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Scenery Review : EGCC Manchester Airport by Aerosoft/Icarius

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Scenery Review : EGCC Manchester Airport by Aerosoft/Icarius
 
Childhood dreams are hard to forget, emotional and still very vivid. "Ringway" is a significant name as the noted "big" airport and the "really big" aircraft flew out of there. School friends or "aeroplane freaks" would band together with myself to do a weekend or school holiday 'sortie" to the hallowed turf of the visitor enclosure (I don't know why they called it an enclosure as it was always open and freezing), but Ringway was the place to dream and mostly hear the sounds of pure aviation thrills (in other words really dirty pure 60's jet engines) it was to a 14 year old simply heaven...  or close to it.
 
The odd Boeing hush-kitted 727 may still grace Ringway's ramps, but the rest of the 50's and 60's machinery have now long gone, a Trident 3B G-AWZKl is however still on display in the viewing park to relive the glory days. but the Ringway of today is dominated by Airbuses and Boeings that are far more efficient and in far more numbers than in the yesteryear.
 
The size of Ringway is now triple the apron space and the huge terminals cover the farmland that we would sometimes in knee high grass try to get to a better vantage point to get that photo of a departing Viscount or if really lucky a Boeing 707 heading away to Idlewild in the States.
 
But for everything Ringway is in a way today still the Ringway we knew and loved, a lot of the basic infrastructure is still there if only now in a different disguise or function...  the place is well, just bigger and better.
 
Manchester Airport (IATA: MAN, ICAO: EGCC) started construction on 28 November 1935 and was opened partly in June 1937 and then completely on 25 June 1938. The name "Ringway" came from Ringway parish north of Wilmslow. It's north border was Yewtree Lane. During World War II it was the known base for RAF Ringway and was important in military aircraft production and in training parachutists. After World War II the base then reverted back into a civilian airport, and was gradually expanded to its present size. Historically, Manchester Airport has consistently been the 2nd busiest airport after London Heathrow for a number of decades following World War II. The airport is 7.5 NM (13.9 km; 8.6 mi) south of Manchester city centre. And from 1975 until 1986 it was called "Manchester International Airport". Now it is known again as just "Manchester Airport".
 
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Aerosoft and Icarius's brilliant EIDW - Dublin was in a way the revelation of last year in scenery (X-PlaneReviews review : Scenery Review : EIDW - Dublin by Aerosoft) and I made it a co-winner (with CZST - Stewart by beti-x) of the best scenery of 2014, and well deserving it was. Besides EIDW's great visual appeal it also had great usability and position, that is very important in our routes and simulation immersion. It worked and works really well in giving the pilot the full simulation experience.
 
At the time EIDW - Dublin was released Icarius announced their next project as EGCC Manchester which is just a short hop over the Irish Sea to mainland northern England, so what a great pair to put together. But Aerosoft have also in the mean time also released in May 2015 their excellent EGLL - London Heathrow (X-PlaneReviews review : Scenery Review : EGLL London Heathrow by Aerosoft) so it has certainly been a golden banner 12 months for UK scenery in X-Plane.
 
First Impressions
 
It was only fitting to put the last airport by Icarius in EIDW - Dublin together with their latest in EGCC - Manchester and do a hop over the Irish Sea and get our first impression of Ringway 2015 style.
 
Our ride is FlyJSim's Bombardier Q400, a perfect companion to do a short medium level commuter flight.
 
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EIDW still has that impressionable feeling, as it is still a great piece of visual awareness. I did the same route routinely three to four years ago between EIDW and EGCC and both points of departure and arrival were then very good if not the best scenery for X-Plane for the period in this part of the world. Looking at the older images of that time you can see the huge progress that has been made with X-Plane scenery to date.
 
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The Irish Sea hop is quite short, but the Welsh Mountains and Liverpool (EGGP) can create good visual references. A high flypast with EGCC on your right shows how well the airport is consumed into the X-Plane surrounding scenery, only the large apron areas stand out with the buildings, and even there the Manchester urban sprawl can disguise the northern boundary of the airport.
 
If landing from the east into EGCC then runways 23L/23R can be tricky, In a medium sized airliner coming down it is quite straight forward, but with a lower flying commuter aircraft or GA you will find yourself hemmed in by the northern hills of the Peak District into a semi-circle bowl, so you have to follow the STAR or navigation with caution, get it wrong and you will find yourself easily rubbing your lower parts of aircraft with the highground. So there is a certain required slow speed and an awareness to get the approach right. Aerosoft supply a good set of STAR's and EGCC airport layouts with the scenery which can be studied (google earth helps as well), If flying at night or in poor visuals (i.e. fog) then don't go off your flightplan by a millimeter or fear the worse. It is worth adding in the "North England Landmarks" by sigoo as it includes the Jodrell Bank space telescope that is visible on the southern side of the airport and is a standout landmark on all approaches.
 
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The approach to 23R is excellent, as the airport is as noted well inserted into the surrounding default textures, but closer and at a lower altitude you can see how good it really is, the approach lighting is excellent as well. The runways 05L/23R and 05R/23L are offset and by a significant amount so it is not uncommon to see taxiing aircraft crossing 05R/23L at taxiway D midfield to get to the outer runway. Both runways are to the left/south on this approach and the airport infrastructure and buildings are on the right/north and the visual complexity and realism of the airport is simply first rate. (turn down your visual distance and have low light fog and it is simply sensational)
 
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I was very impressed with the runway and taxiway textures, there is some very good ground textures around now, but these are up there as they are very good, with patches of tarmac and worn areas, lineage and taxiway signage is also first rate. All the airport radars rotate (yeah) with animation and there is one on the left on departure from RWY23L onto taxiiway A which is a bit of a landmark when arriving and departing from the western part of the airport.
 
On the left on taxiway A is the airport "Runway Visitor Park" which is a viewing area and museum, and then the huge hangars that is "Western Maintenance" the placed foliage is excellent so the visual appeal along this A route is excellent.
 
The unique EGCC control tower stands next to Western Maintenance, and it stands out in design. The main older Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 dominate the view on this arrival and my parking stand 09 is on the right of the old original concourse of Terminal 1.
 
I added in EGCC Ground Traffic XPD 1.0 by GMGK1 which was created for Emma Bentley's version of EGCC, but works fine here, it gives you a more buzzy airport and active vehicles. There is ground traffic included with the Icarius package and they are very good as well, but the two sets of animations double the fun.
 
Gate 09 and the gate area is full of static vehicles and ramp equipment, ramp ground textures are excellent and the visual feast is very good. EGCC well caters for all types of operators, walk on commuters have plenty of bays around this older terminal one area and a few remote parking (east) stands as well, as we go through the terminals I will note the various areas. So overall the first impressions of EGCC-Manchester are overwhelmingly good.
 
EGCC-Manchester
 
EGCC_Manchester Airport
(IATA: MAN, ICAO: EGCC)
 
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05L/23R 3,048m (10,000ft) Concrete
05R/23L 3,050m (10,007ft) Concrete/grooved asphalt

Elevation AMSL 257 ft / 78 m

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For the UK, Manchester EGCC is a large airport and covers a lot of area in this package. It is sitting on another crowded mesh tile (with Liverpool - EGGP), but somehow I always struggle for frame-rate at EGCC, maybe it is the terrain or just the heavy density urban textures of Manchester city itself. But considering the complexity and the huge amount of objects in this package it is not as bad as I feared. It is in the low numbers on my machine but not down in the red devil unrunable or unuseable zones. But I did find I could use this EGCC unlike other EGCC versions in the past, so in that case for the extensive detailing included in this package framerate is very good. One note is that the outlying underlaying (ortho) textures which are very good and high density, but they do block out a lot of the default autogen, the roads work (thank god) but there are many blanks areas were usually it is heavy density urban sprawl.

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There are three Terminal areas at Manchester, It is a good idea to look at the original layout of the airport as I saw them in the early 70's.

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The airport was then an old RAF airfield with a few large maintenance hangars dominating the airport, you had the two finger concourses connected to the single main terminal building and built in control tower. Noted is that Manchester was the first European Airport to have piers. Amazingly this original infrastructure is still part of today's layout, but the two piers have been separated into on the right left (west) Terminal 1 and on the (east) Terminal 3 with both newer extensions. A large new separate terminal area in Terminal 2 was built in the north-west.

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Terminal 1

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Terminal 1 consists of two piers at 90º right angles, with the older (1962) concourse and the extension with a circular set of gates on the end.

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Terminal 1 is used by airlines with scheduled, charter operations and LCC's (Low Cost Carriers), flying to European and other worldwide destinations. It is the largest terminal at the airport. It was opened in 1962, by Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and it is a base for EasyJet, Jet2 and Thomas Cook. Some other airlines that use Terminal 1 include Brussels Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss, TAP Portugal and Turkish Airlines.

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The terminal has 29 stands, of which 15 have air bridges, and is the largest of the three terminals. Gate 12 (on the end) was specially adapted to accommodate the Airbus A380 which is operated by Emirates on their route from Dubai to Manchester, making the airport a Category10 airport as it can handle the A380 and Code F aircraft. Terminal 1's current capacity is around 11 million passengers a year, compared with an annual capacity of 2.5 million passengers when it first opened. It is noted that in time Terminal 1 will be demolished to make way for improvements, but a £50 million redevelopment programme for Terminal 1 was completed only completed in 2009.

The Terminal 1 design is first rate, with different textures and feel with both piers, roof sections have good detailing with piping and air-conditioning ducts. neat details like the older huts and storage areas nestled in the corners of the ramp areas give authenticity. The Terminal building itself is supremely well done and reflects the design of the period.

 
Terminal 2
 
The terminal is a one long row of tall gates with the the main terminal building central. It is impressive and very well reproduced here, certainly realistic to look at and use.
 
Terminal 2 was opened in 1993 and it is a base for Monarch, Thomson Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Some other airlines that use the terminal include Air Malta, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific returned to the Terminal in December 2014 and operate a service to their hub at Hong Kong.
 
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Terminal 2 has 20 gates, of which 14 have air bridges. The design of the terminal makes it capable of extensive expansion; planning permission already exists for an extension providing additional gates, together with the construction of a satellite pier. Terminal 2's current capacity is around 8 million passengers a year, this will be extended to ultimately handle 25 million passengers a year.
 
The arrival area and adjacent huge multistory carpark is very well reproduced and detailed with the highlight the multi-tiled glass roofing of T2. The central road area is a little too empty empty and the pipe style design on the carpark can fizzle around at a distance, but close up it is very good.
 
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At the eastern end of the terminal there is an adjacent Raddison Blu hotel, which is a very reproduction of the hotel.
 
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In front of Terminal 2 there is a very good central stand area called the "Western Apron" that has 14 hard stands.
 
Terminal 3
 
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The changes in the naming of Terminal 3 shows off its quirky history... “Terminal 1 – British Airways”, “Terminal 1A” and “Terminal 3 – British Airways and Domestic”. The right original pier was originally the British Airways terminal until it was merged into the new eastern section in June 1998. It is now the primary terminal for British Airways and their One World partners. It is also a base for the Flybe and Ryanair operations. Some other airlines that fly out of Terminal 3 include Air France, American Airlines, BMI Regional and KLM.
 
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The concourse is very much changed from the original pier but the old bits still poke through. The rest is curved or slabbed concrete with a large paneled glass areas. It is very hard to get this terminal to look right as the green glass can come out usually too bright and gaudy, but Icarius have done a very good job in getting the right transparency, so it looks perfect, the faded worn concrete is a visual delight as well, and very authentic. Far east of the T3 complex on taxiway G are three stands (58,57 and 56) that I use a lot, which are very handy to 23R or 23L.
 
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You can't go pass Terminal 3 without noticing the dominating old control tower on top of the building, it is still in use but only as now a ramp observation point and not runway or approach control center. Highly realistic it is a perfect reproduction of the real design, and the contrast between the old and newer facades is well done. A radar works above the tower.

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As with all the ramp areas they are full of baggage trolleys, aircraft stairs, containers and all sorts of airport equipment, so detailing is first rate. Behind Terminal 3 is a huge concrete carpark of the older style and more east to the airport boundaries are well laid out carparks with numerous 3d vehicles. The "Airport Hotel" pub is well represented with beer garden on the eastern boundary.
 
The Station & Hotels
 
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The Station is the simplified name of the Manchester Airport railway station, opened in May 1993. It sits buried behind the T1/T3 Terminal complexes. The station is surrounded by hotels, built into the station is the 4M accommodation block (green), Voyager and the Bewley's (now called the "Clayton") and the Raddission Blu as noted, The Premier Inn is there on the western boundary (see Cargo below) but the Hilton and Crowne Plaza further east are missing?
 
All the hotels and rail station are very well recreated and well reproduced, but carparks are a little empty and flat around these buildings, sadly the ortho textures take out the maze of OSM roads and traffic movement in the inner area that was so good with other EGCC sceneries.
 
Cargo and Western Maintenance
 
The cargo area is extensive and called the "World Freight Terminal", which is a bit grand for a collection of modern warehouse style buildings and a lot of old warehouses and ex-hangars set out behind. But as a cargo area it is very good, and the older warehouses are quite good if a little repeatable closeup in their textures. The Premier Inn is set out on the M56 motorway.
 
The World Cargo Terminal was opened in 1986. There is 550,000 sq ft (51,000 m2) of warehouse and office space on site, including a chiller unit for frozen products and a border inspection post. There are three aircraft maintenance hangars, with five transit sheds, operated by British Airways Regional Cargo, Swissport Cargo, Menzies World Cargo, Plane Handling and Servisair. There are over 100 freight forwarding companies on site.
 
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There is a good fuel depot/ground equipment storage to the east of the World Freight Terminal, and then the huge impressive (blue) Thomas Cook maintenance hangar that dominates the EGCC scenery.
 
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The Thomas Cook hangar is sensationally well done, not just the exterior but the interior is as well detailed as well, the excellent lighting highlights the building even more, few aircraft ground support items set out inside would have been a good idea. Behind are two more large maintenance hangars for Air Livery an aircraft repainting company, and the older style Monarch Airlines maintenance hangar.
 
Control Tower and Fire Station
 
The new EGCC control tower was opened on 25 June 2013. And at 60m tall, it is the UK's second tallest control tower, after London Heathrow, and it replaced the old tower on top of Terminal 1.
 
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Well proportioned and a great reproduction the airport tower is well done, closeup detail is excellent with the internal elements easily visible. Glass transparency is very good as well. The Manchester Airport Fire Station is set out at the base of the tower complex, and that includes another mini-fire tower.
 
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Control tower view is first rate. The viewing point is set just above the revolving radar in a perfect position, with a clear view of the runways and most of the western area ramp areas. Very good for watching your approaches and departures.
 
Runway Visitor Park and Periphery areas
 
Behind the World Freight Terminal and Western Maintenance and fronting the western taxiway A is the "Runway Visitor Park" (formerly "Aviation Viewing Park" (AVP), It is in anorak circles quite famous but there are other more (closer and off limit areas that are better) for viewing 23R/05L action, but you can be amazed how close you can get to a lumbering A380 here.
 
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One of the best preserved Concorde G-BOAC is in a hangar here that opened 13th January 2009. The Viewing park celebrates all things British in aviation, a Trident 3b G-AWZK, RAF Nimrod (in the wrong colour, should be grey) and the last airliner to be built in the UK, BAE Systems Avro RJX G-IRJX. The park attracts 300,000 vistiors a year, so aviation is still a major tourist attraction is done right. Icarius have done the park really well with all the current attractions shown and the Concorde housing well designed and created. An excellent blast fenced area is available to the right of the park.
 
The "Airport Hotel" pub is well represented with its beer garden on the eastern boundary. And there is an aircraft fire fighting simulation area on the eastern-southside. There is not a lot of General Aviation areas here, but you could use the Landmark Aviation building by the Fire Station as a refuel, private jet drop off area.
 
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Ground/Runway Textures
 
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Ground and runway textures are first rate, in being, cracked, worn and patched, center runway tire markings are good as well. No 3d grass here, like some Aerosoft airports, but the infields are well done and realistic.
 
Night Lighting
 
There is not a lot variation in the lighting. It is basically all one tone, carparks and all. but the light spread on the ramp and stand areas are good for working around the aircraft in the dark.
 
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The building/hotels are good, and the terminal glass lighting which is very hard to get right is very nice. The standout feature is the lighting on the old control tower which looks very 70's.
 
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Runway (approach is excellent) and night signage is very good, and well placed.
 
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Usability/Routes
 
There is not a lot here for General Aviation or Private Jet services, but for anything else EGCC is a pretty comprehensive hub. Tours, Charter are big business around here as the package tour business to Spain, Greece and the Mediterranean took off around here in the early 70's, and Florida/Disney is a still big business. Domestic, LCC and European destinations are comprehensive as well, but long distance International services are becoming even more frequent as travelers are using Manchester to avoid the congested London Airports. It is not a big A380 port, but it is known as the "Hub of the North" and EGCC is becoming more important as it is convenient. The airport is the base for Thomas Cook, Flybe, Monarch Airlines, Jet2.com
 
Routes

1 London-Heathrow - 876,597
1 Dubai - 799,630
2 Dublin - 755,594
3 Tenerife South - 743,069
4 Amsterdam - 728,198
5 Palma de Mallorca - 654,543
6 Alicante - 597,580
7 Málaga - 545,042
8 Paris-Charles de Gaulle - 506,018
9 Dalaman - 470,644
10 Orlando - 426,879
11 Abu Dhabi - 394,547
12 Faro - 394,500
13 Arrecife de Lanzarote - 388,189
14 Frankfurt - 375,183
15 Munich - 324,492
16 Sharm el-Sheikh - 308,158
17 Belfast-City - 297,467
18 Copenhagen - 294,885
19 Paphos - 289,243
20 Doha - 239,380

Cargo 

FedEx Express - Birmingham, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
FedEx Express operated by Air Contractors - Glasgow-International, Liège, London-Stansted, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Shannon
Lufthansa Cargo - Frankfurt

 
 Summary
 
EGCC-Manchester Airport is a great companion airport to Icarius's EIDW-Dublin, and certainly another good addition to Aerosoft/Simwings London Heathrow, as they are together a great trisector of UK Airports of high quality scenery.
 
Highly usable and in an outstanding position for flights to the USA and Europe, and even Asia in Singapore and Hong Kong is now in the mix. Domestic and Tour, LCC routes are bountiful and can keep you running routes for weeks servicing the holiday markets. If you want to use the A380, then you will have to remove the single static Emirates A380 as there is only one gate for this Code F aircraft.
 
Price and quality is excellent for this investment, and you get a lot of high quality scenery for your money. The airport scenery itself is not really a frame-rate issue but the area is, so a medium to powerful computer is a bonus.
 
The quality is outstanding in this scenery on all the terminals and buildings, only the slightly boring overall lighting and in areas flat ortho blanks are not really a minus on all the positives. Airport buildings and detail are excellent and the airport is a fine reproduction of Manchester Airport...  In other words it is top notch scenery.
 
Icarius have announced that KORD-Chicago is their next scenery, So their conquests have turned to the Americas and no doubt they will conquer over there next with quality scenery, if EGCC is anything to go by...  I can't wait.
 

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The EGCC Manchester Airport by Aerosoft/Icarius is available now from the New X-Plane.org Store : EGCC - Manchester Airport

Price is US$22.00

Features include:

Highly detailed rendition of Manchester Airport (EGCC)
High resolution day and night scenery
Animated car traffic around the airport
Complete reconstruction of the airport's lighting equipment
Animated airplane towing
Animated radar
Highly detailed manual (PDF)
Compatible with X-Plane 10 HD Mesh Scenery V3
HD and Ultra HD textures
X-Plane 10 HDR lightning
Custom ground textures with about 5cm/px (only airport area)

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Documents and Installation :

Include Manual in English and German (12 Pages) and Aerodrome charts (above)

Download: 743.90mb : Installed in two packages EGCC Manchester Airport - 1.98gb, EGCC Manchester Mesh - 29.9mb

Aerosoft installer is used to place the scenery components in your "Custom Scenery" folder. You are required to in the scenery_packs.ini (texteditor) move the "SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/EGCC Manchester Mesh/" low down at the bottom of the list, if not the EGCC mesh will interfere with other scenery packages on the same mesh tile, or hide them.

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Technical Requirements:

X-Plane 10.30+. Any edition Windows, Windows, Mac, Linux - CPU 2.6 Ghz or faster - 4 GB RAM  - 1Gb+ VRAM (recommended)
Installation size: 1,9 GB - Download-size: 800 MB
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Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton

3rd September 2015

Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews

Review System Specifications:

Computer System:     - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb

Software:     - Mac OS  Yosemite 10.10.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.36 (final)

Addons: - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose Soundlink WiFi Speaker

Scenery

EIDW-Dublin Airport by Aerosoft/Icarius US$29.95 available at the X-Plane.OrgStore

Aircraft

Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 - by FlyJSim US$29.95 available at the X-Plane.OrgStore

 

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Guest VAS excessive load   
Guest VAS excessive load

Too heavy load causes loss of VAS and crashes

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