There seems to be something in the coffee these days…over in Spain, anyway…! Some of the best freeware scenery files we’ve seen in ages are coming out of Spain in a nonstop rush these days. A few days ago we had Flight World’s LERL and then another new one, in Cordoba, Spain, popped up out of nowhere. On top of that, we’ve seen two excellent files in Sweden recently, so, of course, it’s only natural we found a fresh revision of ESPA this week. And we’ll end up with a quick look at someplace most of you have never been.
What. Is. Going. On?
This is really fun, by the way. Watching our freeware community come into its own. The whole thing is creating an entirely new dynamic, a radically different competitive environment than many payware developers were expecting, too. Will they compete, or will they give up? X-plane has always had a strong freeware ethos, but that will never take the place of really good payware development.
Because one builds off the other…
Well, nothing’s ever as easy as you think it’s going to be.
But…only the strong survive…or…is it – thrive?
Look at this map from Google Earth:
Start in Bilbao and fly to Madrid. Freeware, by the way. Stop off in Pamplona if you must. That’s freeware, too. Head on down to LERL (freeware), then this new Cordoba file (again, freeware), and end up at LEJR Jerez (alas, payware, but nice). So, for a minimal investment, you can traverse Spain. You can also add LEVC Valencia and LEBL Barcelona, both payware, both exceptionally good, and now you have an astonishingly deep route network – in a compact area. Add Ibiza (and that’s two freeware and one payware available) and now you’ve got a route net that rivals anything else in X-plane. Even California.
This new Cordoba file is very good freeware, too.
This is not a big airport, but it’s generally well done and well worth the download. If you are, like many of us in Xp, interested in building regional route networks, this is one more good file to add to your collection. We’d call it a Must Have file. Give it a try, and we’ll have more images soon.
This file caught me off-guard.
Because it’s now approaching AeroSoft quality – and it’s freeware. It’s really, really good freeware, too. It’s also one of those files that will make payware developers work for their supper.
This one is way up there, in far northern Sweden, and it’s closer to Helsinki (360 Miles) than it is to either Stockholm (420) or Oslo (510). It’s also a waterfront airport, and while very nice to look at, one approach is over water and quite beautiful.
This image (above) is high noon in February.
Now. compare this to the real facility (in July, I assume):
You’ll find everything a good payware file has to offer here, like an accurate terminal, parking lots, lighting, ramps and taxiway markings, a control tower that looks close to perfect as well as maintenance hangers and a fine looking FBO and Flight School…
The overall quality of this file exceeds what we’ve seen in many recent payware files, and while that may cause some to worry about their place in Xp…it shouldn’t. You’ll just have to bring refreshed, ultra-detailed files to market – that include up to date Xp11 compliant materials to the show.
And you might want to study this one, because this file is up there with the best. Ground textures? Yup, that too.
The GA area is to the right in the image below.
As is the flight school.
Testing ILS accuracy revealed no issues. Runway Follows Terrain Contours was ON here.
If there’s one weak area, the terminal lighting is a little flat at night. The area could use a little more vibrancy.
Beyond that, I love this file. I’ll use it to work on aircraft reviews in the future, and this is one you shouldn’t miss.
One last file today, and this one is really way off the road less traveled.
HTNN Ngorongoro Crater Intercontinental Airstrip
I’ll leave it to you to find out more about this place, but I will let on that this airstrip is located in Tanzania and a number of sequences in the John Wayne film Hatari! were filmed here, notably when “the Indian” got horned by a Rhino. There’s little about this airstrip in the usual literature, and very little to this little file… A dirt runway, a couple of thatched-roof huts and not much more. The arrow below points to the terminal area and the runway. If you have all the necessary library files onboard, you can take a nice safari, which is, I think, the point of this file.
The surrounding agricultural landscape depicted in X-plane is ludicrous, however.
Here’s the proper landscape:
This area is quite high in elevation, and so unusually cool, especially in the evening. It’s generally a bad idea to take long walks at night around here, too. Something to do with lions and leopards, I believe…
…or was it elephants…
Y’all have a good walk, and we’ll see you next time.