Scenery Review : KMCO - Orlando International by Nimbus Studios
I have covered almost every area of Florida in my beloved Carenado F33A Bonanza. From the top of Daytona Beach to the end of the earth location of Key West. Based at KLAL (Lakeland Linder) I have somehow have found an virtual home in this on screen presence and start there mostly for every (GA or Regional) aircraft review to note down the details of the aircraft's effect on the X-Plane simulator, same with any beta or X-Plane upgrade... KLAL is my bench mark on where we actually currently are in the simulator.
So Orlando is usually my first stop going east. It is easy to find Orlando from KLAL flying VFR as you only just need to follow the long and bright at night HWY 4 and there it is. You can use the Orlando VOR (ORL - 112.20) if you wish, but I know the area too well now to want to set it.
So on my treks back and too across the heart of Florida you can't miss KMCO, or Orlando International Airport as it is a massive airport required to process all the millions of minions of arriving tourists that pilgrimage to the area's renowned theme parks.
But in X-Plane KMCO has not been a particularly high on any developers list for attention, so most of my flying around Orlando and then KMCO was mostly Ted's Scenery version, which is mostly a very basic stick and round object piece of scenery. Then NAPS Advanced Sim Scenery did a great version and finally this Nimbus Studio version of KMCO and the area around it came to life. So let us look here at Nimbus Studio's (Butnaru) version and as a full payware version.
So I was eager to take a look and at my new nearest neighbour of a colossal international airport. Up at dawn I ran the F33A for five minutes to warm the engine and it's fluids up and then went KMCO airport hunting.
It is not hard to notice KMCO, even at this early distance it stands out on the right side. As I have the ORL VOR set for my heading and the HWY4 is down to my left side, this route however it won't take you directly to KMCO as the VOR is positioned north of the airport in Orlando itself. So at some point I would have to deviate a little to the right to cover the airport for a closer look.
Finally it was time to leave HWY4 behind and there is KMCO...
You don't have give away your highway navigation either as if you follow the Arthur Anderson Beachline Expressway it then will then also take you right pass the northern boundary of the mega Orlando International airport.
In the dawn light the Nimbus scenery looks very impressive, lighting is excellent and there is a lot of scenery to take in.
So, so far so good as I certainly like what I see down there. So once over the airport I fall into a circuit to take me back to land on RWY 36R.
KMCO has four major runways in 18R/36L - 18L/36R -17R/36L - 17L/36R. Two in 18R/36L - 18L/36R are to the west of the central area and are parallel to each other and both 7R/36L - 17L/36R are to the east and slightly offset and 17L/36R is the smallest of the four.
At the top of the circuit you will find the huge East Lake Tohopekaliga, which is a very good guide if you skim the southern and then the western side it will line you up directly back towards RWY36R.
KMCO's approach lighting is very good, some have RAIL guidance. Finals is in straight, Florida is very flat countryside as is the airport, flat and straight.
Water treatment plant to the left on finals and the main airport's terminals are to the right of the aircraft...
Even in this light you notice the boundary of the scenery as it is a darker (brown) but the boundary is covered by a road which helps, but it is noticeable. The very distinctive control tower is silhouetted perfectly by the rising morning sun
There is no General Aviation parking in the central area, GA is on the western boundary and to my left. It is a tricky taxi from 36R to the GA and maintenance area because you have to pass over RWY36L on the way... easy no.
Because there is no straight taxiway link directly from 36R to the west ramp area. Get it wrong or don't consult your airport layout chart and you will find yourself taxiing up or down 36L/18R trying to find an exit. Link taxiway J north and E south are direct, but the one you will usually use is taxiway Y of which you need to dogleg left to catch taxiway A2 to reach the west ramp, miss it and you are in nowhere's ville.
So a point about KMCO is that there are a lot of complex taxiways and many will take you a fair way away from the central area and so a ground chart is invaluable around here.
Once finally on the west ramp, I found it a huge space... and a very empty one as well. There are a lot of buildings on the western boundary but nothing else, no ramp markings, no aircraft parking markings, no static aircraft (okay a few by the maintenance hangars) and no ramp equipment or anything.
Overall the first impression was very good at arriving at KMCO, but the empty west ramp was a real downer in you felt quite lonely out there.
Orlando International Airport
(IATA: MCO, ICAO: KMCO, FAA LID: MCO)
17L/35R 9,001ft (2,743m) Concrete
17R/35L 10,000ft (3,048m) Concrete
18L/36R 12,005ft (3,659m) Asphalt/Concrete
18R/36L 12,004ft (3,659m) Concrete
H1 44ft (13m) Concrete (Heli)
Elevation AMSL 96 ft / 29 m
KMCO's terminal arrangement is quite different from most. It has central large receiving terminal with each side is flanked by two very large carparks called A (north) and B (south). From this central location shuttle trains take out to the four large satellite terminals for arrival or departure.
These are called Airside Terminal 1 (Gates 1 -29), Airside Terminal 2 (Gates 100 - 129) which are connected to Terminal A (north), Then Airside Terminal 4 (Gates 60 - 99) and Airside Terminal 3 (Gates 30 - 59) which are connected to Terminal B (south)
The Control Tower complex is positioned just south of Carpark B
The whole central area is immensely complex, there is a lot of work in here and it looks very authentic in design and layout.
Carparks A and B are huge with great intricate design, 3d cars and great foliage cover the area as well. The trees however look fine at a distance, but are very basic if even old fashioned closeup, but are good for framerate.
Central receiving terminal is very impressive, I like the worn roof and textures. But dense is the word I would use in this zone, lots of everything in buildings, foliage, 3d cars and great building detailing.
The four train tracks are animated and all trains go into each terminal and out towards each airside terminal on both ends. The trains are a faithfully reproduction of the real cars, that are currently undergoing replacement.
Airside 1 and 2
Major domestic carriers based in Terminal A to Airside 1 and 2 include Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and Virgin America Major international carriers include Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Avianca, Azul Brazilian Airlines, Norwegian Long Haul and WestJet.
These two satellite terminals were part of the original airport and were opened in 1981.
Airside 3 and 4
Major domestic carriers based in Terminal B include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Spirit and United Airlines. Major international carriers include Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, British Airways, Emirates, Icelandair, LATAM Brasil, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook Airlines and Virgin Atlantic which primarily operate out of Airside 4, the airport's main international arrivals concourse.
Airside 4 is the biggest satellite terminal and is recognisable by its ramp tower.
Terminal detailing is very good, not overly worn or textured, but well done. There is a lot of standard equipment on the ramps and there is the featured Nimbus animated ramp walkers that add a lot of life to the scene. Animated vehicles trundle around the scenery as well, so the ramps are nice to be and buzzy. All the satellite terminals also have built in marshall guided docking and animated jetways (Marginal plugin required).
Another Nimbus feature is see-through glass and internal passengers and departure lounges, sign textures are a bit blurry though but overall it is well done.
A nice departure terminal is Airside 1, which is mostly run by Southwest Airlines. There is a more Floridian in appeal and feel here as from the others and there is some nice stand parking by the palm trees.
The Control Tower and base block admin centre is the highlight of the scenery. As control towers go, this is is a very nice one to admire from afar or close up. good detailing and nice textures adorn the structure.
Tower view is good if you look to the north...
But look to the south and a part of the tower's radar gets into the view, which notes the tower view position is in the wrong place.
There is nothing better on departure or arrival than an aircraft taxiway over a busy road. Here at KMCO there are actually two on taxiway J in the north and on taxiways E and F in the south. The north taxiway does have an issue when viewed from below, as the supports don't connect with the taxiway.
For this effect to work of course you will need to have the checkbox ticked for the X-Plane item "runways follow terrain contours" (General Menu) to allow for the elevation changes.
Outside of the central terminal area there is also a lot of scenery to add into the full KMCO package. There are mostly in two areas in the northern boundary along the Arthur Anderson Beachline Expressway and down the airport's western boundary... first the northern boundary.
Northeast covers one of the huge car hire yards and the very prominent JetBlue maintenance hangar and offices.
The JetBlue base is very well done, and in a way a very beautiful looking building, the added two JetBlue A320's certainly adds to the scene. An issue with the whole scenery though is highlighted here. Most of the main textures are not sharp, but a little poor in resolution. My "Graphic" settings are full up in "Texture Quality" and "Antialiasing" but still most textures are not sharp... sharp.
You can forgive me for a little nostalgia here. Early in the X-Plane10 release I flew from KLAL to Orlando in the BK-117 helicopter and after a full afternoon's flying I put it down in this spot to have a rest. I spent a few hours, yes hours watching the X-Plane traffic file by until it went dark and I marveled at the greatness of it all. It is still clever stuff and the traffic is still as busy now as it was then... X-Plane however has also moved on as my landing point in the BK-117 is now a rental carpark.
Further west along the northern boundary is the Gate Gourmet complex and various MCO authority buildings.
More west is more of the same, but this time for Sky Chef. There has been a lot of attention given to this northern boundary area and it looks very complete. There are a lot of carparking and car rental areas and all have been filled with realistic 3d vehicles. Good water effects create the spaces in the areas that give it a very realistic view, the water reflects the lighting colours at night very effectively as well, That feature and more makes this area really well complete.
The West Ramp is the commercial area of the airport and includes maintenance hangars (United), Cessna support centre, Cargo and Mail facilities. But this wide space is empty and lonely.
United maintenance hangars
There are two maintenance hangars on the west ramp for United Airlines and separated to the north and central areas, they are known as United Maintenance North and United Maintenance South.
Both hangars are the same and are well done, but the textures are a little blurry.
Centre ramp is the main cargo facility... but it looks closed or closed down. There is a fuel depot set out behind.
A known fact is that Orlando Intl is a U.S. Customs Service Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) for International shipping. Another fact is that Orlando was a also designated Space Shuttle emergency landing site. The west-side runways, Runway 18L/36R and Runway 18R/36L, were designed for B-52 Stratofortress bombers and due to their proximity to NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, were an obvious choice for an emergency landing should an emergency "return to launch site (RTLS) attempt to land at KSC have fallen short. The runway was also an emergency divert site for NASA's Boeing 747 Shuttle Transport Aircraft when relocating orbiters from either west coast modification work or divert recoveries at Edwards AFB, California or the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.... so there you go.
Cessna have a support base here for their Citation Jet, and this facility is slightly off the airport in the north section on Arthur Anderson Expy.
Far south on KMCO is dominated by brand cargo facilities, United State Postal Service have a big depot here and so does FedEx.
The United State Postal Service depot is well done (above), but the FedEx receiving warehouse (below) is missing.... too bored to finish it?
Orlando Intl was initially an airforce base called McCoy AFB which was closed in the 1970's. But a few remnants remain in the form of which the military still uses such as the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from the Florida Army National Guard in the former McCoy AFB Officers Club complex, an Army Reserve intelligence unit in the former SAC Alert Facility.
Far, far south is the water treatment plant we saw on arrival...
In the area of lighting at KMCO then Nimbus has done an excellent job in covering such a very large area and in using good lighting diversity.
Runway approach, taxi and lit signage is excellent, it had to be to land a Shuttle!
The whole central area is extremely well lit, and KMCO stands out for miles around.
There is a great choice of lighting ideas, using colour to highlight certain aspects of the buidings and a great use of downlighting to highlight certain areas brings the buildings to life. The downlighting is evident all through the scenery, and is used to great effect to fill out even the outer areas of the scenery.
The four satellite terminals are just as well covered, all look excellent and the ramps are fully usable once the sun goes down. Again Airside 1 is the best choice.
Lighting ideas are very imaginative and that is constantly hard too as the area covered here at KMCO is immense.
Building lighting close up is very good, but the same layouts are mostly used on every satellite terminal building.
A highlight is again the JetBlue base, the building looks gorgeous at night and you get a brilliant view on the 17R approach at night.
West Ramp north is dark, but mid-ramp is fine, again like noted the use downlighting is excellent on the myriad of mulit-use buildings here.
Overall this is excellent scenery and very complex in areas like the central area and surrounding hire car and carparking areas, there is a lot, a lot of objects in incorporated in here and you can see the work that has gone into this scenery. So it is even more dumbfounding in that on the West Ramp it is so empty of static aircraft and ramp debris and the FedEx building is actually missing. So much and so close to perfection, but this area's empty absence is very noticeable in the air and certainly on the ground if you are wanting to use the area for GA or Cargo operations. That is not to say there is no static aircraft as there is, but not where it is most needed on that huge ramp...
The under ortho-photographic images are far darker than the surrounding default X-Plane imagery, so the boundary is highly visible, but roads have thankfully been used at the point of the crossover. This does still however make the scenery stand out on arrival. Many of the textures are slightly blurry and so that makes them very highly processed for higher framerate more than their visual appeal, fine at a distance but average close up which daunts the total realism of the scenery.
Night operations are to be welcomed at KMCO, as this one great airport to arrive in at night. There is great lighting at work here and the departure and arrival looks brilliant from any angle with runways close to the satellite terminals of which 17R/35L is the top pick.
The scenery has great features in animations in walking people, inter-terminal trains and vehicle traffic, great glass and internal terminal detail, full guided aircraft parking and correct ATC routes ready for operations.
Orlando demands a good scenery, and here it is... you may have to hit the Overlay Editor to make it absolutely perfect, but overall this KMCO from Nimbus Studios is very, very good!
The KMCO - Orlando International by Nimbus Studios is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
KMCO- Orlando International Airport
Your Price: US$24.95
There is both an X-Plane10 and X-Plane11 version included in the package.
Compatible with X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 10
Two separate files included
High-Resolution Airport by Nimbus Studio
Dynamic terminal glass and water reflection on X-Plane 11
Fully customized HD ground textures
3D trees (like you haven't seen before)
Optimized for better frame rates
Custom animated jetways (AutoGate plugin by Marginal)
Ground traffic with animated vehicles and people (GroundTraffic plugin by Marginal)
ATC taxi routes
X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10
Windows, Mac or Linux - 64bit Operating System Required
2Gb VRAM Minimum - 3Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Framerate is excellent for the density of the scenery, but still subject to computer system standards
Installation and documents:
Download for the KMCO - Orlando International is 537.24mb and the unzipped file is 821mb deposited in "Custom Scenery" Folder
You will need to have the checkbox ticked for the X-Plane item "runways follow terrain contours" (General Menu). This NEEDS to be ON.
Marginal's Autogate plugin is required for this scenery: AutoGate plugin 1.72
No Installation notes
No charts are provided but these are good : KMCO.pdf
Review by Stephen Dutton
22nd April 2017
(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 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD
Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11 and also used in X-Plane v10.52
Addons: Saitek x56 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini
Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90
Scenery or Aircraft
- Bonanza F33A HD Series by Carenado (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$26.95
- KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles)