With addons we have a lot of stuff we can do to make flight simulator x more fun. We have an abundance of aircraft we can download and install, especially with all the payware that is on the market these days. We can buy hardware to make the flying experience more realistic, like we are actually playing inside the cockpit. We can even change the weather and water to look more realistic. But what about more airports?
Nobody really thinks about addons for airports. I mean, think about it, you can change a lot with an airport and that can really change the feeling and experience of the flight sim. What can they change? Well, the detail of the airport itself can be improved. Some airports within FSX are simply the same shape and that’s it, not a lot else. This is down to the sheer number of airports, imagine how much data it would use to have highly realistic detailed airports if they included every single one like that. Still, some airports you would prefer to see as a more detailed representation, and with some of the airport addons you can have just that. The buildings and accompanying installations are all there, just like with the real airports. Even the interiors of the airports can be upgraded to give a much more realistic feel.
Shadows, textures and even stuff like the grass is more realistic with better color depth and shading. The special effects, like reflections of the runway lights at night, are even more realistic with a lot of the addons. Some even include vehicles going about their business within he airport vicinity and you may find a number of airport addons that have animated passengers strolling through the airport! It’s amazing what developed additional content can do for the experience.
There is a group that makes additional international airports called FlyTampa. They make some pretty sweet airports that are hand made with high resolution photos of surroundings making things look really realistic. The grass is very 3D and volumetric and you even have different vehicles passing through and around the airport to give it a more alive feel (and it works)! Their airport addons are a work of art and I highly suggest checking out their Vienna and Dubai airports as they are simply stunning. Any that you look at will be great, they haven’t done a bad one yet, but those two are really something special.
There’s another company called Aerosoft who make some very nice, big airports. They have similar graphics to the FlyTampa by using high, photorealistic textures on vehicles and buildings but I would say their speciality is with the night time scenery. It looks stunning! They have a lot of mega airports as well as some smaller ones like Gibraltar airport. Check them out!
I have personally used a lot of addons over the past couple of years and probably spent a lot of money in that time too… but it has been worth every single penny. I love flying, I love flight simulators and so I choose to spend my moolah on addons for FSX. I’m not saying you have to spend a lot of money though, definitely not! You can find a lot of free airport addons but they will be no way near as good quality as the paid ones. If you don’t want to shell out a lot then just try a big airport that has good reviews. I will aim to post some more information and reviews of individual airports if I hopefully get the time!
Bottom line is if you’re wanting some more from Flight Simulator X check out the airport addons as they can greatly enhance your realistic flying experience.