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Review of AEROSOFT – BARI X for FSX

Bari Airport, ICAO: LIBD, also known as Palese Airport, is located near the heel of Italy on the picturesque southeast Adriatic coast about 8 kms from the city of Bari. Originally a military airfield built in the 1930’s by the Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) it was seized by the British Eighth Army in 1948 and turned into an Allied military airfield. After the war it was returned to Italian control and was used by the Air Force of the Italian Republic (Aeronautica Militare Italiana). In the 1960’s it was opened up to civilian flights. Since then the airport has seen many changes like a new runway and infrastructure upgrades including a new terminal building and control tower. In 2011 3.7 million passengers passed through the airport’s facilities.

Installation

Aerosoft products are very simple to install and activate. To install you simply add your registration info and confirm the path to FSX and let the process continue. As soon as the installer has done its thing it will attempt to connect to the Aerosoft servers to complete the final step of this two-step process by activating the addon. If it is successful you will be set to use the new addon, if not you will then have the choice of activating it via the Aerosoft Launcher program or by going to the FSX Menu/Add-ons/Aerosoft/Aerosoft Add-ons menu item. Regardless of the method they are all straightforward.

After you install the scenery you will want to make sure that you set your mesh resolution to 5m as specified in the manual. If you don’t you will encounter some strange visuals around the end of runway 25.

Configuration

The scenery comes with the AESLite configuration utility so you have the option of enabling or disabling animated road traffic. In this scenery the options are for the apron or land side.

Documentation

Aerosoft are consistent in the content and quality of their manuals. They follow the same basic structure with information pertaining to; system requirement, installation, activation, settings and airport information. It is a logical flow, well laid out and informative.

The product also includes a full set of charts.

The Scenery

This is an airport that has a very simple layout; you have a single runway 07/25 which is 8,005ft long and to the south are the aprons and then the airport’s buildings. They’ve taken that simplicity and turned it around by adding an impressive amount of detailing to the airport’s buildings and objects. You’ll see in my descriptions and screenshots that the amount and type of detailing they’ve included, in many areas, goes way beyond what you might have been accustomed to seeing in other airport addons.

From overhead the scenery coverage area is clearly discernible. You can easily make out the old runway, the nearby railway yard, the small towns that border the airport and the accurate coastline.

Ground textures

Ground textures get a mixed review. They use photo textures for their base so they look very realistic when observed from above at an altitude of several thousand feet. The problems arise when you are at ground level or at very low altitudes, those areas depicting parking lots and roadways looked blurry. This is a problem that I’ve seen in many scenery addons not just this one and it’s unfortunate because it does take something away from the overall appeal of the product.

The hard surface textures don’t seem to suffer from this problem and looked quite good even from a pilot’s perspective in the cockpit on the tarmac. I also thought that the painted markings along with the weathering and dirt and fuel stains in the gate areas looked very realistic.

Buildings

This was one of the best parts of the entire scenery. I’d like to start with the main passenger terminal building, what they’ve done with this building is quite impressive. Overall the quality is outstanding, from every angle it is interesting and catches the eye. They’ve included many intricate details such as balcony railings and wall mounted light fixtures plus on the underside of the elevated roadway that goes to the building’s entrance there are light fixtures suspended from the ceiling. It is in a case like this that I’d recommend getting a first person “aircraft” such as BOB, which is free to download from Orbx, to better explore the airport. This is the only way you can really get to see all of the fine work that the developer put into this project.

The same attention to detail could be seen in most of the other buildings at the airfield. The fire station has separate vehicle bays with individualized fire trucks where many other scenery developers tend to use a flat graphic image instead.

Some of the  hangars have open doors and for these they’ve added what looks like freight and other miscellaneous objects.

There was a small building which I am not quite sure of its purpose; it had downspouts.

The control tower also shows off some of their excellent work as you can see the metal railings along the balconies and rooftop, some air conditioning units and an open access door.

The fuel stock area has an amazing looking platform with crossed support beams, individual metal stair treads and rust stains. For such a simple structure it stands out.

Here are several more screenshots of some of the other buildings found at the airport.

Although the added details were interesting and enhanced the realism of the structures it was what they did with the terminal’s rooftop that really got my attention. Rooftops are often taken for granted by scenery developers but with this scenery addon it is one of the highlights and the quality of their work in this regard far surpasses what I have seen in so many other airports. So why am I singling out this rooftop? There are several things that catch your eye; there is an extensive and complex network of ducting that interconnects the roof mounted HVAC units, next along the south edge is a row of solar panels and finally covering a large portion of the middle area are eight skylights. I have seen rooftops that include some level of detailing but not to this degree. This will definitely get your attention as you fly overhead.

Let me point out that the rooftops of several other buildings also had some interesting features that are worth checking out.

Objects and Vehicles

The same care and diligence that went into creating the buildings was obviously carried over to many of the objects and vehicles found throughout the airport grounds. These objects were placed in such a manner as to help bring the airport to life and compliment the animated traffic that is also included.

This airfield like most others has a variety of equipment such as wind direction indicators, RVR, VOR/DME, GP, MET, PAPI, etc that are located in close proximity to the runways and taxiways. The quality of what I saw here blew away anything I had previously seen in most other addons. The real shame here is that the quality of their work is only really evident when you look at the items up close. In the screenshots you can see what I mean; they include details such as individual wires, control panels, push buttons and warning decals to name just a few.

There was one problem that I noticed; there was no localizer at the end of runway 25 even though its foot print appears in the ground photo texture. In my opinion this is a significant omission. Emailing Aerosoft support I asked why it wasn’t there. The response was that they had made a deliberate decision to omit it so that they could keep frame rates as high as possible while touching down on the runway.

Animations

AESLite is an integral part of this scenery addon so we see animated vehicular traffic at the airport and on adjacent roadways.

Night

Lighting which is the big visual factor at night was very well done giving the airport a realistic look. Lighting levels were good with building interiors lit up as if there might be activities going on inside. For areas with large windowed walls such as the passenger terminal they used high resolution images so up close it was like you were seeing inside. At the airport there are several hangars with their doors open, what they’ve done here is to have the interiors lit up so you can use them at night should you choose to. Ground lighting was also good being nice and bright. Having AESLite we see the road traffic moving around at night with headlights on and signals flashing. Overall, night flying at Bari was fun and immersive.

Performance

Performance was never a problem.

Final Thoughts

Simply put I really thought they did a great job with this airport. What they’ve done with the terminal’s rooftop is outstanding, it showcases the quality of their work and raises the bar for others to follow. I am disappointed they chose to remove the localizer as it is an important piece of the airfield. Regardless, I am sure if you decide to give Bari X a try you will thoroughly enjoy the experience.

My Ratings

Installer: Very Good. Simple as always.

Documentation: Very Good. Includes a manual and full set of charts.

Modelling: Excellent. Great graphics.

Extras: AESLite and a configuration utility included.

Download Size: FSX 438Mb

Price: EUR 12.56 without VAT

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

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

Test System:

Intel i7 960 OC @ 4.2 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, EVGA GTX560 Ti w/1.2 Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX Overdrive, GEXn, UTX, AES, GSX.

Richard Desjardins

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