Madrid. Where do you begin.
You could call it the capital city of Spain, and you’d be correct, of course, but you’d be missing the point. Madrid is a vibe, young and strong – yet rooted in traditions a thousand years in the making. Everywhere you go in the city you’re reminded of that one salient fact…this is one of the oldest, and most majestic, cities in the world, and her residents are proud of Spain’s place in that order. Among European destinations visited by non-Europeans, Paris and London may be visited by more first-timers, but those who know Europe, and know it well, tend to come to Madrid. Indeed, just about anything you can do in France or the UK you can do in Spain, and I think that surprises many first-time visitors.
Spain is one of those regions I’ve always concentrated on when flying in X-plane. It’s a geographically beautiful part of the world and, generally speaking, the climate is pleasantly moderate, almost benign, year-round…so the flying is VFR.
As befits an airport serving a city as vibrant as Madrid, LEMD Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas is huge. In scale, the airport reminds me of CDG, even DFW, but, rather like growth rings inside a tree, the airport has morphed over the decades, with the older layers still there, just not readily visible. Let’s take a look at the airport today, the real one, then the file for X-plane, then let’s take a look at that interesting new city file for Xp, too.
LEMD Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas
The list of airlines working out of LEMD reads like a Who’s Who of aviation today, and this is one European airport that still hosts most of the American flag carriers – from South AND North America. Yes, Air Canada, American, Delta, and United all fly here, and Aeromexico, too. Indeed, the only major player I couldn’t find on the list was SAS, though Norwegian and Finnair (and yes, Icelandair) fly here. BA, Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia, and Austrian work out of here, too. Both Iberia and LATAM Chile fly to Santiago, Chile, in case you were wondering.
And the airport, with N to the upper left:
Here’s a simplified diagram of the airport:
And next, the current aerodrome charts:
There are, of course, multiple ILS plates for all runways, as well as SID/STAR charts. I do not have the bandwidth to put them all in this post. Now, let’s look at some imagery from the real airport, most notable of all, the New Control Tower by T5:
Just gorgeous! Like a chalice of dreams…
Next up, two images of the Ground Control Tower at T4:
Snow? In Spain? If you’re guilty of thinking that, you’ve probably never heard of Francisco “Paquito” Fernández Ochoa. Do read about him at the link…because guess what’s coming in a few weeks…?
Last up, the oldest remnant of the original airport, the Tower at Terminal 1:
Now, let’s look at the file for X-plane, LEMD Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas v.1.0.0, by Pedro Escartin.
This file was made for Xp 10 & 11 using converted files (not specified), as well as OpenSceneryX. I suspect more library objects were used as I keep getting minor load errors, though my log.txt doesn’t tell me a whole lot. Forum entries at the org report similar issues, though I wouldn’t let that keep you from downloading this one. There may be issues, but the file is a “work-in-progress” – so cut the author some slack!
You probably know by now all of us at XSR are control tower freaks; when we run across a well-done tower it’s a source of pure joy. Conversely, when we run across a stinker we spare no barbs skewering the developer.
Well, control towers are a big deal, and architecturally is just one reason why. Some are so over the top (think Warsaw-Chopin or LAX) that they define the airport. Often, such control towers will end up on the airport’s official logo and can be found in the airport’s promotional literature, and they’re often the first thing visitors see when arriving in a new country. First impressions count, and that’s why so many architectural monuments are found at modern airports.
And then, there are airport control towers in X-plane, most usually represented by bland scenery library objects. As a practical matter, who cares? It’s just a tower, right?
Wrong. If that was the case why not just be content with Scenery Gateway airports. Why would AeroSoft and dozens of developers be busily making new airport files? With really grand towers???
Well, because most of us have gotten to the point where we define our time in X-plane (or FsX, or P3D) as most enjoyable when we encounter hyper-realistic airports inside the simulator. I can imagine that even more immersive VR experiences will put a premium on this sort of file, too.
That said, the main tower in this file is a twelve on the ten scale. It’s just awesome.
Here’s some more images around T5:
Terminals 4 & 5 are lighted, but the ramps are dark…while T1-3 has lighted ramps.
Still, the area looks promising, and that control tower completely dominates the visuals of this airport.
Enough said on control towers…for now.
And, well, here’s the old, original tower at T1, and it’s nicely rendered, as well:
Which leaves the Ground Control tower at T4 to be the focus of our ire tonight:
Yes, this OpenSceneryX stinker has been around the block more times than a sixty-year-old hooker. It was interesting, the first time we ran across it – in 2007. Now? Really? Sure, I get it. It’s just a measly ground control tower. Who cares, right?
So, yeah, let’s move on.
Overall, the ramps are spottily detailed. You’ll find more stuff on the ground over at T5 than around the other terminals, so if you’re flying a heavy into Madrid, park there. If you’re in a Rj, T4 is nice to look at but the ramps empty, The T1-3 area is the barest of them all, as you can just see, above, and yeah, it looks like this is where the Rjs park.
Approaching LEMD at low level, in the image below, such as coming from the city in a flutterbug… – T4 really grabs your attention – if only because it’s SO HUGE.
Again, the ramps here are a little empty, not lighted, but the quality of the original file is readily apparent. The building is massive, and it IS very nicely textured, and my guess is this was a very difficult building to model. It just needs work…on the ramps and with lighting. Maybe some static aircraft, too.
Madrid City File
Now, let’s move into town, and see what this new city file brings to the table. First up, a couple of areas from the real city:
The image above, by Felipe Gabaldón, represents, to me, the moment a photographer dreams of…when all the external elements come together and allow the photographer to really show what they’re made of. Light and shadow, a sense of dynamic poetry…it all comes together in an image like this, transforming something as mundane as a city street into a work of art. And that’s Madrid. Few cities, anywhere, have all the elements Madrid has. And consider, when you fly around here, that the greater metropolitan area has over 6 million inhabitants now…
Below, it’s a scene reminiscent of Paris, or Rome…but no, Madrid.
And above, Canalejas Square, similar in many ways to Piccadilly Circus.
All of which we need to keep in mind when exploring the City of Madrid in X-plane, because we now have a very nice, very new city file in Spain. And note, the original MADRID CITY FILE was released over the weekend, but SUR4714 issued a fresh revision on Monday (30 January 2018) that updates ALL textures. Let’s take a look around:
AlpilotX’s v4mesh is under here, and highways look excellent. In the image above a small custom building is just ahead…and below, a close up of same:
In the Central District, the Gates of Europe, below:
And below, the Four Towers, the tallest buildings in Spain. Alas, no heliports…and sadly, most of these buildings are very dark at night.
And here’s the Four Towers, as seen from the airport:
This is NOT how X-plane renders Madrid, by the way. As we stated a few weeks ago, these new City Files are redefining how we experience places in Xp. I think it easier to relate to a city when unique landmarks are presented to us in the Sim like this…just as when we see the Eiffel Tower we think, by association, of Paris. When you use cities in Xp that have these landmarks present, perhaps you’ll begin to rethink how you experience these places, too. Who knows, maybe you’ll decide to pack a suitcase and go for a visit! If you go to Madrid, I doubt you’ll be disappointed…
There are at least two major stadiums included in this file. Below, Real Madrid’s stadium.
And another big one on the south side of the city, quite near the airport:
In fact, it’s kind of hard to miss this one, as it dominates the local horizon…even from the airport!
Speaking of textures and rendering, it’s getting easy to spot custom buildings in these images, because from a distance they render almost black:
Anyway…that’s about all we’ve got for now. Safe travels! – A