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Scenery Review: CYTZ - Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport XP12

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Scenery Review: CYTZ - Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport XP12


By Michael Hayward


As someone who has recently explored the beauty of Canada, with Toronto being one of my fascinating stops, I was thrilled to dive into Skyline Simulations' rendition of Billy Bishop City Airport. Skyline Simulations, well-known and respected among X-Plane simmers, has a knack for bringing virtual landscapes to life, and this latest offering caught my eye for obvious reasons.

Situated southwest of downtown Toronto City, with its stunning skyscrapers and the iconic CN Tower, this small regional airport is a gateway to a vibrant urban landscape. Having experienced Toronto's charm firsthand, I was particularly eager to see how accurately this scenery package captured the real thing.

Operated under CBSA classification, and capable of handling aircraft with up to 90 passengers, Billy Bishop City Airport offers unique challenges and aesthetics, drawing in pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike. Whether by pedestrian tunnel or a quick ferry ride, the airport serves as a bustling hub and a testament to modern aviation. Join me as I delve into this X-Plane rendition of a place that's still fresh in my travel memories.




The process of installing Billy Bishop City Airport by Skyline Simulations was a straightforward affair. The download size was 1.2GB, which when unzipped, came to a total of 2.9GB. The installation itself was a simple matter of unzipping the package and then placing it into my X-Plane 12 Custom Scenery folder. The absence of online activation or the need for a serial number, further eased the installation process, a welcome feature that adds to the user-friendly experience. With such a seamless start, I was all the more eager to discover what lay ahead, but let’s first look at the included documentation.

The documentation accompanying Billy Bishop City Airport was both concise and informative. Included within a 10-page PDF document, I found clear instructions for the installation, scenery load order, and recommended settings. Additionally, there were helpful links to airport charts, ensuring that simmers have access to all the necessary information to fully enjoy the scenery.


Toronto's Skyline
I was immediately taken by the impressive skyline of Toronto, meticulously recreated by Skyline Simulations. The Rogers Center, Roundhouse Park, and the highly detailed Toronto City Hall, with its integrated signage prominently featuring the city's name, were standout structures. However, the towering CN Tower commanded particular attention.


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Completed in 1976, the CN Tower stands at a staggering height of 553.3 meters (1,815 feet) and was once the world's tallest freestanding structure until 2009. It serves as both a symbol of Toronto and a marvel of modern engineering. While the tower is impressively rendered, it's worth noting that from ground level, it appears to float a few metres above its foundation. This doesn't detract much from an aerial perspective but becomes evident when viewed up close.


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In addition to these landmarks, numerous skyscrapers (too many to mention individually), adorned the cityscape, lending a true sense of urban grandeur.


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Various piers and docks, including numerous boats, further enriched the scene. On closer inspection, however, some of the boats appeared to float above the waterline, and trees emerged through the roofs of certain waterfront buildings. Additionally, a handful of residential houses appear misplaced, occupying portions of the waterfront that they shouldn't. Overall, the portrayal of Toronto's landmarks manages to capture the essence of the city and offers an engaging experience, albeit with room for future refinement.


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Billy Bishop City Airport
Skyline Simulations has invested considerable effort in capturing the unique atmosphere of Billy Bishop Airport, although the results are a bit of a mixed bag when compared to their excellent portrayal of Toronto's skyline. While the general modelling and texturing of the airport's main terminal and airstrip are competent, reflecting reasonable accuracy, the smaller buildings like maintenance sheds and hangars do not live up to the same standard. These structures offer little more than a cursory resemblance to their real-world counterparts.


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The ferries, a distinct feature near the airport, are aesthetically pleasing from a distance but betray their imperfections upon closer inspection—specifically, they appear to be filled with water, likely due to their placement near the sea. While not a significant issue for those enjoying the scenery from the skies, it becomes noticeable and somewhat distracting for users who opt for a more detailed exploration.


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In terms of atmosphere, the airport is lacking in elements that would convey a sense of busyness or liveliness. Sparse ground clutter and the absence of 3D human figures contribute to this shortfall. This renders the portrayal of Billy Bishop Airport as what one might call a "lite" version, certainly a step up from the default X-Plane offering but falling short of capturing the airport's full vibrancy and detail.


Note: I've been informed that the developers are aware of these inconsistencies both at the airport and within the skyline. They have assured me that fixes are on the horizon, although the timeline for these improvements remains unspecified.


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Overall, Skyline Simulations' rendition of Billy Bishop City Airport is a commendable effort but one that could benefit from additional refinement. It serves as a respectable placeholder, with the potential for growth and improvement, especially when considering the already high standard set by the Toronto skyline.


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Night Lighting

As evening sets in, the cityscape takes on a new dimension. The CN Tower’s lighting becomes a focal point, subtly cycling through a palette of colours that adds an appealing touch to the skyline. The skyscrapers, too, contribute to the nighttime atmosphere. While the lighting techniques may be a bit dated in places, they are effective in capturing the essence of a bustling urban setting, enhanced by various lit signs. Toronto City Hall’s illuminated signage lends an additional layer of charm, complementing the overall nighttime view. However, it also serves as a reminder that while the visual effects are effective, they are not cutting-edge.


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Over at Billy Bishop City Airport, the night lighting is adequate, illuminating key operational areas like the main runway and taxiways, as well as some maintenance hangars. While the airport lighting doesn’t quite match the vibrancy of the city, it does its job for pilots navigating during darker hours.


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When it comes to performance, Skyline Simulations' Toronto package is generally solid, but there are some points to note. During daylight operations, the scenery runs smoothly, maintaining good framerates that facilitate an enjoyable virtual piloting experience. However, as twilight sets in and the city lights begin to flicker on, there is a noticeable drop in performance. Whether this is an X-Plane 12 issue, a glitch reported by several users, or specific to this scenery is not entirely clear. It's a factor worth considering, especially for those planning numerous evening or night flights.


Memory usage is another area of attention. When pushing the scenery to its limits by maxing out all graphical settings (excluding Anti-Aliasing), VRAM consumption soared well beyond the 8GB mark. While this won't be a concern for those with high-end setups, users with less powerful rigs should be mindful of this when adjusting their settings.


Skyline Simulations' Toronto package is a tapestry of highs and lows that offers a mixed yet promising virtual experience. The Toronto skyline is undoubtedly the crown jewel, featuring captivating landmarks like the CN Tower and City Hall, albeit with room for improvement in certain areas.


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Billy Bishop City Airport, on the other hand, feels like a 'lite' version of its real-world counterpart, lacking the bustling atmosphere and attention to detail seen in the cityscape. Performance-wise, daytime operations are generally smooth, but users should be cautious of potential framerate drops during twilight and night-time flights. Memory usage is also a concern when operating at high graphical settings.


All said, while it's difficult to give Skyline Simulations' Toronto offering an unreserved recommendation due to its numerous issues, the package does have its merits, notably the striking skyline. For those with a fondness for Toronto or a connection to the area, these positives may well outweigh the negatives, making it easier to look past its current shortcomings.






Skyline Simulation's CYTZ - Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport for XP12 is available from the Org store here:


CYTZ - Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport XP12
Priced at US$25.55


Main Features:

  • UHD custom textures using the latest painting techniques
  • XPLCity with custom 3D houses around the island
  • Super-detailed 3D modelling
  • PBR materials on every building
  • FSEco-subsystem
  • Detailed HD ground with PBR and decals
  • Custom 3D vegetation blends with orthophotos
  • XPEco-subsystem
  • 7Km Ultra-high-resolution custom orthoimagery for the airport
  • Thousands of 3D custom static objects
  • Accurate Island and City using original OSM data
  • Amazing and detailed island night textures
  • Ground traffic
  • Animated Radar



X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
Windows, Mac, or Linux
8 GB+ VRAM Video Card
Current version: 1.0 (July 16th, 2023
Download size: 1.2Gb


Reviewers System:

Windows 10 Professional
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor

Palit GeForce RTX™ 3080 GamingPro


Scenery Review by Michael Hayward 

14th September 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews 


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) 



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