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Review of Paulo Ricardo – Santos Dumont Airport and Rio De Janeiro City Landmarks MSFS

Review by: Rick Desjardins

Introduction

This scenery contains both a recreation of Santos Dumant Airport as well as an overall improvement of the city of Rio de Janeiro and surrounding area including many prominent landmarks.

Santos Dumont Airport, ICAO: SBRJ, is the second of two major airports serving Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The airport is named for the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont. The history of the airport originally known as Calabouço Airport can be traced back to the early 1930s. Since that time it has seen numerous runway extensions along with passenger terminal renovations, expansions and enhancements. It has also seen its main focus go between being restricted to domestic only flights to the current combination of domestic and international flights however that did come with an imposed restriction capping the number of passengers to 6.5 million annually.

Another unique aspect of the airport is its lack of ILS approaches due to the runways 02L/20R direct line with Sugerloaf Mountain. Runways are equipped with PAPI lighting to assist with approaches.  The airport has two runways; 02L/20R @4134ft and 02R/20L @4341ft.

In addition to the airport this scenery addon includes many visual enhancements to the city of Rio de Janeiro and surrounding area.       

Installation and Configuration

Installation was straightforward requiring your email and registration key to complete the process. They allow you to choose your own installation directory location which is nice if you place your addons in a location outside of the MSFS default community folder.

Airport Ground Textures

Ground textures were very good on the apron and runway side of the airport. They were detailed and quite realistic looking. Hard surfaces included crisp markings and the requisite amount of dirt and weathering. Runways at SBRJ have been extended over time to accommodate larger aircraft. This land and rock fill has been convincingly modelled making it look very realistic even under close scrutiny.

Realistic hard surface areas
Runway end

Where I felt their efforts may have fallen a bit short was on the city side of the airport. The textures were less detailed and not as sharp as elsewhere at the airport. However, having said that, unless you were exploring this area at ground level you would likely would never really notice this difference. Flying overhead or on any departure or arrival pattern it was never an issue.  

Arrivals side of terminal

Airport Structures

The airport does not have many structures and as with most airports the prominent structure was the passenger terminal. What drew my eye to the terminal is the distinctive departure room. It is a long glass-enclosed cylindrical structure that spans the width of the terminal building. The developer has meticulously recreated this interesting feature both internally and externally including the transparent glass used for the walls and roof top.

Santos Dumont Airport terminal
Main terminal and apron 1A
Interior details
Departure room interior
Jet way view from departure room

The main terminal is flanked by a large hangar to one side and then a series of smaller buildings on the other side. This cluster of buildings is where you will find the control tower, fire station, several other hangars and a small military area.  For the most part they are non descript however they have all been recreated using high quality detailed textures to show off differences in building materials plus weathering as appropriate and then further augmented with the addition of 3d features giving each one a realistic look. All include detailed roof tops and several of the hangars feature open doors with detailed interiors and have also been populated with static aircraft and a variety of other objects appropriate to the functions taking place in those hangars.

Control tower
Apron 1B and misc buildings
Fuel depot
Extra details and weathering
Hangar interior

Airport Objects

Scattered about the airport were all of the requisite objects necessary for normal day to day airport operations. These were, as I expected of good quality and detailed. I could not find any areas that were lacking. In addition to the typical objects there are some additional ones that only come into view under closer scrutiny. I’m referring to such things as pole mounted refuse bins and security cameras, trivial perhaps but they add the small touches that help to set the high quality of the scenery.

Static aircraft parked near hangar
Assortment of vehicles
Apron clutter and jet way details

Rio de Janeiro City and Landmarks

A real highlight for me with this product was the numerous visual upgrades to the Rio de Janeiro city area. This is a scenic area with some interesting sites, landmarks and features and they’ve done a great job in recreating them. To be able to fly around and visually experience many of the natural and man made sites the city is famous for was a definite highlight. General improvements and corrections were made to nearby coastlines and shorelines. Also corrected were anomalies in the terrain elevation. In MSFS the downtown core appears to swallow up some of the city’s structures but has been corrected with this addon.

MSFS default Rio de Janeiro downtown
Paulo Ricardo scenery Rio de Janeiro downtown

Beyond Christ the Redeemer which could be found in the default MSFS scenery there is no comparison when it came to the number and quality of added landmarks.

To name a few of the more prominent landmarks there is Christ the Redeemer, Sugerloaf Mountain and its cable cars, the Museum of Tomorrow, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Rio Star and the President Costa e Silva Bridge and the Brazilian Naval School. This is just a partial listing of the many sites included, all for the flight simmer to explore and enjoy. The waters in the area are very busy and to portray this they’ve added various types of ships and boats both commercial and military, something sorely missing in the MSFS default version of the area.

Rio de Janeiro area
Nearing final on runway 20L
Sugarloaf Mountain
Museum of Tomorrow
Christ the Redeemer
President Costa e Silva Bridge
Naval School

Animations

Animations were quite limited. At the airport the jet ways did move and in the surrounding area the cable cars that travel to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain were also animated.

Sugarloaf Mountain cable car

Night

I was generally pleased with the night time rendition of the scenery. They checked all the boxes when it came to crisp clear ground lighting at the airport. Also overhead apron lighting was very good with realistic intensity and coverage.

Typical city lighting was good with variations to both buildings interior and street lighting. Some of the more well known landmarks were also lit up.

Airport at night
Night skyline
Rio Star at night

Final Thoughts

I was very happy with the quality and value of the scenery. You get so much more than a detailed airport you also get to enjoy the beautiful cityscape and landscape that is the Rio de Janeiro area.

Review by: Rick Desjardins

PROsCONs
➢ Very good performance
➢ Good value for the price
➢ Nicely detailed airport plus an enhanced Rio de Janeiro area with lots to see
➢ Some ground textures a bit blurry but overall a minor issue
PurchaseTest System
SIMMARKET.com
Developer: Paulo Ricardo FSX
Price: EUR 16.99 (+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.

One Response

  1. Thank you for the review and remembering this gem of a destination!
    Demanding final approaches in B737 or A320, both manually (the S-curve around the Sugarloaf Mountain or the tight left-hander “Kai-Tak-style” through the apartment blocks in front are tough!) or automatically (flight guidance at the limit), always scenic, STOL runways, tropical weather capers and the best “after-work flight length” to and from Sao Paolo, the most frequently used connection in real life!
    Clear recommendation!
    Georg

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