AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

Pisa International Galileo Galilei Airport

Product Information
Publisher: Cloud 9
Description:  High Fidelity Pisa Airport & Surrounding Area.
Download Size:
35 MB
Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS 2004
Reviewed by: Michael "Mike T" Toussaint AVSIM Staff Reviewer - July 29, 2006

Introduction

Pisa’s Galileo Galilei International Airport (LIRP) is actually one of two airports serving the Tuscany region of Italy. Galileo Galilei Airport is located just outside of Pisa and is just off the coast of Italy. The other Tuscany airport is Amerigo Vespucci (for which America is named) International Airport which is closest to Florence. Both major Tuscany cities are world renowned and one can fly into either airport for access to the beautiful sights and sounds of Tuscany.

Pisa has a long history behind it and is an ancient Etruscan settlement turned Roman city. The city itself is distinctly “anciently modern” with much to offer those seeking ancient sites as well as modern conveniences. For the sun worshippers, Pisa is located only 10 km from the coast and its famous Mediterranean beaches. Of course, the name Pisa is famous for the instantly recognizable Leaning Tower of Pisa but also boasts such attractions as the Piazza of Miracles (Campo dei Miracoli), the beautiful river Arno, and an abundance of Pisan-Romanesque architecture.

LIRP is conveniently located in extremely close proximity to the city of Pisa and is only a short trip to all hotels and attractions. LIRP also shares its real estate with the Italian Air Force and its cargo and logistical operations keep many aircraft, such as the C-130 on hand. While LIRP does not serve transatlantic flights, it is adequately served by airlines from throughout Europe. Civilian aircraft from props to jets can be seen around the modern passenger terminal.

Recently, I have been doing some extensive traveling for a certain United States government agency and found myself in Nice, France (actually Sophia-Antipolis which is only about 15 km way). It quickly became apparent to me that it was only a 2 ½ hour drive down the A8 from Nice to Pisa and the Tuscany region of Italy. So, in the interest of doing some extracurricular activities on behalf of Avsim I took a drive and enjoyed the beautiful view of the Azur Alps on one side of the highway and the Mediterranean on the other, to take a peek at Pisa for myself.

Installation and Documentation

Test System

AMD DualCore 4800+ @ 6GHz
Asus A8R32MVP w/X-Fire
2 GB Corsair PC3200 DDR
2x X1900XTX in X-Fire
Dual WD Raptors in Raid 0
Realtek 7.1 Surround
Dell 26” 16:9 LCD
Logitech 5.1 THX Speakers
ATI Vista Beta 2 Drivers
Phase Change Cooling @ -15C
Windows Vista Beta 2 (MSDN)

Flying Time:
22 hours

Installation of Cloud 9’s Pisa is no different than any other downloadable application. It comes in .exe format and it will automatically find the FS9 directory for installation and will imbed itself into the scenery.cfg file without any input required from the user.

Prior to registering any Cloud 9 product, the product needs to be downloaded and installed which will also install the requisite e-commerce files. The benefit to this is that Cloud 9 allows a short trial period so that one can verify performance (Cloud 9 gets HIGH marks for this). Once the scenery is installed and verified, registration is performed from a Cloud 9 menu which is integrated within the e-commerce system. Once registered, FS9 should be restarted.

All Cloud 9 scenery is protected by an e-commerce security application which will install BGLMAN.DLL and BGLMAN.DAT into your modules directory under FS9. BGLMAN verifies that your Cloud 9 scenery is valid and is slaved to your hardware configuration. It will also verify that no two hardware configurations are running Cloud 9 scenery at the same time and may also log IP addresses etc. The file is not only required to register the scenery but also to utilize it.

During this connection, it will send the user's data to the Esellerate site, using a strongly encrypted SSL connection (exactly like your browser would do if you bought from a website), and it will receive back BOTH the serial number AND the hardware activation data.

After this first connection has been done, the activation information is cached LOCALLY in the registry, and bglman.dll will NEVER connect again, as long as you don't lose your registry entirely because of a Windows reinstall.

Pisa Scenery

Cloud 9’s Pisa scenery is not at all limited to the Pisa airport. Instead, the title is true to its name and reproduces Pisa, Italy in all her glory.

For what it’s worth, Pisa airport is rather small as compared to her larger sister airport, Florence. There are a few Alitalia flights that service the airport as well as some other European airlines. The majority of flights into Pisa airport, as far as I could ascertain, was Ryan Air with 737s servicing the airport.

Pisa also shares the airport property with the Italian Air Force and many C-130s can be seen on the military side of the airport property. Still, the civilian side of the airport is very small with only one main terminal, a few gates and ramp areas and separated only by an airport fence is the beautiful city of Pisa.

The approach into Pisa is very beautiful and the approach to 04R will bring one in over the Mediterranean and along the coast before the turn to final to the airport runway.

Cloud 9 continues to please with its faithful rendition of the airport property. Textures are photorealistic and pleasing to the sense of “suspension of disbelief”. Cloud 9 also displays what I consider to be the best concrete and asphalt textures available because the effect is three dimensional and actually looks like its real world counterpart.

The designers has added dynamic airport buses and military aircraft traffic that seem to work on a schedule. None of the traffic wanders aimlessly around the airport but rather seem to have a purpose to their existence within the scenery. Dynamic traffic is displayed outside the airport also and gives the entire scenery the feel of being occupied.

Leaving the airport property is also a treat since the entire city center of Pisa is faithfully recreated from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to bridges, roads, highways and canals that are pervasive throughout the city. Additionally, Cloud 9 has captured the ancient, crowded feel of the city center itself with custom buildings placed within the scenery to give one the feeling of actually having arrived in Pisa. If you were to get in a virtual car and leave the airport area, you can drive for a kilometer or two along highways that leave the city center into the countryside. All buildings are faithfully and photo- realistically textured and there are so many custom buildings reflective of their real world counterparts, that you can spend as much time exploring the virtual Pisa as you could in the real world. Having used the Cloud 9 scenery prior to my trip(s), I can say that Cloud 9 got it spot on!

Of course, none of the splendor of Pisa would be complete without custom night lighting and Cloud 9 has done this en mass. From the airport to the city, Pisa comes alive at night with the dim yellow glow of a region that dates back before the Roman Empire. Take it from me, the true romance of Pisa is at night! (wink).

The underlying textures of the entire Pisa region is fit with a photo realistic texture map. This is both good, and bad. From altitude, Pisa looks absolutely splendid but from tree-top level the textures look quite blurry and detracts a little from the otherwise wonderful real world feel of the custom buildings.

Product Support

Starting in this review, I have decided to add PRODUCT SUPPORT to my product report card. I think that one of the most important aspects of ANY product is the support provided AFTER the credit card has been swiped.

Cloud 9 is VERY active on their support forum which can be found at: http://forum.fscloud9.it/ . All of their products are supported and each is given a separate forum specifically for technical support as well as a separate forum flagged for “general support”.

As a whole, questions are answered very quickly both via the forum as well as email. This quick turn-around time is vital especially due to the anti-piracy features slaved to the user’s hardware configuration where a major hardware change can disable the activation for a given scenery.

After a computer melt-down and a subsequent need to build a new system I had to utilize Cloud 9’s support to reactivate my LAX key. Responses were quick and the problem was rectified with little hassle.

As a whole, I am pleased with Cloud 9’s support and I can safely say that you too, will enjoy expeditious answers to your technical issues. Some responses to customer problems do come across as a little “rough around the edges” but at the end of the day, Cloud 9’s pride in ALL of their products are reflected in their commitment to support them

Conclusion

Pisa continues Cloud 9’s tradition of extremely well-done scenery. From LAX to Amsterdam, Cloud 9’s attention to detail in their scenery is second to none. Cloud 9 has emerged as one of the leaders in scenery design and I have come to look forward to each scenery released by them.

Cloud 9’s Pisa gives a lot for the money since it is not just a Pisa Airport scenery. Rather, it is a faithfully reproduced representation of the Pisa area. There is a lot to explore and see. I fully enjoyed reviewing Pisa as much as I enjoyed my day trip there from France. I can whole heartedly say that if you have ever wanted to experience the beauty of Italy’s timeless Tuscany region or haven’t been able to save the money to visit the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa, I would highly recommend a virtual trip to Cloud 9’s Pisa.

You won’t be disappointed!

 

What I Like About Pisa
  • Faithfully reproduced Pisa Airport
  • Dynamic and Intelligent Dynamic Scenery
  • Photorealistic buildings faithfully reproduced
  • Extremely well done Pisa City Center
  • High attention to detail throughout region
  • Night Lighting well done
  • Gives the feeling of being in Pisa!

 

What I Don't Like About Pisa
  • Photorealistic texture map blurry at low level

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

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