In popular culture everyone seems to enjoy and respect wizards. They are perceived as being wise, possessing great powers and capable of actions that are beyond the limits of mere mortals. Wizards are capable of improving lives by invoking a bit of magic as evidenced by their actions in countless fairy tales.
Flight simulation can be a bit of a fairy tale world as well. The desire to create a virtual world that contains the best qualities of the real world is a goal of many a simmer. Achieving that goal can be difficult, frustrating and time consuming. The assistance of a wizard to make that realization as painless as possible would be welcomed by most dreaming computer pilots. Thus it was with great anticipation that I met a wizard named Airport Wizard.
OK, perhaps that is enough of waxing poetic, so what is Airport Wizard (AW)? Quite simply, it is marketed as the easiest way yet to add some much needed nuances to the airports in FSX and FS9. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I absolutely love airports and since almost every flight is pretty much planned to begin and end at one they are an important segment of the simming experience. So any enhancement of them is welcomed.
Installation and Documentation
Installation of AW at the outset is relatively simple. A visit to the FlightSimTools website offers three options. Option 1 is to download a free demo version. This contains all the features available but limits use to a single airport in Belgium.
The second and third options are to download the full payware version which is priced quite reasonable at US $14.95. The purchase provides you with a registration key that enables full use.
Airport Wizard from FlightSimTools.com provides enhanced taxiways, taxiway lighting and ramp lighting. Part of the allure of this product is that it can make these enhancements to default airports and even add-ons. It does so by creating a new scenery area called Airport Wizard and the improvements it generates for each airport are placed in a scenery file stored in that area. This allows for easy removal of the enhancements if desired without interfering or disturbing the underlying base airport scenery files. In fact, uninstalling AW completely is actually a deactivation; the actual files created are not removed and if (when?) AW is reinstalled, the files are present and available for use.
This is even more convenient than it might sound because enhancements must be performed on an individual basis, airport by airport, making this a rather painless way to make changes without having to worry about disturbing or distorting legacy scenery. All of the scenery enhancements are done using standard FS9/FSX formats but in order for the AW changes to display properly in FSX, a module is created.
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