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Commercial Scenery Review

JustSim EDDH Hamburg International

Add-on: Realistic presentation of Hamburg International Airport
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org | JustSim
Description: Accurate Reproduction of Hamburg International (EDDH)
Software Source / Size: Download / approximately 700MB (unzipped X-Plane 10)
Reviewed by: Rick Verhoog
Published: March 28th 2017
Hardware specifications: - Intel Core i7 3770K @ 4.2 GHz
- 16GB DDR3-1600 MHz RAM
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 G1 Gaming
- Saitek Pro Flight X55 Rhino
Software specifications: - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
- X-Plane 10.51
- ReShade 3.0.3

Introduction

Scenery has been somewhat neglected by me the last while. With beautiful and detailed freeware scenery out there, payware just hasn’t been in my scope that much. However, that has recently begun to change. The level of detail and attention that you can get in payware scenery still outshines most freeware offerings.

I began feeling like I wanted something more detailed and realistic to look at when flying around. To have specific destinations that I knew would look beautiful. Orthophotos around the area, custom buildings and detailed lighting, vehicles, jetways, gates, the whole thing. Since Germany is one of my favorite simming destinations, I decided to take a look at JustSim’s new scenery; EDDH – Hamburg International Airport.

Serving over 16 million passengers in 2019, Flughafen Hamburg is the fifth busiest commercial airport when counted by passengers. Having opened in 1911, it is the world’s oldest still operational airport. It’s had a great role in history, being one of two destinations or the Airlift of Berlin in 1948, where the northern corridor went between Hamburg and West Berlin.

Over the years, Lufthansa came and went, leaving behind Lufthansa Technik buildings that are still quite visible. Terminals were added, a pier extension was realized and hotels and more came to the airport.

Installation and Documentation

When is installing anything in to X-Plane ever hard? Answer: it’s not. That goes for this airport as well. Simply download it, unzip it and then place the EDDH_JustSim_v1.1 folder inside your X-Plane’s Custom Scenery folder. The airport should then load in normally.

Documentation is, unfortunately, seemingly not included. Well, apart from some installation instructions telling you almost what I just told. There is also the note of having Global Airports at the bottom/end of your load order. A changelog is also included, but that’s it. I would have liked to see a small document that perhaps details some of the special features, what special things were included, etc. A charts document would also have been nice, as some other scenery developers do include.

How does it look?

There’s three parts to this question. The first is how the textures look; runways, taxiways, the aprons, grass, all that. Basically what’s on the ground in and around the airport. The second is how the buildings look. Are they modeled well? Do they line up and connect properly? How detailed are they? Lastly, are there static vehicles? Perhaps moving vehicles and people? Other animations, static aircraft? So, basically, the ‘extras’. Therefore, this part will be sectioned off into those three subchapters, so to say.

First off, texturing. This has good sides and bad sides. While there’s a lot of grass decoration and the runways look very good, the taxiways are… difficult to describe. They have different patches and places where they should be, but there are a lot of colored strips and things. This means that there are a number of places where there’s lines and blocks running along the asphalt in dark colors compared to the lighter color around it.

A close look at Google Maps shows something that might explain it: it in fact used to exist. The strange thing is that two different zoom level gave two different views; one without those patches and one with. However, those zoom levels also revealed changes in taxiways and layouts; the two zoom levels had their pictures taken at different times.

Regarding the buildings I can be very positive. They are very detailed, with great precision. Lettering, numbers and shapes are correct. The texturing is beautiful as well, albeit sometimes a little low resolution on some of the smaller, less ‘important’ buildings. Fencing and the custom parking assist are there, with beautifully modeled jetways that connect to the main terminals very nicely. See-through glass and text, stairs, logos and air conditioning units (or that’s what they look like) make them gorgeously realistic and a pleasure to look at. These kinds of details are what really make immersion happen for me.

What I like less is the night lighting for the buildings. The glass for them is pretty much just blue, with silhouettes of benches and people. The color is mostly uniform and doesn’t really change along the length of the building. I’d have liked to see some more varied lighting and perhaps a different color in the windows, or at least some of them. Higher resolution textures would also already help a lot.

Moving on to added features like moving vehicles and equipment/animations, I am pretty satisfied as well. There’s a lot of custom vehicles with the airport’s name and logo on them. Additionally, there’s cargo containers, traffic cones, air stairs, and the light poles have small poles around them. There’s a moving radar dish, some lights around a piece of road decoration just on the outer edge of the airport and many of the vehicles also have night lighting in the form of headlights.

Also, the jetways are equipped with AutoGate, which lets them connect to your airplane when shut off. Furthermore, there’s parking indicators that show you how far you are from needing to stop and if you need to correct left or right. This works and is integrated well, although there is a bit of a clipping issue sometimes. A lower part that is normally covered by the black frame will then flicker through and show more of the display.

The apron/gate lighting is nice. It lights up the ground well and seems very close to real life from the pictures I’ve found on Google Images. However, the lighting on the outside of the airport is not quite as extensive as it is in real life. The terminals don’t seem to have all of the lighting on the sides facing the road, for instance. I can forgive this though, as it does add resource usage while being of arguably little value.

What I find to be less attractive is the roads that run along the front of the buildings. They’re very low resolution and not actual X-Plane roads, but just phototextures. That combined with the low resolution glass texturing makes it look a little disappointing in that area. The counterargument for this is of course that this area isn’t something you’ll see much, especially up close. Additionally, they’ve gone to the trouble of modeling a lot of details like signs on the parking garage. That partially makes up for the low resolution roads.

The orthophoto ground texturing surrounding the airport is nice and at a good zoom level. It also looks well balanced in terms of colors/contrast. Version 1.1 seemed to be lacking some autogen, but that seems fixed in the 1.2 update that came out as this review was being written.

Layout Comparison

Next up, I’ll have a look at the different areas and how closely they resemble the real airport in terms of layout. This concerns things like different gate and stand numbers, taxiway numbers and signs, and hold points.

Let’s start at Terminals 1 and 2. It’s simple: compared to charts, it all looks pretty much exactly right. Gate and jetway numbering is correct. The ground markings pointing to them from taxiway Z1 are both the right ones and positioned as they should be. Aircraft start places, so where the airplane is put when you select a stand/gate, are nicely aligned with the lines indicating where to stop and of course what line to follow with the nose gear.

Moving on to the cargo terminal… This is where it gets a little strange. There’s lighting poles, carts, cargo boxes and more, but the charts indicate some very different things, as does Google Maps. They both say that there are jetways all along the cargo terminal. In the sim, gates 06A and 06 can’t be accessed, because you’d run into lighting poles and aircraft at gate 05B.

There’s no gate signs on the taxiway to indicate gates 06C and 07 and 07A/B. Also, Maps shows different gate numbers, where my up-to-date Navigraph chart shows the in-sim layout to be correct. It shows no jetways though, so I can’t be sure that it’s entirely correct. In all the pictures I see, the indicated cargo terminal has jetways. That is strange for a cargo terminal though: maybe those Maps pictures really are old and don’t reflect the current layout. Then again, I’m surprised there and no indications for gates/stands between 06 and 08. There is one jetway for gate 08, which is correct.

The south apron stands around the corner seem correct, even though pictures show some jetways there as well. However, the zoom levels strike again. Zooming out one notch reveals work ongoing on that area of the airport, with taxiways being added/places in different areas and some other work, including a number of jetways being gone!

So it seems that a change in that area of the airport did in fact remove a number of gates and replaced them with stands. It’s hard to find a very current photo, but it seems reasonable to say that the layout as reflected by JustSim is in fact the right one. What a load of work to figure this out!

Onward to the separate aprons, we find that apron 1 is in fact quite well done, seeing as it’s very simple. The two big lights that illuminate this platform are both present and in the right places. The same goes for the white apron outlines, taxiways surrounding it and the variety of different colored ground materials.

Apron 2 isn’t different. Meant for the smaller airliners and turboprops, this well-lit apron is quite nice to look and stand at. The light poles are good looking and markings are again correct and complete. The view this apron offers toward pretty much any part of the airport, due to its central position, makes it my favorite part of the airport regarding view.

When it comes to sheer coolness, I’ll always take terminals with jetways with rows of aircraft! The adjacent General Aviation apron is similar, except for the ground markings. The curved lines indicate the required turn to end up facing the right way in order to taxi away again later. The Navigraph Chart seems to indicate the presence of a windsock, but I can’t see it in the sim. It may not be there, but this is a minor detail.

Aprons 4, 5 and 6 are located in the maintenance area of the airport. The Lufthansa Technik buildings that are attached to them are, as mentioned previously, gorgeous. Otherwise, these are pretty empty aprons that don’t feature static aircraft or other vehicles etc.

A number of buildings just outside the airport perimeter are hand placed. While they do not appear to be custom-made and don’t always therefore have the same exact shape, they do fit the locations of the buildings on the orthophotos. In other places, buildings are more randomly positioned and decidedly not in the places of real-life buildings.

This might well be because those areas have autogen instead of hand placement. However, that would be a little strange, since it even happens right next to a big Lufthansa Technik building. It’d be nice if the buildings there would be a little better positioned, but it’s not something you’ll soon notice without actively looking for it.

Performance

For a scenery of this complexity, it definitely runs very well. It does not run worse than other scenery packs I have, payware or freeware. Of course, that’s not a very good measurement. Every area is different and the amount of buildings, trees and whatever else that surrounds a location can also have a significant performance impact.

Nevertheless, I can go off of a general idea of the performance I usually get. This scenery definitely stacks up well. It usually runs similarly to freeware airports of sizes close to Hamburg International’s, and looks significantly better. I can get 30 FPS here with a somewhat limited visibility due to weather, with a thick cloud layer. That’s very good. With full visibility (limited to 16NM because of Ventura Sky), I get about 25 FPS in the FlightFactor 757v2. Still not bad at all!

Summary

At about 20 dollars I can definitely recommend this product. While the taxiway/apron texturing may be quite standard in terms of materials and have some very unique shapes in it, it is accurate. Taxiway, gate and runway signing is great and accurate. Additionally, the runways look very nice with custom texturing work and hand-placed materials. The jetways are well modeled and with detailed buildings and objects, this scenery is definitely recommended for those who like to visit German airports. Also a great place for online flying!

More information can be found at the X-Plane.org store.

With Greetings,
Rick Verhoog

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