Gran Canaria Airport is also known informally as Las Palmas Airport. It is the only airport in the Canary Islands with two runways, this permits the airport to have up to 53 landings and takeoffs per hour. In 2008, the airport handled over 10 million passengers, this makes it the fifth busiest in Spain. The airport is located in the east of Gran Canaria on the Bay of Gando (Bahía de Gando). This airport is also an emergency backup landing site for the space shuttle.
Fly Wonderful Islands is a relatively new player on the market and they are concentrating on the Canary Islands and Bermuda. They have released four airports so far.
Installation and Documentation
You can purchase the scenery from several different sites. This gives you the option of purchasing the airport in your currency, and will save you some of those pesky credit card charges. Once you have chosen your preferred site to buy this from and purchased the airport, you get a downloadable zip file which has the executable and readme file. Simply double-clicking on the executable file will run the installer.
You will need to do the usual things, like making sure you install it into your fsx directory. You will also have to enter your email and password. The password is your software key you get in your email.
The documentation is a PDF file that is viewable after you have installed the airport. The PDF file covers the installation and some limitations of the airport. Some of these limitations are due to incompatibility with DX10. You cannot use the DX10 preview in FSX, so if you use it, you will need to disable DX10 before you use this airport. The other limitation is that the PAPI lighting is dim, again due to a limitation of the sim according to the documentation.
The documentation also includes a brief history about the airport and information about other products available from the developer. It is limited in actual detail and problem solving and doesn’t cover too much about the install. But it does cover what is needed and for the everyday user, is more than adequate. Charts are not included with the package but can be easily found on the internet
This is a very busy modern airport set in the Canary Islands. It is a commercial airport but also has a military base onsite as well. The first impression when you land or take off at the airport is it is a nice airport that is faithful to the real life version.
At the gates the air bridges connect to your aircraft and AI aircraft, if you have the doors set up on them. The airport traffic moves around realistically, but you need to have the detail level set high enough and airport traffic active. The night lighting casts good light over the apron and looks realistic.
Taxing out from the gates, you notice that instead of the default light floating in the air for the taxi lights and ramp edge markers, you have actual light covers and holders. These are little details but add to the realism greatly. Taxing out to the runways, the tarmac and taxiways look like a used but maintained airport. As you reach the hold points you see two sets of lights that are at the hold short points. These flash red and yellow and look really good, but as it seems to be an issue with a lot of lights in FSX, you can see the red and green lights, but can’t see the light coming from the lens, just surrounding the light itself. It is hard to describe but it is like holding a CD up to a light bulb, you can see the light around the edge of the CD, but not the actual light itself.
Taxiing onto the runway, you look at a nice impression of a busy and well used runway. If you are flying at night, the runway is well lit and is very easy to find. Taking off, you may or may not have a reduction in frame rates. I had a few issues to start off with but they leveled off nicely. I’m not sure what the cause was, and I have not been able to find any reason for the frame rate drop.
As you depart, the area around the airport is well represented. There is custom landclass and autogen around the airport, however I cannot say how far this extends as I haven’t flown a long way off out of the area. I flew for ten minutes out from the airport and still didn’t find the end of the landclass.
The airport surroundings look good and fit in well with the airport. Traffic flows on the motorway and the water looks Mediterranean, good enough to go for a virtual swim. The autogen around the airport fits well and matches the pictures of the area I have seen.
Coming around on approach, the approach lighting fits well and is easy to see. As you get closer however, you get the same problem with the approach lighting that I described earlier. It isn’t really noticeable until you get very close.
Once you have landed, it is easy to navigate around the airport as it is a simple, two runway layout with the gates and ramp to one side and the military base on the other. The Air Force Base is well represented with an F-18 parked outside of a hanger. The lighting looks good as well.
AI traffic works well within the airport. Fuel trucks and airport ground vehicles move around without getting stuck, or cross runways or block taxiways. Night lighting looks good and suits the whole package.
Summary / Closing Remarks
I enjoyed reviewing the Gran Canaria Airport. It is a fast, modern airport which can handle a lot of traffic dury busy times. The airport fits well into the surrounding landscape and is a huge leap above the default airport. In fact, once you have used this, the default area looks barren and inaccurate in comparison.
The airport surroundings are well built and blends in with the default scenery. It covers a large area and makes the whole area a lot more realistic.
Aside from not being able to use DX10 and the small lighting issues mentioned earlier, this airport is worth a purchase and adds a lot more to your flying experience than the default area could hope to offer.
What I Like About Gran Canaria
What I Don't Like About Gran Canaria
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