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PATCO LCH

Are default airports really so bad?

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After spending hundreds on 25-30 pay ware airports around the USA, and just beginning intercontinental flight after purchase of T7 I have been looking at overseas airports I've been flying to. Before stroking the credit card for anymore eye candy I ask myself is it worth it. A lot of these airports I haven't used more then once or twice. Some have bought install issues, missing areas, using default buildings, even performance drag downs. Please don't  think I'm slamming developers as some of the recent ones are great works of art and deserve admiration as such. I'm just asking myself are defaults that bad. As a tube flyer how much attention am I paying anyway to the outside during any other time then taxi out and in. With a little search there is some interesting freeware to be had. I know it is a question of preference and $$$ but I wonder if I am alone in this pondering.

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I only have a few and do well with freeware alternatives. Ray Smith's default airport upgrades from the AVSIM library are highly recommended.

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There's so many decent and better freeware airports out there.  Unless you need to see blades of grass blowing in the wind at every airport, try the free ones and just go for payware if you are really going to spend significant time there.

 

scott s.

.

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I've installed dozens of freeware and payware airports (if not hundreds).  There are many good ones and many bad ones.  Also some which are OK.

 

With freeware, I'm just happy to try them and trash them if I don't like them. With payware I read the designers site and check for reviews on them.

 

I must say that I can't think off the top of my head that I've purchased any payware airports I don't like at all - that's because there are no surprises if you do your research.

 

What I would say is that many are way to expensive, unless you are using them regularly. The problem for the developers is that the market for each airport is so small, that they need to charge these high prices to justify the time and cost of the work involved.

 

Hopefully, one day flight simulation will be popular enough for fs elated sales to become more economical, but I'm not holding my breath.

 

Always check here for freeware before buying any payware though.

 

http://walhalla.mine.nu/fsx.php

 

Some of the best payware airports I've come across are from ORBX, Aerosoft and UK2000.  Most of my flying is in Europe though other than spending some time in Australia as ORBX started there.

 

For the UK UK2000 offer free cut down versions of there extreme airports to give you a taste of what to expect and free trials of their best stuff with banners that are removed with registration - I think this is a really good business model.

 

Hunting around, I've also found one or two old payware airports that have been released free as they are quite old - there was one in the Canary Islands I think I used for a while that I may still have installed.

 

You can also brighten up a default airport by using an object placement program of which there are several, though I use the free RWY12 program myself.

 

IAN

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ORBX have around 50 (or more) free airports designed for their Global product for a seamless fit however they can be used with default fsx as well, just not as nice a fit but certainly better than a lot of freeware out there

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I have bought all of UK2000' s airports since the UK is my home base, but overseas I pick up freeware, some of it is fantastic....

 

Although, I have built up the eastern Caribbean with payware as a special region to fly my BN-2 Islander in, but otherwise, freeware rules....

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I think default are decent. (In XP10 there's typically no buildings).

 

The problem is taxiways and runways change so at the very least it's nice to update your ADEX files.

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And you can't beat the flexibility arising from the use of default files and editing them with free tools. Changing layouts, adding rwys or elevations or removing those dreaded fuel boxes literally takes place within minutes.

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As a tube flyer how much attention am I paying anyway to the outside during any other time then taxi out and in. 

 

I was thinking of the same thing... I am now flying tubes more and more... If I have night Environment and land at night... Default is just fine.

 

And it helps with OOM issues a lot.

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It all depends on how comprehensive or immersive one wants to make the simulation.  We like the more complete payware jetliners over the FSX defaults because we feel they're closer to the real thing.  We can say the same with ATC and the overall simulated environment (weather, clouds, sky, water, etc.).  For me operating in and out of airport that looks like the it's real counterpart, with taxiways and gates that match the charts, famous landmarks nearby, etc., rounds up the simulation quite well.  

 

The cool thing about this little hobby of ours is that everyone can tailor it to their preferences, simulating as much or as little as they like.  

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The majority of money I've spent for FSX is for payware airports and some small photoscenery areas. I own very few planes, maybe 10 at the most but the only ones I currently have installed are the NGX and T7, the rest I never moved over to my newest rig. Figured there was no point since those 2 PMDG planes are flown 99% of the time.

 

I've never liked the default airports since they use so many shared textures, they all pretty much look the same. In fact, when I first moved to FSX from FS9 the thing I hated more then anything was the lack of payware airports.

 

Years later I've amassed a great enough library of airports that I can pretty much fly where I want without ever having to takeoff or land at a stock airport.

 

Another problem for me was that I would get really dismal performance at stock airports like KDFW, KJFK, and KLAX. It wasn't until FSDT developed these airports that I could finally fly into them with great FPS and high levels of detail.

 

I am pretty selective about freeware airports but do have a lot of Shez'es airports, SunskyJet, and a few other well done works.

 

I've been lucky that the few bad apple airports I've bought that performed horribly, I've been able to fix myself by doing simple things like resizing textures, adding mips, and in some extreme cases, decompiling the bgls, removing certain FPS hogging models/items then recompiling them.

 

Having said that, since performance is not of any concern, I appreciate a well done airport to fly into other take off from. That coupled with my PMDG a/c provides everything I need for an enjoyable flight.

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To answer the original question, yes, I think they are.  Other than perhaps a vague resemblance to the real world layout, I find the vast majority of the default airports to be completely horrible.

 

However, I'm not a fan of fully done payware airports either, at least not when the level of eye-candy affects performance.  This holds true for both small and large airports.

 

The middle ground for me is the vast number of freeware airports available.  Even when they are simply an updated AFCAD with buildings and hangers added to represent the proper locations of their real world counterparts, it adds so much to the sim, with often no hit to performance whatsoever.

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If you use realistic AI like World of AI or something, you will find that the default airports aren't really adequate in regards to gate space for large airports like JFK or LAX. Those airports have at least 100 gates in real life. In the simulator, you'll be lucky if there's 20 gates at the default airports.

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Quality of the default airports only is a concern if you frequent them.

 

I Hub out of DFW, so the default configuration is very noticeably lacking, I rarely go to O'Hare so the default presentation doesn't bother me.

 

Going payware only makes sense for your base of hub airport, you spend most of your time there and would want it to have high fidelity to your real life experiences.

 

The only other justification for replacing an airport would be the default terminals being completely off (like default Dubai) but unless it's your hub check freeware options before splurging on the payware.

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I only fly around the UK and Ireland, but one of the BIG reasons why I decided to concentrate on this region is so that I could upgrade every single airport and airfield within it. Default airports are not good enough for me, and even some of the upgraded ones that I have need to be replaced with far more detailed versions (I am talking about relatively large airports here).

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A whole lot has changed since FSX was released and a lot of real world airports have made massive changes.  I find that many stock FSX airports are dull, somewhat featureless and/or grossly out of date.   I have only one payware airport and that is Key West by Latin VFR.  All other airports that I have installed have been either freeware or airports that I have modified.  Odds are that any airport that I frequent in FSX is no longer stock FSX.

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I create modify small rural airports in my area add farm houses, telephone poles, sketchup fake cornfield, and built crappy looking farm equipment as props. Photoscenery of Minnesota and Iowa with my midfield fields adds to immersion. Default ones where runways align, I leave them alone as dont fix what broken.

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I've been thinking the same as the OP lately - spent so much on airports, and some I haven't even flown to yet (how silly is that?!).     For something like GA flying around Norway (Airports of Norway), Denmark (Vidan), or the Orbx world, I think I will always fly to and from add-on payware airfields.  

 

But I'm becomming more and more disillushioned with large, uber-detailed airports, for use with tubeliner flying.  What with VAS, Memory and Frame Rates, it just ends up being a smoother and more enjoyable flight when I fly something like the T7 from default airports.   90% of my focus and attention is on the inside of the aircraft anyway, flight planning, fuelling, systems, etc.    This is especially so when flying at night - why end up with VAS problems and poor performance just to look out at a fancy airport for the 10 spare minutes you have between planning and take-off.  :smile:

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I've been lucky that the few bad apple airports I've bought that performed horribly, I've been able to fix myself by doing simple things like resizing textures, adding mips, and in some extreme cases, decompiling the bgls, removing certain FPS hogging models/items then recompiling them

 

What did you use to compile / decompile those BGL's please?

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Got a few defult airports retrograded to their 1980s state without too much effort. Try that with payware.

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Got a few defult airports retrograded to their 1980s state without too much effort. Try that with payware.

 

Which brings up the only good thing about default airports:  Loading them up in ADE in order to provide a starting point for editing. ^_^

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And you can't beat the flexibility arising from the use of default files and editing them with free tools. Changing layouts, adding rwys or elevations or removing those dreaded fuel boxes literally takes place within minutes.

 

True, but if it is an airport with any amount of AI, it takes a lot of work to get things moving smoothly.

 

scott s.

.

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      During the old FS98 days, I soon realized that spending money on a quality AFCAD design program was light years ahead of waiting for someone's payware or freeware upgrade.  When I converted to FSX, I did the same thing.  For me Airport Design Editor has fit the bill.  If I want to fly to an airport, I first pull the most current charts (most of them freeware, now-a-days) and then slew a default 737 to each of the runways in the scenery and fix the VASI/PAPI positions and reset the localizer and glideslope to match the charts.  I then modify the aprons/taxiways and add sufficient gates for the type of traffic that frequents the airport.  I then close FSX and compile the scenery. When airports upgrade, it has become a simple matter to download the latest charts and modify the AFCADs appropriately.

 

     Now, of course, I am a real world pilot, so my concern is realistic functionality...correct taxiways, airdrome, gates, runway headings, etc..  I use ASN for the most realistic weather for the same purpose.  Over the last several years, I have updated over 1000 of the default airports within FSX to match the real world charts and continue to tweak them as necessary to keep them updated before I choose to use them.

 

    I have never found the need to purchase any add-on scenery for FSX.  As one of the previous posters had mentioned, those of us who are using the simulation for airline flying never have occasion to view much scenery, anyway.  Most of us are concerned with the visual depictions of the instruments and systems since that is what we are mostly looking at.  I find that FSX has done a reasonable job of depicting what I see from 35,000+ ft. up and the view during taxi is very limited from the flight deck of a tubeliner.  Much more important to have less eye-candy and better performance during those high VAS demanding environments in my opinion.

 

    Though retired professionally, I still enjoy a little real world scenic flying around Florida in my Skylane, particularly now that fuel costs are coming down, but my simulation time is strictly for the big ones I can no longer fly.

 

 

   Cheers!

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In theory, my priority is major environmental stuff (weather, textures, LC etc) since those a relevant in a microlight and a big, fat airliner, then planes, and finally airports. (don't have many utilities). But I can be a bit of a sucker for the eye candy, and get more than I 'need'.

 

I tended to buy smaller strips in Orbx world. I bounce between them in small planes, and when you're there you're taxiing you're right in the middle of it all. They're close together, so you can visit three or four in one session if you want. I can almost justify those. Lately I've been getting bigger airports. Truth is, I don't really get to them much. I figure I'd need as many take offs or landings as I spent dollars on them ($1 landing fee is still really cheap!) to make it worthwhile. I'll get there with most, hopefully. Some I buy largely to support devs - PacSim is an example of that. I won't get to Tonga a lot, but I want the guy to keep making airports like that.

 

The defaults generally aren't a patch on a good improved package - payware or otherwise. Then it's down to cost/benefit - a wholly personal opinion.

 

Mike

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