Peru is one of those countries you know that exists, but that’s roughly where it ends. Maybe you think of Indians and their art. Maybe of mountains, and maybe you even think of the rather interesting approach into Cusco.
Perhaps you only think of poverty, heat, bareness, communism and such stuff. To be honest, most of these things are stereotypes because it’s South America we’re talking about. I hardly know anything about South America. Because of this I find it interesting to fly there and explore the countries, especially because some of the cities are so beautiful, with some stunning approaches in just about every country you can think of.
I already mentioned Cusco, but what about the approach into La Paz, in Bolivia? Nice thing is that La Paz is actually one of the main international airports, the other being Viru Viru International, in nearby Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
In this review, I will be looking at an international airport, albeit not one with a particularly exciting approach. I already mentioned Peru, and with a reason: I will be reviewing LatinVFR’s incarnation of Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport in Peru.
Installation and Documentation
Installation is very straightforward. You receive a serial key and an executable, which you run. After agreeing to the license and such, you enter the serial key and the email address you used to purchase the scenery, and that’s it. The installer does check whether the information you entered matches, which of course is not a problem if you legally acquired the scenery. The installer automatically adds the scenery to your library.
The documentation is typical of LatinVFR: concise, but with all the information you actually need. It contains an overview of the airport, some details (including airlines operating in and out of the airport), and a FAQ that deals with the more prominent questions you might have concerning this scenery. It contains all it should contain, nothing more, nothing less. You also get a PDF file with all kinds of charts, but these date back to 2009. As a matter of fact, the entire Northern apron does not exist yet on the charts. You might want to get a hold of more up-to-date ones.
The terminal area seems to be broken into two aprons: one with gates and one without, as seen below:
Let’s look at the terminal building itself first. One thing’s for sure: it certainly looks like a modern building. The all-glass design looks stunning and LatinVFR managed to capture this very well. Every gate is equipped with a jetway it seems, and the lamp posts will shed enough light on the apron to make it possible to work at night here.
On the roof we see lots of fans for the air conditioning and such. All the texturing seems pretty nice from here, and the same is true for the modeling. Basically, the terminal seems like it has a main building at the back, then there’s a sort of tunnel-like connection, and then we get to the biggest structure of the terminal. It is this, where two large wings are attached to it, and to which all jetways are attached.
Looking at Google maps, not everything is accurate. For example, the north wing of the terminal’s gate distribution is not entirely correct. Have you also noticed the shadows? LatinVFR “baked in” custom shadows. This is very nice, but problems arise when AES is used. The jetways will move, and the shadow will not. Still, it’s a nice touch.
We’ll now look close up at some of the gates.
The above three shots show the overview and detail views of the various gates. I really love the texturing of the terminal. It’s not blurry at all, and the shine that was brought onto the glass texture truly makes it look very good. I’m not sure what the dark areas on the glass should be, though. I suppose it’s something behind the glass? Or perhaps another shine effect?
The second shot gives a slightly closer look, but our conclusions can remain somewhat the same. Overall, I think there is enough ground equipment too. When looking at the terminal overview shot, everything gives a pretty nice filled-up impression. It’s only when you go stand at one of the gates that I feel that a bit more equipment might have been nice, perhaps along the terminals walls.
The third shot shows a jetway close up. You know, I rarely see jetways with such high-resolution textures, and it makes me very happy. This jetway’s texturing is superb! The modeling could have been more detailed, but overall, thanks to the texturing, it looks extraordinary.
And speaking of textures, have you noticed the apron and ground marking textures? This always seems the case with LatinVFR sceneries, these are great, and to my taste they are pretty much perfect. The way they are combined might still need some work as I’ll show later, but the textures themselves would receive a first prize in my opinion. They are intricately detailed, as if every pixel of that texture was debated upon, questioned whether or not to place it. I love it!
Passengers have to get into the terminal somehow, and this can be seen on the above shots. Here we see the terminal’s entrance and the parking lot in front of the terminal. Concerning the entrance, I have three things to say: 1) The texturing is again, brilliant. 2) The modeling could have been more detailed. 3) Everything is empty. Are no passengers going in and out of the terminal?
Now here’s the important point: If you operate normally in and out of this airport, all these points are completely irrelevant since you will never get to see it. Even if you do fly along this side of the airport, that big building across the road will block most of the view. No, it’s the parking lot that you will probably be seeing.
Those of you that read the review I wrote about LatinVFR’s Las Americas scenery might remember how I didn’t like the parking lot. It seemed like high resolution textured objects were dropped onto a sea of seemingly floating pixels. Well, the funny thing is, Las Americas is a scenery which is a bit more recent than the Lima scenery reviewed here, yet in this scenery, the parking lot looks infinitely better in my opinion.
For starters, the parking lots (which again are objects with high resolution textures) actually fit correctly between the roads. As such, we don’t get this weird effect of “high resolution stuff floating amidst pixels” that I described in the Las Americas review. Secondly, the ground textures themselves seem to be of a higher resolution. This is of course something that is related to availability and cost; perhaps satellite/orthophoto images of Peru are less expensive than the Dominican Republic.
Anyway, the result is that the parking lot we see here looks good. All in all, it seems like stuff has been more correctly placed in this scenery, excluding some notable exceptions, which I’ll soon show.
The control tower of Chavez Intl. is mostly just a control room on top of a tall building, both of which look good. The control room is quite nicely detailed, with stairs and a red radar on the roof. It’s nicely detailed, most of which will hardly be visible from the ground. Texturing is just as good, although the glass of the control room might have been nicer if it were a lighter tint perhaps.
Finally, here are some shots of the ground equipment scattered around the gates and other parts of the airport:
Overall, LatinVFR has given us a pretty detailed, extremely well textured and nicely modeled terminal building that I’d happily dock my aircraft at. Let’s see what’s more to be found.
Cargo and GA areas
For sure there is more to find here! The cargo areas of many international Latin and South American airports seem to be quite large, which is a very different situation than in the US or Europe, where some big airports are designated as big “cargo centers” (such as Luxembourg’s Intl. airport), and others have simply meager cargo offerings.
At Lima, the cargo center seems to be once again very big. One look at Wikipedia shows a long list of cargo airlines visiting Lima Intl., including Centurion Air Cargo, FedEx Express, Lufthansa Cargo and UPS. So what do the cargo aprons look like here in Lima?
The amount of parking for the cargo heavies isn’t numerous, strangely enough. We see a few places taken by Cielos Cargo Airlines, and that seems to be it, basically. There are a huge amount of hangars, offices and other such small buildings scattered around, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure if they are just general maintenance buildings or whether they belong to the cargo services of this airport.
Overall, what’s there looks good. I’m not always a fan of the texturing, as some of the roofs are a bit too blurry for my taste, such as the rusty roof of that hangar in shot 3. Also notice the hangar in shot 4: it has been misplaced with regards to its shadow. The same is true for the hangar in shot 3, by the way. For the rest, this apron strikes me as a place without any clear organization, where stuff has just been randomly place din order to feel voids. This is not entirely true, however, it only looks like that.
When you look at Google Maps it’s clear that what LatinVFR did here is pretty close to reality. What breaks that idea of reality, however, is the apron texture. Although I love it and it’s very detailed, it doesn’t quite work for this area because it’s the same texture everywhere. If you look at Google Maps, you’ll see a variety of tints, markings and such which are not present here, that way giving rise to the “objects floating in nowhere” idea.
It would have been nice if the ground textures would have been more realistic here, but truth be told, I think it’s fine the way it is.
A bit to the south of the cargo apron, we find a lonely apron that I guess is a military apron, because of all the military aircraft that are docked here. It’s a rather lonely affair, with only a few buildings and a completely empty apron, save for some markings and some AI aircraft. This is typically an apron that begs for ground equipment to fill it up.
Just adding some vans here and there, perhaps some military trucks would have made this apron more active. As a matter of fact, there are two or three military jeeps. This looks great, but more, and a bigger variety of cars and equipment would have been welcomed.
I admit that those trees look very nice, however, and they do help to fill up the place a bit (never mind that these trees should of course stand there, they are not just a fantasy to fill up voids!). It does seem like some of the fences haven’t been placed with the greatest accuracy. These fences should all be standing alongside the apron, not a meter away of it.
North of the terminal area there are more aprons. I honestly don’t really know what the function of this apron is, so I simply refer to them as maintenance areas due to the various large hangars we find here. This is bound to be partly incorrect however, because I’ve seen here multiple foreign aircraft, such as a GOL 737-800 and a United 757-200, so it can’t be just maintenance. Anyway, back to the scenery.
What we basically have here is a large portion of tarmac with some hangars and probably warehouses. There are also some parked GA aircraft here, which look a bit weird and blocky, but I’m sure they are not LatinVFR’s. I have seen pretty much the same aircraft in Aerosoft’s US Cities X: Chicago scenery (and there they looked equally weird).
The same story is true for this part of the airport too: some more vehicles scattered around the aircraft’s parking positions would have done the area good. It’s not, however, like the area is not true to reality. If you look at Google Maps, it’s obvious why the area is so obvious: there should be masses of military helicopters parked here.
Fact is, these probably don’t exist in MyTrafficX, resulting in these empty spots. True, there are two Peruvian army AN-32 aircraft parked here. By the way, note the big hangar: it’s misaligned with its shadow.
Going a bit more to the north again, we find another apron which does not exist on the included charts, but does exist in Google Maps, so you might want to find some updated charts. Here we find some more cargo aircraft (stuck with its nose in a building, maybe an AFCAD problem?) and military aircraft, but it’s also used for foreign international airlines to park their aircraft, as one of the night shots will show you: you’ll see a United 757-200 parked here. It all looks a bit empty, but again, this is rather true-to-life.
Fact is that here, too, there is pretty much nothing except for some hangars and other buildings along the apron. It seems here, too, army helicopters should have been parked. Instead, we got some more AN-32 aircraft of the Peruvian army, courtesy of MyTraffic X. Basically, I’ve got nothing to complain about. The modeling and texturing is all rather good. It’s only the placement of the hangars that are off, because none of them stand on the exact place where their shadow has been drawn.
A final thing I want to show in some more detail is the ground textures. As always, these are great. The detail is minute and has been very well done. I did find a “hole” in the taxiway texturing, but this should be easy to fix. I’m not always truly satisfied with how various ground textures flow into each other. The ends tend to be very abrupt, and while this is somewhat true for the real world airport too, there usually is some kind of border, be it some tarmac spilt to close gaps between concrete slabs and asphalt, or something of the kind.
This is especially noticeable in the first of the shots below, where the square concrete slabs are simply cut across the middle without any border between its new edge and the asphalt. It looks unrealistic. I hope LatinVFR will try to cover this up a bit in the future. As a side note, it is in fact realistic and true-to-life, the way the concrete slabs were drawn here. I only wish that some sort of new border between the concrete and asphalt would have been made.
Time to leave the airport now and look at the surrounding scenery. The coverage of the included photoscenery is quite extensive, like with many LatinVFR sceneries. This is also one of the strengths of LatinVFR, for they don’t merely give you the airport, like so many other developers, they also give you the environment in the vicinity of the airport.
As a result, you are not “plagued” by default scenery on approach, but you actually have something nice to look at. FlyTampa has been doing this also recently, like in their Buffalo KBUF scenery, where a big chunk of area around KBUF has been included, fully annotated with autogen.
This is where LatinVFR tends to fail a bit: the autogen annotation and placement of buildings on the photoscenery. It is often inaccurate, placing buildings on roads and swimming pools. You’ll also notice that some areas of the photoscenery is pretty much desert, looking very white and sandy. One look at Google Maps shows that there is no desert here: it’s lots of buildings with brown-colored roofs (probably because of balconies and such). It’s a pity that it looks wrong in LatinVFR’s scenery, but I can imagine that it might be the result of haze, or a cloud passing in front of the camera, for the other areas of the photoscenery are not affected. Plus, it’s only at daytime: at night we see lights everywhere, as you’ll soon see.
What I do really like are all the extra objects that have been added, such as cranes, ships and what seems like an oil refinery. Since these can be seen very well on approach, they truly add something to flying in and out of this airport. Also the photoscenery seems more detailed on the approach path, with lamp posts, monuments and houses added in a higher density. Personally, I would have liked to see the higher density housing in a bigger radius around the airport, but the way it is results in a good performance. That’s also very important of course.
The last thing that I’ll be showing you is the night lighting. Overall it’s pretty good, and I really like the lighting for the lamp posts that are placed all along the road running next to the airport. The night lighting at the airport itself is also pretty nice, with soft, golden lights lighting up discrete amounts of the apron around the terminal.
I’m pleased with what I’m seeing. It’s a pity that it’s also at night that you see that the parking lot doesn’t truly fit its location, and it might have looked a bit less out of place if the high resolution parking lots placed on top of the ground scenery parking lots, wouldn’t have been used. What’s also nice about the terminal is that now a sort of “inside view” was added, as if you are looking inside the terminal.
So what about performance? For as far as I have seen, the performance here is very good, like with many LatinVFR sceneries. Flying in and out of the airport is a joy due to the good FPS I was getting. Also at night the scenery performs very well and is on par with many of the other LatinVFR sceneries I have. Here is a small table with some values:
Considering that I have a frame lock at 30 FPS, a frame hit that is so little is admirable. My CS757 usually doesn’t work very well at all, so a FPS of 23 is pretty good. I only have a modest FSX system, you see…
Summary / Closing Remarks
Finally, let’s recap what we saw. Most of the airport consists of a rather empty apron, which is just how the airport looks in real life. Many of it seems devoted to the army, cargo and maintenance, and as such much of it is empty. It could have been filled up more with some more ground equipment, but where it truly matters, the airport looks filled: the terminal area looks really nice.
The texturing of the terminal is extremely good, very detailed. The ground textures are as good as always, although I did find a minor fault here and there, but that should be easy to fix. Modeling could be a bit more detailed here and there, but all in all there’s nothing to complain.
The surrounding scenery covers a substantial area and the approach path contains some nice surprises, such as harbors, factories and higher density housing. The rest of the surrounding scenery is empty, and one bit of the photo scenery seems like a desert, which is a pity. Overall, it’s an attractive package for the price.
In my opinion, LatinVFR’s Lima might be one of the best sceneries LatinVFR has done to date and those that fancy flying in South America will find this scenery to be a must.
What I Like About Jorge Chávez International Airport
What I Don't Like About Jorge Chávez International Airport
Tell A Friend About this Review!
All Rights Reserved