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Yes, I know what you think … where stands ICAO code SCEL for?

 

Introduction

Right, somewhere half way of Chile, Latin America, you’ll find northwest of the city of Santiago “Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport”. Looking to the surrounding area, a pretty large airport with two parallel runway and lots of taxiways, logically, to interconnect everything together and to link it to the aprons. But is there really a need for to buy SCEL or can you do it without this payware package or is the default X-Plane airport perhaps ….. ?”{{{_++|:?>?
Although I don’t understand those “characters” too, I can tell you that the default X-Plane SCEL (see single screenshot below) is nothing and when I say nothing, I really mean nothing. By the way in case you think “is this it” …. don’t stop at the end of the first set of screenshots! As ou might know now from me as your personal reporter, this quick look or if you prefer this impression, offers a lot of information about how I feel SCEL is modelled.

That said, where exactly can you find SCEL and where can you find Chile? Yes yes, I know, when you life in Latin America you most probably have no problems to answer that, but living in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and many other countries around the world, then you’ve probably no idea where Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCEL) lies. Therefore, check out the following screenshots taken with the help of Google Earth. And yes, Chile lies about Antartica.

Clear I may assume?

 

 

Installation, manuals and others

I did this quick look of Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCEL) which is based on version 1.0, on an iMac with Mac OSX El Capitan 10.11.4 installed as well as with X-Plane version 10.45. Additional, I have installed the following add-on packages; Alpilot.net the mesh packages and SkyMAXX Pro 3.x. Further then that I haven’t installed something special besides some other payware and freeware airports and lots of aircraft. The SCEL package comes with a couple of files, folders of which the two most important folders are …. “SCEL_Amusement_Park_fully_Animated_v1.0” and “SCEL_International_Santiago_Chile_v1.0”. It may be clear, the first package is an amusement park far away from the airport. Honestly, I travelled also to this modelled amusement park, but I don’t really see the importance of this additional part in relation to the airport. The amusement park is well modelled, so that’s not really the issue and the airport itself looks good too, so nothing has been reduced in quality due to this amusement park. Besides these package, you should also install the Automate plugin from Marginal. For those who aren’t familiar with Marginal Autogate plugin; it makes jetways animated and offers animated Docking Guidance Systems (DGS). The read manual offers you a direct link to this plugin, but for your convenience, here you are.

The included read Acrobat file tells you exactly where and how to install these folders including how they should be arranged in the scenery_pack.ini file. Besides that, the readme file offers also some additional information and advices of how to set the rendering settings. Looking in more depth, the developer make clear that the package “SCEL_International_Santiago_Chile_v1.0” is the airport itself while the other package “SCEL_Amusement_Park_fully_Animated_v1.0” is an optional installation worth, since it’s shows some additional 3D modelling skills of the VirtualDesign 3D group of the city of Santiago, namely the cities amusement park and a couple of iconic city buildings. More about the amusement park later in this quick look/impression.

There’s also a second manual that with suggested add-ons. Fortunately, one of the links namely the one to the X-Plane Chile Org that offers you for free photoreal Chile packages, isn’t working. Further on, one of those included folders offers all different IOCAO charts while the other folders offers screenshots of VirutalDesign3D SCEL. It’s nice that it’s included although I don’t see the need of it since you bought the package based on screenshots offered by resellers or based on reading reviews and/or impression.

After you’ve copied and paste the airport (SCEL_International_Santiago_Chile_v1.0) package in the custom scenery folder, and select it from the X-Plane menu “Location – Select GlobalAirport”, it turns out that, even with the VirtualDesign 3D SCEL, you only have there DEFAULT ramp start position. Honestly, I expected to see many other gate- or parking positions because the worse part is that this DEFAULT position is a runway and not even an official parking position. Hopefully this will be solved with the next update unless I’m doing something wrong, that’s also a possibility.

Further on, there’s also a need to fix the ILS (Instrument Landing System). According to VirtualDesign 3D “It is recommended that you align the ILS to the clues in this scenario especially after new updates for X-Plane. Copy and replace the lines of text contained in the attached “Fix ILS” file. Replace these lines of text within file earth_nav.dat found in X-Plane folder “resources\default data”.

 

 

The Airport

I’m still not 100 percent sure where the airport boundary is located and as a result, I can’t 100 percent figure out where the X-Plane default ground textures start again. By the way, the airport is developed by Virtual design 3D group and according to them, the airport package with amusement park comes with the following features:
– Accurate airport layout
– Accurate 3D objects for all major buildings
– Custom ATC taxi routes and airport flows
– Animated airport ground services
– Walking people and animated 3D passengers
– Animated jetways and marshallers
– Animated airport vehicles and military helicopter
– X-Plane 10 HDR lighting and night texture
– Full Customized textures runways
– Customized textures for Taxilines, Borderlines, taxiways and apron
– Customized forest and vegetation
– Customized models for traffic vehicles to region
– Amusement park fully animated

But wow, what a difference is this with the default SCEL! You will see that in a minute when you read any further in this quick impression. It’s something like somewhere in the middle of nowhere versus a highly detailed airport with lots of objects, buildings, taxiways, runways … full with tiny details and full with razor sharp textures. But it must be said that I’ve seen already on a couple of objects, mostly trucks, buses and cars, mirror image text on the sides which, for sure, will be solved with a next update however, first ….. check out a couple of the screenshots I made will around at the airport.

Impressive isn’t it?
I’m impressed by the way the passenger terminal is modelled. I’ve got the idea that a lot of time and effort is put into the creation of these buildings, but there’s more. Even the gates, the static and movable ground objects as stairways, baggage carts, trucks, passenger buses, hi-loaders and movable 3D people. I’ve seen in other sceneries lots of people, but not all are realistic. Sometimes those 3D people look ugly. Besides that, those are mostly static objects, but included in this airport you’ll find a lot of movable 3D people which gives the overall airport a much more realistic look and feel. Very nice to look at by the way. Anyway, it seems to me that, in particular the passenger terminal with gates and jetways, is quite complex and perhaps I missed a misaligned section, but the overall 3D modelling looks very good. It’s really a pleasure to see how accurate the 3D developers did their work and that they tried to give the overall glass looking passenger area an as real as possible look and feel. Together with all the ground equipment of which some is static and others are movable thus animated, SCEL comes alive, no doubt about that!

The public roads towards the terminal and car parking areas as well as the Holiday Inn hotel are realistic as far as I could check, but I’ve also seen some mistakes. Trucks that drive thru the barrier from the car parking area. Buses that make a strange hick then driving down from the terminal area to the fixed road and some misaligned roads. What written before, I must conclude now already that the VirtualDesign 3D developers did a great job and therefore I dear to write that the overall modelled airport is gorgeous although some of these small issues I mentioned before need to be solved. Although I’m aware that the following part of the sentence is my personal point of view, but I’m not really enthusiastic with promotional building signs with on it Laminar Research and/or Aerosoft as well as a couple of billboards with these marketing items. I personally prefer that the developers had used the real signs or real billboards look.

 

 

Ground Textures

I think I didn’t mention this before, but it’s worth to bring it to your attention and that are the high quality ground textures that are implemented for the taxiways, boundaries, runway concrete, aprons, and whatever I’ve forgotten to mention. This is really a pleasure to see and worth to look more closely to it when you land and taxi to your assigned jetway. It’s so beautiful to see when you sit somewhere at the airport with taxiways and runways around you, and look towards the passenger terminal. Having a low ground view, some grass in front of me and then the complex passenger terminal ahead of you. Wow, this is awesome! No, this is as real as we want it. Somewhere in-between these bunch off screenshots you’ll find that screenshot too. I also noticed, and you may expect that from a payware package, that the developers created own type of trees and grass. Very nice I must say.

Ok, these ground textures. I’m not a professional painter, but for sure the developers created many ground textures themselves and added all kind of “weathered” or “used” spots on the runways, taxiways etc. Of course, it could be that they used photocell ground material and mixed that with own paint skills. Not sure what it thru, but the result is gorgeous. Check out the following screenshots.

North of passenger terminal apron you’ll find the well modelled hangars from Lan and a bunch of static Lan aircraft. I’ve got the idea that these static aircraft are of a higher quality then the general ones I’seen on other payware airports. I think, but not sure, that the amount of polygons used for these SCEL static aircraft are more then normally used to create these static aircraft. Anyway, near the hangars you’ll find the control tower and a couple of other buildings including a fire station and a petrol station. One small issue I found is during my search is that some cars near the control tower, parked at the assigned area, are parked half way with their wheels in the concrete parking area. Seems not OK to me! There’s another thing that I’m not sure about if this is OK or not and that’s the used ground textures near the apron in front of the Aerocardal hangar. The majority of ground textures are concrete weathered/dirty tiles and that seems OK to me, but another large area of this apron is more or less light grey without hardly any structure. Not sure if this is OK! What said, this area lies in-between the passenger terminal apron and the military section. Although it has a lot more buildings, offices, hangars then what I just described, it feels good and I haven’t seen something that worries me besides the two things I mentioned before.

While driving further north and thus leaving the Lan hangars behind us, I reach the military section. You’ll find here all kind of buildings, offices, hangars as well as lots of static aircraft. You’ll find there F-16 fighters, other undefined aircraft, helicopters and of course, some static equipment. You either like this military area or you dislike it. I personally think it’s well modelled, a lot of time is put into it since it offers good looking buildings and hangars. Ok, I must admit that the grey/blue 4 engine military aircraft looks a little weird to me and I have no idea what aircraft type this supposed to be … a Boeing 707, Douglas DC8 or a Convair 990 perhaps? Whatever you prefer or whatever you think of this area, it’s well modelled and looking good.

On our way back to the passenger terminal area, we’ll pass along the airport fire station and yes, I’ve pleased to see that the fire trucks are all covered with Arturo Merino B. Santiago textures, assuming that this is how they look in real.

 

 

Evening Hours at Arturo Merino Benitez

When you’ve decided to go for SCEL, you should have a look, no, you must have a look at the airport during sunset, evening or sunrise hours. It’s gorgeous. No more words are needed. If the evening lighting is exactly the same as at the real SCEL, is something I can’t confirm, but the developers decided to go for a soft atmospheric lighting for the aprons, buildings, offices, control tower etc. And of course, to see SCEL with all its glory, HDR lighting should be switched ON, but that of course depends on your PC or Mac if the hardware is able to handle this.

 

 

Santiago’s Amusement Park

Some more words about the amusement park, somewhere on the other side of Santiago, at least, it feels that it’s far away.
Although it doesn’t really has my attention, I must admit that the developers did a nice job, but to see the amusement park you need to travel far away from the airport. Just follow the highway in a eastern direction, passing the mountain, turn right and after some time you’ll see the amusement park. It can’t miss because the area doesn’t offer much interesting stuff except then for the amusement park. Not sure what the idea was behind the creation of the amusement park, but perhaps the VirtualDesign 3D developers live here and would like to include that in this package. It’s not unusual to see that developers add “landmarks” or “other interesting areas” to there scenery which is not directly linked to the airport. I would say, check out the following screenshots I made.

 

 

Summary

What can I say? I’m happy with this airport although it’s at the other side of this globe, far far away from Europe. On the other hand, it complements other nice pay ware airports in Brazil or even further in a northern direction. What I wrote somewhere in the beginning, I’m not so sure where the airport boundary starts/stops. I’ve got an idea, but that would mean that it’s not very nicely done, so I’m a little cautious about that. Besides the mirror text on some objects, and some other issues that need to be solved with the next update, it’s a nice add-on airport if you like to fly to and from Latin America. And when you still have no idea if it’s fun flying here, then I hope that this quick look/impression has given you a good inside look in SCEL and that it is worth to buy SCEL and use if perhaps as your hub. Lan liveries for many free- and payware aircraft are available so flying with your favourite Lan painting shouldn’t be a problem.

More information about Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport can be found at the dedicated Aerosoft eShop web page. You can also have a look at the VirtualDesign3D.com website of the developers themselves. Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this impression. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com.

Anything else … no … then I would say thank you for reading and see you the next time!

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen

 

 

Add-on: Freeware Hampton Roads Executive Airport
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org | Virtual design 3D
Description: Realistic rendition of Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport
Software Source / Size: Download / Approximately 1GB (unzipped)
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: March 29th 2016
Hardware specifications: - iMac 27″ 3.5Ghz Late 2013
- Intel i7 3.5Ghz / 3.9Ghz during Boost Mode
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB
- 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
- 1 internal 1TB SSD (El Capitan 10.11.4)
- 3 external 1TB SSDs
- Saitek Pro Flight System
Software specifications: - El Capitan (10.11.4) | Yosemite (10.10.5) | Mavericks (10.9.5)
- Windows 10 Professional
- X-Plane 10.45c | X-Plane 10.45m

4 Comments

  1. phjo

    An excellent scenery indeed, there is a lot of talent there!

    Having read your review, I noticed the part where you mention the default placement of the acf, and encountered the same problem, which was a bit disappointing. However, I contacted the author, and he told me to make sure thet in the Scenery.ini the correct order was:
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/SCEL_International_Santiago_Chile_v1.0/
    SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/SCEL_Amusement_Park_fully_Animated_v1.0/
    And it worked fine, there are a large number of parking spots with clear indications as to the type of acf and autogate or not.
    So I thought I’d share this info with your readers, it really makes a huge difference, as this scenery is truly amazing.
    Regards to all

    Reply
  2. David

    Hi Angelique.
    Great post!
    I’am chilean guy & periodically fly from this airport to other cities in Chile. This work is impressively accurate when compared to the actual.
    Amusement Park (Fantasilandia) is an touristic place from Santiago, inside of O’higgins Park in a residencial zone called Rondizonni.

    You can view two sceneries in Virtual Design 3d (SCSE – La Florida, La Serena’s city & SCFA – Antofagasta’s city). Both amazing too and free!.
    I lived in La Serena’s city and La Florida airport is identical to the real. Same for SCFA which i know because i trip there periodically.
    I hope to be able to provide you with more information when you are commenting on your article.

    Carlos (owner of Virtual Design 3D) live near at my city. He always work to create the best posible scenery.

    Regards

    David Lagos S.
    Chile

    Reply

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