One of the great things about doing this blog is running across new files that are so good they take your breath away. The types of files we find these days, both freeware and payware, are almost unimaginatively good compared to what was the norm ten…or even five years ago. Today we’re going to look over one of the best payware files we’ve ever run across, a file so good it almost makes you giddy with joy.
As in: “Finally! A file better than anything we could have hoped for!”
So, yes, it’s been a long time coming, but the good times in X-plane are here. Wipe the dust off your credit cards and get ready…because between now and December it’s going to see some serious action.
We’ve also got some interesting freeware to look at today too, so hang around, you never know what’s coming around the next bend in the road. Welcome to Chaos Manor!
LEAL + Alicante, Spain
We looked at some of VirtualDesign3D’s freeware and payware files last year and were seriously impressed with the scope of their projects…and the quality of execution we found when we poked around and looked closely at even the smallest details. You might recall their SCEL Santiago, Chile, or SCTB Tobalaba (complete with massive Santiago, Chile city file) as seriously good work, or SCSE LaFlorida, an amazing freeware file that once again includes a city file. Well, this developer has just crafted a seriously grand airport on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, so you know what that means! Wipe off the dust and get ready…!
Or, consider this: start off here, at LEAL Alicante, then follow the coast north to LEVC Valencia, then on to Barcelona, Perpignan, Marseilles, Nice, Genoa, Pisa and Rome (or drop into Florence, just for fun) – and guess what? You’ll have high quality payware files at each of these airports save for Marseilles (and that one’s coming) and Pisa. Or, you can look over the list of airlines and destinations and just sigh when you look over your options from here.
Keep in mind this isn’t a huge airport, in fact…let’s call it medium sized…yet the quality of work on display in this file is as seriously good as the best flagship developers in Xp. Let’s take a look…through the prism of a day…
So, the ortho is detailed; trees and foliage varied and with high quality; all kinds of tank farms and service buildings; great ramp and runway textures, with excellent markings and signage; adequate ground clutter and really good looking glass. Note the varieties of paved surface textures around the main passenger apron. Amazing!
What’s not here? Static aircraft are largely absent, but WT3 files are included.
Below…twilight. Note the control tower. Detailed? Yes. Now go inside the tower and look at the desks with computers aglow, and more attached to the ceiling. Bravo!
Let your eyes linger on the roadways and passenger entry areas, even the pay-stations from the parking garage are modeled. This devs SCEL Santiago is similarly modeled, and the effect at both is excellent!
Below…magic time…night at last. The main terminal building glows like something out of a Spielberg film…just gorgeous. This file maximizes use of all Xp11’s HDR bag of tricks, too…just look at the small areas of glowing light under those arches. Then the roof details, with skylights revealing the interior below. Again, incredible work, a true masterpiece.
And last up today, a few miscellaneous details, starting with the view out the front office glass (note the reflection?):
Yes, the interior is modeled…in strategic areas, anyway…but we’ll continue looking at more detail in our next post, including the excellently detailed port area and city file included with this LEAL airport file. For now, it’s at the Org Store, and the price is surprisingly affordable.
Again, look for part two of this new LEAL file review in our next post.
MROC + San José, Costa Rica
Serving San José, the capital city of Costa Rica, comes with some interesting perks, namely tons of direct flights to the US – in addition to the expected Central and South American destinations. Why so much activity to the US? Well, since the 80s Costa Rica has been viewed as a retirement haven for American citizens hoping to stretch their retirement savings farther, rather like Spain has been for people in the UK (prior to Brexit, anyway). The country is politically and economically stable and close to home – so, as a result, tons of retired “government” workers (lots of law enforcement types) now call Costa Rica home as well, which tends to further insulate the economy (a steady stream of pension dollars does that, I reckon). As a result, MROC is a smallish international airport that just happens to have really good connections via all the US legacy carriers (American, Delta, United), but also with non-stop service to the US on Alaska, JetBLUE, Southwest, and Spirit. Want Paris instead? Try Air France. Or BA. Condor and Lufthansa. Edelweiss. Iberia. KLM. You getting the picture yet?
This is, in short, an airport you want in your scenery folder. Good thing the file we’re looking at today is really quite good!
Yes, this is an FsX conversion. Yes, it’s been updated with v11 goodies. And yes, you can get the file here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46065-mroc-juan-santamar%C3%ADa-intl-v2/
GCGM La Gomera, Canary Islands
There are a bunch of files available for almost all of the commercially serviced Canary Islands, yet many are holdovers from version 9.x and, perhaps, some of those have objects made for even older versions of X-plane. Here’s the main terminal at GCGM from one such file:
While relatively simple, this file has been in my scenery folder for almost a decade, and the terminal building does indeed look like the one on the ground (though simplified a bit):
I’ve seen images of Beech 1900Ds wearing Binter colors, but can find no reference to them in Wikipedia’s entry; there is a livery for Carenado’s 1900D for Xp, however. Now, let’s look at Renair’s new version, which takes leave with any pretense of trying to make this terminal look anything at all like the one the ground, and yet ends up with something well worth keeping on hand.
Yes…this airport now looks more like a Tyrollean hunting lodge than an air terminal, but take a look at the immediate surroundings, like foliage and grasses, ground support vehicles and ramp lighting. One big flaw? The terminal isn’t lighted at night, but then again…landing here at night would probably scare the pants off most passengers, so why bother…? The control tower glass is kind of weird looking, too…
Binter uses a fleet of ATRs, with 3 wet-leased CRJ-1000s helping out recently. They have used CRJ-200s, DC-9-10s, and a 734 in the past, so have fun here with the IXEG 733. Using the FF A320 was a hoot: the automated ‘runway length remaining’ callouts were getting kind of shrill as speed built towards V1… Frankly, I’d stick with the 1900D, or perhaps the LES Saab 340…as this runway is NOT the longest…
Renair’s latest GCGM can be found here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47122-gcgm-la-gomera-airport/
***NOTE: Make sure your scenery libraries are up to date, as this file uses some very new art assets. The ‘CCVA022_Object_Library’ tripped me up…
Another look at Florence to cap off this post, with the Toliss A319 about to pass over the Duomo. Lots of good Italian airports to make short hops to from here, and, once again, direct flights to all the major Western European capitals are legitimate options, too. And, recall that Vueling uses LIRQ as a focus city, so OPS with the A319, A320 and A321 are all possible, and with an expansive schedule to suit your needs.
The Florence file is at the Org Store now, LEAL part 2 is in the next post, and that’s about all we’ve got for you today. We’ll see you around the campfire…and happy trails –