Not too long ago the team over at Drzewiecki Designs released their version two of New York Airports X. The previous version has proven immensely popular for covering a big number of airports in the New York region. Although the addon was great, it was due for an upgrade with our new simulators. And that is exactly what Drzewiecki set out to do. But how good exactly is this addon? You can read all about it here!
When Orbx revealed they were working on Kern Valley, I personally had no idea what airfield it was or why anyone would be interested in it. As the previews rolled in, my attitude towards the tiny Southern California airport had changed. It looks pretty good, is set in a nice location, and had complimentary scenery around it. As soon as it was out, I went ahead and downloaded it and have been enjoying some awesome GA flying ever since.
What’s important to remember with L05 Kern Valley is that this is more of an expansion of Orbx’s fantastic FTX Southern California. You need the aforementioned scenery to be able to use Kern Valley, which already begins to add up in terms of cost. If you’re interested in the region, then I recommend you purchase SOCAL, fly around and enjoy that before you invest any further. You’re probably thinking, “but why?” The answer is simply because Orbx have designed to integrate into the region. Everything from the vector to the landclass has been designed so that the airport fits in perfectly.
MK Studios’ latest release of Naples International is a development that I’ve been following for quite some time. Originally, I only become aware of it when I was investigating their Madeira Evolution product on Facebook. Needless to say, Italy has had quite a prolific streak of scenery releases over the past few months and Naples X, published by Aerosoft, makes a fantastic addition to your Italian scenery library. Come to think of it, looking at my scenery library, I’ve now got every corner of Italy covered.
I remember that just a few years ago, the flight sim world lacked any decent payware Italian airports. We had some airports covered, including Bologna and Bergamo – and while they were great, they are some of the lesser used and known airports in the region. A few years ago, the awful DreamFlight Studio Rome Fiumicino was released. While it is a popular airport, the scenery was dreadful. Fast forward a few years, and Italy is now full of high quality payware products. Naples was recently released, Milan is now fully covered and finally, and with the release of Aerosoft’s Rome Ciampino X, Rome airports are now complete.
Turbulent Designs is back again with a brand new airport. Just a few weeks after the release of their impressive MBS International Airport, the team have delivered a similarly sized airport, but this time in Idaho. Idaho Falls Regional Airport has all the makings to be a great add-on for the community: plenty of GA flying and a nice selection of regional airlines serving a couple of nice destinations. Further to that, Idaho is a relatively under-appreciated area in the flight sim world, so it’s nice to see Turbulent Designs giving the state the attention it deserves.
Idaho Falls Regional airport is just a few miles away from the business district of Idaho, so the airport sees a lot of business travellers pass through. The airport is perfect for business jets with the small terminal building. Because of the size, yet again, Turbulent Designs has been allowed to go into detail with each structure. As we have come to expect now, the team has really delivered.
Turbulent Designs is a relatively new face in the world of Flight Sim developers, but the team have been around for many years. Through the years, Turbulent Designs has built their team, and always increasing their ambition to create highly detailed and interesting airports for the sim. Their previous project L35 Big Bear City Airport was a favourite of ours, so when they announced they were working on an international airport, we were pretty excited. Despite MBS International Airport not being the largest, the idea of a commercial aviation terminal being created by Turbulent Designs was an exciting prospect.
The airport itself is located just outside of Saginaw, Michigan in the USA and serves a range of commercial, general aviation and police activities. The single main terminal building offers passengers a simple experience from the car to the plane, and most gates are equipped with jetways. These little regional airports are perfect for aircraft such as the CRJ and the 717, as they offer plenty of city-to-city route pairings at a high frequency. Sadly for the airport, passenger numbers have started falling as a result of nearby airports, which has meant airlines are slowing down their operation. Whilst it doesn’t impact the simmer, if you want to fly realistic routes, then your choice as a commercial pilot is rather limited. On the other hand, those who enjoy private jets or general aviation will be well served by MBS as it has plenty of parking and hanger space.
Digital Design, the scenery developers who brought us St Petersburg and Salzburg, have now come along with their next scenery: Leipzig, which is the 13th largest airport in Germany for passenger numbers and the second largest for cargo. The airport is located in East Germany, serving the cities of both Leipzig and Halle. In terms of passengers, the airport is served mainly by low-cost airlines such as Thomas Cook, SunExpress and Eurowings; other airlines including Lufthansa and Austrian opt to fly to Frankfurt and Vienna. Although passengers are important to the airport, Leipzig currently is the 5th largest cargo handler in Europe, handling more than 850,000 tons of cargo in 2015. The airport serves cargo airlines such as Polar Cargo, UPS and even NATO. This provides for a huge route variety across the globe catering to all divisions of aviation: commercial, cargo and military.
You may have read a small piece I did a while ago on Airports of Norway, and one of my most memorable sim experiences I ever had coming in to land over the sea to Trondheim. Back then I was talking about a great piece of freeware, but this time we’re gonna focus on Aerosofts recently released Tronheim Vaernes X V2. Trondheim is a medium sized, international airport serving the city of Trondheim. Even though the airport itself is actually located outside of the city and municipality (Vaernes). It’s the 4th biggest airport in Norway and its main operators are SAS, Norwegian and Wideroe. The Royal Norwegian Air Force also has some facilities on the airport.
Barcelona almost seems like a sore subject within the Flight Sim community. Aerosoft did a good job a few years ago, but it was soon outdated and didn’t perform well enough for modern machines. Then suddenly, THREE developers all announced / released / previewed their version of Barcelona. We’ve also reviewed JustSim’s Barcelona, and now it’s time for LatinVFR’s version to be put under the microscope. We won’t be comparing in this review as we don’t feel it’s a fair reflection on either developer’s work.
Barcelona is an important airport for many reasons. Mostly due to being one of the largest Spanish airports and serving a wide range of airlines and destinations. It’s an exciting coastal airport which attracts visitors from all over the world. Serving over 44 million passengers a year, it’s always busy and making use of the various taxiways and runways. Further to that, the approach itself flies right over the city making for some stunning views along the way.
LatinVFR are known for taking on large airports and bringing them to a flight simulator. Their commitment has always been to provide a rich experience and to cover as much as possible. Barcelona is no different as you’re downloading the airport as well as the city itself complete with autogen, hand placed buildings and even the Sagrada Família. It feels like a complete package as once you download, you will have access to a manual with detailed instructions, a simple to use installer and a configuration tool. I found that the tool was pretty basic only allowing you to change a few things – none of which really impacted the overall performance of the scenery. More on that later.
Having traveled to Barcelona many times, I am very familiar with the airport, the approach and the surrounding area. LatinVFR have done an excellent job at creating the city of Barcelona. The buildings, the colouring and the layout of the city look fantastic and you can see the dedication the team have really made to ensure that this element feels right. If you look into the details, you’ll see swimming pools, roads and little houses, all of which are nicely modelled.
Let’s first address the elephant in the room: I’m not a huge fan of the BlackBox Simulations Airbus series. I’ve personally had problems with it, but I know that many people have enjoyed the simulation. It certainly caught the community by surprise when people saw that the developers behind the “prologue” series were working on other products at the same time, but rest assured that this aircraft was a side project which hasn’t impacted the Airbus series. You can imagine then my surprise when BlackBox Simulations asked me to review their recent aircraft, the Cessna L-19C ‘Bird Dog’, and honestly, my expectations weren’t very high. You can then imagine my even greater surprise when I found myself having a relatively good time with their latest entry into the simulation world.
It’s no secret that previous projects from the team have been very much like Marmite: either love it or hate it. I of course had the same fear for the GA aircraft BBS have suddenly turned towards. However, we shouldn’t let previous perceptions impact this aircraft. So clear your head and let me explain why actually, the plane is pretty damn good.