Scenery Review - LMML - Malta International by JustSim
LMML - Malta is for me an anchor of a scenery, as a lot of my early X-Plane flying and reviews were centered directly around this airport. The position of the Island of Malta that is almost in the centre of the Mediterranean was significant in routes to lower-mid Italy, the northern coastal African ports, and more with Spain and Greece being also close by. Another point of my flying was with the RAF and mostly the C-17 freighter to RAF LUCA (Malta) that is also (was) based here. Another point with LMML was it's use for early WorldTaffic3 ground route testing, because of the airport's quite complicated high + Cross runway intersection and a difficult taxiway layout, overall WT3 worked out the complicated routes, but it was also highly interesting with wind changes from the approaches of RWY31 to RWY05. So yes I have a big affection for the airport for the serious amount of time I have X-Plane wise spent here, but like a lot of scenery LMML then sort of got left behind as the original scenery dated. TDG did a version, but I never really took to it... so when JustSim noted that their next release would be the coming LMML - Malta, I was really and hoping that they could restore back to life my previously loved location to it's full glory... that was a very big ask in not only providing a quality scenery but also in fulfilling a big internal emotion as well... so did JustSim succeed?
Malta the island as noted is in the central part of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily and north of Tunisia. LMML - Malta International is positioned just slightly inland southeast of the capital of Valletta in the village of Gudja.
Obviously with Malta's strategic position in the Mediterranean then Malta's first aviation airport was going to be military, and the British got there first... RAF Luca was the location of RAF Mediterranean Command headquarters of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Particularly during the Siege of Malta from 1941 to 1943 and was active right up to 1979 when the airport was passed over to Maltese control, but I would note that a lot of the original RAF facilities are still active, but in a sort of "we left a long time ago, but still keep the odd hand in" sort of way, and and sorties are still run out of these remote outposts when required, and mostly on also Crete or in a transition logistic capacity. The base is currently maintained by The Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta, with a pair of Italian Air Force helicopters that are used for search-and-rescue also based here.
The first air terminal at Luqa was inaugurated on 31 March 1958, and it is still there opposite RAF Luca. The present air terminal in Gudja was laid out in September 1989 and it was inaugurated in record time 29 months later along side runway 13/31 in February 1992. Malta International Airport then became fully operational on 25 March 1992 and the old Luca passenger terminal was effectively closed down after 35 years. Even in it's newer disguise the terminal still has an iconic look that denotes the Malta airport of Luca. LMML is a hub for Air Malta and Medavia besides being a base for Ryanair. It is also home to the Area Control Center.
Malta International Airport
Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta
IATA: MLA - ICAO: LMML
5/23 - 2,377 (7,800ft) Asphalt
13/31- 3,544 (11,627ft) Asphalt
Elevation AMSL : 300 ft / 91 m
LMML - Malta International by JustSim
My first impression of JustSim's scenery was in that how much different and up to date it was compared to most of the other sceneries I have used here in the past. Yes the older elements are still there like with the original RAF Luca and the huge Lufthansa Technik and SR Technics facilities that are still represented, but the area around the terminal was far much more complex and better designed...
The standout building that now totally dominates the airport is the new "Skyparks Business Centre", that is also the base for the head office of Air Malta on Level 2. Note the M McDonalds in the foreground.
The main terminal is excellent in capturing that Malta feel in it's design... Stands 1 to 8L front the terminal, and the mid-apron stands are 9 to 24.
... detail and clutter is excellent, with viewing decks, solar panels, thrust barriers, air-con units and great reflective glass for realisam. Landside is just as complete with great advertising, vehicles, 3d passengers and even their luggage. JustSim notes activity with ground vehicles (X-Plane11 only) but on the airports aprons I saw nothing, but there is traffic running around the airport.
Sunken elevation carpark is a standout in detail, and the VIP centre shows the airports comprehensive detailing.
There is another sunken 3d roadway in front of the Skyparks Business centre that snakes down under the main F taxiway and RWY 13/31. the idea is very good, but with no traffic running makes it a bit bland and a very odd tunnel exit on the other side, and the join of the vehicle bridge and textures is a bit messy as well.
Apron 8 to the west of the main Luca Terminal, is the Cargo terminal and it is well represented here.
There is great variation in building styles in showing the different aspects of the changes to the buildings, both old and modern or in other words a collection or motley of old and very old buildings, with the odd new building also thrown in there.
The Air Malta 1950's maintenance hanger (Hangar 6) is the standout and is excellent, with worn brickwork and rusted roofing, the metal door runners are also well done in detail.
Lufthansa Technik and SR Technics
Alongside most of the western side of runway 05/23 and taxiway L is the large Lufthansa Technik and SR Technics maintenance base, it is split by the runway safety area (RSA) of RWY31 creating the high + cross.
The older Lufthansa Technik hangar is too the north of the + cross and the main facility with the more modern three larger hangars is to the south, with a big general aviation and supporting hangars zone splitting neatly up the two areas...
..... the Technik hangar reproduction is excellent, and with great detail, but the ugly rear solar roof installation is a bit too much of a facade quick style that does not look authentic, yes the solar installation is there in reality, but it could have been more refined in the area that is quite visual. Shame there is no SAM on the hangar doors here as with ShortFinal's EDDM, but that may yet happen in an update.
The general aviation Apron 3 area is super nice, and very authentic if you are dropping in to refuel if you are crossing over the Mediterranean. There is a nice collection of hangars and buildings for aviation support services.
Note the excellent authentic apron lighting pylons and comprehensive 3d grass.
Aprons 2 and 1 is the original Luca airport area, with the original terminal is very well represented and the older terminal stand parking still here.
There is post war 1950's feel to the zone, but it is overshadowed by that huge Technik hangar that sorts of dominates the area, but the hangar is not new, as close up it looks to be 1960's vintage. I like the detail of the storage of the non-required airport service vehicles behind the second British style hangar.
The old RAF Station is well represented and it also looks deserted. Inside of the high + cross of the runways the Control Tower is positioned here as well, and this tower is an updated version rather than the old wartime version... but in the distance it still does look like the older field tower. The two aprons one just stands and he other with hangars are noted as 5 and 7 and are noted for military use only. The Area Control Center radar is located here as well.
The tower view is set perfectly with all runway approaches perfectly visual, with no obstacles to interfere into the view.
SAP - Safi Aviation Park
The head office of Medavia is situated at the airport on the threshold of Runway 31. The zone is noted as SAP or the Safi Aviation Park.
Three large maintenance hangars dominate the SAP area, two for Medavia and one multipurpose.
Airport infrastructure and local custom Autogen
There is a huge amount of custom infrastructure and buildings set out between the main apron areas and behind the terminal areas. It is all just really basic modeling and textures, but they do a very good job of filling in the more open areas and completing the scenery's visual aspects, and all are matched correctly to the ground photo textures. There is both industrial and custom housing of the area.
The Malta Freeport and large fuel depot is on the approach to RWY 31 and is also represented, but it is also again a bit basic? As it is a visual clue on the most used approach into LMML, it could have been a little more detailed on the port side with containers and even a ship to hide the photo textures.
JustSim have always tried to recreate the environs of the area around the airport, and mostly with great success. Here in Malta they have used an autogen approach of their own custom Maltese housing. The idea works extremely well, but some of the default darker tone autogen also pops through... personally I like it a lot, as it usually denotes the more industrial side to the capital city area and breaks up the constant white buildings.
Sadly missing are a few of the Maltese capital Valletta's iconic structures as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Like the Fort St Elmo, Fort Tigné and St John's Co-Cathedral... nothing too detailed, but would still have been great for some VFR flying around the island.
WT3 & Ground Textures
The taxiway and runway layout at LMML is complicated, because the early RAF Luca runway layout was a cross of four runways, that have been reduced down to two, so parts of the earlier layout is still used as hard areas and taxiway links. The RWY31 end loop is really well done.
This complex system highlighted the challenge to WorldTraffic3 ground routes, and it actually worked out a way to use and navigate the ground routes effectively. The RWY31 end loop also works very well with holds at taxiway 3 until the runway is clear to proceed and to taxi and then to turn around on to the runway... only one thing is wrong with the provided WT3 ground routes... the entrance to the main terminal apron is the wrong way? you taxi to the east side before entering the ramp, so the lines are the correct way in for parking, instead the aircraft are entering from the west end and have to turn hard left to park.... it also feels the flow is wrong?
Ground textures and signage and marking are all authentic and excellent and the texture surfaces are also nicely reflective. In some areas the photo mesh textures are well over-saturated, and poke through the landscape, but visually you just get away with it as they are not central to the main scenery, except behind RAF Luca....
The lighting is overall fine at LMML, but it comes with some dull and empty areas.
The whole island of Malta is very well lit on the STAR phase into LMML. And so it is quite a dramatic approach visually at night.
Approach lighting is very good, and all the lighting for runway 13/31 is excellent, but although the approach lighting is fine, then Rwy 05/23 does not have any centreline markings or any white lights, so it is harder to use.
The aprons look very good, but the lighting is actually a bit hit and miss...
... as Stands 4 and 9 are in complete darkness, as are the close areas of the airside and landside of the main terminal?
So the terminal does not stand out as good as it could have, the word I would use here is "Rushed" as it feels lighting wise it is a little incomplete.
Carparks are fine, but in a few areas and again they are only half lit....
The Skyparks Business Centre looks good as does the substantial lit advertising... but the McDonald's is nowhere to be seen in the darkness?
Autogen lighting is very good, but thankfully it is all mixed in with the default urban industrial autogen that lifts it up from the average repetition effect.
Other aprons and airport areas are also well lit, in again a passable if not overly lit way, the lit hangar signage is however excellent...
... certainly on all the large Lufthansa Technik and SAP hangars.
First I will note this Malta scenery in context with it's price, which is US$22.30, so first of all the extensive scenery and great value is certainly on show here. I am and always will be a supporter and admirer and high user of JustSim's releases.
As noted LMML - Malta is a very important scenery to me for it's position in the mid-Mediterranean Sea and for its routing versatility. So the question is does this JustSim scenery live up to my high requirements... the answer is yes it does and extensively so, but there are a few areas here that still need attention or just finishing off.
Perfection could also have been easily achieved with just a little more attention before release. Some lighting feels rushed to finish and has a few dark areas, the areas of Valletta and Malta Freeport would have benefited with a little more attention and is missing VFR landmarks or port infrastructure. But the custom Maltese autogen is very well done, and fills out the complete island with housing and structure.
In modeling, layout and design then LMML is very, very good and JustSim was always very good in using the X-Plane dynamic features with clever ideas, hence reflective runways and custom autogen. Clutter is excellent as is the immersion on the ramps in detail and obviously I love it all and will certainly get a lot of flying done in this region again. So in other words "I'm Back".
Good WT3 is crucial to making LMML work, although it needs some flow attention, but overall WT3 does work very well here. First impressions and the time now spent reviewing the scenery says this will easily be my main scenery for Malta, and again overall JustSim have developed and delivered a great and authentic scenery addition to X-Plane... Highly Recommended.
Yes! LMML - Malta International by JustSim is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
LMML - Malta International Airport
Price Is US$22.30
Detailed airport objects and vehicles
Custom textured taxiways, runways and apron
Custom airport lights
Custom autogen for Malta island
Compatible with X-Plane 11 features
Animated ground vehicles (X-Plane 11 only)
Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on terminal and other airport buildings
High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures
High resolution building textures
Excellent night effects
Realistic reflections on glass
World Traffic compatible
X-Life traffic compatible
Optimized for excellent performance
WT3: Ground routes are provided with scenery. The runway and taxiway layout here really tests the WT3 ground routes, but overall WT3 works fine. Only comment is that the flow on the main apron is in the wrong direction, as it is west to east, but it needs to flow east to west
Windows, Mac or Linux
2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download size: 895Mb
Version 1.0 and review version(February 2nd 2019)
Download scenery file size is download 873.95mb and with the full installation installed in your custom scenery folder as there are two install folders:
LMML_JustSim_2_v1.0 (12.8mb) Mesh
Total scenery Install is : 2.08gb
The developers note you need to adjust the X-Plane "scenery_packs.INI" so the loading order is correct... and that the "LMML_JustSim_2_v1.0 (Mesh)" is below the Airport and overlay files, but above the Global Airport folder.
No manual except for "Installation" notes
WT3 Ground Routes, Airport Operations and Parking Def files are provided
Review by Stephen Dutton
6th February 2019
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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 11.31
Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini
Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin : US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free : SAM Plugin - Free
Scenery or Aircraft