Rome’s Leonardo da Cinci International Airport or Fiumicino Airport is Italy’s first airport and Europe’s sixth largest based on traffic volume. It was built 18 miles southwest of Rome city center and accessible via both car and train. The airport was originally planned from 1939 but the project was abandoned due to World War II. Construction began again in 1947 and stretched 13 years. The airport officially launched on January 15, 1961 with two runways. Construction continued over a few decades and saw several new boarding bridges and piers being added until completion of the semicircular terminal building that you see today was finished. The airport now covers an area of 29 square kilometers with the two original runways being extended and a third added. Alitalia, the largest Italian airline, has it’s hub stationed there as well as Vueling, a low cost carrier.
I have seen a variety of conflicting opinions on Aerosoft scenery in the past and I myself have a waning relationship with them. I own a few scenery packs from Aerosoft and they range from amazing fully streamlined and non robbing of fps and VAS to heavy VAS usage and frame rate drops that are off the charts. In this day and age of 32 bit flight sims, with the exception of X-Plane 11, it seems to be hit or miss when you purchase scenery. Reviews like this often help sway my decision on what to purchase and what not to purchase.
Installation of the scenery was easy, just a simple download from the Aerosoft site, run the .exe and follow the prompts. I found included with the package a configuration tool, although you can only adjust three settings, high or low resolution textures, 3D grass or not, and weather or not you want static aircraft. However a big bonus with the scenery is the 83 page PDF full of airport charts. This is something I wished every scenery addon came with. Not everyone uses Navigraph and these babies are free. The scenery pack also comes with a PDF labeled “Manual”. This PDF includes install, uninstall, General information, a brief description of the three items that I listed that are within the configuration tool and some basic airport information such as runways with lengths and airport frequencies. There is also a brief description of the SODE animated jetways and how to use them. Overall this is a great addition to the scenery pack and I hope to see items like this included in the future.
For the most part MK-Studio did me right. The scenery is beautiful from afar, I will get into more detail about that here shortly. The surrounding area of Rome is well designed with the city center giving me the immersion that I often talk about when doing a review. Flying low and slow over Rome I was able to see local city objects in high resolution (2048x2048pxl) as described by Aerosoft. The photo real textures in the city are stunning with their building details, bridges and roads.
What exactly did I mean when I said that the scenery looked great from afar? Well exactly that, it looks good as long as you don’t get to close. When flying at a VFR altitude of 1,200-1,500 ft I noticed that the scenery became more of a mismatched, patchwork of buildings and ground textures. I noticed that the trees look like they were hastily pasted in just to add a bit of texture here and there. The slapped on 2D buildings mixing in with the 3D objects just makes the 3D objects seem out of place in an otherwise basic flight sim textured world. I understand that you can’t add all 3D buildings, that would kill VAS and having all 2D wouldn’t make the scenery worth buying at all. I just feel that it looks thrown together, like they wanted to make the statement for having modeled the city so they just quickly threw something together.
Rome at night is amazing, the lighting seems very fitting. I think the city lighting could be toned down a bit as the lights seem to have that radiant glow, almost like a light bloom effect. The street lighting seems to have an over powering ring around the lights when flying at low levels. However the runway and airport lights look amazing. Not to bright yet bright enough for your visual approaches. Over all I am pleased with the ambient lighting and the ease of visual approaches at night due to proper night lighting.
The terminal buildings look spot on as I compared them to google images where I was able to. I noticed that the parking garages were modeled as well as the train tracks that follows the highway into the airport to the station. The Hilton hotel is also modeled as well as the main terminal building with the round steel triangle tubular structures on the roof. Airport runway and terminal markings are well done and easy to follow with or without the included charts. The runway markings are clear and seem naturally worn and weathered and not abnormally bright and out of place like some scenery addons are.