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Review of LHSimulations – BUDAPEST LISZT FERENC LHBP for FSX

Feature image

Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, ICAO: LHBP, serves the Hungarian capital city of Budapest and is the largest of the country’s five international airports. The airport was originally known as Budapest Ferihegy International Airport but was renamed in 2011 in honor of Ferenc Liszt, the virtuoso pianist and composer, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth. In 2012 8,504,020 passengers passed through its facilities. The airport has two runways; 13L/31R @ 12,162ft and 13R/31L @ 9,875ft.

Installation and Configuration

Installation was quick and painless but you will need an active Internet connection to have the installation validated. Run the executable, add your registration number and the installer will do the rest including the validation. The next time you open up FSX the newly installed LHBP Budapest Airport will be available.

There were no configuration options available.

Documentation

They include a seven page PDF manual that is very professional looking however is  short on content. Getting past the title page, table of contents, credits and end user agreement you are left with a few paragraphs of information that I think you may find useful. These topics include; change log, installation and contacts. The entire manual is a short read and I would always recommend people take some time to familiarize themselves with any product’s manual and this is no exception.

Airport Scenery

When certain addon developers release a product you just know before you make that purchase that it’ll be worth every dollar. It looks as though LHSimulations is trying to become a member of that group with this airport release and as you read on and see some examples of their work you’ll see why I make that statement.

Ground textures

A good base is always important, much like the foundation to a house. They’ve made extensive use of high resolution photo quality imagery that lets us see lots of details that remain clear and crisp even when viewed at very low altitudes. To further bolster the scenery at ground level and to heighten the sense of realism from this vantage point they’ve added volumetric vegetation and variations in terrain elevation. A lot of time can be spent on the ground so these environmental enhancements make a huge difference in making you feel like you are actually there.

On my way to terminal from rwy 13ROne more quick observation to note and this is one of those hidden gems that you almost have to know where to look in order to find it. There is a service road to the tower that goes under taxiways A5 and B4. You might notice it because of a small blue bus travelling this route and then disappearing. Otherwise it’s not really visible except for the red and white metal fencing that is above ground along the concrete retaining wall.

Underground roadwayLooking at the runways/taxiways and aprons we are again rewarded with some great high resolution textures.

Detailed markings on apron surfaceBuildings

What the developers have done in recreating all of the buildings here at Budapest is remarkable. The realistic colouring and shading techniques and then add to that an amazing amount of detailing and you can’t help but be blown away by what you see. It was also nice to see that it really didn’t matter if the structure was a huge one such as any of the terminals or a small airfield communications shed, they were all made to look as realistic as possible.

Standing out for a number of reasons is the new terminal 2 building. It is big, it is modern and it is superbly recreated. Centrally located between the two runways the sloped glass and silver coloured roof makes an immediate impression. Flanking it on either side are the triangular terminal 2A and 2B buildings with their jet ways and long ground-level open covered walkways that extend out onto the aprons. Every aspect of this interesting and complex structure has been meticulously brought to FSX.

Terminal 2B Arrivals side of terminal 2 Ground level concourse from terminal 2B Glass wall of terminal 2 Terminal 2AI’ll let the screenshots do most of the talking. You’ll notice that they’ve gone to great lengths to add plenty of interesting details to all parts of the building as well as capturing the building’s modern look. Pay close attention to the jet ways and roof top as each has some interesting details.  I especially liked the communications antennae, security cameras, HVAC units and skylights.

Detailed jet way Close up of terminal 2B roof top Roof top architectural details on terminal 2A Communications and security mastThe design of this building has a large glass wall facing the apron meaning the interior is visible for all to see and this could have been a problem if not done properly. The developers have taken that challenge and turned it into a scenery highlight.

Looking out onto apron 2 for inside of terminal Terminal interiorLeading out from the main structure the covered walkways have an interesting feature that I didn’t notice till I was taking a much closer look. These walkways have open metal fencing along their entire length and then at the marshalling points they are arranged in a pattern used for controlling large groups in a small space.

Stairs to open concourse Crowd control fencingJust off to the west of the terminal 2 complex is the very distinct looking control tower and main fire station. There is no mistaking what airport you’re at when you see the double columns supporting the air traffic controller’s pod. It’s not their best work at Budapest when you compare it to many of the other structures but they have captured its unique design.

Fire station Control tower

Moving on from this area the majority of the other airport buildings are located southwest of runway 13R/31L. It is in this area we find several large maintenance hangars, the cargo facilities, the terminal 1 building and a variety of other small structures.

The same creation techniques can be seen over and over again in these buildings as well. Each has features or characteristics that could be singled out as exceptional and that is something I really liked. You can see the diligence and commitment to quality everywhere.

The terminal 1 building which is an older building has some distinct features. It’s twin towers and their communications masts are front and center. In modelling them they’ve included some impressive details such as the previously mentioned communications masts, the metal railings on the wrap around walkways and then the open metal staircases that lead to the nearby roof top. The building’s roof top is also highly detailed with solar panels, HVAC units, ducting and several more communications masts. This is one of those buildings that has something to catch your eye no matter where you look; transparent overhangs, exposed metal support ribbing, open balconies. Nice work all around.

Terminal 1 Top down view of terminal 1 showcasing the details Roof support detailsThe two large maintenance hangars are imposing structures that stand out for their size. The interesting thing I found about these was their weathered look. Up to this point I haven’t made any real mention about the colouring and shading techniques but these two larger hangars showcase what they did in this respect.

Close up of one of the hangars Maintenance hangars and apronsThe remainder of the buildings in this area are smaller however they still benefit from the rendering techniques highlighted earlier. Each has its own interesting characteristics and encourage closer scrutiny.

Close up of freight handling building DHL freight building Weathered building Variety of buildings near apron 1 Air cargo facilities Misc buildingLast but not least there is a fire substation, two TAR/SSR radars and several airfield communication and MET buildings. These are located in different parts of the airport grounds and help reinforce the realism factor as you taxi or move around Budapest Airport.

Airport catering Airfield structures Fire sub station TAR SSR radarObjects and Vehicles

When looking at objects/vehicles the quality of their work continues to be very impressive and continuously hits the high standard found in other aspects of the scenery. All of the things you’d want to see related to infrastructure and the many different activities that take place such as; airport security, safety, communications and aircraft/freight/passengers handling can all be found.

Glideslope and MET equipment Heavy object lifting frame Concrete barrier and freight mover Parking stand identifier mast Variety of service vehicles Busy apron area Engine test area VOR DMEJust as with the structures a key element is their attention to detail. Take for example the approach lights, they include individual wires leading up from the mount to the lamp fixture. The equipment at the base of the apron overhead light poles includes detailed fire extinguishers and power panels. The real shame here is that lots of their outstanding work can only really be appreciated when you get in close.

Approach lights and localizer details Lamp pole base details

Something a little different here at Budapest Airport is their airplane museum. Located in a grassy field near the large vehicle parking lot for the terminal 2 building there are nine vintage civilian aircraft of various types. This is one of those visual treats that makes this airport just that much more interesting.

Aircraft museumAnimations

Throughout the entire airport we see a variety of vehicles moving along the many apron and service roadways. They serve to complement and augment the static vehicles that have been strategically placed around the airport grounds.

The airport has visual docking guidance assistance at most aircraft parking locations; they are modelled and functional.

Visual docking assistance systemIf you take some time to explore you’ll see that at Budapest they’ve  included rotating radar antennae.

Rotating radarA side note while on the subject of animations; if you use GSX you may find that activating this 3rd party program will cause some of the airport buildings to disappear. At the time of this writing a fix had not been released.

Surrounding Area

Taking a bird’s eye view of the scenery we get to see just how much area is covered by this addon. The majority of the neighbouring land is rural with several multi-lane highways being the dominant features.

LHSimulations LHBPPortions of two major roadways the E71 and 4 run through the coverage area. Thanks to the photo ground textures, some great 3D modelling of the interchanges and the addition of some light poles and signage they add very nicely to the sense of realism, especially as you make your approach from the east into LHBP.

On final to runway 31L One of several interchanges modelled in the scnery

Travelling along the roads there is some animated vehicles traffic, most of the time they stick to the roads however there are instances where we see them deviating into the nearby grassy areas.

Some buildings outside of the airport are modelled with the largest being the nearby Market Central shopping center.

Market Central Shopping center Pedestrian overpassNight

This is definitely one of the best night time renditions of an airport in FSX that I’ve come across. Lighting levels, colouring, shadows; all of these were done with an eye for making your experience “As real as it gets”!

As I spent time experiencing Budapest airport at night certain nighttime features began to stand out. The way the overhead lighting produced a halo effect as it appeared to penetrate the cool damp night air. Objects appeared to cast shadows from the nearby lighting. There were variations in ground illumination that coincided with relative distance to a given light source and this was not confined to the aprons but also carried through to the adjacent roadways. Ground lighting was distinct and not overwhelming. All of these and more were contributing factors to the outstanding nighttime experience.

Subdued lighting from overhead sources Night time feel is everywhere Overhead lighting halo effect and ground shadows Ground and sign lighting shows surface illumination Apron view from inside the terminal Brightly lit terminal interiorSeasons

Seasonal variations are included for this airport and winter with its white ground cover provides the most stunning changes to the landscape. Most everyone does the white snow on the ground when it’s appropriate but they’ve taken it up a few notches and included some additional visual enhancements. Winds blow snow around all the time in the winter time so you expect to see some snow along the edges of roads and other hard surfaces where snow is normally removed or ploughed. They’ve done that but with a slight twist, there are no straight edges, it looks as if the snow is slowly encroaching back onto those areas which is much more realistic looking.

The other thing that you’d expect to see is some snow cover on the roof tops of the buildings. This is one that usually gets overlooked by developers. LHSimulations is one of the few developers to include any evidence of snow on their building’s roof tops; bravo!

Snow drifted on edges of taxiway Market Central shopping center Roof top snow White snow coverPerformance

For an airport of this quality I am very happy to report that performance was quite good. I did the majority of my flights in and out of Budapest in the PMDG 737NGX flying at various time of the day and night and only noticed some slight stuttering while taxiing on the ground at night.

Final Thoughts

This was my first exposure to an LHSimulations product and I have to say that it is a winner on all fronts; the quality is among the best available. Price, visuals and  performance; it excels in all aspects. I can’t think of a single reason why you wouldn’t want to add it to your stable of FSX airport addons.

My Ratings

Installer: Very good, easy to use.
Documentation: Good, brief with essential information.
Modelling: Very good, built with an eye for detail.
Extras:  Animated apron traffic, radar and docking guidance.

Download Size: FSX: 300MB
Price: EUR 16.81 without VAT
Developer Homepage: http://lhsimulations.hu
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/lhs-budapest-liszt-ferenc-lhbp-fsx.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 2.23, GSX

Richard Desjardins

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