Fresh off our review of Adriana’s GMFO Oujda and FNUB Lubango (see our previous review), she has just released a new airport file in central Spain – under the banner of her new production company, Flight World. LERL Ciudad Real Central Airport is located about an hour south of Madrid, Spain, and was conceived as an “overflow” airport for Madrid’s LEMD, though, due primarily to the distances involved, the expected traffic never materialized and the airport quickly went into receivership. The facility now sits unused – and is up for sale. A Chinese group offered a fraction of it’s value, promising to turn the facility into a massive air cargo facility, but the bid was rejected. There’s currently an offer on the table from an investment group in the UK to get the airport up and running again…but, who knows…?
One of the vital preconditions necessary for the success of this airport is included in this download, and that is the high-speed rail link connecting Madrid and Córdoba to Seville and Málaga. LERL would have been the first international airport in Spain connected to AVE, the Alta Velocidad Española, Spain’s high-speed rail network. The connection did not materialize.
In another context, LERL sits near the middle of the Iberian Peninsula:
The airport was envisioned, as mentioned, as an overflow facility for LEMD Madrid–Barajas, and there was interest expressed by many budget carriers; operations did, in fact, commence there, in June 2010. Ryanair began service to London-Stansted, and continued through November 2010; Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling flew to Barcelona El Prat Airport and Palma de Mallorca during that year, but their flight-ops ceased at the end of October 2011. Air Berlin served Palma de Mallorca but eliminated service at the end of May. Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum flew from Barcelona El Prat Airport and Gran Canaria Airport in 2009.
Since late 2011, the airport has been, for all intents and purposes, closed.
Flight World’s file is, then, an imagining of what might have been…and…what still could be. With over a billion euros invested, it’s safe to say someone will put a deal together, but you’ll already have the airport and be an old pro at operations by then, won’t you!
So, let’s take a quick look at Flight World’s latest, LERL Ciudad Real Central Airport, also known as Don Quijote Airport…
First up, a video of the file in operation, courtesy of the developer:
There is one asphalt runway at LERL (10/28, 4100m, or 13450 ft); all radio-navigation aids have been switched off and no official publications cover operations at the airport, however, the airport is literally surrounded with VOR stations, and Xp11.11 shows an active NDB quite near the airport (EAL / 332 Khz).
After looking at the video above, you may have some idea of what you’re about to run into with this download, but like this developer’s GMFO, the experience at night is really something special. There are a few library objects scattered around the periphery, but all the airport’s major buildings are custom. Take a look around and you’ll see some very high-quality work, too. I’d say the quality meets the standard for payware, but I think I’d been insulting Adriana if I did. In some respects, this work exceeds payware quality, and if I were putting together a team to develop payware files, I’d put this girl’s name on the top of my list of people to call.
So…let’s take a look around this airport that was, and, well, that might be again…and let’s start at the AVE railway station and work our way to the terminal from there…
Above, part of the station is seen on the left, with a maintenance hanger on the right, in the distance… (below) the station is there, above the trains, with escalators down to the platform…
Here’s the exterior of that large maintenance hanger:
And here’s the interior of the hanger!
The control tower looks like the one on the ground, and the interior is lighted at night, with what looks like some texturing done to simulate an interior.
Many of the roadways around the airport appear to be custom constructs, with lighting and extra detailing added:
Which brings us to a necessary evil found at all airports…parking lots and parking garages:
Below, the elevated pedestrian walkway that connects the railway station and the main passenger terminal:
I can’t decide if this is some sort of administration building or a chapel…anyone know?
Now let’s take a look at the air cargo facilities…and next, a few views from the street:
And next, the cargo area from the ramps:
And now, the main event…the main passenger terminal…
In the image just above (center), note the vehicle that appears to be coming out of a ground-level exit?
How’s that for an insane level of detail? Now, pull back and note the surroundings…including interior details visible on window textures?
And you say you only like well-lighted ramps, with lots of detail? Well, what about this?
And below, two images of the terminal/air cargo area, from above:
So, let’s wrap this up.
Scenery strengths? Excellent modeling of buildings, roadways, and taxiways/runways. Lighting is beyond excellent…it’s so good it’s almost surreal…with most lighting adding to a real sense of depth (this additional perspective is a real plus). Framerates were good, but might be an issue on a computer with 2Gb VRAM…or with an ultra-complex .acf running. Add WT3 and all bets are off, especially at night. I had difficulty with the FF752, and even the IXEG 733 struggled to get into the hi-20s – but this was with all rendering settings at MAX, and with World Objects at MAX, as well.
The developer advises that an ortho is almost required for best effect, yet it’s not included. That may be due to copyright or other intellectual property constraints, but even so, I think the necessary links to get this mesh in-place would be a nice addition to her instructions. There are, as well, a number of scenery library files you’ll need to run this file. In a worst-case scenario, without the ortho in place, you’ll run into floating hangers and trees where there shouldn’t be any. Add the necessary ortho and that should straighten things out.
That said, about the only limitation I can see is in the nature of the airport itself. Using a service like VatSIM will negate using this airport, so will running METARS. For those of you out there looking for a VFR commercial airport in central Spain, and don’t want to bother with LEMD, this is a viable option. Also, taking off here under VFR, or even modest IFR conditions, and proceeding to an airport with full and current ILS equipment, will further increase your use of this file.
That said, all we can do is judge this file based on what we see, not it’s likely utility as an IFR hub for a virtual airline. As such, this is an easy 10/10 “Must Have” file, not quite a MrX quality airport, but getting very, very close. Considering that this freeware file easily beats a few payware files in overall quality, it would almost be silly NOT to download this file. With this only being the developer’s third airport file, I think it safe to say we’re looking forward to her working in X-plane for a long, long time.
Hasta later – C