by Marlon Carter
When we think about the Caribbean, we normally think about islands such as Barbados, Jamaica or even St. Lucia. On the other hand, for those of you familiar with the entire Caribbean region, you may have heard of the “ABC Islands”. The ABC islands comprise of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao which are all part of the Netherlands Antilles until 2010 when Bonaire became a special municipality within the country of the Netherlands. From the aviation perspective, The ABC islands see a regular frequency of private and commercial traffic. While most of the Commercial traffic comes from Europe, there are also a few local airlines that fly between the islands and a few US carriers that offer seasonal and regular flights to Bonaire. Taking all of these factors into consideration, recreating this beautiful airport for the FS platform was the next best step for the Aerosoft development team. With the Flamingo airport being located along the coastline of this tropical island, a product such as Bonaire Flamingo Airport X will surely appeal to the masses that are looking for new and interesting destinations. What can we expect from this product? Here is a list of some of the features and a preview video of the stunning detail.
Realistic recreation of Flamingo Airport Bonaire
Fully compatible with FSX SP2 (Acceleration), FSX SE and P3Dv2.5
Highly detailed and accurate building models based on the latest modelling techniques for optimal visuals and performance
High resolution textures included as an option
Custom approach lights and runway light effects
Realistic night time effects
Highly accurate and up to date ground layout
Realistic runway and taxiway textures
Static aircraft included as an option
Compatible with all AI Traffic packages
Installation & Documentation
As with all Aerosoft products, the installation was quite simple. After purchasing the product and entering your email and key information, the installation process is fully automatic once you follow the prompts correctly. As far as the documentation goes, it provides a wealth of information about this product which includes settings, performance options, a full list of features and a full suite of airport charts. Also included in the documentation is a user guide for the new SODE version which is also installed with this product. With the level of information provided in the documentation, it is highly unlikely that anyone will have a problem getting this product up and running.
Given the fact that I live on a Caribbean island, I’ve always been very eager to see more and more Caribbean airports being developed for FSX and P3D. With Bonaire X, I was very excited to see that this isn’t simply an airport that was developed from google maps and a few online photos. With this product, the developer took thousands of photos of this airport to recreate a true to life rendition of Flamingo International. With emphasis on extreme detail, the developer was able to accurately capture the environment of this airport with numerous detailed buildings, animated palm trees, static aircraft and some of the best night lighting effects imaginable.
As we have a closer look at this airport, let’s first of all examine the main terminal build. As with most Caribbean airports, the design and overall layout isn’t overly exotic but it also isn’t very boring either. While the main terminal isn’t very large, it is packed with many details that could easily intimidate the best of modelers. With a uniquely designed roof, intricate steel work, beautiful landscaping and other fine details, this aircraft is very impressive and I would consider it to be one of the most detailed airports I have seen in a very long time.
A special feature of a few Caribbean airports is the open air design of the check-in area. With this design concept, it forces a developer to offer even more detail than would otherwise be necessary. As you look at the screenshots below (mixture of FSX and P3D), you will see that no detail was spared in recreating the section of the terminal and it complete with signs, chairs and various decorative items that are seen in the real airport.
Moving now to the airside of the terminal, this is the first thing that passengers and virtual pilots will be seeing when they land at this airport. While the airport design isn’t overly complicated, the design is still unique and it offers a significant amount of detail for developers to capture. For example, the Control Tower is a very specific design that includes an exterior staircase that is protected by a nicely constructed railing. This railing is also extended to the main terminal which also includes service vehicles, crates, baggage trolleys, numerous AC units and other miscellaneous items around the terminal building. Another interesting detail of this product is the number of animations which includes palm trees, flags and an animated windsock controlled by SODE.
While the modeling aspect of the terminal is superb, it was further enhanced by the use of high resolution textures that truly offered a dated feel to the airport. On the topic of textures, you will also notice that the ground textures for the ramp area and runway offer the highest detail. In some sections of the ramp there are portions that seem cracked, wet or stained by oil. The surroundings of the airport were also nicely textured to recreate a lush tropical environment while maintaining the beautiful landscaping around the terminal. As we move further away from the airport, we see that the development team also took into consideration some of the details found along the coastline and in the main town and residential areas. Here are a few more screenshots showcasing the textures and surrounds of the airport.
Now that we’ve had a close look at the detail of this product, the true test of quality comes at night time. Over the years I’ve noticed that while some products are very detailed and they look wonderful during the day time, the quality sometimes suffers at night. In this case the developers went to great lengths in order to create the most realistic night time environment possible and from all that I’ve seen thus far, it seems like they have succeeded. The lighting effects and night time textures were of very high quality and it created a stunning airport environment no different to the daytime.
Throughout this review I’ve made it very clear that this is a high quality product with stunning detail. With that in mind it’s important for us to also comment on the performance. While most simmers have mid to high end PC’s, some also have computers with average specs. The development team for this airport did a fine job at creating a product that can be utilized by just about anyone. With tools that allow you to switch between low to high quality textures and adjust the level of animations, everyone will be able to comfortably fly to Bonaire for their next long haul flight. For me personally, my PC isn’t the best gaming system out there, but I’ve found that by removing the static aircraft option and having most of the other features enabled yielded good performance even while using high quality aircraft add-ons. If you have an average gaming system or even a high end system, you can rest assured that this product will perform quite well.
To conclude, I think that this is definitely a product worth having. It comes with an amazing level of detail, performance optimization options and a price point of $17.00US which is just perfect. While Bonaire may not be a common destination to the Flightsim community, this product is the perfect introduction to the ABC islands and a great opportunity to see the beauty of this region which was perfectly captured by Aerosoft. – Highly Recommended.
Special thanks to Mathijs from Aerosoft for contributing this product for review.