NEXT STOP on our Baltic journey, Drzewiecki Design’s EETN Tallinn, and this is a strong contender for the best airport we’ve seen so far in this regional roundup. I say that as this file has all the right design ingredients AND it’s been heavily optimized, so framerates here are the best I’ve experienced at an airport file so complex – because they’ve included a fairly impressive assortment of landmarks in and around the city. The download is a little more involved, however, so pay attention to the clear installation instructions, especially if still using XP10. In XP11, you’ll end up with three files folders in Custom Scenery, and one of these is a mesh; other than that, the install for 11 is no big deal.
We left off yesterday taking off from Riga, Latvia en route to Tallinn in the Saab 340, a short hop at 170 miles, and the first thing I noticed coming up on the north coast of Estonia was the framerates. I was expecting a big drop off – but – it never came. Even in the Saab, I breezed in holding 25-30 FPS – and that with textures high, HDR moderate and AA moderate, yet with World Objects high. I came in and took a wide base, skirting over the city to check out the landmarks, and these are just a few of my observations:
The usual TV tower, and quite near the airport, before turning towards the coast. Note, I was a little low here, 1300MSL, and that tower was right up here with me…
The waterfront area in the file is built-up with ferry terminals and shipping; accurate placement, too, as far as I could tell when checking against imagery in Google Earth. There are some major cathedral-looking structures as you turn over the city, too.
After landing, the first thing I ran across was a large Cargo facility. Behind the Saab, in the image above, are more hangers, as well as a GA aircraft dealership with all kinds of new aircraft out on the grass out front.
And (above), here we are, shutting down and a little in awe of this airport’s architecture. This is NOT your run of the mill aluminum and glass-clad box, and instead looks a little like Frank Lloyd Wright popped a few magic mushrooms and hit the drafting table…
Even the colors used on the building are kind of F L Wrighty, back in his Arizona period.
The roof design is what clinches it. Pure Wright, aside from that blaring signage.
The roof is dramatic, and there’s mistaking where you are when you see it.
The main terminal’s front facade carries on with the Wright design motif too, with it’s long, low form and the broad overhangs, this is an echo of Wright’s best Usonian architecture, including many of the homes he designed in and around Los Angeles – and New Hampshire.
So, while this terminal building may be in Estonia, it would be right at home in the US. Oh, so while the image just above may look real, here are some “real” images of the building in Tallinn, from wikipedia:
And a few more, from XP, and be honest with yourself. Does this look about 99% real? And…this is X-plane?
Ahem…recall someone saying photo textures look better from a distance? Hmmm?
Oh, here’s the old terminal, circa 1954, a Soviet-era building…
Yes, that’s the real building, above. Now…here it is in XP:
And here’s an overview of the real airport:
And an image with the Carenado Beech 1900D, in XP11:
Ah yes, a look out the office window…just for grins…
So, what do we have here? A first-rate model of the real airport?
Good night textures?
Photo textures that don’t break down at reasonable distances?
Good ramp lighting?
Good amount of activity on the ramps?
Good cargo facilities?
A GA plane dealer?
Honey, stop! Let’s get out and look! Pleeeaaaassssseeeeeee…..
Ramps for lite passenger aircraft, like smaller RJs and turbo-props?
Yes, that too.
A well-modeled city included with the airport file (at no extra cost)?
Some Odds and ends.
As at Riga, EETN is right in the middle of airBaltic’s backyard, and, as this is their second busiest hub, they pretty much own the majority of traffic into and out of here. However, you’ll find many other carriers making calls here, including Aeroflot, Aegean, British Airways, Finnair, Lufthansa, Ryanair, SAS, and Wizzair. All the usual suspects do the air cargo thing here too, including FedEx, DHL, and UPS.
Many of the most popular aircraft files in XP already have these liveries, including for the default 738, both the default and Rotate MD-80s, the FF752 and, last but by no means least, the IXEG 733. Estonian is long gone, but there are paints for that carrier as well. One I haven’t seen yet is for LOT subsidiary Nordica, and that’s too bad. Take a look at this real CRJ900 landing at EETN:
That is just gorgeous!
And, another example: here’s the default 738, dressed up and ready to go…
So, maybe I’m going overboard here, but this strikes me as one of the best airports in XP, but it’s a little off the beaten path for many users, and that’s too bad. On the other hand, that’s the main reason I wanted to make this little Baltic Journey…to let you in on a little secret. This is one of the best regions to fly in XP, and when you make the obvious tie-in to Norway and Germany, you have an absolutely fantastic route network ready to go – and with some of the very best airports available in X-plane. If you don’t already have this one, it’s a safe bet you’ll enjoy using it.
And that’s some pretty dramatic stuff, don’t you think?
Anyway, we’ll wrap up our journey with a look at Norway – and in just a few days. As always, thanks for coming along, and we’ll see you again soon. – C & A