AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

ImagineSim - KLGA

New York La Guardia

Product Information
Publisher: Imagine Simulatio
Description:  Airport Scenery

Download Size:
13 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS9
Reviewed by: Juan “Chucho” Llobera AVSIM Staff Reviewer - July 19, 2007

Introduction

KLGA New York La Guardia is the smallest of three airports serving New York (KJFK, KEWR, KLGA). The project started when Fiorello LaGuardia’s, who was New York’s mayor at that time, realize ( after his flight landed at KEWR, even if his ticket said “New York” ) that New Yorkers needed a new airport. After a failed experiment of using the now historical Floyd Bennett Airfield, the project for a new airport near Queens began. It cost New York City around 23 Million and a couple of years to see the new airport completed (it was actually built over North Beach Airport) and in 1939 the airport opened for business.

The airport quickly became overcrowded and a couple of measures where adopted. In 1968 the Port Authority started charging really high fees to GA Aviation aircraft, driving many GA operators to nearby airports, like Teterboro for example. Later in 1984 the Port Authority limited KLGA flights to and from airports within 1.500 miles away. It didn't help, and by the year 2000 KLGA was experiencing an average delay of one hour. The reduced demand for air travel following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City quickly slowed LaGuardia's traffic growth, helping to mitigate the airport's delays. Ongoing Port Authority investments to renovate the Central Terminal Building and improve the airfield layout have also made the airport's operations more efficient in recent years.

KLGA has four terminals:

- Central Terminal Building (CTB) which serves most of LaGuardia’s domestic flights
- Delta Terminal ( Built in 1983, and designed to accommodate Delta’s 757 and 767 )
- Marine Air Terminal (Winch was the airport’s original terminal )
- US Air Terminal ( a 300,000 square foot building winch cost around $250 Million )

Airport’s last modification was made in 2006 when the Control Tower was replaced.

Know Your Manual, Love Your Manual

ImagineSim KLGA is only available via download which is not a problem at all, even if you have a dial-up connection, because the airport comes in a 13MB .exe file. For downloading you have two options; the first one is via the Flight1 Wrapper and the other one via Simmarket, you’ll get a direct link to the .exe file after making your credit card purchase.

Ok before going to the installation thing, i want to point out something which i believe should be a standard in the Flight Simulation Community, and unfortunately it is not. Probably those of you who are hard-fans of ImagineSim’s Airports already know what I'm talking about, yep... the good old demo version. I'm not the kind of guy who knows every single add on that's been released, but i can only think of Simflyers ( There are probably others...), when i think about who was the last one to go like “ Lets give these simmers a chance to see if they hamster-powered pc’s are capable of running our scenery”. I don't want to go too deep on this but i believe that if you did a quality product, there’s actually no need to hide behind a “pay first, try later” add-on.

Ok so you get your .exe file and a key file, and sometime during the installation process you’ll be asked to insert the registration key. After that all you have to do is click a couple of times the next button and you’ll be done. Another really good thing i found with this product is that after the installation process is completed it will automatically add KLGA scenery into the FS Scenery Library. Is not that i have a really big trouble doing that myself but is just a small detail that gives you the feeling that your $29.50 ( yeah that's the price BTW ) were well spent. You also get a readme file that will guide you through the installation process. While i was reading the readme file i really got the feeling that everything was made for the non-experienced user.

Ok so what about the manual? Well its a .pdf which is kind of today’s standard. The manual is about 14 pages, and it will give you some basic information like: System Requirements, How to get Support ( which was not necessary for me), How to Access your Airport ( another fact that makes you think “ do i really need someone to explain to me how to select an airport in FS9? ), Optimizing your PC ( this could be useful ), Parking your Aircraft ( where you’ll have info about using the docking mechanisms ), Animated Jetways ( this is really useful, you’ll get info about which gates are supported and how to turn the system on and off ) and a FAQ section which is the same that you will find on their website.

I was kind of surprised to see the lack of charts ,you only get an Airport Diagram. But if you stop thinking about it you can get every single chart on AIRNAV.com, but after seeing so many attention to little details i thought i was going to find some “reading” material here.

"Carl Look, There’s LaGuardia Right There!" ( Leo Dicaprio, Catch Me If You Can )

Before jumping into the review of this scenery there’s something I want to say. Why in the name of God did nobody think about doing KLGA before? Why we had to wait years until someone decided to do it? I mean KLGA is probably one of the most well-known airports in the States, c’mon this airport its been called by Time Magazine “the most pretentious land and seaplane base in the world”, and in 1960 it was voted “the greatest airport in the world”, so yeah i can’t believe we finally have a serious KLGA add on. Ok so the guys from ImagineSim are the first ones to give it a shot, so yeah they run with some benefit, i mean there’s no point of comparison, but being the first also carries a big responsibility. So does ImagineSim KLGA meet the expectations or it just falls short? We’re about to find it out.

NOTE: If someone knows Leo Dicaprio please ask him where’s RWY 4-4, cause I'm afraid i couldn't find it.

Ok so one of the first things i do when i check a new scenery is going to the top-down view and compare the scenery with the real airport diagram. This is really useful because it will rapidly give you an idea of what level of realism you are going to find. Because I'm afraid nobody actually cares about how well done are the runway textures if runway 22 is facing heading 320, or how many details taxiways have if some taxiways are missing. The good news is that every single taxiway seems to be present. The airport’s layout is exactly the same as in real life. This is something really nice to see, especially after some taxiways were not reproduced on the KCVG add on.

Top-down view of KLGA

Runway textures look really good with skid marks and runway numbers matching those present in the real airport. In my opinion even if runway textures look real, they are not the best textures i’ve seen around, they obviously do the job but i was expecting a little more detail like asphalt cracks or something like that. On the other hand taxiways textures could be one of the best taxiways textures i’ve ever seen. You can easily tell which taxiways are more transited than the others just by the color they have.

Runway textures look really good, but some little details are missing.

Buildings look incredible real, the glass textures are just fabulous. Every single terminal has been reproduced as well as the fire station, hangars and maintenance and base facilities. You’ll find every single gate with their number, jetway and everything. Some gates are equipped with the electronic docking system which is really useful especially when trying to park a big boy like a 767 or a 757. A really nice surprise I found was that on those gates where the electronic docking system was not installed, you will find a very happy marshaller ready to help you.

Terminals and Hangars are really well done
You will never have any kind of problem parking your bird, you get the electronic docking system or the happy marshaller.

Another feature you’ll get is the Automatic Docking System, which is nothing more than jetways moving. This is really cool and it's a details that I feel should be a standard feature in every single payware scenery but somehow it's not, so having that kind of detail in this scenery is really a plus.

The automatic docking system is really easy to use. All you have to do is park your aircraft and then tune 111.00 on your NAV2 and that’s it. You’ll see how the jetway starts moving smoothly to let your virtual passengers on and off your aircraft. Unfortunately this feature is only present at some gates (info regarding which gates have this feature present is in the manual) but since at least one or two gates per terminal are Automatic Docking System equipped, you won't feel like you have to search for hours to see a gate where the system is present. Automatic Jetways work great on every single type of aircraft and it also seems to work with payware airplanes.

737, A319 or a 757. The automatic docking system will handle them all.

The airport is full of ramp vehicles and ground personnel, including some moving trucks and wagons. Also near each gate, you’ll find some luggage trucks as well as cargo containers, which is the kind of things you would expect when it comes to an over-crowded airport like KLGA.

The airport itself gives you a really good feeling of being there. Details like 3D approach lighting, perimeter fences (complete with security cameras) are also modeled.

I found some minor bugs as well as some textures that seemed unfinished. For example, the textures on the cargo containers look blurry, same thing with the doors on the jetways. These are probably minor things if you take into consideration that every single detail of the airport seems to be included.

Some textures could be improved. Notice the security camera controlling the airport perimeter. Minor bug.

Probably one of the things that I love about this scenery are the night textures. If you are an ImagineSim fan then you’ll probably know the level of realism they’ve archieved when it comes to airport lighting. If you don’t, you might get the feeling that the airport is kind of dark. But hey let's face it, lights are there to help ground personnel with their work during night time. It's not about turning the airport into a second Las Vegas, so if you compare KLGA at night or even at dusk with real world pics you’ll see that there’s no difference when it comes to lighting.

KLGA looks amazing during night time!

Performance

Considering you have the chance of actually testing this add-on before buying it, I don't want to go too deep on this topic. I’ll just say that overall it runs great on my PC. I noticed a loss of 5 FPS compared to the default version which is a lot less than what I expected. But I would like to remind you of two things about KLGA, things that I believe should be taken into consideration when judging your performance with this add-on.

First of all, LaGuardia like I said a couple of times, is an over-crowded airport, and when I say over-crowded I mean waiting in line for half an hour in order to get your take off clearance. So if you are the kind of guy who really likes to push it when it comes to AI aircraft think about that.

The second thing is that autogen really plays a big role here, because New York has been the best reproduced city in the FS world since FS95. So if you enjoy seeing those high buildings during your approach, you should be prepared to see some loss in your frames per second.

Anyway, the best way to see how KLGA performs is by downloading the demo version ( a 12MB .exe file) that runs pretty much the same way that the full version does. If the demo runs great on your PC, you’ll not experience any kind of problems with the complete version of this airport.

Test System

AMD ATHLON64 3800 DUAL CORE
1GB RAM
2x80GB Disk
Nvidia 7300GT 256MB DDR2

Flying Time:
22.5 hours

Conclusion

So is ImagineSim’s KLGA worth the money? You can bet your life it is. It has every single building, light, taxiway and detail you’ll find at the real LaGuardia. Plus, the high density of vehicles and cargo containers really gives you the feeling that you are “there”.

Electronic parking aids, those always-ready marshallers and the automatic docking system are some features that you are not going to find in every single add-on.

Also take into consideration that even if you don't own a commercial package like Megacity, you’ll still have the chance to see really good scenery around this airport thanks to the default NY buildings.

So, if you are the kind of simmer who really loves soaring the American skies, then this is a must have. If you are a simmer who does all of his flights in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania or any other part of America, but loves to see a real crowded airport now and then or simply loves challenging approaches and adrenaline-charged take off’s then I would recommend this one to you.

As over-crowded as it gets.

 

What I Like About KLGA

  • Every single building has been modelled
  • Taxiway textures look amazing
  • One of the best night textures i’ve ever seen.
  • Animated Jetways, marshallers and electronic docking system
  • Finally a KLGA add-on
  • You can try it before buying it

 

What I Don't Like About KLGA

  • Some minor things like some blurry textures

 

Printing

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KLGA LaGuardia

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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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