AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

Cuzco X

Product Information

Publishers: Aerosoft

Description: Scenery add-on.

Download Size:
170 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Tim Smith AVSIM Staff Reviewer - March 21, 2011

Introduction

Cuzco is a city in southeastern Peru and is located high in the Andes Mountains. The city sits at nearly 11,000 ft above sea level and was once the capital of the Inca Empire and is designated Peru’s historical capital in their constitution. The city was declared a world heritage site in 1983. The population of the city was nearly 350,000 in 2007 and is one of Peru’s most popular tourist’s destinations, with 1.5 million people visiting a year.

The Airport in Cuzco is called Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport and was opened in 1964. The airport is located right in the middle of the city, which is located in a basin surrounded by mountains. This all combines to make Cuzco a difficult airport to operate from, and for this reason it is only open during daylight hours in clear weather, and as such has no lighting on the runway.

In researching the city for this review, I found many different ways of spelling this title. The two most commonly used were Cuzco and Cusco, but others included Cozco, Qosco and Qusco the spelling used by Aerosoft for the product is Cuzco so that’s what I am going to use for this review.
The airport and city of Cuzco.
The airport is located in a narrow valley. Surrounded by buildings.
The city includes some landmarks such as this football stadium.

Installation and Documentation

The Scenery can be bought directly from Aerosoft for a great price of 14,95 €, or US$17.81. This represents excellent value for your money. After downloading the 170MB file you only need to run a simple installer where it will ask you to enter the e-mail you used to purchase the product and the registration code they sent you.

After installation there is nothing more you need to do before you jump in and fly. However, I do recommend you read the 16 page PDF manual first as it includes some basic information about Cuzco, install and uninstall information and what is included in the product. Also included are a few sections that will help you get the most out of the scenery.

These being the recommended FSX settings and a chapter on high altitude operations (remember, Cuzco is at 10,800 ft above sea level!) and some basic charts. The manual is informative and very helpful, especially if you are new to high altitude flying as it describes all the phenomena that may occur to the aircraft you choose to fly.
What can happen if you’re not careful during the approach. Turning onto final during the challenging circling approach. Landing on the markers on Cuzco’s steep runway.

The Scenery

I recommend your first outing with the scenery be with the included mission using the settings recommended in the Aerosoft manual. The mission is only 10 minutes long and will walk you through the challenging circling approach to runway 28 in the default 737-800. This mission will allow you to test the performance on your system and teach you the correct way of navigating around the mountains.

Test System

Intel E7300 @ 2.66 GHz
4GB Ram
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX
Win Vista home premium 32
FSX Acceleration
Ultimate Traffic 2

Flying Time:
14 hours

The first thing you will notice when on final approach is the very dense autogen surrounding the airport. Aerosoft claims  this product may have the most densely populated autogen ever! It looks fantastic. I started exploring the scenery by following the included mission, which was challenging and fun, and I am pleased to say I made a nice landing on my first attempt. It is short which allows you to have many goes at the approach in a small amount of time.

It is nice to see the developers have extended the scenery well beyond the airport boundaries. The whole valley that the city is located in is rendered in detail with photographic scenery that blends into the surrounds superbly. This makes it extremely immersive when arriving and departing.

The small terminal at the airport matches all the photos I could find, and surprisingly for such a small airport in a remote location it has four jetway equipped gates, apparently Cuzco was the first airport in Peru to receive them. These jetways have been finely modeled but unfortunately they are not animated.

One feature I really liked was the billboards around the terminal, even though I couldn’t read what they said due to them being in Spanish, they looked awesome. The real airport is built on uneven terrain, which gives the runway a significant slope. This has been modeled in the simulator, so gravity can assist your takeoff and landings. Unfortunately, due to the sloped runway the scenery is not AI traffic compatible. They will not follow the slope of the runway, and won’t taxi to parking after landing. However, due to the remote location of the airport it doesn’t receive much traffic so this isn’t a huge issue.
Surprisingly Cuzco airport has Jetways. The terminal is very well done.
The developers at Aerosoft also did a great job on the hilly, bumpy taxiways.
Looking down the impressive sloped runway of Cuzco. Departures are downhill, arrivals uphill.
I really like the big Billboards in the terminal area, even if I don’t know what they’re saying. Unfortunately the AI aircraft don’t follow the slope of the runways, and can’t use the taxiways. Another view of the terminal. This time showing the apron textures. Unfortunately the jetways don’t animate.

Performance

I am very pleased to state that performance was not an issue on my admittedly low-end system. The dense autogen surprisingly doesn’t impact frames significantly. I found I could run the scenery when all my sliders were at full, which surprised me. I still preferred to turn autogen down to normal to gain some extra performance, but what setting you choose to fly with will be different based on the performance you achieve and the visual quality you desire.

Summary / Closing Remarks

I have no hesitation to recommend Cuzco to any simmer that wants a challenge. Whether you like flying smaller GA types or big airliners like A320’s and 737’s, Cuzco will offer you a fun experience for a price that is great value.

The sloped runway is unique and adds to the package. Even if you don’t fly in Peru or South America very often, you will still enjoy the scenery and the challenge it brings, which makes it well worth the modest price.

Liftoff out of Cuzco, until next time.
Look how dense the autogen is around the airport.

 

What I Like About Cuzco X

  • The dense autogen that make it feel like the airport is in the middle of a city.
  • Sloped Runway
  • Billboards’ near the terminal building.

 

What I Don't Like About Cuzco XL

  • Jetways aren’t animated
  • Not AI traffic compatible, due to FSX limitations

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