Latinwings is a young company having been incorporated late 2014 by CEO Fabian Gabriel De Gouveia. Based in Caracas, Venezuela, their first releases were Venezuelan based airports like Barinas X and Barquisimeto X. Fabian teamed up with a friend in Spain, Trino Rojas now joint CEO, who had Spanish aviation contacts which allowed him to study Valencia airport in more detail. With collaboration with the government owned airport operator ENAIRE (formally AENA) they were given access to all areas they needed, a rare opportunity these days.
After 6 months of intense development and with two more developers joining the project at the last minute, the result is Latinwings largest release to date, Valencia X, an ambitious project for any developer let alone a relatively small outfit, this airport could be the start of something bigger and maybe more Iberian locations.
Valencia Airport handles mainly domestic scheduled flights, and close to half of its traffic is to Madrid. Other national destinations of importance are Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Seville and Ibiza. The airport also handles a significant level of international traffic from European Union countries, with most passengers coming from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France.
General aviation is very important to the airport of Valencia. The agriculturally related private aviation manoeuvres and air operations which take place every year are an important part of this airport's activity.
In 2015 the airport processed 5,051,871 passengers, 59,005 operations and 13,541 tonnes of cargo.
The Airport is situated 8km west of the city with an Airport Reference Point (ARP) of 392922N 0002854W. It has a single 12/30 3215x45 m asphalt runway with CAT 1 precision approach in both directions and a 3° PAPI with a MEHT (Minimum Eye Height over Threshold) of (17.48 m / 57 ft).
Valencia X is available as a 558Mb Zip download from Aerosoft. A serial number is provided once your order is processed and this serial number along with your email address is required during the initial online activation. The software comes with a quadruple installer allowing you to choose precisely the sim you have up to and including Prepar3D and FSX Steam Edition.
The product information suggests that you require 1 GB of disc space, looking at my installation I can account for 958MB so having at least 1GB spare is a good idea.
The installation is fully automatic and intuative to use. Valencia X is priced at €20.12 including VAT, or the equivalent on currency cross rates.
The main focus is the airport, the surrounding town of Manises and the city and port of Valencia. There are many custom models and additions to the city such as the Science Museum and especially the large port which appears on the approach to Rwy 30.
The images below show the before and after of both locations, as you can see Latinwings have made a large improvement over the default:
Airport Environs. The grounds of the airport extend to 5.2 sq km (2.01 sq mi) in area so not a huge area but they have crammed it full of facilities. The area is split into two distinct regions, the South Apron and the North Apron. These main regions are dissected by the single asphalt runway. Originally there was a runway 04/02 which is no longer used as a runway but is now referred to as Ramp 4 and also as the R4 Taxiway depending how you are using it .
From a distance, the land on which the airport occupies is very brown in colour and doesn't blend that well with the surrounding textures, after looking at Google Earth I can see the airfield is much lighter and more of a clay colour. I feel maybe a bit more colour matching with the real world could be undertaken. At ground level it doesn't look so unusual and your attention is directed away by the grass and flowers.
Dotted around the airfield are some toasted aircraft waiting for someone to buy them up and restore them. I wasn't expecting so many, there are 5 Airbus A300s in a group of two and three and a Boeing 747-200 cargo which has been abandoned with an unrepairable starboard engine by the now defunct operator Pronair. Also included just north of the GA apron is a is a collection of 9 static Air Nostrum CRJ-200s , these are serviceable aircraft but static in this scenery.
Other clutter includes several communication towers and buildings (the ubiquitous red and white structures), on-field VOR, ILS aerials, approach light gantries and a boundary fence. All of these objects are built to a very high standard and are a great improvement on the defaults.
Behind the main terminals are multi-story car parks and many roads and ramps leading up to the upper level of the terminal. Most of these roads have signage of some sort directing you to and away from the terminal. These signs are very clear to read unlike some other sceneries.
In line with the touch down aiming point for runway 12, are a group of 4 avid plane spotters standing on an earth mound south of the boundary fence. One of the spotters is animated, the others are static, with one presumably a disinterested partner as she is sat in a chair engrossed in her smartphone. It's the nice touches like this which really add to the enjoyment of this scenery.
North of Runway. This is where most of the action is. Working from east to west we have the cargo ramp, fronting the ramp is a warehouse sportings DHL and UPS logos and not to be out-done, UPS have a static Boeing 767-34F freighter on the apron. Out back of the warehouse is a detailed rendition of the cargo reception with many articulated vehicles (MAN) and box vans (Mercedes and Peugeot) all in the correct livery. There are other couriers too such as Spain-TIR and the handling agent Ground Force along with Swissport. You can tell this is a major cargo hub and a must for any Air Hauler company.
Next to the cargo area is the fire station with its own tarmac car park area. We have 3 well drawn fire appliances with the correct livery and a general purpose 4x4 airport vehicle. There are animated versions of the same vehicle scooting around the northern aprons.
We now move onto the general aviation north apron, this area is more for the business jets and is also used for parking for airliners. Bordering the apron is a large building labelled Real Aeroclub De Valencia, this is a business offering flight training including a full sized Boeing 737NG cockpit simulator and other commercial fun flights. It would have been nice to have seen an aircraft parked associated with the club but there are plenty of other unusual aircraft yet to see.
After crossing over ramp 2, where we see branded airline vehicles such as air stairs and tugs, we see the very impressive Regional Terminal (or TR). A huge curved and arched window with acres of glass exposes state of the art facilities inside with very high resolution notice boards and arrival & departure boards. One of the most impressive features is the suspended CRJ in Air Nostrum colours. This looks even more impressive at night as we will see later.
Adjoining TR is T1 and T2 which handles, national, international and EU flights. Again, the textures used are of high quality but the glass here is replaced with glass-like opaque textures so these terminals look dull in comparison. However, there is no lack of detail from the jet ways, ground clutter, animated flags and much, much more. What is curious though is the placement of the Control Tower which is land-side behind the terminal, this makes most of the north and northern general aviation aprons hidden from tower view.
We then pass a large building termed the Technical Block which has an observation tower that looks like a mini control tower, looking at airport plates this is the control point for pilots, it also houses the security forces as we can also see many police vehicles outside.
Lastly, we have a BP branded fuel station. The tanker park is full of tankers waiting for a call, it's great to see some time spent on detail here too.
South of Runway. The original terminal, which is positioned on the edge of the south apron, no longer handles passengers in the traditional sense but still maintains the look. The south apron is also known as the GA apron so as you would expect there are a mixture of hangars and commercial buildings adjoining the apron. They are fairly anonymous looking except the one labelled Salvamento Maritimo but all arew well drawn. Also fronting the apron is a large Air Nostrum hangar, all the doors are closed so there's not much to see inside.
Joining the west side of the apron is the very recognisable Cessna logo and signage that tells us this is the 100,400 sq ft Cessna Citation regional service centre. There are no Cessna aircraft parked nearby so again a slight shame there.
Behind the service centre is a UN support base, there is a various array of buildings and a satellite dish farm providing the communications. The texture detail of the buildings is varied but very acceptable for an outlying area. Maybe an odd vehicle or person wouldn't have gone amiss.
Just as I thought that was it, another gem comes to light. This time it's the Avialsa T-35 complex. This comprises of a large blue hangar with mostly Air Tractor AT401B and AT-802 amphibians parked outside on their own private apron. I could spot a few Cessna 337s in the same livery. Behind an open fronted hangar are the offices of the company. Browsing the internet tells me these aircraft are used for fighting forest fires
Frank is a free Avatar for use in Prepar3D V3 supplied by Aerosoft. It is a custom figure featuring a high-vis jacked with an Aerosoft logo. He can be loaded with any aircraft, he is able to stand, walk, run, stand to crouch, walk while crouching, crouch to stand, jump, swim and fall, all using the default P3D v3 commands.
All the hard ground markings are exceptionally clear and easy to read, some are more worn, where the touch down points are on the runways for example. The taxiways and runway generally have burnt in rubber marks exactly as you would expect.
The north and south aprons have plenty of markings for gates and parking spots. Most parking spots have some sort of oil stain. The north apron looks particularly well used and realistic.
The night lighting looks very natural. There are distinct areas that look floodlit and others that are just lighter grey textures. The flood lights have no halos or visible rays of light beams of light even when you are fogged in. I like to see some of this effect, but this is purely my preference.
The Regional Terminal is well lit and probably more visually stunning than by day. The colours inside are vibrant and by night help to offset the dull grey textures outside. Most of the other buildings on the northern side have a fair representation of being lit or having lights on inside.
On the southern side the apron lighting and effect is similar to the north side. Again, most of the buildings are suitably lit and the Cessna hangar logos stand out well.
Runway and taxiway lighting is both accurate and clear, the approach lights have a chaser light running in the direction of the runway and make a nice feature especiall on approach.
As far as I could tell, no extra lighting was added to the city or port areas, when over the port the runway lights are extremely bright and recognisable including the VASI.
Valencia airport is situated adjacent to the Autovia A-3 highway which connects Valencia with Madrid. As the A-3 passes the airport boundaries there are low resolution buildings lining the street on the northern side. Some of the buildings are customised to local designs and have the relevant logos, some are more anonymous with random logos such as Latinwings own on several buildings, no harm in some self-promotion, but this is typical of a young company still finding its identity.
To the north of the airfield the town of Manises sits on a layer of photo scenery which from above adds accuracy to the view, however from an oblique angle the buildings are fairly generic but again there are a couple of custom designs. To the south and west are commercial areas with a multitude of warehouses and other industrial buildings including more Latinwings premises.
Between the airfield and the city there is a return to the default textures (or others if you have Vectors or GEX installed).
Once in the city proper, other than the western side and docks area there is only one major addition being the impressive Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe, this is an interactive science museum, stretching like a giant whale skeleton within the City of Arts & Sciences. There is plenty of detail here by day but by night it is unlit. Looking at real world shots it looks awesome so a shame it is not included.
Another major exclusion is a representation of the Mestalla Stadium. Valencia CF is one of the largest football clubs in Europe, bigger than Manchester United so not including this landmark is a fail in my book.
As we move south of the Museum, we come across the old F1 grand prix circuit (now MotoGP) which also included a part road race with the circuit stretching out to the docks and over a swing bridge. With this area having underlying photoscenery the circuit can clearly be seen. There is also a helipad and some parking areas one of which is occupied by a static AW 139, sadly it is slightly sinking through the base scenery.
As mentioned in my introduction, Valencia docks are a major trading hub. Latinwings have added an immense area of custom ground textures and objects such as cranes containers and ships. There are far more container than you would want to count but the impression is thousands. The containers and cranes again have known logos interspersed with Latinwings' own.
A few coal piers, static freighters and ferries finish this area off nicely.
There are noticeable differences in the hue and vibrancy of the ground textures well in keeping with the time of year. Understandably, winter and hard winter are the same, its average winter temperature rarely falls below 9C so snow and frost is rare.
Two documents are included with Valencia X:
1. A full set of 28 charts charts are provided by Lufthansa Systems Flightnav Inc., including airfield operational details and SID/STAR details; and
2. An eight page user manual written by Mathijs at Aerosoft. The manual includes brief details of the location along with compatibility information. There are a couple of pages are given over to settings and frame rates but other than that, it is pretty lightweight reading.
My overall assessment, given the extent of the scenery and the obvious skill of the developers at €20.12 this represents excellent value for money
Surprisingly both scenery object sliders are recommended to be set at extremely dense, I am fortunate to be able to run P3Dv3 with this setting. My sim is pegged at 31 FPS and never wavered, even in steep banks (using the paramotor). As you can see from the screenshots I am also running a 3rd party traffic program so I thought the performance was exceptional.
Latinwings Valencia X is a quality piece of scenery. As with all software, there are some minor texture faults but nothing to spoil your enjoyment. The developers have included so many points of interest you will be kept occupied for hours exploring them.