There was a period of time when Delta virtually owned CVG Cincinnati, and the carrier operated a huge number of international flights from this airport to serve the needs of big multi-national corporations clustered around the area – and this explosive growth caused even more massive expansion plans to take shape. Then Delta went into bankruptcy, in 2005, and suddenly the glory years at CVG were over; then the big crash hit in 2008, and flights into and out of CVG began to dry up. These were hard times…
Still, the 777s never stopped flying the Paris-CDG flight, in large part due to the huge volume of engine parts GE shipped to France on this run. Then, budget carriers like Frontier and Allegiant moved back into the vacant concourses and cargo ops by DHL and FedEx ramped up service, and so American and United jumped on the hot, new CVG bandwagon. Finally, Delta came back to the market again, and is now expanding like crazy – again. This is airport/airline capitalism circa 2018, which is, oddly enough, pretty much how things have always gone in the US. Mismanagement brings dissolution brings reinvention and reinvigoration, but the cost in human terms has been very hard to take over the years, with huge layoffs of highly skilled personnel happening with each fresh boom-to-bust cycle. But…meanwhile…back at the ranch…
Now, Skyline Simulations, the developer behind the successful KSNA John Wayne/Orange County Airport, as well as the terrible MKJS Montego Bay, Jamaica conversion, have set their sights on KCVG, and the results are more than decent. There is a glaring weak point, but overall this scenery file is well crafted and in practice quite immersive. Given its feature set, this file seems a little overpriced, yet there are a number of “extras” included, primarily different ortho sets and WT3 route files that many developers simply do not include – so…if you dig a little deeper the price is actually fairly reasonable.
Even a cursory glance around tells you this is much better than the typical freeware file, and generally speaking the better freeware developers don’t usually tackle airports this complex. The best freeware developers, such as tdg, also don’t deal in complex, custom buildings either, but that’s about all you’ll find in Skyline’s file. As a result, you end up with terminal buildings that precisely mirror the real buildings on the ground, and that is, in sum, what payware is all about. Freeware usually doesn’t even try to compete on this level, though there are exceptions.
Still, many payware files don’t even place static aircraft these days, nor do they always employ herds of animated ground vehicles to clutter up the ramps, and that level of detail seems to be where we first thin out the herd of payware developers. One look around aeroSoft’s Rome will show you all you need to know in that regard, but here at CVG, Skyline has filled out the ramps with plenty of appropriate static aircraft and ground service vehicles. Score one for Skyline!
The next dividing line concerns window textures, with better developers using photo-textures that mimic the appearance of real glass, and the results impart depth to a building (object) where none in fact exists. The other sort of developer uses dreadful, smeary blue textures to simulate glass at night, and unfortunately Skyline has once again chosen that route…and the results detract from the overall success of the file.
The terminals at CVG look, at night, passably realistic from hundreds of yards away, yet the closer you get the less realistic these buildings look. The best developers, such as Drzewiecki Designs, carefully craft the interior models of their terminals so that when you taxi up to a gate you are wrapped inside a completely immersive environment. The smeary-blue window textures you’ll find at this version of CVG remind you that you’re in a simulation, and one that has not kept up with the times.
And that’s a shame. Because, for the most part, the rest of this airport file reflects care and a commitment to high quality design and decent attention to detail. Yet…look at the image just above, at the window textures behind the baggage check-in desks. Dreadful…just dreadful splotchy black panels…and hardly payware quality.
Still, this is about the only area where the developer fell down, and as we’ve already stated, this file is otherwise, by and large, very well detailed. It works well in normal usage, with excellent paved surfaces, runway and taxiway signage, so getting to and from gates is easy – and a WT3 file is included.
There’s not overwhelming detail and clutter on the ramps (like Mr X used to do), but there’s just enough to get the job done, and, indeed, the vast, extensively detailed air cargo ramps may be better than the commercial airline areas in this regard. Still, I prefer Mr X’s intense clutter to what you’ll find here.
So, yes, this one will fit into the existing Midwest US route network already taking shape, and as such our guess is this airport will soon become a vital hub for many using X-plane to fly RJs and smaller heavy metal around the region. And…we’ll always have Paris!