Review by Rick Desjardins
This latest release from FlyTampa for MSFS is of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, ICAO: EHAM. This is the main international airport of the Netherlands and is located approximately 9 km southwest of Amsterdam. In terms of its status among other world airports in 2021 it was the third busiest for international passenger traffic. In 2019 it was third busiest airport in passenger volume in Europe with almost 72 million passengers and the busiest when looking at aircraft movements.
This airport like many others can trace its origin back to starting operations as a military airbase opening in 1916. At the end of the First World War it began civilian operations eventually losing all military use by the end of 1940. It was later captured by the Germans and eventually destroyed by bombings. After the war it was rebuilt and reopened. In 1949 it was decided that this airport would be the primary airport for the Netherlands.
The airport currently has six active runways: 18R/36L@12,467ft, 18L/36R@11,155ft, 18C/36C@10,827ft, 09/27@11,329ft and 04/22@6,608ft.
Installation and Configuration
Installation of the product was straightforward with the option to choose the location for where you want the product to be installed. I was happy with that aspect of the install process however I was disappointed as there is no documentation of any kind or configuration tool that would allow you some kind of control over the graphic enhancement features should you find the scenery to be too taxing on your system.
Although not mentioned anywhere I chose to uninstall the Asobo EHAM airport that is included as part of the MSFS Deluxe and Premium Editions to remove any chance of conflicts or competing graphic components.
High quality, detailed and realistic; that about sums it up when it comes to the ground textures. No matter where I looked or how closely I looked I was thoroughly impressed with what I saw. Considering the track record of this well known developer I was expecting nothing less. As you will see in the various screenshots their work was top-notch in every way. Something that becomes noticeable as you explore the airport grounds is the abundance of narrow waterways that traverse the area. These were all depicted in 3 dimensions and not merely as colours on the ground textures. In addition to these water features this airport also has a number of sunken and raised roadways and taxiways that crisscross the airport as well and these have also been rendered in 3 dimensions and not as simple flat graphics.
Another detail that needs to be mentioned is how they modelled the adjacent multi-lane highways, A4 and A9 and the complex multi-level entrance and exit road system at the airport.
The most imposing structure here is the large single passenger terminal. Unlike many other major airports that have multiple passenger terminals there is just the one main terminal providing access for all passengers to the various piers. The building has been meticulously recreated in great detail. I was especially impressed with the way they captured the weathering and aging of various building materials just as you would expect to see if you were actually there in person. Another way they enhanced the quality of the visuals was by modelling any 3 dimensional wall features such as doorways and windows and any asymmetrical roof lines. They also included other features such as roof mounted ventilation systems, wall mounted lights, drainage piping, structural beams and signage.
The inclusion of airport terminal interiors is an aspect of airport modelling that we have come to expect with newly released airports created for MSFS. The way they handled this aspect in my opinion gives the flight simmer the best of both worlds. Sitting in the cockpit of your aircraft at a gate you get to see into the terminal so your view is much more immersive. If you slew into the terminal you will see all of the objects visible from the exterior however the windows were not transparent so you don’t get to observe the outside world from the waiting passenger’s point of view. I believe that this probably helped to cut down on the workload of the PC allowing for better overall performance. I may explore a terminal`s interior at the outset just out of curiosity however after that I must say that I never usually do it again so I am happy with the manner in which they chose to handle this facet of the scenery. I much prefer they expend their resources on making the exterior world as real as it gets because that is where I spend the bulk of my time.
In addition to the passenger terminal there are also a number of cargo and general aviation hangars, storage facilities, fuel storage tanks, control towers plus many other buildings of various sizes throughout the airport grounds. Each one stood up to close scrutiny and was recreated to a high standard using the same techniques described for the passenger terminal. Less important did not translate to less effort or care when recreating any of these other structures.
As is the case with any airport and especially with one as busy as this one there are many concurrent activities taking place throughout the entire airport area. To support all of these activities you expect to see a wide variety of objects and they have easily met that mark.
The quality, diversity, accuracy of type and the placement of these objects is a big part of making us feel as though we are indeed at this large bustling airport. It is only by exploring the entire airport can you fully appreciate just how much detail they’ve included.
Jet ways are animated along with the inclusion of visual docking aids. Airport service vehicles of various types could be seen moving around on airport roads and taxiways. Civilian vehicle traffic was also added to the adjacent highways and roads.
Lighting effects can make or break the night time experience and the quality of their work certainly makes any time spent here at night well worth it. All the different types of lighting were excellently rendered.
What I liked about the overhead apron lighting in particular was how the intensity of the illumination and the area illuminated were well matched to the particular light source.
Approach and ground lighting were also realistically rendered.
Buildings and other structures were modelled to depict interior lighting along with any company logo signage lit up as appropriate. Each of these additional inclusions further enhanced the overall night time experience.
What you cannot see but is just as important as good visuals is the inclusion of accurate navigational aids. Using the PMDG 737-600 and Asobo Cessna 172 Skyhawk G1000 I successfully flew a number of different approaches on various runways and found them to be accurate based on the available charts.
When I took on the review I was fully expecting to be blown away by the quality of the product based on this developer’s track record and they did not disappoint. I feel that they spent the time and effort to focus on what is necessary to give the flight sim pilot a realistic experience without sacrificing performance. I would wholeheartedly recommend this product to anyone with an interest in flying this part of Europe.
Review by Rick Desjardins
|➢ Very good performance|
➢ Detailed scenery
➢ Worth every penny
|➢ Lack of any configuration options|
Price: EUR 21.99 (+tax EU customers)
|Ryzen 5 5600X,|
ASUS TUF X570-Plus MB,
1 TB NVMe SSD,
32Gb DDR4 RAM,
ASUS RTX 3060 OC w/12Gb VRAM,
Win 11, Track IR,
FSLTL AI traffic, MSFS graphics settings to Ultra.