all very, very empty and certainly by X-Plane standards, but X-Planers are not like other people in the fact that if there is an issue then they come up with a solution – the result was the Lugano Static Aircraft package Lugano Static Aircraft v1 by scoobe.
And extremely well created it all is as well and I was seriously impressed (There is a similar package for Zürich also by scoobe – Zürich Static Aircraft v1 which is just as well done).
Not content to just have an airport and a few planes lying around I wanted to see if I could bring Lugano alive, so I duplicated the Saab and created an A.I. version to get the services underway.
Now I do admit that when you get things running smoothly it all came together quite well – and I admit I was very impressed.
With Aerosoft Lugano what I found is that if you use them and set these airports up correctly then they work very well – and the more that you use them then the better they seem to get.
So first impressions here are not always the best guide until you have spent some time using them.
Now I admit I am serious about my sector flying, I do everything to create the right route (F7 2905), time, fuel and a thousand other checklist items.
A big surprise is how serious you all are as well with this simulator, I casually came across a thread on the .Org called ” How realistic is your flying ” and boy you are a serious lot, thirty-three pages of seriousness altogether and not a free flyer amongst any of you all.
It gladden’s the heart of course that I am not the only one that takes 20 minutes to start the engines, but most of you do everything including walk-rounds, flap/wing checks, fuel management and god knows what else – but to do this in the correct surroundings certainly helps in the involvement and in this case Lugano delivers very well, sitting on the ramp you notice cars and trucks moving swiftly along Autoroute E35 and the odd car traveling into Agno behind you – then add in a departing service and it gets no better than this.
But it was time for me to get my passengers on board and do my flying business.
I had set up a strange route over the Alps for two reasons, I had to first get high enough to go over them and then secondly not hit anything like in the way of a mountain range in doing so.
My reasoning was that if I keep to the valleys- then I won’t run into something “Big”.
So it was a slight zig-zaggy route but very workable. I was also going to leave via RW19 and fly out over Lake Lugano because if I used RW01 which was in reality pointed in the right northerly direction – it was not going to give me enough space to climb up to the 19,500ft of which is the height I needed to clear the snow-caps.
Flight-plan in the FMS and everything was set and ready to go – then it was time to depart.
There is not much room to turn at the end of RW19,
… full lock and a bit of power to get it to turn on the hard stuff – there is excellent grass by Aerosoft by the way.
You climb out hard and twist (roll) slightly to the left.
A full 180° turn is tight once you clear the lake and you are still climbing hard through 8000ft.
Back over Lugano I now turned to the northerly heading – now I was finally going in the right direction but crucially at the right height.
18,500ft and some space between me and the rocks below, the Saab flew well but I got that aileron flutter that you get with certain older versions.
I still kept to the safety of a valley, and this is certainly a great route to fly.
Almost as soon as you get up there you then pass over the main central traverse valley between the little and large Alp ranges and then straight away you have to start to drop your height down to 7000ft.
Everything soon flattens out and you head towards Zürich while still losing the height.
My first view of Aerosoft’s version of LSZH.
My runway is RW16 so I have to go downrange and then turn back towards the threshold.
Finals and I am looking around for the APP button?
There isn’t one!…well not by name – I had to set up a key version to activate it, and found it was a combination of three buttons.
Down on the hard stuff the Saab2000c was hard to slow down and you have to pull the mixture right back to zero to try get some sort of idle out of the props.
From down here and Zürich looked very impressive with great detail – like the grass growing over the side of the taxiways.
But my frame-rate went south, My setting is on “high” in the render window and I was getting 18frames max – a few twiddles and fingers crossed and I raised it up to 21frames and that made the airport usable.
I piled on the A.I. aircraft with a mixture of 5 aircraft to get the runways active and was impressed with the results.
My only issue now was finding a gate, when looking at scoobe’s work I wondered if he had filled in every single gate and had gave me simply nowhere to park.
I needed a A Concourse gate and finally found that A10 was empty.
Here Zürich looks impressive.
With the Passengers heading for their baggage it was time to have a look around.
Scoobe has put in a lot of activity and it works a treat.
Concourse E is very well done but that Aer Lingus B747 is a bit of a pain as you can’t access the ramp area from that direction, and anyway Aer Lingus don’t fly B747′s anymore either.
Concourse B and A are very well done with great detail.
Cargo west has GA aircraft but otherwise well done.
Past that and Aerosoft Zürich falls apart….
Aerosoft have kept the old MSFS underlay and it totally fails here in the X-Plane10 layout as it stops the OSM (OpenStreetMap) in its tracks and turns the ground into a white smudgy mess.
Worse is set out in the carpark areas behind the terminal buildings.
No words on this mess?
Turn off the daylight and it gets even worse, you get a huge black hole in the ground, in fact a lot of the lighting is average.
Concourse A is in a power blackout?
Concourse B is lit but the building lighting is very average.
from above there is some improvement…
…and Concourse E is very good – but with the framerate at around only 10frames with HDR “on” it wasn’t really usable.
With A.I. aircraft “on” the Airport Zürich was really good and so was the main buildings and concourses and their excellent detail, but the outlying areas just don’t come up to X-Plane10 standards,
Zürich in this area certainly hasn’t shaken off enough of its MSFS background to fit in better with Laminar Research’s platform.
It needs the OSM to be sorted and the lighting to be completed (certainly around the carpark areas) and you can see the boundary of “Airport Zurich” in the default scenery – the main building lighting showed its age as well and very old MSFS lighting it is as well.
“Picky” well yes because this is important to Aerosoft as much as it is to X-Plane as a platform, “Airport Lugano” was very good and showed it can be done but as I mentioned in my review the G.I. (global Illumination) streetlighting was again average away from the airport.
No doubt these scenery packages are far better than most we have had in the past (except for the excellent Tom Curtis and Butnaru’s product) and in many areas really deliver, but Aerosoft will have to get its head around the X-Plane10 features and forget about its MSFS past to make them really shine on the X-Plane platform.
The interesting product soon will be EHAM Schiphol because it has been created from the ground up and not a conversion from older MSFS products, and that will need to be a benchmark for the future.
But otherwise I would certainly like to thank scoobe for his outstanding idea and work…well done.
Aerosoft Airport Lugano Airport Lugano EUR19.95 W/T – EUR16.76 WO/T
Aerosoft Airport Zürich Airport Zürich EUR25.99 W/T – EUR21.81 WO/T
As a side note my first Saab conversion didn’t quite work out very well….
Sort of like those glass ceiling trains that go through Canada or Switzerland!