Located 30 miles northwest of central Milan is the 29th busiest airport in Europe, serving roughly 18 million passengers annually. With two long runways and a dedicated cargo area sized to rival the passenger areas of the airport, Milano Malpensa is an interesting and quirky airport. A perfect fit then for the interesting and quirky devs over at Aerosoft, who have had a crack and making Malpensa (ICAO: LIMC.) Let’s see how they got on then!
The installation of this scenery was the typical Aerosoft affair. Download a 300MB exe file, run it, choose which simulator you would like to install the scenery to, put in a serial key, and the installer goes off to the races. During the installation you are asked if you would like SODE or ctrl+J jetways. I chose SODE, since I like the compatibility with GSX, but it’s nice that the choice is there. What bummed me out was the fact that it installed a new version of SODE over my old one, and the jetways refused to show up in the scenery. A simple fix using the SODE platform manager worked like a charm, but be aware that it may mess up your SODE installation.
Once the install was completed, you were provided with a config tool to choose the resolution of textures you wish to use, as well as defining the mesh you use and picking what type of jetways you would like to use. You’re also provided with a PDF containing a full set of charts for the airport, a really nice creature comfort that I wish more developers were willing to splurge on. You also got a tool to configure traffic, and a manual in case you don’t understand what an airport is 😛 .
Aerosoft, while being great scenery developers, aren’t known for see through terminal windows and 4K grass blades. However, they do manage to make a scenery look pretty without absurd texture resolution and detailing. I used the regular HD texture pack just to be on the safe side with VAS, but there is a 2048 texture pack that I used while just taxiing around the airport. And while the 2048 is higher resolution, they both look great! Piers A and B both have a fun green extension between the actual terminal and the jetways, which is something I haven’t seen a lot of before. The jetways are detailed and (once you fix SODE issues) they work great.
The terminal buildings themselves are convincing enough, and while not see through or equipped with windows, they look realistic and convincing for most use cases. Especially Pier C, which is almost completely glass. While it isn’t see through, it looks very convincing, and the shine they give off in direct sunlight adds to that immersion factor. Another great feature is the inclusion of safedock parking assists, a very helpful addition whether you have GSX or not
But to get to your gate, you have to taxi around, and thankfully taxiing around is a huge pleasure with this scenery. The ground markings have wear and tear that are very convincing and a step above the norm. The oil and leaks at the gates are custom made per gate, so you won’t feel like the gates are repeating themselves as you pass by. While you taxi past the piers, you don’t only notice how the textures look great, but you also notice the simply sublime modeling that went into the buildings themselves. Malpensa has quite a few interesting and odd shapes, and they are recreated amazingly in the sim. Everything from wavy roofs to the odd green paths to the jetways is smooth and clear.
And then, like most sceneries, the airport truly comes to life when the sun goes to sleep. The flood lights for the autonomous stands cast some of the most realistic glows I have ever seen in flightsim. The runway and taxiway lights are the perfect brightness and size, and once you pull into the gate you notice how the terminals look extra nice when lit up, better than they ever looked during the day. Transparency wouldn’t be noticed anyways due to the way light works, so it looks on par with the sceneries that do offer transparent windows.
We also haven’t made a mention of the equally detailed and pretty cargo areas. These stands have airport service vehicles scattered around in a realistic and alive way, giving off the impression that the airport is being used on a regular basis. The buildings have accurate and sharp logo and branding details, and once again the ground markings in and around that area are simply superb.
Performance & Stability
What this airport may lack in sheer detail it easily makes up for in the FPS gained by not modeling every nook and cranny. I got a solid 30-40FPS on my system, while the average hardcore scenery brings it down to the 25-30 mark. My VAS usage while taxiing around the airport remained at or below 65%, a solid number for an addon scenery.
And while this airport performs great, it also maintains a solid level of quality throughout. I only encountered occasional shadowing glitches when using EZDok, and apart from the SODE issues I haven’t had anything major even come close to breaking. GSX and SODE work and recognize all of the objects correctly at the airport, and every gate that I tested worked with the features it was intended to have.
Performance and stability: 9.5/10
This scenery looks great, runs great, and apart from minor issues here and there with SODE and whatnot, it’s pretty stable. What this airport may lack in nitty gritty detail it makes up for in the ground textures and FPS. I enjoyed this scenery quite a bit, and I fully intend to keep it in my library as a destination to consider.
Overall Score: 8.9/10