Stuttgart, EDDS, is an international airport located 13kms south of the city of Stuttgart which is the capitol city of the state of Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg in south-west Germany. The airport has a single 10,974ft runway 07/25 and four terminals with a capacity of 12 million passengers. In 2009 just under 9 million passengers used the airport, well under it’s current capacity.
This product is available for both FSX and FS2004 however my review is of the FSX version.
File size is relatively small with the version for FS2004 being 96MB and FSX 106MB.
Scenery installation is now a two step process; install and activate. There is nothing complicated about either process, you simply follow the on screen instructions.
Installation which is the first step requires that you provide your registration information given at the time of purchase, confirm the path to FSX and choose whether or not to install static aircraft. Those with AI traffic programs may want to say no to installing the static aircraft.Â As a final step the installer will automatically add the scenery to the FSX scenery library.
Part two of the process is scenery activation. This is done via the Aerosoft Launcher application which will auto start as soon as the installer has completed it’s task. When the Aerosoft Launcher first opens up you will see that the activation state shows Stuttgart has not been activated. You will need to click on the activate button. Once again you will be required to type in your registration information. The program then contacts the Aerosoft servers and verifies the information. Once verified the scenery activation status will change to activated. You are now ready to fully enjoy the product.
Configuration of the scenery can be done via the Aerosoft Launcher application. From here you have access to both the EDDS X traffic tool and the Season tool. The use of both is pretty simple and self explanatory
The scenery comes with two documents; a scenery manual and a charts manual.
The scenery manual is 23 pages thick and has quite a bit of information including several pages dedicated to explaining the new Aerosoft Launcher application.Â The manual has all of the usual information with regards to hardware requirements, how to install and remove the software, some general information on the actual airport, tips on AI traffic, setting the season via the Season tool, ground traffic, animations and some recommendations on how to get the best performance from the scenery.
Some of the gates are equipped with the APIS – Aircraft Parking and Information System. They give a good description of how the system works and how to use it.
Reading the manual is something I highly recommend to get the most out of this airport scenery package. The manual includes information for both the FSX and FS2004 versions.
With the last three sceneries from Aerosoft that I have reviewed they’ve included a charts manual as part of the documentation and provide all the necessary ground and air charts. I was curious to see just how current they were as several of them were dated Feb 2009. I went to the Eurocontrol website where real world charts for Stuttgart can be accessed. I did a comparison and found that the charts included were indeed up to date. As time goes by and real world charts get updated you may want to go and get the latest from the online source but for now there seems to be no need to go that route.
Compared to many other large airports the layout of Stuttgart is a simple one; there is a single runway with the main passenger and general aviation terminals on the north side and a military apron on the south side. Stuttgart has some pretty interesting features when you look at it’s buildings. One of the most noticeable had to be their use of external structural supports. This could be seen throughout the entire airport on a variety of buildings. Some of the best examples of this were in the main terminal building overhead walkways that lead to the jet ways, I thought they were extremely well done. The two large hangars; “DA Aviation” and “Lufthansa Tecknik” have external supports along the sides and finally another good example was the exposed roof trusses used on several small hangars near the military apron.Â In addition to having included these external features there are other details worth noting; the main terminal has transparent overhangs along the apron roadway by the jet ways that were excellently done and then there are the clocks on the walls of terminal 4. There are more examples, just have a look at the screenshots and see if you can pick some of them out.
Just north of the main airport terminal building was another fascinating area. It is a cluster of commercial buildings with their own set of unique features that merited a closer look. Most of these buildings had design characteristics that made them interesting to look at. As you can see in the screenshots there are several parking garages that have multilevel roofs and others like the Movenpick Hotel that has curved walls. It’s easy to see that this is an area where there would be lots of activity.
The Bosch Parkhaus and International Trade and Convention Center buildings are located here and stand out from all the others because of their size and unique design. The Bosch Parkhaus buildings are a pair of long multi storey structures that have a convex roof and span highway A8 and then there is the group of buildings that make up the International Trade and Convention Center, of the nine buildings eight have concave roof lines; two contrasting designs. I am sure it took a lot of work to recreate these and I have to say the hard work paid off because the look is very realistic and worth checking out.
When you look around an airport there is so much going on; aircraft taxiing and taking off and landing, aircraft servicing and vehicle and passenger movements to name just a few. None of these activities can be realistically portrayed without having all of the objects associated with them present in the scenery.Â The makers of Stuttgart did a great job of including them so all the activities I mentioned can be observed happening in the scenery. The apron areas were especially well done and have many intricate details such as static vehicles, tow bars, cargo containers, baggage carts and much more. Expanding out from there you also have detailed ground and approach lighting systems, LOC, VOR/DME objects and ground markers; all very necessary objects for an airport of this size to function properly and safely.
Moving vehicular traffic has become an integral part of recent scenery releases and AESLite takes care of that. This is a wonderful way to add an extra element of realism. Lots of people run some form of AI aircraft traffic enhancement program and AESLIte does basically the same thing for vehicular traffic. For anyone who may not be familiar with it, AESLite will add dynamic vehicular traffic to the aprons and roadways adjacent to the airport. I have set my FSX airport vehicle density to 0% and I let AESLite do the job it was meant to do.Â This eliminates the phenomena of seeing FSX default airport vehicles parked in the middle of apron roadways or partially embedded in buildings which for me had a negative visual impact on many airport sceneries.
APIS – Aircraft Positioning and Information System
The APIS – Aircraft Positioning and Information System functionality has been modelled in a number of the gates; 09 – 19 and 24 – 36. Â The system uses a series of parallel bars to give visual clues for distance and deviation from the center line. The bar on the right disappears as the aircraft approaches the final stop point. The two bars on the left appear straight if on track and angled if you need to correct your approach. I tried this at different gates with varying aircraft types and found it to be a very useful and interesting feature that I enjoyed using.
Textures for the runways, taxiways and aprons were excellent. There are variations in the colour of the concrete and asphalt surfaces, the touchdown zones clearly showed the results of multiple landings and there is visible wear and dirt stains in the parking spots. I like to make comparisons between what is in the scenery and the real world and I have to say that they are very close and the end product in Stuttgart X is very realistic. The other element that is so important are the painted markings. They can get quite complex when you have crossing taxiways and multiple parking spots; they are clear, well done and easy to follow.
I found that the ground textures used for the roads and other areas such as parking lots were a bit too blurry for my liking especially when I was exploring the airport up close and at very low levels. Being that close to the ground in amongst the buildings is not something you would do as you fly in and out of the airport, however if you want to enjoy all of the fine work that went into the many buildings you will run across this problem. It is a shame because they clearly put a great deal of effort in the re-creation of the buildings and the blurry ground textures were a negative distraction to all that hard work.
I saw this same blurry effect in the grassy areas along the edges of the runways but it was far less of an issue because of the nature of the textures.
The big thing about night time is to give it a realistic look and I feel it is just as important as getting it right in the daytime.Â Although there are restrictions to flying in and out of Stuttgart between 2200 and 0500 it was still important that they got it right.Â I have to say that in my opinion they did a very good job. There may be restrictions in the real world but in flight sim you have the luxury of setting your own schedule. I flew in and out a number of times and thought that it was excellently rendered for night time operations. All elements of ground and approach lighting were in place and lighting levels were realistic. When looking at the buildings you also had a sense that there were a number of activities going on as some areas were lit up while others remained dark.
Approaches and departures
I found this airport to be one of the easier ones for approaches and departures. The surrounding area is fairly flat and the SIDs and STARs were easily handled thanks to the charts provided.
I thought Stuttgart X was another wonderful airport in this current crop of recently released German airports. Visually it has plenty to keep those that enjoy eye candy happy while still maintaining good performance. With it’s long runway it can be forgiving to the novice pilot and accommodate those that enjoy flying the heavies.
Installer: Very good. Simple to use but is now a two step process. Active internet connection required to fully activate the product.
Documentation: Very good. Informative scenery manual and a full set of charts.
Modelling: Good. Easy on the frame rates while providing lots of detail.
Extras: AESLite enabled. Traffic and season tools included.
Download Size: FS2004 96MB, FSX 106MB
Price: EUR 15.08
Test System:Â 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 2.09