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Review of TAXI2GATE – E.T. JOSHUA AIRPORT SAINT VINCENT FSX

Feature image

This is the second Caribbean airport released by Taxi2Gate this year and it comes just two months after their recent release of Georges F.L. Charles airport. This time they’ve taken us to the country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the largest of its islands Saint Vincent where we find E.T. Joshua airport, ICAO: TVSV. This single runway airport is located on the island’s southern tip in the town of Arnos Vale. The airport was formerly known as Arnos Vale airport but was renamed for Ebenezer Theodore Joshua, the first chief minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The airport serves as a hub for several regional airlines; Grenadine Airways, Mustique Airways and S.V.G. Air. The runway 07/25 is 4,596ft long.

Installation and Configuration

Installation is simple but requires an active internet connection. You will need to input the registration info given at the time of purchase, this generates an authorization code which you will also need in order to complete the registration and activation process. Once the installer has finished your scenery will be installed and added to the FSX scenery library.

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

Documentation

The product manual is very limited in its content. Being only five pages doesn’t allow room for any in-depth information. What we get are brief explanations of the installation process and how to add the scenery to the FSX scenery library, general airport information and an approach chart. The manual can be found in the …\Addon Scenery\TVSV-FSX directory.

Airport Scenery

Island hopping in the Caribbean for me one is one of the parts of FSX I have come to relish. The entire region is dotted with some pretty impressive airports and Taxi2Gate is a driving force in making that so. This scenery release is a detailed recreation of the airport along with an area of enhanced scenery surrounding it. The result is a much more realistic and immersive experience when you are in the area.

To give a visual overview of just how much better the airport and surrounding area look when compared to what we see by default in FSX I’ve included some screenshots that I think speak for themselves; the modifications are immediately noticeable.

FSX TVSV Taxi2Gate TVSVGround textures

Both the hard surfaces and grassy areas were very good. From above or when viewed from ground while taxiing they were quite convincing. Hard surfaces including the painted markings looked weathered with some signs of wear and tear from traffic. Grassy areas were further enhanced with volumetric vegetation giving it a lush full look.

Ground texturesBuildings

Being a small airport it has only a few buildings and all of them I thought were rendered to look realistic; with the inclusion of some interesting details, their use of good colouring techniques and high resolution imagery. The intimacy of the airport made these characteristics even more important as you are often quite close to them while on the ground.

The buildings are loosely grouped in three clusters; near the end of runway 07, next to the main apron and then lastly near the end of runway 25.

At the end of runway 07 is a GA hangar along with several storage buildings. The storage buildings appear to be mostly sheet metal construction and their susceptibility to weathering, discolouration and rusting is quite obvious and convincingly portrayed.

GA hangar and storage buildings Weathered look of metal structures

The hangar which dominates this particular cluster is large enough to house a Twin Otter. Its most obvious feature is its openness; the detailed walls and roof are clearly visible and this is thanks to their use of high resolution imagery. At night it was equally impressive with the interior lighting showing off these same details.

Detailed GA hangar Detailed hangar interiorThe main cluster of buildings is centrally located next to the main apron. It is here that we find the main passenger terminal, the control tower, the fire station plus several other small buildings. They make use of each of the mentioned rendering techniques in this area. From a distance it is the colouring that you notice first however up close the many intricacies come to light. I liked how they include the small outcrops and ledges of the walls of the terminal and tower structure. The roof lines are also fairly complex as there are multiple levels. Greeting the passengers on both sides of the terminal are some well-manicured patches of green grass that are bordered by picket fences. This further perpetuates the small unhurried Caribbean  island feel of the airport.

Arrivals side of the terminal Welcome to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Main terminal and control tower Main apron with terminal, tower and fire stationThe fire station is small with only two bays but here again they go the additional step and have modelled the bay’s interiors including a fire truck and person who are both clearly visible.

Fire stationThe last cluster of buildings is located near the end of runway 25. This cluster consists of several single storey buildings similar to those found near the end of runway 07. They too show some signs of weathering and discolouration.

Storage buildings near end of runway 25Objects and Vehicles

Realism is a big part of any airport addon and the addition of objects/vehicles into the scenery is a major component in achieving this effect. The fact that this airport is pretty quiet when it comes to aircraft traffic gives these additional objects/vehicles even more weight when it comes to boosting the realism factor.

The central apron in front of the terminal is the area where most activities would appear to take place. Activities such as passenger, baggage and aircraft handling which are the mainstays of any airport. With what they’ve added it is very easy to envision these activities taking place. The apron is populated with baggage carts and tractors, fuel trucks, tow bars and safety pylons. It is more than just what they’ve added but also where, how many and of course quality. I think they got it right in all accounts.

Further to what I mentioned above there are many more objects and these generally pertain to infrastructure or peripherals. I am referring to objects such as the various types of lighting such as runway/taxiway lights and overhead pole lights for the apron and then perimeter fencing. So the arrivals side doesn’t look abandoned they have included parked cars in the lot in front of the terminal. I noticed that in various parts of the airport they’ve added 3D people that appear to be engaged in different activities; their quality is quite good and are definitely a welcome addition to the scenery.

Barrels and fencing near storage building Fuel trucks, mobile power source and 3d people Apron clutter Cars in the parking lot

Unfortunately something important was missing; the PAPI light fixtures. The glow of the lights was there however the fixtures were nowhere to be found. I was disappointed with this glaring omission considering PAPI lights are in their other products.

PAPI lights without any light fixtures

Animations

Animations were minimal. Most predominant was the default FSX road traffic that could be seen moving along adjacent roadways. I was puzzled by a rotating beacon near the GA hangar. This bright light certainly made it easier to find the airport in the dark of night but I wasn’t able to find the object in any aerial photographs.

Rotating beaconSurrounding Area

A nice part of these small Caribbean sceneries is the inclusion of an enhanced surrounding area. The combination of custom mesh, photo ground textures and custom/standard objects is a big part of what makes them desirable products. The detailed coastline is always a nice feature and with this scenery it includes a nearby cruise ship port and several ships.

Campden Park industrial zone Grenadines wharf Colourful buildings near airport View from the west looking towards TVSV with Taxi2Gate addon installed View from the west looking towards TVSV with FSX and no scenery addonsThe most identifiable structure is the Arnos Vale Stadium located right next to the end of runway 07.

Arnos Vale stadiumI like what they did with the surrounding area however I wish that they would have gone that extra step and included the entire island. This would have pushed the scenery up to an entire new level.

Night flying

I found that the nighttime experience with the scenery was very enjoyable and felt quite realistic; lighting levels throughout the entire coverage area were subtle and not overpowering. It was nice to see the buildings lit up as if they were inhabited rather than seeing grey ghost like boxes everywhere.

Coastal area near airport Buildings lit up at nightThe airport, the main focus of the package, was also very well done and you definitely got the feeling that there were still activities taking place even though it was night time. Buildings displayed both interior and exterior lighting and the apron wasn’t too bright; these were major contributing factors to the positive experience. Most notable however was the taxiway/runway ground lighting which was exceptionally good as the glow from the lights appeared to illuminate the ground around the base of the fixtures.

Arrivals side of terminal GA hangar lit up at night Airport apron and terminal building lit up for night time operationsApproaches

The runway is relatively short and the airport is not equipped for precision approaches so you will need to rely heavily on your own piloting skills when attempting to land at TVSV. The airport is equipped with NDB and is also thankfully located on the coast giving you plenty of time to see the runway and line yourself up. It’s not that difficult when flying a small GA aircraft such as a Cessna however it can prove to be a bit more challenging if you are flying something larger and more powerful such as the Dash 8. Either way it was always lots of fun.

PAPI lights in sight Arriving at Saint Vincent via runway 07Final Thoughts

I feel that this airport is good value for the price and brings another interesting Caribbean destination to FSX. If you like to go island hopping this is the perfect companion airport to their other recent release of Georges F.L. Charles airport.

My Ratings

Installer: Very good. Simple to use.
Documentation: Very basic. Includes an approach chart.
Modelling: Good.
Extras:  None.

Download Size: FSX 75MB
Price: EUR 14.99 without VAT
Developer Homepage: http://www.taxi2gate.com
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/taxi2gate-e.t.-joshua-airport-saint-vincent-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 2.23

Richard Desjardins

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