Two Must Have files today, one free – and the other not so free. First up, we’ll take a very close look at LLBG Ben Gurion International in Tel Aviv, Israel, then we’ll hop across a few ponds and drop in on a logging camp in British Columbia, Canada. Hey, I know, two more different files you couldn’t find…but we found ’em for you anyway. What can I say?
So, your coffee is hot, and so is that stack of Krispy Kreme donuts, eh? Time to get to it then, while everything is still hot and fresh…
LLBG Ben Gurion is one of the most significant airports not only in the Middle East, but the world. Situated right in the middle of some of the most hotly contested ground in our fractured world, this airport has on more than one occasion been a vital lifeline while conflict raged all around Israel. As well, Christians, Jews and Muslims from around our world travel to Jerusalem’s temples, mosques and shrines to celebrate their faith – and most come via Tel Aviv’s LLBG Ben Gurion International.
Go over the list of airlines and destinations (here) to get an idea of the importance placed on this country, and the history that is still very much alive here. Delta and United fly from the U.S., but Israel’s national carrier El Al flies to many more destinations in the US and Canada. Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir fly to many Greek destinations that we now have excellent airport files for, airports where our various 737s and RJs can be put to good use, and you can literally fly to almost any capitol city in Europe or the Middle East by those nations carriers. To say that there is a world of opportunity – in X-plane as in the world – to engage, to keep yourself busy almost indefinitely here…is an understatement. This airport begs to be explored from, and to learn from.
So it would help if we had a particularly good freeware airport file for LLBG, yet we have a group called The IXP Team that has provided our community with a very detailed file. It was, however, submitted in 2015 so is a v10.x file; it is missing Xp11s various surface treatments, those shiny runways we’re beginning to take for granted, yet even so the basic airport works quite well. There is also an older file by tdg, and we’ll look at that version later this week, but I think you’ll like this one. Let’s take a look, with the MagKnight 789 first up and doing the honors, wearing an El Al “retro” paint today.
There are docking aids, a fair amount of ground clutter, a variety of window textures, good lighting on ramps and aprons – as well as on the various buildings – a large terminal area under construction, but very few static aircraft. Runway and approach lighting appears excellent.
Small foliage, trees, grasses and vehicles are found in abundance, yet there are a few conflicts related to some of the roads and trees and their exclusion zones. Not surprising as this is an uncorrected v10 file, but all of these issues are located in peripheral areas irrelevant to aircraft operations.
There are two large, well organized air cargo ramps to work from:
As well as three major piers (concourses) and two ramp parking areas at the main terminal complex. Another huge terminal is under construction in this scenery file.
There are charts for the airport from all major vendors, and I flew a VFR pattern to check the VOR, LOC, and GS for runway 12 and found no issues.
Electro-optical docking aids are at each gate, and most gates have several clusters of static ground operations vehicles. Again, taxiways and ramps are well marked.
Note the Israir paint below, for the EADT x737-7; this is one of the few paints I could find that works on v11 aircraft files. Many older paints for the FF 757 series simply no longer work, but recall the El Al and Arkia paints for the FJS 732? Again, between these three you’ll be able to work almost all of the Greek airport files we’ve covered this year, and many more as well…
So, again, this is a Must Have file, and for a number of reasons. We’ve had an unusual number of very good payware AND freeware Mediterranean airports release this year, and in one sense Tel Aviv anchors the eastern end of a chain. You can now criss-cross the Med working your way East or West, using any one of dozens of airlines, until you make it to the Spanish Mediterranean coast (LEAL, anyone?) or back to Tel Aviv. Or take that 789 and load it with fuel, and then take off for San Francisco. Yes, San Francisco.
Again, the options are endless. All you need is a little curiosity and, perhaps, a lot of time.
You can get the file here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/28892-llbg-ben-gurion-international-airport/
There are two files in Xp that seem to regale in the primitive – Stewart and Bella Coola – and that have attracted the darker practitioners of that hideous branch of aviation (often referred to in hushed tones) known as “the Bush,” as in Bush Pilots, or Bushies.
God help us, there are so many of them…
These lunatics love to land their airplanes on runways that would scare the shit out of a mountain goat. They look at a boulder strewn river bottom and smile, saying to their terrified, wide-eyed passengers “Better tighten them seatbelts…” They carry extra rolls of paper towels and upholstery cleaner in their kit bag…to clean up all the piss and vomit from those passengers who didn’t heed that advice. The more they have to clean up, the more they smile.
Like I said. Lunatics.
Orbx has made a ton of money off sim-pilots who, apparently, can’t get enough of this bullshit, and now the disease is spreading into X-plane.
We’ll never be the same, you know. Soon the floodgates will open and dozens of these files will spew forth into our custom scenery folders, corrupting our youth, forever destroying our ability to shoot a back-course ILS.
So, to start off this exercise in futility, I’d ask that right now you stare at the image below, and for about 30 seconds or so. While you do, I’d like you to imagine the sound of the wind through the cedars and pine, the crunch of gravel underfoot, perhaps the cry of a passing seabird, or the splash of a jumping fish just off to your left… So yes, try that for about 30 seconds…a minute if you can stand it…
Back with us? Well, let me summarize this review as succinctly as I can.
If you got into the exercise odds are you’ll love this scenery file. If, on the other hand, the image of perfectly executed trees and grasses (and yes, milkweed) in that image mean absolutely nothing to you, then by all means download LLBG Ben Gurion and open up the 737 of your choice and start flying to Corfu or Rhodes. Really. This file will probably bore you to tears.
I have only one aircraft file on hand that can handle a strip like this: Dan Klaue’s Quest Kodiak. It has the option to slap on tundra tires, huge, fat and soft tires that can soak up much more punishment than typical aircraft tires can. The Kodiak also has sterling short field performance – assuming you’re not too overloaded. Or too scared.
Besides, its a kewl airplane, and when you open it up at the Quatam River Airport (fictitious code PS01) and experience that massive surge of turboprop horsepower on this itsy-bitsy gnats-ass of a runway, you’ll finally understand why Stormy Daniels always says bigger is better.
This is a logging operation, not an all-inclusive spa-resort. Accommodations are a wee bit on the spartan side of the equation, and there are no facilities for repairs or fuel, so just put all that stuff out of mind for now while you ponder the last two images above. Yes…that is the runway. All of it. It is neither straight nor level. It is not smooth. It takes a half hour to taxi from the shacks at the “terminal” (sheesh, right…) to the turnaround, but only because you’re dodging water-filled potholes all the way up the hill. Yes. The hill.
You give the engine a little fuel while you hold the brakes, then brakes off and counter the torque, and cheat a little to the right so you don’t clip a wingtip… Get off that goat path as soon as you can, and get above those trees, too…
And it’s about that time that the little lightbulb in the back of your mind goes off, and you have an epiphany…
…which goes a little something like this: “You know, all things being equal, I think I’d rather be in a helicopter right about now…
And when we return in our next post, we’ll take you up into the mountains…in search of the most insane helipads ever put in a scenery file. If you just can’t wait, head on over to PropStrike and get your fix now. Link here, price 28 Can$, about 22 USD.
You can stop smiling now, and y’all have fun. We’ll seeya next time –