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Airport Review : MKJS Sangster International Airport (MBJ) - Montego Bay, Jamaica by LatinVFR/Skyline Simulations

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Airport Review : MKJS Sangster International Airport (MBJ) - Montego Bay, Jamaica by LatinVFR/Skyline Simulations

 

This Jamaican scenery is a collaboration between LatinVFR who are a Flight Simulator scenery development house and Skyline Simulations for X-Plane11(Ex-Icarius). The original scenery was released by LatinVFR for FSX and FS2004 in 2010 and it includes 200sq Kilometers of photo scenery that includes the entire area of North West Jamaica.

 

There has always been a business in converting Flight Simulator Scenery to X-Plane, but like with Aerosoft the quality can range from the excellent to the dire other extreme. Mostly if the original host scenery is very good or even not that old, the conversion can still be a very good one, but in most cases here it is the X-Plane conversion specialist that can make or break the end result. X-Plane scenery in design is quite different from the style of Flight Simulator, but it is always the 3d modeling quality as if it is as good it can still look the same in both simulator environments and give you a quality scenery.

 

Jamaica is situated almost centrally situated in the Caribbean Sea. The Island spans 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

 

Jamaica .jpgJamaica MKJS.jpg

(Google Maps)

 

Kingston is the Southern Island's capital, but in it is on the north coast that has had the Island's biggest impact, think Bob Marley, Ganja (Cannabis) and James Bond. Personally I always liked Jimmy Cliff far more the Bob Marley and you know it wasn't going to end well, and it didn't for Bob. Ganja created a way of life in Jamaica that you could say created a very laidback lifestyle and great music, but it also brought huge crime and poor living conditions as well. Ian Fleming was a very complicated person, but his move to Saint Mary's Parish (Port Maria) and to an old donkey racetrack created a modern icon, as here he created "Goldeneye" and here he would write one James Bond novel a year for the rest of his life that made him and the island famous. He loathed being poor? Felt very put upon in life and died a sad person in 1964, He desperately wanted the rich and the finer things in life and in reality delivered far more though his alter ego James Bond and that included an airport named after him that has been built close by (MKBS). There are many clues around this area of Oracabessa bay that are littered thoughout the novels, Crab Key Beach is one... but in which book and movie?

 

MKJS Sangster International Airport (MBJ)

Sangster International Airport (IATA: MBJ, ICAO: MKJS) is an international airport located 3 mi (4.8 km) east of Montego Bay, Jamaica. The airport is capable of handling nine million passengers per year. It serves as the most popular airport for tourists visiting the north coast of Jamaica. The airport is named after former Jamaican Prime Minister Sir Donald Sangster. Originally named the Montego Bay Airport, a decision was made to build the runway in 1940, and the actual construction of the facility was completed on 18 February 1947. At the time of its completion, the town of Montego Bay was more like a playground for the rich and famous, and was considered then, one of the premier vacation spots within the Caribbean, just as it is today. The original terminal was built and opened on 7 July 1959, with a capacity to accommodate 500 passengers per hour, and parking for seven aircraft at a time. The new eastern concourse of the Sangster International Airport (SIA) was officially opened in December 2005. The current airport has a flow of 4,284,558 passengers a year and 41,263 aircraft movements (2017).

 

Sangster International Airport

(IATA: MBJ, ICAO: MKJS)

 

MKJS Chart.jpgMKJS Chart 07ILS.jpg

 

07/25 2,653m (8,704ft) Asphalt

Elevation AMSL 4 ft / 1 m

 

 

MKJS, Montego Bay Airport by LatinVFR/Skyline Simulations

In 2018 there has suddenly been a profusion of tropical scenery with lovely coral and sandbank colour. Think FlyCorfu XP from FlyTampa! and TNCM - Sint Maarten by AWD, and it feels that X-Plane is trying very hard to make up time in this scenery area, again it the same here at Montego Bay as these lovely photo scenery mesh textures do as noted cover 200sq Kilometers of a significant part of the island.

 

MKJS Overview LG.jpg

 

MKJS Overview 1.jpgMKJS Overview 2.jpgMKJS Overview 3.jpgMKJS Overview 4.jpg

 

The coverage is extensive and on arrival it gives you a great feel of the playboy (playperson?) era that Montego Bay is famous for.  From the air viewpoint aspect then the area looks excellent.

 

MKJS Overview 6.jpgMKJS Overview 5.jpg

 

Runway 07/25 taxiway, ramp textures are also excellent, very realistic with 3d grass popping up through the mainly beachy environment.

 

MKJS Overview 7.jpgMKJS Overview 8.jpgMKJS Overview 9.jpgMKJS Overview 10.jpg

 

Runway and taxiway signage is basic, but so is the airport's layout... RWY 07's approach has over water approach lighting which is very good, the only note is that in parts of the water you can see boat (white) shadows that should have been removed.

 

MKJS Overview 11 LG.jpg

 

The approach to RWY07 is interesting...  you are warned of high ground on all charts and approach notes and hence the approach chart above. So flying in blind (the first time) you can still be caught out off guard, as the areas height is actually not that high, high, but it is where it is on the approach that makes it dangerous, the ground is lower at first but then there is a higher range just before you head over Montego Bay, so your aim is to go lower, when really you need to hold your altitude at 4600ft (say 5000ft) until you clear this final range and if you are lower at 3000ft it is a still possible but you will have to try to block out the constant "terrain, terrain" warnings, so a minimum of 4000ft is the goal. Once over the coastal line you have to of course drop quickly to land on the runway, a few goes and it is easy, and a low approach speed helps in giving you more space to lose the altitude.

 

Terminals

There are two terminals that are connected with the older longer terminal is noted as domestic (original terminal) and the larger (left) terminal as the International. This scenery is eight years old and that aspect has to be always taken into consideration.

 

MKJS Terminal overview 1.jpgMKJS Terminal overview 2.jpg

 

The Domestic arm has six airbridges (1...7) and is a low single story building with the airport's control tower mid-way on the building.

 

MKJS Terminal Dom 7.jpgMKJS Terminal Dom 8.jpg

MKJS Terminal Dom 10.jpgMKJS Terminal Dom 11.jpg

MKJS Terminal Dom 6.jpgMKJS Terminal Dom 9.jpg

 

Overall the detailing is not too bad, I like the original central green roofing and there is a lot of items like air-conditioners also on the roof, windows (although small) are reflective. Tower view is not set? It is set somewhere on the west ramp?

 

There are active gates on all terminals, but they are not that effective to use? You park very close to terminal wall? and to see the guidance marshall I had to stand up in my pilots seat (view higher) to see down him to park? When parked the gate arms actually move inwards to fit to your aircraft door? and many a marshall are buried into the actual terminal building (left)? So the airbridges are not placed correctly.

 

MKJS Terminal Gate 1.jpgMKJS Terminal Gate 2.jpg

 

There are no service vehicles or aircraft service equipment on the ramps either, so it quite empty out there...  There is animated vehicle traffic that does work around the terminals, but they have a habit of queuing up for long periods of time and they don't run within their lane (left side) either.

 

MKJS Terminal 1.jpgMKJS Terminal 2.jpgMKJS Terminal 3.jpgMKJS Terminal 4.jpg

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International Terminal is quite good as well (considering its age) with nice different textures for different building materials. Eleven gates with airbridges covered are (8...19).

 

There is a large parking and cargo ramp to the west, but this is not a very large sort of cargo hub, but ideal for say the B757 size of freighter.

 

MKJS Ramp 1.jpgMKJS Ramp 2.jpg

 

Ramp parking is noted as all one's with 1A...1F with 1C and 1D as the cargo stands. And there are a few support vehicles sitting around the cargo area.

 

Landside is quite simply poor to really average...   flat blurry textures with a few 3d vehicles on top? no real detailing at all, and even a few trees thrown in here would break up the blandness.... you really wanted far better than this for a payware, even freeware.

 

MKJS Landside 1.jpgMKJS Landside 2.jpg

 

And this brings us to the overall problem with this scenery. Is this a conversion or just put in the FSX components and see what do we actually have? Obviously the textures are not adjusted colour wise to the X-Plane colouring aspect, as they are too light in contrast, this is also highlighted a lot by the same high contrast trees, and obviously again the trees have come straight from the FSX scenery...

 

MKJS Trees 1.jpgMKJS Trees 2.jpg

 

There is a tool called.... "Photoshop" and it is very good for doing changes to textures and to at least match up the trees to the X-Plane native colouring trees that here stand out like a game you can count with, in many areas the trees are missing altogether and then they are not edited either as they cover roads and traffic passes through the not only the trees but mid-road power poles as well?

 

There are a few nice FSX style apartment buildings, but again they cover roads and to a point the building on the road here doesn't actually exist?

 

MKJS Buildings 1.jpgMKJS Buildings 2.jpgMKJS Buildings 3.jpgMKJS Buildings 7.jpg

 

There are a few sailboats (catamarans) as well but most are upended, or half sticking out of the water? The oil terminal is there across Montego Bay, but the port is empty with no ship or wharf.

 

There are also a lot of "Floaters" or buildings and items that float in the scenery...

 

MKJS Buildings 4.jpgMKJS Buildings 5.jpg

 

...  or the opposite in buildings being buried in the sand. So maybe the "runways follow terrain contours" has to be off, but nope as then the terminal itself will then float.

 

MKJS Buildings 8.jpgMKJS Buildings 6.jpg

 

Lighting

The scenery's lighting is not that imaginative either...  it is overall quite dark with one dull tone of lighting for the whole scenery...

 

MKJS Lighting 1.jpgMKJS Lighting 2.jpgMKJS Lighting 3.jpgMKJS Lighting 4.jpg

 

lighting barely covers the ramp working area, but the approach and taxiway lighting is done to the rules.

 

MKJS Lighting 5.jpgMKJS Lighting 6.jpgMKJS Lighting 7 LG.jpg

 

The terminal window night lighting is quite effective, but as expected the landside is very dark.

 

WT3 There are built in ATC routes with this MKJS scenery, and for the native A.I. Aircraft and X-Life it works fine, but the generated WT3 routes don't work, they do on taking off and landing, but the action stays on the runway and there is no aircraft terminal placement either?

The ground routes by ysfsim for MKJS do work fine in all areas as they are in this review, but aircraft sit through buildings and taxi on the grass because the ground routes are not aligned for this scenery, but they are better than nothing at all...

 

Summary

We accept the fact that the original scenery which is the base of this X-Plane version was created for Flight Simulator and that also it is also eight years old, and that such scenery for X-Plane has always been converted to our simulator and will again be in the future.

 

And so the basis of the scenery is actually quite good, with excellent water textures (and a lot of them) and all of the airport's runway, taxiway and ramp surface textures are very good as well. The terminals are not as detailed like we mostly get today in X-Plane but they are serviceable and in fact they are fine as a basis of the airport.

 

But overall the scenery is average, the really annoying thing is that didn't have to be as the basics are all in there and could have been used here too their full advantage. So the full blame here rests firmly on the scenery converter to X-Plane.

 

The scenery textures don't match up (in the trees and ground textures), Airbridge gates are not placed correctly (neither is the aircraft parking park position in being too close to the terminal), Landside area is well...  average to crap, buildings float or are placed were there is none and it looks like the Jamacians are really terrible sailors as they can't keep their boats upright? WT3 also doesn't convert very well and the night lighting is average to poor.

 

The missed trick here is that X-Plane gives you all the tools to cover and fix most of these areas, of course with a bit of needed imagination and skill and that is severely lacking here. And a lot of the great freeware developers are actually on the wrong side of the tracks here as what would of say tdg done with this scenery with his placement skills and yes Photoshop is still a great tool for adjusting things like colour and contrast.

 

As I said the basics for a very good scenery are all still in here and Jamaica is a great destination, but overall this MKJS is an average scenery that deserves better and could have been and should have been far better than what is delivered here.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

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The MKJS Sangster International Airport (MBJ) - Montego Bay, Jamaica by LatinVFR/Skyline Simulations scenery is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

MKJS - Montego Bay Jamaica

 

Price Is US$19.95

 

Noted Features:

Animated Airport 
  • Animated Jetways 
  • Ground Traffic in whole airport for G.Aviation and Commercial services
Detailed Airport
  • MKJS (MBJ) airport with all its buildings done with accurate detail 
  • PBR Materials 
  • Ground reflections 
  • Surroundings extremely detailed, resorts and hotels exactly placed and created in the area near the airport 
  • More than 200sq Kilometers of photo scenery with thousands of hands placed custom autogen 
  • High resolution ground textures for runways, taxiways, apron etc
  • Revised land classes for surrounding photo scenery.? 
  • Inclusion of manual in PDF format
  • Inclusion of charts and maps.
  • Vehicle and boats 
  • Excellent frame rates
  • Excellent HDR night lighting with custom Billboard light
  • Dozens of custom apron objects (containers, vehicles, etc)
  • Fully AI traffic and ground traffic
  • Much more

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11

Windows , Mac or Linux
2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Download size: 820Mb
Current version: 1.0 (released Dec 22nd 2017)

 

Installation
Download scenery file size is 621mb. With the full installation installed package is 1.25gb in your custom scenery folder.
 
Working if not aligned ground routes for MKJS by ysfsim:
 

Documents

  • LatinVFR_Manual_MKJS.pdf (original FSX Manual)
  • MKJSDIAGRAM (Airport Layout Chart)
  • LatinVFR_Manual_MKJS_XPlane

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton

20th April 2018

Copyright©2018 : 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)

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.20

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- ToLiSS319 (A319) by ToLiSS (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$69.00

 

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