Review by Marlon Carter
If you have been a flight simulator enthusiast for the past 10-15 years, the name FlyTampa is one that we have all come to admire for their stunning high quality airport add-ons. Throughout the years since their initial releases for FS9 and FSX, we have seen the overall quality of their product skyrocket to a level that is unmatched while utilizing the newest features of the P3D platform.
While this review focuses on their releases for P3Dv5, we should keep in mind that their efforts have also expanded to the world of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 which offers an entirely new level of visual realism. While there are plans to take a closer look at their offerings for MS2020, for now we will dig deeper into two of their most recent releases for P3Dv5.
The first release that we will examine is the FlyTampa Vegas add-on for P3Dv5. As a preview of what we can expect, here is a list of features.
Las Vegas McCarran (KLAS) Airport Addon
High Resolution surrounding Photo Scenery with custom mesh.
Las Vegas modeled with custom buildings and animations.
3D Taxiway bridge,Animated Cars & Monorails
SODE and Ctrl-J animated Jetways
PBR Terminal windows and Dynamic lighting
At first glance, this list may seem a bit underwhelming, but I can assure you that from my experience using this product, each listed feature goes above and beyond our wildest imagination. To start off our deep dive into FlyTampa Vegas, let us take a closer look at the overall layout of this scenery product.
From the screenshots posted above, the general overview of this product shows the vast areas of coverage which includes not only the main airport, but also the surround city of Las Vegas. While I’ve never been to Las Vegas in person, the city is well known for itsnighttime activity, stunning world class hotels and other unique landmark features. One feature that captures our attention, is the addition of the Luxor Las Vegas Pyramid. This landmark features the strongest beam of light in the world which is visible to pilots flying over southern California. In P3D, you will be amazed to see this landmark come to life at night with an authentic representation of this lighting feature.
Since Las Vegas is known for its night life, it stands to reason that the nighttime experience of flying in and out of KLAS should offer a true to life experience. While it may be easy to assume that the developers of this product would have simply added a few fancy lights to dazzle our eyes, a closer look revealed that much care and attention was aimed at bringing every detail of Las Vegas to every P3D user.
As you review the following screenshots, you will be amazed at the nighttime experience that this product offers.
Airport Design& Features
As we take a closer look at theLas Vegas McCarran(now Harry Reid International) airport, it becomes quite obvious that the aircraft has a unique design among the many major airports throughout the United States. If we were to compare the overall design of the real airport with the rendition developed by FlyTampa, the results reveal that much care and attention was paid to replicating the smallest detail of this airport.
In addition to an accurate layout, the features of the terminal building also showcases the lengths to which the development team has gone to provide a detailed product inside and out. For example, the terminal buildings feature a modelled interior which includes gate signs, seating and more.While this is not a necessary feature that all will appreciate, it certainly shows the level of dedication to providing the best overall experience to anyone using this product.
Looking at the exterior portions of the terminal buildings, the stunning realism of PBR windows and HD textures takes the overall quality of this product to a level that few have achieved. In addition to the terminal buildings, the ground textures, markings and signs are all very detailed and easily readable from the virtual cockpit.
While airport scenery products have had a history of being a bit static, I was pleased to see the inclusion of animated cars, monorails and ground service vehicles. Additionally, users are given the ability to add and remove various forms of animated traffic on the streets of Vegas and throughout the airport. These features, in addition to using a 3rd party AI traffic add-on, provides the most realistic airport experience within the P3D environment.
At night, in a similar manner to the stunning city lighting experience, the lighting seen throughout the airport environment offers a true to life experience. For example, while users are given the option to have dynamic lighting on the airport terminal buildings illuminating the ramp, dynamic lighting is also available for many of the lighting features found throughout the city. With such an innovative feature, this offers users the best visual experience vs the legacy night lighting textures which often disconnects the aircraft and buildings from the environment.
On a final note, I thought it would be helpful to mention that 3rd party products such as GSX Level 2, AIG Traffic and FTX Global all work quite nicely with this product. With all of the available options enabled, I found that the performance of this product was quite outstanding with virtually no impact to my frame rates. To offer such a complexed product with a minimal performance impact is no small achievement, and it highlights the fact that this is perhaps one of the most detailed and efficient scenery products available.
To conclude our look at KLAS, it isobvious that a tremendous amount of work went into the development of this product. The optional features and the vast coverage provided easily makes this the best KLAS scenery available. If you are looking for a new scenery product for your simulator, I would highly recommend that you consider this product for your next purchase.
FLYTAMPA SYDNEY V2
The second release from FlyTampa that we will examine is their . While this is not necessarily a new scenery product from this developer, its newest version is certainly a significant upgrade to the legacy product that you may be familiar with.
The Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport has a rich history which goes to the 1920s. With Australia being a key destination to many airline operators, this airport has seen a high volume of international traffic throughout the years. In the virtual world, it comes as no surprise that there would be a significant interest in having a detailed version of this airport for the virtual long-haul pilots among us. Since the initial release of this scenery, FlyTampa has applied numerous upgrades to stay abreast with the evolving capabilities of flight simulator flatforms. In this case, lets have a look at the features included in Sydney V2 for P3D4-5.
Sydney Kingsford Smith (YSSY) Airport Addon
PBR Textures on ground and buildings
Animated 3D Ramp Workers, Fisherman, Spotters
Nearby surroundings with numerous custom buildings
Dynamic lighting, SODE Jetways and VDGS
3D Terrain including tunnels and bridges.
The list of features seems nearly identical to the features of KLAS. However, given the vast differences in location and airport design, this product offers an entirely difference experience. Let us start off our review of this scenery with a general overview.
Situated on the eastern coast of Australia, the Sydney airport has had a rich history in international aviation as a popular stopping point for airlines crossing the pacific. Today, with more than 30 passenger airlines and more than 10 cargo airlines frequently arriving and departing from the Sydney airport, there is no shortage of opportunities for virtual pilots to experience this unique destination.
With the airport featuring 3 runways, and being surrounded by land and water, recreating the airport and its surroundings would require a high level of detail.Despite this challenge, the screenshots below shows that FlyTampa was capable of meeting and exceeding all expectations.
From the screenshots above, we can see that that product offers a high level of detail and unique features that will enhance the user experience. To dive deeper into the features of this product,the next section of this review will explore these features in greater detail to determine whether this product may be worth your time and money.
Airport Design & Features
As we examine the airport design, the first feature captures our attention is the highly acclaimed design of the Sydney airport air traffic control tower. After comparing the real-world design to the rendition created by FlyTampa, it was quite evident that the developer invested much time and effort to capturing the look of this building.
For the terminal buildings, hangars and other intricate features of this airport, we can see that there were no shortcuts taken when recreating each structure. For example, in many of the areas that feature canopies made of steel frames, the development team ensured that these structures were recreated to the highest degree of accuracy and detail possible.
While the terminal buildings did not feature an interior model or transparent windows, the overall designed reflected an accurate layout of the airport as of the year 2020. If you own the GSX v2 product, you will also be pleased to know that this scenery fully supports GSX and SODE integration. While I did not have the opportunity to test each parking spot, the ones tested at the passenger terminal and cargo terminal were accurately configured.
In addition, the use of PBR textures forthe terminal buildings and ground textures offered stunning visuals throughout daytime, nighttime and various types of weather conditions. While PBR textures are not perfect, it provides the most convincing visual experience vs the standard textures we previously enjoyed.
On a final note, I was also quite impressed with the addition of animated ramp workers, fishermen and aircraft spotters!These features allow for theenvironment of this airport dynamic, entertaining, and immersive.
To conclude our review of the FlyTampa Sydney airport, I can safely state that this is an essential product for P3D users. The level of detail found in this product offers the most realistic experience for both day and nighttime flying to Sydney Australia, and the performance impact is minimal when compared to similar products. If you enjoy long haul flying and you are looking for a new and intriguing destination, I would highly recommend this product.
With an established reputation for quality, I am certain that FlyTampa will continue to excel as they release more scenery products for the P3D and MSFS platform.
Edited by Chuck_Jodry-VJPL