By Joe Lawford.
Manhattan, the ultimate in skyscraper architecture, has since long lost the title of city with the tallest skyscraper, but remains the city with the most interesting skyscrapers in the world. It is home to so many famous landmarks and is synonymous with high finance and high living, in both senses of the word!
The buildings themselves are icons of their age. There is an eclectic mix of styles from the dark, early gothic influence with intricate detail to featureless square mirrored buildings.
So how do you go about modelling a city as interesting and diverse as this? Well you ask someone like Andreas Kozma, the guru of scenery design and developer of the previous FS2004 Manhattan scenery to do it for you!
There are a remarkable three million polygons and close to hundred and fifty thousand objects in this scenery so in theory it has to be good!
• Manhattan Island (East Side, West Side, Uptown and Downtown)
• Ellis Island
• Governors Island
• Liberty Island
• Roosevelt Island
• KJRB, Port Authority Downtown Manhattan/Wall St Heliport
• KJRA, West 30th St. Heliport
• 6N5, East 34th Street Heliport
• 6N4, Pan Am Metroport Heliport
• All major bridges in great detail
• Most famous landmarks on Manhattan Island
• Detailed manual of the heliports, VFR flight routes and covered area
• Effects files for smoke, sound and other effects
• Spectacular night effects.
To be honest I am nervous, will my machine cope? Let’s see.
The very first thing you must do is study the Manual, in fact, print it out as you will need to refer to it if you are not familiar with fine tuning your graphics settings.
Aerosoft are very aware that this product will present a challenge to the vast majority of machines but what is the point of not making the very best available as in time hardware speed will catch up, more of that later.
So, one painless installation later and pre-flight trials undertaken, it’s time to take flight.
I recommend you try the included mission first, it is a tourist helicopter flight from the Port Authority KJRB out into the harbour, past Governors, Liberty and Ellis Island up the Hudson river across Central Park, down the East River past the United Nations building and south Street Sea Port back to the Port Authority heliport.
This mission starts with the engine off, the outside environmental sounds can be clearly heard. The sound of scores of taxi’s pounding the streets and sounding their horns and other big city noises. Also, by the water you are aware of water lapping sounds too.
The mission flight is accompanied by a tour guide; the actor must be a native New Yorker, that dialect is unmistakable! Quite kindly he points out what islands you are flying over and loads of other points of interest. The mission compass of course will also tell you what the next waypoint is.
This really does give you the feel for the place and an urge to ditch the tourists and go exploring.
There are 4 heliports available:
KJRB – Downtown Manhattan at the Port Authority. This one in my opinion has the best views, skyscrapers towering right above, views up the river to Brooklyn Bridge, then south you will see the ferries, Governors Island and right in the distance depending on your visibility setting the Verrazano Bridge, the main way in from New Jersey.
6N5 – East 34 Street Heliport further north up the East River from KJRB. You can see the Empire State Building from here and explore the Midtown District. Behind you is Roosevelt Island and the Queensboro Bridge.
6N4 – Pan Am Metroport Heliport. This heliport is now closed. Quite rightly it has been included as it is a challenge to land on, my favourite time to land there is night as the scenery is absolutely stunning. Once landed, take a look over the edge it’s a long way down!
KJRA – West 30 Street Heliport. Located on the Hudson River in a more industrial area of Manhattan, KJRA is your best heliport when conditions are poor. The surrounding terrain is clear of high-rises. You can park your heli on a barge in the river. Madison Square garden is close by and the George Washington Bridge can just be made out in the distance. Of course, this area was featured heavily in the news recently when Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III successfully ditched Flight 1549 in the river after a bird strike took out both engines of his A320.
Other places of interest.
Well there are so many but let’s start with Roosevelt Island. The island is best known as the site of a number of prisons and asylums. The prisons, including Welfare Penitentiary, housed a number of infamous personalities, including actress Mae West, who in 1927 was arrested for lewd behaviour!
Previously a US Army post, this pretty island is now a National Monument . Interestingly The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel passes underwater and off-shore of the island’s northeast corner, its location marked by a ventilation building connected to the island by a causeway, this is nicely modelled too.
Home of miss Liberty presented to America by the people of France in 1886 commemorating the centennial of the Declaration of Independence. Another beautiful island with views across the bay to Manhattan. A great place to stop and admire the view.
This infamous island was the centre of immigration in little over 60 years 12 million immigrants passed though this place. It has quite stark looking buildings on the southern half, a grand important building to the north and a bridge connecting it to New Jersey.
A sad reminder of times past, there are cranes in place on the new construction. A memorial poster can be seen in place on the side of a building.
Home to the famous Sea-Air-Space Museum. The museum showcases the World War II aircraft carrier, the submarine and BA Concorde.
There is some great photo scenery here which nicely blends with the autogen. From quite low down you can look down the avenues heading south for Midtown and the Financial district and get a great perspective of the island. Plenty of recreational areas can be seen with baseball triangles, lakes and wooded areas.
The are many bridges that criss-cross the islands of New York. Brooklyn Bridge would be the most recognisable and is expertly modelled. The other bridges are equally well designed if not quite in so much detail. If you are a native of the district then you will instantly recognise them.
This is one of only a few, (if not the only) sceneries that look just as good at night as in the day. How can you fail to be impressed with the vast expanse of lit up windows and reflections in the water. Midtown was fun too especially landing on the old Pan Am building.
•Full FSX features using bump maps, advanced shading and reflections.
• Scheduled ship traffic (Staten Island Ferries)
• Many special effects included (like sounds, smoke, birds)
• Professionally designed charts with all helicopter routes
Also included in the manual are charts giving suggested VFR routes, area maps with points of interest and a suggested instrument approach into Rwy 13 at La Guardia.
This can be considered as one of those must have sceneries, so much entertainment for such a relatively small area. I know the scenery is not advertised as being 100% accurate but I truly felt I was there.
This scenery is well ahead of anything else available both in quality and performance. A definite thumbs up and recommendation from me. If you are not into helicopters then learn!
-Joe Lawford, Mutley’s Hangar. The original review can be found here. Used with permission.