AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

SAEZ, Buenos Aires Ezeiza and SVMI, Caracas Simon Bolivar Intl. Airports

Product Information

Publishers: BluePrint Simulations

Description: Commercial scenery for two of the major airports in Argentina and Venezuela.

Download Size:
170 MB, 13 MB Update

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Daniel Martinez AVSIM Staff Reviewer - March 10, 2012

 

Introduction

I love getting two sceneries for the price of one. I love getting pretty much two of anything to be honest (donuts, show tickets, sweet tea, etc). So, when I chose to review the Ministro Pistarini International Airport (aka Ezeiza International Airport), I was very excited to see that this was a combination and also contained Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas. Two for the price of one! Of course, that means double the work but what can a reviewer do? This package does include the update for the scenery so I have not seen the original work. Given that there is so much to look at I also thought it best to check out some information on the actual airfields.

Ezeiza is an airport located 22 kilometers from the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. The airport opened in the late 1940s and has recently gone through a major renovation. A new terminal was completed in December of 2011 and is depicted in the scenery. Ezeiza sees almost 9,000,000 passengers a year through its gates making it one of the busiest in the country.

Simon Bolivar International Airport, also called 'Maiquetia” by Venezuelans, is the largest in the country in terms of international traffic. You will see daily flights to all over the world from American Airlines, Air France, Air Canada, and a host of other international and domestic carriers. Interestingly enough, there were/are two other airports in the regions known as Simon Bolivar International Airport, one in Colombia and the other in Ecuador. Bolivar, of course, is a hero in Latin America and played a pivotal role in independence from the Spanish Empire.

Initially, I thought I was going to do some kind of “split” review where I report on one airport and then the next. After thinking about it I didn’t think that would be the best approach. I am going to touch on each but some elements will be combined. One thing I will say for BluePrint is that they are consistent in the quality of products they deliver.

Sources:
What does Hugo Chavez mean by a Bolivarian Revolution?
CIA - The World Factbook (Venezuela)
The Falklands War: An Overview
CIA – The World Factbook (Argentina)
Simon Bolivar International Airport, Caracas, Venezuela
Wikipedia

Installation and Documentation

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

Installation is the usual affair with install shield. The installer finds your FSX installation and places everything where it should be. BluePrint does not automatically add the scenery to your configuration file so you have to go in and do that. This is not a big deal and it is easy to find the appropriate folders to add.  Both airports are installed at the same time. The vendor also includes a nice PDF file showing you how to add these sceneries.

Each of the airports come with a separate user guide in PDF format. I was impressed with the level of detail in each presentation. They both include an airport description, scenery features, and hardware requirements, amongst other data. The SAEZ manual is a bit more robust at thirteen pages. This manual also includes a nice chart showing you the terminal, gate, parking type, airline codes, and more. You can find all of this information in the afcad, of course, but it is handy to have all of the information in one place. Neither includes the approach charts but they do provide the links where you can find them.

Ezeiza International Airport

Ezeiza has recently undergone a major renovation with the addition of a new terminal building. I must say, it was quite difficult finding information about the additions in order to compare them to the scenery. The latest Google Earth pictures show some of the early construction but not the final product which was completed in late 2011. Nevertheless, what pictures and schematics I was able to find seem to match up with the BluePrint offering (which is depicted as the airport looks today).

The models appear to be in the correct place and most major buildings are represented. BluePrint prides itself on their design philosophy…“ There are no moving vehicles or animated jetways. There are no advanced AI traffic operations. What you will find is the most realistic rendering of the airfield available today including runway and taxiway locations, terminal buildings and other structures as well as ground features such as freeway interchanges and bodies of water that you know should be there as you approach.”…and given this philosophy, they have done very well with Ezeiza.

Ezeiza tower
On approach to Ezeiza
View of the new construction

The airport “flies” well with both AI and user aircraft. I had no problems piloting my tiny Cessna into the pattern and then performing a picture-perfect landing while probably frustrating the British Airways jet behind me. Okay, so it wasn’t picture-perfect and I’m not very good at the whole flying thing but I had no problems!

Upon landing, I received instructions to park using the appropriate taxiways to the general aviation area. All in all, a very smooth process. I spent many hours (as I usually do) watching AI aircraft arrive and depart. Ezeiza is a medium sized airport so you see constant traffic but not overwhelming to the traffic system. It is all handled well with very few go-arounds and was a pleasure to watch. The afcad is not set up for crossing runways but I don’t see it as necessary.

A standard jetway at SAEZ
Extra buildings on the apron
Very detailed front of the terminal

The textures are serviceable if a bit on the plain side. You won’t find dynamic shading or photorealistic textures being used. This tends to be more noticeable when a developer “tiles” textures on a large model. Think about texturing a brick wall…instead of using multiple textures to represent the bricks you use one texture over and over again…you “tile” the model. This method has been used forever and is a great way to model but when the model is very large it can be quite noticeable. You see this on the windows and the roofs of the terminal. Without any shading the model has little depth and can be hard to look at from certain angles. Other models use solid colors and as pictured below, can look odd.

Away from the main terminal
Note the tiling here
I really like open hangars

Simon Bolivar International Airport

I am something of a homer when it comes to airports on the coast. An approach or takeoff over water is just so much fun so I was happy to see Simon Bolivar aside the Caribbean Sea. Even better, the Venezuelan Coastal Range, a part of the northern Andes Mountains, provides a stunning backdrop to the airport in the valley. Despite its three runways, Simon Bolivar is a small and compact airport.

Runway 28/10, the runway farthest out from the terminal, was used for all takeoffs. Depending on the wind direction they will use either side. No matter which end of the runway they take off from, both pose aesthetic challenges as you’ll have aircraft taxiing down the parallel runway. I think this issue is just a limitation of the FSX engine and we have to make allowances for how some of these airports are set up.

The main terminal area is smartly-built and nicely modeled. There is quite a bit of detail when it comes the modeling. However, we have the same texture issues at Simon Bolivar as we did at Ezeiza. You can see from the included pictures the generous use of tiling and solid colors. In and of itself, tiling is not a bad way to texture an object but its presentation here leaves something to be desired.

I don't think they need a baggage car
Continental lined up for takeoff
Front of the terminal
Nicely detailed jetways
Note the tiling and solid colors
Reminds me of green soufflé. Don't ask.
Collection of buildings
Really don't like the solid black colors
GA or perhaps cargo area

Despite being a smaller airport, there is no lack of custom buildings included in the scenery. There are many, what I would call general aviation, buildings along the apron so you won’t lack for things to ogle. There aren’t many buildings included outside of the airport perimeter but that’s probably not all that necessary given the approaches to the airport.

Night Lighting

Night lighting is fairly standard at both airports. I was a bit thrown off by the very blue apron lights at Ezeiza but perhaps they look that way in real life.

Blue lights at SAEZ
Landing at SAEZ
SAEZ overflow area
Darkened terminal at Simon Bolivar

Performance

There really was no performance hit to speak of with either of these sceneries. The airports are not the busiest, so the amount of AI traffic was minimal and this certainly contributes to the high frame rates. I think they both were probably put together very well to lessen the impact of so many models.

Summary / Closing Remarks

I think you have to know what you are getting when you purchase a BluePrint Simulations product and hopefully this review sheds some light on this vendor’s philosophy about building airports. I will judge the product based on that philosophy. I think they achieved what they set out to do; which is to create airport sceneries that is accurate in layout and operations but short on some of the eye candy that we’ve grown accustomed. If you know this going in, I think you will be happy with the product.

 

What I Like About These Airports

  • Two for the price of one
  • Very nice modeling
  • Sprawling SAEZ is well-represented

 

What I Don't Like About These Airports

  • Some seasonal variations clash with surrounding mesh
  • Somewhat basic texturing, or perhaps it’s just because they are not photo-realistic

 

Printing

If you wish to print this review or read it offline at your leisure,  right click on the link below, and select "save as"

SAEZ, Buenos Aires Ezeiza &
SVMI, Caracas Simon Bolivar Intl. Airports


(adobe acrobat required)

Comments?

Standard Disclaimer
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.

Tell A Friend About this Review!

2012 - AVSIM Online
All Rights Reserved