Review: Aerosoft Rotterdam X

0

Rotterdam The Hague airport formerly known as Zestienhoven, EHRD, is located 5.6Kms northwest of the city of Rotterdam. The original airport for the city of Rotterdam had been destroyed just prior to the second world war so when it came time to consider rebuilding it was decided to do so in a new location. Zestienhoven polder was chosen as the new site, construction began in 1955 with the airport opening an 1956. In the 1970’s there were plans to close or move the airport due to stagnation and the need for more land for housing, it is also during this time that many carriers left the airport. This uncertainty continued for almost 30 years and then in the 1990’s with a resurgence in economic growth it was decided to leave the airport in it’s current location and expand it with an eye on keeping it going for at least the next century. Nowadays the majority of airline traffic consists of regional routes and business aviation. When you take into account how many passengers go through it’s facilities each year it still ranks as the third largest airport in the Netherlands after Amsterdam Schiphol and Eindhoven Airport. In 2007 just over 1 million passengers passed through it’s facilities.

[slideshow id=46]

Installation and Configuration

Being an Aerosoft product it comes with their standard installer.  One of the simplest to use in my opinion.  You are simply required to add your email address and the serial number given to you at the time of purchase. The installer will locate and confirm your FSX installation information and carry on.  As a final step it will add the scenery to the FSX scenery library. You are now ready to fly.

As far as configuration goes my advice is to read and heed the display settings they recommend for this scenery.  If not, you may find yourself running into some odd situations that could indicate you are running out of memory or your system just can’t keep up.  This I can say form experience.  I normally run with all my scenery sliders to the max but with Rotterdam X I found that if I did that the results were inconsistent.

Included with the scenery is the Season Tool.  It can be found in the program group “Aerosoft” along with the shortcut to the scenery manual. The tool allows you to choose which season you want the airport vegetation to depict. I have flown other Aerosoft sceneries where snow covered trees would never normally occur short of a nuclear winter but in this case it is quite possible that you might see that on your journey in the area given the chance of snow in the winter months.

Documentation

First of all airport charts are not provided but can be found by following the link to the “AIS the Netherlands” website.  This seems to be a trend with the proliferation of online availability.

Included with the scenery is a 14 page PDF document.

As always I urge every person who purchases an addon to read the documentation at their earliest convenience in case there is something in there that may find useful.

I’d like to bring to your attention a few items that I think you should be aware of as they may save you some frustration and enhance your enjoyment of this airport.

The first item is on page six and has to do with the ILS frequencies. Be aware that they did not use the real world frequencies and that they have been changed, you must tune your nav radios to a freq of 111.9 and not 110.9 as indicated on the actual airport charts.  This was done due to an apparent shortcoming in FSX where default ILS frequencies cannot be removed and in this case the nearby Valkenburg Navy Airbase uses these same frequencies. Had this not been done FSX would have taken you to the wrong airport.

Next is a short paragraph that gives you an idea of what objects will be visible based on your “Scenery Complexity” settings.

Following this, there is a FAQ section with lots of good questions and answers pertaining to the scenery and possible problems or situations, why they occur and in some cases what you can do to fix or alleviate them.  If you think you may have a problem with the scenery this is a very good place to start and see if it is a known issue.

The use of the Season Tool is explained along with where you can find it in your program group menu.  By the way the manual can be accessed through this same location.

The next four pages come under the heading “Settings & Frame Rates” and is another section I highly recommend purchasers of this scenery read. On each page you will find a screenshot of one of the settings option pages in FSX and a brief explanation of why they recommend certain settings. These pages are; Display Settings, Scenery Settings, Weather Settings and finally Traffic Settings.  I found that the Scenery settings page had the most impact. Using their suggested scenery settings I was able to see all the eye candy and maintain a relatively smooth flying experience. You should also know that the aircraft you select can have quite an impact on how well the scenery performs. I found that using FSX default aircraft or addon aircraft that had been created and optimized for FSX resulted in fewer stutters.

The final page of the manual provides data on the airport such as airport elevation, airport frequencies, runways dimensions and composition, etc.

[slideshow id=47]

Flying the Scenery

The scenery consists of the “Rotterdam The Hague” airport and it’s surrounding area.

As my introduction to this airport I chose to begin exploring at ground level and I was impressed.  Around every corner and from the ground up throughout the entire airport what you see looks very realistic. With few exceptions the textures are crisp and the colours are good. Beginning with the asphalt and concrete surfaces, they have a weathered look, you see that the painted markings are cracked and faded, there are oil and dirt stains where you would normally find aircraft parked or in high traffic areas. Too often you have sceneries where they look too good and everything appears pristine, unless a building or object is brand new they are never that way, especially if they are subjected to the elements or any type of traffic.  This airport has a real world look about it. The parking areas are not quite as crisp looking as the runways and apron areas but are still very good nonetheless and only get better as you gain a bit of altitude.  I’ll just mention that they have made a decision to not put any 3d vehicles in the parking areas so as to not bog down your PC as it tries to render these extra objects. This is explained in the manual in the FAQ section.  The grassy surfaces are well done and the colouring does change with the seasons, if you want the trees to match your current season don’t forget to use the season tool that comes with the airport.

Details, details, details!  This airport certainly has them. There are all manner of airport vehicles, scanning around I saw; refuelling trucks, mobile stars, pushback tugs, buses, cars, vans and more.  These include both static and moving vehicles. What else have they included to win my praise?  Along side and nearby to the runways you have the PAPI lighting, approach lighting, doppler system and anemometers all very detailed.

Looking at the buildings again you see that they have given them a realistic look, the colours are faded in certain areas, there is streaking and where you find bare metal there is a hint of rust.  On the sides of the hangers there are protruding light fixtures and around each one you see that there is a build up of dirt and some discolouration. It is this type of small detail that sets this scenery apart and shows that they have put that extra bit of effort into their product. These are just a few examples of many that I saw.  Other items worth mentioning are the high intensity light fixtures, the small aircraft refuelling station and across the front of the main terminal building you have a number of flags that move with the prevailing breezes. They haven’t forgotten about the building rooftops either. Flying overhead you will see that they have been given the same attention to detail as the remainder of the structure. All to often this seems to be an area where for some reason designers forget about, but we as simpilots see all the time as we fly overhead.  They’ve included and modelled such items as the air-conditioning units, cooling fans, duct work and then added weathering effects and roofing discolouration.

Night time flying at Rotterdam brings a brand new set of reasons to like this airport offering.  The ground lighting is bright but not too strong displaying an intensity level that is believable.  The runway, taxiway and apron lighting all give off a soft glow and do not appear as bright blobs of colour.

The default scenery for this part of the world is lacking, so to help those that like to fly VFR they have included with the airport an area of approximately 50 sq kms that is rendered in hi-res imagery and populated with 3d objects and local landmarks. The area also has full seasonal and night time textures for enhanced realism any time of the day or year.  On Aerosoft’s Rotterdam X product page there is a link to a KMZ file to be used with Google Earth that shows you the coverage area and some of the more notable features.

I have GEX and UTX Europe installed and the Rotterdam X scenery integrates seamlessly with the surrounding area.

[slideshow id=48]

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this airport. The details and quality make it one that you will want to get if you have any interest in flying this part of the world. For me it was my first time flying in the Rotterdam area and now it will be a destination that I am sure to visit regularly.  My only note of caution is that this scenery will test the capabilities’ of your system but if you stick to their recommended settings you will get to appreciate all the eye candy and still be able to fly in and out of Rotterdam without feeling like you are looking at a slide show.

My Ratings

  • Installer: Very good. Standard Aerosoft installer, simple to use.
  • Documentation: Very Good.  Manual included but airport charts must be accessed from online source.
  • Modelling: Very good. Hi res ground textures and lots of details
  • Extras: Season Tool.


Publisher: www.aerosoft.de

Download Size: 545Mb FSX
Price: EUR 12.56
Purchase Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/aerosoft-online-rotterdam-x.phtml

Test System:Intel i7 920 OC @ 3.8 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, EVGA 285 GTX w/1Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX, AES 2.06

Richard Desjardins


Comments are closed.