Lille airport, LFQQ, is also known as Lille-Lesquin or Lesquin airport. The airport is in the community of Lesquin that happens to be approximately 7 km south of Lille. Lille is the capitol of the Nord Pas de Calais region of northern France.
The airport has two runways; 08/26 which is 2825 meters long and 02/20 at 1580 meters. In terms of volume it ranks as number 12 when it comes to passenger volume with just over 1.1 million passengers travelling though the facility every year. Some of the more interesting locations that you can fly to from Lille are Casablanca, Barcelona and Algers. In terms of freight it ranked number four with 38,000 tonnes processed each year.
The installer is no nonsense and straight forward. Simply launch the executable, select your language preference, add your registration code, confirm that the installation path is correct and let it finish. At the end of the installation process the airport will have been added to the FSX scenery library. At this point you are ready to start FSX and select LFQQ as your departure airport.
The installer will create the program group "FranceVFR" and within it a sub group "Lille Lesquin FSX". Here you will find links to the charts, user manual and the uninstall utility.
FranceVFR scenery packages always include documentation in both English and French. The English manual is a brief four page PDF document. It begins with a short description of the airport and then provides what FranceVFR calls technical specs which are more like a feature list pointing out such items as the inclusion of road traffic and custom autogen. The paragraph on installation follows and you are given a breakdown of the directories in which the installed files are located. There is a whole page devoted to recommended display settings and optimization.
Unfortunately the recommended settings section is written in French which may be a problem for those of you who do not read French. The optimization section is in English and offers some tips that may help those of you with older systems. I strongly believe that most people are probably using systems that would have no problems running this scenery as it is somewhat dated.
The final page contains information on where to access the charts, how to uninstall the scenery package, the credits and lastly the URL and email address for product support.
A full set of charts is included as part of the package.
The scenery package includes this mid sized regional airport and approximately 50 sq km of area surrounding it.
The airport has a simple layout and can be broken down into several different areas based on their purpose. Centrally located is the main passenger terminal, to the east of it is a freight terminal and fuel farm and then to the west there are two general aircraft parking areas with hangers, one large area near runway 08/26 and a smaller one at the end of runway 20.
One of the first things that I couldn't help but notice with this airport was that the base ground textures looked blurry. Unfortunately this blurriness is amplified whenever anything of a higher resolution, such as the textures used for the runways, taxiways and aprons, are placed on or next to these lower resolution textures. Then you end up with a very distinct difference that gives a disjointed look, almost as if they were floating slightly above the base textures.
This same effect happens when buildings are placed on these blurry textures. That is unfortunate because it is certainly a detracting factor in the scenery. This is not a very large airport so there may be more of a tendency to fly slower aircraft and at lower altitudes and in this type of scenario the texture problem will be much more visible. The other problem with blurry textures is that sometimes it makes it difficult to figure out what the textures represent. There's an area just north of the large general aviation parking area that is filled with large white blobs, I am still not 100% sure what they represent.
The neighbouring towns and villages use the same photo scenery base textures as the airport. The problem I described with blurry textures in the airport appears to be less noticeable and I don't really see them as being a negative issue in these areas.
If you have FranceVFR's Nord Pas de Calais installed, the two sceneries will blend seamlessly. To make the area more interesting and realistic they have added autogen. There are a number of small villages and industrial areas that border the airport and this helps give the whole scenery a much more believable look as you approach or depart Lille airport. At night you can see the lights of vehicles travelling along the nearby roadways.
The buildings, like the ground textures, I thought lacked something. For the most part they had a simplistic look. There is very little shading applied to the colours so the walls and roofs lack depth and that weathered look you see in real life. This is unfortunate because many of the buildings are detailed but don't have the complexity found in many other products. An example of what I am referring to can be seen in the screenshots of the passenger terminal that I use to show the details along the lower level and the control tower that highlights the transparent windows.
Having said this, there are still several instances where I thought they did a really good job. Take for example the maintenance hanger at the western end of the large general aviation parking area. You have a multi-coloured structure with some exposed metal support beams on the roof and the hanger doors appear to be partially opened with an Air France jet parked inside.
There is a perception of depth and a 3D aspect to the building. There are also certain parts of the main passenger terminal that I thought were really good, specifically along the ground level directly in front of the aircraft parking area the windows appear as though they are transparent and there are metal support braces coming down from the second storey overhang.
These are the types of little details that I felt should have been incorporated into more of their work. One other little gem I noticed, if you look at the control tower you can look through the 360 degree windows and see the controller's console in the center.
They have populated the airport with many objects that you'd typically expect to find; objects such as the DME/VOR, wind socks, blast walls, runway taxiway and apron lighting, ground markers and signage, cargo containers, freight and lamp posts to name just some of them. They are detailed and add to the overall appearance. An item of note I thought deserved mentioning were the lamp posts found in the vehicle parking lots and along the roadways adjacent to the airport. I found that many developers typically don't include these but they were added here as part of this scenery.
Vehicles of all types can be found in and around the airport. Buses, mobile stairways and access control vehicles next to the main terminal, trucks and forklifts next to the freight terminal and fuel trucks near the fuel farm. In front of the fire hall there are a few fire trucks but I noticed that they are parked facing the building, not the best way to provide quick response? The parking lots and roadways have some passenger vehicles and light trucks scattered about and on the nearby roadways you will see animated vehicles driving around, adding some activity to the nearby surroundings.
I enjoyed night flying in and around Lille airport. At night the use of lower resolution textures are less of an issue because you don't see them. I felt that their night lighting and building textures were very well done. The aprons lighting wasn't too bright and didn't extend too far from the light sources so the effect was realistic. When it came to the buildings, the window textures depicting lights being on were also believable, again not too bright and not all windows appeared to be lit up. Apron, taxiway and apron lighting had a nice subdued glow so it wasn't harsh and over powering.
This scenery was released about two years ago and does show its age when you compare it to what is being released at the present time. It is a huge improvement over the default FSX airport and because of that, it does make the airport much more enjoyable to fly in and out of if you are interested in French scenery. Despite some negative comments and some blurry ground textures, the airport still has a lot going for it.
What I Like About Lille
What I Don't Like About Lille
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