There are some major airports in Europe that are famous for their enormous amounts of passengers and cargo they annually handle. People will automatically think of airports like London Heathrow, Frankfurt Main airport and Amsterdam Schiphol. There are some major hubs in the south of Europe too, and one of these is Lisbon’s Portela airport (LPPT). This airport is what Aerosoft’s Lisbon X scenery package is all about, and this is the airport this review will look at.
The airport is a rather old one, existing pre-WW2 where it was used by both Allied and Axis planes. Because of that, it was used extensively to smuggle people into, out of and all around Europe. In later years, Lisbon’s Portela airport was largely left alone and it continued to increase the annually handled amount of cargo and passengers. In the meantime, it was engulfed by Lisbon itself, bringing officials to the final decision of building a new airport outside of Lisbon. The village of Alcochete was finally chosen in 2008 as the place this new airport would be built, at a former military airbase.
Installation and Documentation
Installation is smooth and quick, and is like with any other Aerosoft product. You fill in your registration details to verify your copy, you define the place where Lisbon X should be installed, and that’s basically it. You’ll find Lisbon X to be installed in a new subfolder called “Aerosoft” in your main FS9 (or FSX) directory (if you elected it to be installed in that directory). I also found a folder in my start menu’s program folder containing the manual in English, German and Portuguese, plus an uninstaller and some other notes.
The documentation is quite basic and tells you the necessities. You get some background information on the airport, basic numerical details; stuff like that. In all honesty, there isn’t a lot more to document about such scenery. It’s not like there are any big features that need any explaining, and the nice features that are in the scenery are self-explanatory. When I think about such features, I think of the automatic parking signaling device at each of the gates.
A close inspection by bus
First off, I thought it would be nice to just drive around the airport and see what I come across. After visiting every corner of the airport and taking numerous screenshots, the simple conclusion is that the detail is quite amazing; although I noticed how sometimes the tarmac textures are not always continued over all surfaces that require them. More about that later as I elected to discuss my round trip of the airport in another section.
I started driving around on one edge of runway 03 and continued from there. Over taxiways first, but later over nice, well textured roads, full of details as can be seen below:
After having driven around the “normal” apron, where simple stairs are driven to the aircraft, it’s time to visit the hangar area of the airport:
What probably stood out most in this patch of the airport is how well the buildings look. The tarmac texturing could have been laid out with more precision but these are only minor gripes. Now let’s continue to the side of the airport you won’t see often, but passengers will see all the time: the highway and parking lots.
That’s the airport from the ground perspective. I am impressed with the detail I have seen. This truly is a product with an Aerosoft amount of detail! Next up, the aerial view.
A view from the sky
After a drive-around, it’s time to go into the sky and see how it looks from above. To do this, I took the default Bell Jet Ranger helicopter to get into the air quickly:
Now it’s time for some general overviews of the airport:
That looks great I think. The amount of detail is good, although some of the texturing on the roofs of these buildings are blurry, but the roofs will only be seen when you are flying. In that case, you will surely see them sharper, so that’s not really a problem. The parts that you’ll see while driving around the airport (which is mainly the sides of the buildings) are much sharper.
Lisbon X at night
After studying the airport mostly at daytime, let’s take a look at the airport at nighttime. To do this, I did approach into LPPT at night, albeit an somewhat clumsily and amateurish. I’ll mostly look at the night lighting and parking system at the gates in this part of the review. First though, a comparison of the airport in day and night textures.
The lighting is extraordinarily good, as you might have already noticed. I honestly have no idea how they pulled this off, but first of all, these are not the standard lights being used. It’s also not the Shockwave lights redux package you’re seeing: these are custom lights you get with Lisbon X, and it looks stunning. When far away, the lights stick together, forming a white, beautifully looking band of light and the closer you get, the more the lights appear as single entities.
I’ll show you more of this in the following screenshots. What I was doing here was simply taking my Level-D 767 for a quick take-off and landing into LPPT. You can easily recreate this by taking off from runway 03, turning around and landing on runway 21 in one case, and in the other direction I was landing on runway 03.
I previously mentioned doing an approach to runway 03. Here are pictures of that approach, though I found it less awe-inspiring then the approach pictured above.
The last of these screenshots ended with me arriving at my parking spot. It’s when you arrive here that you get to see the last of a wide range of features I already showed you. For example, the interactive parking lights that direct you exactly to your position. Do note that I didn’t make the following screenshots at the above-pictured parking spot, rather at another gate.
It’s a great pity to find this previously mentioned flaw in the parking-signaling device. If you look at the signaling device in the last screenshot, what you see is a signal wanting you to move to the right, and the “slow” signal has vanished. This is because the camera viewpoint in spot view is placed at a completely different point. I fear that there is probably no way to change this behavior since it is essentially an FS2004 (and maybe FSX) flaw.
As a last topic before I conclude my review, I want to look at the performance I had with this scenery. Here’s a small table:
Yes, I indeed had only 7 FPS at one point and I’m inclined to blame the moving traffic on the highway just in front of runway 03 because it only dropped to 7 when I was close to the runway and it was in sight. As soon as I had flown over it, the FPS jumped back to 25. Overall I’m pleased with the performance but of course I can’t promise it will be the same on your computer as systems, specs and settings will vary.
Summary / Closing Remarks
We have looked at this airport by bus, helicopter and plane, both in the day and at night. Despite the small flaws in tarmac texturing, the blurriness of some objects and the flawed parking signals, I’m impressed.
If you have any interest in flying to Portugal and be a regular visitor, then this is the best you can get. With its great night lighting, awesome all around texturing and amazing attention to detail, this is an airport scenery every simmer would wish to have.
However, if you won’t be a regular visitor of this airport, I can’t give you a good reason to buy the airport scenery. It’s like with all scenery packages, in the end you can’t just move it around like a plane. If you don’t visit the scenery’s location, then you probably don’t have a reason to buy the scenery. For the others, though, the scenery is great.
I know that I, who is not Portuguese nor have I ever been to Portugal, will be visiting this FS airport scenery often and especially at night. I can only say that Aerosoft has produced another great airport as expected.
As a side note, I’d like to point out I used the FS9 version in this review. Because of the better standards within FSX, I assume you can expect Lisbon X to be as beautiful, if not more so, in FSX.
What I Like About Lisbon X
What I Don't Like About Lisbon X
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