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Scenery Review : EFHK - Helsinki Vantaa International by JustSim


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EFHK_Header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : EFHK - Helsinki Vantaa International by JustSim

 

I have a bucket list of scenery that I really want to complete my services network in X-Plane. Airports that I think are crucial into not only the simulator per-se, but are also a requirement into create good strong route networks. In competition as a simulator then it is a requirement to cover the basics and X-Plane in reality has been woeful in these areas. These airports or sceneries have been on my list since day one and that list was from as long as 10 years ago, but still a lot of of important quality scenery has not been covered, now the spectre of Flight Simulator could even end that speculation, but I don't think so.

 

But for everything else and a virus, 2020 has been a very good year in for filling out a lot these blank holes in the X-Plane's network... most users will note that most (not all) have been covered by Freeware versions, and that is a fair comment. But we look at the simulator from a quality aspect and in most cases a facade built airport just can't cover the detailing required for a high quality scenery, no matter how talented the author.

 

But back to 2020. If you count late last year 2019 the LIMC-Malpensa was a nice hole filled, but it was FlyTampa's extraordinary EKCH-Copenhagen that was a huge network filler, next was FSIA-Seychelles, admittedly not on any high traffic route was also a nice filler, CYVR-Vancouver was also a requirement, as was (finally) a KTPA-Tampa, two airports have opened up Africa with HKJK-Nairobi/FALE-Durban and finally the most exclusive of them all in YPPH-Perth...   It's been a really good year in that respect.

 

After EKCH-Kastrop then my other biggest route hole in Northern Europe is Helsinki, or EFHK-Helsinki, I fly there now, but the multiple Freewares were always lacking in one area or another, I wanted, always wanted a decent Vantaa, I love flying to Helsinki, but the quality was just not there when I got there. For many years TruScenery created some great if brilliant scenery in Finland, and they actually worked on but never released a EFHK...   So I was seriously excited when JustSim a quality developer announced that they were doing a EFHK-Helsinki, "Thank the Lord Jesus".

 

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Helsinki-Vantaa Airport or simply Helsinki Airport, is the main international airport of the city of Helsinki and its surrounding metropolitan area, and the Uusimaa region in Finland. The airport is located in the neighboring city of Vantaa, about 5 kilometres (3 mi) west of Tikkurila, and 9.2 NM (17.0 km; 10.6 mi) north of the Helsinki city center. The HEL airport is operated by state-owned Finavia.

 

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Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasema
Helsingfors-Vanda flygplats

IATA: HEL- ICAO: EFHK

EFHK Charts.jpg

04R/22L - 3,500m (11,483ft) Asphalt

04L/22R - 3,060m (10,039ft) Asphalt

15/33 - 2,901m (9,518ft) Asphalt

Elevation AMSL - 55m/179 ft

 

First to note that in this review I am using the SFD Global addon for autogen, which gives you a more authentic Scandi feel to the housing and infrastructure than the Germanic default autogen.

 

Vantaa's layout is basically an L shape around a high cross runway and a spare north runway field layout. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 are in reality meshed together and are further confused by the separate Schengen sections and further more with the now completed extensions to both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

The airport is however currently nominally divided into two terminals, located 250 metres (820 ft) apart and linked by an internal pedestrian connection both airside and landside. In practice, however, the airside parts of the terminal buildings are not divided into Terminal 1 (the former domestic terminal) and Terminal 2 (the former international terminal) but to Schengen and non-Schengen areas. The terminal capacity of the airport is approximately 16–17 million passengers per year.

 

Domestic flights, as well as flights to European Schengen countries, are operated from gates 11–31. Long-haul and European non-Schengen flights are operated from gates 31–38. As the newer terminal extension is completed, the airport will then have 60 gates altogether with 19 gates in Terminal 1 and 41 in Terminal 2. The airport is known for it's fastest transition between flights (International - Domestic) in the world.

 

Terminal 1

You can from the air see the division of the earlier passenger terminal opened in 1952, and then in being totally replaced by the 1969 iconic version we know as Vantaa and it's two-tier corner Control Tower.

 

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And a first look at the T1 Domestic terminal shows how it was impossible it was to replicate in a facade environment, JustSim however have done a brilliant job of it, and the building has nice if perfect reflective glass. The corner Control Tower is excellent in it's sheet metal facade and glass, and the Tower View is set perfectly.

 

Airbridges (15) 12-27 are excellent in detail, and are the "Autogate" Marginal system (Plugin required)... there is Visual Docking Guidance System (VDGS) and also the A-VDGS (the A standing for advanced) available.

 

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23, 24 and 25 are finger gates, but the connection corridor is perfectly modeled to match in with the custom Airbridge and terminal. Opposite are three remote stands (121-123).

 

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Terminal detail is excellent, all items like ladders, walkways,vent and air-conditioning units are all present. Scenery has animated traffic, but uses the X-Plane default traffic vehicles, but as the default traffic is SAS branded then it all works perfectly here. There is good clutter, but not overwhelmingly so.

 

Terminal 1 has been expanded by four separate departure gate buildings which will be connected by walking corridors. Each building will have one departure gate excluding one, which will have three gates. Gates (5–11). This is the new Walkon/Walkoff LCC section for Schengen arrivals and departures...  the extension is very well done here in the scenery and well suited for regional operations.

 

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Terminal 1 Landside is well done...   but most of the area is taken up by the construction of a new carpark, the trouble with this is that the area comes across as very bare or even empty? there are a few cranes, but it looks like a construction project that has been abandoned, it needed far more construction fill as it is highly noticeable, or better yet the completed carpark.

 

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Terminal 2

The original T2 has basically disappeared inside the massive redevelopment of the newer terminal additions. There are glimpses of the older facade of like of where T1 joins to T2.

 

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The new piers are noted as "South Pier" and West Pier", however earlier it was part of the plan to build a satellite terminal next to Terminal 2, but the plan was cancelled in favor of keeping the expansion under a single terminal building concept. 

 

There are four gates (28-31) in the older style on the T2 older section and with another three remote stands set opposite (124-126), note that all these six remote stands would be used for Domestic services (121-126).

 

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T2 detail is again excellent and with perfect glass, Landside however is all a bit bland and bare (that construction)...   

 

South Pier

The new South Pier of Terminal 2 was inaugurated on 10th July 2017. The first scheduled flight from the new pier, AY006 departed from Gate 54 to New York City. The new pier covers 8,300 square metres (89,000 sq ft). In addition to the new terminal building, new dual boarding gates S54 and S55 as well as aircraft stands 171 and 172 were opened. Construction of this southern wing of Terminal 2 was started on 4th January 2016 and the construction took around 18 months. There are two floors: one for arriving passengers, the other for departures and gates 52 to 55. All the gates have dual boarding jet bridges. The new wing also features the first moving walkway at any airport in Finland.

 

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The modeling and certainly the expansive glass in the South Pier is really well done, notably in the walkways between the old and the new sections, there is however a general feel of emptiness, maybe a few figures on the walkways or in the corridors would have helped. The first part of the west wing that was built was the large central plaza, "Aukio", which was opened in February 2019 set between both the "South" and "West" piers, and the plaza is very well represented here.

 

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Gates in the new zones have a "W" or "S" prefix in front of the number, as per the Apron number (Apron 1W). W is facing the northwest, and follows on from the older T2 in gates (W34-W48) and Gate W48 is able to accommodate the Airbus A380 class E. The feel and look is very much like Heathrow Terminal 5, with tall towers with an associated airbridge, with a two-level loading and unloading system.

 

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The internal apron "Apron 1S" continues with on the 'South Pier" gates (S43-S49).

 

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West Pier

The "West Pier"  was completed in October 2019, and it brings together 25,000 square metres (270,000 sq ft) of new passenger and baggage facilities to the airport. The pier is equipped with four gates (S52-S55) for widebody jets. The design and style for the "West" is exactly the same as the "South" section.

 

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Internally in the corner of the L are a Hilton Hotel and the twin Finavia office buildings, on the taller Finavia there is a nice large red Radar on the roof of the offices, but it does not rotate?

 

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The distinctive P3 Domestic circular car parking buildings and the large P5 International car parking building are all well represented

 

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Also noted is the newer Vinavia building known as the House of Travel and Transportation, or "HOTT", and the well done striking checkerboard Clarion Hotel.

 

Cargo

Overall there are three Cargo zones at EFHK...   The newer large Finnair cargo depot is set out behind their huge, massive Finnair maintenance hangar, with three stands (961-963) on Apron 9

 

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The rest of the action in two separate cargo zones is based around the threshold of Runway 33... 

 

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East is Apron 4, with DHL and TNT in residence, Airfix Aviation and Scanwings are based here as well...   West is Apron 2 or the original HEL Finnair cargo facility. Because of the Domestic LCC extension the cargo's facilities parking stands have been reduced to four (201-204)...

 

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...  and three more stands are available (206/301-302) in front of private cargo contractors including, Swissaport, Posti and Jetlite.

 

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Far southest of Apron 2 is Apron 3...   here is a very nice VIP terminal and a small General Aviation parking ramp...

 

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...  and further southeast is the airport's fuel depot and very pronounced Neoplan Transfer bus maintenance facility, it is highly visible on the RWY 33 approach (you look for the building and not the runway for the approach).

 

Far north along the Runway 04L/22R boundary there is some very nice visual infrastructure, with a DHL distribution facility, and the large Apron 6 De-Icing area. There are also several other smaller De-Icing areas noted off most taxiways.

 

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Infrastructure

Overall the infrastructure around EFHK is excellent including a very well done DB Schenker transport hub, but...

 

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...  on the very visual approach of 04R, there is in parts only a flat ortho image, and you notice it, worse is on the final approach of RWY 33, here you have a completely large flat ortho-image right under your nose, and one that is seriously horrible to the eye, why???  and it needs fixing fast.

 

EFHK-Helsinki-JustSim_Infrastructure 3.jpgEFHK-Helsinki-JustSim_Infrastructure 4.jpg

 

Ground Textures

Overall the ground textures are excellent, they do feel slightly softer at my Texture Quality setting of only "High", but my guess is they are set for maximum framerate efficiency more than absolute quality (which is noticeable throughout this scenery)...  mostly you would never notice anything anyway, but good and detailed in every area they are. There is great grunge, oil and rubber dirt were required and the lineage is lovely and worn, but also highly realistic... just a nice job.

 

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Yes we have PBR reflective (wet) active textures and also have excellent burnt-in ambient occlusion, but it is not as gritty as a few I have seen, again the more softer aspect does come though, but that is not to say you won't get that North Scandi winter aspect, because in the right conditions the ground textures will certainly deliver...  on that note there are no winter textures provided here, which considering Vantaa's very northern aspect is surprising.

 

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There are some 3d bushes where required, but overall there is no 3d grass?...

 

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...   the missing 3d grass is however highly noticeable, with areas feeling empty and flat, why no 3d grass as it is de-rigueur now on any payware scenery...   worse there is no boundary or airport sectional fencing either...  NO FENCING? 

 

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This is a major oversee by JustSim, fencing creates boundaries and segregates areas, but there is absolutely nothing here? The fencing lines are of course burnt into the Ortho-textures and certainly you can easily walk anytime on to a taxiway or an active runway...   A hanging offence.

 

Lighting

As with everything else with EFHK the lighting is excellent by JustSim...

 

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...  but one aspect has to be noted. When in non-alignment with a runway, then it's lighting will disappear? so if you are on an approach circuit at night, then it can be hard to get an alignment on your arrival runway until turning into the final direction of your approach, and this can make landings and orientation difficult.

 

JustSim have used the lit graphic approach to building lighting, some will hate it, but most including myself love the vibrancy the lighting gives off, the terminals feel bright and alive (which is a great arrival feeling)...

 

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...  close up the metals and windows reflect nicely and the lighting is well done and realistic.

 

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Also excellent is the apron lighting, and you can work down on here easily.

 

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Signage lighting is very good, as is the excellent drop lighting. Hotel and office window lighting could have had a bit more pizzazz and considering the graphic terminal lighting, then why not light up these buildings as well? Overall though the lighting is very good.

 

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Note...  I recommend adding in as part of the Finnish JustSim EFHK scenery...  EFHF-Malmi (US$16.90) by TruScenery. The EFHF scenery is on the approach to runway 33, directly on the approach and looks brilliant, and an ideal General Aviation base in Helsinki.

 

EFHK-Helsinki-JustSim_EFHF 1.jpgEFHK-Helsinki-JustSim_EFHF 2.jpg

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Summary

JustSim are a very good X-Plane scenery developer with an excellent past record of airports including Hannover, Brussels, Barcelona, Malta, Hamburg and may, many more, and JustSim are known for their excellent quality and value to price factor....  and here is their next scenery in EFHK-Helsinki.

 

X-Plane has never had a decent HEL or Vantaa Airport, and mostly because the iconic building structures require skill and detail to work correctly, so a fully developed Helsinki Airport from a leading developer is very much welcome.

 

And so the scenery delivers in spades, great terminal modeling with a lot of detail includes all the latest terminal expansions and changes, glass is excellent with reflections and PBR, layouts and ground textures also are excellent as is the all round lighting, although the use of graphic images may not please many, to most though they will love them as they are highly effective at night. All the airport and surrounding infrastructure is also well done (JustSim have always been very good at infrastructure)...  and all the terminals come with the "Autogate" Marginal system with VDGS.

 

There is the feeling that the scenery was released before being fully completed, although in most areas everything from great clutter, traffic animations and the general overall layouts it is extremely well done, but there is the feel of some blank areas?

 

The construction carpark area behind the T1&T2 Landside is a bit too bare and empty, it feels abandoned more than a building site, more fill is certainly required, missing infrastructure detail and only flat ortho-textures on the critical approach areas to Runways 33 and 04R is an oversight, as is the totally missing any airport security or building fencing? No 3d grass is also a big oversight and hurts the overall excellent quality feel.

 

But if you crave good quality to quality route simulation sceneries, then this quality one from JustSim should be at the very top of your list and a brilliant companion to the excellent FlyTampa EKCH-Copenhagen. I fly to Helsinki a lot, I mean a lot, and to now have a high quality airport ready at the destination. So then this scenery from JustSim will certainly get a lot of action from X-PlaneReviews, not only for passenger but cargo as well...  Yes an absolute recommendation, JustSim's EFHK-Helsinki is a must have!

_____________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! EFHK - Helsinki Vantaa International by JustSim

 

EFHK - Helsinki Vantaa International

 

Price is US$21.50

 

Features:
  • Detailed airport objects and vehicles
  • Custom textured taxiways, runways and apron
  • Custom surroundings 
  • Custom airport lights
  • Compatible with X-Plane 11 features
  • 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:  WorldTraffic3 GroundRoutes are NOT provided but the scenery is compatible and extremely good and Traffic Global also operates perfectly,

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended\
Download Size: 1.1 Gb
Current and Review version: 1.0 (October 25th2020)
 
Installation
Download scenery files required are in one zip folder download 1.13Gb
 
Only one folder is placed in the X-Plane Custom Scenery Folder
 
  • EFHK_JustSim_v1.0

 

Total scenery install is: 2.33Gb

 

ShortFinal Global SFD plugin is highly recommended with this scenery.

 

Documents

No Manual but an Install note (very basic)

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton

29th October 2020

Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews

 

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.50r3

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini 

Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00

Scenery or Aircraft

- Default Boeing 737-800 by Laminar Research

       EFHF-Malmi by  TruScenery (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$16.90

 

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You are right about having airports that form route networks, or at least provide some interesting alternatives in routes to fly. Looking at some of the airports under development or recently released for MSFS there’s a lot of niche stuff coming out. This for Xplane seems a worthwhile buy.

 

Having said that I do wonder if developers really think about their release dates as carefully as they might. This appeared just as Steam, and to a less extent the Org store are having sales. That means you’re competing against 50% off items. There’s always a temptation to buy those items when they appear.

 

This is well priced and I will pick it up. Your comment about the disappearing runway lighting is interesting. How did they achieve that? It’s not something I’ve noticed in other sceneries.

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Yes, I do also seriously wonder why developers do the really strange releases when they do, as noted why release around Black Friday, or 4th July, because the cash is always going to go somewhere else? JustSim had the same issue with Düsseldorf Airport EDDL, but it fixed itself...  and guess what, so did EFHK? I think it is an X-Plane related issue.

 

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A little off the main subject but at least this is a release for XP11. Still very little or nothing at all from other developers like Orbx and Carenado. They’re obviously working hard on product for MSFS. There’s certainly a lot of payware content, in particular scenery, for MSFS. Any industry whispers about how sales are going? Is MSFS the gold mine that they seemed to think it would be?

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Considering all the ho ha, MSFS has gone extremely quiet recently...  the obvious is obviously, why buy airports that you can't use? Yes the GA's are usable, but why would you spend money on a mega airport that is empty, to fly to another empty mega airport? Yes the Dev Houses are pumping them out, but to who... I did notice a few new MSFS users poking around in X-Plane, why because they can use it. In early 2021, I think the penny will drop for the Dev Houses...   That MSAFS will not be the gold mine they expected, if that aspect has not already dropped...  but blind faith.

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‘In early 2021, I think the penny will drop for the Dev Houses’

 

I do worry that with some of them being so focused on MSFS that they will have ‘bet the farm’ on sales there being successful that they might not be around in 2021. Kudos to developers like Justsim in continuing to provide new content for Xplane. They deserve our support.

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On 11/5/2020 at 12:02 AM, Stephen said:

Considering all the ho ha, MSFS has gone extremely quiet recently...  the obvious is obviously, why buy airports that you can't use? Yes the GA's are usable, but why would you spend money on a mega airport that is empty, to fly to another empty mega airport? Yes the Dev Houses are pumping them out, but to who... I did notice a few new MSFS users poking around in X-Plane, why because they can use it. In early 2021, I think the penny will drop for the Dev Houses...   That MSAFS will not be the gold mine they expected, if that aspect has not already dropped...  but blind faith.

MS2020 is rapidly turning into an airport simulator rather than a flightsim. I bought the cheapest version with low expectations on it. Maybe in a year or so it might have potential. 

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