Tunisia is the most northerly country in Africa and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Habib Bourguiba International Airport (DTMB) is located next to the city of Monastir which is a major tourist resort in the north-eastern part of the country on the Mediterranean.
It is primarily used by charter airlines to bring tourists to the Tunisian resorts. In 2007 more than 4 million passengers passed through its gates. The airport is slated to close in 2011.
The standard Aerosoft installer is used for this product. To begin the installer you launch the "exe". You will then be asked to type in your registration information, ensure the path to the flight simulator has been correctly identified and then allow it to continue.
When the process is complete the scenery will have been added to the simulator's scenery library and a program group called Aerosoft created. Within that group you will find Monastir X that contains a link to the manual and the site where airport charts can be downloaded from.
The package comes with a 20 page PDF German/English manual. The manual is divided into three main topic areas; Starting off, Habib Bourguiba International Airport and Appendix.
The "Starting off" section has a listing of the system requirements which are modest, a P4 2.6Ghz, 50 Mb HDD space, 2 Gb RAM and a 3D graphics card with 256 Mb. They then go on to explain the installation process and how to remove the scenery should you wish to.
In the second section, "Habib Bourguiba International Airport" they give some general information about the airport and then technical information such as airport coordinates, frequencies, runway length and stats.
The third and final section; "Appendix" has some performance related recommendations for your display settings and the URL to the "Tunisian aviation authority" web site where you can access and download airport charts. Registration to their site is free.
This airport is off the beaten path so to speak. Personally it is not somewhere that I had considered flying to before I was given the opportunity to review this airport. Monastir X is not a recent release and has actually been out for about a year.
This is not a large airport nor does it have a complex layout. There is a single runway 07/25 which is 2970 meters long. The main terminal building is centrally located and there are no jet ways. It is flanked on the west by a freight terminal and several other small buildings and a fuel farm which in turn is fronted by the general aviation parking apron. To the east of the terminal is the tower, MET park and on the far end is the large blue "EADS" hanger. Overall the buildings look good but there are several that stand out.
I'll begin with the main passenger terminal; the two story structure has a distinctive looking roof which is made up of triangles arranged in circular patterns. It is an unusual roof and I thought they did a really good job in recreating it.
The other building that catches your attention is the large EADS hanger located on the eastern end of the runway. It is an imposing structure because of its contrasting blue color and its size. The hanger's doors are fully opened allowing the interior to be in plain view and because of that you can see that the inside has been modeled extensively. Looking in one can clearly make out the ribbed supports on the sides and ceiling along with the ceiling light fixtures. On the exterior you have the EADS logo and some roof mounted cooling units.
I singled out the terminal and hanger because I thought they were the two best examples of the work the developers have done with the buildings at the airport.
Several other buildings of note are the tower with its antennae and the fire hall which also has an odd roof line.
The other objects that are an integral part of any airport include ground and overhead lighting, DME, and fencing and barriers. These are nicely modeled and can be seen throughout the airport grounds.
I did notice a problem with the PAPI lighting. There are no fixtures. As you approach them you can see the glow of the lights but as you pass by and then look back you will see that there are in fact no light fixtures present. This was true for both runways.
Vehicles for the most part appear to be standard FSX with a few exceptions such as some mobile stairs that have the Tunisair logo and colours.
The ground textures like most everything else at this airport were good and appear to be hi-resolution textures so that washed out look close up is minimized. I do have several criticisms however and that has to do with two areas. First, as you look at the car and bus park areas the lines on the pavement are almost half the width of the vehicles and look all out of proportion.
My next issue is with the cleanliness of some of the hard surface areas. The runways and taxiways look weathered and stained but the aircraft parking area directly in front of the main terminal building shows no signs of wear and tear, no oil, fuel or dirt stains you would normally expect to find. You'd never know that this was where aircraft routinely parked and off loaded passengers or saw any sort of traffic. I found the same to be the case with the roads around the airport, they all just look too clean.
When it came to actually landing and taking off from Monastir I have to classify this as being an easy airport mainly due to its location and the flat terrain. I was able to land successfully on either runway without incident using VFR and ILS on runway 07.
In addition to recreating Habib Bourguiba Airport the surrounding area has also been improved to be more in line with how the area actually looks. Not entirely accurate but as you can see in the screenshots the differences are significant and give a whole new look to the region making it much more realistic. Had they not done this the overall appeal of the project would have been much less.
In the FSX default rendition the entire area shows up as desert but after installing the scenery you can see that the individual salt lagoons are defined and that a built up area to the east is representative of the city of Monastir. Although most of the base textures appear to be generic they do make a difference. Where there is a bit of a problem is when you get in close, many of the buildings they added just don't line up with these base textures obviously a result of trying to make custom objects fit onto generic ground textures. However, having said that, the addition of all of those buildings is a big plus.
As you approach the airport or fly nearby you are not met with vast expanses of desert, you do get the impression that this airport is located in an area that has a significant population.
Night textures and lighting were generally good. Overhead lighting of the aprons and parking areas I thought was well done with differences in intensity based on the locations of the lamp posts and distance from the source of light. The ground lighting also looks realistic as they give off a subdued glow.
There was a problem with the approach lights for runway 07. At night they appeared nice and bright but when I flew over during the day there were no light fixtures. Same sort of problem I described with the PAPI lights.
Runway 25 as you can see in my screenshot clearly shows approach lighting. I had a look at the airport documentation and charts and found that it is not equipped with this type of lighting. I cannot find anywhere to indicate that lights were in use at any time in the past. To me this is something that should have been noticed at some point in the testing before release.
Overall I thought this airport was well done, is a good value for the price and is a huge step up from the airport that exists in FSX. Despite the problem with the approach and PAPI lighting, the improvements this airport brings to FSX still makes it a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in flying this part of the world.
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