Barcelona is one of the 2 major airport hubs in mainland Spain, the other being Madrid. The significance of these two airports together are emphasized by the famous “Puente Aéreo” (aka Air Bridge) route, well know for being the world’s busiest air route until 2008, when a high speed rail link between the two cities relieved the pressure from the airlines.
In 2008, this equated to just under 3.5 million passengers flying between these two major hubs leaving the next popular European route of Rome and Milan trailing way behind by over a million passengers. The fact that this highly popular airport has been faithfully reproduced for flight simulator is a fitting tribute to its success and taking on the challenge is none other than the huge European giant in the flight simulation world; Aerosoft.
Aerosoft has been producing high quality and affordable add-on software for flight simulator since its inception in 1991. As well as flight simulation, Aerosoft also develops add-ons for several railway simulators. From their European base, they have produced several high quality scenery add-ons throughout Europe and major European states such as Germany, France, Spain and Italy are well represented within the flight simulation scenery market. Among their top products is the Mega Airport range. This range focuses on the major European hubs and popular destinations and includes high resolution textures, photo accurate scenery and high quality finishes to the scenery. Most recently, Mega Airport Barcelona X is representative of the hub status gained by Barcelona and will be appreciated by many flight simmers to come.
As with all scenery add-ons, performance is the major concern for virtual pilots and the minimum system requirements given by Aerosoft are:
Processor with 2.8 GHz or faster
Installation and Documentation
Once you have purchased the software from Aerosoft, you will be given a serial number via e-mail. This, along with the e-mail address used to purchase the product, is all that is required for installation. The installation procedure is very straightforward and comprehensive. Unlike many other commercial scenery add-ons, there is no need to alter the scenery library within flight simulator itself as it is all done automatically.
As previously stated, you will require the serial number to validate your product and therefore an internet connection is required for when you install. During the installation, you will come across a couple of options allowing you to install static aircraft and install textures that are compatible with Ultimate Terrain X. With the installation process complete, you are now ready to explore the airport within flight simulator itself.
Also included are the manual and a book of airport charts, which are very useful. The manual is relatively brief in its content and explains the various features of the scenery as well as tips to get the most performance out of your setup. It also comes with a little background information about the airport and guides to installing and removing the add-on.
Should you need technical support for your add-on, there is an excellent forum community at Aerosoft Online and from past experience; I can say that if your problem cannot already be found on the forum, posted by other members who are in the same situation, a new post will be answered very quickly by a member of the support staff.
Barcelona is the modern political and economical centre for Catalonia. It is situated on the north east coast of mainland Spain and is surrounded by beautiful blue seas and imposing mountain areas to the north and west. The airport is home to many airlines and is a popular airport for European flights. As such, it attracts more than its fair share of low cost carriers, in particular, Vueling, Spanair, Air Europa and other European low cost carriers such as easyJet and Ryanair.
The airport recently split its operations into 2 main terminals. Terminal 1 is the newest and most modern facility on the airport and is also the largest. Opened in 2009, the large glass and steel structure imposes on the south side of the airport and in between the two parallel runways. Since its opening, many airlines have smoothly moved its operations over to the new base, including major carriers at Barcelona such as Iberia, Spanair and Vueling. Other European legacy carriers also find their bases in T1 such as Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and Alitalia. International flights to long haul destinations across the Atlantic and to the Far East also leave from T1 and consequently, several A380 capable gates have been built to accommodate the airlines’ ever increasing demands.
Terminal 2 is the culmination of the old A, B and C terminals and is home primarily to low cost carriers such as easyJet and Ryanair. Located on the northern perimeters of the airport it is more traditional in its design from the outside, however, has seen recent upgrade to the interior to make the passengers experience more enjoyable and efficient.
Also on the northern side of the airport is the cargo and private aircraft facilities. The northeastern side is dominated by tightly packed remote stands, clearly only suitable for private jets and the northwestern edge is the opposite with its wide berths and large hangars and warehouses for wide-bodied cargo aircraft.
What sets this scenery apart from the others though is the extraordinary detail in the parts of the scenery that you are unlikely to encounter flying around in your aircraft. As you will be able to see from the screenshots, the level of detail in areas such as the parking lot, landside areas and airport boundary are extremely satisfying and whilst your aircraft is busy being cleaned and refueled for your return flight, you should definitely spend a bit of time looking around the other areas of the airport.
As with most of the Aerosoft range of sceneries, this product performs excellently under high strain conditions. Whilst it would be a lie to say that I did not notice a drop in my coveted frame rates, the actual drop was small and I found it perfectly acceptable flying around in even the most demanding aircraft add-ons.
At no time did I experience a crash of my system and at no point did the simulation freeze to load up the scenery (something I have found happens a lot with other sceneries). As a benchmark, using my limited system with most of the bars set to high and with 100% AI traffic, I found frame rates of around 18-20 fps when flying in a PMDG 747 and 20-25 fps when flying around in the default 747.
Naturally with an Aerosoft package, this scenery is fully compatible with the AES software that has become so popular with scenery developers all around the world. Sacrificing a small amount of credits means that you get the full support of ground vehicles and airport infrastructure from the moment of touchdown to leaving the tarmac. The docking system is a very ergonomic design and is simple to use.
This product also features AES lite, a small feature which creates a dynamic environment around your aircraft by adding moving trucks and vehicles around the airport. I found this a very small but effective way of increasing the realism around the airport and combined with AI traffic, it is nice to not feel totally alone any more! One nice feature (and one that has been a long time coming) is the ability of moving vehicles on the ground to stop and give way to your aircraft, just as it is in real life.
Now, time to leave you to it and browse for yourselves just how beautiful this scenery is.
Summary / Closing Remarks
In summary, this is a wonderful scenery add-on and enhances the otherwise drab and desolate area of what is a beautiful part of the world. Being a big fan of Barcelona, and having visited it a few times (and therefore having gone through the airport) I found this to be a very true representation of the airport and a great up to date version adding the likes of the new T1 to the flight simulation world.What sets this product apart though is the high level of detail to areas of the airport otherwise forgotten by many developers out there. Adding high quality landside areas and in combination with AES lite means that it is a great, true to life product that will put a smile on your face as soon as you see the many cars come and go on the busy airport roads.
What I Like About Barcelona X
What I Don't Like About Barcelona X
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