x+s+r // tncm pt 3

xsr hdr tncm 2

Reading more about the after-effects of Hurricane Irma, it seems TNCM took a big hit last fall and the tourist season this year has been something of a wash, with many carriers not even bothering to make the run this winter. No hotel rooms means camping on the beach, and that defeats the purpose of going, I suppose. Here’s the scene post-Irma:

TNCM post Irma

It looks like what didn’t get blown away simply burned to the ground. Makes a good case for keeping tabs on these folks, heading down there as soon as things are operating again. Nothing worse than being in a hurricane down there, unless you’re on a sailboat down there when one comes along.

TFFG GE

TNCM GE 1

Below, the airway approaches from PR and the USVI. Flying to/from San Juan, PR, ought to be interesting – assuming you don’t want to burn your buns on a seven hour flight to Amsterdam or CDG. There are VOR/DME/NDB approaches to TNCM, however the only time these are needed is when a hurricane is approaching. Several local ordinances outlawed cloudy days years ago, to no avail. Oh well, c’est la vie.

TNCM airways.jpg

This airport is, by and large, a North American playground, and Air France, KLM, and XL Airways (Fr) are the sole European operators here. A full list of airlines and destinations can be found here. There are, of course, Air France/KLM check-in kiosks all over the terminal. (I mean, have you ever seen anything like this in Xp…? Holy Guacamole!)

TNCM int2

I opened the file with Roman & Philip’s 777-200 just to check framerates; no issues found. I do think the last hundred or so yards of taxiway are a little skimpy for this sized aircraft. The 752 is a more appropriate size for this airport, and 737s and A320 class aircraft are handling flights to the US southeast, including MIA. Framerates with the Toliss A319 were breezy, too.

tncm 777 pitvu comp

The JarDesigns GHE package, as well as the Better Pushback plug-in, were used here with no problems noted. There’s no need to use an airport taxiway mapping program here, but the AVS file works, if curious.

TNCM 777 comp

About the only missing ingredient for bikini blasting is exhaust driven sand. God only knows how you could model this, however. Still, it would be interesting to see in Xp, I suppose…muscled beach gorillas being blown into the surf…their peach daiquiris getting blown to Venezuela.

tncm cafe comp

Most folks come to St Martin to escape the worst of winter, though many come in summer for SCUBA diving. Sailing is not recommended during the summer months, of course, unless you feel like fleeing hurricanes. Lots of sailboats from the US east coast make it here in time for Christmas and then winter-over; they beat-feet for Maine come the end of April. Lots of charters available here, too.

The other pastime on the island appears to involve rum, though beer is reportedly tolerated at bars frequented by Texans. The bar scene above shows Jack Daniels on all the tables, a hideous misrepresentation of the facts. Only dark rum is allowed down here; bourbon – and all other “hard” alcoholic beverages – are only served to people named Bubba, or anyone claiming to be from Alabama.

tncm 57 comp

The pink tug seen above, the Pink Iguana, was a party boat noted for serving semi-lethal dark rum concoctions in a “party-til-you-drop” atmosphere. Hurricane Irma took care of that last autumn, however, though efforts are now underway to Raise the Iguana. The Iguana was also famous for having a condom dispenser…in the Ladies Room. Sorry, but I’m not making any judgement calls on that one, folks.

So, this wraps up our three-part series on Saint Martin and TNCM, and we’re glad you came along. With the release of Fly Tampa’s LGKR Corfu yesterday, we’ve just had two superior island airports release in as many days – and both are simply outstanding files. And both are made to take advantage of the most powerful GPUs currently available.

Looking over forum postings and comments on Facebook post-release, there are plenty of complaints about performance issues, and this can’t be unexpected, not with a file as complex and as deep as this. No amount of warning will suffice, however, and Bubba will always be on hand to press his Commodore 64 into duty one more time. Sorry…that whole paradigm is disappearing faster than a fart in a hurricane (pardon my French), and calls to rip out the terminal’s interior to boost framerates sound frantic, not practical. About the only solution is for developers to make a Fat file (fully detailed) and a Skinny file (for Bubba and his twenty year old PC jr). Probably a royal pain in the ass, but that’s going to be about the only way to truly silence the whiners. The other, less obvious solution? Developers need to make sure they explicitly state realistic hardware requirements, and make those declarations obvious for someone with the IQ of a cucumber (and seriously, no offense to any cucumbers reading tonight). When someone with a ten year old PC (and a 512Mb GPU, no doubt) opens this file – and then starts screaming “consumer fraud!” – about all anyone can say is “Shame on the developer for not making this requirement clear.” Sure, no one wants to scare off buyers, but ask yourself…what’s worse? Think long-term here, too, will you? A pissed-off buyer is NOT a repeat customer…

As for cutting-out the interior? DON’T GO THERE, OKAY? Please. Don’t. Do. It.

We’ll see you later this weekend with more freeware on-tap. Say, maybe someone ought to schedule a flight sim convention down on St Martin, ya know? Watch Austin and Ben fly into the surf, banana daiquiris in hand, blowing across the waves to a freshly revamped Pink Iguana – while wondering who forgot the quarters for the condom machine…?

Later – C

Scroll on down for our review of Fly Tampa’s Corfu file.

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