Welcome to Münster/Osnabrück Airport, currently the 4th largest International commercial airport in the North Rhine-Westphalia area, located 25km from Münster (Westfalen), and 40km from Osnabrück. The Münster/Osnabrück International Airport serves over 6 million people living in Ruhrgebiet, Lower Saxony, Emsland, and parts of the Netherlands and Westphalia.
Münster International Airport was officially founded on December 21st 1966 by the cities of Münster, Osnabrück, Greven and Tecklenburg. On September 24th 1968, the British Army of the Rhine started the ground leveling for an apron and a 2000m (2200 yard) long runway. Construction of Münster International Airport (FMO) lasted for 5 years, and on May 27 1972 equipped with a new Tower, Air Traffic Control, and International level instrument landing system, Münster’s runway was opened for business.
In 1973, Münster International saw their first charter flight to Palma de Mallorca by tour operators TUI and Neckermann, providing momentum to widen the runway in 1978 increasing their marketability, and accommodation of even larger aircraft. Münster/Osnabrück International’s success continued, and in 1986 officially became an international airport; 3 years later it was working with Lufthansa to provide night-air-post-runs.
Over the next 9 years Münster/Osnabrück saw 6 major expansion projects completed :
1988 – An
additional Instrument Landing System
Clearly Münster/Osnabrück International was paving out the foundation to play with the big boys. In 2001, Terminal 2 was open in Betriebgenommen, in 2003 the Air Berlin maintenance hanger was built. If you think Münster International is just sitting back and enjoying their financial rewards and competitive positioning you would be wrong; in 2004 a project was approved to expand the runway to 3,000 meters (9,850 ft) at a cost of around €60 million, and an extension to the Cargo Area is to be completed by 2008.
During my research I discovered their latest runway expansion plan was met with opposition from environmentalists, claiming the project would damage the natural areas of Eltingmühlenbach; clearly some arrangement was met as the project was approved in 2004.
Münster – Osnabrück is Aerosoft’s third installment from their successful German Airports 2 series. I have not tried Hannover, or Cologne / Bonn which are the first two airports in the series, but let us see how Münster/Osnabrück stacks up.
Installation and Documentation
German Airports 2 - Münster – Osnabrück is available as a 46meg download, which I purchased right from Aerosoft's website. The file is a single compressed zip file, which extracts nicely to a singe executable install file.
The install screens are pretty straight forward and intuitive, there are no real surprises other then the option to enable Static Aircraft. For the purpose of this review, and for the coolness factor, we enabled this option. The manual states these static aircraft are intentionally placed scarcely over the airport to maximize frame rates, also AI aircraft are not recommended with Static Aircraft enabled.
Having installed many add-ons of all types over the years, I must note I found Aerosoft's presentation well done. There are even a couple of small welcomed surprises like the chance to view in detail the paths where files are installed; as we all know the locations of these files can be crucial when things go wrong with FS2004. Finishing the install, you get a final helpful tip on where your manuals and charts are located; OK, they're small little things but you rarely see them in other FS2004 installations.
Münster – Osnabrück comes with a 23 page manual accessible upon completing the main install. The manual is split up with the first half written in Deutsch, and the second half written in English. The manual starts off listing all the credits of people and technologies embraced to recreate as close to possible, the real airport.
One very important fact to note, Münster/Osnabrück is not just the third installment in the German Airports 2 series, but for the first time ever Aerosoft is embracing Intelliscene Technology, and VistaMare Software. After visiting their webpage to understand what these technologies are all about, the information was pretty clear and concise. These two products are for the developer, enabling much more control and management of flight simulator services, also known as API functions. For more information visit www.vistamaresoft.com.
As we move through the manual we get the airports specifications and some helpful tips for setting up your FS2004. A warning is given right away in regards to your Dynamic Ground Scenery Settings, if the slider is set to very dense vehicles can collide together. The manual makes sure to mention the roads, and layouts might not transition as smoothly with other 3rd party mesh add-ons; however, it is fully compatible with Rainer Dudas German Rivers.
We are not
done yet with Aerosoft’s offerings with this package, also
included 11 high quality charts! (accessible after main install):
Aerosoft’s presentation with both the supplied manual, and 11 supplied charts impressed me.
The above 3 images will help us gauge how accurate Aerosoft has been in recreating Münster/Osnabrück Airport. Directly comparing the satellite image to the add-on, there is little doubt Aerosoft has been successful in recreating the airport and surrounding areas. When we examine the default airport and scenery, the image speaks for itself and little is left to be said. Also note I am running a 3rd party mesh add-on - Ground Environment Pro, there is no visual transition problems to see, from this view at least.
The image on the left might as well be an abandoned airport, while the image on the right shows a very well modeled realistic airport. When it comes to any of the comparison images in this review, the difference is so dramatic they really do speak for themselves.
It looks like the evacuation was successful from the default airport, the add-on airport looks great! However, at this altitude we are still not doing justice to how lively the airport is from the ground level. That is the end of the comparison images, they were a little bit painful but I did my job showing you the direct differences. Now let us take a look at more of the eye candy this beautiful add-on has to offer!
The top left image shows the Cessna on final to runway 25, you can see the dynamic scenery cars zooming by on the Autobahn! It is amazing the added sense of realism you get when you are trying to focus on your instruments; you almost get distracted by the variety of cars zooming along the road underneath you.
The middle image shows the Cessna flying above, you can see a variety of cars below driving in and out of the parking lot, driving around the circle, and driving towards the airport. The right image gives you a good perspective of the cars driving below; this really brings the airport to life.
On the ground things are quite lively around here with buses, trucks, Exxon Mobile Tractor Trailers, and Lufthansa Service Trucks, just to name a few, which are all busy doing their jobs. The dynamic scenery slider is set to DENSE, at VERY DENSE there is just too much action; it basically takes away from the realism. If you want to get a little nit picky about the vehicles, multiple cars seem to follow the same path and speed and are not moving realistically. However on a different note, when the models are viewed up close they really stand their ground. The same goes for the static aircraft, when zooming in it's surprising the level of detail. To sum up the vehicles and static aircraft, like any enhancement it is really hard to imagine not having them there; they are a lot of fun in my opinion!
I should also mention the modeling on the airport itself is very detailed, there was never anything negative any point in my evaluation where something stuck out to me. Were there any vehicles colliding with each other at the DENSE setting? (the manual did mention that might happen at VERY DENSE) Yes there were many collisions! Think of a bunch of paths, and a bunch of vehicles following them exactly; you can spot a collision from a mile away! However the idea here is to infuse your environment with additional realistic cues, they are not meant to be there as a main focal point.
Finishing up the series of eye candy are some night images of the airport. I found the night effects to be satisfying, and aligned to the quality of the overall package.
There sure has been a lot to read and see and not one mention on performance yet? How much computer power are you ready to sacrifice for all of this? Well I have saved the best part of Münster/Osnabrück for last, the performance!
I spent 15 hours recording FPS rates for 4 criteria, of which the results are listed below in the 2 charts. Needless to say when the airport first loaded, I was shocked with next to no difference in my FPS from the default scenery. I began the review in the default Cessna, so in the back of my mind I was dreading the results in the 2 payware airplanes. After I put Münster through its paces with the default Cessna, it was time for the moment of the truth – the Level D aircraft.
This package started impressing me right from the manual, and followed through like a champ all the way to the end. While the Level D technically suffered the worst hit out of the planes tested, the difference was so small it was not noticeable at any time. There was a plan to include a night FPS test also, but the results were no different than during the day.
Another very interesting thing to note, it did not seem to matter with the number of dynamic sceneries on the screen. There were instances with 1 vehicle on the screen, and when 10 were present the FPS did not even move or fluctuate. I can’t speak for the other 2 airports in this series, but Aerosoft has managed to pull off some neat magic tricks when it comes to the dynamic sceneries.
In the manual there is a mention about 3rd party add-on meshes potentially causing smooth transition problems, and I did see some of that at very low altitudes in the Cessna. It looks like a clear seam where the 2 meshes meet together, however I fly jumbo jets where the seam would not be noticeable.
Being an avid 767 pilot, I was surprised to see Münster/Osnabrück did not have any large or heavy gates. I did some checking to see what kind of airplanes usually take off from there, the majority of the jets are Boeing 737’s. I did find some photos of 767’s, but it seems the 737 is the routine plane of choice there.
I have tried a handful of add-on airports over the years, they all looked great and killed my FPS! I stay away from add-on sceneries due to bad experiences in the past, furthermore, I never used to frequent any 1 airport more then another.
The reasons people install enhanced airports varies greatly. From residing close to a certain airport, to growing up watching planes take off and land from a place they used to live, maybe an interest in the history of a certain airport, or because it might be on a route to another location or part of the world you want to fly to often.
Up until about 6 months ago I did not fit into any of the above categories, but then I decided to take my simulator skills to a new level – Vatsim. In a nutshell for those who don’t know, Vatsim is about as realistic of a flight environment that you’re going to see in the FS simulator world. So all of a sudden it becomes crucial to know an airport inside and out, from the layouts of the taxi ways, to all the standard departure and approach procedures.
I live in Toronto; so naturally my home base is CYYZ Lester Pearson for the majority of my flights. The problem is most of the events are all over Europe; Toronto to Europe is a pretty long haul. So I had a real need to find an airport in Europe where I could really learn, and now I have found it! Another reason why items like quality charts like the ones supplied here are amazing!
Your personal reasons for airport add-ons of course might be different, for the price of EUR 14.95, and the exceptional FPS performance, coupled with the professional presentation by Aerosoft; this package is a sure winner!
See you all in the friendly skies of Europe!
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