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Scenery Review : UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport & City by Drzewiecki Design

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UBBB Baku Header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport & City by Drzewiecki Design

 

The tales of the "Arabian Nights" is intertwined with the feel and place of Baku in Azerbaijan. The Arabian Nights stories are also originally known as the "One Thousand and One Nights" and the tale of a ruler called Shahryār, Ruiling in the 8th century over Persia he is shocked to discover that his brother's wife is unfaithful; discovering his own wife's infidelity has been even more flagrant, he has her executed: but in his bitterness and grief decides that all women are the same. And so Shahryār begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to dishonour him. Running out of Virgins then Scheherazade, the vizier's daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it. The king, curious about how the story ends, is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins (and only begins) a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion of this tale, postpones her execution once again. So it goes on for 1,001 nights.

 

With the translation into English of the tales of Scheherazade, is the stories you have heard at school or watched on Disney including Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, The Seven voyages of Sinbad and many others. Over time the images that are created by these stories are also imprinted on your conscious including a golden city in the desert, a fort with flags adorning the turrets and huge men with massive curved scimitar blades or Shamshir swords standing guard and at the whims of their rulers, Persian might at the central crossroads of the world.

 

History is a place to create and to visit, but overall to feel a time and a certain imagination of a world now long gone. But in Baku, Azerbaijan it is mixture of everything, first is that Arabian Night feel as there is an actually a real fortress still sitting out there in the sands of time, but now surrounded with glitzy new age glass sparkling towers as notes to our modern era. The bazaars are still full of goods as they were in the days of the Silk Road trails, as Baku was a major stopover point in the travelers journeys from East to West. Its culture was created on the countless back and to invasions by the Persians (Iran) and the Russians over the centuries, until Azerbaijan had its independence in October 1991 after the Soviet collapse. Oil is the main growth profit creator, but tourism is also huge business and the city is now wanting more a lot more, European more, Chinese more, American more as the new Dubai of the new world order.  No I am not working for the Azerbaijan tourist agency but you can see the attraction of a place to fly to that is such a kaleidoscope of contrasts, and only a few hours flying from central Europe.

 

LOWW - Vienna to UBBB Baku - First Impression

So the best place to start our review of Baku was in Central Europe, and Schwechat LOWW airport in Vienna (Wien) in Austria. AXDG has done a nice job of Schwechat and their latest version 1.1.1 now has working boarding gates.

 

UBBB Baku_LOWW 1.jpgUBBB Baku_LOWW 2.jpg

 

The distance between central Europe to Baku is around 1,500nm, or 3-1/2 hours flying time between points. You can easily fly a single aisle A320 or B737/B757 or Twin-aisle B767 but I am using the A330 by JARDesign as it is the right size and speed for the leg.

 

The early morning traffic jam means that the departure from Schwechat is slow, "I'm burning fuel waiting here".

 

UBBB Baku_LOWW 3.jpgUBBB Baku_LOWW 4.jpg

 

Once clear of the traffic we can stretch the A330's legs, altitude to FL356, and .m84 means we go high and fast.

 

UBBB Baku_LOWW 5 LG.jpg

 

The route covers Hungary, then Romania and then a third of the flying is over the Black Sea.

 

UBBB Baku_Map.jpg

(google maps)

 

Until you hit the coast at Georgia and then finally Azerbaijan with Baku on the eastern side on the Caspian Sea.

 

UBBB Baku_LOWW 6.jpgUBBB Baku_LOWW 7.jpg

 

It is far from being a boring flight, with the Romanian Carpathian Mountain ranges (left) then the coastal lands of Romania (right).

 

The arrival in Georgia brings up the magnificent Greater Caucasus Mountain ranges that you follow all the way over to Baku. It is a spectacular arrival.

 

UBBB Baku_LOWW 8.jpgUBBB Baku_LOWW 9.jpg

 

You slip out over the Caspian Sea to arrive from the south as Baku is set out on a peninsula. You do a large circle curve around to GOBUS which is the southern approach STAR that give you access to runways 34 and 35, but note that most charts note RWY35 as RWY36.

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 3.jpgUBBB Baku_Arrival 1.jpg

 

Baku City itself is 20km southwest of the airport, and you can see on the horizon the distinctive buildings of the city.

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 2.jpgUBBB Baku_Arrival 5.jpg

 

The Drzewiecki Design scenery comes with the option of using either of two sets of ortho images of which one version is 8m/pix in detail of photoreal coverage (with mesh) for the whole country of Azerbaijan and most mountain ranges nearby. I choose not to use the lower resolution, but the standard one and it is visually perfectly fine without the framerate hit of the far more detailed version that is more usable in the VFR rule role of flying around Azerbaijan, but that option is there if you want to do that.

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 6 lg.jpg

 

The photoreal images do make for a spectacular arrival, but they are flat. And because Azerbaijan is way out of the area for a detailed OSM (Open Street Map) data there is very little default autogen to give you a 3d aspect of the scenery, fine from above but the scenery can be flat on the ground.

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 7.jpgUBBB Baku_Arrival 8.jpg

 

Heydar Aliyev Airport is positioned just slightly inland from the coast, but visually it is a great approach. I am using RWY35 which is on a slight angle to RWY34, so you have to be careful that you get your lineup with your chosen runway correctly, it can be slightly confusing from a distance.

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 9.jpgUBBB Baku_Arrival 13.jpg

 

You cross over the Mardakan Highway (Airport Rd) on the final's and it makes a visual working treat. 

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 10.jpgUBBB Baku_Arrival 11.jpg

 

To the right there is a large Silk Way maintenance hangar and other infrastructure and on the left the old and new terminals give you a distinctive Islamic feel.

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 12.jpgUBBB Baku_Arrival 18.jpg

 

Runway and taxiway detailing and marking is first rate, I really liked the dusty sand look on the taxiway edges. But it is a fair taxi back to the terminal area from the top of both RWY 34 & 35.

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 14.jpgUBBB Baku_Arrival 15.jpg

 

There is a slight feel emptiness around the airport but there is a little and very good static aircraft like the great IL76's, but once in the terminal area itself and at the gates you are pretty well on your own.

 

UBBB Baku_Arrival 16.jpgUBBB Baku_Arrival 17.jpg

 

My gate (12) sits as part as the impressive new Terminal One that replaced the original Soviet era terminal, it is all glass and steel and very well replicated by Drzewiecki Design but the gates are not animated, which is real shame, there are vehicles in the scenery, but they are not animated either.

 

Overall it was a very impressive flight and and a very immersive scenery at UBBB that gives out a really "you in a very different place" feeling, so my first impressions of UBBB are excellent.

 

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UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport

 

Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport

IATA: GYD - ICAO: UBBB

 

UBBB CHARTS.jpg

 

16/34 2,700m (8,858ft) Asphalt/Concrete

17/35 3,200m (10,499ft)Asphalt/Concrete

Elevation AMSL 3m/10 ft

 

UBBB Overview 1.jpgUBBB Overview 2.jpg

UBBB Overview 3.jpgUBBB Overview 4.jpg

 

Heydar Aliyev Airport sits out there like a mirage in the desert, of which it is in a way. It is extremely well done, but you have to take the flat images as part of the deal, but because the detail in the images are so good, it isn't really an issue.

 

UBBB Overview 5.jpgUBBB Overview 6.jpg

 

 

Formerly Heydar Aliyev was called Bina International Airport by the name of a suburb in Baku. On March 10, 2004, the airport was renamed in honor of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, the third President of Azerbaijan. The airport is located 20 kilometers northeast of Baku, connected to the city by a modern highway, which was put into operation in 2008. It is the busiest airport in Azerbaijan and of the Caucasus. The airport serves as the home base for flag carrier Azerbaijan Airlines and its subsidiary AZALJet as well as freight carrier Silk Way Airlines. (wikipeda)

 

UBBB Terminals 1.jpg

 

Everything hubs around the two central terminals, and they are both excellent with not only fine detailing but a lot of the airside fill with carparks with 3d cars and great tree and fauna arrangements.

 

Terminal 1

The four-level engineering concept of Terminal 1 was developed in July 2010 by Arup company, with a tricorn shape and semi transparent roof. The total building area is 65,000 square meters and the interior was designed by Turkish company AUTOBAN which has a series of oak-veneer 'cocoons'.

Terminal 1, commissioned in April 2014, has twelve (A1 - A12) aerobridge equipped gates. The terminal is designed for 6 million passengers per year and it currently serves up to 3 million passengers per year.

 

UBBB Terminals 1_1.jpgUBBB Terminals 1_2.jpg

UBBB Terminals 1_3.jpgUBBB Terminals 1_4.jpg

 

This terminal is a fantastic designed reproduction, detailing of the structure is outstanding and with no doubt a lot of work has gone into recreating this building.

 

UBBB Terminals 1_5.jpgUBBB Terminals 1_6.jpg

 

It would be interesting though to see all that glass with the new X-Plane11 reflection feature, but it is very well done...  and not only the outside.

 

UBBB Terminals 1 Int_1.jpgUBBB Terminals 1 Int_2.jpg

UBBB Terminals 1 Int_3.jpgUBBB Terminals 1 Int_4.jpg

 

The interior of the terminal is just as detailed and highly walk-aroundable. A great introduction to Baku.

 

UBBB Terminals 1_7.jpgUBBB Terminals 1_8.jpg

 

Gate detail is fantastic, but empty? It all feels a bit "Just built and the airport not yet opened". There is some gate service vehicles and cargo pallets throughout the scenery but not overwhelmingly so.

 

Terminal 2

Terminal 2, serves serves only domestic flights, was completed in 1989, and has 11 gates (B1 - B11)

 

UBBB Terminals 2 Int_1.jpgUBBB Terminals 2 Int_2.jpgUBBB Terminals 2 Int_3.jpgUBBB Terminals 2 Int_4.jpg

 

Very Islamic in design than the newer T1, but very much more in keeping with the areas character. No internal/external design like with T1, but very well detailed around the terminal structures.

 

UBBB Terminals 2 Int_5.jpgUBBB Terminals 2 Int_6.jpg

 

Older style airbridges are also non-animated.

 

Control Tower and Entrances

The airport has a very distinctive control tower that has been well reproduced here.

 

UBBB Tower 1.jpgUBBB Tower 2.jpg

UBBB Tower 3.jpgUBBB Tower 4.jpg

 

Tower detailing is excellent including the internal control room. There are also two very distinctive airport entrance posts that are also perfectly recreated.

 

UBBB Tower 5.jpg

 

But the "Tower View" above is an "Epic Fail" as it is positioned somewhere in the middle of a carpark?

 

Central Area

The airport's entrance to the terminals is to the right filled with hotels and administration buildings

 

UBBB Center 1.jpgUBBB Center 3.jpg

UBBB Center 2.jpgUBBB Center 4.jpg

 

Highlight is the excellent Sheraton Baku Airport and there is even a Mosque for prayers.

 

There is a huge amount of remote (empty) parking space on both sides of Terminal 1, with a VIP reception on the eastern side.

 

UBBB Center 6.jpgUBBB Center 5.jpg

 

Cargo Terminal

 

UBBB Cargo 1.jpgUBBB Cargo 2.jpg

UBBB Cargo 3.jpgUBBB Cargo 4.jpg

 

There is a huge Cargo/Logistics Terminal at UBBB, and it is a great destination for all the haulers. Local freighter Silk Way dominate, but this area is the best and mostly lively in the scenery.

 

Opposite the Cargo Terminal as we saw on our arrival via RWY35 is the Silk Way maintenance hangar and a private jet or executive parking area.

 

UBBB East 1.jpgUBBB East 2.jpg

 

The modeling of the maintenance hangar is again very good and this area is highly usable as well.

 

UBBB East 3.jpgUBBB East 4.jpg

 

There is another large maintenance hangar mid-field behind Terminal 1 and various other designed and placed buildings, but there is more of Baku just on the horizon...

 

Baku City

 

UBBB Baku.jpg

 

Drzewiecki Design has designed most of the major icon buildings of Baku for the scenery. Items included are the Bibi-Heybat Mosque, Baku TV Tower, Government House, Flame Towers, Heydar Aliyev Center, Maiden Tower, Caspian Waterfront Mall, Baku Crystal Hall and the outlandish (still being built) Cresent Hotel Complex. There is also a load of stadiums, highrise buildings and complexes.

 

UBBB Baku 1.jpgUBBB Baku 2.jpg

 

It works very well from the right angle and height (below left) but closer to the ground it looks quite empty and flat with a few buildings on the plate look (below right).

 

UBBB Baku 3.jpgUBBB Baku 4.jpg

 

Drzewiecki Design has done a good job to fill in as much as they could do, but you just miss that autogen filler to give the full scenery that complete 3d look from every angle. The whole point is that it Baku looks good from a distance and for arrival and departure, and for that this city scape works very well.

 

Azerbaijan Airports

Spread around the scenery are a few light basic airports from Drzewiecki Design that cover the area of Azerbaijan. These airports are just mostly small GA airports but they are handy in exploring the country.

 

These airports cover: UBBL Lenkoran (In X-Plane as UB10?), UBBG Ganja, UBBN Nakhchivan (upper row), UBBQ Qabala, UBBY Zaqatala and UBTT Zabrat (lower row).

 

UBBL 1.jpgUBBG 1.jpgUBBN 1.jpg

UBBL 2.jpgUBBG 2.jpgUBBN 2.jpg

 

UBBQ 1.jpgUBBY 1.jpgUBTT 1.jpg

UBBQ 2.jpgUBBY 2.jpgUBTT 2.jpg

 

All are in great positions and a few in really picturesque locations...  but.

 

All the airports have significant problems? Five have runways that are over 6000m long? and one with dual major runways in the middle of nowhere? Another in UBBG has trees on the ramp? So they all look ridiculous, which is a real shame as they are highly usable?  Only Zabrat has a normal runway and is also visible from UBBB Baku.

 

Lighting

Lighting at UBBB is passable, or to put it another way "it won't win any lighting and special effects awards this year".

 

UBBB Baku Lighting 1.jpg

 

There is enough fill to get around the airport and park, but the original Flight Simulator night textures do show and are basic.

 

UBBB Baku Lighting 2.jpgUBBB Baku Lighting 3.jpg

UBBB Baku Lighting 4.jpgUBBB Baku Lighting 5.jpg

 

Terminal 1 does look good thankfully, and is usable.

 

UBBB Baku Lighting 6.jpgUBBB Baku Lighting 7.jpg

 

Terminal 2 is passable.

 

UBBB Baku Lighting 10.jpg

 

The Sheraton is mostly in the dark, but the Cargo ramps are well lit and are usable at night...  just.

 

UBBB Baku Lighting 8.jpgUBBB Baku Lighting 9.jpg

 

Approach and Runway lighting is good, but the taxiway lighting is only on a few of the main routes, and it is very easy to get lost with a wrong turn and be stranded. A map is required to navigate at night and don't take that wrong turn!

 

UBBB Baku Lighting 11.jpgUBBB Baku Lighting 12.jpg

 

Baku City

Again the Flight Simulator textures do show, but they not too bad. The autogen fill in between the 3d objects though is greatly missed.

 

UBBB Baku Lighting 13.jpgUBBB Baku Lighting 14.jpg

 

Services

Baku is certainly different for your flying, but its position is not too far from Europe and you can easily cover Turkey, Greece and that general eastern Mediterranean area as well. Russia to the north is also a great way to go.

 

AZAL and Azerbaijan Airlines dominate (both the same airline) and they fly as far as New York, London and Bejing in China. There are a lot the Eastern Bloc and a few Russian Airlines but not as many Russian as you would expect, but WIZZ and S7 are highly visible here as is Turkish Airlines. European Airlines are thin on the ground with Lufthansa the only airline with a regular service.

 

Cargo

Silk Way Cargo is the main user of UBBB and is based here, but it is a busy cargo hub for Cargolux as well and Iran Air Cargo, and the destinations cover a lot of ports both east and west including Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Frankfurt and surprisingly a lot of rides to Milan.

 

Flight Simulator to X-Plane conversion

This scenery by Drzewiecki Design is also available for FSX, MFS 2004, Prepar3d besides X-Plane. There is no doubt the conversion factor and in areas it shows the sceneries heritage, but that is fine as overall it is a great scenery for X-Plane.

 

But the FSX to X-Plane conversion is poor? And really annoying in the fact that most of the items required to make the scenery X-Plane compatible are just so very easily done... so in this aspect it is noted as lazy.

 

There is no X-Plane11 Airport layout?

 

UBBB Baku Map.jpg

 

You can select your airport runway and ramp position, but not from the layout section?  And that aspect is really needed here.

 

No X-Plane animations in Vehicles or airbridges? There is no built in ground routes so you can't use xLife or the default X-Plane static aircraft or ATC? and there are no ground routes for WorldTraffic either, so all this together makes it a pretty staid place to be.

 

The laziness is expanded to the poor tower view and the super long runways in the extra airport sceneries that renders them useless. X-Plane lighting is thankfully is just passable but not brilliant. And working autogen around the airport and Baku City would be a serious bonus with so much flat Ortho textures. In other words the conversion to the X-Plane platform here is minimal at best.

 

Summary

Although the above X-Plane features are poor in this scenery, it still delivers a great destination and a very interesting place to fly to and use. From that aspect it is good scenery, it feels very much like Aerosoft's Keflavik Airport when you are here in look and use and that scenery is one of my favorites.

 

The modeling where it is good like Terminal 1 is excellent, and overall the modeling is very good and UBBB certainly delivers on what you want in a great destination and only a few missed flourishes could have delivered an outstanding scenery for X-Plane. But you do get a lot of scenery for your money, so there is a lot of value built in here.

 

So are you willing to travel to an outpost on the modern day Silk Route, and feel the real Arabian Night tales in today's environment.  This Drzewiecki Design is a great scenery to feel that aspect and it is a good scenery to go somewhere different and explore an opening up area of the X-Plane world just beyond Europe and the Middle-East.

 

Flying to and using UBBB Baku is another great tale to keep Scheherazade from her fate, and another story and a great destination to add a very different dimension to your X-Plane flying life.

 

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X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

The UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport & City by Drzewiecki Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


UBBB Baku Airport and City XP

 

Price is US$23.00

 

Features
  • Extremely detailed model of UBBB Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku
  • UBBB with 3D people, high quality static aircraft, up-to-date airport layout
  • Advanced interior modeling (Terminal 1, tower, Silkway hangar) with native HDR lights
  • Baku city with hundreds of custom-made landmarks with night textures
  • 8m/pix optional photoreal coverage (with mesh) for the whole country of Azerbaijan (~80.000km²) plus ~8000km² of Iran, ~7000km² of Armenia, ~6000km² of Georgia and ~11.000km² of Russia (we followed mountain ranges and other geographical features rather than political borders)
  • Lite models of Lenkoran, Ganja, Nakhchivan, Qabala, Zaqatala and Zabrat
  • Custom-made UBBB airport charts included

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 10 fully updated (any edition) or X-Plane 11+

Mac, Windows or Linux
2Gb+ VRAM Video Card
1GB HD for Installation

 

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Installation

The download package is 836.40mb

 

And there is four folders to be installed in your "Custom Scenery" Folder and must be in this order...

 

000 Drzewiecki Design Library (Installed 32kb)

DD Baku XP (Installed 3.43gb)

DD Baku XP Documents (Installed 3.3mb)

ZZZ Baku XP Terrain (Installed 25.5mb)

 

Windows version comes with a .exe installer with the option to install the 8m/pix terrain.

For Mac users the notes are:

"If you wish to remove the photoreal terrain of Azerbaijan, navigate to the

: X-Plane\Custom Scenery\DD Baku XP\Earth nav data\Without_Azerbaijan_phototerr

...folder, copy all 3 folders that are located there, go one step "up" in the folder structure, to the folder:

X-Plane\Custom Scenery\DD Baku XP\Earth nav data

...and paste the 3 copied folders into that folder. This will remove the photoreal terrain.

You can easily turn it back on by unpacking the product's ZIP file and overwriting the whole DD Baku XP folder."

 

Documents:

DD Baku XP Documents

 

Baku XP MacLinuxInstall

Baku XP MANUAL

UBBB CHARTS (charts are quite basic in two airport layout charts and two ILS runway approach charts)

These UBBB charts are better: http://uvairlines.com/admin/resources/charts/UBBB.pdf

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Stephen Dutton

15th February 2017

Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews 2017

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:  - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11beta11 / Checked install in X-Plane10.51

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

Plugins: : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90

Scenery or Aircraft

- Airbus A330-243 by JARDesign (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$60.95

 

Logo Header X-PlaneReviews 200px.jpg

 

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