A couple of new freeware airports to go over today, and a few paints too, then an important announcement concerning the future of this blog will round out the day. That said, let’s get the coffee going – and on down to the nitty-gritty.
After doing this blog for more than ten years I do believe this new version of YBBN Brisbane International represents something of a first. The real airport is undergoing a series of additions and renovations…sp, something more than a simple little re-do…and the developers of this scenery file kind of jumped all over the proposed work and got to work. They did so not by guessing what might be unwrapped in 2020 – when work is complete – but by contacting the developers of the airport. The real airport, in case that slipped by. Read this from the release notes to really wrap your head around what all this implies…
“Brisbane Airport is undergoing a lot of change, and the main project is due for completion in 2020….the new parallel 01L/19R runway with associated taxiway support system. Thanks to cooperation from personnel deeply involved in designing the procedures for the new airspace, we were given access to the data required to present the airport in X-Plane. Our airport has also been used to validate future procedures and airspace, as it is accurate within the data provided. Every gate and ramp position has AutoGate, every position available for departure. Unfortunately at the time of writing we are not allowed to provide a file to enable users to fly ILS approaches to runway 01L/19R, but as soon as we get the go-ahead we will make the file available, before it is released on AIRAC. In the meantime, please enjoy a vision of what the airport will look like in just over a year from now, including the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges.”
Okay, got that? An airport being developed for X-plane is being used by – I would assume – authorities in Australia to validate proof of concept operational data for airport airspace modifications for additions that are not quite operational yet? Is this another feather in Laminar’s cap? Have other airports undergoing expansion so used a flight simulator to work out the kinks in an evolving plan to develop and implement ATC and other NAV procedures at a new or revised airport?
In other words, if you fly for Qantas or Nauru or any of a dozen of so other airlines that use this airport in the real world…you could – theoretically – start using this file to practice potential procedures – today – and then provide feedback to engineers…again, for real world operations that haven’t even begun yet.
And, again, you have to let this sink in a bit, but for a consumer level flight sim to offer this potential is, simply put, kind of a big deal…and yet…as the real airport develops I’d assume this airport file will develop too. As we’ll see in the images below, this file has a few rough edges but is already more than useable. In some areas this file is really quite good as-is, so let’s take a look:
First things first, these images were made with v11.30b5 (just) installed – AND with all other ground texture files wiped from my install. In other words, these should look like very basic ground textures, not those enhanced by FJS or MrX, and while not as good looking they’re more than likely what most ‘less-experienced’ users will encounter.
Also note that most of the objects in the file are custom, but that several scenery library files are also required. These include (currently) the following: Autogate; MisterX Library; OpensceneryX; CDB Library; Fruitstand Aircraft; and Static_GA_Australia. This last was a new one for me and requires multiple steps to get (try the link just above, or this link to get the process underway), and all images for this post were made without these static acf present.
The terminal buildings look well executed but you won’t find many LIT textures or evidence of lighting inside these buildings…yet. Same with the control tower and most of the hangers. The light rail station is modeled and there is some lighting in place along the platforms, but the rail cars aren’t there…yet. The multi-level parking garages are lighted, but there are no cars within…yet.
There are new RJ ramps (lighted, too) but a minimal level of ground clutter (aka ground support vehicles), but of utmost concern is a confusing jumble of lighting and ortho textures in and around the terminal/hotel area, as well as across the field around the commercial hangers. The results are a little too chaotic.
In the set below, this area was imaged from the same vantage point; the only difference is time of day:
Many areas are simply not lighted yet, and some hangers and warehouses are modeled while an adjacent structure is rendered by the ortho. Same with a few car parks around these outlying buildings…some cars are objects while others are ortho renders. That said, the large ortho used for the airport grounds around and beyond the runways is of extremely good quality, and many of these rendered features look quite good down to about 6-800 feet AGL. Of course, in its current state more than half of the facility is an unlighted black hole; even nearby streets and roadways are dark – which could mean exclusion zone issues or simply more unfinished work. The key takeaway? This is a WIP file so judge it accordingly, and please note this…from an email we received from the developer after our original post:
So, those concerns are accounted for!
Brisbane is the de facto gateway to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef region, and there’s a surprising assortment of airlines serving the region through YBBN. Air Canada hits CYVR Vancouver while Qantas and Virgin Oz hit LAX. There are also carriers serving China, Japan, Singapore and points all over Oceania (see the current list here). Aside from all the usual suspects hauling freight, Nauru Airlines flies passengers as well as inter-island cargo from Brisbane (see below) out to the islands.
Overall, about all that can legitimately be said of the file at this point is that it offers tremendous potential. As mentioned, it IS more than useable at this point and we recommend you give it a try.
The YBBN file is right here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48557-brisbane-international-ybbn-2020-by-cdg/
Nauru Airlines paints are available for the FJS 732 (seen above), as well as for the IXEG 733 and the default 738. Nauru Airlines fleet is currently 3 733s and 1 733F, and note the IXEG paint file includes a freighter variant. The 738 paint file may be accessed via Cami de Bellis’ scenery file for ANYN Nauru International (see below). The following images are from that excellent airport file.
Cami de Bellis’ ANYN Nauru was released two years ago so lacks a few features needed for full HDR effects; that said, this is a characteristically wondrous airport file you should have on hand.
Note the last image just above: in the square highlighted area is a single-light VASI and showing green. If above slope you’ll get a white light, and if below – red. There is a roadway right under the threshold – so beware of trucks!
Paint for the FJS 732: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45704-air-nauru-c2-rn8/
Paint for the IXEG 733/733F: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48492-nauru-airlines-ixeg-737-300/
Cami’s ANYN and Nauru Airlines paint for the default 738 (Xp11): https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/35481-anyn-nauru-international-airport/
LICB Comiso is located near the southern tip of Sicily and has, as a result of this strategic location, played a significant role in WWII and Cold War I. Axis powers used the facility to support North African operations prior to the invasion of Sicily in 1943, and the USAAF stationed C47s and B25s at the field for the duration of the war. In 1981, the USAF decided to base a large number of GLCMs (Ground Launched Cruise Missiles) at the facility – and did so until those weapons were withdrawn under treaty obligations with the Soviet Union. Once those forces were withdrawn the facility fell into disrepair, but during the Kosovo campaign of the late-90s the former base served to house 5000+ refugees.
The airport underwent major renovations in the late-2000s and opened for commercial operations again in 2013. Ryanair is the biggest operator here, but Air Malta, Brussels, Alitalia, Thomas Cook and Transavia all currently work from here (see the list of destinations here). No air cargo ops currently listed; and the airport is covered by major charting services.
Yet…how many charts of this type have you worked with?
The terminal building is a complex little bugger, as is the control tower, yet the developer opted against using scenery library objects and made the terminal in Blender (kudos!), so what you end up with in this file is actually a very close modeling of the real airport.
There ARE scenery library objects used elsewhere, but the airport is modeled carefully. HDR compliant lighting and surfaces abound, ramps and car parks are nicely modeled as well.
This is a 10/10 Must Have addition to any route network that spans the Mediterranean, for any Ryanair freaks left out there, or for those wanting to fly the Sicily-Rome corridor. Very nice work indeed.
The Fly-J-Sim 732 is a monstrously good file, and wearing the Olympic rings at Chios suits her well. The idea of a Boeing named Dionysus ought to make anyone smile, too.
You’ll find this paint here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48618-olympic-airlines-sx-bce-flyjsim-737-200-v3/
And for Goran’s Saab 340, a ticket to paradise…or on Air Tahiti, which amounts to pretty much the same thing.
You’ll find it here, too: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48614-les-saab-340a-air-tahiti/
I came back to this blog a year ago after taking a few years off to do some sailing, and did so knowing that I would only have a limited window to work on such things. I was counting on several months yet I ended up with more than a year which, in my book, is a pretty good deal. Yet the simple fact of the matter is this…I am running out of steam. I may indeed post one or two more times over the coming week or so, but I’m not counting on it. Time is too precious now.
Yet this blog represents – to me – something more than precious. I made new friends here, and Simon became one of my best friends ever. He came over and went sailing with me for a few months, visited us at our home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and made a game effort to learn to slide funky looking boards on frozen white stuff. He got a taste of astronomy and astrophotography under the dome of my observatory and hasn’t stopped learning yet; he is in fact fast becoming one of the most accomplished amateur astrophotographers out there. He has just embarked on yet another new venture, and I will miss not seeing success come his way yet again.
So many others passed our way. Stephen Dutton joined our ranks and helped out when we needed it most. Goran Matovina’s was a shoulder I leaned on too often, and his is a dear soul. Tom Kyler too was a source of inspiration, as was Dan Klaue, and I’m sorry to say but we knew who Fake Austin was (yet I’m carrying that secret to the grave).
To all of you who dropped by Chaos Manor over the years, who read along and offered words of encouragement: Thank You. Sincerely.
The way ahead for x+sim+reviews is unknown. I have asked another friend, Pete Tram over at Threshold, to take this horse by the reins and make of it what he will. I would like to think he meets with even more success, and I would also hope he and his team are as lucky in friendship as I have been here.
Adios y’all…and Happy Trails – Chip