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Scenery Review: Aerosoft-Airport Lugano Switzerland for X-Plane

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Aerosoft : Lugano Airport


Reviewer - Wycliffe Barrett


Product description:

The airport Lugano is a small international Swiss airport in the canton Tecino. Its location is between the three towns of Agno, Muzzano and Bioggio. The fascinating part of this airport is surely the breathtaking approach, probably one of the most beautiful approaches in the world. Landing on 01 takes you across the picturesque Lake of Lugano where you get the most out of the reflection and shadowing techniques in X-Plane 10 Global.





The most frequent aircraft in Lugano is the Saab 2000 operated by Darwin Airlines offering Code-Share flights with Alitalia to destinations like Rome, Cagliari and Olbia. The most important route though is the flight to Zurich for Swiss International Airlines.

2010 saw the airport handling more than 170.000 passengers taking off from the 1.350 m long runway.


I love flying at 38,000ft in a chunk of heavy metal, there can be no greater satisfaction as when you land your aircraft after completing an IFR flight from one airport to another, having programmed your FMC with SIDS route and STAR.


Sometimes though I yearn to fly close to the ground and look at the scenery, but the world is a big place so how do I choose where I want to fly. VFR means visual flight rules which also means if you do it old style looking out of the window. I tend to gravitate towards mountains and valleys, perhaps because I live in South Wales only a few short miles from the South Wales valleys.


So where better to go than Switzerland, Xplane's terrain mesh is astounding just in the default vanilla installation but when you add a better mesh and some good scenery well it comes alive and it is no better represented than with the Aerosoft Lugano Airport in Switzerland. So lets Load up and take a VFR flight around the valleys and lakes of the area departing from the beautifully located airport by the lake.




Lugano Airport is a regional airport located 4 km west of the Swiss city of Lugano, in the municipalities of Agno, Bioggio and Muzzano. It lies closer to the village of Agno than to Lugano itself, and is sometimes known as Lugano-Agno. 


All Approaches into Lugano are from the south to rwy 019 and has one of the steepest glideslopes I have ever come across at 6.65 deg which is due to the terrain and the ILS approach chart advise you start your descent at 6000ft.


On final approach you will be flying over the lake for approx 3 miles so make sure you have your life jacket on just in case.



Aerosoft have begun to use installers for many of their Xplane products and whilst I prefer the extract to Custom scenery folder method from a zip file using Aerosoft's installer presents no hardship whatsoever and Lugano Installs itself by just locating your Xplane custom scenery folder.


When you purchase the software you can opt for instant download or have the CD shipped to you. There is even an option to purchase the download and have a disk back up for an extra  $4.95. whichever you choose the file is approx 245mb zipped.


When installed it creates two folders one for the airport 282mb on disk and the other is the Lugano Scenery 31mb on disk, which is not a huge amount of space being used. As with all Aerosoft airports you get a PDF manual in English and German and a set of high quality PDF charts as well.


One great aspect of the manual is a screen shot of the settings screen in Xplane with some recommended settings I can see this being of great help to some Xplane users.


The one thing I didn't like is that the main picture of the manual shows the main building and tower of Lugano with snow on the ground and on the hills behind and as we well know winter textures are not depicted in Xplane well not yet anyway. You can get an add on that gives you winter wonderland but I haven't tried it so I have no idea to how effective it is.



Airport and Surroundings

One of the main aspects of payware scenery for me is how well the orthophoto's blend in with the surrounding default scenery, some developers can get this wrong and the orthophoto work can look out of place and in some cases as if the image has just been dropped on top without any consideration as to how it looks.  Get it right and it can make all the difference between poor and excellent.




This orthophoto work at Lugano blends in almost seamlessly and I found it difficult to spot where the orthophoto ended and the default ground texture started, I think the addition of the Lugano treeline by the canal that runs the length of the airfield really helps in masking the join.




The market garden opposite the terminals and on the other side of the canal are really well done with some pretty spectacular buildings including greenhouses and long sheds.


There are a number of businesses all along this side of the airfield and I suspect they are doing good business in these very pleasant surroundings. The elevated road which is beyond the market gardens and other businesses is a little overdone




Looking towards the ends of the runways it's hard to tell whether the broken and cracked concrete is orthophoto work or drawn by the developer, what ever it looks very good as do the ground markings. I especially like the stand numbering which is all cracked and chipped as you would expect




There are over 20,000 grass polygons and I have to say this is some of the best grass I have ever seen in any scenery, as you can see from the images it does look quite something.





Coming back to the terminal side of the airport all the buildings have been really well built (modelled) I particularly like the World Trade Centre with the sign around the top of the central part of the building very well done indeed and when we move into darkness the lighting looks spectacular.





The main terminal area and control tower are brilliant, as a 3rd party dev myself I have always tried to get the airport clutter just right sadly here its just a little to bare but what it lacks in clutter it more than  makes up for in the myriad of little details.  I really  like all the blue steel work just below and up the tower. The guard rail on the outside of the ATC room at the top of the tower is fantastic work and looks just right.




The buildings in the main terminal area look as if they have been built over a number of years with additions being made to the airport at various times, I must admit to being a little confused as to why the tennis courts are inside the airport boundary, must be terrible playing tennis there when a an ATR is coming into land, we all know how noisy they can be.




The one thing that is lacking from the airport, and can make it look a little sterile is the lack of any people, I have had a good walk around and considering the number of cars that are parked all over the place, I would have thought  I would see at least one person wandering about. well I can tell you there is not a one. It reminds me of a post apocalyptic film where everybody has gone.




Even the playground at the front of the airport is empty and believe me where there are swings and slides there will be children and parents watching them. I even had a look through the restaurant windows and couldn't see anybody. That ok it means more cake for me, lol



VFR Flight

So lets do a quick flight around the area and see what it looks like from the air. The charts soon tell you there is only one way in and one way out so lining up on rwy 19, I open the throttle and start off down the runway looking forward to a nice quick flight around the lake.





Almost as soon as you take off and leave the end of the runway everything changes and your flying over default scenery, whilst the surrounding hills look great and the water of the lake looks pretty there is something missing. I fly down the lake for a few miles and then turn right to fly around a hill that juts into the lake creating a small harbour where the village of Ponte Tresa is dissected by the Italian Swiss Border, here the default scenery tries it's best but to be honest it doesn't look that convincing, turning right I head north back towards the airport flying over Caslano  heading to wards the middle of the lake in preperation for lining up on the centre line.  The approach to runway 01 is lovely and as you reach the mouth of the canal you can see a football field and the Via Lugano, a few more yards and your over the threshold all very nice.


Night lighting throughout the airport is excellent and of course the Global lighting system and HDR setting is used to full effect. The lighting of the interior of the terminal restaurant is good but I have seen better in some freeware that is available.





Lugano is a beautiful area of the world and this airport is very good. The work on the main terminal and ATC tower looks fabulous I especially like the World Trade Centre and the market gardens on the opposite side to the main terminal.  I do have some reservations and that is for your money your not getting a lot and by comparison the freeware version of Lugano has far more to offer with details like people around the airport, sail boats on the lake, and even the smaller villages I mentioned on my flight being depicted to some degree.


I also have to say that fps was slightly better in the more detailed freeware than the payware version of Lugano.


the orthophoto of Lugano in the Aerosoft version is better and the market gardens green houses and other buildings opposite the main terminal are excellent. I think I would be hard pressed to say which one you should get. 


Perhaps an update to the Aerosoft version could be forthcoming with some extra attention paid to those areas I mentioned, if this was the case it would be a simple recomendation,  the cost makes it a viable option at only 19:99 euros. So I might say make a decision on that basis at that price it is actually good value for money.



Aerosoft : Airport Lugano is Available in the X-Plane.Orgshop now : Airport Lugano


Price is US$21.34


System requirements:

X-Plane 10 Global

Windows XP/Vista/7, MAC, Linux

Processor (CPU): 2,6 GHz Core 2 Duo

RAM: min. 2048 MB RAM

Video card: 3D Video Card min. 512 MB

Optionally: DirectX: 9.0c or better 

Download-Size: 100 MB

Installations-Size: 330 MB


Wycliffe Barrett

15th November 2013


©Copyright2013 : Wycliffe Barrett


reviewer system spec:

intel i5 2500k cpu @3.300GHZ


Nvidia Geforce GTX650Ti 2gig Vram

8 gig RAM

Win 7


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