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    Lugano X


    Publisher: Aerosoft
    Platform: FSX
    Download Size: 202MB
    Reviewed By: Daniel Martinez


    Nestled in a beautiful valley amongst the Swiss Alps, Lugano Airport (ICAO:LSZA) actually resides nearer the city of Agno and is only 15 miles from the Italian border. The regional airport primarily caters to mid to long-range business jets but does have some regularly scheduled service from carriers Darwin, Alitalia, and Swiss Airlines.

    As stated in the included manual, the airport saw over 188,000 passengers in 2008, most of those probably going to Geneva and Zurich. One of the most unique features of this airport is its instrument approach which requires a steep 6.65° angle of descent due to its geography. The runway is only 1,350 meters but plans are underway to increase that to 1,450 meters in 2012 and 1,600 meters by 2014 so keep your big jets parked at home. The short runway and steep approach angle make this a very challenging airport to land at. Landing is no problem in a single engine Cessna but it took quite a few tries before I could land a smaller general aviation jet.

    This product comes from the same folks that brought you Switzerland Professional X and a whole bunch of other cool titles from that beautiful country. Lugano is supposed to be compatible with Switzerland Professional X but I don’t have that installed so is out of scope of this review.

    Installation and Documentation

    As usual, installation is very simple with the automatic installers. I did not have to add the scenery to my library, which is always a plus for me. One thing I found kind of odd was that the scenery did not show up in my Aerosoft Launcher. I have several titles from the company and all wind up there for easy access to manuals, updates, and other information. It also installs outside of the normal Aerosoft folder so that may be why it doesn’t show up. At any rate, it really doesn’t affect the scenery or this review but it is something to note.

    There is also an executable file called LSZATraffic.exe by Oliver Pabst that adds some AI traffic and ground vehicles to the scenery. I’m always excited about a little realistic traffic being added to an airport so why not? Clicking on the file brings up this interesting map with a couple of check boxes. I’m not sure what either of these check boxes do in the scenery (perhaps I should have looked) but clicking on them in the map does nothing to indicate its purpose. I may be dense and its purpose is obvious to our learned users at Avsim but it would have been nice for a little more information about this tool in the manual.

    Posted Image

    Clicking on the above thumbnail will show you the “traffic configuration tool” and its two check boxes. You do get a good overhead view of the scenery!

    The manual is some 44 pages but only about 7 are allocated to each language. Everything you’d expect to be here is included in the manual: installation, uninstallation, system requirements, etc. I also really like that the authors show you everything that is custom in the scenery. This is a boon for reviewers (and users) who oftentimes miss some “golden nugget” that the author intended for us to experience.

    You’ll also find a PDF with 11 charts for you to use and enjoy with flight simulator. The charts are easily printable which is neat and if you are like me, you probably have paper maps all over your office. Does your spouse yell at you because of the clutter or is it just me? In any case, it’s a nice addition to have in the scenery and I think you will find that they add a lot to your experience.

    The Airport

    The thing I like about the smaller airports is the character that each of them have. Lugano is similar to other outlying, regional airports in that you find quirky bits of individuality that the authors are able to model and include in the scenery. European airports seem to be a riot of colors that I don’t always see anywhere else in the world and it’s really endearing. You know you’re a flight simulator fanatic when you call an airport “endearing”.

    Speaking of quirky bits of individuality, I really enjoy the green awnings and blue piping near the control tower. The main terminal area of the airport is well modeled and accurately depicted according to the pictures available. There seems to be an amazing amount of detail with little loss of performance. It’s always the little things at places like this: benches, signs, railings, etc.

    Talk about quirky…tennis courts? How cool is that?
    Advertisements in the general aviation terminal
    Fueling area near the terminal
    Very nice, detailed modeling with AI parked in the background
    More buildings outside the airport perimeter. I love this!
    General aviation terminal with a static aircraft
    Some fire trucks outside the apron…with some cool ground markings
    Included buildings just outside the airport. I’ve no idea what “centroagono uno” is despite looking on the internet
    Just about to land on the runway
    Storage sheds just off the runway. Do they keep tractors here? Snow plows?

    The back of the terminal area is a real treat with everything from tennis courts to a children’s Playscape. How does an airport get tennis courts and a Playscape? I don’t know but it’s here and it looks fun and fantastic. You’ll find advertisements and all other sorts of odds and ends inside the maze of buildings.

    The only problem I found was one of the outlying buildings, the “Corriere Del Ticino”, where the sign has a transparency issue. It’s really hard to notice so it takes nothing away from the scenery. I would have included a picture but really, it’s not a large problem.

    Night Lighting

    The fun doesn’t end during the day. The night lighting is really well done and gives off the perfect amount of ambiance.

    The control tower and airport sign at night. That’s a nice turquoise color!
    The general aviation side of the house. Boy, I wish FSX would allow objects to be lighted by…the lights
    The runway at night. As you can see, the lights look fantastic
    The local petrol station is open late at night
    The flight line
    The backside of the terminal. No night-time tennis
    It’s the Corriere Del Ticino, of course!
    Night time photo of the Swiss and Darwin Airlines offices

    You may think that the night time lighting is rather understated but I would think that this is how it is in real life. A small airport in a tiny village at the foot of the Swiss mountains shouldn’t be so bright.

    Afcad and AI Movements

    All AI aircraft that are included in the title move about with no problems. You certainly don’t see traffic jams or disappearing aircraft. They all taxi about and exit the runway in a normal fashion. One thing I did see though, were aircraft taking off nearer to the taxiway a bit up from the beginning of the runway. Now, this is not too much of a problem when you have a Cessna 172 taking off as there is plenty of runway. However, when you have slightly bigger aircraft, they will sometimes overshoot their takeoff or take up the entire runway. I am sure this can be easily rectified in a program like ADX rather easily and I will probably do that one of these days.

    You will find some road traffic in and around the airport but this isn’t exactly Los Angeles. Vehicles come in and out of the parking lot at times but there aren’t any other animations within the airport proper itself; no baggage carts, food trucks, people, or dune buggies to be found. I don’t think this a bad thing, though. I’m certain that these airports are relatively quiet and free from lots of traffic.

    Some type of nicely detailed ILS system?
    Some commercial buildings just off of the runway
    Great looking attention to detail and some fabulous green awning
    Peeking over the shoulder of a parked GA aircraft
    Again, who has tennis courts at the airport? The Swiss do!


    As expected, I did not suffer from any low FPS while using the scenery. The airport is quite small and there are few AI aircraft to hog your system resources. A poorly built airport, no matter how small, can still cause all sorts of grief. Lugano X is NOT a poorly built airport and I would think that most systems can handle this scenery without issue. As per my usual, I run all of my scenery sliders to the right and have 100% AI enabled on my testing system.

    A nice place for a picnic if you are so inclined
    Another look at the tower
    This hangar obviously needs a spot of paint
    An overview of the airport. You can see it blends in very well with the default scenery

    Summary/Closing Remarks

    I highly recommend Lugano X to the FSX community. The airport is quite fun for general aviation enthusiasts and those who like a challenging airport. Everything is well built and has quite the character that you would expect in these smaller airports. Keep this in mind, though…this is a smaller airport and the scenery reflects that fact.

    If you’re one of those pilots who like to fly the big iron and have a beehive of activity around you then this title (and many others like it) may not be for you. If you’ve never had the opportunity, though, to take a Cessna out for a quick spin around the mountains, Lugano X is the place to start.

    What I Like About Lugano X

    Test System
    • i5-2500K Sandy Bridge
    • 3.3GHz OC to 4.0
    • 8 GB DDR 1600 RAM
    • Windows 7 64-bit HP
    • Dual GTX 460 video cards
    • FSX SP1 + SP2 (Gold)
    • Logitech Extreme 3D Pro

    Test Time: 12.5 hours

    • Superb (as usual) modeling and textures that blend well with the background
    • Zero performance issues
    • A wonderful little place to fly in and around the Swiss mountains
    • Very fun approach to Runway 01

    What I Don't Like About Lugano X

    • Very little to choose from here but I reckon I can say the aforementioned (single) transparent texture problem. That’s pretty nit-picky, though!
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