We want more , we want more….
Truth be told, when it comes to add on airports X-Plane is still years behind compared to FSX. But there is change in winds slow but steady developers are starting projects for X-plane , like PMDG that will release their first X-Plane add on with the DC-6.
I.D.T ( Icarus Development Team) which we already know from their excellent Dublin scenery , recently developed Manchester X for X-plane 10 and I have closer look at it with you guys, so read on.
Manchester Airport has the ICAO: EGCC and IATA: MAN and is a category 10 airport. The airport opened at June 25 1938 after 3 years of construction. That very same day it received it’s first commercial flight from Amsterdam operated by KLM with a Douglas DC-2. The airport was also used by Fairey Aviation and Avro used this airport to test their aircraft.
By now Manchester airport is the 3rd busiest airport in the UK , right after London Heathrow & London Gatwick. Manchester airport handled more than 23 million passengers in 2014.
The airport has 3 terminals and 1 Fright terminal , terminal 1 and 2 are linked by the stkylink and terminal 3 is linked to terminal 1. The skylink also connects the terminals to the airport railway station and the Radisson BLU Hotel. The airport (Station Manchester Airport) is connect by railway to Manchester center ( Manchester Piccadilly station).The airport regularly handled the supersonic transport Concorde and houses the British Airways G-BOAC flagship Concorde at the Manchester Runway Visitor Park.
The airport has 2 asphalt runways running parallel to each other, RW 05/23R 3,048m or 10,000 ft and RW 05R/23L 3,050 m or 10,007 ft and has an elevation of 78 m or 257 ft. The parallel runways lie 390 m (1,280 ft) apart and staggered by 1,850 m (6,070 ft) so that landings can be conducted independently on one runway whilst takeoffs are conducted on the other.
List of features
- Highly detailed rendition of Manchester Airport (EGCC)
- High resolution day and night scenery
- Animated car traffic around the airport
- Complete reconstruction of airport’s lighting equipment
- Animated airplane towing
- Animated radar
- Highly detailed manual (PDF)
- Compatible with X-Plane 10 HD Mesh Scenery V3
- HD and Ultra HD textures
- X-Plane 10 HDR lightning
- Custom ground textures with about 5cm/px (only airport area)
The airport can be bought from several aviation stores for 22 US dollars or 20 Euro. The download comes zipped and is about 750 MB in sizes, which contains the installer . After installation the airport takes an amazing 1,87 GB of your X-Plane installation. Installation is very simple and requires a serial key to be entered which was received after purchase. Make sure to point the installer to the correct location of your X-Plane 10 installation , as it doesn’t seem to auto detect it.
A little different then what I’m used to with FSX/P3D is where the scenery integrates it files. The scenery files are located at your custom scenery folder of you X-Plane 10 installation. There should be 2 folders , EGCC Manchester Airport & EGCC Manchester Mesh.
You can check to make sure the airport is successful installed by opening the scenery_pack.ini file with a text editor in the custom scenery folder. At the top of the file the Manchester airport should be mentioned. Taking a look at the screenshots would make things more clearly.
The airport comes with 2 PDF’s which can be found in \X-Plane 10\Custom Scenery\EGCC Manchester Airport. You have manual and a chart PDF. The manual comes in German & English and is very complete and covers all important topics. The Chart PDF is very extensive as well and contains all possible charts, and airport diagrams and everything you wish for.
What can you fly ?
Manchester airport is a large airport that serves as base for many charter flights as domestic and international flights. Emirates uses the mighty Airbus A380 on daily base. So you can pick any aircraft from the small Majestic Dash 8Q400 (in Flybe livery perhaps) to the big PMDG 777 or Ifly 747v2 it’s all possible. Destinations enough for the short haul flyer to the die hard longhauler , like me 🙂
In the sim, first impressions
When first starting at the airport I was pretty impressed by the quality but also how alive the airport feels. The airport features lots of AI aircraft , not only at the gates but also on the taxiways being towed to their parking spots.
Terminals, concourses and gates
Overall the buildings are excellent remodeled. The gates are populated with ground equipment and static groundcrew can be seen at some gates as well. A big plus is are static aircraft, so you certainly wont feel lonely at this airport if you don’t have World Traffic installed even GA aircraft are included!
Terminal 1 is the biggest terminal opened in 1962, by Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, serves as base for EasyJet, Jet2 and Thomas Cook.
Terminal 2 opened in 1993 and it is a base for Monarch, Thomson Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
terminal 2 was opened in 1989 by Princess Diana, Princess of Wales. It is now primarily a base for low-cost carriers Flybe and Ryanair. Some other airlines that fly out of Terminal 3 include Air France, British Airways, Iberia Express and KLM. Terminal 3 is to get a major expansion during the airport’s 10 year expansion project. as also getting a connecting hallway to Terminal 2 so passengers won’t have to change Terminals between flights.
Runway & taxiways
No complaints here, everything is nicely textured and have the additional dirt effects, althought only the runways seem to have small cracks on it , something I would have liked to see at the taxi & aprons as well. The taxiways signs are all correctly placed, you can easily navigate around the airport based on the chart & taxisigns.
As many major airport so as Manchester has a Cargo area, which serves a base for BinAir, DHL, FedEx, Lufthansa Cargo & Saudia Cargo. The cargo area is populated with cargo containers and cargoloaders.
Other interesting facilities
Some eyecatchers are the B.E.A. HS 121 Trident, the front section of a Monarch DC10, and R.A.F Nimrod XV231 aircraft. These aircraft are all outside the Aviation Viewing Park. You can also find the fire departement and the oversize hangar for maintenance.
Manchester Airport is the home to the engineering bases of Thomas Cook Airlines and Monarch Airlines. Etihad also has one maintance base located at Manchester airport.
The Radisson Blu Hotel is connected to the terminal by skylink which also gives direct access to the airport railway station. The Skylink was constructed in 1996 and opened in 1997.
Interesting to know when increasing the slider of the number of objects to draw, the 2D cars change to 3D cars which is a clever way to save performance.
As you can see there’s plenty of parking lots at Manchester airport. The airport’s official short-stay car parking can be found in the multi-storey car parks adjacent to Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
In 2009 Terminal 1’s multi-storey car park was redesigned . Each level of the car park is colour-coded. The floor, walls, ceiling and supports have all received a repaint with every parking space having a sensor and green light above it, with empty parking bays indicated by the green light. To bad you cant really see all this in the sim , but that would take his toll on the performance too ofcourse.
Official long-stay on-airport parking from Manchester Airport is located near the terminals and served by a regular courtesy bus. There is one long-stay car park serving Terminals 1 and 3, and a separate dedicated long-stay car park for Terminal 2.
In 2009 the airport opened JetParks, these are 2 new parking lots less then a mile from the airport . This is a cheaper alternative to the on-site car parks and is served by a 24-hour shuttle bus every 15 minute.
The nightlighting looks quite impressive although the glare is maybe a bit much and reminds me alot of the latest Star Trek movies. The nightlighting had an impact on fps on my system so beware of that, so you should lower your sliders abit before flying in or out at night.
No issues were found, works fine with the freeware plugin, autogate and is fully compatible with the HD Mesh Scenery V3.
I noticed a considerable impact on my FPS especially at night, at my first bootup I used the Jardesign A330 and my fps were between 20-25 fps, which is certainly not much and neither was it smooth quite stuttery. When using the Jardesign A330 I had to reduce my AA settings a bit to make the framerate smooth again. When using the FlightFactor A350 my FPS hit was much lower and no changes in rendering options was needed. Keep in mind that my system I anything but modest and quite up to date with the latest version of X-Plane & drivers.
Intel I7 6700K overclocked to 5ghz
16 GB DDR4 memory
2x GTX 980 in SLI
Windows 10 x64 pro
Is this add on worth buying? Simple , yes the airport looks amazing, is affordable and has excellent quality. This airport should be in every X-Plane 10 user collection. No matter what your destination is Manchester is good start or stopping point !!I.D.T ( Icarus Development Team) did another excellent job for this airport. I’m looking forwared for their next project !