AVSIM Commercial FS9 Scenery Review

Singapore Airport

Product Information

Publishers: ImagineSim

Description: Complex scenery add-on.

Download Size:
48 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS9
Reviewed by: Gary Yip AVSIM Staff Reviewer - September 27, 2010

Introduction

Mention Singapore Airport to any passenger and visions of cleanliness, tranquility, ease of use and comfort spring to mind as it is consistently voted the top airport in the world to use by passengers. As well as the outstanding facilities in the airport, Singapore Changi is home to Singapore Airlines, also accustomed to its fair share of customer satisfaction awards and accolades. It is no wonder why many travelers on the “kangaroo route’ choose to stop over in Singapore on their long journeys to Australasia. As a result of this, Singapore is home to many exotic aircraft and airlines and being one of the big financial and tourism capitals of south east Asia, it sees passenger movements of around 37 million a year.

When looking at Singapore airport from a pilot’s perspective, images of large wide-bodied aircraft dominating the ramp come to mind as well as the recent wealth of A380 aircraft. Singapore represents everything we expect of a large international hub with long runways, an abundance of gates, multiple terminals, extensive cargo facilities and a myriad of instrument procedures all designed to make getting into and out of the airport a breeze.

Lying well in the middle of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) Singapore also gets a lot of weather phenomenon designed to put pilots to the ultimate test. Tropical thunderstorms are commonplace in Singapore and CB clouds are the only type of cloud you are likely to see. Typhoons can mean that wind speeds can blow you way off course and make things interesting as well as adding some heavy rain to the mix just to make sure that you sweat during your approach!

It is no wonder why ImagineSim have chosen Singapore as an airport to work on to make a high quality scenery upgrade for Flight Simulator. Founded in 2004, ImagineSim have developers with over ten years of experience working in Flight Simulator products and produce great quality add-on sceneries for FS9 and FSX.

Amongst their catalogue include the recent Hong Kong, Atlanta, Newark, La Guardia, Denver and Nassau airports to name but a few. All of them are FS9 compatible with most being compatible with FSX also. At the time of writing this review, Singapore by ImagineSim is for FS9 only, but after speaking with an ImagineSim member, they are aiming for an FSX release by the end of this month (September).

Test System

Intel Core 2 6400 @ 2.13GHz
2GB RAM
ATI Radeon X1300 Graphics card
Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit edition
CH Products Yoke
Saitek Cyborg X Joystick

Flying Time:
16 hours

Installation and Documentation

As is standard nowadays, the product comes via a simple download which is around 50MB. To install, you will need your purchasing details to activate the installation and the product which therefore means that you must be connected to the internet during the installation. Purchasing options are via Flight1 or SimMarket. There is a demo version which is free to try before you buy but if you download this before deciding to purchase, you must uninstall the demo version before you install the full version.

The installation itself is straight forward and runs so that you don’t need to do any clean up, such as activate the scenery in FS afterwards. As always, a read of the documentation is needed. This is a short guide to the scenery itself including instructions on the docking system, a chart showing the airport overview and some handy FAQs if you’re having any problems.

Sadly, there are no airport charts included (other than the airport overview) for flying with so it is up to you to source your own navigation charts.

Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Changi airport is situated on the south eastern side of Singapore. The main airport has 3 terminals and a budget airline terminal, an extensive cargo terminal as well as 2 parallel runways both of which have enough tarmac to satisfy the heaviest and largest jets around.

Terminal 1 is the oldest terminal at Changi. It opened in July 1981and has undergone a few upgrades within its lifetime to improve passenger facilities. These facilities give Singapore its famous tranquil and comfortable appeal for transit passengers where facilities such as rooftop swimming pools, day rooms and shops are welcomed by those passengers facing the long journeys between Europe and Australasia.

Terminal 1 is home to many international airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Emirates. The H shape is designed to maximize gate space so as a result, the small area has enough capacity for 29 aerobridge gates as well as an additional 16 remote stands. Terminal 1 is currently undergoing more upgrades to bring it in line with the new Terminal 3 and recently upgraded Terminal 2.

“An overview of terminal 1. The included AFCAD means that gates and terminals allocations for airlines are true to life as seen here with the OneWorld alliance partners (Cathay Pacific and Qantas) sharing a relatively quiet terminal 1”

Terminal 2 is the main base for Singapore Airlines and is the most recently upgraded out of the 3 main terminals. It was officially opened in 1991 and houses more amenities to make passengers feel more relaxed including a rooftop garden, indoor garden and cinema. The introduction of this terminal was reason for the Skytrain to be built which is designed to take passengers effortlessly between terminals, again in an effort to make transiting a much more relaxed affair.

“Overview of terminal 2 with a few A380 gates showing 3 aerobridges”] [wsss7.png – caption “Terminal 2 is home to Singapore Airlines. The incredible detail in the aerobridges can clearly be seen here and the majestic ATC tower in the background is well modeled”

Terminal 3 is the newest main terminal to grace the tarmac at Changi and is a wonder of modern glass architecture. The vast main terminal area is flooded by natural light indoors to enhance the area. Since it became operational in 2008, Singapore Airlines has moved most of its long haul flights to this terminal including A380 flights to take advantage of the 8 new A380 gates in Terminal 3, in addition to the 11 A380 capable gates in Terminals 1 and 2.

“The new extension on the end of terminal 3. Annoyingly here, the gates and windows on the main terminal do not match up but the detail within the textures is incredible.”
“Terminal 3 was built with the A380 in mind and includes 8 A380 capable gates. The Crowne Plaza hotel is very accurately modeled as well as the main hall itself”

Docking System

The docking system at an airport is one of the most important aspects of flying as after a 13 hour flight from London, you will be tired and exhausted and looking forward to going home, but the hardest part of flying is reserved until the very end...the parking! Thankfully, ImagineSim has created a very easy to use parking guidance system that will accurately and precisely guide you onto the line. I find it easier to describe with pictures so here you go...

“These images show you how the docking system works if you are on the line. The green bar in the middle indicates that you just need to keep straight and just like a set of traffic lights, as you turn into the gate, check for the green light. As you approach the amber light illuminates to tell you to prepare yourself and the red and amber lights are illuminated together when you are close to stopping and the green bar extinguishes. As you edge forward, as you reach the appropriate mark, the red light on its own is your cue to stop and set the brakes.”
“This is what you see when you park too close. An embarrassing call the pushback tug is required to get you back on the mark!”
“And this is the end result! The huge A380 is parked to within an inch of the mark and bang on centerline”
“The guidance continues to give you indications when you stray too far left or right of the centerline to get you back on course as indicated in these two pictures”

AES

 

The airport upgrade does not come with any form of moving jetway. Instead, what the developers have done is let all the hard work be done by Aerosoft’s AES program for FS. This is a cost effective way of making your airport sceneries become much more realistic and adds moving jetways, custom pushback and a host of other features. The ImagineSim Singapore scenery is AES compatible and can be enabled for a few AES credits. With this in place, you can see that even A380s get the full service treatment at the gate.
“Singapore Changi is home to many of Singapore Airline’s A380s and with AES enabled, they get the full A380 service complete with 3 air bridges at the A380 gates within the scenery”

Performance

The scenery as you’d expect from ImagineSim is of very high quality and designed to make your simming more fluid with good performance. This Singapore add-on is true to its word and with my dated system, flying complex aircraft such as the PMDG 747-400 aircraft, I gained a not perfect but perfectly useable 20fps in the virtual cockpit.

This was on final approach where most of the airport is visible. During taxi in the virtual cockpit, I saw 24fps average and in 2D cockpit view it was even better with fps reaching my limited 30fps. The team at ImagineSim is clearly geared towards getting good performance for the majority of users and has sacrificed some of the scenery detail in order to get that extra performance.

This includes the gate details such as those seen in the previous picture where compared to its real world companion, the gates are not custom for every gate. As an owner of a dated and sluggish system (as well as lacking the confidence to over clock my system) I am very appreciative of these small details and the result is scenery which looks as good as it can be and only perfectionists would be critical of the small differences with the real world.

Now that I have talked enough about the scenery, the old adage of a picture is worth a thousand words springs to mind and to that end, here are some screenshots that express the beauty of Singapore as well as night time shots.
“An overview of the airport. Can be compared with this image.”
“The ATS catering centre”
“No need to figure out whose home this is!”
“The details in the scenery can be seen here with the bridge that crosses the main road into the airport as well as moving airport vehicles and the landside terminal area”
“The Cargo Terminal, the satellite imagery of the landside terminal area and the surrounding perimeter complete with moving vehicles on the perimeter roads”
“Short Final into runway 02L. Nice ‘Christmas tree’ runway lighting!”

Summary / Closing Remarks

Overall, the impressive credentials that ImagineSim have are testament to their products and this latest release will not let you down. It provides accurate and spectacular scenery to add to an otherwise desolate and bare default airport and in such a beautiful country such as Singapore.

Singapore itself is a country that I love and keep wanting to visit again and again and the airport is a great reflection on the country. Clean, organized, beautiful and comes with that gracious Asian hospitality and I am sure that I am not the only one who feels these sentiments.

It is great to finally have a scenery add-on that delivers on details but what ImagineSim do fantastically is that they do not lose sight of the importance of performance and they remember that not everyone owns the latest processor or graphics card able to cope with the increasing complexity of flight sim add-ons. So thank you ImagineSim!

 

What I Like About Singapore

  • Great details and complexity
  • Easy to install and setup
  • Minimal strain on performance
  • Great night lighting
  • AES compatible

 

What I Don't Like About Singapore

  • Lack of navigational charts.

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

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