Stephen

Scenery Review : LSGG - Geneva Airport by Pilot+Plus

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Scenery Review : LSGG - Geneva Airport by Pilot+Plus

If there is a totally neutral city in the world then Geneva in Switzerland has to be the place. Want to sort out an armed conflict or base yourself somewhere non-political then this French-Swiss city is your place to be. Very European, very Swiss, very French. So then Geneva is a multi national home to the world. Nestled at the western end of the European Alps, the city has a glorious backdrop in which to soak up the atmosphere and now you can fly here to savior all the delights of the area with the release of Pilot+Plus's new scenery in LSGG - Geneva Airport.

First Impressions

Geneva is situated on the French-Swiss border in Western Europe. So the city is very accessible and central from all points around any of the major European, Northern Europe and Mediterranean ports. My entrance is flying Swiss FL359 which is from the UK in EGLL (Heathow) to LSGG (Geneva) and my equipment is the excellent JARDesign A320neo.

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Flying distance is short at around 2.5 hours and my arrival route from the north is via the STAR DIJON. This arrival route is interesting and you have to be on your best flying abilities to execute it perfectly. This route is also a great entrance to the airport from a visual point of view.

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You pick up DIJON (111.45 DJL) and you then fly directly towards Geneva Airport. First to note is your height has to be totally correct, too high and you will run out of distance for landing and tight turns, too low and...  well you will crash into the ground. 

With LSGG directly in front of you pass over the Haute Chaîne du Jura, and do a sharp left at waypoint SOVAD to put you into a long circuit to land on RWY23. Cloud cover meant that I could just see the airport slightly through the clouds, but then coming in under the cloud cover you see that the distance between you and the ground is not that far and the Jura ranges are just too your immediate right. So dropping height and slowing to manoeuvring speed is critical to get it right in the transition to go around this circuit correctly.

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At waypoint GG512 you make a sharp 90º at below 220kts to ST PREX (113.90 SPR) VOR (7000ft) that is situated right central of Lake Geneva and then here you do a final sharp 90º directly back towards LSGG. Your work load is high but the route is very spectacular (if you get the chance to look outside at the view).

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You then ride right down the centre of Lake Geneva and directly into RWY23.

Geneva Airport is situated on the border of France (north)  and Switzerland (south), and so on arrival you can see both countries if you look left or right and the dividing line is right down your flightpath in.

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Pilot+Plus really likes his trees, and it is no exception here. With the X-Plane default trees settings set high it gives you a great coverage and excellent balance between the two elements of custom and default trees and the airport sits snugly with perfect boundaries within your X-Plane landscape. A small note on the trees is that they textures thrash a bit which is a little distracting.

Underlying ground textures are very good, but are bit fuzzy close up even at high settings and are just over the line as passable.

LSGG is circuited well with traffic, and the approach is excellent with (Motorway E62) heavy loaded with high set traffic and their movements around your approach viewpoints.

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Landing from the east puts all the main airport and aprons to your left (south) and just the small GA and private jet area called "North Apron" to your right. LGSS has one major runway in 05/23 (3,900m - 12,795ft) and a smaller grass runway in 05L/23R (823m - 2700ft). Another duplicate major runway is planned but on hold.

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Runway textures are excellent and well worn, directional signage is also first rate, but no grass features.

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Main south apron is long and only one taxiway lane for arrivals and departures. East hangars and ramps are called "Compass Base", Airpark and Grand Hangar and further along in the main terminal area there are two terminals in first the older T2 and then the main central T1 "M" terminal and the three central ramp circular remote (satellite?) terminals (unusual).

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Satellite terminals are noted via their gate numbers (20 - 30 - 40) and I was assigned Gate 42 on the far eastern circular terminal. Turning around in between the remote terminals is quite tight (certainly in a A330 or larger) so you have to follow the internal lines quite perfectly.

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The scenery comes with the excellent (Marginal) animated Jetways and they are really good and well created here. Only small issue is that with the circular nature of these satellite terminals there is no marshall or gateway guidance? (Gateway guidance is available on all other terminal gates). So it is a bit hit and miss to line up the aircraft doors to the boarding arms on the satellite terminal ramps? Pilot+Plus has noted they are going to mark the ramps in an update with aircraft parking markers to help in with the alignment. 

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Parked at Gate 42 (numbered actually 41?) you can unleash the excellent addon JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin and a Swissport livery makes your arrival very authentic...

One small note here is all the static aircraft have been created by Pilot+Plus themselves. This is because of the lack of static aircraft available to developers, OpenSceneryX is the usual provider, but lately their aircraft modeling are starting to look very old and outdated. No problems for freeware, but developers are in a bind with payware aircraft. I have promoted a library just for scenery developers to pay a fee and get access to high quality static objects (Aircraft) and don't cross the copyright boundaries. So developers have to currently get around this by creating their own static aircraft, and I don't think it has been very successful here, they look great at a distance but are quite average close up.

Overall my Geneva Airport arrival experience was excellent, very realistic and very Swiss. The Alpine backdrop and the challenging arrival route gives you a thoroughly authentic feel to the scenery.

Geneva Airport (Cointrin)

Geneva Airport

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IATA: GVA – ICAO: LSGG

05/23 3,900m (12,795ft) Concrete
05L/23R 823m (2,700ft) Grass/Earth
Elevation AMSL 430 m/1,411 ft

Geneva airport was created in 1919 as a simple field in Cointrin, near the city of Geneva. From 1926 to 1931, the wooden sheds were replaced by three concrete ones. At the time, there was a small amount of air traffic, with Lufthansa flying from Berlin to Barcelona via Halle, Leipzig, Geneva and Marseille. Swissair also flew the Geneva-Lyon-Paris route in a codeshare with Air Union.

In 1930 there were six airlines that flew to Geneva Airport, flying seven different routes. In 1937 the first concrete runway was built; it measured 405 by 21 m (1,329 by 69 ft). In 1938 eight airlines were flying to Geneva: Swissair, KLM, Lufthansa, Air France, Malert (Hungary), AB Aerotransport (Sweden), Alpar (Switzerland) and Imperial Airways (UK).

During World War 2 the Swiss authorities forbade all flights from Switzerland. In 1945, the runway was enlarged to 1,200 m (3,900 ft), and the authorities agreed to a 2.3M project to build a first terminal in Geneva. In 1946 the new terminal - which is today used as Terminal 2 - was ready for use, and the runway was enlarged once more to 2000 m. In 1947 the first service to New York started with a Swissair Douglas DC-4. On July 17, 1959, the first jet aircraft landed in Geneva, an SAS Caravelle, and it was followed, 11 years later, by a TWA Boeing 747which landed in 1970.

In 1960 the runway was extended to its current length of 3,900 m (12,800 ft). This is unusually long for an airport of this size, and could only be built after some territory was exchanged between France and Switzerland. In 1968 the construction of a second runway and a mid-field round terminal were proposed, but ultimately the concept was never realised. On May 7, 1968, Geneva Main Terminal was inaugurated, which was planned to accommodate 7 million passengers a year. This number was reached in 1985.

Since then, a number of changes to the airport have been made. Two of the three in-field terminals have been upgraded with jet bridges, and a new terminal has been built in front of the main terminal with 12 jet bridges, plus two ground floor gates. (wikipiedia)

Overview

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Scenery looks very good visually, well set out in the X-Plane environment. Default autogen fits in perfectly with the modeled buildings. There is some nice Geneva additions with marina and sailboats and the iconic water fountain.

Terminals

There are two terminals at Geneva Airport. Confusingly T2 (Terminal 2) was the old original T1 Cointrin terminal which was built in 1946 and that has since been virtually abandoned and only budget carriers (Easyjet) and seasonal airlines use it and even they turn their noses up at it. Passengers are only checked-in at this terminal, and then sent to the main terminal by a low floor bus (Neoplan). It is part of the airport's catering (rear) buildings as well.

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There are six hard stands in front and four remote stands.

T1: Terminal 1 is even more confusing, as besides the standard Swiss gates there are French gates, but the French access gates were converted to Schengen Areas (free pass borders) in 2008.

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The central terminal (known as (M) for "Main") has two long piers more recently built on to its east and west sides (more north-east and south-west) 

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There is some really fine work in this scenery but this top section of the terminal is not one of them. It looks old, with no definition or quality depth and the textures and glass reflections are bland and unfortunately it is bang square in the middle of the airport. More weird is the lower parts of the terminal on the landside arrivals point of view are very good with excellent textures? So it does not balance and it just does not look right.

As noted the landside of T1 is very good, very well modeled with great airport signage. Throughout the airport Pilot+Plus has well stocked the areas with vehicle and ramp objects, P+P are well noted for this (EGGD Bristol was excellent) and they don't disappoint here. But no airport vehicle animations which is surprising as again Bristol was very good there. Underlay images are also a bit stretched and not as sharp as they could be, very Aerosoft scenery in design in this aspect.

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Gates 1 - 12 are catered for by the south-west pier and the central "M" terminal. All gates and fully animated jetways are well done, well modeled with good window textures. All gates have excellent ramp objects and equipment.

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North-east pier C has three gates with jetways and ten remote hard stands. Notable these gates are for widebody aircraft, and future changes will add more gates here with a single A380 category F assigned gate.

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The biggest feature in choice of gate parking has to be the three remote satellite terminals. A and B are noted but they are mostly referred to by their gate numbers in 20 - 30 - 40. Satellite terminal 20 has no boarding jetways and is a ramp walk on/walk off facility, and so great for regional services (Dash Q400-CRJ-200...) there are 8 stands.

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Satellite terminals 30 and 40 have four jetways each, and are the pick of choice for arrival.

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All three remote terminals are well reproduced, very detailed and very authentic when used.

Cargo

Geneva Airport is in a big strategic position for cargo. Not only for the Swiss territories but also the close by French areas as well, and so it has a significant cargo hub based here.

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The three parking points in front of the main cargo warehouse is actually restricted to smaller aircraft (or one very large one). The best area to park up a widebody cargo aircraft is in front (three large and one small) stands of the airport's services facilities area.

The airport's main multi-use maintenance area is to far right south-west with the noted "Airpark" and "Grand Hangar".

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Central adjacent to the original T1 Cointrin terminal is the iconic Geneva control tower.

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Very well recreated, it is certainly a notable presence on the ramps. Textures are slightly dull and he windows have little life, but overall it is very good. Tower view is excellent (below) with unrestricted views over both approach paths and ramp areas.

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North Apron

There is significant private jet and general aviation parking on the "North Apron". Situated over the other side of the airport's commercial area as you don't have mix in with the heavy traffic to get in and out of LSGG. Plenty of space for parking and a great reception building and hangars.

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Palexpo and Geneva Arena

The Geneva airport is unusual in that a significant proportion of the north-eastern side is allocated to not aircraft and airline related infrastructure, but also exhibition and convention space in the Palexpo and Geneva Arena complexes. These huge spaces host car shows, rock concerts and huge conventions throughout the year.

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All of these huge halls have been faithfully reproduced, and great design work on the facades of the Geneva Arena. The end of the Palexpo building has a small texture thrash but otherwise it is a very good design of a significant aspect of the airport. The old Swissair administration building is also well reproduced as is the underground SBB/CFF rail station building.

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The two large "World Trade" buildings are also well represented as is all the smaller airport infrastructure from administration buildings, car rentals, large carparks and fuel depot.

The aspects of the E62 Motorway that passes through a section of the Palexpo exhibition centre and runs directly along the boundary of the airport is also very well conceived. This is a very important fixture of the airport's visual environment with those significant huge electricity pylons dominating the landscape and the view.

Airport and surrounding areas nightlighting

There is a fair amount of autogen around Geneva Airport. The good is that it looks brilliant at night on approach, the bad is that it can give you a big frame rate hit on slower computers.

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But overall the visual views in landing and the airport approach lighting is excellent as is the runway directional signage.

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Overall airport lighting is excellent as per Pilot+Plus. However a few textures come across as early Flight Sim, bland and one colour. Where it is good though it is very good like around the landside Terminal 1 entrances, landside signage is excellent.

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Ramp lighting is perfect, well spaced and very usable on the ground, any aircraft looks great under the lights.

Services

Geneva is pretty well central to anywhere as major European, Northern Europe and Mediterranean ports are within easy reach. US, Russia, Middle East (including Dubai/Doha) and major seasonal traffic are also heavy traffic areas. Most European airlines are operators to LSGG.

Top routes:

1 London - (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, City Airport, Stansted, Southend) - 1,197,674
2 Paris - (Orly, Charles de Gaulle) - 488,496
3 Amsterdam - 320,538
4 Brussels - 280,609
5 Lisbon - 253,841
6 Madrid - 252,852
7 Porto - 244,913
8 Zurich - 239,363
9 Barcelona - 236,844
10  Nice - 205,918
11 Frankfurt - 189,053
12 Rome - 175,373
13 Edinburgh - 153,766
14 Moscow (Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo) - 150,835
15 Copenhagen - 138,291

Cargo

DHL - AviationBrussels, Leipzig/Halle
TNT - AirwaysBasel/Mulhouse, Liège
UPS - Airlines operated by ASL Airlines SwitzerlandBasel/Mulhouse, Cologne/Bonn

Summary

LSGG - Geneva Airport was a big ambitious project and a major step up for Pilot+Plus from their more regional airports in EGHI - Southampton and EGGD - Bristol...   both excellent sceneries.

It is a complicated scenery as well. Because it is not just an airport environment here but the scenery also has significant exhibition and convention space attached as well with the added interweaving complex traffic and roadways that circle the airport and they also come well within its boundaries. Get it all to work as it does here and you have a really great scenery.

Negatives are few, but some building textures are not as deep or as a good quality as the rest, so there is a mixture of texture quality. The actual amount is small, but are in unfortunately highly visible areas that distract your viewpoint (upper T1, control tower and the Trade Centre at night are standouts). The underlaying ground textures are also of average (stretched) quality. The static aircraft are not up to the quality of the overall scenery either (close up) and as I noted it was a problem to be bravely tried and tested, but they are just not up to a quality standard.

All building and modeling is very well done as is the usual high quality lighting and important airport runway, taxiway and signage layouts.

Overall Pilot+Plus's Geneva Airport is an excellent well created and executed quality scenery and a great destination. Amazing arrival routes and this airport is certainly placed centrally into one of the very great atmospheric and visual vistas in the world.

What more do you want in a central European hub...

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Yes! the LSGG - Geneva Airport from Pilot+Plus is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here :

LSGG - Geneva Airport

Price is US$24.95

Requirements:

X-Plane 10 (any edition)
Windows, Mac or Linux. 
Multi-core processor @ 2.6 Ghz or faster, 4GB Ram.
3D video card with at least 1GB VRAM - 2Gb VRAM recommended

Developer Site: Pilot+Plus

It is a big scenery and situated in a lot of adjoining autogen, so the above specifications are the minimum required. You can run this scenery on less but you will have to compromise on a lot of your render settings and special effects.

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Features:
  • Faithful replica with HD Buildings
  • High Resolution ground imagery covering a very large area
  • Custom Night lighting
  • Animations & Local POI's
  • Custom Made Static Aircraft, Bundled Pack
  • Animated Jetway's & Guidance Docking System
  • Very detailed 3D Models covering the whole airport
  • Ambient Occlusion
  • Custom Runways, Aprons & Taxiways
  • Navigational Charts, downloadable

 

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Installation and documents: Download is 333.30meg and the scenery is deposited in the "Custom Scenery" X-Plane folder at 1.21gb.

Manual is supplied and LSGG charts can be downloaded here: http://www.ivao.ch/documentation/category/10-geneva-fir
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Review by Stephen Dutton
 
1st April 2016
 
Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 8 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin - US$14.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- Airbus A320neo by JARDesign (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$59.95

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It is a "HANGAR", not a "Hanger"....a hanger is one of those wire things in you cupboard to hang your clothes in. A Hangar is an aviation structure.

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57 minutes ago, Guest YBBN Bound said:

It is a "HANGAR", not a "Hanger"....a hanger is one of those wire things in you cupboard to hang your clothes in. A Hangar is an aviation structure.

Spell Hangar right fifteen times and get it wrong once and it is hell to pay...  fixed.

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