Threshold Review: Perth International Airport (YPPH) by Axonos

October 24, 2020

Perth International Airport (ICAO YPPH)..the gateway to Western Australia.

Perth International airport started life as the second site chosen for aviation in the city of Perth…originally the main aerodrome in use was Maylands Aerodrome, located in a small peninsula just to the West/South West of the existing airport. Maylands Aerodrome started operations in 1923 using 130 acres of land purchased on a bend of the Swan River.

By the end of the 1930s it was becoming clear that Maylands Aerodrome would not be suitable as on ongoing primary aerodrome for the city as its location meant expansion was not possible. A new site was identified in Guildford, land purchased in what was at the time the Dunreath Golf Course and a basic aerodrome built during WW2.

In 1952 the Guildford Aerodrome became officially “Perth International Airport” and has served as the main gateway to the west of Australia since. The old Maylands aerodrome continued operations as a general Aviation-only aerodrome until 1963 when it was closed and its operations relocated to the new Jandakot General Aviation Airport.

Perth International Airport was home to some notable operations, it was the first airport serviced by Cathay Pacific Airways Jets from Hong Kong, it was also the base for QANTAS flights to Africa and Asia and of course was the gateway for linking the major Australian cities in the East to the rest of the mineral-rich state of Western Australia.

Other notable operators were NASA’s two Lockheed Super Constellations which regularly visited Perth Airport during the Gemini Space Program to provide calibration checking for the Carnarvon Tracking Station.

The transformation of this airport was slow….the original “Hangar Terminals” which dated back from WW2 were only replaced in 1962 when a new combined terminal for International and Domestic flights was commissioned.

It wasn’t until 1980 that construction of a purpose-built International Terminal for Perth airport was announced….the project was completed on the east side of the complex and opened in 1986…was capable of handling up to 6 Boeing 747s simultaneously.

No other major upgrades were made to the airport until the early 2000s…Domestic terminal was expanded, new taxiway SIERRA built to carry heavy aircraft directly from the International Terminal to runway 03 and a much-needed expansion to the International terminal completed by 2006.

The airport currently provides services to Asia/Africa/Middle East as well as the famous Dreamliner Perth-London flight….the first time a direct service has been possible between the two countries…average flight time is 16 hours and 5 minutes.

 

Axonos’ Perth International Airport for XP11

Perth Airport is Axonos’ very first completely in-house development. This package comes with fully custom 3D models all textured in 4K PBR. The package also includes the Perth Central Business District as well as full compatibility with Traffic Global and World Traffic 3.

Overview of Perth International Airport YPPH

Installation and Download:

The package comes in a single 2.33 Gb compressed file. This file expands to 3.31Gb with 3 Folders and 2 PFD files.

Installation is very straight forward, moving the required files to Custom Scenery…make sure to browse the included 4 page PDF manual.

 

What we get and what we see….

First things first….my system is medium-range:

CPU – i7 4970K running at 4Ghz with no overclocking

24G RAM

GTX1080 GPU with 8G VRAM

X-plane Graphics Settings:

Visual Effects – High (HDR)

Texture Quality High

AntiAliasing 2X

Anisotropic Filtering 4x

World Objects High

Using Vulkan Driver in XP11.50

 

Perth International airport, as stated before….is a sprawling complex over a large amount of real estate…as it has evolved very slowly, terminals have been added and thus complexity increased for anyone willing to take on this project.

Now let’s look at what we get for payware scenery:

The approach to runway 21….International Terminal on the left and Domestic complex on the right of the picture.

 

From the opposite end…approach for runway 03…with the Industrial areas on the right hand side of the picture.

 

You can clearly start to appreciate the work done here…but let’s have a closer look.

International/Terminal One first:

Old Terminal One with new extension to the right

Below you can appreciate the old and the new a little better...the 3D work done on the extension of Terminal One is very good.

But let's get a little closer....starting at the far left of the terminal...

Detail not as good...missing carpark and the security fence
Very good texturing work
Some of the detail is impressive
Some misalignment in textures

The extension of Terminal One has spotlights attached to the building, and provide illumination of aprons and roads....well at least they are supposed to be attached....we found just about every individual spotlight is floating in mid air and not attached to anything...

Floating Lights
Floating artefact and texture warping

Terminal Two:

Moving along towards the East...we find Terminal Two....this terminal has been updated in the last 10 years to cater for tremendous growth in Regional FlyIn/FlyOut work.

The level of detail provided here is impressive...particularly as some buildings and their detail are hard to obtain from photographs, so thumbs up for the research done in this area.

If we look closer, we find the texturing of the 3D objects is really well done, but the issue with floating lights once again emerges.

All in all, the representation of Terminals 1 and 2 is well done without being spectacular. Good amount of clutter and vehicles, good frame rates and performance, texturing is of good quality.

Let’s move the other side of the airport….the western side, housing the Domestic complex:

Terminal 3

Looking from the International Terminal or the Control Tower, Terminal 3 is the first from the left (South)…

Good detail including the new aprons

Markings and parking spots are all correct. Texturing of the buildings is well done. Axonos has captured the hybrid nature of this terminal, as it formed part of the first passenger terminal built, and the expansions attached to it over the years.

However we did find one more issue....a couple of the buildings are missing their floor, which in turn forms part of the roof line under the terminal.

Watch your step!

We keep moving West....

Terminal 4

This terminal is possibly the oldest passenger structure still in full operation at this airport. It has seen its fair share of work, extension/expansion and upgrades but somehow still retains its air of years gone past and past glory.

A lot of work in the main car park and adjacent buildings

We have now covered all 4 passenger terminals. This is a large amount of work...lots of gates and apron positions with idiosyncrasies due to the many expansions and changes over the years.

What we can take so far:

All gates are operational

All aprons are correct.

3D Objects are very good,not just on the airside but also the car parks and ancilliary buildings.

Some issues with objects not modelled properly (lights and buildings)

Now lets keep going...just past Terminal 4 we find the...

GA APRON:

Despite having a dedicated GA airport, the GA terminal at Perth International pays testament to the importance of air travel to service such a vast territory….commercial GA and Regional traffic is very heavy in Western Australia, as aviation has been an crucial part of its progress and integration.

Axonos has done a very good job of capturing the entire terminal with markings and aprons…I personally would have liked to have seen a little more “life” in the colours of the surrounds, considering Perth has extremes of heat and very peculiar colouring.

No issues found here, really enjoyed the look of the oil stains on the apron...from experience, a lot of piston engines like to "mark their territory".....so this is a nice touch.

Now we move to the northernmost part of the airport precinct...

Regional Terminal:

Just as GA is extremely important for Western Australia, the Regional Airlines provide a crucial service supporting the mining industry as well as other large investments, thus they are housed in a large complex to the very North of the airport precinct.

No major issues found here, very good texturing work, the 3D buildings are well done….some more than others but they do the job.

Good detail, even the car park

Now let’s concentrate on the bread and butter for Pilots…the runways, taxiways and other accessible areas:

I have to applaud here….the work is very very well done…one of the big bugbears of mine is lack of symmetry on the taxi lines or lack of understanding what the airport intended….even the markings for runway 21 are NOT an error….the discrepancy here is due to the expansion works carried out…Axonos got it right.

Having said that…I did find a few errors….first…the edge lights cutting across taxiway Bravo…

However, this is a non-event…why, I hear you ask? Well very simple….Perth International as well as all International airports in Australia are NOT equipped with taxiway edge lights…..ONLY centre lights….so the fix here is really simple….remove the sea of blue edge lights from the entire airport for accuracy and this problem goes away.

Second issue I found here…some of the taxiways have holes in them…not big but if you look closely you can find some edges that have not been closed properly…this is easily fixed and I expect the developer will address.

Another issue I will raise which is less obvious is the taxi lines crossing the piano keys….you will not find that anywhere as it goes against procedure….the taxilines at the base of the piano keys stop either side of the piano keys and do no cross….not sure about the rest of the world, but in Perth it is done this way.

The issue above with the piano keys means I also need to highlight that all the markings in the runways are hand placed by Axonos..the runway markings in Australia follow the US Precision system but they vary depending on the runway layout....from what I can see, Axonos has done a very good job in showing the exact markings in their scenery.

And finally I would like to see the white markings and lights that block access to taxiway J2….for some reason the scenery has a sign that says taxiway “S”..this is incorrect…Axonos got most of the markings on the taxiway correct…the reason the Yellow markings were removed is because this section of taxiway is now closed after investigation of a runway incursion event two years ago.

Conclusion:

For their first in-house development.not bad at all….price is about right if they correct the issues highlighted. As you can see, you get a fully detailed package of the airport confines, with very good detail on the car park as well as the industrial areas to the east and west of the airport, plus the City of Perth.

In this night view you get to appreciate the areas that have been worked on by Axonos...

Personal view here…you struggle to see the outline of the Perth City centre from the airport, so although it is a nice touch, I would have preferred to see more detail on the approaches of runway 03/21….currently even with Objects turned way up to max, it is all very much barren, and in real life it is not the case. In my view it adds to the scenery.

Also, Perth has good weather for most of the year, and visual approaches are used frequently...some of the landmarks for visual approaches would have been a better touch than the City outline.

Let’s analyze the scenery with the viewpoint of the Pilot….which is after all, the main purpose on Flight Simulation:

AirSide:

Runways -                               

Complete and well done

Custom and hand placed markings

Taxiways -  

Complete

Some Holes between tiles

Some accuracy issues with one taxiway

Incorrect taxiway lights were added.

Approach Lights -              

Rwy03 shows ALSF2 which is incorrect

CALVERT system should be shown for rwy 03

Rwy 21 shows ALSF2 which is correct

PAPI lights are correct.

On the Air Side, a good degree of accuracy achieved, but work needs to be done to bring this airport to the level of a true representation for our simulators.

Terminals:

Aprons -

All are very accurately simulated

SAM guidance/aerobridges/marshallers worked well

Markings are accurate and well done


Terminals                              

All terminals are included, correct size and shape.

Some issues with light objects in International terminal

Building with hollow floor in Terminal 3


Surrounds:                          

All car parks are included. Very good detail in some.

Immediate industrial areas are included.

Perth City outline included and visible in the distance.


On the Terminal side we once again see a good degree of accuracy. Terminals are well done, some of the texturing is top notch and really stands out. 

Perth Airport has Industrial areas visible to the north of the complex which have been included and is a nice touch, but again I would have preferred the effort concentrate on detail along the flight path to the airport.

The car parks, drop off zones and passenger side of the terminals have an amazing amount of detail for the purists, and must say even on my mid-range rig, frame rates were very good.

The night environment is very good as well:

Would like to see someone remove an offending tree from the approach lights

So should you buy this product? I am fortunate enough to work on certain aspects of visuals for a training simulator in my job, and funnily enough, Perth Airport is the work we are currently doing....so let's just say I am very familiar with this.

Perth Airport is a hybrid complex that has been dragged into our era whilst refusing to let go of its heritage. It is the vital life blood for the entire state of Western Australia and has been an icon for Australian aviation in its quest to reach continents off the western shores.

What you see in this product is what you get in real life...for a first up in-house effort by Axonos, I would give them a 7/10.

If they can correct the issues I highlighted in the review, I would go to an 8/10.

What brings it down? Some of the texturing applied, some of the use of orthos on the airport area as well as missing opportunity to provide more detail along the flight path.

But like a good boxing match, what the developer does in the final rounds wins the contest....I am very confident Axonos will act on the errors highlighted and thus give us a worthy addition to the very few good quality Australian airports for any flight simulator.

Perth International by Axonos is available for $22.95 from the Threshold store..

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