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Scenery Reviews : LOWL- Linz Blue Danube & LEGE - Girona Costa Brava Airports by JustSim

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Scenery Reviews : LOWL- Linz Blue Danube & LEGE - Girona Costa Brava Airports by JustSim

There is always a welcome to any new developer to the X-Plane Simulator. That spread of talent is spread wide from someone with great skills and the "have a go" attitude to the large team based developers that are in the business of creating a professional product and building up a portfolio of work. When I first came into the X-Plane simulator the X-Plane world was ripe with pickings and you would think that the established big Flight Simulator art houses would have easily dominated X-Plane scenery with their huge product bases. But the big surprise was that in most cases their product was average to only very good and the smaller more agile art houses have given these giants not only a run for their money, but also easily outclassing them in areas that are very simply just plain obvious.

The biggest mistake is that they come into X-Plane with a very Flight Simulator point of view and expect that what works very well in the fundamentally very different style of Flight Simulator can easily work quite well in X-Plane, and with that attitude they can't be more far wrong. Another big mistake is that they are still very unwilling to use the great effects and animations that X-Plane users now require as standard in any good scenery. A few of the art houses are now catching on, but most FS crossover sceneries are still very sterile places with not much movement and with average orthophoto underlay textures.

Which brings us to  the latest new crossover developer in "JustSIm" that have released their first sceneries for the X-Plane platform. The first X-Plane release was Nizhny Novgorod Airport - Strigino (UWGG) in Russia and that was followed with here LOWL- Linz Blue Danube Airport in Austria and that was very quickly then followed by the third release in LEGE - Girona Costa Brava that is situated in Northern Spain.

It was appropriate to put the two of the reviews together to compare the two later releases and how they look and feel in X-Plane and their worth in quality to the simulator, we will start by visiting the beautiful Blue Danube in Northern Austria.

LOWL- Linz Blue Danube Airport

First Impression

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LOWL - Linz is just a short 30min commuter flight from LOWW (WIEN) Vienna. And you can easily set up a route, but in reality it is just as easy as just following the flowing line along the Danube River westward as both airports are situated close to the same stretch of water. 

Blue Danube Airport Linz was formerly named Hörsching Airport and is a minor international airport near Linz, the third-largest city of northern central Austria.

In a flyby to go into a circuit for landing (westwards) on runway 08 the airport really blends in well into the X-Plane scenery. So well in fact does it blend in I actually selected at first the wrong airport in LOLW Wels that is only a few more nautical miles to the west. It didn't look right to my LOWL VOR (LNZ 116.60 MHz) reading and I was smart enough to trust my instruments more than my eyesight so no arrival time was lost.

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Tracking RWY 08 I noted the ILS alignment was slight out to the right (now corrected) but as my speed was in the low 100knts correcting the aircraft on landing was quite easy. On sight you have the main civil commercial airport to the north (left) and to the south lies the second largest barracks of Austria as well as a military airfield named “Fliegerhorst Vogler”. The airport was also a significant Luftwaffe airbase between 1943 to 1945 with both fighter and bomber wings that were based here.

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There is only one single runway in 09/27 3,000m (9,842ft) Asphalt and three spaced taxiways to the civil aprons. The main aprons are huge...  massive, so there is plenty of parking space.

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Linz Airport (IATA: LNZ, ICAO: LOWL)
09/27 3,000m (9,842ft) Asphalt
Elevation AMSL 977 ft / 298 m

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The main runway is situated exactly east - west and from all points of view the airport is exceedingly well crafted into the X-Plane environment.

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Runway surfaces and textures are extremely good and are perfectly real. Taxiway detail is first rate as well with local cone lighting and signage. Apron textures are deep and again well reproduced with excellent linage that can be a bit confusing with a first arrival as there is acres of lines and parking markers to choose from. There is no 3d grass but the grass textures are very deep with very realistic with so many different kinds of different types of variety to make it all quite real. So from a ground layout perspective JustSim's LOWL is overall excellent.

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The civil area is quite large but the central single terminal with built in fire station is only a small part of the overall layout. Most areas are to the west of the terminal with a huge maintenance hangar and many smaller hangar facilities.

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Then further west is the huge (for this medium sized airport) the Air Cargo Center. Which is three cargo facilities in one. The standout is the huge DB Schenker & Co Logistics complex that has been extremely well recreated.

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The one thing that really impressed me about this scenery and in fact both of these JustSim sceneries is the way they have not just created the airport with the terminals and basic airport infrastructure, but also created a very complete environment around the scenery. So you have local housing, industrial, factories and all the other various items that make up a visual respective of the area and this is important if you want to give the airport a good representation. The point that if can recognise the local flavour then the complete idea and aim of the scenery is achieved.

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Fliegerhorst Vogler - Military Airfield

The south boundary is filled out with the huge Fliegerhorst Vogler base.

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The six huge hangars and smaller maintenance hangars dominate the base, but it is the smaller base buildings and accommodation (Flats) that is impressive for their realism in a visual factor. Only negative is the overall sterile feeling the area has, as there is no activity or any military equipment on display.

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Central Terminal Area

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Central Terminal with built in administration building and upper level Control Tower is impressive. Great detailing on all areas including the fine aerials on the tower for added realism and small detailing like the carpark (portabin) mobile offices and carpark filled quality vehicles.

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Main Terminal detail is exquisite. Not only to the excellent glass work, but the gantry viewing platform is a place to wile away a few hours of fun.

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Landside terminal arrival roof could have been easily just a basic structure. But instead it is a masterpiece of structural lattice work. Overall here around the terminal it is so excellent in every area in detailing.

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Far east is the airport ramp storage and vehicles. There is a lot of nice static vehicles and equipment set out, but more on set out the ramps would have been a filler.

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Moving out west from the central control tower and terminal is the Fire Station and fuel depot, both are well detailed and complete. Far along the ramp is the huge Linz airport maintenance hangar and those close smaller hangar facilities.

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You have to be impressed by it all, but the real quality is in the detailed roof glasswork and this overwhelming quality detailing is throughout this scenery. Far east on the ramp is the offices for the airport cargo operators and it is very well reproduced in detail.

LOWL - Linz Lighting is again first rate.

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Approach and the overall view at night is very good. Runway lighting is perfect and there is excellent variety and many different tones with all the lights. South Military area is dark at night, but the side barracks and accommodation are well done and realistic.

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Ramp areas are well lit, but the lighting is very on the spot and struggles to cover the huge acreage, overall it is very good.

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Tower and terminal night textures are excellent, but you do have to have them turned right up in the settings to get this sort of quality, anything set lower and they look more blurred. Personally I have not seen night textures this good since TruScenery created that excellent Tampere-Pirkkala back in 2013.

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So there is this great feeling around LOWL at night.

Negatives, not much as LOWL - Linz by JustSim is pretty impressive scenery, but you have to get close in for the details. If anything it is a bit sterile on the ramps. No Tower view is slightly annoying and no vehicle animations are a surprise as the Flight Simulator version has a lot? and only one static aircraft is totally overwhelmed by the sheer size of the apron as nothing on the Military side make the area look empty...   so you feel very lonely and with not much airport buzz around you while parked out there.

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LEGE - Girona Costa Brava

If you had lived through the early 70's then the words "Costa Brava" was an infamous place to have a holiday or as the US cousin's say a vacation. Deals of amazing numbers of a week at Costa Brava with full accommodation, flights and food cost only £60-£80... this was the start of the cheap package Spanish holiday. Problem was when you arrived for your exclusive "package" holiday you were greeted with not only no hotel, but just a building site and few workmen...  and it all went downhill from there.

These days the "package holiday" is a very slick and profitable operation and thankfully Costa Brava has become the international resort that it sort of promised to be in the 70's. In fact the English outnumber the Spanish easily now in the area and to note that Fish and Chip shops easily outnumber the Tapas bars...

LEGE - Girona Airport Costa Brava so became the entry point for now hundreds and thousands of package holidaymakers, and the charter operators with every LCC (Low Cost Carrier) you can list also are all very well known here. Now you can join in the tourism exodus and find the Spanish sun because JustSim has released as their second scenery LEGE - Girona Costa Brava.

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Girona–Costa Brava Airport (IATA: GRO, ICAO: LEGE)
02/20 874m (2,4007ft), Asphalt
Elevation AMSL 143 m / 469 ft

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The airport was built in 1965,but early passenger traffic was modest until the package operators sorted out their problems. Then in the early 2000s you saw the passenger numbers grow spectacularly after Ryanair chose Girona as one of its (off beat) European hubs. In 1993, Girona Airport dealt with only 275,000 passengers; in the six years from 2002 to 2008 passenger numbers then increased by nearly ten times from just over 500,000 to more than 5.5 million. located 12.5 km (7.8 mi) southwest of the city of Girona, next to the small village of Vilobí d'Onyar, in the north-east of Catalonia, Spain. The airport is well connected to the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees resorts.

In many ways the layout of LEGE is very similar to the above LOWL without the huge cargo facilities and with no military presence.

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Like LOWL you have a huge (and very empty) apron area, and again the Control Tower is central to the apron with the terminal the same just slightly again to the east. To the west there are a few minimal old hangars and a decrepit Fire Station.

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Runway textures are first rate with worn cracks and in the need of a bit of attention due to age, but LCC's don't pay much in the way of landing charges do they so don't expect a new smoother surface very soon...

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Taxiway surfaces are also well worn and very realistic with great texture depth. Grass is the same heavy texturing but also has nice light 3d grass.

Notable here like LOWL are the area environs. JustSim has completely covered the area and for a fair distance from the actual airport boundaries with great local surroundings that creates a great Spanish ambience.

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Everything is covered here from industrial areas to houses, housing estates, townships and to the south farms.

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X-Plane's traffic feature is expertly intergrated into the whole landscape create a perfect environment of the area.

Control Tower and Terminal.

The central area is dominated by the Control Tower.

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This high base for the airport's operations has been faithfully reproduced. Detailing is excellent with great glass, structures and a mass of aerials on the roof. Highlight is the mesh cage stairs at the rear which is very hard to replicate realistically...  all is really well done.

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Tower view of both runway approaches are excellent and with the authentic aerials as part of the viewpoints for realism.

The terminal building looks quite old by today's standards, but well done and recreated here by JustSim.

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Again the attention to detail is very good, but not as perfect as the terminal building in LOWL as overall it feels here it is like older designed scenery and not as sharp or as perfectly realised as in the case of the Austrian scenery.

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Roof top cafes (one each end of the building) is great detail as are the lighting and telecommunication cell structures.

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Noted is the excellent carparking structures that are really good and intricately done, JustSim are very good at this sort of fine detailing.

A rare strange misstep though is the roads set out behind the terminal and around the carparks are very vague? Looking more like a park oval for parking as the grass textures are far more prominent than the road textures and the faint roadway linage? It glaringly doesn't work and shows up the scenery's age?

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Fuel depot and cell mast is well done at the east end of the airport.

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Landside associated infrastructure and signage is excellent, but you will need your textures set to high to get the higher detail. Unlike LOWL you do get a few (three) airport vehicle animations which help (a little) in the sterile feeling of the ramps.

Lighting at LEGE - Girona

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Perfect approach and taxiway lighting is very well done, and the area surrounding the airport is very atmospheric and look really great on arrival at night. Dawn and dusk arrivals or departures are simply excellent.

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Central terminal areas are well done, but again the empty aprons feel big and open. But you can't doubt the quality lighting.

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Night building and tower textures are very good, but the glass textures are a little soft even at full settings, but they are atmospheric in design. There are over white areas under the terminal that are either left over from the Flight Simulator version or trying to do the not needed job that the X-Plane lighting can do better. So they look here slightly out of place.

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Overall the lighting is great for working the ramps at night.

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Away from the central area the lighting is more sporadic but well done with some good spot work. Landside it is not as well lit as Airside, but still done well where it counts. Overall the lighting is excellent.

Scenery negatives are few, but the missing rear terminal roads look odd as just grass textures and thus then creating island buildings in a sea of textured grass. You need the power to see the texture detail, but very worth it when the dial is turned up.

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As the dawn broke it was time to take another load of burnt, sunbaked, broke tourists home to Manchester UK. So the x737 was fueled up, filled up and we left Girona on time and not without the great overhead views of the LEGE scenery from the climbing aircraft.

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Summaries

Before surmising the sceneries here then first think about the prices?  US$18 for LOWL - Linz and US$15.50 for LEGE - Girona. Now add in the excellent high-quality of the work on offer here and I think you are getting great bargains for the money. Even with selecting both sceneries together is cheaper than some larger sceneries on offer. So for value you are getting excellent scenery at an amazing prices.

LEGE - Girona does feel in design far older than LOWL - Linz so yes Linz is certainly the better scenery of the two on offer here. No doubt the high-quality of the work is excellent, and these are two great sceneries for your collection. You do however still feel the sterile emptiness of both of the huge ramps, as one large static and a few General Aviation aircraft does not make up for a buzzy airport, ditto the vehicle animations and as where as the FS version is full of movement then the X-Plane versions have only three animations at LEGE and a boring none at LOWL...  could do better there. So if you want to bring in the tourists you are going to have to fill the ramps out more yourself.

But for sheer quality then both airports are first class and very good, a major feature is the fact so much of the immediate areas surrounding the airports have had as much attention as well with local flavour and infrastructure and that gives you a great all over feel for the areas.

First glance I thought both airports were good to just very good. But brilliant detailing and excellent close intricate work is simply overwhelmingly well done. So the value and depth of quality is when accessed in detail is certainly very evident.

So am now a big fan of JustSim's work, yes certainly it is very good and X-Plane should certainly welcome their choice to develop for the simulator with these new releases of high standard sceneries.

 

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Yes! the both LOWL - Linz and LEGE - Girona by JustSim are NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here :

LOWL- Linz Blue Danube Airport

Price is US$18.00

Requirements:
X-Plane 10+ (any edition)
Windows, Mac, Linux
600Mb HD Space Available
1Gb VRAM Video Card

LEGE - Girona Costa Brava Airport

Price is US$15.50

Requirements:
X-Plane 10.40 + (any edition)
Windows, Mac, Linux
600Mb HD Space Available
1Gb VRAM Video Card Minimum. 2GB VRAM Recommended

Installation and documents:

Download for LOWL - Linz is 343.50meg and the scenery is deposited in the "Custom Scenery" X-Plane folder at 963.90mb.

Download for LEGE - Girona is 324.40meg and the scenery is deposited in the "Custom Scenery" X-Plane folder at 743.80mb.

Both sceneries have sets of charts and ground layout charts.

Note. You have two sets of folders with LEGE with :

LEGE_JustSim_Girona_Terrain

LEGE_JustSim_Girona_Airport

You MUST put the "Terrain" folder below the "Airport" folder in your .ini X-Plane custom scenery list for the scenery to work correctly.

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Reviews by Stephen Dutton
 
7th April 2016
 
Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 8 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45

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

Plugins: JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin - US$14.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- ATR 72-500 by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$32.05

- Boeing x737 by EADT x737 Project  (X737 Project) - Free!

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