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  1. City Scenery Review : Washington XP by Drzewiecki Design Channel your inner Frank Underwood and build your own "House of Cards'. Go all out to "Own this Town!" as this town is Washington D.C, the powerhouse of political power and runaway egos. And now you can with the release of Drzewiecki Design's "Washington XP" and the XP denotes this scenery is for X-Plane. I was immensely impressed by Drzewiecki Design's "Moscow City XP" scenery, but Moscow isn't exactly close to most of your local routes, unless you are Russian. But Washington is very handy. I am on a bit of a crusade on supporting city sceneries. They are strange creatures in the fact they don't really do anything in an active way like an airport scenery does, they are quite frankly just nice visual aspects to admire and absorb while you fly. But they are in context as much as an important contribution to the simulator as the airports and aircraft themselves than everyone takes for granted. Worse I have seen that this area as one of the real points of neglect in X-Plane and mostly by developers, as there is simply no point in having one of the best sceneries you can buy next to a major city, and no visualization of the city to introduce you to the airport... for me that sense of arrival or the point of departure over a credible landscape is just as important as any other factor of simulation. In this area X-Plane has been very poor, and it is even to barren to far worse in Asia where you land to an open flat lifeless world. Another point is that the actual city scenery has to be good as well, a few nice well positioned tall buildings is not a city built, as each city has it's own very unique character with outlined skyline and that character has to come through in feeling and with a visual statement. For Drzewiecki Design they seem to have taken up the niche of creating credible city sceneries. With New York, Miami, Warsaw, Moscow, and now Washington, so how good is this latest city in Washington in adding to the collection. Installation: There are a few notes on installation and so we will cover that area first. This review is run in X-Plane11 with the object settings most set to the highest positions. So if you can do this then I recommend that. Framerate is actually very good for the insane amount of objects on show here, and newer more denser X-Plane11 autogen is a huge advantage in the visual aspect of the scenery, so I recommend X-Plane11 to get the full visual impact of the scenery, also to note that "runways follow terrain contours" select-box is turned on. There are two types of download with an Installer .exe package for Windows and Folders for Mac and Linux. The folder package has to installed in the right order to work correctly. The Windows installer is very good. First you have to agree to Drzewiecki Design's license agreement. Then select either X-Plane10 or X-Plane11 and then you have a choice to either have static aircraft in the scenery on or off. You can return here later to turn off the static aircraft if you wish to not have them displayed in the future. Another note was that I didn't see the option of where to install the scenery if you have more than one copy of the simulator on the desktop? Installation is DD Washington XP layer1 and DD Washington XP layer2 in that order with the DD Washington XP Documents (Manual) in no really important role on the install, if you want you can remove that folder. Drzewiecki Design does also have an objects library in "000 Drzewiecki DesignLibrary" that I already have installed, but there are no notes if that is required here? Washington XP The scenery package comes with the city scenery of Washington D.C. and its iconic buildings, including the Capitol Building, The White House, Supreme Court, Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials, Washington Monument, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Castle and for "Get Smart" fans the "International Spy Museum"! and altogether there are 1500 custom-made buildings incl. whole downtown in 3D plus other landmarks, bridges, stadiums, harbors/marinas and other objects. Airports are included as well with: KDCA Washington National Airport (Ronald Regan), KADW Joint Base Andrews, KCGS College Park Airport, KVKX Potomac Airfield and W32 Washington Executive Airport. Helipads included are: White House, KJPN Pentagon Army Heliport, KBOF Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling, Sibley Memorial Hospital. First Impressions My first look at Washington lived up to one of the area's names in "Foggy Bottom"... The city is known for it's murky dealings so it felt actually appropriate. No doubt X-Plane11 can now create a very atmospheric feel to X-Plane. But I suppose you would want in this review a more clearer view of Washington. City Overview Great X-Plane autogen allows for virtually no boundary between the actual scenery and the installed scenery, so the overview of Washington is spectacular. And efficient as well, as I was getting 40 frames with this view. So your first impressions are "wow", yes the Washington scenery is this good. In any scenery of this scale there has to be some sort of realistic expectations. Nobody more than me would like detailed suburbs and local elements recognised and displayed, but that is not simply possible... well not yet anyway. But the underlying OSM (Open Street Maps) maps built into the X-Plane simulator do really help here to define the city in its structure and feel, and here it works for you very well. Most Capitol cities have a defining iconic location and in Washington it is "The Mall". Your city scenery can hinge on just one area to represent the iconic view of the city. If it succeeds then the whole of the scenery succeeds, but get it wrong or create it with poor textures and your scenery is going to fail. In this Washington XP view of the mall the viewpoint is beyond successful and in the right light like above it is very realistic... impressive. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and Capitol Hill are perfect, as is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the approach. A note that Drzewiecki Design has not added in the 14th Street bridge but simply allowed the X-Plane traffic to flow freely on the autogen bridges, I think this is a wise choice here, as it looks more natural in context. All the Mall's buildings are individually detailed and created, including all the Smithsonian Museums and Castle. The Federal Triangle, U.S Navy Buildings, National Archives Building and most Washington downtown buildings have been reproduced. Noted they are not detailed, detailed here but they are very good representations of the buildings. Both Libraries of Congress (John Adams in the foreground) and all the governmental buildings that a capitol requires is included. One building that does standout however is the Washington National Cathedral far in the distance up west of downtown Washington. Capitol Hill Think of Washington and the icon it is most known for is Donald Trump's hair... No not him!... The Capitol building on Capitol Hill. And the reproduction of the Capitol Building is very impressive. There is a lot of work in this building, detailing is excellent, extremely realistic even at close quarters, I love the copper roofing on the Representative and Senate Houses. This is outstanding design. The White House Another Icon is of course the White House. Until as many note Trump ruins it, "The White House" is the most famous building in America, some say Graceland (Elvis Presley) in Memphis is now more famous but the design is the same colonial age anyway. The famous "West Wing" is well produced, and the Navy One is sitting on the North Lawn ready. Overall the same excellent design as the Capitol Building and it is photographically perfect. You can also visit the Oval Office to collect your own "Make American Great Again" cap from POTUS himself. West over the Potomac River is the Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal City with the Arlington National Cemetery also shown. The Pentagon is also perfect, and the reproduction of office buildings and apartment complexes behind the complex do a great job of filling out the scenery. A big mistake from most city scenery developers is they do the central Icons which is fine, but without these skyline buildings and towers the scenery can look empty, but that is not the case here as the more mundane areas that mostly make up cites are also addressed as well. So overall the Washington centre is excellent in every area, a flyover is a must. KDCA - Ronald Regan Washington National Airport The main airport included in the package is the central Ronald Regan Washington National Airport. I still call it "National" as that name was originally "Hoover Field" but from 1941 it was always Washington National. Both of my most favorite approaches is north and south into RWYs 01/19, they are exciting and visually very good, they can be challenging as well if the weather is poor, which it is most of the time. Sadly Washington's other major airport in Dulles is not included in this package, but it is available on the X-Plane.Org and details are below. DCA is excellent, but doesn't have a lot of X-Plane special effects like animated airbridges or vehicles. There is however a lot of objects on the ground and that does at least fill in the scenery that could have felt empty and bland. Main DCA terminal has been well recreated in pure 3d modelling, with real see-through glass and a built in walk through interior. The terminal's historic intriguing roof structure is very well done both inside and externally, so it looks realistic. Control Tower is great as well and looks correct. Tower view works... just, only don't look up for the struts showing in your view. But the runway views are fine and that is important here, as the approaches are worth the excellent views over the city of Washington. Overall DCA is very good, and a worthy addition to your collection. Additional Airports Other airports included in the package are: KADW Joint Base Andrews, KCGS College Park Airport, KVKX Potomac Airfield and W32 Washington Executive Airport. Helipads included are: White House, KJPN Pentagon Army Heliport, KBOF Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling, Sibley Memorial Hospital are all positioned over the Potomac in Maryland southeast of the central Washington area. KADW - Joint Base Andrews Andrews AFB is the entry and departure point for not only POTUS (President of the United States) but incoming heads of state or delegates, so the airport hosts and is the base for 89th Airlift Wing with both the Air Force Ones in VC-25A's which are modified 747-200B's (Serial SAM28000 and SAM29000, SAM is Special Air Mission) and the Boeing C32's (Boeing 757) Air Force Two aircraft. It is not just the main governmental aircraft that are based here but all the logistic aircraft also required to transport the higher governmental heads and brass. And chances are that if an alien attack did head for Washington, then no doubt the fight as noted in numerous Hollywood dramas will start and possibly end on this base. Considering the sheer scale of the importance of Andrews AFB, the airport is quite stark. Mostly the scenery consists of a selection of large hangars on both sides of parallel runways 01L/19R 9,300ft (2,835m) and 01R/19L 9,755ft (2,973). Both VC-25A's are noted here, but there very little else in aircraft or equipment. Certainly not a bustling Airforce or Naval base. Note the ajoining Golf Course, Washington GA Airfields All the smaller GA airfields have grass and are fenced in. Small additions to the extra scenery, but with great benefits here. All building/hangar textures are not high quality and have a low resolution, but they are workable for scenery usage. All the fields are quite picturesque and are well worth visiting. KVKX Potomac Airfield and W32 Washington Executive Airport Both airports in KVKX Potomac Airfield and W32 Washington Executive Airport or Hyde Field are parallel and right next to each other. And so it would be very easy in not mixing them up and using the wrong runway? But W32 has the larger runway of the two at RWY 5/23 3,000ft (914m) long were as KVKX is RWY 6/24 2,665ft (812m) long. And both are part of the "Maryland 3" airports located within the Washington area with KCGS Collage Park below. This is the D.C. Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ), in that these airports are subject to the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) restrictions imposed by the FAA after the 9/11 Attacks. W32 Washington Executive Airport The biggest GA/Exec airport of the GA fields. Not much here but a few hangars and offices. Also known as Hyde Field it was originally an Army aviation training field, and it still has the older style military buildings, but it is no gleaming executive facility. KVKX Potomac Airfield Potomac Field is only 1.10 nautical miles (1.27 mi) west of W32 and was formally known as "Friendly". Not much here except some storage hangars and parking areas. KCGS College Park Airport College Park Airport has an interesting history. The field was established in August 1909, and civilian aircraft began flying from College Park Airport as early as December 1911, making it the world's oldest continuously operated airport. In 1977 the airport was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The field was also used to develop and test the first radio navigational aids for use in "blind" or bad weather flying. This was the forerunner of the modern Instrument Landing System used today by aircraft. Runway is 15/33 2,607ft (795m) long, but has significant lead in areas on both ends. There is a museum reproduced here on site called the College Park Aviation Museum that first opened to the public in 1981, and houses antique and reproduction aircraft associated with the history of College Park Airport. The museum was updated in September 12, 1998, and includes a 90-seat auditorium, a non-circulating appointment-only library, gift shop, museum offices, and a replica of the original 1909 College Park Airport hangar. There is a spare Naval Seaking on the other side of the field. And rail lines along the boundary gives the field some action. Scenery Lighting Night lighting in most city sceneries are mostly average, and yet this view is important. The Washington XP lighting is between very good to fair and fine if you don't get in to close for detail. Thankfully the main Washington monuments are well lit, so that is a huge benefit to the overall night time view of the city. For the city's buildings it is not bad, but not very imaginative lighting either, so "workable" is the main thing that comes to mind. Overall the city's lighting is slightly dull or dark. Pentagon and Crystal City towers are not bad in being more realistic, but thankfully default traffic lighting does help throughout the whole scenery. KDCA at night is average. The ramp areas are well lit... But the terminal is in... "Terminal Darkness" and not very realistic. Drzewiecki Design's night glass textures have always been bland, as they are again here. Mostly flat and dull and quite unattractive, it is overall at DCA average lighting and not very imaginative or diverse. Summary Looking at the broad-strokes then Washington XP is absolutely excellent, a must have scenery in your collection. You get a lot of area covered for your money as well as the full area covered includes McLean – Newington – Cheltenham - College Park districts, and the main central Washington downtown area. All the iconic buildings are well covered here with important Capitol Hill and The White House as standout sceneries, the Capitol Building itself is a major classic piece of work. Airports are well covered with KDCA, Andrews JBA and smaller W23, KVKX and the famous College Park, but no KIAD - Dulles. The most significant point of city sceneries is just a simple fact... visual. To convey a feeling of place or area, and in this main point the scenery succeeds perfectly. Now on any approach to DCA you will be transfixed by the views around you, This scenery completes and makes Washington now one of the great arrivals in X-Plane. I can't expound a more powerful point in why these sceneries are so important to the simulator, because without them, you have no sense of place or being in the X-Plane world. Flying aircraft is what the simulator is of course all about, but the dimension of real world realism in where and in the moment visually as you fly to has a huge bearing on the full experience of simulation as well. So support city sceneries and your X-Plane world will be far more better place with them than without them. Positives : Excellent City Visuals, All Washington Icons and Monuments are included, Great Frame-rate for the mass of objects included, many important surrounding areas are also included, overall great value. Negatives : DCA not bad, but Andrews is a bit bland, Night lighting at DCA is average and overall the city could be brighter, Smaller airport textures are a more lower resolution, No X-Plane animations in vehicles or airbridges. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Washington XP by Drzewiecki Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Washington XP Your Price: US$30.00 Scenery Features: Washington, D.C. scenery with about 1500 custom-made buildings incl. whole downtown in 3D plus other landmarks, bridges, stadiums, harbors/marinas and other objects, all with night textures Large scenery area (McLean – Newington – Cheltenham - College Park) with night and seasonal textures and a detailed autogen Detailed scenery of KDCA Washington National Airport, with terminal interiors, detailed ground markings, static aircraft, native X-Plane reflections etc. Lite sceneries of KADW Joint Base Andrews, KCGS College Park Airport, KVKX Potomac Airfield and W32 Washington Executive Airport with custom-made all airport buildings and realistic ground poly layer. Many helipads and heliports including White House, KJPN Pentagon Army Heliport, KBOF Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling, Sibley Memorial Hospital and more. Recommended for X-Plane11 for more advanced features. Requirements : X-Plane 10 or X-Plane 11+ Windows, Mac, Linux 1Gb VRAM Video Card - 3Gb+ VRAM highly Recommended Download size: 600Mb Framerate is excellent for the density of the scenery, but still subject to computer system standards Installation and documents: Download for the Washington XP is 555.30mb and the unzipped files are deposited in the "Custom Scenery" X-Plane folder... DD-Washington XP Layer1 (1.75K) DD-Washington XP Layer2 (1.50GB) DD-Washington Documents (Manual) Note... scenery must be set in that above order to work correctly, full Windows .exe installer is included (Install noted above) KIAD - Dulles is available from the X-Plane.Org (Free) here : KIAD - Washington Dulles International Airport 3.3 Static aircraft can be switched on or off via the installer. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 30th March 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews (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 - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11b15 and also used in X-Plane v10.52 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90
  2. 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. 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". Once clear of the traffic we can stretch the A330's legs, altitude to FL356, and .m84 means we go high and fast. The route covers Hungary, then Romania and then a third of the flying is over the Black Sea. (google maps) Until you hit the coast at Georgia and then finally Azerbaijan with Baku on the eastern side on the Caspian Sea. 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. 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. Baku City itself is 20km southwest of the airport, and you can see on the horizon the distinctive buildings of the city. 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. 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. 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. You cross over the Mardakan Highway (Airport Rd) on the final's and it makes a visual working treat. 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. 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. 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. 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. _______________________________________________ UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport IATA: GYD - ICAO: UBBB 16/34 2,700m (8,858ft) Asphalt/Concrete 17/35 3,200m (10,499ft)Asphalt/Concrete Elevation AMSL 3m/10 ft 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. 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) 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. 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. 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. The interior of the terminal is just as detailed and highly walk-aroundable. A great introduction to Baku. 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) 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. 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. Tower detailing is excellent including the internal control room. There are also two very distinctive airport entrance posts that are also perfectly recreated. 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 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. Cargo Terminal 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. The modeling of the maintenance hangar is again very good and this area is highly usable as well. 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 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. 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). 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). 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". There is enough fill to get around the airport and park, but the original Flight Simulator night textures do show and are basic. Terminal 1 does look good thankfully, and is usable. Terminal 2 is passable. The Sheraton is mostly in the dark, but the Cargo ramps are well lit and are usable at night... just. 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! 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. 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? 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. ______________________________________________________________________ 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 ______________________________________________________________________ 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
  3. Scenery Review : Moscow City XP by Drzewiecki Design You fly for hours, anticipating your arrival, wanting to take in the area and the views of another country far away from your departure airport. The airport and the area you leave from is detailed and visually full, and you know you have a great airport scenery waiting for you at the other end of the flight, then when you arrive... ... Nothing, but flat plain emptiness and the same boring standard X-Plane basic scenery, worse there is no OSM (Open Street Map) data in the tile either, so there is no road or autogen detailing in there as well, just well nothing. When Drzewiecki Design released their UUEE Sheremetyevo Airport XP, I loved it because it was like a visitor from the Cold War past, the Soviet era, and it was also great scenery and great choice of a destination to fly to from any of the capitals of Europe... but that was it, just this great airport in the middle of nothingness, bland.... zero ville. Now Drzewiecki Design has released "Moscow City" a scenery package to compliment their UUEE Sheremetyevo, and boy how much a difference this release has done to this totally boring area. To get the full first impression effect I flew JARDesign's A320neo from EFHK Vatnaa, Helsinki to UUEE Sheremetyevo which is flight Finnair AY153 which is a daily 9.25am service. First Impressions I was surprised to start picking up scenery still quite away out from central Moscow, as I approached my 6000ft transition altitude. Here there was buildings and houses and the physical visual notes you were arriving somewhere. Looking hard at the horizon through the A320's windows and you could see the iconic silhouette of Moscow city. The scenery provides lite versions of all Moscow's Airports, this is UUWW Vnukovo, which was easily recognisable as you flew over. As you fly closer to the centre of the city the density of the objects below becomes quite heavy as the landscape fills in. You have all kinds of infrastructure including, blocks of flats, tower blocks, factories, housing, skyscrapers and almost everything that makes up an urban landscape, in all there is 2000 custom-made buildings that makes up this impressive scenery. A note here in that you don't get that rolling as you move feeling effect where as it just suddenly appears in front of you and then quickly disappears behind as soon as you have flown out over the area. There is a slight effect of that as there has to be, but only in the far distance and as you can see from the images the views in every direction are widespread and visually it is very good to excellent. The "Seven Sisters" or "Stalinist skyscrapers" built from 1947 to 1953 are all in the scenery with their "Wedding Cake" architecture or officially Russian Baroque - Gothic style. Most famous is the Moscow State University, front and centre of the image below. Central Moscow is excellent and extremely realistic, and you really need a travel guide to pick out the landmarks and detail, but it is hard to miss the Red Kremlin complex and St Peter's square from the air. Both sides of the aircraft is visually full until you have crossed right over the city. I am not a fan of the generated 3d OSM scenery, but this is very good in blending in perfectly with the X-Plane default scenery and giving you a smooth transition from country to urban and back again with great realism. Over the city and turning north towards Sheremetyevo, another Moscow airport UUMU Chkalovsky is represented on the turn. The city skyline is now easily visible on landing at Sheremetyevo, and that really helps in the arrival factor, more so in that the cities building infrastructure spread now comes up and around the airport to fill the gaps to the city itself, and making the original Sheremetyevo scenery that was so open and lonely in the old X-Plane view is now a big part of the whole in this combination. No doubt it really brings this always good scenery now alive and very usable. Sheremetyevo Airport Before we move on to the city itself. It is important to note the area around UUEE Sheremetyevo itself. Compare the large image above to the earlier image at the start of this review to see the amount of change there is around UUEE Sheremetyevo with the addition of this Moscow City package. The two sceneries are of course meant to be used together, and in reality it would look odd if you had Moscow City scenery installed without the Sheremetyevo scenery included to fill out the northern areas. A highlight is that both sceneries together form a single whole, as the areas between the airport and the central city area are well filled in and that gives you a huge area of coverage and the full visual aspect. To get a closer lower look at the Moscow Center I commandeered Dreamfoil's lovely Bell 407. There is a 4.000km² total area covered with this scenery here, and you have expect some sort of building replication to cover all that ground. There is of course but as well in the fact there is also enough variations as to not keep it all interesting and not obviously visually obvious. The closer you go to the central area, the variations in buildings change there is as well. And then more of the iconic buildings start to appear as you get closer to the middle. The business district is excellent, with a lot of business towers and the more modern futuristic skyscraper architecture that stands out in every view point in eye scans across the city. The more recent is in tune with the more older Stalinist era that makes up the Moscow skyline. The Kremlin Complex and the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed (St Basil's) is excellently represented and so is "Red Square" There are Orthodox churches everywhere and all the big icons in the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium, Otkrytive Arena and department stores, museums and power stations and more.... I did have issues with many buildings floating, including the Kremlin. I tried both "Runways follow terrain contours" on and off with no flattening of the objects and there is no information in the manual either on how to fix the problem. Night lighting is very good, yes there is again a repeatable pattern to the majority of the hundreds of the apartment blocks that does stand out, but the more individual buildings do all have that personal touch and some buildings look really very good. The highlight here is the business district which looks magnificent and is very realistic from any direction at night as is the lit Stadium. Although away from the central area the Ostankino Tower that stands 540.1 metres (1,772 ft) tall, and is the tallest freestanding structure in Europe and it looks great at night and is a very good position indicator from the air from any direction. Included Moscow Airports As noted also included in the scenery are seven airports and several helipads. UUWW Vnukovo The futuristic Vnukovo International is very good for a lite version, with great terminals and lots of small detailing. Only thing missing is the static aircraft and a bit more ramp equipment, but otherwise it is highly usable. UUDD Domodedovo The oldest of Moscow's International airports is Domodedovo. Again it is quite devoid of static aircraft and I am not crazy about the blue terminal glass work, but it is still a very workable scenery to use and has a lot of well made objects. UUBW Zhukovsky Zhukovsky was a major aircraft testing facility since the cold war years, with most of the major Russian Experimental Design Bureau's having facilities here. It is also now used by the Ministry of Emergency Situations! and cargo carriers. It was also used as a test site for the Soviet Buran reusable Spacecraft because it has the world's second longest pubic runway at at 5,402 m (17,723 ft). Mostly it is a collection of very large hangars but has a lot of static aircraft in storage. UUMO Ostafyevo International Business Airport A former military airbase. Ostafyevo features a new modern glass terminal, and caters primarily to business aviation. UUMU Chkalovsky Chkalovsky is a military logistics airport that is famous for it's support for the Russian Space program and transport to Star City and the Yuri A. Gagarin State Scientific Research-and-Testing Cosmonaut Training Center. Yuri Gagarin left here on his final flight before crashing by the town of Kirzhach. UUBM Myachkovo Airport Myachkovo is a small General Aviation Airport that is owned by the Finpromko company. Cargo aircraft up to the size of the Ilyushin ll-76 freighter can also use the airport. UUMB Kubinka Kubinka has been a significant Russian military airbase and large airshows are held here to show off the Russian military might. There is also provided UUU1 Kremlin Airport, within the Kremlin walls, but I couldn't get it to work? There are two pads in H1 and H2. Summary Your first thoughts after reviewing this excellent Moscow scenery is not with this actual package. You then wish that you could have this extensive scenery at London, Rome, Madrid, Berlin and the list could go on with any of your favorite European Cities, and don't count a load in the Middle East and Asia. But a London scenery like this would certainly be a godsend in our X-Plane world. Drzewiecki Design has already done Warsaw and Manhattan, so there is always hope. It is not cheap either and you need to add in their UUEE Sheremetyevo scenery package on top of that as well. But you get an awful lot of ground covered here for your money, with the area covered here that is extensive... huge and flying into Moscow will never be the same again. A few areas to note in one that in my case a few of the buildings floated, the download is huge load at 1.4gb and this Russian area is not the best for navigation aids and programming FMS units as most waypoints are not recognised. Most of the airports ILS coordinates also have to checked and recalibrated (Drzewiecki Design do provide all the correct coordinates) so there is a little work to do to set up repeat services but the work is worth the results. Not only is the actual Moscow city and all it's buildings supported, you also get seven (if lite versions) of Moscow's other airports included as well, but the framerate processing of all this huge amount of objects and scale is pretty good to excellent. Framerate does hurt more on a lower (helicopter) level and certainly you need a computer with a little extra power is in no doubt required, but overall for the size of the area the scenery is extremely efficient. Yes I was impressed by this Moscow City Scenery, as this once very barren area of X-Plane is now a very attractive repeat destination as nothing can give you a greater fulfilment than seeing your destination appear in the distance and then give you a huge visual experience as you fly over and approach your destination. Moscow City certainly delivers that and more... Just more sceneries like this please! _____________________________________________________________________________________ Moscow City XP by Drzewiecki Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Moscow City XP Price: $36.00 Scenery features: Extremely detailed model of Moscow metropolitan area in Russia Almost 2000 custom-made buildings and other objects, all high quality, FPS-friendly and with night textures Whole Moscow center done in 3D as well as all other important landmarks - museums, palaces, skyscrapers, towers, bridges, railway stations, Zara stores... Trains, ships, 3D people, cars, airport vehicles, static aircraft - anything you can imagine About 4000 sq.km of photoreal 0,5-1m/pix terrain with autogen Sceneries of all surrounding airports including UUWW Vnukovo, UUDD Domodedovo, UUBW Zhukovski, UUMO Ostafyevo, UUBM Myachkovo and UUMB Kubinka, with all airport buildings, detailed layouts, people, airport vehicles and more Very detailed Kremlin model with newly constructed heliport Fully Compatible with UUEE Moscow Sheremetyevo XP by Drzewiecki Design Requirements X-Plane 10.50+ (any edition) Windows, Mac, Linux 1Gb VRAM Video Card - 2Gb+ VRAM highly Recommended Download size: 1.8Gb! _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the Moscow City XP is 1.47gb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Custom Scenery" as four files: DDZ Moscow City XP (3.99gb) - Yes GIGABYTES! DDZ Moscow City XP Layer 2 (30.20mb) DDZ Moscow City XP Documents (1.0 mb) ZZZ_DDZ Moscow City XP Terrain (20.10mb) Installation for Windows comes with an .exe installer that deposits the files in the correct order required (however I still moved the ZZZ- folder to the bottom via the INI text install list. Installation Instructions are provided for Mac and Linux You need to check all airports ILS coordinates are correct, instructions are provided. Documents: Two documents include Moscow City XP MacLinuxinstall Moscow City XP Manual (seven pages) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 26th September 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews 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 10 Global ver 10.50 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe US$14.95 : WorldTraffic US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - Airbus A320neo by JARDesign (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$59.95 : A320neo Sound Packs by Blue Sky Star Simulations (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.95 - Bell 407 by Dreamfoil Creations (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$34.95
  4. News! - Scenery Released! - UBBB Baku and City by Drzewiecki Design Go back 12 months and I would say... "Baku? Where the hell is that!" Well you will be hearing more of this crossroads of the world, as the region becomes more increasingly interesting. My point of view was that the Formula One circus hit Buku town for the first time as the "European Grand Prix" in June 2016 and this place is the middle kingdom of Arabian Nights and future world 2030. All built of course on an endless cash supply of oil. I of course hit the town with my global Formula One flyaway race program and Baku is a great destination and great area to around in with the excellent Caucasus Mountains a great area to explore. To enhance that experience Drzewiecki Design has released a great up to date scenery of this iconic Azerbaijan city. It includes that amazing new UBBB Heydar Aliyev airport and the futuristic new city skyline. Both old and new terminals are represented and the airport coverage is extensive. Internal terminal views are excellent... And those futuristic buildings of the city are just waiting to be explored... Baku is a great new destination just beyond Europe's borders, find it on X-Plane. ______________________________________________________________________ The UBBB Baku Airport and City by Drzewiecki Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : UBBB Baku Airport and City Price is US$23.00 Images are courtesy of Drzewiecki Design ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 20th July 2016 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews