When you think of places to fly in FS you probably think of places in Europe, Canada, or the USA. These are the areas covered by freeware and payware scenery the most. Lately we’ve seen scenery add-ons for areas that have been left out for a variety of reasons. Now MSK Productions have given us Islamabad, Pakistan, to add to our destinations.
Islamabad is the capitol of Pakistan and has a population of over 500,000. The city is located in the northern part of Pakistan with India in the east and Afghanistan in the west. Most people don’t think about this area of the world as a destination and I believe it’s more political than for any other reason.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… there’s no politics in FS and that’s why I like it. We can fly anywhere and enjoy the scenery and not worry about crime, wars, riots, drug lords, political corruption, or whatever else makes real world pilots think twice about flying certain routes.
With that said let’s check out the scenery provided to us by MSK. The Installation of the software was easy. The file comes as a 22mb .msi file which is the same as an executable file. You enter your registration code and away you go. The scenery is activated for you automatically.
The airport is located in a valley which has mountains to the north, west, and east. Fortunately, the mountains are far enough away that you can approach without the hard to find charts for this airport. Runway 12/30 is 10,785ft (3,287m) long and 150ft (46m) wide. This is long enough to handle all aircraft but you have to take into consideration the altitude which is 1,666 ft. Taxiways are scarce. When you land on runway 30 you’ll have to turn around and taxi back to taxiway B approximately half way down the runway. I will say that MSK has added all the trees and buildings in the little sections of this airport and it really makes using taxiway B scenic and even taxiway’s A and C to a lesser extent. My son, who is not into FS, was impressed when he saw me taking shots for this review.
The airport is divided into three sections: Civil, Military, and VIP. The civil area is the area you’ll be interested in most which consists of medium sized terminal and cargo buildings. They are not too impressive to look at. The parking areas for the terminal are parallel to the terminal. No gateways here just stairs to climb aboard your aircraft. The military area is complete with camouflaged buildings and a C130 parked and being loaded. The VIP area has the lounges and a pretty big aircraft parking area.
This airport is a really different one for me and probably allot of people in North America. We don’t expect to see military buildings to the extent that we see at Islamabad. I think MSK has done well in bringing us the feel of the airport. On the one hand you can see the scenic trees planted in between the taxiways and around the airport, but you also see the heavy military presence. I think you will enjoy visiting this airport just for this reason. The ground and building textures around the terminals are really appealing. Here’s some pics.
Now, the bad news. There’s something wrong with the runway textures. They look nice on approach but the taxiway lines and runway edges become more and more jagged as you get closer. I tried every trick with anti-aliasing and cfg file mods to get rid of this, but I could not. I even tried it in DX10 mode. That made things worst. Also, the clouds and distant autogen scenery bleed through the trees. I moved the scenery up and down, from top to bottom, in priority in the scenery library to no avail. When I disabled this scenery and used the default, the anti-aliasing was back to normal and there was no scenery bleeding (then again, there were no trees).
Here’s a few more pictures I took while examining this airport.
Finally, at $32 Can/USA or 22.61 Euros per version, I think this scenery is overpriced. Even if there were no issues with the runway textures or bleeding, I would still say it’s overpriced. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery is nice but for less money you can get an equal or better airport add-on for FS. There is no web site for support. You have to email the developer for help. That’s a little disappointing as you have to wait for a reply rather than look at a Forum or FAQ section of a web site which may have a solution already.
Developer: MSK (no website as of this writing)
Price: 22.61 Euros or approx $32 Can/USA for each version (FSX and FS2004)
Filesize: 22 mb