Welcome to the third part of our Baltic journey, and in case you’re just joining us we covered DD’s EPWA // Warsaw-Chopin in our first installment, while yesterday we looked over Volume One of Drzewiecki Design’s Polish Airports Collection. Today, we’re off to look over the four airports in Volume Two, so let’s jump right in and get to it.
I had settings dialed up for these images, meaning HDR is active, textures are at MAX, AA is moderate, and World Objects are set to the middle, or moderate range, as well. If there’s a deviation from this, we’ll let you know where appropriate.
EPLL // Lodz is the best of this second group, with exceptional textures for both day and night use, dramatic architecture carefully modeled, and a good airport layout for easy-to-use simming. Framerates overall seemed a little better in this (vol. 2) group as well, though you’ll be right at the edge of your 4Gb GPUs performance margin at these settings, assuming you’re using a moderately complex aircraft file. By moderate, I mean a aircraft file such as the EADT x738 or, possibly, the IXEG 733. Files such as the FF757, the Rotate MD-80, or the Carenado Beech 1900D really taxed my GPU at these settings (which is the most polite way I can say that framerates went Linda Blair on me). I rarely use Airbus files, by the way. I was raised on Boeing equipment and am too old to learn Airbus systems. They baffle me, in much the same way really overweight women baffle me. Enough said, okay?
So, let’s start with the main terminal building, seen in twilight (above), and then at night. Again, HDR is set to MAX here, as are textures, and these images do not do justice to what I see on an Apple’s “Retina Display” (5K). The range of color on this night image, when seen on screen, is simply dazzling. I know it looks flat and dull here, but take my word for it…it’s not.
And once again, we are looking at photo-real textures on this building, meaning that the model was created (probably) in Blender, then actual photographs of the building were placed on the model. The end results of this kind of texturing looks decent enough – until you get up close…then the effect loses impact as clarity breaks down. Photo-textures simply look better from a distance, and unless they’re very good they often have a flat, one-dimensional look to them. Ortho-photo overlays, or ortho-meshes, have the same general characteristic, by the way. They look good from altitude, but the closer you get to them the worse they look…unless a very high-res mesh is used. Then, of course, you can kiss your framerates bye-bye.
From working distances, the terminal here in Lodz is a masterpiece, and there are little details everywhere to add to the realism, even on the far side of the airport. AND, if you’ve been paying close attention to the photos so far, you’ll have noticed something else, too. But more on that in a minute.
I was setting up the shot below – in the middle of the access road, of course – when a Mercedes came roaring by. It was one of those moments, if you know what I mean. Even my pups jumped.
Again, the textures on the main terminal are simply exceptional, and with HDR rendering on the scene takes on a painterly aire.
And at night, the terminal building is bright and inviting, while the ramps are well lit. Still, not too much activity here, which is the only drawback I’ll note to this file.
Now…one last thing…what’s going on in town? Well, there’s only one way to find out, so let’s got take a look…
And off we go, turning out of the pattern and heading into the city for a quick overflight.
And by now…if something seems out of the ordinary…like smokestacks, and lots of custom buildings…that’s because this town has been modeled!
Apartment blocks, office parks, and not our standard XP auto-gen…
No, there’s a sports stadium, and over there, running tracks, power plants, a massive, lighted cathedral. In fact, there’s a truly well built-up city down below, and, as you can just see in the image below (the airport is right under the right wingtip), all this is close, just moments away.
And after a quick, five-dollar tour we’re back at the airport, and ready to move on to the next airport, our second airport in this second volume of Polish airports.
And what we’ve got looks an awful lot like an old, abandoned military air base…but looks can be deceiving…
Because tucked away in the corner of this facility is what looks a little like a furniture store, or maybe a bus station…
Because while it kind of looks like an airport terminal, there’s no ramp to park aircraft and load passengers. And my, those sure are nice textures on the corner of that building, too…
So, let’s zoom in a little.
Wait a minute?
Could it be?
YES! Hallelujah and Jumpin’ Jehosphat! A real, modeled terminal interior!
Still, this is kind of an odd choice, I think, because…
You can’t see the interior when you pull up to the ramp, because it appears to be hundreds of meters away, off by the runway and far, far away from the building.
And, yup, that’s the ramp, below, hundreds of meters away from the terminal…so that’s why that terminal looks like a bus station…!
Because, when taxi up to this ramp, at the number 2 ramp in this case, you enter by the painted number and circle around – then wait for stairs and buses to come meet your aircraft and shuttle your passengers to and from the a/c.
An odd story behind this terminal building, too. Seems a nearby airport was building a new terminal (all those EU subsidies, don’t you know), and rather than send it to the recycling bin the owners of this airport contracted to rebuild the old one here. And this one looks a whole lot like the real one in Radom. An A+ job, as a matter of fact!
So, off to our third airport today, named after the trade union Solidarity.
Another big, sprawling airport with a series of commercial hangers and a very nice terminal building, and this one has no jetways, so it’s walk or take the shuttle bus.
Again, lot’s of hangers for maintenance or cargo OPS included.
And good radio facilities modeled, as well.
The terminal entry is detailed, well, more than detailed. Kind of neat looking, too, but you’ll never see it from the ramps…you’ve got to go looking for it.
And, there it is, below, with the HDR textures really shining here.
And now, on to our last airport in this second volume of Polish airports, and this one also, at first glance, appears to be nothing more than an old, abandoned military airfield.
There are lots of hardened shelters for Mig-17 sized aircraft here, and, behind protective berms, old ordnance depots abound…
Then, once again, off in a far off corner you’ll stumble upon a small passenger terminal.
Complete with a Mig-17 out front! – and this model appears to be an extremely accurate reproduction of the real facility, right down to ramp lighting and walkways.
The real airport is down to limited service to EPWA Warsaw-Chopin, and by LOT, the national carrier. Smaller, low-cost carriers just couldn’t make it here on the thin margins of such a limited market.
The ramps and taxiways are rated for 737 class aircraft, however.
This facility is in western Poland, and air service has linked Gdansk and Warsaw along the natural line between these two much larger airports for decades.
So, that said, let’s wrap up todays edition with a little mapwork…
We still have three more airports to cover in volume three of DDs Polish Airports, but I think you can already see there’s a great network for flight training just waiting for you, already built and ready to go. From EPRZ in the southeast up to Gdansk on the coast, you have a nice, easy 320nmi run, or you can head over to EDDH Hamburg and call it 600+ nmi.
Want to run some air cargo for FedEx or DHL, maybe in the Carenado 208 or Thranda’s Kodiak, perhaps? Well, start at EPLB and make the 50 mile hop to EPRA, then the 60 mile jump to EPLL. Follow this with two 150 mile legs, on to EPZG and one more, to EDDP Leipzig-Halle, the main cargo facility in eastern Germany and DHLs biggest, and you’ll soon have an idea what it’s like to fly the milk run for one of these outfits. Load up, take-off and land again, load up, take off again, land and load – again, and again and again. It’s the time honored way new commercial pilots build up hours, too, so try it out, see if you can take the pressure of loading in less than fifteen minutes and being wheels up in twenty. It’s an eye-opener, and here’s the perfect route network to try it out.
We’ll see you with Vol. 3 as soon as we get the last of our boxes loaded up, then we’re off again!
Later – C & A