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Scenery Review : YSSY - Sydney International Airport by Taimodels

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Scenery Review : YSSY - Sydney International Airport by Taimodels


As I live in Australia, you want the best quality scenery to reflect your local environs, yes you want to fly around your own country, but Australia as is with a lot of the destinations in Asia quite dire.


There is Australian scenery but most is currently and mostly freeware. The ISDG Group headed by Chris K covered 10 Australian destinations, including the majors in YSSY-Sydney, YMML-Melbourne and YPAD-Adelaide, otherwise you were left with the mega Barry Roberts VOZ scenery. The ISDG scenery was very good, it is but now six years old, and now feeling very dated with the now disbanded ISDG team and no new updates forthcoming.


So you are now really starting to feeling the dire situation over here. Currently there are only five quality sceneries for Australia. YPPH - Perth International by AxonosYBCG - Gold Coast International Airport by Zero Dollar Payware and two from Orbx with YBRM Broome International Airport and YMEN Essendon Airport and a strange scenery out at YAYE - Ayres Rock - Connellan Airport by RIM&Co 

Most of the quality scenery with Orbx YBBN-Brisbane and YBCS Cairns Airport, and even FlyTampa's excellent YSSY-Sydney never got the transfer treatment, as they are all in the Flight Sim world. It is enough to make you want to cry...  Australia deserves far better.


So here came the surprise that Taimodels have released their YSSY-Sydney for the X-Plane Simulator. Bigger surprise is that it is actually very good. Regular patrons to this site will note I was always in the past not in being a big supporter of the Taimodels style of scenery. In fact one user noted their work as only scenery fillers, but even then they were gaudy at best. Scenery was rushed with limited detail and the night lighting was so unrealistic to be even credible, in time I even stopped announcing any new scenery from Taimodels as I felt it was not worth the time to download and check it out. But Sydney is well, Sydney and it was worthwhile a punt.


YSSY - Sydney International Airport

Sydney International Airport is known by several names; Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney Airport or mostly as Mascot Airport after the local, Mascot suburb. Mascot is located 8 km (5 mi) south of the Sydney central business district. And the airport is owned by Sydney Airport Holdings. It is the primary airport serving Sydney and to a point Australia, and is a primary hub for Qantas, as well as a secondary hub for Virgin Australia and Jetstar, as well as a focus city for Air New Zealand. Situated next to Botany Bay, the airport has three runways.


Sydney Airport is one of the world's longest continuously operated commercial airports and the busiest airport in Australia, handling 42.6 million passengers and 348,904 aircraft movements in 2016–17. It was the 38th busiest airport in the world in 2016. Currently 46 domestic and 43 international destinations are served into Sydney directly.


YSSY-Header 1.jpgYSSY-Header 2.jpgYSSY-Header 3.jpgYSSY-Header 4.jpgYSSY-Header 5.jpg


Before we delve into the airport it is important to note the need to install a secondary scenery to cover the Sydney CBD and the City's highlights. X-Plane does give you the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge by default, but not much else. A good Sydney city scenery can be found here Sydney City CBD City Scene 2020 1.3 by haydo83. The CBD scenery is required because it is on the approaches to runways 16R/16L, even departing  from the same 16R/16L you usually loop around to go north and the city is to your left. It is quite rare to use 34L/34R for departures (noise restrictions), but again the city is on your right and a focal point on the departure. The CBD scenery itself is very good, but missing is the important Circular Quay Passenger Terminal.


YSSY-Header 6.jpgYSSY-Header 7.jpg


Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport


YSSY Chart.jpg

07/25- 2,530m (8,301ft) Asphalt

16L/34R - 2,438m (7999ft) Asphalt

16R/34L - 3,962m (12,999ft) Asphalt

Elevation AMSL21 ft / 6 m


SYD has two separate areas for it's terminals. Northwest of the large cross is Terminal 1 or the International Terminal, northeast are the two Domestic Terminals of T2 and T3. There are plans to mesh together all the terminals by airlines (Qantas of course taking the majority share), and merge both the Terminals into both servicing International and domestic activity in one terminal, but the idea has gone quiet over the last few pandemic years, it feels like an odd idea anyway as this separated arrangement already works very well, but does require a bus trip between the International and domestic terminals if you are transiting.


Terminal 1

YSSY-Inter Terminal.jpg


Terminal 1 was opened on 3 May 1970, replacing the old Overseas Passenger Terminal (which was located where Terminal 3 stands now) and has been greatly expanded since then. Today it is known as the International Terminal, and it has 25 gates (thirteen in concourse B numbered 8–37, and twelve in concourse C numbered 50–63) served by aerobridges. Pier B is used by Qantas, all Oneworld members and all Skyteam members (except Delta Air Lines). Pier C is used by Virgin Australia and its partners (including Delta) as well as all Star Alliance members.


There are also a number of remote bays to the south which are heavily utilised during peak periods and for parking of idle aircraft during the day. (for instance the British Airways flight BA15 arrives at SYD 6.10 a.m, but does not depart again until BA16 leaves at 3:50pm for LON).


YSSY-Inter Terminal 1.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 2.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 3.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 4.jpg


The Terminal 1 layout is very similar to older Heathrow (now Terminal 3) in being higgledy-piggledy and add a pier on here sort of development outwardly, and all are hanging out from the central Y shaped main terminal. But having been there it sort of all works, again like Heathrow.


North is Pier A in an L shape (top), Then Pier B and to the west the large Pier C (bottom).


YSSY-Inter Terminal Pier 1.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal Pier 2.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal Pier 3.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal Pier 4.jpg


 YSSY-Inter Terminal 5.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 6.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 7.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 8.jpg


Modeling is very good (Brilliant by old Taimodels standards), with great glass and wear on the buildings, the terminal area details are good as well with terminal architecture flourishes well done. There are tons of clutter but sadly not QF branded, but the ramps feel cluttered and like real working areas. It is not overall the best I have seen in detail, but very good in this context. Landside detail is very good with the prominent Rydges and the two large carparks.


YSSY-Inter Terminal 9.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 10.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 11.jpg


The Taimodels YSSY-Sydney uses the animated SAM system here throughout all the airport's terminals, and tailored to use even the three gate Airbridge docking arms for Airbus Cat 5 A380's, and a lot of A380's use SYD...  more than most airports including Heathrow. (I counted 13 A380's once at SYD!)


YSSY-Inter Terminal 12.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 13.jpgYSSY-Inter Terminal 14.jpg


Some of the airbridges are branded as well (HSBC), and the various different airbridge layouts are also well catered for throughout all the different terminal areas.


Terminal 2

In reality T2 is the heart of the domestic SYD complex and the main terminal that you would use in a transition on a domestic flight.


Terminal 2, located in the airport's north-eastern section, was the former home of Ansett Australia's domestic operations until 2001. It features 16 parking bays served by aerobridges and several remote bays for regional aircraft. It serves FlyPelican, Jetstar, Regional Express Airlines (REX), and Virgin Australia. There are lounges for Regional Express Airlines and Virgin Australia.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 2_1.jpg


I have spent many an hour here, even longer when the unions go strike, which they do often. Basically T2 has two main piers and the third is basically stands for walkon/walkoff regional flights. Sydney Airport previously had a fourth passenger terminal, east of Terminal 2. This was formerly known as Domestic Express and was used by Regional Express Airlines, and the low-cost carriers Virgin Blue (now known as Virgin Australia) and the now-defunct Impulse Airlines, during the time Terminal 2 was closed following the collapse of Ansett Australia. It is now used as an office building.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 2_2.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_3.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_4.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_5.jpg


Gates (bays) are extremely good, and very lifelike to the real areas, glass is perfect in the colour and style.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 2_6.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_7.jpg


The arrival (and departure) zone for T2 is excellent. The terminal has been faithfully reproduced in great detail, signage is very good as well.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 2_13.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_8.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_9.jpg


Terminal interior modeling is very basic, but still modeled, but the entrance to the security area is a glass wall?


YSSY-Dom Terminal 2_10.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_12.jpg


Textures at the airport can be a bit heavy handed, here the ramp and ground textures are so heavy it looks like moving water? not very realistic. Connecting corridor to DOM 2 however is excellent.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 2_14.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_15.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 2_16.jpg


Terminal 3

Terminal 3 is another domestic terminal, but here serving only Qantas with QantasLink regional flights having also moved their operations from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 on 16 August 2013. Originally, it was home for Trans Australia Airlines (later named Australian Airlines).


The current terminal building is largely the result of extensions designed by Hassell that were completed in 1999. This included construction of a 60-metre roof span above a new column-free checkin hall and resulted in extending the terminal footprint to 80,000 square metres.[39] There are 14 parking bays served by aerobridges, including two served by dual aerobridges. Terminal 3 features a large Qantas Club lounge, along with a dedicated Business Class and Chairman's lounge.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 3_1.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 3_2.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 3_3.jpg


As with Terminal 2 the Qantas Terminal is hugely impressive. The detailing and quality is excellent in getting the right feel and look of the buildings. Note iconic access roadway support pylons that signify the area.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 3_4.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 3_5.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 3_6.jpg


Terminal concrete textures are also excellent as are the large floor to roof window panels. Again the Terminal interior is basically modeled, not much to see here, but the bright and airy style of the building is very evident and realistic.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 3_7.jpgYSSY-Dom Terminal 3_8.jpg


The Terminal 3 support latticework is really, really good, and best seen for a fair while, the whole building is masterful. Again the signage is very good.


YSSY-Dom Terminal 3_9.jpg


Qantas Engineering

The very large Qantas Engineering "Jet" base is again very well detailed and covers the iconic site with distinction. Build like a lot of old legacy airport facilities it has a large assortment of buildings and hangers to make up the site, and all are covered here really well. With the "96" building were Qantas do their famous arrival or announcement media. A QF aircraft in the hanger though would have taken up the large empty space would be however been welcoming.


YSSY-Qantas Engineering 5.jpgYSSY-Qantas Engineering 1.jpgYSSY-Qantas Engineering 2.jpgYSSY-Qantas Engineering 3.jpgYSSY-Qantas Engineering 4.jpg


Nice are the large QF parking pads, and the open aircraft cover which again is highly affiliated to the "Jet Base". But the burnt in photo texture of aircraft tails are highly visible, and not very realistic?


YSSY-Qantas Engineering 6.jpgYSSY-Qantas Engineering 7.jpg


Qantas Cargo

Mascot is a major hub for freight transport to and from Australia and in handling approximately 45% percent of the national cargo traffic. Therefore, it is equipped with extensive freight facilities including seven dedicated cargo terminals operated by several handlers, the facilities are positioned north of the Terminal 1 complex on the outer ring road. For the cargo hauler it is a long ride out to SYD, but worth the distance as the facilities here are very good, note the large fuel depot set behind.


YSSY-Qantas Cargo 1.jpgYSSY-Qantas Cargo 2.jpgYSSY-Qantas Cargo 3.jpg


Control Tower

Again like Heathrow, YSSY has a very iconic control tower set very central field off taxiway C. The curved (stair) entrance and pod design is very easy to see visually from all parts of the field. And I really like the authentic reflective window design. You pass the tower regularly if using the southern part of the field, and in particularly Rwy 16L/24R. 


YSSY- Tower 1.jpgYSSY- Tower 2.jpgYSSY- Tower 3.jpgYSSY- Tower 4.jpg


The roof mounted radar is also nicely animated. Tower Views are also excellent and you can see all the approaches and all parts of the field.


YSSY- Tower 5.jpgYSSY- Tower 6.jpg



To the east and northeast of Mascot there is a fair bit of infrastructure. The modeling is not detailed, detailed, but the important aspects are done like the Domestic carparks (very good) and the hotels with the Mantra, Ibis and Stamford Plaza.


YSSY- Inforstructure 2.jpgYSSY- Inforstructure 1.jpgYSSY- Inforstructure 3.jpgYSSY- Inforstructure 4.jpgYSSY- Inforstructure 5.jpg


But to complete a quality scenery you have to detail areas that are very significant to the area in creating that realism vibe, FlyTampa are well regarded because they they think out of the box like this...  but here it lets the SYD scenery down significantly?


Port Botany is the main port for Sydney, and it is positioned directly besides Rwy 16L/24R...  but there is nothing, not even a single crane or warehouse to view? The very visual Kurnell Oil Refinery opposite is missing in action as well...  both are huge omissions important to YSSY.


YSSY- Inforstructure 6.jpgYSSY- Inforstructure 7.jpg


Southern Cross Drive (M1) taxiway bridges are done here in 3d, however the cut down gradient sides are not pretty, in just being dropped photo textures, and stretched at that.

  YSSY- Infrastructure 8.jpg



Most of Taimodel's earlier lighting was mostly simply horrible, with very gaudy window textures. I had a big fear at YSSY that in that aspect it would continue on here. But to my surprise the lighting is actually pretty good, the gaudy panels are still evident in T2, but again thankfully not to the extreme as before...


YSSY- Lighting 1.jpgYSSY- Lighting 2.jpgYSSY- Lighting 3.jpgYSSY- Lighting 4.jpg


Terminal 3 has the best lighting overall, more subdued and detailed, it works really nicely. Terminal one is also the most less brighter as well, except for the office and hotel buildings.


YSSY- Lighting 5.jpgYSSY- Lighting 6.jpgYSSY- Lighting 7.jpgYSSY- Lighting 8.jpgYSSY- Lighting 9.jpgYSSY- Lighting 10.jpg


The highlight is again the domestic entrance, a different tone makes all the difference for realism...  nice.

Navigation signage is very good and needed here as YSSY can be difficult to find your way around correctly, certainly from Rwy 16L/24R . It looks nice at night in not being totally overbright and having realistic lit panels.


YSSY- Textures 6.jpg



The ground textures are a bit head scratching...  the actual textures with built in Burnt-in ambient occlusion effects are "really, REALLY" good, but the surface texture (knobble) is simply far to large to be wholly realistic... 


YSSY- Textures 0.jpg


...   if they had been pared back just even a little bit, it would have been perfection. Lineage IS perfect, worn, cracked and realistic...  you can't ask for more in runway detail. Apron areas are also excellent, with repaired areas highly visible and all have lovely different textures gradients.


YSSY- Textures 1.jpgYSSY- Textures 2.jpgYSSY- Textures 3.jpgYSSY- Textures 4.jpgYSSY- Textures 5.jpg


There is no 3d grass, and required here with the almost usual wild nature reserve on to the outrigging runways, you always noticed that from the cabin windows on departure or arrival. Stone walls around the same are very basic images, they deserve better.


YSSY- Textures 7.jpgYSSY- Textures 8.jpg



YSSY- Sydney International Airport also known as Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney Airport or mostly Mascot Airport. Is Australia's most prominent introduction to the country and the most busiest. And oddly unless for some very good freeware scenery, there has never really been a quality scenery created for this important gateway. Plenty for Flight Sim, but zilch for X-Plane.


This YSSY scenery came from an unexpected quarter in Taimodels. In the past Taimodel's are a "turn them over fast and average quality factory", but this Sydney scenery was a sudden reminder, that yes they can do good quality scenery if they really wanted to.


The three terminal quality is actually very good, with a lot of detailed infrastructure to give you a very detailed layout of the Sydney Airport. Highlight is Terminal 2 Domestic, but Terminal 1 (Qantas) is very good as well, with the sprawling Terminal 1 International harder to define, but all terminals come with great textures and realistic glass.

The scenery comes with the SAM gate animation system, and it has up to three pier airbridge connections, great clutter and animated ground traffic (not branded) creates a very realistic apron and ramp activity. The iconic twirly base, pod top control tower is also well done with all the required areas of Qantas Engineering and Qantas Cargo all featured. All building textures are very good, and night lighting is also in the "far, far better" than usual class from Taimodels.


It is however not a totally perfect SYD. Ground textures in areas (roads) look like water more that asphalt, and the same taxiway and runway textures are far too knobbly for my liking, a shame as the texture quality and ground detail here is very good. No 3d grass on the field is another missing element and the rock walls are image flat and crappy. Oddly the biggest missing elements here are the Port Botany facilities (cranes, warehouses) and the missing Kurnell Oil Refinery, both are significant visual aspects of the southern approaches to the airport, and solely missed here to complete the scenery of to which could if added can give the scenery a (very) high quality rating...  it is so close in this aspect, but fails on these important missing elements.


With the very limited quality scenery for Australia, then any YSSY Sydney International Airport scenery would be highly welcomed, that it came from Taimodels is for sure a surprise. If they continue to produce scenery in this context (YMML, anybody) then they would prove that "doing less for delivering more" would give them more if high quality sales. This SYD airport seriously points them into that direction and is well worth the purchase.





X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! the YSSY - Sydney International Airport by Taimodels is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


YSSY - Sydney International Airport

Price is US$28.00


- 4k textures
- Completed inside 
- High detail models
- SAM amination jetways
- High quality pbr texture on object and ground
- High performance
- Completed autogen around airport
- Ground traffic plugins


X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 1.5 GB

Installation and documents:

SYD is download of 1.44Gb download that is translated into a 1.84Gb install in your Custom Scenery folder.

  • YSSY-Sydney-Taimodels (1.98Gb)
  • YSSY-Sydney-mesh (12Mb)


The above two install folders must be put in the order of the "mesh" below the main YSSY scenery folder. A "Flat" option mesh version is provided for those that don't want the 3d layout. The Sydney city scenery Sydney City CBD City Scene 2020 1.3 by haydo83 is highly recommended with the Taimodels YSSY scenery, it fills out the skyline and the approaches nicely.



There is a 2 page "Instruction" page for installation and requirements

  • YSSY_Instruction.pdf



Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton

"May the 4th Be with you" 2022

Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews


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

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.55

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : Traffic GlobalJustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00

Scenery or Aircraft

- None-


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