My name is Nico Lumermann. And I suffer from a condition; I’m allergic to default airport scenery. Not for the lack of trying, because I did flew around a default airport. But that is only when there is no payware or quality freeware available and I just hate it. So I often avoid the neglected airfields around the world.
As some of you know, I live in downtown Manhattan. This means I fly regularly out of JFK, LGA and TEB in real life. But even more frequently on the sim. Since I fly exclusively online and the NY Sector has probably the best controllers in VASTIM, and the big 3 airports all have great approaches (LGA with expressway 31, JFK with VOR 13L and EWR with the stadium visual/bridge visual 29).
When I first heard that DRZEWIECKI DESIGN (hereafter “DD”) was developing a product called NY Airports X, I was very excited to see a more optimized version of LGA and finally after years of garbage, a flyable version of KEWR. I always thought KJFK has been and will continue to be in the good hands of FSDT.
It took me about 3 minutes to install NY Airports X V1 and the same time to uninstall it and make sure I never activate it again, not even by accident. The airports were not up to par with the quality payware products and the performance was just terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. They didn’t do a terrible job optimizing; they just made a terrible decision trying to squeeze all those airports (and New York City X) in the same 10 sq/miles amid an aging 32 bit platform. So I wrote off the cost of NY Airports V1 and forgot about it.
Before I get to the point, and offer my personal thoughts on NY Airports V2 for P3D V4, I want all the readers to put something into perspective. Just so you understand the complexity of the NYC airspace and the difficulty of re-creating all this hand-placed autogen in a simulator. For this reason, I would like to walk you through my favorite departure (SID) out of LGA; the GLDMN5 RNAV departure, which by the way was the first flight test I did after installing NY Airports V2.
As you can see in the image, you are starting from runway 13 out of LGA, once airborne you have all of the Queens Flushing Meadows park autogen in close proximity and a quick right turn to a heading of 185 puts you literally less than 10 miles from KJFK at your 11-o’clock. At this point you continue a right-turn to an eventual heading of 320 degrees. Keep in mind that while on this turn, LGA is visible from your right wing and JFK is visible from your left wing. But now it gets worse; you are literally about to overfly downtown Manhattan and now you have KEWR and KTEB in sight along with the city skyline. So to sum it all up, your simulator is loading KLGA, KJFK, Manhattan skyline, KEWR, and KTEB all at the same time in a 2 minute period. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out the huge undertaking it is to make this scenery work.
So I reluctantly purchased both packages of NY Airports X V2. You can complain all you want about the fact that it went to a dual purchase from a previously single purchase, but for 44 bucks you are getting 6 airports… that is USD 7.33 per airport. Is not that bad! I set my 737-800 at runway 13 in LGA with some weather in the area and flew the GLDMN5 departure with all 6 airports activated in the scenery library plus New York City X. Since I use P3D V4, I was not worried about any OOMs, however, I was expecting a slide show. To my surprise, absolutely no slide show at all. In fact the performance was great. I was locked at 60 fps externally and during this short SID, I ranged from 55-61 fps. So unlike the first version of this product, I was not uninstalling this one any time soon.
I was actually very impressed. They did optimize this product and the performance both during the day and at night was way above my expectations. Of course, there is no free lunch. This came at a cost of texture quality. Which is not the best when seen from up-close but I can guarantee you that should one day FSDT decide to release JFK, LGA, EWR, TEB, LDJ, and CDW at the same time and you fly over Manhattan, you are in for a slow picture-viewing session. So in order to make this work, you need to lower the texture quality and details around the gates. So in my opinion, DRZEWIECKI DESIGN delivered the tristate area airports in spades.
Perhaps what influenced me the most to write this review, was the fact that another FS site wrote a review about this same product giving it a rating of 3.3/10.0. The rationale behind this low score was low quality textures and bad performance. After scratching my head several times, I decided to offer another point of view because, as I explained in detail during the intro, lower texture quality is to be expected and performance is actually surprisingly good.
New York Airports X V2 combined with New York City X (both by the same developer) offers you a very unique opportunity to experience an approach into the “big apple” with all of the real-life obstacles and complexities of this great metropolis. What’s more, the developer included detailed autogen of the several visual cues used by pilots in the real world to execute visual approaches into the big three NYC hubs. Before I go into detail about each of the 3 big airports in this collection, I want to mention that they all share a great quality; the ground and runway textures are outstanding.
Let’s start with La Guardia (KLGA): An accurate rendition of LGA today would entail an old terminal with plenty of cranes, tractors, and piles of dry cement. DD’s version is an up-to-date rendition of the architectural drawings of the construction underway. The terminals are not the most detailed when seen from up close, but the overall airport looks great both during day and night. Some important hand-placed autogen around LGA include Flushing Meadows Park, Arthur Ashe Stadium, Citi Field, the famous “twin tanks” referenced in the expressway visual RW31, and the Gran Central Parkway that wraps along the south side of the airport and comes into very close proximity of RW 04.
Moving Southeast into JFK, we are greeted by great surrounding autogen of the Aqueduct Racetrack and the large hotel (both important references on the VOR 13L approach). And on the other side of the field we have the Belmont Race Tracks in high detail (important visual reference when approaching RW 22/R. If you are expecting a detailed version of the terminals and gates, skip JFK during installation and chose the famous JFK scenery by FSDT. The extent of detail you can expect in DD’s version is the HSBC advertisement in the jet bridges and the airline name where applicable.
Let’s shoot over west to the other side of Manhattan, where we will find probably the best version of KEWR available in the market today. Unlike LGA and JFK, I find that KEWR has higher quality textures around the terminals. This is probably the reason why performance around KEWR is slightly worse than the other 2 airports. In addition, there is a vast amount of hand place autogen around the airport including the several cranes in the sea port, the bridge found at the threshold of RW29 and Giants Stadium.
I don’t think it's worth focusing on the 3 satellite airports in this series. They are there, and they are just ok. What I would rather do is focus on the big picture and congratulate DD for achieving in this second version what they failed to achieve on version 1; a good balance between quality and performance. I will not offer a numerical score because this product should be viewed and judged in a holistic way without focusing on each individual airport. This is where I find that most simmers make the mistake of comparing DD JFK to FSDT or DD LGA to ImagineSim 2016 and miss the bigger picture.
I highly recommend this scenery and I hope to see all of you landing in the NYC area soon!
ADX managing partner
Note: The only connection between me and the developer of the scenery reviewed is that I am a paying customer of their products. I have no affiliation with the developer nor do I care to have an affiliation in the future.
This Scenery was judged under the following circumstances:
NY Airports X Version 2 along with New York City X
Intel I7 6950X 10 cores (HT off) @ 4300 GhZ
64 G DDR 4 memory 2800 GhZ
GTX Titan X Pascal