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Review of AEROSOFT – AIRPORT TOULOUSE for FSX

Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, ICAO: LFBO, is located just south of the city of Blagnac and about 4 miles west of the city of Toulouse in the southwest of France in the Midi-Pyrénées region. Blagnac airport as it was first known began to see both civil and commercial air traffic in 1928. During World War II the airport suffered severe damage but by the end of the 1940’s it had been repaired, restored and the runway lengthened to 8,200ft. In 1953 the first passenger terminal was opened. During the next several decades a number of major improvements were implemented including more runway extensions and then in 1978 a second new terminal was opened. Most recently in 2009 terminal D was completed and became operational.

As the 4th busiest airport in France it saw approximately 7 million passengers use its facilities in 2011. The airport has two runways: 14L/32R @ 9,842ft and 14R/32L @ 11,482ft.

Besides being a modern and busy European airport it is also home to the headquarters for Airbus Industrie and ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de Transport Régional). Both manufacturers also assemble aircraft here and use the airport as a test facility.

Installation

Installing Aerosoft products is  a very simple process but requires an active internet connection. You will be asked to input your registration information but beyond that the process is basically automated. Although they recommend you have an active internet connection at the time of installation it is possible to activate the scenery later via the FSX Menu/Add-ons/Aerosoft/Aerosoft Add-ons or their “Launcher” program.

Configuration

This airport comes with AESLite so they include the LFBO configuration tool which allows you to enable traffic in the landside, apron and Airbus areas.

Documentation

A multi-language manual is part of the package. The layout and content is very similar to manuals included with other recently released products. What you have is an informative and well written manual that covers all areas of installation, activation and general product information.  My only comment is that manuals should either be available prior to purchase on the product page or as a separate file with the downloaded product. Some problems users might encounter during the installation may be thwarted if they had the manual at their disposal before going through the process.

The package includes a comprehensive set of charts that essentially give you everything you need for this airport. My only criticism here is that there was no aerodrome chart.

The Scenery

The airport is one of the most interesting airports I have experienced. To give you an overview of how the airport is laid out here are a couple of screenshots highlighting the major structures plus an overhead comparison between the FSX and Aerosoft versions; the differences as one would expect are obvious and quite stunning.

Ground textures

The entire scenery coverage area is rendered in excellent quality hi resolution photo textures. Even at ground level they looked great. I usually see a big difference between the quality of the hard surface textures and those used for the remainder of the ground surface but in this scenery I didn’t see that and was very impressed. What we have here are some of the best ground textures I have seen in any scenery product.

Buildings

I thought that this airport was filled with some fascinating architecture. Not many of the buildings could be described as box like in appearance. There is a mix of old and new plus different styles and they were all superbly recreated.

Breaking down the airport into areas; just east of runway 14L/32R we have all of the passenger facilities plus the freight and general aviation apron. There is the original terminal known as terminal 1 and its control tower dating back to the 1950’s right up to the most recently completed modern terminal D. Each one has been recreated to look as close to the real thing as possible.

It was interesting to see how well they were able to make the older buildings look weathered and aged in stark comparison to the newer ones. The same techniques were used on some of the older hangars found near the GA and freight apron.

The entire west side of the airport grounds plus an area north of runway 14L are all occupied by the Airbus facilities. In this entire complex I don’t think that there are two buildings that are alike. The individuality of the various structures and how they captured this in the scenery addon was definitely a highlight. Roof lines were especially interesting as many of them were either curved or had multiple peaks, something that would have been difficult to recreate. The best way to show off their work is with screenshots so I will let the pictures do the talking here to illustrate my point.

 

 

The fact that they were able to capture all of these different looks so well is amazing.

Just west of runway 32L there is a cluster of buildings that I thought deserved special mention. The A330–A340 assembly halls have exposed roof top support trusses. It must have taken many hours of hard work and diligence to get these right and it has paid off with some extraordinary visuals that are certainly worth taking the time to look at.

The common denominator with all of these buildings was the developer’s attention to detail, use of high resolution images and some very good colouring techniques.

The quality of their work extends beyond the airport’s boundaries. Several large buildings dominate the immediate area surrounding the airport. One such building is the E.Leclerc Blagnac Mall.

Airbus also has several large buildings located just off the airport grounds and these were also modelled to capture the unique look. There is the HQ building as well as another office complex. Both make extensive use of angular walls, geometric shapes and each has a pedestrian walkway that joins their buildings together.

Objects and Vehicles

This part of any scenery is very important and can often make the difference between an airport that looks alive or one that looks deserted. What they’ve done at Toulouse is very impressive.

First thing I ‘d like to say is that the quality of everything I saw was top notch, throughout the entire scenery the emphasis appears to be on creating a most realistic experience for the sim pilot and one way they did that was to populate the airport with all of the bits and pieces to make it look complete. Without getting into a long list let me say that I can’t think of anything that they may have forgotten.

I’ve taken a few of the objects that I thought were representative of the quality of their work to show why I felt it was so good. The glideslope antenna is a good example of an object that they’ve given extra attention to. From a normal viewing distance it doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary but when you take the time to look at it close up you can see what they’ve added to take it to the next level; they added the red clearance light to the top plus we see the individual support braces.

There are blast fences at Toulouse and looking at them from a distance nothing looks out of the ordinary. But take a closer look and you see the raised metal support frame and we see the individualized bolts and screw heads.

As a large busy airport there is always activity going on with planes frequently arriving and departing so the area near the terminal gates can be a very busy place. To emphasize this they’ve added what I think is a good variety of objects and vehicles that you’d expect to see in this area. The combination of these items plus the animated vehicle traffic have definitely heightened the sense we get of all the activity that is going on here.

 

 

The operations and activities in and around the Airbus and ATR facilities are also important and they have not been overlooked. The developers have used the same techniques to bring these areas to life except the focus is more on maintenance type activities. Here we see pushback tugs, maintenance stairs, service vehicles, trucks, etc.  By looking around you can clearly see that there are differences in what goes on in these parts of the airport. To make it even  more convincing they’ve added a number of static aircraft; the models were excellent and varied. Some of the aircraft they included were the A380, the oddly distinct A300-600ST Super Transporter and the Concorde.

Animations

With AESLite integrated into the scenery we have an abundance of vehicle traffic throughout the scenery. The variety of vehicle types and their quality were as expected, excellent.

Night

This airport proved to be just as interesting and as satisfying at night as it was during the day. Lighting is obviously a big part of the night time experience and what I saw, I liked. From the moment the approach lights came into view I could tell that this was going to be good. I was captivated by the different types of lighting as they came into view; all of this only got better as I made my approach. After touching down on the ground it all became so much more realistic.

Taxiing to the gate there was the ground lighting and then the apron lighting and then seeing the terminal building’s interior all lit up. I became immersed in my surroundings. Finally parked at the gate I took a few minutes to look around. It was fascinating to watch the apron traffic drive by with headlights on and signal lights flashing. I really enjoyed the experience.

Performance

The performance was very good considering the complexity of the scenery and the amount of traffic that was present. I tend to fly complex aircraft such as the PMDG737 and found that my experience remained fluid and well within acceptable limits at all times.

Final Thoughts

I absolutely loved this scenery! It has some on the best visuals of any airport I’ve seen and deserves to be recognized for that. If you are looking for a large airport that will accommodate any type of aircraft this is one you will definitely want to give some serious thought to.

My Ratings

Installer: Very Good. Simple as always.

Documentation: Very Good. Includes a manual and charts.

Modelling: Excellent.

Extras: AESLite and a configuration utility included.

Download Size: FSX 442Mb

Price: EUR 16.76 without VAT

Developer Homepage: http://www.aerosoft.de

Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/aerosoft-online-airport-toulouse.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, GSX.

Richard Desjardins

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