I have been through the Panama Canal twice, and the things that come to mind is that both times was that first everyone on both ships were brought together and given a lecture on going into Panama City.It was dangerous, taxi drivers fleeced you (they would drive you out somewhere out-of-town and demand 5X the fare to take you back to the port), women were raped (and dumped for your attention), your wallet was always cleaned out and you would never, never, never go into Panama City at night.
Keep to the official (highly priced) tours was the order of the day. Even with this warning a few still got into taxis and went off to seek some exciting nightlife (breaking two golden rules) and where never seen again?
The second memory is that it was hot, stifling boiling jungle hot, The crime may have been cleaned up by now and the City maybe is now a better place to visit, but my guess is that the heat is still as hot as ever.
Scenery Review : Panama Tocumen International (MPTO ) “Hub of the Americas” : Santiago Butnaru
(IATA: PTY, ICAO: MPTO)
Santiago Butnaru’s latest release in Panama City brought the memories flooding back, The Canal and the heat.
Panama City is positioned on the Pacific side of the canal that separates the North and South Americas.
And the airport MPTO is situated to the east of the city.
It is great that developers don’t always choose the obvious choices of scenery to design. In fact airports like MPTO wouldn’t even be on your radar unless it was available as a quality scenery such as this.
But once you are there you suddenly see all the possibilities of how you can use it to fit in with your overall flying.
It is called the “Hub of the Americas” for a reason because it opens up routes in all directions in going to the North (Americas) or South (Americas) but also North into the Caribbean and its multitude of Islands.
I flew in from Miami and had a look at the airport from the air before landing on RWY 3R.
There are two runways that are parallel but offset, the main concrete runway (03R/21L) is 3,050 m × 45 m (10,007 ft × 148 ft) and the other (older asphalt) runway (2,682m / 8,799ft) (03L/21R) is mainly used for cargo and private flights.
In landing you have to be aware of the fixes (waypoints) because they are set very close together and it is all to very easy to be confused and you can easily set yourself up for the wrong runway.
Arriving from the East for 21R is also tricky because the mountains cover a large proportion of your arrival path, you do have a choice to either come in through the valley or complete a short turn to final for 21R
(below looking North-East)
There are a full set of charts with MPTO (19 Pages) but be aware that they are of various ages, and the new (North) pier is not even listed.
Butnaru uses ortophotos, but here they are well-integrated into the surrounding areas and the default scenery – taxiway, signage and line markings are excellent with great gradient colouring on the asphalt. Under the outer buildings the photos they can be slightly blurry if you can’t get your texture setting into the “very high” zone.
Taxiing into the main hub area you will find it is pretty chaotic and busy.
The quality of the scenery is apparent.
There is a lot of animation built into this scenery, marginal’s ground traffic is superb here…
…. but you have to wait for the trucks and baggage carts to pass and not the other way around – so bay timing is everything.
The quality of the gates are outstanding, but they are not marginal’s moving gates.
More animation is walking ramp workers!
The workers are all over the scenery doing their jobs, it looks simply brilliant.
The terminal layout is two concourses with circular star gates is noticeable by its distinctly coloured blue roof and was completely renovated in 2006.
Added new (2012) is the North Pier (Terminal Muelle Norte) which is situated off the north side of the main terminal and it provided an 12 extra gates and one of the gates can handle a A380 or B747 size aircraft.
Santiago’s specialty is glass and here he does not disappoint as the North Pier is very good, but the main terminal is excellent.
You can easily see right inside the building with really good clarity.
The depth or quality shows through in all of these aspects.
Turn the lights down and the feature is better again…
…. and the Internal aspects are now even more distinguishable and very realistic.
All the lighting is very good, there is an option included with MPTO that if you want to not use the HDR feature on framerate grounds (me, me) then you can insert/replace “mugre_general_luz_LIT.png” to give the same effect without the HDR penalty – and that makes the scenery far more adaptable if you are living on the lower power scale.
The lighting in both forms is close to perfect… and that bring us to!
Yes those millions of little buzzy things.
Can you get excited about flies?
Go to the tropics and all around the lights you will find clouds of flies.
Well you can now say that X-Plane has a feature that has flies on your desktop, as they buzz around the lights in a frenzy. (you can expand both images above to get a better look at the critters)
It certainly gives you a real hot tropical feel to the airport – and the idea is so simple and clever.
Signage is very good as well.
And so is the entrance point to the terminals, It is well done but all the areas are void of cars and buses.
The ATC routes have been sorted as well, so I ran three A.I. Aircraft and that filled the airport up nicely with the many placed static aircraft.
Going further North-East there are more buildings and the cargo area…
This was once the main terminal area of Tocumen until the current main terminal was built and opened on the 15th August , 1978.
Everything here is done with all the right buildings and lighting, but….
…. The area feels quite empty as the “Cargo Hub of the Americas”.
In fact once you move away from the main terminal area the buildings are fine, but there is little else.
The GA area is empty as well, and that gave me plenty of space to practise my vertical takeoffs and landings (I sometimes need all the space I can get).
I jumped into the BK-117 to go and have a look at another feature of this scenery… The Panama Canal locks.
There are the two “Pacific Locks” and they are also known as the “Miraflores locks”.
and they look very good and are very well fitted into the default scenery.
But there is again a little empty feeling that there are no ships (and believe me this is a very busy shipping channel) or mules on the locks (little train engines that pull the ships in and out of the locks).
A real shame because of the great animation you could do here with the mules moving up and down the locks.
Air Panama – Bocas del Toro*
Air Transat – (Seasonal): Edmonton, Montréal-Trudeau, Saskatoon, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Winnipeg.
American Airlines – Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami
Avior Airlines – Barcelona
Avianca – Bogotá
CanJet – Toronto-Pearson (Seasonal): Quebec City
Cayman Airways – Grand Cayman.
Condor Flugdienst Frankfurt, Santo Domingo
Copa Airlines – Aruba, Asunción, Barranquilla, Belo Horizonte-Confins, Bogotá, Boston, Brasilia, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Cali, Cancún, Caracas, Cartagena de Indias, Chicago-O’Hare, Córdoba, Curaçao, Guadalajara, Guatemala City, Guayaquil, Havana, Iquitos, Kingston, Las Vegas, Liberia (CR), Lima, Los Angeles, Managua, Manaus, Maracaibo, Medellín-Córdova, Mexico City, Miami, Montego Bay, Monterrey, Montevideo, Nassau, New York-JFK, Orlando, Port-au-Prince, Port of Spain, Porto Alegre, Punta Cana, Quito, Recife, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, San Andrés Island, San José (CR), San Juan, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Santa Cruz de la Sierra-Viru Viru, Santiago de Chile, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo, São Paulo-Guarulhos, St. Maarten, Tegucigalpa, Toronto-Pearson, Valencia (VE), Washington-Dulles
Copa Airlines – Colombia Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena de Indias, Cúcuta, Guatemala City, Medellín-Córdova, Pereira, San José (CR), San Pedro Sula
Delta Air Lines – Atlanta
Dutch Antilles Express – Curaçao
Iberia – Madrid
KLM – Amsterdam
Lacsa Medellín-Córdova – San José (CR)
SBA Airlines – Caracas
Spirit Airlines – Fort Lauderdale
Sunwing Airlines – Montréal-Trudeau, Saskatoon, Toronto-Pearson
TACA Airlines – San Salvador
TAME – Guayaquil, Quito
United Airlines – Houston-Intercontinental, Newark
Venezolana – Maracaibo
Looking through the list you have quite a comprehensive set of routes you can use, and the airport is great for a stopover before heading on down further South (or North).
ABSA Cargo Airline – Fortaleza, Guayaquil, Manaus, Miami, Quito
Cielos del Perú
DHL Aviation operated by DHL Aero Expreso
Líneas Aéreas Suramericanas
TAB – Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos – Miami, Santa Cruz de la Sierra-Viru Viru
Cargo users are also well served in the wide and varied destinations.
Tocumen International is a great choice for a scenery, one you really would not think of as a place you would want on your maps, but once here like I said before the possibilities are endless on what you can serve up with its position and as we get more destinations now opening up in South America it can also be a vital link south.
The features here are outstanding, certainly the animation, I love buzzy airports and this is certainly the best for that with the A.I.s working well (add-in the new World Traffic plug-in and it will get a whole lot better still). The “flies” are great feature as well and the lighting is first-rate…
The central area buildings/terminals are above Santiago’s usual standard and he was always very good in doing those in any one of his sceneries…
… an extra week however filling in the Eastern areas around the buildings with cars (carparks) and trucks and more general stuff in the freight areas and also in cars and buses front of the terminals would have made it perfect, a few GA aircraft would not go amiss either… but anyone with an hour or two in the overlay editor could easily fix that…
Price is US$14.95 which is excellent value and…
Tocumen International is available from the .orgStore Tocumen Intl Airport – Panama
Charts (19 Pages)
Read me!! (2 pages)
Rating: 3D custom : ATC YES
Location ****+4Stars (plus)
Airport Buildings *****+ 5stars
Layout ***+ 3stars (plus) (loss here is only for the outer buildings and activity)
Night Lighting *****5stars
Quality of underlays (Airport) ****4stars
Features *****+ 5stars (plus)
Overall ****+ 4Stars (plus)
Review by Flightime56
This is my final post on the XsimReviews site, from Monday I will be doing reviews on the new Aerosoft – XP site asn-xp.aerosoft.com
But I will be reviewing there under my real name of Stephen Dutton and not as FT56 (policy).
I will of course be always around all the usual traps in looking at your work and even have some time to put some projects of my own up there. I also would like to thank everyone for their support and comments for the time I was in this space, and above all your commitment and support for the X-Plane platform…. FT56