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Review: SLSU – Sucre by Latin VFR

Three things make this a stupid airport to even try and land on… and that’s why you’ll love it. First, the altitude is 9,527ft. Second, there are mountains and steep hills on the path to both runways. Third, the location looks like a place for a really challenging golf course hole not a place where you want to put a runway. Oh yeah I forgot to tell you… it’s not an ILS equipped airport. You’re visual my friend.

The installation of this scenery is via an executable file. When I started FS I did not see the scenery and then realized that I still had to add it to the scenery database, something I assumed the installer had done. Note that when you are installing the scenery the “Sucre_terrain” folder must be lower than the “Sucre_SLSU” folder in the list or it will not appear properly. That’s for FS9 only. For FSX just select the “Sucre_SLSU” folder. All of the data is in one folder in FSX. In both versions you can find it in the “Add-on Scenery\Latin VFR” folder.

So, LatinVFR developed an airport that only has two daily flights serving a population of 265,000 and wants us to spend 16 Euros (FS9 and FSX versions included). It may well be the best 16 Euros you’ve ever spent. Not because it’s an eye popping evolutionary scenery package but because, like me, you will find yourself doing circuits over and over again trying to get both the take-off and landing right. I hope you have better luck than I did. I confess the departures were unsuccessful and I ended up into the mountain at the far end of runway 5 every time. I dare say the best aircraft to use at this airport is a helicopter, but that would be cheating.

All of the following pictures in this article are from FSX. At the bottom I’ve included two FS9 pics so you can see there is very little difference between the two versions.

The Approach

Approaching from the north-east (above) it doesn’t look too difficult of an approach. Note that LatinVFR included photo scenery in both versions. It looks better in FSX as you would expect but FS9 is pretty good, too. Mesh for both versions are included. It’s a complete package and the FS9 version even has moving road traffic on a road underneath the flightpath to runway 05. Nice touch.

Now we are lined up for the final, landing gear down noting that the peaks are not far below us so we’ll have to reduce speed and make a faster decent soon, but still not too demanding. Then again, the runway is over 9,000ft high so we are approaching kind of fast. Think way ahead on this approach.

Um, ok who’s the engineering genius that blocked the runway with that hill? Be careful that you don’t nip the edge of this cliff and note where the runway skid marks are from the previous landings. The runway is further away than it looks because there is a long runway extension before you hit the numbers. The terminal comes into view and you notice the runway looks kind of uneven but you just think that it’s just a visual abnormality that MSFS displays at times.

Touchdown!

Whoa, this runway is sloped; I should’ve used maximum braking power to help slow down before I get to that downhill portion (your speed is affected by those slopes in FS by-the-way). I realize we’re at 9,000ft and those thrust reversers are not as effective at this altitude so I switch to manual brakes. I was able to stop before the end of the runway (no comments on my failure to land on the centerline please).

The Terminal Area

Yipes! This is a narrow taxiway. Follow the yellow brick road here or you’ll get a blast from the dispatch office and the airport manager.

As you can see the surrounding scenery is not too exciting. It’s nice that they planted little grass here and there though and added some foliage to the terminal to spice things up. The terminal looks good as does the building beside it. Here’s a shot from just behind the DC-3.

… and another from an outside view while taxiing to runway 05.

The terminal is well modelled as is the building beside it. The DC-3 looks like it’s been there for awhile doesn’t it?

Sloping Runways

Ok so we’ve seen a little of the sloping runway and now we’ll look at it in more detail. First, you must know that sloping runways are not modeled naturally in MSFS. Developers have a couple of tricks they can use to display them and the result is a compromise depending on the method they choose. LatinVFR’s limitations are that in FS9 AI aircraft cannot land here while in FSX you can have AI Traffic but when on the runway the aircraft will not follow the slope. In the picture below you are pointed uphill after the turnaround point for 05. When you reach the peak there is a drop as your aircraft detects it is in the air and drops to level off and this repeats for each section where the slope changes. In the Sucre scenery it is not a sudden drop but it does generate smoke from the tyres as if you had just landed. From the cockpit view it is light drop.

The next picture shoes what it looks like around the mid-point of 05. Notice that the runway centerline is not perfectly centered all the way down the runway.

Conclusion

The experience is fantastic! I tried this in three different aircraft: B737-300, Convair 540, and the B727 as shown in the promotional video. No matter what I used it proved to be the most difficult airport I’ve flown in or out of and LatinVFR has done a wonderful job capturing the experience.

To be clear, if you are looking for an airport with fantastic detail, eye-candy, and the feel of a busy airport, this package is not for you. If you want a challenge that you can try with different aircraft as you grow your hanger over time or just enjoy a good challenge, then this is definitely worth the money. Plus, for 16 Euros you get the FS9 and FSX version, charts for the airport, a short user manual, and some light, pleasant detail at the airport. You can’t go wrong.

Hoe does the FS9 version compare FSX? See the FS9 screenshots below to judge for yourself. First, the airport overview…

The terminal…

and the approach…

Did you spot the differences? It’s pretty hard. The DC-3 is missing in FS9.

Note: Latin VFR released an update just before this review was completed. If you are experiencing trees on the runway (FSX) or  terrain issues around the runway (FS9) download the updates that were released on March 2nd by LatinVFR, but only if you are having these problems.


Filesize: FS9 40mb, FSX 106mb

Compatibility: It comes with versions for FS9 and FSX.

Purchase from Simmarket

Developer: LatinVFR

Reviewers System:

Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0 ghz overclocked to 3.26 ghz, 4 gb ram (800mhz), nVidia 9800GT and 512mb running at 1280 x 1024 resolution, Windows 7 64bit.

1 comment to Review: SLSU – Sucre by Latin VFR

  • Benjamin van Soldt

    Nice review! I think I’ll buy this package, even though I hardly come up there. I might do some flights from Brazil or Surinam, however. 9000 ft, so technically, the PMDG Boeing 747 or CLS Boeing 747-300 should be capable of landing there :-P