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Review: Bornholm Island 2011 FSX

The Danish island of Bornholm is located in the Baltic Sea 37 kms south of Sweden and 140 kms east of Denmark. The main industries on this island are fishing, arts and crafts and dairy farming. In the summer with the nice weather tourism becomes an important element of the local economy.

The island has one airport which is known as Bornholm Airport, EKRN. It was originally opened in 1940 and is located just outside of Ronne near the southwest corner of the island. The airport has a single asphalt surface runway 11/29 which is 6,568 ft long.

Installation

Download size of the scenery file is 649Mbs with an installation size of just slightly more than 800Mbs.

Installation is very simple. After purchasing and downloading the product you simply run the executable file confirming the terms of licence and the installation directory. When the process is complete you will find the scenery has been added to the FSX scenery library and that you now have a program group titled Drzewiecki Design with links to the Bornholm FSX manual and EKRN Charts.

Configuration

There are no configuration options for this scenery. However there is a newly released season switcher tool that is now available for their scenery products.

New **FSX Season Switcher**

FSX has some limitations when it comes to changing seasonal textures for such things as custom trees and roof tops. To correct this they have come out with a new Season Switcher utility. To use it you run the executable, select the season of your choice; summer, fall or winter, and then continue.  It copies updated textures to the appropriate scenery folders so the next time you start FSX and select that same season the textures will match. Updating the textures can only be done when FSX is not running.

This is a great utility! As you will see in my screenshots it makes a world of difference.

My only negative point is that it never actually installs itself as a program so you need re run the executable each time you select a different season. To make it simple I suggest making a short cut to the file on your desktop for quick and easy access.

Documentation

The product comes with a manual and charts.

The manual is 10 pages. The bulk of the manual was all about the history of the island and interesting landmarks.  It is a very informative and interesting read. If you are like me you probably never even heard of the island before.  There is one page devoted to explaining the installation, seasonal textures, charts, scenery features, compatibility and support. Even though it is brief they do a good job at getting the information across.

There are four charts included; aerodrome, ILS DME 11, ILS DME 29 and Visual Approach charts. They recommend using the supplied charts because they have scenery specific items such as static aircraft shown. If you still want to have the actual airport charts, they provide a link to the Danish airport authority website so you can download them.

Scenery

The scenery is a detailed reproduction of both the Dutch island of Bornholm and its airport.

Bornholm Airport

Before downloading this scenery package I had no idea this island even existed. That is one of the wonderful things about FSX, you have the opportunity through the work of the scenery developers to see parts of the world that you would never have a chance to experience in real life.

A major part of this scenery is the airport and it didn’t take long to see that they put a great deal of work into making this a place worth checking out.

To begin I wanted to compare the layout and placement of the buildings in the scenery with those as seen in aerial photographs. Looking at both I would have to say that the end result is that this airport is a very accurate representation of the actual one.

Buildings are the first things that catch your eye.  Colouring, hi res graphics and detailing are what makes them special. All of the buildings large or small were outstanding; they took a great deal of care in making them look as realistic as possible using the three techniques I just mentioned.

Using the combination of hi res graphics and colouring techniques they are able to convey texture and weathering, both very important in my opinion. With the hi res graphic bit map images you get a sense of the different textures based on the building materials used. You have a variety here with the most common being corrugated metal with some brick and wood.

For colouring the tones are subdued with weathering and dirt stains added just where you’d expect to find them. I was especially impressed with how they portrayed dirt, discolouration and the look of water pooling in the low lying areas of some of the roof tops. This is something I have not seen up to now in any other scenery packages I’ve reviewed.

The third element that I felt stood out were the added details. It’s hard not to look at any of the buildings here and not see something about it that catches the eye. Often they are little touches such as wall mounted light fixtures or support posts that some developers choose to represent by flat images rather than recreating them. Here at Bornholm airport they have been added giving a much more realistic appearance. Very important at an airport this size as you are so much closer to everything. The main terminal is full of these extra little details and is a great place to see what I mean. On the passenger arrival side of the main terminal there is an outdoor cafe with tables and chairs, some park benches and garbage bins. These are small additions that give the scenery character and show the level of effort that has gone into the creation of this project.

 

Another added detail that you don’t often see at many airports but has been added here is the exterior access ladder leading from the ground to the controller’s pod at the top of the control tower. The ladder goes up the side of the concrete wall and has a circular safety cage. I thought that this was a very good example of one of those details that sets this scenery apart from the others.

The other area where they’ve gone above and beyond most other developers is with their roof top details. Where others are content to have simple flat roofs these guys have actually added what you will find on those roofs; vents, skylights, exhaust stacks and HVAC units. They are all there and clearly visible to admire as you fly overhead.

As an added feature the interiors of several of the more important buildings have been modelled; the new passenger terminal, control tower and the main hangar. As you can see in the screenshots they have put a great deal of effort into making the interiors look as real as possible. Granted, sitting in your aircraft all of this doesn’t make a difference however if you are like me and enjoy exploring all aspects of an airport it certainly adds to the whole experience. If they are going to take the time to do all of this work it is certainly worth checking out.

Standing in the new terminal you get a sense of what the passengers experience; the seating areas, kiosks and information monitors. They are all there plus more, the exposed natural wood roof beams, raised open roof and drop lighting. I thought it was extremely well done.

How about the control tower with the different consoles and displays. I think that this is the best example bar none of the interior of any airport control tower I have come across; it is extremely realistic.

The last building where they’ve modelled the interior is in the main hangar. For the walls and ceiling they’ve used hi res graphics and to add a little extra the support trusses for the roof are also modelled. At the back of the hangar is a small aircraft that appears to be in for maintenance. The hangar makes a great place to park your light aircraft after taking a spin around the island sightseeing. To get in you will need to raise the door; this is controlled by setting your NAV2 freq to 112.00. The up and down movement of the door is very smooth.

Even though this is a small airport there is no shortage of objects and vehicles. You can’t go anywhere here and not come across something that catches your interest. There are all the usual things such as the various airport vehicles, cargo, refuelling facilities, navigational aids, lighting and more. The quality of all of these is outstanding.

 

Looking at the ground textures, all of the hard surfaces were created with hi resolution textures with some weathering and discolouration. The grassy areas within the airport like the remainder of the island were created with photo real textures. The results are a very realistic look.

Bornholm Island

The entire island has been recreated using photo real ground textures, high quality mesh and precisely placed custom autogen; the end result is very impressive. The vast majority of the island consists of rural farmlands with small villages and towns scattered about. Flying around the island you get a real sense that this is a peaceful serene place where the pace of life is slow. There are ploughed fields, small pockets of houses, coastal villages and joining all of them is a network of roadways. These roadways are also populated with some animated traffic.  The use of photo scenery has allowed them to capture both the ruggedness of the rocky shorelines and the open sandy beaches.

The largest town on the island is Ronne; located on the south west corner of the island it has the highest concentration of custom objects outside of the airport.

This is a coastal town with a harbour and ferry dock. Both have been modelled in some detail including several ships in the harbour and nearby off shore. I’ve included some screenshots to show just how significant the difference is in the harbour area between FSX and this addon.

 

To make your flights around the island more interesting they’ve added some local landmarks that are best appreciated at lower altitudes. In Ronne there is the Skt. Nicolaj Church that sits on the ruins of a church originally built in the 13th century. There are also several light houses on the island that you can find; Dueodde Fyre on the south west corner of the island and Hammeren Fyre on the north West corner. The other notable historic site is the Hammershus ruins. All of these are fascinating sites to explore.

Just to the north east of Bornholm island is an archipelago formed by two tiny islands; Frederikso and Christianso. They are the most easterly point of the country of Denmark. These islands like Bornholm have been recreated using photo real textures and populated with autogen.  The most prominent structure on the two islands is the great tower which is located on Christianso.

Night

Having a realistic night environment is important. Although most of my flying is done during the daylight hours I do enjoy flying at night as you get a whole new perspective on everything. Lighting is the critical element and must be done correctly or it can ruin the whole night time experience.

They’ve added just the right amount of lighting in the villages and towns and also along some of the more travelled roadways so you get that sense of where these built up pockets of population are located. Also in the rural areas some of the isolated farm houses are lit up. Overall this is very well done.

At the airport the ground lighting, apron lighting and building lighting were very good. The intensity and distribution of the light was realistic. I found the scenery to be the most spectacular at dawn and dusk and I highly recommend taking a tour of the island during these times.

Seasonal changes

This island is far enough north that there are seasonal variations in the landscape and the vegetation. The colours of the landscape go from the bright greens of summer to the more subdued shades of brown for fall and finally to the dull greys of winter. The colour changes of the ground and vegetation between the different seasons are quite distinct and add so much to the scenery.

An extra feature with the season switcher is that it also changes some of the roof top textures so now as you fly over head there is evidence of snow cover on the building roof tops. I really liked this additional texture change and felt that it made a huge positive difference.

Final Thoughts

This is another really fun scenery to fly and a great value for the price. You get a very detailed airport plus an entire island to explore. I highly recommend this package and now with the introduction of the new scenery switcher tool you can enjoy realistic textures all year long.

My Ratings

Installer:  Very good. Simple to use.

Documentation: Good. Informative manual and custom charts.

Modelling: Very good. Detailed and realistic.

Extras:  Main hangar door is animated and controlled by pilot. Animated island road traffic included.  

Download Size: FSX 649Mb

Price: EUR 15.96 without VAT

Developer Homepage: http://www.drzewiecki-design.net/

SimMarket Purchase link: http://secure.simmarket.com/drzewiecki-design-bornholm-island-2011-fsx.phtml

Test System:

Intel i7 950 OC @ 4.2 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, ASUS 480GTX w/1.5Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX Overdrive, GEXn, UTX, AES 2.12

Richard Desjardins

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