x+s+r // ekch + ukll

xsr ekch hdr

The X-Craft E175 revised to v2.4 today, see the minor change-log, and you can update through your vendor, but do note there were many reports in the announcement thread that the new version is causing Xp to crash. You might want to hold off on this one for awhile.

It’s no secret there’s a real backlog of unmade airport scenery files in X-plane, and even with the growing list of Gateway airports sometimes what we end up with leaves a lot to be desired. That’s changing, of course, as Laminar’s art assets improve and as freeware developers get more comfortable with these new tools, but still we often end up with loose interpretations of airports, and not honest reproductions. Over the years such files have been labelled “place-holders,” because these files act as temporary “band-aids” to “fix” the lack of a full-featured payware file in XP. The trouble is, many such files are ludicrously modeled and look nothing like the real airport, while others are easily the equal to good payware, yet most fall somewhere in-between.

So…we have another one today. Let’s look a renair2’s latest freeware file, for EKCH Copenhagen Kastrup, and let’s start by watching a real A318 land and taxi to the ramps:

Now, let’s look at some imagery of the real airport, to get a little better feel of the place:

ekch real

First, if you’ve not been to the real airport it’s actually a little more dramatic than it looks in these images. Still, the area around the main terminal complex looks almost chaotic, doesn’t it, whether on the ramps or even out on the streets? And the airport is, for all intents and purposes, located “in” the city – so not miles away from urban sprawl but surrounded by the city itself.

Now, let’s look at renair2’s rendition and see how it might work for us, but first, read the release notes and you’ll find a disclaimer that says, in effect, this file is not meant to be 100% accurate. Okay, fair enough, but how close to 100% is good enough?

Oh, the Are Lingus Retro paint for the FF320 can be found here. It’s quite nice.

And do note, this airport was made using Xp v10 assets, was tested in v10, but does work reasonably well in v11.25rc2, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

ekch 1

As you can see in the night image above, there’s no terminal lighting in this file and that’s an issue, a big issue that needs to be addressed – but I think this is where the v10 art assets problem comes into play. Ramps are a little bare and the street side entry and parking areas are simply not modeled. The dramatic arrowhead shaped building is not really recognizable here, either, so what we have here is a v10 airport or, in other words, an airport file that, right out of the gate, is almost totally obsolete.

Below, the practical effects of not having terminal lighting can be seen out the cockpit glass and, again, this isn’t an ideal situation. The only meaningful lighting comes from the aircraft’s taxi lights, and the end results are really sub-par for a 2018 file.

ekch 2

So, this airport file will of course work as a place-holder, yet it seems that with a little more effort it might have been quite a bit more useful. Still, this release highlights two continuing problems in X-plane…the lack of standardization in our catalogues of art assets and the continuing lack of high quality payware airports, especially for the most important airports globally.

So, Orbx is going to release one more next to useless GA airport when the chronic need is for about two dozen major international airports that have yet to be made for X-plane. And I have to ask why? Fly-Tampa’s Corfu, as nice as it is, also failed to address this need, and why? aeroSoft just released two small German RJ airports but they have at least written they plan to get back to making big airports in the near future, and that’s a good thing but – why aren’t they already making more airports? And here’s the kicker: in the release notes for this EKCH file the developer states his new EKCH was a “by request” project.

Like…really?! No one is making the airports people want, so they have to resort to making requests? From a developer who doesn’t even use up-to-date assets? WHY?

Copenhagen, Orly, CDG, Arlanda, Helsinki, Lyon, Vienna, Madrid, Athens, Tel Aviv, Tokyo (x2), Beijing, Shanghai…the list is old and hasn’t really changed much over the years, and tdg is the only good freeware developer trying to tackle even a few of these, and currently only Helsinki has a really good freeware file available.

What is going on? Are payware developers really so clueless? Or do they focus on projects they want to make and ignore the needs of the market? If that’s the case, if they complain about poor sales who is to blame?

You almost have to be an idiot to not recognize the pressing need for the airports listed above, and if you’re a developer you simply have to be ignoring sound marketing advice to not be working round the clock on these airports. There’s money to made. The demand is there.

So? What is going on here?

Copenhagen is one of the world’s most important airports. The list of airlines and destinations is staggering (even Delta flies there!), but, then again, you can say the same thing about CDG and Orly and Lyon and Madrid and…

So. Renair2’s file is an adequate placeholder for daytime OPS only but is probably best suited for those still using Xp v10, which means the file is fatally compromised for most users and probably not worth the download – unless you really, really, really need this one. Which is why I’m keeping it, by the way. Because I’ve been waiting for this airport for almost ten years, and guess what? It hasn’t happened, and at this point I doubt it will.


LVIV hdr

We looked at UKLL a week or so ago and promised to come back for a more in-depth look, and, well, here we are…ready for a more in-depth look! Truth is, this is actually a really nice, really up-to-date freeware file and, assuming you need airports in and around the Ukraine, this is one you’ll want to get onboard as soon as possible. We mentioned the City of Lviv is hard by the Polish border and as such this airport will fit into route networks feeding into Western Europe, the Baltic region, as well as Scandinavia, not to mention Eastern European, Russian, and even Mediterranean destinations. The list of airlines and destinations is quite interesting, and well worth taking a look at.

Though the airport is fairly small, the new main terminal building is exquisitely modeled and is a highlight of this effort. Street-side details are impressive, trees and foliage are too, while ramps and taxiways are nicely painted and easy to navigate. The surrounding city is impressive, too. There’s simply little not to like here.

A word of warning: set runway follows terrain contours to OFF. Look at the second image below. That dip will launch you into a premature rotation – and crash. I know. It almost happened to me in SSGs little E-jet.


Again, the main terminal here is nicely modeled AND well detailed, from Jetways to the surrounding fences and gates… There’s also a busy little construction site by the main apron, modeled roads and car parks that DON’T rely on smeary orthos to carry the load, and, as you’ll see below, tons of surrounding detail.


The JarDesign GHE package helps here because the ramps are a little quiet (above), but once again, check out the details around the main terminal building, starting in the sequence below.


When I look at this kind of work it runs through my mind that this was a labor of love, that the developer was personally invested in the final quality of this project. And that strikes me as an odd thought, too, because when you get right down to it every project ought to be conceived of and executed that way. These files are forever, in a way, because once an airport gets done rarely do we see duplicates being made. And that’s good…as long as the files being made are really worthwhile.

This one is.

And you can find it here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46155-lviv-danylo-halytskyi-international-airport/

And that’s all we’ve got today. Hasta later – A

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