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Beautiful Corfu …

Introduction

Corfu, an island off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea, is defined by rugged mountains and a resort-studded shoreline. Its cultural heritage reflects years spent under Venetian, French and British rule before it was united with Greece in 1864. Kérkyra, the capital of Corfu, flanked by 2 imposing Venetian fortresses, features winding medieval lanes, a French-style arcade and the grand Palace of St. Michael and St. George.

But now the FlyTampa product.
How to approach this island, how to explore this island, how does the old town look like, how well modeled is the airport …..
Many many questions. I would try to answer these before you and I buy this brand new X-Plane FlyTampa product. Ok, let me first start with some background information about FlyTampa. It’s a well known airport developers group, being active for a long time at the FSX and P3D platform, but as we all found out, now they have released their first X-Plane 11 airport.

Is it worth it, can it compete with other payware airport developers?

One thing I can say about about Corfu, it not only covers the Corfu International Airport, “Ioannis Kapodistrias” or Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport, which is by the way a government-owned airport, it also covers the whole island and Corfu city. In other words, flying within Europe means from now on also flying to your favorite virtual airport and enjoy the virtual Greece hospitality.

Let’s make it complete. Here’s the FlyTampa Corfu feature list:
– Corfu Ioannis Kapodistrias (LGKR) airport,
– Complete island with mesh, vegetation and lighting,
– Full coverage with custom buildings and landmarks,
– Sloped airport terrain (X-Plane only),
– Animated apron vehicles, road and ship traffic,
– Pre-rendered self-shadowing and reflection maps.

One thing I’m not 100 percent sure about, but it would be logically, I think, besides many changes that had to be made, that it’s a ported airport with X-Plane 11 features as well as all the necessary modifications that have been made to give it “that” exclusive X-Plane look and feel.

Curious?
Hold on, first something else …

The Original Corfu Look and Feel

Before the FlyTampa Corfu release, Corfu was no more then any other X-Plane 11 island. Accurate …. depends, photo realistic area …. far from that, airport ….. could be much better and so on. The following screenshots show you Corfu Island, made on the fly from default X-Plane 11 . Interesting isn’t it?

What can I say?
Casual as usual … it’s because I flew around the island, made a couple of screenshots and double checked myself that this is Corfu Island, else you and I would never know. Else it could be any island besides then of course the typical Corfu Island shape. Suppose that FlyTampa had only released the airport, then I would say .. nice, interesting, but not really a new virtual holiday destination for me. With the added photoreal textures of the whole island as well as Corfu city, ho ho ho, that’s then suddenly of much more interest.

VFR Look and Feel

VFR Flight Impression
I’ve rented a “N” registered C152 – they had nothing else available – and flew around the island and tried to find the hot spots you always see at those beautiful photos on the Internet, or in magazines and so on. I can tell you already that the outcome, a couple of sections further in this review, is awesome. We all know that good ortho texture or photoreal ground texture change the world. And we all know that photoreal ground textures only cover “a” season of the year, right?

But first …. how to install and ….
After you’ve unzipped the package, you end up with three folders:
– Flytampa_Corfu_Airport
– Flytampa_Corfu_Objects
– FLytampa_Corfu_zMesh

Ho ho hold on, what when you’re a Mac user. Sorry, but I don’t have Windows although I think that Windows is just an exe file. For Mac it’s different. You download a dmg (Disk ImaGe) file, run the dmg and you end up with a pkg (package) file. Start the pkg file, enter the requisted serial and as mentioned above, you end up with three folders.

Just drop them in your Custom Scenery folder and you’re done. Start X-Plane 11, and once up and running, I advice you to shutdown X-Plane. The scenery order of these three folders as well as their position in the scenery_pack.ini file is, as we all know, important. As indicated in the provided Acrboat manual flytampa-corfu (Flytampa_Corfu_Airport/Doc), not only the recommanded scenery_pack.ini order is mentioned, but also the suggested X-Plane settings.

My VFR flight
I’ve parked my aircraft at the apron, but what do you think ..,.. a quick airport impression is welcome, right?

Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport may be an international airport as the name suggests, it’s not a complex airport, it’s not big. It only has one runway, but neither less, it’s well modeled with lots of details. On the two screenshots below you got a impression of the size of the island and the situated airport as well as the airport overview.

Ground textures like those of the apron, taxiways and runway are absolutely of a realistic quality. The grass around it looks very nice and completes this typical look. Further on, the airport is full with small objects like taxi and runway signs, a rendavouz sign (lucky that’s also in English, Greece isn’t my strongest point), dedicated to the airport and modeled by FlyTampa, static stairs, a movable Hertz passenger bus, belts, baggage carts with driver, GPUs (Ground Power Unit), fire extinguishers, waste buckets, cars, even a scooter, and much more. Most of the mentioned objects are static devices, but it gives the airport the look and feel you can, no, you should or you may expect.

Ok, back to the passenger terminal. On the following photos you got a good impression of the apron, the gates as far as we can call them “gates”, the building itself and so on. But remember, these are real photos.

The next four screenshots represent more or less the same spot as how it looks in the FlyTampa scenery. Not bad at all I would say!

The airport doesn’t have movable gates or jetways if you prefer, but instead passenger walkways that connect the terminal building with the apron. And you and I can say what we want, it looks very nice. It seems to me that the FlyTampa team has nothing forgotten. Every tiny detail is modeled and that gives this airport in my opinion a realistic look. The only thing I miss are static aircraft. I ticked the option in the X-Plane Settings “Graphics” menu, but I still have no static aircraft. Ok, in most cases static aircraft aren’t based on high polygon models, but many add-on packages are avaialble that offer good quality static aircraft.

Anyway, by default and with the “draw parked aircraft” ticked, no aircraft are added to the apron. Parked or static aircraft aren’t AI traffic. For that I would highlight the following note from the manual; “Why do I not see AI aircraft at LGKR? To ensure you get a busy apron at LGKR, make sure you install a traffic add‐on to get more live traffic at the airport. FlyTampa Corfu airport is compatible with X‐Life traffic add‐on.”

One other item to highlight although I assume you have to tick/activate it and that’s X-Plane Settings window, tab “General” Runways follow terrain contours”. There’s nothing mentioned in the manual, so I may assume that this has to be active!

Most likely, but I’m not 100 percent sure, many takeoffs are initiated via runway 17 – most likely the windy conditions are in favor for runway 17 – and not from 35. One of the reasons for this thought is because towards runway 17 you’ve got a taxiway but when taxiing to the beginning of runway 35, this has to be done via the runway itself. Although there’s at the end of runway 35 a turning point, still less convenient then runway 17.

One quick “terminal” impression.
I mentioned it before, the airport buidings in general and in particular the passenger terminal with next of it the control tower, are well modeled and with great precision. I’m not sure if photo real material is used, but the look and feel is good, very good to be honest. The concrete construction of the passenger building is weathered, as you may expect, and I have to correct myself in respect to the photo real material/textures; the blue glass wall underneath the roof of the passenger terminal is photoreal material, and it’s of a good quality. Not blurry at all!

On the public terminal side, it’s not much different. Lots of tiny details and good quality photo texture are used. I see at some places flickering objects and some “ghost buses”. Besides these things, the public side and the road to it and from the terminal are well done, but it’s fair to say that the public area ground texture quality is of a lower quality then at the airport itself although this is something you see with many airport developers.

Now it’s time …. time for what?
Enough about the quick airport impression.

It’s time to explore the island from the air.
I takeoff from runway 17, follow runway heading for a while, then turn left, and via the outbound of Kérkyra, the capital of Corfu, I fly towards Kassiopi, far before this I turn for Skiperon, Pelekas, Dragotina, but to the airport. That should give me a good impression of modeled Corfu Island.

For this VFR flight I use real weather and the freeware add-on Environment+ lua script. More about that later and what else I used for this review. It’s time to taxi to runway 27. While looking from the external view, I’ve got another look at how this section of the airport is modeled. I need to correct myself when it comes to static aircraft. I found a couple between the A and B taxiway. I checked the ground movement chart, but those buildings down there are not assigned to something. It seems to me a small jet aircraft and a couple of GA aircraft. I have the idea that those are also Cessna C152 models. On the other side of the runway, I also spot one static GA aircraft, and that’s it.

The runway, with a total length of 2373 meters (7785 feet), is for my C152 long enough, so no worries about that. I do my last checklist items and off I go. After lift off, as I said before, I follow the runway heading before turning left. What I see already and will see this much more, are the amount of modeled hotels, apartments and small harbours. The coastline isn’t always perfectly blended with the sea, but I’m also not sure if this is possible and else perhaps that can or will be solved with an update.

Passing the old city I’m impressed by the amount of dedicated created Greece houses. Although the real amount of houses – seen on photos – looks to me more, the overall look is good as well as the harbor which is filled with a couple of ships. In-between, I see the ortho ground textures popping up and I’m not sure what that quality of the ortho ground textures is – ZL15, ZL16 or ZL17 – and this has to do with the sometimes slightly blurry look of these ground textures. On the other hand, having Corfu Island completely with ortho textures ZL17, that will be a massive package, too big perhaps. It makes sense that we’re dealing with ZL16 or even ZL15.

What said, I can’t find it anywhere, so I need to leave this “item” unanswered, but what I know is that the overall package is unzipped approximately 3.2GB, still a lot!

While climbing out to roughly 3000 feet, I keep my eyes on the modeled landscape. The mountains or hills are fully covered with trees, trees and even more trees. I’m aware that this also depends on the X-Plane rendering settings, but it’s good to see how real it looks. I spot everywhere hotels, small harbors and what else more can be expected. Flying further south, I pass the hills which seems to me that these ortho textures are a bit green casted. Unless I’m totally wrong, but else I sincerely hope that FlyTampa is able to correct these textures.

After the hills I slowly descent altitude and along the coastline I move back in a northern direction. Once and a while I spot a couple of houses, or an appartment complex, or a hotel with private beach and further on, I see again trees, trees and even more trees. I mentioned this before, but need to highlight this once more and honestly, not sure if such a correction is possible; the blending of the coastline beaches with the sea. One thing is for sure, these beaches are gorgeuos which can be seen on the screenshots, but at some places the beach doesn’t blend with the sea, but the beach or cliff blends as a straight line with the sea. However, I must say that at other places you hardly see this abrupt coastline beach-sea blending.

You would think “Angelique finds everything” and yes, that’s thru, I do see a lot, but on the other hand, it’s also a VFR flight. During IFR arrivals and departures, you will see somethnig of the surrounding area in the beginning, but before you know, you’re either above the clouds or too high to see those local items I’m talking about. At least, that’s how I see the FlyTampa Corfu package.

The northeast coast has much more cliffs then at other locations which gives it also its unique scenery. Want to know how it was? Check out these screenshots and yes, it’s only a small collection of what I’ve seen.

I’ve reach almost the northern part of the island, and lucky for me, I can make a short cut in-between the hills and fly at low VFR altitude to the west side of the island. What I see as farmland looks good, but I got the impression that the ground textures are slightly blurry unless I have too low settings. I’ve seen the recommended rendering settings and honestly, that’s quite high knowing that not everybody can handle this. Besides that, I don’t believe that the slightly blurry textures you see on the following screenshots are a result of wrong rendering settings. When we forget that, then it’s a pleasure to fly VFR.

Once I’ve reached the other side of the island it’s time to move back to the airport. Was it a success, was it worth the VFR scenery tour? Judge yourself!

At the end I can only say that I’m impressed what I’ve seen. Of course, I’ve seen a couple of small issues and no idea if FlyTampa can solve them. On the other hand, it’s payware so we may expect that FlyTampa tries to solve these issues, but the overall look and feel of Corfu Island including the airport is very good. Am I surprised about all of this? No. I know FlyTampa already for many years and they had always nicely modeled airports.

IFR Look and Feel

IFR Flight Impression
Approaching Corfu Island is or can be, depending on the weather, a great experience. When it’s cloudy, then probably you don’t see much else you see a FlyTampa island of its best. For departures and arrivals you’ll find SIDs and STARs. Departures can be from either runway 17 or 35, but it must be said that when using runway 35 which means you fly towards the old town, the charts shows you that quick turns has to be made. Although there are STARs, the runway has no ILS so every approach uses VOR and as far as I can see, only for runway 35. Due to the runway location, approaches are made slightly under a different anglec then the runway.

All together approaches that aren’t as easy as you can expected, but you should be able to make succesful landings. When your favorite aircraft is an Airbus A320, A319, Boeing 737 Classic or 737NG, McDonnell Douglas MD80, or perhaps you like the Embraer models, then this airport will be your new southern European destination!

Making takeoffs with the FMS programmed for a SID is easy and straightforward, but when it comes to landings then you still have the choice of different STARS, but then it ends. No ILS guidance, only VOR. Still not a problem. Thing is that you have to do a bit more then during an ILS approach. There’s some guidance, logically, from PAPI, but we all know that PAPI only helps you with the glidepath. For the runway heading you need to monitor the selected heading. I made several approaches and must say … nice challenge and worth the destination to try it out yourself.

When it comes to check the modeled island for realism during an IFR departure/arrival, it’s different then during a VFR flight neither less, it’s still worth it. Remember the very first section where I showed you how default X-Plane 11 Corfu Island looks like? I’ve quite sure you can remember that and when you know that and this Flytampa package, then there’s no discussioon if it’s worth it or not .. it is!

Even for IFR departures/arrivals it’s still interesting although before you know with a SID, Corfu is gone with the wind. Perhaps the arrivals are the most interesting ones to check out the modeled island including, we should not forget that, the airport.

Anything else that could be of our interest …. oh yes, what when you make approaches during sunset or evening or departing in the early morning? Then you’ll enjoy the night lighting of the airport as well as that of the surrounding areas. Departing or arriving at those late or early hours has it’s own sharm. The island look and feel is then suddenly of less importance, but instead you can enjoy the island, city and airport lighting system. Although the lighting is a part of the default X-Plane 11 night lighting, I may assume that FlyTampa has modified the lighting to their own preferences.

But all of this could have a downside and that is the available frame rates, or is it perhaps a frame rate friendly scenery? Lets check that out.

FPS (Frames Per Second)

Your actual frame rates do not only depend on your rendering settings. There’s a bit more that influences how many frame rates you see. Your hardware and then in particular the CPU and GPU, but also the monitor size or native screen resolution could be a factor. Then of course the rendering settings and we shouldn’t forget the aircraft type you’re using. It makes a huge difference – we all know that I hope – if you use a medium size commercial aircraft or a GA model.

Before you know, you’ve got 10 frames less because you switched from a commercial model to a GA model and oops, almost forgotten …. weather implementation. For a while I do no longer use SkyMAXX Pro. I’m not satisfied with their overall service and customer support and the frame rate impact. I do own xEnviro, but that’s only for Windows and therefore I use on my Mac with a lot of pleasure Environment+ which is actually a bunch of reworked clouds and a lua script.

Back to the airport and island frame rate impact.
For sure the FlyTampa airport will have a frame rate impact, but honestly, I’ve only seen good frame rates, even with complex commercial jets. Flying over the island during my VFR flight, and with the modified Carenado C152II from nhadrian, I didn’t notice any stutters. During my IFR approaches I did notice some lower frame rates, but that was in most cases because I looked to the hills/mountains which are fully covered as I said many times … with tress, trees and even more trees. With so many trees, I can imagine that there could be a frame rate drop.

Once More … LGKR Impression

I felt that a second look at the airport would be a good idea. As I said before, it’s a relatively medium size airport, but all together, even the tiny details or parts you didn’t expect, are modeled. For example; the lighting system construction that are situated in the water before landing at runway 35. These pillers aren’t just modeled. No, they look awesome from a distance what I’ve seen during my VFR and IFR approaches. But even when I decide to take a small boat and check them from nearby, I’m still impressed about the details and the way they look.

But this is just one of the many areas or objects that are very well modeled. Let me try to give you another example; the small tower on the west side of the runway, the baggage carts and TUG trucks, the different kind of vegetation, the weathering on the buildings, the Olympic and Aegean stairs, but also the baggage belts, all parked near the passenger terminal.

All these objects are modeled with great detail and yes, once you have modeled one, the rest is easy. Neither less, it’s all of good quality. Although I mentioned this before, I shouldn’t forget the different passenger buses. I’ve seen only one bus driving around at the airport, but many models can be found at the parking place next of the terminal building.

I’m aware that this is something you and I see with other airports too, but it has to be a part of my concrete adventure. I’m talking about the taxiway, apron and runway ground textures. Not sure if these textures are based on photoreal material, but the look and feel is great. It’s relatively sharp and what I said, I’m very pleased with what I see. Not sure if I mentioned this before, but I’ve got the idea that FlyTampa used, created, added their own trees or bushes.

Summary

Ok, where or with what shall I start?
Did I cover everything or could it be that I’ve forgotten something? It’s always possible that I’ve forgotten something, also because everybody has his/her own interest, but I think I got the general view, and no, I didn’t walk thru the old town!

What I can tell or perhaps even advice you, is which add-ons I used in this review besides the FlyTampa Corfu package:
– Freeware | FlyWithLua Version 2.6.7
– Freeware | Environment+ Version 1.1
– Freeware | X-Plane 11 Version update 2.1 for the C152II by Org user nhadrian
– Payware | ToLiss A319
– Payware | Carenado C152II v3.2 for X-Plane 10

As of this writing, April 20th 2018, you can buy the Corfu package via the dedicated X-Plane.Org product page. When you’re not familiar with FlyTampa, then it won’t hurt when you visit the FlyTampa website.

Was it worth the time to review this product?
It’s a great creation of Corfu Island, the old town, all the resorts, the harbors, the ortho ground textures and not to forget the airport. Is it worth your 26.00 USD?
Without doubt it is!

I did highlight a couple of small issues. I sincerely hope that FlyTampa will correct these with future updates. It would be also an idea when – I assume it’s applicable to the ortho ground textures – the ZL value is mentioned on their website.

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 or to Angelique@X-Plained.com.

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen

 

 

Add-on: Payware FlyTampa Corfu
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org | FlyTampa
Description: Realistic rendition of Corfu Island including old town and LGKR
Software Source / Size: Download / Approximately 3.2GB (unzipped)
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: April 20th 2018
Hardware specifications: - iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal 1TB SSD (High Sierra 10.13.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
Software specifications: - High Sierra (10.13.x)
- X-Plane 11.11r2

2 Comments

  1. Jon Lucenius

    Truly a new standard of review has been set for airports! We must now visit the location in question to understand exactly how wonderful the work was and to appreciate the new X-Plane experience. That said, I hope to visit and review Hawaii rather than Antartica in the future : )

    Thanks Angelique – amazingly detailed and forthright review as always!

    • Angelique van Campen

      Thank you Jon, but I’m a bit curious too … a new standard of review? Could you explain what you felt when you read this review?

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