So…here we are, two weeks since the last blitz of new scenery file releases and it feels like we’ve entered a wilderness, an uncharted zone of tapering development. What’s going on out there? The only new payware file at the Org is a dour looking Montego Bay, Jamaica, and it looks so uninteresting I just can’t bring myself to buy it. I mean…even the promo images feature run-down concrete covered with mildew. Yeah, that’s Jamaica alright, but who wants to pay for an airport that looks like that? An important question arises…it feels like some scenery developers are concentrating on bringing out airports few people have expressed an interest in? If that’s the case, they have no right to complain about poor sales if they keep taking this path. Is there any concerted marketing effort to determine which airports out there people are really interested in purchasing, or are developers just making what they want and hoping for the best?
I hope it’s not the latter. If so, we’re in deep trouble.
On a different note, I guess by now everyone has read about Southwest Flight 1380…
A fan blade cut-loose and it looks like an compressor burst followed, shredding the containment shroud and holing the hull. You can see the slats above and get a pretty good idea of how much aerodynamic damage ensued, and yes, obviously the PIC did a great job of bringing the stricken 737 in for a safe landing. And…here’s the pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, the image taken as she walked down the stairs after the landing:
And another image of her, taken in the early 90s:
Yes, she was one of the first female naval aviators to pilot the F/A18, and later she transitioned to EA18 Growlers before moving on to train pilots. Then she went to Southwest Airlines – and destiny put her at the controls yesterday.
We’ve long tried to make the case that girls and young women should be using X-plane, getting familiar with flight as soon as possible then moving on and following their dreams. My guess is that Captain Shults’ actions will inspire an entire generation of young people, maybe quietly, maybe behind the scenes, to rethink the role of women in the cockpit.
She’s being hailed as a hero. And she’s avoiding the spotlight. Not one interview.
Food for thought, ya know?
So, with the continuing drought in new file releases, we’ve been sifting through all the old files we’ve not covered while looking online for a few hidden gems, and we ended up heading east this time out…checking in on one of the most vibrant communities in X-plane.
Yes, Russia. Not a country many will visit in their lifetime, and that’s a shame. Russia is a land – and a people – enshrouded in popular western mythologies that must seem impenetrably unfair to the people living there. “Why don’t people come and see for themselves? Why must we remain a mystery?”
Well, I suppose geopolitical inertia is hard to overcome. Possibly the hardest of all.
Yet here in X-plane we can at least take a peek behind the curtain, fly into a few of the most impressive airports our simulated world has to offer, and we can wonder…if only just a little…
…about – what if?
As in…what if I could fly into a huge airport literally ringed with fantastically sculpted, swan-shaped terminals? What? Allusions to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake? – in an airline terminal…? Seriously?
So yes, here’s the scoop. UUEE Sheremetyevo International Airport is one of Moscow’s three international airports, and, as such, it is an airport rich with symbolic importance to Russia (and recall, we covered the other two last year, link here). When visitors arrive for the first time in a “foreign country” – it’s often these gateway airports that form the all-important “first impression” visitors have of a country – and so, quite often, a great deal of effort goes into making these facilities as welcoming as possible. Not to mention as technologically breathtaking as possible, and as rich with culturally significant symbolism as the imagination can make possible.
And consider this: many of the (remaining) visible elements at UUEE were constructed for the 1980 Summer Olympics. Do you recall that American President Jimmy Carter led a humanitarian boycott of the Olympics that summer, and that Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev was not at all pleased? Tensions were high elsewhere that year, too. Iran was holding hostages in the US Embassy compound in Tehran and Soviet troops had recently “invaded” Afghanistan, while Israel was fighting everyone in the immediate area – yet again.
My-oh-my. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Anyway, in the intervening years UUEE Sheremetyevo has slipped in and out of regimes as easily as trees marching through the seasons, and it’s kind of interesting to think about how airports have become reassuring constants within our wildly fluctuating geopolitical storms. Think of all the history such places have seen and been a part of? If these walls could talk? Isn’t that the old saying?
And maybe this is a good enough reason to consider putting this airport file into your X-plane install, but here’s a little more food for thought. This is a Drzewiecki Design payware airport file, so right away you know this is going to be an exceptional addition. After looking around for just a few minutes, you’ll know that’s true…so, are you ready for a walk down memory lane?
There’s a lot to see here, and we’ll touch on a few highlights today, so let’s go…
Sheremetyevo Airport’s Terminal D is Aeroflot’s new home, and yes, this is the swan-shaped terminal mentioned above. Yes, the interior is modeled. No, this is an older file so it’s not as well finished as DDs latest EPWA Warsaw. Then again, no file is as up-to-date as DDs new EPWA. Still, it’s easy to find DDs designer DNA all over this file – and that’s a very good thing.
Next stop? Terminal E, but let’s compare the difference in exterior shapes first:
If Terminal D is a lyrically inspired swan – and a product of the “openness” experienced in the early 2000s, Terminal E is covalent bonds and the molecular shapes symbolized by the march towards technical supremacy we might associate with 1970’s Soviet-era ambition. Side by side, they are quiet monuments to history caught in time…caught here and perhaps before they vanish under the next waves of change. Below, scenes at both D and E.
And a few details, notably DDs Jetways, from both:
DDs articulated Jetways are the best in Xp, and when compared with satellite overheads, the ramps at DDs UUEE look very accurately modeled. Ramps are a little bare, many ramps and buildings are a little too dark at night as well, and my recent Xp.org payware download had no static aircraft file so these ramps are devoid of aircraft, too. When starting from cold and dark at any gate here, my aircraft invariably opens about twenty feet short of the Jetway. Too far to work, in other words. Why? Because this file has apparently not been fully optimized for v11, and the download needs to be updated.
On the far side of the airport you’ll find one more terminal, Terminal C, as well as a new terminal still under construction. The new main control tower is located here too, and it’s one of the best executed designs in X-plane – with a completely modeled interior just one highlight. The tower is a “futuristic” exhibition of Disneyesque architecture that feels like it belongs in someplace like Epcot or Tomorrowland, and it’s a brilliantly executed model that commands a lot of attention in this file.
For some reason textures were much sharper on this side of the airport, too. Maybe newer work? Or a hyperactive imagination?
Anyway, I’d assume an update is headed our way soon. Hopefully, please? With a few tweaks here and there this could easily be in the same league as EPWA v2, which is saying something. That said, this file is still an easy 10 out of 10, a Must Have file for extending your time in Xp to all kinds of new places.
And should you decide to do so, consider adding the next two files to your scenery folder. You won’t regret it.
When you open at this airport you’re immediately struck by this file’s intricately modeled Jetways, then the control tower commands your attention. If you really want to see some modeling excellence, you’ll then check out the night textures:
Yeah, they’re THAT good, and with textures at MAX the image is so crisp it looks better than real. In fact, this airport file is overflowing with excellent features, from the models to lighting to clutter on the ramps.
What’s a little harder to swallow for many aviators in Xp is the location, which is east of the Ural Mountains and so quite a haul to either Europe or the Pacific coast region. Still, look over the list of airports and destinations here, and note that Finnair flies to EFHK, Czech to Prague, Ellinair to Thessaloniki, and several carriers to Dubai and various airports in Turkey. If you fly principally in Russia this is in the middle of the action, but you already knew that, didn’t you?
Still, this is a 10/10 Must Have file if you want to hit the airports listed, especially UUEE.
And here’s a superb file located on the Ukraine’s northern border, and so convenient to central and eastern Europe. The only issue? Most flights are domestic, with just a few charter flights to Turkey the only real international service. Still, this is a great airport file with a superior main terminal model.
I recommend you head over to X-FLIGHT.SU and roam the files there, pick out the ones that interest you. Some of the best modelers in X-plane post there work here, and hey – you never can tell where your curiosity will take you.
Y’all have fun out there – A