As part of our Community Charter, we provide full disclosure at FSElite.
JustSim’s Barcelona was provided free of charge to FSElite for the purpose of reviewing for the community.
JustSim Barcelona El Prat Airport is the latest release from this developer who has had a prolific string of notable releases such as Nice, Klagenfurt, Innsbruck and most recently Barcelona. In this review, we will cover my opinions surrounding this scenery and I aim to give you the most accurate viewpoint on this major hub.
Barcelona El Prat is located approximately 12km from the centre of Barcelona City and is the second largest airport in Spain following on behind Madrid Barajas. Barcelona airport is a major transport hub for 5 airlines including Vueling, Air Nostrum, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Ryanair. In addition to this the airport also serves as a focus city for Air Europa, easyJet and Iberia whose main hub is Madrid Barajas. Barcelona mainly serves domestic European destinations but also has selected flights to North America, South America, Middle East, Asia and Africa. By the end of 2015 the airport had handled just under 39.7 million passengers just to give you an idea of scale.
This scenery is without a doubt geared more to tube-liner pilots whether that be widebody, narrow body or cargo. Working for an airline that not only has a base here but also operates flights several times daily I’ve never been without a Barcelona in my scenery library so I was excited to see another developer tackle this beast. The file comes as an installer of approximately 779Mb and as always with JustSim the installation is straight forward. As with all JustSim’s scenery, there is not a configurator to tweak the scenery to your liking. However, a manual is provided along with an Airport briefing pack in a PDF format, rather handy if you are not a subscriber to Navigraph or similar.
Now going of my previous reviews of JustSim products I was a little dubious of this product, with that being said I was impressed by the amount of detail that the developer had gone to from airline specific decals on buildings, accurately placed markings on both the taxiways and runways and furthermore the grass textures particularly impressed me especially when viewed from above. Now moving onto the building textures – JustSim claim that they use ‘High resolution building textures’ I was pleased to see that the control tower had received a lot of attention as it is unmistakable BUT after flying for hours to then taxi to stand and then sit in front of a 2-dimensional blur that is supposed to be terminal 1 was a little disappointing. That said Terminal 2 isn’t much better. If you’ve been to terminal 2 in real life, you’ll know the windows are dark, but in the sim, it’s like staring into the abyss! There’s little to no depth which detracts from the product and also counters they’re claim of high quality texturing. One thing to note also is while some areas of the scenery are modelled in great depth others seem to be skipped. For example, JustSim’s lack of attention to detail regarding the old control tower which in real life has the decals of Norwegian Air Shuttle as they pay El Prat to advertise on that location. However, in its sim counterpart this is missing. Now I understand that in the grand scheme of things this isn’t a massive deal but if you’re going to model a very well-known major airport you really need that keen eye for detail.
Throughout my time exploring Barcelona El Prat I found little intricate details that had been added such as fencing around the radomes, the ILS LOC fencing the VOR/DME station to name but a few. There is plenty to see and I like how they’ve modelled the port area in detail with individual Gas Storage and cranes etc which is unmistakable when on the ILS. Compatibility wise as advertised it blends seamlessly with FTX Global, OpenLC Europe and FTX Vector.
Something I was really looking forward to was animated Jetways which JustSim stated would be included from the outset. On testing these airbridges did not work and are not functional. Furthermore, they have now updated their product features page to say ‘Animated jetway – (SODE) – Work in progress – wait until the end of December’ It’s now the 9th of January 2017 and you guessed it, no update. As you can imagine this was rather disappointing given that it was originally an advertised feature. So, if you don’t have GSX or AES your ‘passengers’ will have to jump. I personally use GSX so it didn’t present a major problem for me but I noted that the docking system is purely static and serves absolutely no purpose. I would also like to have seen a little more service clutter as the apron looks baron.
Lighting is something I think JustSim are consistent with. I found the lighting to be accurate and particularly pleasing. Their shadow textures are great and really help to make the scenery. Even the reflections are beautiful and help bring the weather to life when holding short of the runway during a thunderstorm. I noticed other users were reporting that the runway lighting when flying in low visibility was unrealistic. On the contrary I found this to be great the way they slowly come into distance as opposed to being visible at 2500ft when the visibility is down to 500m. I also found the lighting to be realistic in comparison to its real-world counterpart. Given that there are programs that enable you to tweak lighting and texture features I would suggest those if you’re having issues.
When you consider the scale of this airport the fps is really good the scenery has been optimized for performance. Other than initial load up of the scenery and my aircraft I experienced no significant lagging or loss of frames, all while conducting a whole range of approaches and high speed low passes with an assortment of particularly heavy aircraft. Even on final approach after a bum numbing 8 hours of flying across the pond in the 777-300ER I experienced a relatively stable 34fps with minor fluctuations. This is a bonus if your flying on a pretty restrictive PC.