Good to see this…another FsX developer releasing a great new file for X-plane…and the first thing many heard about this group was their new release announcement! Well, c’est la vie and welcome to the party. I hope we’ll be hearing more from this team, and soon, too. You’ll understand after you look this file over.
So, where is this airport located? Well, western France, quite near the Atlantic Ocean, which, perhaps, has something to do with this airport’s name…
An aside here, but, if you’ll recall xpfr’s recently released LFOT Tours (which we reviewed here a few weeks back), just imagine running from here to Tours, then on to LFPO Paris, in the Leading Edge Saab 340. Even though the A319 would do the job, and an E-Jet would as well, the little Saab seems perfect for an afternoon like this in X-plane. If a little longer trip is desired, try starting off at xpfr’s LFRB Brest-Guipavas, direct to LFRS and LFOT, then on to Paris – or even to Lyon and Marseilles.
Another footnote: xpfr released a file for this airport back in Xp 8.6; the file was last revised in 2011 and looks nothing at all like this new release. Below, the FranceVFR layout:
Here’s an image of the cargo ramps (above), with the passenger terminal beyond; and below, satellite imagery of the same general area:
And below, the airport file sitting on its ortho. Note the quarry on the left side of the image.
This ortho is detailed enough to see where tractors have been working the fields. Closer to ground level, the developers have created a wonderful network of taxiways that blend into the mesh, with great signage and lighting a standout feature.
Passengers approaching the terminal from the ground will find great parking areas…
…or perhaps they’ll arrive on the local train (you can just make out the red lights of a passing train, above, right). I was amazed to find (below) the tracks are reflective, with the locomotive’s lights reflecting off the rails…
The main terminal is a broad “L-shaped” affair, with parking to the right in the image below.
Use the lighted blue sign as a reference point to see the terminal’s structure.
And…the scene in daylight:
With, again, excellent ramp and taxiway markings…among the best I’ve seen and very faithful to the original on the ground.
Is there room for improvement? That’s a matter of opinion, but I’d say yes. Night textures are subtle, maybe too subtle, but the ramps are brightly lighted and extremely well marked. Lighting is Xp11 HDR compliant, but I could not see if PBR materials were used on ramps and taxiways. Generally speaking, textures on windows could be sharper – yet – I see no reason to set textures at more than moderately high, and not at MAX because there’s little to gain and performance falls off steeply at MAX settings.
These two images, at night, were made at moderate settings and look just fine. Upping the texture-res really cost a lot in terms of performance – yet, again – there is little to show for it.
Charts are available from all the usual sources, including Navigraph. There are no WT3 or X-life files included. Static aircraft are randomly selected and all kinds of weird stuff pops-up at nearby gates, like a Delta CRj or an Alaskan 738.
The file currently is available only from the developer, but purchasing was painless. Enter the appropriate information and your download is on the way in just a few minutes. Installation was painlessly simple, too: unzip the archive and drop the single file into your CS folder. The file costs 19euros, or around 24 dollars and, as mentioned, is available from the developer, here. Oh, you do speak French, don’t you? If not, make sure your browser can do the translating for you.
Highlights? The main terminal building is a large, imposing affair and it’s nicely modeled. All pavement markings are excellent, so from a pilot’s point of view, this file is faultless. Framerates could be better, but with moderate rendering settings you’ll have a good looking airport. Keep objects at MAX to increase how many static aircraft will appear, and how densely ground clutter will fill out empty spaces.
Negatives? Not many, but sharper window textures might be interesting for those with really powerful systems.
There’s tons of detail included, which is why performance is a little sluggish at higher settings. Still, it’s quite nice to look at on a high-performance machine.
Oh, you Airbus fans will already know this, but Airbus builds wing boxes here. So, all the big looking manufacturing buildings around the airport are, well, busily making new Airbuses!
Look over the list of airlines and destinations (here) to get an idea of how useful this airport will be; odds are you’ll get a ton of use from this file if you enjoy this part of France, but also consider routes from Spain to Ireland, with a stop here, or from the Canary Islands to Scandinavia with a little layover for fuel.
That said, this is a solid first effort. Getting a file into Xp often isn’t the easiest thing to do, but we’d say FranceVFR deserves a solid “Must Have” here – a 9 out of 10 for this one.