Recently we’ve seen a lot of new exciting scenery released for various islands across Europe. One that caught our attention is Aerosoft’s Menorca X Evolution. Aerosoft have always been well known in the European scenery development and rule the market when it comes to small islands and holiday destinations such as Madeira, Gibraltar and more. Today we take an in depth look in to the Sim-Wings/Aerosoft Menorca X scenery, available on the Aerosoft Store.
Don’t forget Menorca is now part of the Balearic Islands package enabling you to have access to all the islands for a reduced cost.
As the northern hemisphere leaves winter and approaches summer, there’s no better than short hops across the southern Europe to visit extraordinary holiday destination such as Ibiza, Madeira and more. Plan your flight, fire up your sim, sit back and relax because Aerosoft and its developers have you covered.
Menorca X Evolution is the successor to the original Menorca scenery released by Aerosoft. The “Evolution” part boasts improved performance, visuals and redefined photoscenery. Located within the Balearic Islands, a couple hundred kilometres off of the coast of Spain, Menorca is popular among tourists for its incredible beaches, serenity and peacefulness. Several airlines operate in and out of Menorca daily, ranging from small turboprops to 737s and A321s. Menorca airport (LEMH) has been dealing with increased traffic over the past years and has upgraded its runway to a brand new 2550m (8370ft) runway, equipped with full Runway Approach Lighting, PAPIs as well as a CAT1 Instrument Landing System. So if the weather is bad, there’s no trouble getting in to the airport during low visibility. The small ramp area is modernised with jetways and large parking spaces fitting aircraft up to Boeing 747s. Approaching the airport from either side is stunning: from the south you fly over the marina and city, from the north you experience cliffs and lazure like water.
This scenery package is published by Aerosoft and developed by Sim-wings and these two companies are well known around the flight sim community and have been developing scenery for countless years. As usual with Aerosoft scenery, installation was quick and simple with an installer configuring everything for you. Initially concerned by the 2.55GB file size, after testing the scenery, my concern was removed and am pleased to announce that this scenery runs smooth and stutter free. The average framerate of course varies computer to computer but from the numerous scenery I own, this places towards the top for performance. Installed alongside the scenery is detailed documentation and the latest LIDO charts. (Charts used by many European airlines).
First impressions when loading into the one of the terminal gates at Menorca (LEMH), is the incredible detailed involved in modelling the apron and terminal area. Various ground elements such as people, cars and equipment are added to the apron to bring a sense of life and movement into the simulation. The modelling of the actual building is crisp and detailed with nice reflection detail. Although the scenery lacks interior modelling of the terminal some new developers have been introducing, the overall level of detail in the textures, reflections and autogen make up for it.
Things that immediately stand out is the detail in the taxiways and runway textures. Cracks and other signs of weathering are included in the scenery to give a more dynamic and realistic feel. Sim-wings have modelled 3D grass and animated windsocks which add to the whole immersion. Alongside this, the surrounding area is covered in detailed autogen trees which are appreciated when approaching the airport and taxiing around. All ground markings are 100% accurate from what the latest Google Maps satellite view indicates, although it may not seem necessary, it is a nice feature that they even modelled the Stand Coordinates and maximum wingspan signs. Small details like this are what really makes this scenery great.
Although this scenery looks fantastic and really excels during the day, Sim-wings have put a great deal in modelling the scenery for night as well. The first thing you will notice is the bright approach lighting into the airport. Because the airport is on a hill, Sim-wings have modelled the lighting on detailed stilts which are all independently unique and look very nice on approach. The ramp area is spread by warm floodlights that respond really well inside of cockpits and help illuminate the major ground area of the airport. It’s worth mentioning that P3D users may need to play around with their lighting settings to fine tune the effect they need. I noticed some interesting colours being casted by the floodlights which took away from the overall night experience. Then again, if you’re flying to Menorca it’s almost always going to be during the day, and Sim-wings have done a good job at that.
The initial area surrounding the airport is faithfully reproduced exactly like seen on Google Maps. Sim-wings does a good job by adding photoscenery of 25cm/pixel around the airport and 50cm/pixel for the entire island. This means that you can truly enjoy scenery not only at the airport, but flying around the island itself. The scenery package also includes modelling of a second airport – Real Aeroclub Mahon Menorca (LESL) which is not to the level of LEMH but is nice to have modelled for general aviation sightseeing flights.
The photoscenery looks impressive from various angles and really completes the scenery package. For the price you pay, the value within the Menorca scenery is there. A nice feature that would’ve completed this scenery is greater detail within the towns. The towns feel like the autogen buildings are just default put on top of the photoscenery. Personally, this doesn’t bother my experience flying around the scenery but modelling the cities to detail would have just been icing on the cake.
When initially installing the scenery, you will notice that it is a whole 2.55 GB of scenery. Initially this was a concern raising questions of “will I run out of memory? How much stuttering will I get?” So the first thing I did when firing the sim up, was load the FSLabs A320 and the PMDG 777. I did a couple laps of the entire island and observed frame rate that was smoother than nearly all my other scenery packages. I expected this due to the isolated region but when I saw how detailed the scenery was, I was surprised. Sim-wings have done an excellent job creating the scenery and to this day I still have not experienced a single stutter with this scenery, making visual approaches that much more enjoyable. Overall, there are no issues with performance at all, making this a very appealing scenery package.
Sim-wings and Aerosoft have done a good job modelling the small island of Menorca and it’s airports. From detailed textures and accurate reproduction of the layout and surrounding area to the photoscenery of some of the most beautiful beaches and cliffs in the Balearic islands. There is no doubt that for the price you pay, the airport’s modelling is incredible, and the atmosphere created by the autogen is stunning. Even though B757’s are the largest planes that come into Menorca, I enjoy taking the B777 and B744, as, surprisingly, its gates can hold it. Menorca is definitely up there on my list of places to fly now and I have thoroughly enjoyed island hopping, especially flights between Menorca and Madeira, which we will have a review on soon.