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Review: Aerosoft – Sim-Wings Mallorca X

Mallorca (Majorca) is Spain’s largest island. Together with the islands of Formentera, Ibiza and Minorca it makes up the autonomous community of the Balearic islands.  The city of Palma which is the largest city on the island is also the capitol of this community. The island has an area of 3,649 sq kms and a population nearing 900,000 making it the largest and most populous of the archipelago. The island has two airports; Palma de Mallorca, LEPA and Son Bonet, LESB.

A popular tourist destination for Europeans, the major point of entry for those flying to the island is through the airport of Palme de Mallorca which happens to be the third largest airport in Spain. Located 8 kms east of the city of Palma it saw over 21 million passengers go through it’s facilities in 2009, that number is expected to increase to 38 million by 2015. The airport when originally opened around 1920 was a military airfield and was known as Son Sant Joan.

The second airport is Son Bonet, LESB. It was the first civilian airfield established on Mallorca and was also built in the 1920’s as an alternative to Son Sant Joan (Palme de Mallorca).  Due to it’s small size it is primarily used for leisure and general aviation and handles approximately 8,000 flights per year.

Installation and Configuration

The file size for the FSX scenery is quite large at 3.8Gb so a fast internet connection is good to have.

When it comes to installers you will be hard pressed to find any that are easier to use than the familiar Aerosoft installer.  It is simple, straight forward and does it’s job well. Once completed the routine will have installed the scenery and added it to your flightsim scenery library. You will also have an Aerosoft entry in your program groups that will contain the manual, LEPA Traffic tool and a Seasons tool. One word about the traffic tool, in the program group there is a typo, it actually shows up as LFPGTraffic and not LEPATraffic, however the file it points to and the tool itself are correct and are labelled LEPA.

The traffic tool gives you the option to either enable or disable dynamic traffic in the following areas labelled: apron, surrounding and landside.

The seasons tool allows you to select the appearance of the trees based on the season.  For locations such as this one that never really see cold temperatures I tend to stick with the summer season.

As for the configuration of the scenery itself you may find that there is some room for tweaking in accordance with the manual’s recommendations but that is something you will have to determine based on your system’s specifications and scenery performance.

Documentation

The 40 page manual is a dual language, German/English, PDF document.  The manual is further split into two sections one for FSX and one for FS2004, both contain identical information.

The manual’s introduction begins by listing the minimum system requirements. Let me just say here that the airport, Palma De Mallorca is very complex and will put your system to the test.  They then continue with several brief paragraphs dealing with the installation and removal of the product and then a link to access the charts for both airports.  They are only available on line.

The second section is called “technical advise”. It is in this section they have some explanations and suggestions on how you might set some of your display related settings.  This is a good section to read and keep in mind if you find your system struggling.

The last section of the manual is entitled “Majorca”. Here they give you some background info on the island airports of Son Bonet, LESB and Palme de Mallorca, LEPA as well as some insight into the history of aviation on the island of Majorca.

The charts as I mentioned before are not included with the documentation however they provide the website link where they can be accessed. Through the site you can get approach, SID, STAR, ILS, parking and VFR charts.  You will need to register but it is free and takes a minimal amount of time.

Flying the Scenery

Island of Mallorca

As is the case with the sceneries released for the other Balearic island airports the island has been completely rendered in hi resolution photoreal ground textures with 3d autgen objects added. In this case because this island is so large they chose to add these objects only in the vicinity of the two airports.  Does this detract from the overall appeal?  Not in my opinion. The ground textures are sharp and the colours are convincing.  The other reason why I did not see it as a big problem was that except for the small pockets of populated areas the island is largely rural.  With regards to the colouring of the photo textures I noticed a few areas where the colours looked unnaturally washed out. Along the western coast of the island and on the small neighbouring island of Dragonera the ground looked grey as if they had forgotten to add the proper seasonal colouring.  Lots of this area is rocky and uninhabited but when compared to other parts of the island you can tell that there is a difference.

Getting back to the good stuff, the high resolution textures allow you to really appreciate the beautiful landscapes and geography of the island.  Flying around you will get to experience everything from rocky mountainous areas to the low flat agricultural lands.  The network of roads and the towns and villages are all clearly discernable again due to the high res ground textures.

Another region where the hi res details really shine is along the coast.  There are no default shorelines here. The look is realistic regardless of the topography and there is plenty of variety here to keep you interested and for you to explore.

Palma de Mallorca Airport, LEPA

Being the primary airport on the island as you would expect they have put alot of effort into making sure that this airport and it’s immediate surroundings are chalk full of details, everywhere you look you can’t help but be amazed at what they have done.  From the ground up it’s very impressive, in fact, one of the best I have come across.

Beginning with the ground textures, they are very detailed, crisp and clear. The aprons, runways and taxiways all look very realistic and well worn just as you would expect them to be in the real world.

As I mentioned in my opening remarks details are everywhere.  If you compare the buildings modelled with aerial photos you will be hard pressed to find any omissions.  They are faithfully reproduced and extremely well done from the ground up.  Taking a trip at ground level around the airport I quickly saw that the same care was taken in modeling all sides of the structures regardless of your point of view.

The sheer number and variety of objects is amazing. You have jetways, air-conditioning units, airport vehicles, cargo, glass walls that appear transparent, runway markers, 3d approach lights, VOR/DME, anemometers, lighting and more.  This attention to detail carries through to the area outside of the airport as well, several examples are the metal pedestrian overpass and detailed road signs along the coastal highway.

For those who like to see activity at their airports you will have lots to look at here to.  There is a variety of airport vehicles travelling about the airport complex.

When it came to night lighting they did a great job here to.  The lights are not too bright and the ground textures appear as though they were being lit up by the airport lighting.  The airport ground textures at night are slightly lighter in color than those that border it.  When you are near the airport it is noticeable but not so much that it takes away from the overall appearance.

Son Bonet, LESB

In sharp contrast to it’s much larger neighbour a few kilometres away Son Bonet is a very small airfield in comparison having a single runway and a few buildings.  That does not however mean that the developers have taken less care in reproducing it.  Again everything about this small airfield is first rate.  Runway textures, markings and airport structures all look realistic.

The airport lighting at night is also very well done and is not over stated. At night the interiors of the hangers are lit up. This is a nice little airport to use if you are going to explore the island in something small like a Cessna.  No problems here with airport congestion.

Final Thoughts

Once again this is a complete island package that gives the flight simulator pilot two top notch airports to fly in and out of and a beautiful island to explore.  No pilot should be disappointed with this scenery package.

My Ratings

  • Installer: Very good. Standard Aerosoft, simple to use.
  • Documentation: Good.  Manual included but airport charts must be accessed from online source.
  • Modelling: Very good. Hi res ground textures and lots of details at both airports
  • Extras: AES traffic tool. Lots of animations.

Download Size: 3.8Gb FSX, FS2004 260Mb

Price: EUR 21.80

Purchase Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/aerosoft-online-mallorca-x.phtml

Test System: Intel i7 920 OC @ 3.8 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, EVGA 285 GTX w/1Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX, AES 2.06

Richard Desjardins

About Miguel Blaufuks

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