Posted in: Add-on or Expansion Pack, Aerosoft, FSX, Reviews, Scenery, simMarket, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , ,

Review of AEROSOFT ONLINE – SAARBRUECKEN X for FSX

Feature

Saarbruecken Airport, ICAO: EDDR; is located near the city of Saarbruecken in South-west Germany near the border with France. The airport came into service in 1928 and continued to host flights till it was closed in 1939 only reopening in the 1960s. In 1972 they began to offer international flights bringing it into the ranks of only 17 international airports in Germany. After Erfurt it is the second smallest international airport in Germany. In 2011 just over 452,000 passengers used the airport.

The airport has two runways; 09/27 (asphalt) @ 6,562ft and 09L/27R (grass/soil) @ 1,788ft.

Installation

Aerosoft products are very simple to install and activate. To install you simply add your registration info and confirm the path to FSX and let the process continue. As soon as the installer has done its thing it will attempt to connect to the Aerosoft servers to complete the final step of this two-step process by activating the addon. If it is successful you will be set to use the new addon, if not you will then have the choice of activating it via the Aerosoft Launcher program or by going to the FSX Menu/Add-ons/Aerosoft/Aerosoft Add-ons menu item. Regardless of the method they are all straightforward.

Configuration

There were no configuration options.

Documentation

The manual that comes with the product is a German/English PDF document. It is well written with the document’s layout and contents following a very familiar pattern. The bulk of the document I have seen before in some of their other product manuals; it deals with the installation, uninstallation and activation process. The remaining few pages of the document are divided between FSX scenery settings and basic airport information.

Charts are not provided however if you look in the Saarbruecken program menu you will find a link to online charts provided via the VATSIM website.

Scenery

This airport is neither large or complex, it is very much the opposite, as far as international airports go it is not very big and has a very simple layout. The developers however filled it with great visual features that still make it an interesting airport to frequent.

The comparison shots show just how big of a difference there is between the FSX default airport and this much more detailed version released by Aerosoft.

Aerosoft EDDR X Default FSX EDDR

Ground textures

Ground textures are composed of high resolution photo images so the result is a ground base that is detailed, crisp and clear even when viewed at the very lowest altitudes.

Not easily seen but still there is the grass/soil runway 09L/27R.

Runway 09L27R located between the red and white poles to the right of runway 09 27

I thought that the hard surfaces including the airport roadways and parking lots were especially good. The runway/taxiway/apron areas showed signs of surface cracking plus what looked like dirt, rust stains and possibly some fuel spillage.

Hard surface detailing

Quite often with photo scenery textures the lines on the roads and parking lots appear blurry and in my opinion draws attention to that blurriness. Here at Saarbruecken they’ve added these lines so they appear crisp and clear. Doing this seems to diffuse that blurriness and make them look that much better.

Lines on pavement make a huge difference

Buildings

Airport structures always fascinate me. It is interesting to see how every airport is different. Saarbruecken is an airport that uses simple architecture, nothing here really screams cutting edge. The developers have been able to capture that look yet still make it interesting. Looking at the structures close up the high quality imagery shows some nice details and they have added some extra discrete detailing as well.  I spent some time poking around the airport using a first person perspective and I found that whether it was the front of the terminal or in a back corner in between two buildings they put the same care into the scenery. Comparing this scenery with aerial photographs all structures have been included and are accurately placed on the base textures.

The main terminal is an “H” shaped structure; one side including the airport’s control tower and fire station borders the main apron and then the other side borders the airport’s entrance roadway. Both are joined together with an interconnecting structure. This terminal is one that looks to have been built for function and not fashion. They have taken this mundane building and by using their talents made it look quite good. I was really impressed with how it looked up close parked on the tarmac. This was the best way, in my opinion, to appreciate their work and to see the details that appear in the imagery plus any extra details.

Close up of tower Terminal arrivals side Interconnecting corridor of main terminal Fire station bay doorsTerminal

Another structure that catches your eye is the green noise abatement facility. It is situated at the west end of the main apron. The screenshots show, how through the their use of high quality images, we can get to see many details. Another interesting aspect of the facility is the dirt walls that butt up against the sides and back.

Run up facility

The airport has a small fuel depot also at the western end of the apron. It is intricately detailed with piping, fuel pumps and operator stations.

Fuel depot

The airport has a number of other buildings consisting mostly of hangars/garages. Each one although simple and rather unassuming has been given the same care as the other structures found at Saarbruecken. Extra details aren’t unique to the main terminal building as you can see in the screenshot showing off an external spiral staircase.

Contact Air hangar Hangar with road signs and chain link fencing Hangars at east end of apron Spiral staircase up to second floor access

In front of the main terminal building there are a few structures including one of the more interesting ones; a large multi-level parking garage. It has open sides which affords us a view of its interior so we get to see that they’ve populated each floor with a variety of parked cars and trucks. Very well done indeed. This area is also where we see a security checkpoint as well as another large multi-storey building. Each one is an example of the nice work that they have put into this scenery.

External staircase Overview of arrivals side of airport Parking garage Security checkpoint Street side view of Contact Air hangar

Just south of the airport is an area with an fascinating feature that has also been modelled. This small light industrial area includes a number of buildings plus a large solar panel farm.  This area also is ideal to show off the quality of the photo ground textures.

Light industrial area Solar panels

Objects and Vehicles

The objects and vehicles they have included in the scenery look good. Quality is not such a big deal when you are flying an approach, departure or passing overhead but very important when you are taxiing around on the ground or parked at a gate and everything I saw in this category passed scrutiny when viewed close up.

As far as including what is required to populate an airport in order to make it look realistic they’ve done a very good job. With regards to the operations that take place I can’t think of anything that was missing and if there were any they weren’t obvious and they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the product. Static vehicles have also been placed around the airport to enhance the feeling of airport activities.

Airport buses Fuel trucks and baggage tug Hazardous liquid tanks Met equipment Variety of vehicles

In every scenery I think that it is important to add objects that do not necessarily have anything to do with the actual operation of the airport but have a direct impact on how realistic the overall airport environment looks. For example, placed next to several buildings I came across recycle and rubbish bins, on the roads that lead up to the terminal they’ve included street and access control signs. These are the types of objects that add a little something extra to a scenery product.

Rubbish bin in behind a building Security access point showing gate and signs

Parked in front of a hangar and clearly visible there were some snow clearing and ground sweeping vehicles. These vehicles would likely be used at many airports but are rarely added to a scenery addon. Nice addition!

Snow clearing and maintenance vehicles

Animations

I found that on most of my visits to the airport there were no aircraft to be seen other than the one I was flying. So it is in large part thanks to the service vehicles that are seen travelling around the airport, on the apron service roads plus the other vehicular traffic on the nearby roadways, that the airport does not appear abandoned but instead looks alive.

Seasons

Winter does come to this area of Germany and we definitely see that here. During the cold winter months the airport is blanketed in snow and the trees are bare. Overall it is well done and looks very good.

Less travelled apron areas with some snow cover Snow covered grounds Winter at Saarbruecken

Unlike many other Aerosoft airports it was unnecessary to choose seasonal textures via an external tool. The scenery’s ground and tree textures will match the time of year selected in FSX.

Night

Night time at Saarbruecken was well done. They include the typical night time visuals that you expect to see such as; apron lighting, taxiway/runway/approach lighting and both interior and exterior building lighting.

Excellent night lighting effects Parking garage lit up Runway and taxiway lighting Terminal building lit up

In addition they include some other very nice visual enhancements. The main one that stood out was the way that various types of lighting appeared to illuminate the ground immediately next to the particular light source. I saw this effect next to the taxiway/runway signage where the ground was bathed in the yellows and reds of the signage. This effect was also very visible at the base of some airfield met instruments where the ground was red from the bright warning lights mounted on the poles.

Red light reflecting on the ground Taxiway sign light reflecting on ground

Approaches

This airport has grass and asphalt runways and is equipped for ILS,VOR and RNAV approaches. Combine that with sparse air traffic and it was an ideal place to practice landing techniques for all types of aircraft.

Final Thoughts

This is a small, quiet and unassuming airport that offers the sim pilot a rendition of Saarbruecken International Airport that is far beyond what you will find in FSX. Very good performance, nice visuals and it’s inexpensive. All good points to keep in mind when considering your next German airport acquisition.

My Ratings

Installer: Very good. Simple to use.

Documentation: Very good.

Modelling: Very good.

Extras: Animated vehicle traffic at the airport and nearby roadways.

Download Size: FSX 366Mb

Price: EUR 13.40 without VAT

Developer Homepage: http://www.aerosoft.de

Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/aerosoft-online-saarbruecken-x.phtml

Test System:

Intel i7 960 OC @ 4.2 Ghz, 12 Gb RAM, EVGA GTX560 Ti w/1.2 Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, UT2, REX Overdrive, GEXn, UTX, AES, GSX.

Richard Desjardins

Comments are closed.