Latinwings Valencia X
Young developer studio Latinwings are so far known for their releases of smaller airports of their home country Venezuela, like Barquisimeto and Barinas. Striving for a bigger international audience, Fabian and Trino now stepped up the operations and took on the challenge of a considerably larger airport. They re-focused on Spain and created an airport, that has been neglected by all other studios so far – Valencia.
Valencia is the capitol of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, after Madrid and Barcelona. The approximately 2 million population of the metropole area make the nearby Manises Airport the 8th busiest airport in Spain, with some 5 million passengers per year.
The airport (ICAO code: LEVC) is located 8 km west of the city of Valencia and features a single runway layout. The runway is oriented 12/30 and with a length of 3,215 meters long enough to handle any commercial traffic ranging from a turboprop to a Boeing 747. Valencia serves as the main base for Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum, mainly flying CRJs and ATRs and as a hub for Irish low cost carrier Ryanair.
The airport has a commercial aviation ramp with a stylish modern terminal and a small cargo area to the north of the runway. In the south of the field there is a large general aviation ramp and large Cessna facility. Valencia also serves as base for Spanish outfit Avialsa, a company specialized in aerial firefighting. But Valencia is not only home to lots of active traffic, it is also used as a boneyard. Looking at Google Earth you will find many parked Iberia A300s, Air Nostrum CRJs and a lone Pronair 747 spread over the airfield.
Purchase and download
While their recent products were published under their own label, Latinwings secured a deal with Aerosoft and Valencia X is the first title to be published under Aerosoft’s daughter label SimWare. It will available for download from the Aerosoft and SimWare online shops or from all other major flightsimming online stores, like Simmarket, though in the first week after release it will be exclusively sold by SimWare.
As I had an advance copy available for testing, I cannot comment on the installer itself. It can be assumed it will be the standard Aerosoft installer. The manual was also created by Aerosoft and consists of two PDF documents. One covers the installation and some general information, the second one contains all necessary navigation charts. The manual is available in English and Spanish. The size of the final installation in the sim is a little over 950MB.
In the sim
When first loading a new scenery I usually start with a helicopter to get an overview of the whole scenery. A strong point of Latinwings sceneries have always been the ground textures and with Valencia X they reached a new level. The ground textures blend well with the surrounding scenery, a great improvement over their last scenery Barinas. The photo real ground was processed in great way and does not look artificial at all. But even stronger are the apron- and taxiway textures. These show clear signs of wear caused by the heavy traffic at Valencia and when taxiing from the runway to the gate or vice versa, one tends to forget one is just looking at computer scenery.
Circling the airport in the helicopter gives a nice overview of the buildings and when comparing the scenery to the Google Earth image, it is fascinating how close Latinwings are to the real thing. Even the planes from the boneyard sit in the very exact position.
A highlight is certainly the terminal area, with the garage, the control tower and most important the stylish terminal building. Everything is nicely detailed, even in areas that you will never see from the cockpit of an airliner. I used FTX “Bob” to roam around the scenery and there were lots to discover. The entrance area of the terminal for instance. Coming from the highway, following the signs to the airport all the way to the short time parking in front of the entrance – it is all there and looks nice. But what I really urge you to do is, take your Prepar3D v3 Avatar or FTX Bob and enter the western terminal from airside. I have rarely seen such a detailed interior, except maybe some Orbx airports. You have the timetables, boarding desks with security personnel, commercials, waiting area with passengers, escalators and even the CRJ hanging from the roof is there. Even at the first floor the details won’t stop – there are passengers waiting and looking out of the windows at the parked planes. Just a great sight and guess where I usually park my airliner – right in front of it.
The six major gates are equipped with jetways. Working jetways of course. Latinwings did not rely on the basic SDK and CTRL+J, but opted for the new (free) SODE 1.3 instead, as this allows for higher polygons and more detailed animations.
In the cargo area you will find the first static plane in the scenery, a UPS cargo Boeing 767. Crossing the runway to the south we will find the base of airborne firefighting experts Avialsa, with a nice mix of bright yellow Cessna 337s and AT-802 float equipped single engine water bombers. Two more can be seen parked on the large GAT ramp in the south. In close vicinity to Avialsa we can find several retired Iberia A300s. The static models are very detailed and the textures look great. While the Avialsa birds are in splendid condition, the retired Iberia planes look faded and weathered. The hiring of two additional modelers really paid of here.
What I like about the ramps at Valencia is that Latinwings created a living environment here. The ramps are crowded with vehicles, carts, tow bars and other equipment. Crew busses and airport vehicles are driving on the apron, which really brings the airport to life.
A word on the night lighting – as darkness falls over the scenery, the Valencia metropole area turns into a sea of lights. The airport fits in nicely, though the surrounding commercial areas appear a little dark, compared to the other scenery. The aprons are nicely illuminated, as are the buildings – take a look at the Cessna Citation complex, this one really stands out.
Latinwings also took care about the direct surrounding of the airport. The high resolution ground textures extend well beyond the airports perimeters and include the adjacent commercial areas and a golf course. Autogen was replaced by new hand placed 3D models, though the level of detail is of course lower than at the airport itself. It looks more than just good enough, when flying in and out of the airport or taxiing past the fences. Small details don’t end here either. The designers placed some local spotters on the scenery – can you find them?
When I had access to a late beta version of this scenery and I was climbing out of runway 12, I thought “if only the default harbor wasn’t looking so horrible”. The developers must have had the same thoughts and created a completely new harbor area. Again based on a high resolution ground texture, they placed various cranes, ships, container areas, buildings and other landmarks. Formula 1 fans like me, now can even see the former Valencia Grand Prix circuit. As a special treat, the small heliport in the harbor is included as well. A nice location to either start some medical assistance flights to the many ferries near the harbor, to patrol the coast in a coast guard helicopter or to just fly VIP shuttle services from Valencia airport to the harbor, pretending it is a F1 weekend or Americas Cup.
And while they were at it, Latinwings also recreated and included the famous Valencia landmark Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias – the city of arts and science. Here you will find some amazing architecture located right in the path of your final approach into runway 30.
Compatibility and performance
Though Latinwings do not claim compatibility to FTX Global Base, Valencia X blends in nicely with my surrounding Global Base textures. FS Global 2010 and my SceneryTech Landclass Europe don’t cause any problems either. The airport is nicely populated by Ultimate Traffic II with a realistic looking traffic mix. GSX support is also present.
The performance is excellent and guarantees a smooth simming experience, even though Latinwings did not spare with very detailed 3D static airliner models all over the field. VAS was never an issue either.
The step up in quality from Barinas to Valencia is nothing short of amazing. Latinwings came up with some excellent 3D modelling and especially the ground textures can easily take on any of the major studios. With Valenica X they filled an important gap in the list of Spanish, no – in the list of European airports , which should suite many virtual captains well. No matter if you fly turboprop airliners, single aisle jets like the Ryanair Boeing 737 or Vuelling Airbus A320 or even some wide body holiday charter – Valencia has it all. Thanks to the important marina, GA traffic ranging from the small Cessna to the mighty business jet is a very good fit for Valencia as well.
To me this is the most attractive commercial airport release of the last months and all I can do is highly recommend it. As a side note – I was never particularly interested in the upcoming Aerosoft CRJ. But Valencia as a base for many Air Nostrum CRJs has just changed my mind.
P.S.: Should you wonder about the score, no it is no typo. This is actually the first scenery add on where I think it is worth considerably more than it actually costs!