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Review of TAXI2GATE – GEORGE F. L. CHARLES AIRPORT SAINT LUCIA FSX

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George F. L. Charles Airport, ICAO: TLPC is the smaller of the two airports on the island of Saint Lucia which is a sovereign country in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The island was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse by the French, the island’s first European colonizers. Up until 1997 the airport was known as Vigie airport, at that time it was renamed in honour of Saint Lucia politician Sir George Frederick Lawrence Charles who died in 2007. TLPC is located near the northern tip of the island 2 kms north of the capital city of Castries. The airport has a single runway 09/27 @ 5,735ft. Most airline traffic is inter island and consist mainly of turboprop aircraft with no scheduled jet service.

The scenery created by Taxi2Gate includes a detailed recreation of the airport plus a large area of the adjacent coastal region.

Installation and Configuration

Installation is straightforward but the process requires you to type in some registration info given at the time of purchase. This in turn generates an authorization code which you must also type in. To do all of this and complete the installation you need an active internet connection.

If for some reason you need help, the process is fully explained via a link on the product’s SimMarket webpage.

Documentation

There was no documentation with this product, no manual and no charts. If you do a search on the internet charts are readily available.

Airport Scenery

Making my inaugural approach to George F. L. Charles Airport I was immediately struck by the lush beauty of the area and the quaint look of the airport.

George F. L. Charles airport below

Ground textures

Ground textures used for the hard surfaces were very good and looked quite realistic. The surrounding ground textures were also good however like most other sceneries roadways and parking areas showed some blurriness when viewed close up.

Parking apron

To enhance the ground level experience they’ve included volumetric grasses within the boundaries of the airport. A nice feature considering you will likely do most of your flying in a small aircraft allowing you to better experience the effect it creates.

Volumetric grass

Buildings

Airport structures are concentrated in two areas; the main cluster consisting of the terminal building/tower, concourse, service garage, fuel depot and several other misc buildings are located centrally. The other smaller group actually consists of two aprons located at the end of runway 09 and these are mostly GA hangars.

Main apron cluster Runway 09 aprons

Overall, I felt that for this aspect of the scenery they did a great job. They appear to make good use of high quality textures that show details in the images, shading/colouring techniques to highlight weathering and aging plus some extra detailing to complete the process. Put these elements together and the results are impressive. All the airfield buildings appear to be custom built.

Beginning with the main apron area the terminal and concourse structures were, I thought, the best examples of how they made use of the different creation elements. Each has plenty to admire; the concourse is an open structure with fencing and lattice work clearly visible along its entire length and the metal roof has slight discolouration.

Concourse Passenger's view of the apron

The terminal has lots of added detailing as well; exposed stairways, antenna and clearance lights on the tower rooftop, the entrance areas on both sides of the terminal were also prime examples of their inclusion of extra detailing. The screenshots clearly show what I mean.

Detailed terminal entrance area arrivals side Terminal building and control tower Very nicely detailed terminal area apron side

One more example that I’d like to point out is the service garage, they chose to model the individual bays rather than simply use a flat image; this looks so much better.

Emergency services garage

It is possible to find examples in pretty well any structure you look at.

Another garage Trailers

Fuel farm structures

The other cluster of buildings as I mentioned earlier is divided between two aprons on either side of runway 09. Just like the main apron buildings these are also custom creations that contain visual elements that help raise the quality of the overall scenery. Colouring and detailing are the two most prominent features. The hangar rooftops appear to be metal and they show some signs of rusting and tarnishing from the elements. Also with these hangars several of them are open and in these they have modelled their interiors including support beams and wall details.

Buildings north of runway 09 Buildings south of runway 09 Hangar interior detailing

Objects and Vehicles

This airport has been filled with a nice variety of objects and vehicles that are of a high quality. You can see that they’ve put a good deal of effort into making this airport look busy without overdoing it.
As you can see in the screenshots they’ve covered all the bases with regards to objects you expect to find such as ground lighting, taxiway/runway markers, fencing, PAPI lights and various types of service vehicles. Plus they’ve also included quite a few other different object types that give the airport its busy look. These include cargo, luggage and some static aircraft located at the aprons near the end of runway 09. They also make great use of 3d people strategically placed throughout the entire airport and in a variety of roles ranging from passengers appearing to be waiting for their flights to ground crew and aircraft marshallers.

Baggage tub and carts Fuel tanks and trucks People, freight and safety pylons Road signs and street lights taxiway runway sign Tree stands, pylons and vehicles

Animations

Animated apron traffic is normally a nice added feature however there was none at this airport. I didn’t see that as a negative in this situation because of the airport’s small size and the inclusion of the many static objects throughout.

The adjacent roadways do include FSX road traffic so there is some vehicle movement in the area.

Surrounding Area

The surrounding area has been recreated to a point where it does a great job of complimenting the airport. The coastlines are much more accurate and that in itself goes a long way to sprucing up the area. The hilly terrain is a lush green filled with trees and buildings of which there is a variety of both small houses and larger buildings that look like hotels and resorts.  Some of these appear to be custom, especially those in the vicinity of the airport, however the majority look to be more generic in design. They do work and the overall effect is good.

Coastline north east of airport Looking down at Choc beach Point Seraphine, Sansouci and Castries city

Several visual features stand out; right next to the airport is Point Seraphine with several large cruise ships and freighters docked. A rather unusual sight is the Choc cemetery which is located right at the water’s edge and separated from the end of runway 27 by Peninsular Road and a fence.

Choc cemetery Cruise ships docked at Port Seraphine

Night

Night flights in and out of TLPC were enjoyable. How well they implemented the various types of lighting was the test. In this case I feel that they pulled it off and have given us an airport which at night looks realistic. Some of the highlights were the taxiway lights and how the ground directly around each fixture appeared to be illuminated. Also the lighting of the buildings, both the interior and exterior were well done and convincing.

Airport buildings all lit up Fuel farm at night Runway lights visible Taxiway lights appear to illuminate the ground

When it came to the rest of the scenery coverage area I felt that it was ok but not as good as the airport. The ground textures showed lots of red and yellow colouring which made the ground look like it was on fire when viewed up close. The buildings had a ghostly grey colour which was also a bit of a negative distraction.

A different part of the scenery at night Night time view of houses

Approaches

This is another small airport that requires the pilot to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention, it is not equipped for ILS approaches but has NDB and PAPI to assist you with your approach, descent and landing.

Coming in a bit too low to runway 09

Final Thoughts

Island hopping in the Caribbean got that much better with the release of this airport. I occasionally like to get back to the basics of flying and forget the autopilot and this airport is a good place to practice those skills plus you can enjoy the beauty of the region all at the same time. Their work keeps gets better with each release and so with that in mind I look forward to their next project.

My Ratings

Installer: Very good. Simple to use.
Documentation: There was no documentation.
Modelling: Good.
Extras:  None.

Download Size: FSX 68MB
Price: EUR 13.00 without VAT
Developer Homepage: http://www.taxi2gate.com
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/taxi2gate-george-f.-l.-charles-airport-saint-lucia-fsx.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 2.20d

Richard Desjardins

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