It all started with a nice idea, finally Fly Tampa renewed the Boston airport and I don’t know why I like it, but for sure a good reason to review it. I always liked the previous FS9 Boston version 2.1. In those days there was – as far as I know – no other developer who made Boston (KBOS) and thus Fly Tampa had the exclusive rights and now, with this new version for FS2004 (unfortunately no review) and FSX, they have done it again.
Although I haven’t yet started the review, I can tell you that I enjoyed reviewing this product, which is by the way good for Aerosoft’s AES enthusiastic people, because Aerosoft included Boston version 3.0 in their latest AES (Airport Enhancement Services) version. The latest version while writing this review means version 2.05 and up. If you’re not familiar with Aerosoft’s AES, Aerosoft’s dedicated AES website tells you what it can do for you.
You can find some nice videos, a manual of what and how to set it up, so altogether a lot of useful pre information. Yes, I will spend some words on AES in combination with Fly Tampa Boston airport, just to give you an idea what it means when AES is activated and configured for this airport, but I warn you already, it will not be a review by itself.
Furthermore, reviewing an international airport without any airplanes available is very strange and to solve this problem you can chose programs like Flight1’s Ultimate Traffic II, Just Flight Traffic X etc. These programs add AI (Artificial Intelligence) traffic into MSFS and those “added” companies and thus the planes fly the original routes, which they normally represent and not only that, but they also land at the designated airports, taxi to the gates, and depart from the gates etc.
You can also decide to fly online at VATSIM or IVAO. Although I’m not familiar with VATSIM, I think the basic principle is the same as IVAO. Together with special software you’re connected to a world-wide network of other virtual pilots as well as virtual controllers. This means flying from A to B is done under the control of a virtual ATC assuming ATC is available en-route from A to B. Apart from this, this special software also adds all known airplane models and their textures to your MSFS and connects those models to other online pilots. In other words, when flying from EHAM (Amsterdam Schiphol Airport) to KBOS, assuming full ATC is available at the airports including cruise, you have the full sensation of real (virtual) flight with other virtual pilots around you.
I’m aware that this explanation - AI traffic programs versus ONLINE flying software - is very short, but I hope it shows the difference between flying OFFLINE with AI traffic programs to flying ONLINE with perhaps limited aircraft around you but controlled by real virtual MSFS pilots. What should you choose? That’s up to you, but suppose you chose an AI program, you could consider taking a freeware AI program, which is applicable for FS9 and FSX and known under the name World of AI.
The WoAI website shows you which steps to follow and if needed, you can always dump your question on the forum. Ok, the only possible disadvantage could be that you need to install each package individually (airliner, belonging route and aircraft models with textures) with the WoAI installer however, with the well written manual it’s an easy job and I can tell you that it works great. You need to reserve some time for the installation process but after that you’ve got great AI models taxiing or flying around you. Just try it!
Ok, back to Fly Tampa’s Boston Airport. I can’t wait starting with this review software so let’s go for it. Before I’ll start with the installation process, let’s first add some background information about the airport itself. Take your time, sit back, relax and I hope you enjoy this review.
Boston International or ……?
No, Boston International is wrong but General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport is correct (IATA: BOS, ICAO: KBOS). It lies in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States (and partly in the Town of Winthrop, Massachusetts), is one of the 20 busiest airports in the United States with over 26 million passengers a year. The airport serves as a focus city for AirTran Airways, American Airlines, and JetBlue Airways. Retail management is provided by BAA, a Spanish-owned British company for Terminals B and E, and Australian-based Westfield Group for Terminals A and C.
It covers 2,384 acres (965 hectares), has six runways, and employs an estimated 16,000 people. The airport has service to destinations in the United States, as well as Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and Mexico. The distinctive central control tower, nearly a dozen stories high, is a local landmark with its pair of segmented elliptical pylons and a six-story platform trussed between them.
Boston Logan Airport is the 12th busiest airport in the USA based on international traffic. Logan is the largest airport in New England. Currently New England’s largest transportation center, Logan ranks 20th in the nation in passenger volume and 19th in flight movements, employs approximately 12,000 workers and stimulates the New England regional economy by approximately $7 billion per year.
When Terminal E opened in 1974, it was the second largest international arrivals facility in the United States. Since that time the number of international travelers using Logan has tripled. International long-haul travel has been the fastest growing market sector at Logan and has led the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) to embark on a major airport renewal project. The international terminal at Logan has been completely modified and upgraded into an elegant and impressive facility in recent years. Terminal E is a common-use facility, meaning all ticket counters and gates are shared among the international carriers and Southwest Airlines.
Massport's relationship with neighboring communities has been highly strained since the mid-1960s, when the agency took control of a significant parcel of residential land and popular fishing area adjacent to the northwest side of the airfield. This project was undertaken to extend Runway 15R/33L, which would later become Logan's longest runway. Residents of the affected neighborhood, known as Wood Island, were bought out of their homes and forced to relocate. Public opposition came to a head when hordes of residents lay down in the streets in an attempt to block bulldozers and supply trucks from reaching the intended construction zone.
A November 2006 issue of the Winthrop Transcript featured a front-page article about the operations of air traffic control at Logan. The article described the inside of the Logan tower as being approximately the size of a master bedroom and staffed by eight controllers. In one corner of the room, next to a coffee pot and Danish tray, were strategically-placed large bottles of antacids.
Air Traffic Control for Logan Airport is handled at the Boston Consolidated TRACON facility in Merrimack, New Hampshire, which opened in 2004 and serves most of New England's airspace.
In March 2007, the Boston Herald revealed that Massachusetts State Police personnel were the beneficiaries of a hidden perk that authorized a $40 daily stipend for troopers who commuted to work using their own vehicles, despite a sufficient inventory of take-home cruisers. Although the policy, upon public disclosure, was immediately eliminated for troopers patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike, sources claim that a similar perk still remains in place for troopers stationed at Logan. Massport has thus far refused to confirm or deny this.
A short note about the left hand picture and the website link. You can of course click on the thumbnail to get a better view, but it’s even more fun heading for the dedicated website. Here you can monitor in real time and see with your own eyes the real air traffic flying to and from Boston airport including airplanes passing over at high altitude.
Construction has been completed on an additional runway, 14-32. This runway was first proposed in 1973, but had been delayed by court action.
A scene from the 2006 film The Departed was filmed on location at Logan, inside the connector bridge between Terminal E and the Central Parking Garage. Terminal C and several United Airlines aircraft can be seen in the background.
Parts of the recent Delta Air Lines 2007 "Anthem" commercial were filmed inside Terminal A as well as the connector bridge between Terminal A and Central Parking.
On April 9, 2008, Massport announced that Grand China Airlines had formally applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China for approval to operate daily non-stop passenger flights to Boston from Beijing using Boeing 787 aircraft. According to Massport, due to delays in production of the 787, the service is not likely to begin before 2010. This is also consistent with government regulations on Chinese route approval, which has allocated all Chinese routes up through 2009. Logan last had service to Asia in July 2001, when Korean Air discontinued service to Seoul, Korea, which operated with a stop in Washington, D.C. In October 2009, US Airways announced that the airline will close its Boston crew base in May 2009. The closure is a result of the airline's operations realignment, as they continue to focus on their core network strengths.
Installer, user manual and …..
Not much to write if the installer is working, if the FSX directory is found, if any errors appear or any of those unexpected things. There was none of this! The installer does its work, with automatic detection of the FSX directory and when the installation is finished, you’re guided to the User Manual. Via the Start menu button, you’ve got a Fly Tampa Boston folder, but this one holds apart from the Fly Tampa web shortcuts, only the manual. That’s it folks!
User manual and …..
a look into the only available manual, I must say that it offers
only the information that’s needed. That sounds pretty
negative but it isn’t although the manual doesn’t offer
more than 14 pages but what you need to know; making adjustments
within FS9/FSX and a listing of known problems, all that information
Let’s see what’s all new:
I know, this listing normally doesn’t belong here but why can’t we change the rules, just for once! It seems compared to the previous version that this is really different, that it means Boston will be Boston as it should be. It also means and that’s an advantage for the developer, because as far as I know, there’s nobody else in the MSFS world that makes KBOS.
That means there’s no competition and normally competition means higher quality. Again, Fly Tampa created an FSX version that’s worth flying to or from. You will see with your own eyes in a few minutes and as usual I won’t tell you only the positive, but also the disadvantages/negative items. However, I’ll try to give a fair judgment including why I think it is.
Anyway, the manual offers all that you need and it’s absolutely worth mentioning; when you own Aerosoft’s AES (Airport Enhancement Services) version 2.05, and spend 3 credits on this airport, you’ve got enhanced ground services available. How does it look? That’s something you will see later when that particular part is integrated into our round trip at the airport.
That’s as far as the installer and user manual, it’s time to move on to the next section and offer you some nice shots of the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport. Oops, I almost forget to mention the presence of the Boston Airport diagram. Unfortunately this is the only available FAA paper and that means there are no SID and STAR cards. Not really a problem, since the latest diagrams are available for free via the AirNav website. To make it a little easier, here’s the direct link to the AirNav KBOS website.
Wow … that’s an impressive airport
It’s always difficult knowing where and how to start an airport scenery. It sounds easy but believe me, it isn’t. Should I ask for special permission to drive around the airport which gives me the possibility to see every corner of this famous place or shall I rent a Cessna 172 and fly at low altitude over every building, making a 360 turn around the impressive control tower or …..?
I can forget all those things because of the enforced security here and everywhere else on this globe. No, I need to find a legal way to get access to the inside on the platform, driving around during daily checks, checking all the ground, taxi, runway, holding and many other lights. The only way to get this approval is being open and honest and I can tell you, that worked.
Here I am, standing on the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport platform, waiting for my bus driver to pick me up. I’ve got full approval and authority to stop the bus at any position, just to make screenshots. The only thing to remember is that taxiing planes to and from the gate have priority above me.
Via the designated route we pass terminal B before joining terminal C. In-between the impressive control tower and looking closely at it, I’ve got the idea it’s not only a control tower but more than that. I believe it also houses lots of offices and via a walking bridge it’s connected to another office building. Anyway, this building and the control tower itself is really awesome and I can see almost every detail of it. I’m not sure if digital photo material is used – for the windows I’m pretty sure - but it looks great.
While my driver moves on, I’m still dreaming of the tower but I need to move on as well and without noticing it, we’ve stopped at gate C40. This means we’re standing at the end of terminal C. It seems nothing is forgotten and every tiny detail is there like the mobile heating/cooling (airco) unit, the wires, the jetway skin, the ground light units, the fire extinguisher on the airco unit, and where applicable, the hose between the airco unit and the airplane, of course the stair and the other small things I’ve forgotten.
Altogether, a nice piece and keeping in mind that this is only a small object being available and situated on the airport. By the way, although this was gate C40, it seems to me that the other gates are created in the same way. Not that they are the duplicate but created with the same eye for many details. We move on in-between gates C17-C16 and this allows me – that’s the advantage of a virtual world – to hover at 200 feet above the ground to look closely at how the ground textures are made. Is it sharp, thus can I read the written text on the concrete plates, can I see the lines, does the concrete looks real etc?
As you can see on the following pictures it looks great, and great means it’s not unrealistic, no it’s very realistic and for sure real photo material is used since painting this by hand is – I hope I’m right – more or less impossible. Suppose I’m wrong and the ground textures on this screenshot are hand painted, then it’s an awesome job.
Based on my bus driver’s experience and having the option going up into the control tower, I’m able to make some nice screenshots of the different terminals or piers. A little confusing but together with the official AIRPORT DIAGRAM of KBOS in my hand, I know what I’m shooting. The outcome is at least what I had hoped and it looks good. I’m not allowed to stay any longer then needed in this nerve center, thus we move to the ground floor, jumping in my bus and heading for runway 33L.
What I understood is that we need to check the lights on the way to the runway and check for cracks in the taxiways. It seems a nice job but I can tell you, looking to the average quality of the taxiways, it’s doesn’t look too good. This time the real concrete or asphalt doesn’t look too good but the simulated Fly Tampa looks the same as the real taxiways and that’s makes the ground textures very interesting.
For those who lost my intention; not only are the taxiways looking good, but also all the other things we’re automatically dealing with like the taxi lights, the signs, the text on the signs and taxiways and runways, the lawns around us and all those other items I’ve unfortunately forgotten. While driving and following our route from an altitude of 3 feet above the ground, I’m impressed about how it’s made and the eye for details, even here far away from the terminal buildings.
Driving to the end of runway 33L means also reaching the end of the island and this means the great way the coastline is made including the water color. There’s no comparison material, no other screenshots of how it was because there’s no need to do so. For now it’s important the way it’s made, the love Fly Tampa put into it and enhanced this famous airport. Oops, I believe it was never available for FSX but it could be that I’m wrong with this statement.
While my bus driver is moving on, I’m not only enjoying the view but making a lot of pictures. No, I won’t show you all those screenshots but only a few of them. I told you before that I’ve got special rights and this time we turn onto 33L, wait a few seconds and before I know, the driver goes into full speed and there we move along the runway to the end. No, there’s no lift off however, additional screenshots are made for my total Boston impression.
I think my apron or platform roundtrip is reaching its end and therefore it’s time to go back to the real passenger world, which means staying behind the airport fences. During our drive back to the control tower entrance, I make some last screenshots. By the way, suppose you think the terminal buildings look very basic and very FSX default minded, believe me, this is the reality! They have been created / modeled as real as possible however; the reality is that these buildings don’t look in real life as fancy futuristic ones. In other words, what you see is what you get and when you don’t believe me, just Google around at Airliners.Net and you’ll see the reality by yourself. Oops, why should I make it so complicated, let’s show you some real pictures and face it with your own eyes and conclude that the modeled Fly Tampa airport is as real as it gets!
More sensation with Aerosoft’s AES 2.05
Experienced flight simmers have known this for years; how can you add to your favorite airport more sensation or if you wish realistic movements of other airplanes flying in and out but also real life activities on the platform like jetway movements, ground handling in any form, aircraft spraying in case there’s a need for? In other words, not being alone on a huge airport scenery like Boston.
As mentioned already; many payware and freeware AI (Artificial Intelligence) traffic software can be found on the market and for the freeware, World of AI is a very good alternative for FS2004/FSX AI. The other program which adds a lot of activities to the airport scenery, if supported, is Aerosoft’s AES (Airport Enhancement Services).
Their latest version 2.05 (as of December 31st 2009) supports many airports including Fly Tampa’s Boston Airport version 3.0, which is good, no excellent news. Although this review covers mainly Fly Tampa’s Boston Airport, I would like to spend a few words on AES 2.05 since it makes – if you’re not yet familiar with this product – your favorite airport highly realistic concerning ground equipment, movements of things and much more.
In short; AES is a free downloadable program via the Aerosoft website. Yes, you read it correctly ….... free of charge. However, to activate its integrated functions like a Follow Me Car, ground handling equipment, jetway guidance, changing runway conditions and many other features, you need to buy credit points or whatever you want to call them. For example; Fly Tampa Boston version 3.0 costs you currently 3 credit points to be activated.
Activated means that AES offers its features on Fly Tampa’s Boston airport. While I’m writing this in January, 10 credit points will cost you €14.95 or US$20.00. In other words, to get AES activities unlocked for Boston version 3.0 and it costs you no more than US$6.00. Is it a lot of money or worth it? That’s again up to you, but I can tell you that it’s worth every credit … oops …. three credits. You won’t find here a complete AES tutorial since Aerosoft offers already more than enough information on their website and there are many YouTube movies, but I’ll try to give you an idea of what will change when AES is activated for Boston 3.0, so please join me on my short AES adventure.
When you’re not at all familiar with AES, I think it’s worth downloading and printing the user manual although I didn’t read it and I started straightaway with the program. Certain things didn’t work since I needed FSX for this, but this was well indicated on my screen so not really a surprise. The foremost thing you need to do is add paid credit points to your AES package.
Adding your paid serial number in the list gives you the possibility to unlock an airport or more airports, depending on how many points you need. When you need more than 10 credit points for activating/unlocking more favorite airports, then you need to buy another 10 credit point package. In my case it’s simple; I only need 3 credit points to unlock AES which leaves 7 credit points available for other airports. Remember one thing; once you’ve assigned points to an airport, there’s no going back!
I know, you can’t read these three screenshots thus you need to click on them to see what’s really written there. No more words or explanations are needed in relation to the three AES screenshots. It’s a very short description but in consult with Aerosoft it was never the intention to write all the ins and outs of AES.
The idea is just to give you an idea what and how AES looks and that’s something you haven’t seen yet. With this said, I’m wondering how it looks when you adjust the “Set Aircraft Parameters” while FSX is running and what’s all added in the direct vicinity of your chosen aircraft. To make that visible I made three screenshots; one without AES active or not yet configured for this aircraft, which is by the way a Wilco Publishing Airbus Volume 2 A330-200.
Remember; you need to configure every aircraft model for use with AES. This means that when you’ve decided to go for the Wilco A330-300, you need to read most of the yellow/green blocks representing the gate, a stair, the FWD and AFT cargo hi-loader, to fit exactly in place with the door openings and so on for every other aircraft model you’re flying. It seems a lot of work but I can tell you from my own experience that it isn’t.
Is this all that needs to be configured/adjusted? Oh no, there’s much more. But for this you need the “Configuration” button on the main AES window and FSX up and running. This window allows you to select a certain de-boarding, catering, cleaning, refueling and boarding time. Furthermore, you can select sound levels for de-/boarding, jetway warnings and vehicles. This and more is briefly described in the above three screenshots. Remember and I’ve said it before, it’s not an AES review but it was worth showing you what the package can do.
Ok boys and girls; did I cover everything in this MSFS add-on? Absolutely not and that was never my/our intention. I tried to highlight a few things of what AES can do and how it looks within your favorite assigned airport, but as said before; much more information, as well as videos, can be found on the dedicated Aerosoft website or you can search on YouTube and for sure many more films will pop-up.
Oops ….. that’s strange
So, we’re back at Fly Tampa’s Boston airport and it’s time to cover a few other items. It’s always a matter of what do you want to see and as a pilot, arriving and departing with a turnaround time of an hour; you don’t have the time to move around the airport outside the fences. After my drop-off, I had enough time to look around and I mean everywhere, as long as I stay outside the fences.
Not a difficult job while walking from a terminal building to the Hyatt Hotel and from here taking the elevator to the top floor where I’ve got a great overview of the airport inside and outside the fences. Having this view, I found a few things which are not unexpected but still worth showing you since when you stay within the airport fences during your arrival and departure, you’ll never see this.
Anyway, FSX menu Options -> Settings -> Display -> tab Traffic -> section Road vehicles; when you move the slider to the right, which equals 100% default FSX ground traffic, there’s suddenly a lot of traffic to and from the airport but unfortunately, it’s not always well aligned with the Fly Tampa Boston traffic.
Ok, the Fly Tampa cars, buses and trucks are hardly available, but when you add the default road vehicles into it, it becomes a mess.
Another item worth picking out of the things I’ve seen is the ground texture quality inside and outside the airport fences, as far as we can talk of fences or walls.
Clearly visible on the right hand screenshot is the huge difference between the ground textures outside the airport platform. The ground textures around the red/brown building – Hyatt Hotel – are of a different quality then those used on the platform itself. It’s not strange for me to see this huge ground texture quality difference since in most of the cases with other add-on vendors, it’s the same.
I also know that we’re flight simmers and not tourists nor are we picking up passengers or bringing them to the airport. Still I think it’s worth showing you these differences, indicating that not all looks the same within the airport fences. Does it mean I’m disappointed? Not at all since I expected this already but this being said, it’s still worth telling you of the huge quality difference.
Some close-up shots
I didn’t have the idea to add these screenshots but looking around at the airport far away from the terminals, I found many other objects of a high quality. With that being said, it wasn’t fair not showing you these. I’m aware that the normal sized screenshots are much more impressive then the nine thumbnails below, but these are already of a good quality. It tells me something about the overall quality of this airport. You want to see the high quality large screenshots I made? Just click on the individual thumbnails and you’ll be impressed.
Although these screenshots are pure close-ups of particular items, I need to stop making other shots. I would like to show you much more but I think that all these screenshots together should give you a good idea of what Fly Tampa has created. A masterpiece or is that too much? Let’s not give it a 10+ but let’s leave it with a 9. This gives the developer something to improve on.
In general, I’m a happy person keeping the overall quality in mind. Not shown and with no screenshots in this review, are the different seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn) available in this airport scenery. Since I didn’t mention it at all, the Fly Tampa scenery doesn’t come with a control panel where you could control the season colors or any other possible adjustments. The offered and installed airport scenery is pure and there’s no need to adjust anything.
As usual with every AVSIM reviewer, when we become more and more enthusiastic of the reviewed product, we could continue forever, writing even more than we did already, a review that grows to over 10.000 words or more. No, there’s not always a need for this. Sometimes small reviews cover enough of the product and help flight simmers making their final decision about buying the product. I’ll hope and then I’ll finish, that this is the case with this review as well.
Finally, the end!
With what shall I start this summary section? What I’ve seen and for sure what I’ve missed in some spots or I didn’t make any screenshots of, the remodeled or new Boston Airport version 3.0 from Fly Tampa looks great.
I was already in love with the previous FS2004 version and I still don’t know why. Although that one was also looking nice and realistic, it has something to do with Boston itself. A very old city as far as American cities go when compared to European cities like London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, etc.
While driving around on the platform, hovering at a normal altitude and seeing how every detail is simulated as well as the coast lines and the water surface around it, it all fits perfectly in its designated place with lots of tiny things added to make it a little more attractive. Comparing Fly Tampa Boston 3.0 with some graphics (I’m not sure how recent those Airliners.Net graphics are), it seems the developer knows very well what they are doing but moreover, it tells me that there’s love in the air.
Ordering Boston 3.0 can be done via the Fly Tampa or Simmarket website and will cost you approximately €26.00 (as of December 30th ’09 US$35.00). Is it a lot of money and worth the product? What I’ve seen, it almost felt being like a real virtual VIP invited to the Fly Tampa airport, keeping in mind that Boston Version 3.0 supports Aerosoft’s AES Version 2.05 or is it the other way around ….. and the smooth integration with Flight1 products - Ultimate TerrainX USA, Ground Environment Enhanced USA and Ultimate Traffic II – makes it a great add-on.
Some last words …. When you know from yourself you’re a frequent flying pilot using Boston as a main hub, then I would say … go for it and buy it.
What I Like About Boston
What I Don't Like About Boston
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