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Review of Aerosoft – German Airports 2 2012 X

Aerosoft have recently released an update to their German Airports 2 scenery calling it German Airports 2 2012 X. I did not have the original release so I can’t comment on how much of an improvement there is over the original release. Here is what you get; EDDG Munster/Osnabruck, EDDK Cologne-Bonn, EDDP Leipzig/Halle, EDDV Hannover and EDLW Dortmund. All of these airports are situated in the northwest portion of Germany with the exception of Leipzig/Hale which is in the east just north of the Czech Republic.

Dortmund International Airport, ICAO: EDLW, is located just outside of the city of Dortmund. The airport has a single runway 06/24 @ 6,560ft. In 2010 over 1.7 million passengers passed through its facilities.

Cologne/Bonn Airport, ICAO: EDDK, is located near the city of Cologne. It is the sixth largest airport in Germany and one of its few 24hr airports. It has three runways; 06/24 @ 8,068ft, 14L/32R @ 12,516ft and 14R/32L @ 6,112ft. In 2010 almost 10 million passengers used the airport.

Hannover-Langenhagen, ICAO: EDDV, is located near the city of Lagenhagen. Since the end of the Cold War it has become a major German hub, second only to Frankfurt Airport, for flights to the former Eastern Bloc countries. It has three runways, 09L/27R @ 12,467ft, 09R/27L @ 7,677ft and 09C/27C @ 2,559ft. In 2010 it saw just under 10 million passengers use the airport.

Münster Osnabrück International Airport, ICAO: EDDG, is 4th largest international commercial airport in North Rhine-Westphalia and is located near the cities of Münster and Osnabrück. There is a single runway 07/25 @ 7,119ft.

Leipzig/Halle Airport, ICAO: EDDP, is located near the town of Schkeuditz. The airport has two runways; 08L/26R @ 11,811ft and 08R/26L @ 11,811ft. In 2010 slightly more than 2.3 million passengers used the airport. The airport layout is such that a road and rail ink splits the airport in two. This means that aircraft using runway 08L/26R need to cross via taxiway bridges.

So what are the improvements over the original? Here is what the developers have to say.

NEW in version 2012:

Every airport has 3d runway lights and 3d approach lights according to the current DFS charts. We have also considered the varying distances of the centerline lights (as in EDDV North/South runway)
Each airport now has animated windsocks
AES-Lite comes with new vehicles which now have ground-shadow-textures
Autogen for FS9 and FSX-Version has been optimized at every airport
Compatibility optimization for AI-Traffic of WOAI. Shadows in FSX for WOAI models are now visible
Cologne/Bonn (EDDK): New Germanwings apron, FedEx Cargo Area and Cologne Cargo Center with new buildings
Hanover (EDDV) changes:
The jetways have been updated; old red jetways have been replaced by new jetways
The old tower has been painted with the currently visible “Germanwings” advert. On the Terminal B between Gate 7/8 and 11/12 bus entrances have been added
Cat I holding positions and runway 09C/27C holding positions are now equipped with “RWY guard lights” according to the current DFS Charts Holding positions at the relevant taxiways have been updated with markings and TWY signs
New Hangar 16 north of the car park. ACC-Columbia Jet-Services including an apron entrance
Dortmund (EDLW), terminal expansion west

Upgrade:

If you have bought the previous version you can download your version 2012 for free from your customer account.

Installation

Important: If you already have the original release of German Airports 2 installed you must first remove it before installing this newer release.

As it is with every Aerosoft product the installation is quite simple. It involves providing your email address and the registration code you would have received at the time of purchase. You are also asked if you wish to have the static aircraft installed. I don’t recommend this if you are using any type of AI aircraft addon program such as Ultimate Traffic. The screen does warn you that all parking positions will be used by these static aircraft.

As this is a new release the Aerosoft Launcher program will start and install itself. The scenery however does not require online activation. The launcher is a good place to access the manuals, charts and scenery tools.

The complete installation takes up approx. 1.2Gbs of HDD space.

Configuration

Each airport includes a traffic tool allowing you to enable or disable traffic in various parts of the scenery.

After installation you will also see a Season Tool where you select the seasonal textures. If you already have other Aerosoft products the German Airports 2 2012 will show up as a new entry.

Documentation

They include both a German and English plus aerodrome charts. The English manual is a 32 page PDF document. As I always recommend it is a good idea to read the manual as there is invariably something in it that is useful. On page 7 under installation one of the first things they state is and I quote “Before installing GAP2-2012 you need to uninstall previous versions of GAP2.” The manual however is only available after you run the installer. I don’t know what effect it would have to not follow these directions but if this is an important point then they should make the manual available prior to running the installer or include a readme file. Other topics covered include system requirements and each airport is given its own section where technical specifications are given such as runway lengths, frequencies, statistics and a bit about operations. The final section; the Appendix has some information on scenery limitations and its idiosyncrasies.

For some reason in the Table of Contents they forgot to include Münster/Osnabrück in the list of airports but it is included and can be found on page 25.

The package also includes a 96 page PDF document with charts for each airport. It should be noted that the dates of these charts range from 2004 to 2007. Up to date charts are easily available online if you are concerned about matching the charts to currently available airac data.

Scenery

The five airports share the same basic qualities and visual characteristics. That being said they are each unique in their own right making them interesting airports to visit; my personal favorite was Leipzig/Halle. The areas of coverage are restricted for the most part to the airports themselves with only a minimal area covered beyond the airport boundaries. The exception to this is Leipzig/Halle where they have extended the coverage area to include the adjacent Porsche test track which is several kilometers east of runway 26L.

Ground textures

Ground textures were good. The colouring used throughout had realistic tones and lots of details so there was never any mistaking what you were looking at, I did feel however that when I was at ground level or at very low altitudes that the roads and parking lots appeared blurry.

Hard surfaces on the other hand looked more detailed and didn’t seem to suffer as much from the blurries as did the other ground textures when viewed up close. The hard surfaces also showed the tell-tale signs of aircraft traffic with rubber stains in the touchdown zones and dirt stains at parking areas. Overall I was very happy with how these areas were portrayed.

Dortmund has a unique feature in that the GA apron which is west of the main terminal is slightly elevated and thus must be accessed via a ramp if getting to it from the main apron. The scenery does a really good job of showing this.

There was a slight problem with the ground textures at Hannover; as I taxied to and from the runway I noticed that the underlying default textures would sometimes show through. This happened regardless of the season.

Buildings

Buildings and structures were realistically recreated with plenty of detailing, high quality graphic images and good use of colouring. Many of the buildings throughout these airports had architectural features that set them apart from your plain looking box shape with a sloped roof.

The Cologne-Bonn terminal is worthy of being mentioned for several of its features. It is made up of two parts. One part the western v shaped building is a multi-storey building with open roof top terraces on each floor and star concourses from where the jet ways extend. The terraces are modelled along with the stairways that interconnect them. They have also placed people in various locations to give the building a hint of activity. The rooftop of the terminal 2 building is another interesting feature having a complicated roof made up of multiple peaks. Adding these visual details make the airport that much more if a treat to explore.

The Leipzig/Halle airport is my favorite for several reasons. The rail station is an interesting looking building with its sloped curved rooftops, open side tent like cover over the rail station platform and the external ribbed west façade. These are all features that set this building apart from most others. The taxiway/roadway bridges which cross the A14 motorway and rail lines also bring an extra bit of realism to this airport. I have seen these modelled in a limited number of airports and it was nice to see that this feature was included here as well.

These are only a few examples of the exceptional work that they put into recreating the buildings found throughout these five airports. Many more examples can be seen in the other screenshots I’ve included of the individual airports. As you look at these screenshots pay attention to the roof tops of the buildings. Often scenery creators seem to forget that they are very visible to the pilot and pay little attention to them. Not so here, they’ve included many details heightening the realism factor from above.

Objects

An integral part of any successful scenery such as this requires the inclusion of the types of objects and vehicles appropriate to the particular airport you’re at. Without these the scenery will look lifeless and sterile. Each airport was populated with a wide variety of detailed and realistic looking objects and vehicles. The quality of these objects was such that they looked good even when viewed at close range. Colouring and placement were two other factors that reinforced their overall visual quality. Without getting into naming everything let me say that I can’t think of anything that was omitted. The same can be said for vehicles; I found that there seemed to be much more diversity in vehicle types compared to other earlier sceneries. They also included snow removal equipment which is often neglected in scenery addons plus there was more variety in truck types with many more different logos that helped to broaden the mixture.

Problem wise I only came across one incident where I saw an object that was really noticeably out of place. That was the perimeter fence at Münster/Osnabrück, it went through parking lots and across roadways on the south side of the airport.

During the installation you are given the option of installing static aircraft. Even if you answer no there are a limited number of GA aircraft added to the airports. Just enough to make the areas look like they were being used. The quality of these aircraft is quite good as well.

Leipzig/Halle has its rail station with animated trains. These trains are detailed and worth checking out. For me these were definitely a scenery highlight. Slewing to the station’s platform I enjoyed watching the trains pull in and out. From that vantage point I was able to really appreciate the added details.

Animations

The airports include AESLite as part of the update so there is lots of traffic both on the aprons/service roads within the airports and on the nearby roadways. The quality and variety of this traffic is very good and it can actually be quite interesting to watch the vehicles driving by. At night the vehicles have lights that include turn signals.

Leipzig/Halle has the additional animation of trains travelling in and out of the adjacent Leipzig/Halle Airport Rail Station. The trains can be seen arriving, stopping and then departing on a regular basis.

Active docking systems are included at these airports. I tried a number of them at different airports and found them to be functional and accurate in guiding me.

This scenery is a multi-airport pack so I have included a number of screenshots sorted by the airport that will help to reinforce what I have written and further showcase these individual airports.

EDDG Münster/Osnabrück

EDDK Cologne-Bonn

EDDP Leipzig/Halle

EDDV Hannover

EDLW Dortmund

Seasons

Textures for all four seasons are provided but you must remember to use the Season tool prior to launching FSX to have the correct textures loaded.

Night

Night time at some of these airports can get pretty busy and so the developers have done their best to make them look alive and realistic for those night flights. Just like in the daytime the individual airport sceneries share the same basic visual characteristics when it came to how the different types of lighting were portrayed. I thought they did a good job and found no areas where I was disappointed.

Approaches

I went through all of the ILS approaches and was successful at each runway with one exception; ILS8R at Leipzig/Halle (EDDP), the frequency is incorrectly set to 111.90 rather than 111.75 as published on the charts.

Performance

I flew the majority of the time in the PMDG 737 which is a complex addon and at no time did I feel that the PC struggled to maintain a nice fluid experience even with the larger busier airports like Leipzig/Halle or Cologne-Bonn that have lots of aircraft and ground traffic moving about.

Final Thoughts

One of the best parts about this package is that you get five detailed and unique airports at an exceptional price. If you were to purchase them individually you would be paying 83.75 so the package price of 33.57 is a savings of over 50%. The savings alone are a great incentive to seriously consider this package. However I like it for much more than that. The graphics are very nice, the locations are realistically recreated and they all make for interesting locations to fly in and out of. All in all this is one great package that I highly recommend.

My Ratings

Installer: Very Good. Simple as always.
Documentation: Very Good. Charts are included although they are dated.
Modelling: Very Good.
Extras: AESLite is included so there is lots of traffic and activity. Rail traffic at Leipzig/Halle.

Download Size: FSX 380MB
Price: EUR 33.57 without VAT
Developer Homepage: http://www.aerosoft.de
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/aerosoft-online-german-airports-2-x.phtml

Test System:

Intel i7 960 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 2.20d

Richard Desjardins

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