Faro Airport is located 3km west of the center of the city of Faro, Portugal. It has a registered ICAO which is LPFR. In 2008, Faro handled just under six million passengers and in March 2010 became a hub for seven of RyanAir's aircraft. Airliners that travel to Faro included, British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Lufthansa, RyanAir and many other airlines. The Aerosoft Faro X airport includes:
Kos "Hippocrates" Airport serves the Greek island of Kos - a short hop from Santorini (also available from Aerosoft). It’s ICAO designator is LGKO. It has a single runway which is 7,850 feet long. Airliners that travel to Kos include, Austrian Airlines, EasyJet, Niki, Olympic Air, RyanAir and more. Aerosoft's Kos X airport includes:
Both Kos X & Faro X use the default Aerosoft installer. It is very simple to use; you simply download both the files, unzip and run the .exe files. Follow the instructions and you will be prompted to enter your email address and serial code, enter these and the installation will begin. Once installed in FSX (if this is your first Aerosoft product) you will see a folder called Aerosoft, if you double click that you will see two folders called Kos X and Faro X. If you open these, you will see that both include charts of the airport, and Kos X will contain a manual which gives you some more knowledge of the real airport.
First Impressions - Faro:
So when first lined up at RWY28 at Faro in my Ultralight to explore the airport, you will notice the very nice runway details, with the terminals to the right and a red carne to the left. Once you have lifted off you will see the detail still available to see on the runway as well as the photoreal textures that have been placed on the ground.
We make our first turn right and can see the detail placed into the taxiway lines, they are clear, crisp and detailed as you would expect of an airport which handles commercial airliners, as you do need to see all the appropriate markings! When flying parallel with the terminals, I was able to notice static AI traffic, I have seen this before in releases from Orbx and FlightBeam and it is good to see that Aerosoft does not fail to meet this bar. Without static traffic, your airport looks rather empty, but with the static AI traffic it brings it to life.
Continuing on with traffic, I was able to see unique ground service equipment move amongst the airport - this was not the default traffic, but in fact custom GSE which was very nice to see. I do not think I have flown at an airport in my simulator that features this.
Furthermore, you have the nice looking terminal buildings, most of which have jetways with them, and the ATC tower which has "NAV" labeled on the top of it. The aprons also have clear labeled writing/lines on them, and from what I can tell would make it very easy to taxi, requiring you not to use the progressive taxiway lights.
When exploring the outside of the airport, to the right of RWY10 you can see the nice photoreal textures placed into the simulator - although there is limited autogen in this part of the coverage, in the small bits that needed autogen, I did fail to see them occur to rise when my autogen complexity slider was on "Dense." When heading to the left side of RWY10, you have the more "urban" side of the scenery which includes a few trees and houses, as well as the airport’s car park.
First Impressions - Kos:
At Kos, we are lined up on RWY35 in our R22 helicopter. As with Faro, I could tell that the runway detail was very nice and seemed somewhat identical to Faro. When we lifted off at Faro, I failed to notice any custom photoreal textures/autogen outside of the airport parameter - I found this to be rather disappointing as many of Aerosoft's scenery releases have coverage even outside of the airport (including Santorini, only a short flight from Kos!)
Carrying down the runway, you can see the nice tyre marks that have been worn into the runway. As we fly down the runway to the distant right where the terminals are, I did see some traffic, but unlike Faro this is not static AI traffic. These are actual FSX aircraft that are parked there; they will move when their allocated time arrives, but during my first flight over the airport I only saw one aircraft takeoff which was an Aegean Airlines BAe 146. There are also GSE with this airport, and the terminals do not look as detailed as you would expect, but they still look rather nice.
One interesting thing I come across when exploring the airport was the tower; at the top of this I saw a nice flashing strobe light. I have not seen anything like this before in an airport for FSX and it was very nice to see! The car park is also has textures placed with various cars and buses placed around the place.
A more detailed view - Faro:
So we are at gate 16 at Faro in a Niki A320 which is headed for Vienna, Austria (Niki does seasonal flights to Faro, they start at the time of writing this section of the review). When first looking around in the virtual cockpit you can see the terminal which has rather blurry textures, it would have been nice for these to be a bit more detailed, but it's not something that will kill me.
The Jetways move, which I was rather happy to see - this is something I expect when using scenery as it is such a small feature, (press CTRL+J to move the jetway), if you look at it from the exterior view there are also stairs which retract once you move the jetway away from your aircraft - a fancy feature I had not seen before!
So we are now pushing back from Gate 16 and will be taxing to RWY10 for takeoff. Once we pushed back, the ground textures were nice and detailed and easy to read, the taxiway signs, which tell you what taxiway you are on (i.e. Alpha1, Juliet8), are also easy to read which did not require me to use the Progressive Taxiway option. Furthermore, as we were departing around 0630 in the morning, you could see the excellent ground lights all around the airport.
We are lined up on RWY10, and the first thing that caught my attention was the runway lights - they stood out to me and looked very effective within the scenery. When we engaged full throttle you can see how nice the overall quality looks, and as soon as you lift off into the sky and look to the left you can see the coverage of the airport aprons.
A more detailed view - Kos:
So we are at parking slot 11, from here you can see the tower which has the flashing light, the GSE equipment and the terminals. As I mentioned with Faro, the terminals are not very detailed - with that said, they are not blurry. The JS41 has nice clear windows allowing us to see the outside cloud details and the detailed aprons which Kos X offers. Before we begin our engines, the AI traffic that I noted had died down. There are currently only one or two aircraft still parked at the apron - this proves that they are not static and actually do have a flight plan to follow.
To be honest, I found it rather boring while taxiing after I had completed my taxi checklist, why? Well, the scenery on the taxiways was not interesting, yes you saw some GSE vehicles and the BP trucks over in the distance. Now when comparing the scenery to imagery from Google Maps/Earth it showed that what I saw in the simulator was very similar to what I saw on Google. I do not believe it is Aerosoft's fault that I got bored, but in fact the airport itself is boring. Now I'm sure if somebody from Kos got the scenery they would enjoy it, but I am not familiar with the airport, so the airport itself is probably not the correct one for me.
As I was holding short of the runway, I contacted the tower with a request to takeoff, and was told to hold short - luckily for me I found that the AI Traffic was alive! As we made our taxi down the runway (as you do for RWY32 at Kos) you can see the detail that has been applied into the runways. As we now takeoff and leave the ground, we look back at the airport which is amazing. It may not be an interesting airport but Aerosoft has done it proud.
As with most Aerosoft sceneries that have excellent performance, Faro and Kos are no exceptions. You can fly your Boeing 737, Airbus A320 or similar aircraft and get similar performance to what you would get at a default location or fly a Piper Commander 114 and get excellent performance.
In the Aerosoft Airbus X I can get 30FPS in the VC, 50FPS in the exterior and in the PMDG JS41 I was able to get 25FPS in the VC and 50FPS in the exterior. The same performance was experienced in smaller aircraft and I got around 40FPS in the VC.
Summary / Closing Remarks:
Faro X and Kos X are both nicely rendered airports. From what I saw at both airports they shared similar libraries (meaning that I saw the same items at both airports), but at the same time both airports are very different. If you have Santorini X, Kos X is only a short flight away in which you can carry a few passengers across in your JS41 or explore the island in depth in a Piper Cub or a similar smaller aircraft.
The asking price for both these add-ons is around $20USD, which in my opinion, is a fair asking price for what you get. The airports will not be the most detailed you have seen, but they are a major step up from the default airports. I will continue to use both of these airports for future flights.
What I Like About Faro X / Kos X
What I Don't Like About Faro X / Kos X
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