AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

Maastricht X

Product Information

Publishers: Aerosoft

Description: Commercial scenery in Holland.

Download Size:
292 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Daniel Martinez AVSIM Staff Reviewer - March 17, 2012

 

Introduction

Maastricht Aachen Airport (IATA: MST, ICAO: EHBK) is a small regional airport located in the town of Beek, in the southwestern part of the Netherlands, near the Belgium border. The airport primarily handles cargo with some 92,500 tons of freight moved in 2011 by Cargolux Airlines, Turkish Airlines Cargo, and AirBridge Cargo Airlines among others. The facility does however, process a number of passengers each year with 363,000 in 2011. Germanwings, Ryanair, and Corendon Airlines are a few of the airlines that fly in and out of Maastricht.

The airport began life during World War II but was transferred to government control soon after hostilities ended. Over the next several decades the airport was expanded and commercial operations picked up considerably. In 2011, the airport was certified to handle the Boeing 747-8 which is flown by a couple of the cargo carriers. The airport boasts a single 2,500 meter runway.

I have to say that I am always excited to review an Aerosoft title, especially from an area of the world that I am not wholly familiar. With groups such as NL2000, I know the Dutch seem to have a large presence within the flight simulator community, so perhaps I am missing something. Even better, this is one of those small areas tucked into the world between larger airports across the continent. Let’s see if Aerosoft have done the Dutch proud.

Sources: Maastricht Aachen Airport

Installation and Documentation

Installation is relatively straightforward with Aerosoft products and this one is no exception. Download the product from the Aerosoft site; double-click on the executable and away you go. Follow all the on-screen prompts, enter your code and email address and you are all set. If the Aerosoft launcher is not installed, it will be during this time. The launcher application is kind of neat in that all of your products can be found in one area. The program can look for updates as well as give you easy access to the manuals. I reckon I could show you screenshots of this process but simmers seem to be a smart lot so I’ll save the bandwidth.

The manual is 26 pages long and typical for Aerosoft, is very well put together. You’ll find a little background on the airport, recommended settings, and the current charts in the Maastricht manual. The vendor also includes some great screenshots, much better than my efforts. What is their secret!?

The Airport

Maastricht Aachen is a relatively small regional airport so the terminal area is not overly large. The first thing you notice is the incredible textures on the models. These are photo-realistic but done in the right way. Everything blends in together giving a sense of depth and weathering. Aerosoft has not skimped on the details, either; you’ll find eye candy everywhere around the main building.

Call me crazy but I get a real kick out of seeing trash bins, stone walls, and railings. In some cases, like Heathrow or Kennedy, you may not want all of those extra polys because the airport is so massive; but in an intimate airport like Maastricht, it really helps with the realism. You have a few vehicles driving around the area but one complaint I have is that the place does seem a bit dead. I see one fellow walking around the area but he seems incredibly lonely. Perhaps a few more animations (I know, easier said than done) would have livened up the area.

Given the airport’s small size, you will not find any fancy, moving jetways. All of our passengers have to move down the stairs like they did in those movies from the 50s. The online pictures I have seen of Maastricht make it look like a place where “work” is done (it’s primarily a cargo airport) and Aerosoft has captured that in this area.

Love the approach lights
Beware these fellows!
Not sure what he's sitting on
Trucks waiting for cargo

Just because this airport is small doesn’t mean that there is little to see. The area is a hive of buildings and hangars scattered all around the airport proper. Right next to the terminal is the Tulip Inn, which looks a bit dodgy but maybe that is the way it looks in real life. There’s an animated fellow sitting out front; perhaps he’s waiting for a flight, waiting for a package, or some other nefarious reason. You’re seeing these types of animations more and more and that is a very good thing because it certainly brings the area more to life. If you cruise down the apron a bit more in either direction we’ll find more things to check out. Across the big parking lot is a colorful trailer park complete with what appears to be satellite television. All kidding aside, it’s these little things that I think really set scenery apart.

Next to our trailer park is a cargo area that is again, well done. You can see from the included pictures more of the same great textures as well as the appropriate eye candy. The airport customs building is also located here and again, very well done. I know I keep saying that.

If we move to the other side of the airport we’ll find more cargo, maintenance areas, and flying schools. Just because we move away from the terminal area doesn’t mean Aerosoft skimps on the details. I really like the highly detailed buildings we find on the east side including the massive Hamilton Sundstrand complex and Samco Aircraft Maintenance building. You’ll also find the Stella Aviation Academy and this wicked cool building pictured below. I have no idea what this building is for but it looks fantastic!

Airport entrance
Interesting little building
GA side of the field
Cargo areas
Another view of the terminal
Observation area atop the terminal?
The Tulip Inn
Petrol station
A view of the runway from the station
A trailer park, of course.
Another view of the cargo area
Great detail outside the fence

Other Areas

It’s always a treat when developers add scenery outside the main airport and I’m happy to say that is the case with Maastricht X. Located outside of the perimeter fence is a large office park that is…very well done. Why is this important? Well, it’s located just off of Runway 21 and this is what you would see out your right window while landing.  If we check the top-down view in the sim and Google Earth, we find an almost perfect match.

There are a couple of new buildings so I think the scenery is more up to date. Even the autogen houses look correctly placed. Since I am taking a bird’s eye view of the scenery, perhaps it’s a good time to talk about the background poly. It is very sharp at a distance or close up. Nothing detracts from scenery more than a blurry background poly and thankfully, that is not the case here. The on the thing I did not like, though, is that only one season is provided. I’m not an expert on the Netherlands but I think it may snow quite a bit in this area so some seasonal variation would have been nice.

Beautifully detailed buildings
More buildings outside the fence
Hamilton Sundstrand building
Getting the picture about the detail?
General aviation & other buildings
Not sure of its purpose but it's cool!
...and more great detail
Back at the terminal

Night Lighting

I’m a firm believer that night lighting should be something that’s there but you don’t notice it. It should just blend in and just be a part of the scenery. Aerosoft has done a great job here with lighting that does not detract from or attract undue attention during night time operations. The apron lighting is all custom-built and the building lights are just right in intensity. One other thing about the lighting on the apron; in many types of scenery you see a “shaped” pool of light on the ground from the effect placed there. One part of the apron is dark and the other side light. This is not very realistic. In this scenery, the light fades out brilliantly to the edges. This gives us a realistic lighting effect and again, does not pull our eyes towards the light…it just blends in.

Shameless plug. I need these titles!
Cool building at night
Main terminal at night
Good looking custom lights and taxi signs
Night landing
Outside the fence

Performance

As you would no doubt expect, there is very little impact to performance with Maastricht X. It’s true that I have very little in the way of AI traffic in the area but I never encountered any stuttering or drop in FPS that I noticed.

Test System

i5-2500K 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: 18 hours

Summary / Closing Remarks

This is another in an incredibly long line of great products from Aerosoft. The positives about this title far outweigh any of the trivial negatives I have mentioned. I really liked the great texturing and attention to detail.

Aerosoft goes out of their way to provide comprehensive scenery so the product isn’t limited to what is inside the airport fence. I would have liked to see an option for seasonal change and perhaps a little more activity (more creepy guys walking around the parking lot) but those are very small complaints. If you normally fly around the Dutch countryside or just want to try out a fantastic title, I highly recommend you purchase Maastricht X.

 

What I Like About Maastricht X

  • Beautiful, lifelike textures that really make the models shine
  • Great looking background poly
  • Comprehensive package that includes more than the airport
  • Great looking night lighting

 

What I Don't Like About Maastricht X

  • No seasonal variation
  • Little in the way of animated activity (buses, people, blimps)

 

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Maastricht X

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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the product producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment as experienced by the reviewer. This disclaimer is posted here in order to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any presumed connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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