AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

Santiago Cibao International Airport

Product Information

Publishers: TropicalSim

Description: A nicely done, scenery add-on for the Cibao International Airport in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

Download Size:
152 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Daniel Martinez AVSIM Staff Reviewer - February 4, 2012

Introduction

Cibao International Airport, located in the Dominican Republic, is the island nation’s third largest in terms of passenger traffic, seeing over 900,000 in 2011. One of the main carriers for the airport is tiny Aerolíneas Mas, which currently operates five aircraft within the Dominican Republic. You will also find JetBlue, American, and Delta Airlines with daily arrivals and departures throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

Installation and Documentation

Installation is straightforward after downloading the executable from the developer. Follow along with the install shield, enter your license number, and everything occurs quickly and easily. You will, however, have to open up FSX and manually add the scenery to your library. It is always nice when this is done for you but it certainly is not a big deal.

The included PDF goes into detail about how to add the scenery when using Windows 7; anyone who uses this operating system probably remembers well their frustration when trying to select a folder within FSX. The problem I have is that in the eight page manual, these instructions take up five of those pages. There is some information included about the airport but a little more background about the airport, the product, or even the developer would have been nice.

The Airport

When reviewing an airport I always like to take a look at the area in Google Earth and see how well the product matches satellite photos. I was very impressed with the work from on high. As you can see from the included picture, the top down views look similar and, at a glance, I had trouble telling the two apart.

The photo background looks good and blends fairly well with the default FSX textures. The background also extends out from the airport enough that you don’t notice the even albeit small, subtle differences in textures from the airport proper. Nothing distracts me more than to look out my aircraft window and see a stark contrast between the backgrounds.

It appears that only summer textures are included but in a country whose forecast three hundred days out of the year is partly sunny or partly cloudy with a chance of rain, I don’t see how this is a problem. Actually, it’s probably a good thing because it keeps the required disk space reasonable.

Overhead from FSX
Overhead from Google Earth

The included AFCAD file appears fine, with adequate parking for both commercial and GA aircraft. I saw no problems with taxiing, landing, or take-offs (either myself or AI aircraft).

Terminal Area

TropicalSim does a very nice job with their rendition of this terminal. Comparing the available photos on the internet to the building, you can see that they have done their homework. There is a lot of intricate detail such as railings, awnings, and lights which really completes the area. You will also find the usual plethora of airport items such as baggage carts, trucks, and people that give life to Cibao.

What you will not find, though, are much in the way of animations such as moving gateways or baggage vehicles. I’ve become used to seeing these extra features in add-ons today but I don’t think their exclusion from Cibao takes anything away from the title. There is one lonely truck that was running around the apron, getting in the way of a taxiing AI JetBlue A380, but that is about it.

View of the tower
Gateways
Front of the terminal
Two tickets to paradise

The front of the terminal is teeming with activity; you’ll see people out front of the open air ticket counters as well as cars on the road. Everything looks great here but the cars…I know I tend to go on about cars in sceneries but these models are very low poly and basic. This is probably a good thing in most minds so you may not find this to be a detriment!

I do wish, though, they had a bit more detail to them so it wasn’t so noticeable that they are very basic.

GA and Cargo Areas

GA and cargo parking areas are just as important to me as the main terminal area. Usually you will find your more exotic AI add-ons in these areas and they’re a lot of fun to see parked at your airport. If you prefer to fly the smaller general aviation aircraft yourself, I think it’s important to find a nice, detailed spot on the ramp, too.

Cargo terminal
GA hangars and fire station
Well done eye apron eye candy
Back side of GA area

Again, from the available pictures on the internet, you will find very realistic renditions of these buildings in the scenery. It’s a small airport but there don’t appear to be any left out. I did notice a bit of texture flickering on some of the white GA hangars.

Fuel farm

There are no static aircraft included with this package so you may find the ramps a little empty. I am not one who uses static aircraft in general, but these are easily added with several available programs if you are so inclined. There are several free and commercial packages that will add the AI models you see in some of the screenshots.

They have also included a very nice fuel farm on the airport grounds. It’s kind of tucked away in the palm trees but near the general aviation side of the house. This is a very nice touch and adds that bit of realism.

Night Lighting

The night lighting is serviceable if unremarkable. The taxiway lights are well done but the runway edge lights are stock FSX or built into the AFX file. This is relatively noticeable when taxiing around in the dark as you transition from the taxiway to the runway.

Night time at the fire station
Nicely done terminal
Not-so-nice block of light

Lighting at the various buildings is fine and blends well. Instead of a “pool of light” from the fixtures on the terminal roof, though, you will find that entire areas of the ramp are lighted. This big square of lighted space looks unrealistic.

Performance

Test System

5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz OC to 4.0
8 GB DDR 1600 RAM
Windows 7 64-bit HP
Dual GTX 460 video cards
FSX SP1 + SP2 (Gold)
Logitech Extreme 3D Pro

Flying Time: 12 hours

I noticed no performance hit with and without AI aircraft at this airport. You wouldn’t expect any given its small size and relatively little going on in the surrounding area but the developers have done well by maximizing detail with obviously well-thought out modeling and textures.

Summary / Closing Remarks

Overall, I was very pleased with this scenery add-on from TropicalSim. The airport looks very good and it’s great to see these smaller airports get the love they so richly deserve in our virtual skies (ground?).

The developers have created a very realistic terminal and other buildings at Cibao. The modeling and textures is top notch. The background poly is well done and the colors blend in well with the default scenery. There are a few things I found lacking; in particular, the default lights used on the runway, but this is relatively minor.

I am sure that you will enjoy flying in and out of this small tropical airport.

 

What I Like About Cibao International Airport

  • Good-looking photo scenery background
  • Detailed building textures
  • Great frame rates
  • Cozy atmosphere of a small Caribbean airport

 

What I Don't Like About Cibao International Airport

  • Low res car models
  • Apron lighting in front of terminal
  • Very little to the documentation
  • Runway lights are stock

 

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Cibao International Airport

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