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Review UK2000 – Newcastle Xtreme for FSX

Newcastle International Airport (ICAO: EGNT) is located in Great Britain in the City of Newcastle upon Tyne which can be found approximately half way up the east coast by the North Sea. The airport has a single passenger terminal and a single asphalt runway; 07/25 @ 7,641ft long. It was rated as the 11th busiest airport in the UK handling just slightly more than 4.3 million passengers in 2010. It is currently a hub for the following carriers; Flybe, Easyjet, Jet2 and Eastern.

Installation

After purchasing the product you are given a link to the UK2000 website where you will be able to retrieve the scenery’s executable file along with your registration keycode.

Once you have downloaded the file you simply execute it and this will start the installation. You will be asked for your registration keycode and to verify the path to your FSX directory. The installer will also add Newcastle Xtreme to the FSX scenery library.

Configuration

For the final phase of the installation process you are presented with the “Options” setup screen. The choices are explained in the manual. The nice thing about these options is that if you change your mind you can access this screen at any time and modify your choices, there is no need to reinstall the scenery.

Documentation

Included is a 10 page manual that covers the FS2004 and FSX versions of the scenery. In the manual you will find such topics as history, install and uninstall, recommended display settings, legal stuff and a couple of pages of pictures highlighting some of their visual features. There is a page devoted to the option settings that are available on the “Options” setup screen. A must read if you are looking for more insight into these.

Scenery

This is the latest from UK2000 and one more in the Xtreme airport series forGreat Britain. Each area of the airport has been reproduced to appear as realistic as possible with extremely good results. The differences between this addon and the FSX default version of Newcastle are drastic to say the least.

Buildings

The buildings atNewcastleare very detailed and provide an accurate representation of what you would see if you were actually there. The whole look is one of realism; the structures all appear to be custom built. Colours are good, there is lots of detail, the graphics are hi resolution. Put all of these together and you have a very interesting scenery addon. These characteristics were visible in all areas.

I began my first flight with this scenery parked at a gate and immediately felt as if I were atNewcastle. It was a very immersive atmosphere.

Every airport seems to have a building or two that stand out. At Newcastle it was the “Emirates Tower” which was completed in 2007. Its unique feature is the external net like structure which encapsulates the center portion of the tower.

Ground textures

All of the airport ground textures are excellent quality. The fact that they are derived from hi resolution textures shows in the overall clarity. The textures also show visible signs of wear and traffic.

The markings on the runways, taxiways and aprons are also extremely well done and are an accurate representation of the actual markings with good colouring and crisp clear lines.

Objects/vehicles

Moving around the airport I saw the full array of customary objects you’d expect to find; navaids, lighting, fencing, cargo, plus a nice variety of airport vehicles. The quality as expected was very good.

One of the most prominent features of the scenery happens to be just on the outskirts ofNewcastleand that would be the large open vehicle parking lots located west and north of the airport. Thanks to a configuration option you can choose to have these lots populated with 3d cars. I first saw this in one of their earlier scenery releases and am happy to see that they are continuing to offer this as an option. If your PC has the horsepower to have it enabled I strongly suggest doing so because having these full of vehicles makes the overall appearance of the area seem so much more realistic.

I did notice a few minor visual problems; near the maintenance area there is a small parking lot. Poking up from the ground are some large vehicle tires. I never saw these while on any of my flights and only noticed this problem as I was moving about the airport grounds. Another small problem I saw had to do with the tires on a cargo lift, as you can see in the screenshot the tires appear transparent. None of these are major problems and were only noticeable when I was close to the problem; nevertheless they are still there.

Animations

The scenery includes several animations. There is plenty of vehicular traffic; cars and trucks can be seen moving on nearby roadways as well as within the airport grounds. In addition to the usual apron traffic there is a fire truck that makes its way from the fire station along the service road to the end or runway 25 and back.

Also modelled is the aircraft docking system. Some gates atNewcastleare equipped with the APIS – Aircraft Positioning and Information System. It is a system that gives the pilot visual clues through an illuminated board to help them accurately line up in their designated parking location. I used this system at several of the gates and found it to be a great help and very accurate.

One way people use to commute to and from the airport is via theTyneand Wear light rail link. The station which goes by the same name is modelled in the scenery and also the train that runs along the rail link. It can be seen arriving and departing the station at regular intervals.

Night

The night time experience atNewcastlewas very good. Looking around all of the various visuals characteristics I wanted to see were in place. I can’t say that any one aspect stood out more than any other but rather the overall effect was realistic and very good.

I did find a slight problem with some of the ground night textures, more specifically with the painted “STOP” markings found at each parking spot. The text is clearly visible during the daytime but at night you can see larger superimposed text that distorts the original marking. I observed this in every one of the locations.

Final Thoughts

The Xtreme airports released by UK2000 are a wonderful series of highly detailed and frame rate friendly airports. I was very impressed with the Newcastle Xtreme scenery and would highly recommend it to anyone with an  interest of flying in the UK.

My Ratings

Installer: Very good. Easy to use.

Documentation: Good. Manual is informative.

Modelling: Very good. Lots of details with good performance.

Extras: Configuration utility included.

Download Size: FSX 93Mb

Price: EUR 14.71 without VAT

Developer Homepage: http://www.uk2000scenery.com/

Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/uk2000-scenery-newcastle-xtreme-egnt.phtml

Test System:

Intel i7 960 OC @ 4.2 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, ASUS 480GTX w/1.5Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX Overdrive, GEXn, UTX, AES 2.13

Richard Desjardins

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