Let’s dig right in to the third volume of Drzewiecki Design’s Polish airports. I’ve seen a pattern in these three volumes, too. The first in each is a real nice one, very enticing, and though the others in each volume are a little less interesting – visually speaking, anyway – taken as a group they form a very complete regional network for GA and light RJ/turbo-prop acf use. The CRJ would fit in nicely with any of these airports, but the Leading Edge Saab 340 will be perfect. An A318 would be perfect, too, or a 737-500, for that matter, but beggers cant’t be choosers. A few of the small Polish carriers use the Saab, so that may be the best option for now, the CRJ coming in a close second. The last airport in this group is the real surprise, however…
So, that said, let’s look at the first airport in volume three.
Nice terminal, outlying cargo facilities and maintenance hangers, and a large, well-developed city around the perimeter highlight this airport.
All these airport files state, by the way, that they are version 10 compliant, so true HDR/PBR effects are lacking in this group – yet, by-and-large, XP11 has done a good job making them look good at night. Still, these files need to be updated.
And once again, as you can see, the ramps are naked, and even with static aircraft checked to ON I’ve rarely seen more than one aircraft at many of these terminals, and often none. I have NOT tested World Traffic v3 here, yet. One thing at a time, I always say.
Still, the ramps are nicely lighted at night, and there’s a police helicopter spooling up behind the default MD-80, above.
Also included in this file, a large mesh with a thoroughly build-up collection of custom objects on the ground, representing the city of…
There are prominent city buildings here, sports stadia and housing blocks, and I suppose these could be used as VFR reporting landmarks too, and the overall visual effect is quite nice, very immersive.
And below, you can see the airport off to the left, and this is as good a time as any to mention the downside here. Yup, framerates. I was able to set HDR, rendering, and AA to very high settings here – AND still keep World Objects at MAX…but only with the default Cessna 172.
Add an über-complex, frame-rate busting .acf like the Just-Flight Piper Arrow and the picture changes dramatically. Looking out the windshield in the image just below all you’ll find is a smeary mesh and a few isolated buildings, because heavy-hitting aircraft files simply take too many resources away from scenery rendering. So, the choice is yours…you make a choice between lots of buildings and objects on the ground or a hyper detailed cockpit; this is a harsh, but necessary compromise for most of us, as the only other option is to go out and buy a gut-busting GPU, one with at least 8Gb, preferably 11-12Gb onboard. In another year, these huge GPUs ought to be more wallet friendly, too.
With World Objects dialed back to moderate levels, even airport building details disappear, making the choice harder.
Still, I like this airport – and the surrounding city-scape. And because I really enjoy the default Cessna 172, I can enjoy everything this file has to offer.
The Leading Edge Simulations Saab A340 is one of the most realistic, “study-sim” packages available in XP, and though it has yet to be upgraded to full XP11 compliance it is more than flyable in XP11.05. There’s no “start with engines running option” to make it easy on you, so, yes, this is a cold and dark file, yet, nevertheless I enjoy-the-Dickens out of this .acf. Yup, you’ve got to spend a few minutes with checklists getting the engines warm, but this is probably as close as most of us will get to working in one of these interesting aircraft, so why not give it a try?
And EPPO is a good airport to work out of – with the 340, anyway. There’s a small pax terminal – but large air cargo facilities. There’s a mesh and some built-up city-scape around the facility, and the framerates were friendly enough here to allow use of the 340, a nice surprise – as this is a demanding file.
The Saab’s panel is every bit as good as the IXEG 733s, and the LES Saab has a ponderous low speed feel that you really have to stay on top off. It’s also a racehorse, and you can find yourself blowing past 200 knots in a heartbeat.
Anyway, a little off-topic, but this is a perfect aircraft to use at many of these airports, and I thought it worth mentioning.
But back at EPPO, note this is a big, sprawling airport, with multiple passenger terminals and dozens of support facilities…things like work shops and warehouses are all clustered around the main ramps, giving EPPO a very workmanlike feel.
The main terminal building has simple photo-textures applied, so no interior modeling to draw you in. Big parking areas, well lighted, add to the visual mix but again, the ramps are a little too quiet.
No Jetways at these terminals, too, just stairs and long walkways on the tarmac.
Cargo ops, to the right (above) give way to a huge number of ramp spots for smaller passenger jets.
And passing over the facility, note the ramps are well lighted, but again, there’s no XP11-compliant HDR lighting.
You can see this lack at the GA terminal, above, and below, over the same area…
…as when passing over the main terminal building.
And above, another view of the main terminal building, from the Carenado C208.
Now, the last airport in the series, named after an astronomer for the ages.
Nicolaus Copernicus, in English, by the way, in case you were wondering, and as this airport serves one of the most vibrant cities in Europe you know you’re in for something special – and this file delivers.
And this is one more interesting file, despite the usual shortcomings – v10 lighting and fairly bleak ramp activity are the two negatives here, while plenty of custom local cityscapes are included with the nicely modeled terminal buildings. This (below) is the old terminal building, the T1 building complex, and yes, it looks dated. No jetways, small building, and you wonder…if this is such a big, vibrant city…how could this be?
There’s some “stuff” on the ramps here, but I supplemented this with the ground handling equipment that comes with the FF757-200, as you can see in the series of images below.
The architecture looks authentic, i.e., with what little I can find in Google covering the area.
But a lot of the things you see on these ramps come to life because of the ground support items included with the 757 file.
Again, that’s too bad, for if there’s one overriding fault I’ve found with these airports it’s the almost always vacant tarmacs and ramps. Most of these files include an in-house scenery library, so the GPU demands shouldn’t be so large that they preclude use of these assets. I think it’s a fault that could easily be rectified, and I hope they’ll do so in an update, preferably an update that brings full XP11 compliance to these airports.
This is, however, one more “nice” airport, with everything needed for GA and RJ/turbo-prop use, and aircraft as large as the 752 can operate at this terminal, as well.
But…this show ain’t over yet. No, not by a long shot. Because there’s another terminal, right over yonder…
And here’s a little better presentation of the layout, with the old T1 terminal labeled, and the new one T2:
So, let’s take a closer look…
…and from another angle…
…and with different lighting…
This is more like it, isn’t it? Want a playground for your 767 or A330? Well, here it is…
…and the best part? It’s right in the center or Europe, so just about any destination, save the Iberian Peninsula, is just a short hop away.
Dramatic architecture, excellent airport facilities, and close to many of the payware airports you probably already have.
And at this airport, you’ve got a choice between “Old World” charm (above), or…
…New World sophistication. The newer, T2, looks better at night, though…
And, this city is included in the file, as well it should be. Wrocław is as historically important as any city in Poland, and perhaps more so, yet it possesses an old world feel that rivals many more traditional tourist spots, such as Brugge, in Belgium.
Anyway, it’s all here, waiting for you, and the Alabeo Waco makes a fine platform to explore the area. Unfortunately, as with so many other airports in these three volumes, you’ll have to choose between framerates and nice scenery textures, for unless you have a very powerful GPU, you can’t have both.
Above, World Objects are set to MAX, and so are HDR, textures and AA. Framerates? Wow, don’t even ask…glaciers move faster than that poor old bi-plane.
Well, let’s wrap up this part of the journey.
First, all these airports are modeled with care. They’re first rate, aside from the bleak ramp detail. They include elaborate installation instruction PDFs, as well as PDF chart packages. Again, top marks for that. Installation is, generally, a snap, except for having to install apt.dat updates (included) if using XP10. Simple to do, however.
As you can see on the map above, these Polish airports – all eleven of them – are smack-dab in the middle of the action. Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Hamburg – are all just an hour or so away by 733 or A320, and most of these airports can easily handle that size aircraft. A few can and do accommodate much larger aircraft.
Want to challenge your IFR skills in winter? Begin at one of these airports and head for ENGM Oslo or ENBR Bergen, in January, or try EETN Tallinn, for that matter.
Our next stops on this Baltic journey will be Latvia and Estonia, to Tallinn and Riga. From there we’ll take a look at AeroSOFT’s ENBR Bergen, rounding out our trip while covering all of the latest scenery files for X-plane. If, in the interim, something new releases, we’ll get out a First Look post, to help guide potential buying decisions.
Thanks for coming along, and we’ll see you again soon. – C & A