If you fly in the UK you have probably heard of a company called UK2000. They make high quality scenery for most of the UK no matter how big or small an airport is! They make huge airports such as Heathrow all the way down to airports such as Cumbernauld. Now for some information about the airport itself.
London City Airport (IATA: LCY, ICAO: EGLC) is a single-runway airport. It principally serves the financial district of London and is located on a former Docklands site, 6 NM (11 km; 6.9 mi) east of the City of London, opposite the London Regatta Centre, in the London Borough of Newham in east London. It was developed by the engineering company Mowlem in 1986/87. In 2010 London City was the fifth busiest airport in terms of passengers and aircraft movements serving the London area after Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton and the 14th busiest in the UK.
London City Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome License (Number P728) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flight training. Only multi-engine, fixed-wing aircraft with special aircraft and aircrew certification to fly 5.5 degree approaches are allowed to conduct operations at London City Airport.
The airport has produced a master plan outlining their vision for growth up to 2030. The plan shows an expansion of the airport to a maximum capacity of 8 million passengers per annum, without the addition of a second runway, or significant expansion of the airport boundaries.
*Information from Wikipedia
Only special aircraft are allowed to operate from London City due to noise and size restriction which means we can’t just take a 737 in to land. Sadly there are no BAe 146s for FSX yet although CLS, QualityWings and Aerosoft all have one in-development! So for this review I will be flying the Aerosoft Airbus A320 and the Just Flight Airbus A318.
Installation and Documentation
Installation is easy and straight forward. You will need to enter your e-mail address and license key. The installer will ask you if you want to add the scenery to the FSX Scenery.cfg file. Once installation is complete the options box will appear giving options to:
I found the utility helpful when optimizing the scenery to achieve a good frame rate. The manual is good. It gives you information on the airport, what settings to have in flight simulator, explains what each option does in the ‘Options’ utility, it also explains how to use some features such as the Marshaller and gives you a list of known issues that will be fixed in a service pack.
Finally, it tells you about the frame rate and what you should expect. I think the documentation is great.
My initial impressions were wow! This scenery is just amazing compared to the default scenery. It is even better than Aerosoft’s London City included in London X!
The detail in this scenery is immense. The area around the airport has also been created in stunning detail. The time the developers put into making this scenery is unimaginable! Everything about the scenery oozes quality.
Buildings and Objects
The buildings included in this scenery have been modeled down to the finest details. The interior of the ‘tube’ (London underground) is even modeled. The quality of the buildings is even better than some of the Aerosoft sceneries.
One must admit that the amount of time and effort that has gone into creating this scenery is incredible. The texturing on the buildings is clear and crisp. Pictures and words don’t do justice to how detailed this scenery is. Even the signs on the roads are modeled. Every single nook and cranny has been modeled.
There are hundreds of other miscellaneous buildings that are included in the scenery including car parks with 3D cars in the parking spaces, hotels and various industrial buildings. All the buildings have been placed correctly according to the images I have seen on Google Earth. I have found no cases where the underlying photo texture doesn’t line up with the 3D model.
UK2000 have created an outstanding replica of London City airport.
The ground textures are of high definition resolution. They look sharp even when really close to the ground. The photo textures have no alignment problems from what I could see. The runway texture is realistic from images I have seen. The runway has ‘specular’ effects. The concrete apron textures have cracks and wear and tear effects which make them look very realistic. All the markings on the ground are realistic from images I have seen. I found no error in the markings.
The downside to using photo textures is that no matter what time of day it is, the shadows stay in the same position. This is not a major problem as you will not notice it as you are flying. Not all the trees have been modeled in 3D as the frame rate would be catastrophic however it does look weird when flying at low levels during take-off and landing. Some more trees could have been modeled in 3D.
The scenery includes 3D grass which is a nice feature as it brings added realism. The 3D grass is not as dense as the grass of Orbx airports which means there is only a few blades of grass every few meters. This looks very weird but at least the underlying photo textures include images of the grass.
There are different photo textures for each season, however the winter texture does not have any snow, something that might need to be corrected as London has had very heavy snow for the past 3 years with temperatures as low as -200C! I did find that weird as when I had the weather theme set to ‘Winter Wonderland’ the grass (etc) was still green.
The airport really comes alive during the night. The night lightening is superb. All the lights have a nice color when the night textures are loaded. The night lighting is among the best I have ever seen. Look at the images and see for yourself.
Take-offs and Landings
Take-offs and landings are challenging. The airport has to be treated with respect. You will need to pay close attention to your speed. For take-off you should only carry the amount of fuel you need or you may struggle to get air borne on such a short runway. When it comes to landings make sure you have 2 red and 2 white papi lights or be prepared to do a go around. Once you have mastered it, you get a great feeling of satisfaction.
The performance of this scenery is great. You should expect a drop of around 10fps, which is not much considering how detailed it is. I would not run the scenery on anything lower than an Intel Core 2 Duo E7500. I got 30FPS in the cockpit of the PMDG 737NGX but with London City Xtreme I get 23fps in the cockpit.
Summary / Closing Remarks
The scenery is fantastic. No matter which way you look at it, it is utterly brilliant. If you fly regularly into this airport it is a must have. If you want a challenge this is an airport for you. I would not hesitate recommending the purchase of this. The amount you get for £17 is amazing. It even surpasses the airport included in Aerosoft’s London X, in my opinion.
What I Like About London City Xtreme
What I Don't Like About London City Xtreme
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