Recall if you will a lengthy review of airports in Chile we posted on 31 December of last year, covering two major payware files in and around Santiago, as well as several freeware files in the region? Well, here we go again, although with a shorter excursion this time out. We’re going to look at three airports in Peru: one payware file and two freeware files – and all three have a little symbiotic relationship going on.
And, oddly enough, the payware file – for SPSO Pisco International – was made by the same team to just released TNCM Princess Julianna. So, right away you know the pedigree is right up there – and this file doesn’t disappoint in most regards, either. We’ll also look at SPJC Lima and SPZA Nazca and, as mentioned, these three files are almost like cousins. Let’s break it down and see if we can’t clear this up.
Lima and Pisco are coastal cities and not at all far apart; in fact, SPSO typically serves as Lima’s IFR alternate. SPZA Nazca is, however, quite different, but let’s not jump too far ahead. When I went digging around for these files it didn’t take long to figure out that there are, literally, dozens of airport files all over Peru, and yes, we’re working our way through them, one by one. Of course we’ll present our findings, and soon, too. In the meantime, let’s head down to Pisco and see what’s what.
When you first open this Airworthy Designs payware file you can feel the similarity to TNCM, like the teams “artistic DNA” developed here and the experience is now a part of all the work to come. I would encourage you to get in a flutterbug and take a close look around the surrounding city-scape too, as it’s just an amazing piece of work…right down to the wash hanging in the sun to dry behind more than one casita. Frankly, I love this level of detail – even though you can argue such things are superfluous to a flight simulator. These details make a place like this feel more “human” – and that’s not really such a bad thing, is it? The experience of sitting alone at your desk and “flying” tends to be a little dehumanizing, so being reminded of the humanity behind the experience of flight isn’t something to be shunned. Anyway, we applaud Airworthy Designs’ commitment to bring this level of detail to the X-plane universe. Their work is like the next best thing to being there.
While not a particularly big airport, SPSO packs a lot of activity into a small space. Alongside the main passenger terminal you’ll find a small air force base, facilities for GA aircraft as well as flutterbugs, office and light commercial developments, as well as two tank farms. All of this “stuff” is sitting on a nicely detailed ortho, and as this is a waterfront facility the surf-line looks particularly interesting from approach altitudes. The surrounding desert landscape is almost bleak looking – then you notice all the small cone volcanoes in the distance and the place begins to feel more than a little exotic.
The main passenger terminal is nicely modeled inside and out, and with place-names like Burger-King and Subway prominently on display (and Coke machines, too!) the interior almost begins to come alive. I say “almost begins to” advisedly, as there just isn’t enough of a human presence to make it all come together. Understandable, too, as these 3D human figure objects can be very resource intensive. That said, there was no falloff in FPS when pointed at the terminal so I think all the fat has been cut away. The lighting, both interior and exterior, is okay, there are a few Cessna Caravans on the ramps for the Nazca run, but I was left wondering why the real airport has been so well developed for such a thin market. I guess there’s a heavy tourist presence here, and that was the justification?
In the approach image above the city is dazzling. Just consider this: it’s all custom. No Rancho Cucamonga Estates tract housing…just an authentic looking Peruvian town. And most of these objects are optimized and used repetitively through an internal library, so the FPS fallout is minimal.
Taken as a single airport SPSO is nice enough, but I doubt most users in X-plane will have little interest in a file like this – UNLESS they take a look at this airport in a larger context. Peru has experienced a kind of tourist renaissance over the past twenty-plus years, and political stability brought real economic gains to a much larger share of the populace. This stability has fostered the development of a robust infrastructure network to move visitors to such varied national treasures as Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines, as well as the almost magical city of Cuzco. Literally millions of people a year come to see these special places, and Peruvian government officials had the foresight to get ready for the rising tide.
Once you consider this greater context SPSO Pisco begins to make a whole lot of sense, and it’s just about then you realize that Chile is just to the south, and that there are literally dozens of great freeware airports available in both these countries. With just a little effort you can build a vast airport network that links several major South American cities and that spans coastal plains, high deserts, and the magnificent Andes. Looked at from this perspective, SPSO begins to look really quite attractive.
Lima, Peru’s principle city, lies just to the north on the Pacific coast, and if you don’t know much about this city that’s something you should consider changing. Lima is just about the oldest European settlement in the New World and has a cosmopolitan vibe that puts it on par with many European cities – and there’s a great freeware file for the main airport. Let’s take a quick look…at SPJC Jorge Chávez International.
This file is near-v10-payware quality, though some of the night textures are a little fanciful, and it appears the developer has added a few touches around the city, too. The scene at this airport is International, with all the big North American and European carriers getting in on the act (list here), and while real big heavies are the name of the game, there’s some regional action here as well. Why? Well, all those tourists enter the country here, then fan out to a number of smaller airports nearer the tourist hot-spots.
And we’re going to look at just one of those smaller airports next.
So, are you familiar with the Nazca Lines?
There’s a file that covers the highlights out in the desert near this airport, and the developer of the file made a video of his efforts; you might watch this if even remotely interested, and you can read more about the Nazca Lines at the link above.
This file features a HUGE ortho, and the results are impressive. Try this “Experience” is a GA single, or a flutterbug, first; then look at the scene from higher altitudes. This is one of those files your kids could use for a social studies projects at school!
Again, the point is NOT to look at these airports individually, but rather as part of a greater system linking Lima to a far-flung empire of tourist meccas. As such, the three airports we’re looking at this time out present a wide assortment of opportunities, yet the Nazca Lines represent just one such opportunity. Peru is a multi-faceted jewel, however, and there’s a lot more to see in X-plane. Later this week we’ll look at some of the other more important airports in the region, then wrap up this mini-series with more ideas on how to best utilize these assets in X-plane. We’ll post links to all the files in the final entry.
As always, thanks for coming along. We’ll see you again soon – A