AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

Berlin Tegel

Product Information

Publishers:  Aerosoft

Description: Scenery package of Berlin Tegel airport, Germany.

Download Size:
FS9 - 79.4 MB / FSX - 80.6 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS9 / FSX
Reviewed by: Benjamin van Soldt AVSIM Staff Reviewer - December 7, 2009

Introduction

Berlin has three airports: Schönefeld, Tempelhof and Tegel, also known as Otto Lilienthal. Of these three, Tegel is the most important. Tempelhof is closed, and Schönefeld is a lot smaller. Tegel airport doesn’t lie in Berlin, though: like most airports, it’s outside of Berlin. In Tegel’s case, it’s more to the north, in a section of the borough of Reinickendorff, called Tegel.

Now, Berlin Tegel is a relatively old airport (as you will soon read about), but still recognized for some of its benefits and good design decisions. For example, Tegel is famous for its short walking decisions. This being because of the main terminal being hexagonal: the gates are laid out around a central parking lot, where also buses and taxis wait for their passengers. From plane to taxi or bus: it’s never far away.

Tegel, besides the hexagonal A terminal, has four more terminals (B, C, D and E). B, C, D and E are farther away so the “short walking distances” argument only holds for terminal A, although we can safely say that walking distances are for sure a lot shorter than in airports like London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol or New York JFK. Generally, you can see that every terminal has its own entrance, and they even seem to have their own parking lots. Terminal A seems to be the largest, though.

Aerosoft has done something somewhat strange by recreating this airport for FS2004 and FSX (although, honestly, I don’t mind. I have always wanted to see this airport done well for FS). Why? Because Tegel will soon not be the main international airport of Berlin any longer. A “new” airport is being built, although it really can’t wholly deserve the term “new”. It uses parts of the infrastructure of Berlin Schönefeld airport, and with that, is more “Schönefeld rebuilt” than a new airport. The name of the new airport is Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport.

A history lesson

Tegel is an airport with a rich history, stemming all the way back to the 1930s. It was built on a place where rockets were usually tested and what used to be the French sector Germany’s capital in the cold war era. It survived the Nazis, the bombings by the Allied forces, and became the most important airport in the cold war era because of its long runways (at that time, it had Europe’s longest runways). Airliners that had flown to Tempelhof transferred their operations to Tegel because of this: next generation airliners, like the Boeing 707, couldn’t be handled at Tempelhof because of the runways and general capacity of the airport.

As of 1986, more and more airlines were “transferred” to Tegel. Tempelhof became congested with traffic, and not enough use was made of Tegel. In an attempt to alleviate Tempelhof, Tegel became more populated.

Following the reunification of Germany, also the constraints on air traffic to and from Berlin were lifted. This allowed free access to airlines and rules and regulations that were active in the cold war era were lifted. Lufthansa started with more flights to and from Berlin to various destinations. Airline companies like Air Berlin, that were US companies in origin, had to make a decision: either move away from Europe (EU legislation didn’t allow US carriers to operate within EU in that way without being stationed in the EU) or become a European company. Air Berlin opted for the second option and became German, and to this day they have their hub at Berlin Tegel.

Test System

Macbook Pro with:
Intel Cure Duo2 @ 2,4 gHz
Geforce 8600GT
4GB DDR2 RAM
Windows XP Professional SP3 32bit

Flying Time:
10 hours

Installation and Documentation

Installation is simple and straight-forward, and it just like with any other Aerosoft product. You receive two installers: one for FS2004 and one FSX, depending on the version you want to install. You then enter your serial key and email address. Luckily, these two are independent of FS version and you can install it as many times as you like, on as many computers as you wish. There doesn’t seem to be a limit on this, as I have been installing Aerosoft products on what actually is one computer, but I did have some hardware changes and an OS downgrade. It always worked fine.

The manual comes in English and German. Both the languages are bundled in the same PDF file, so you don’t have to meddle with multiple manuals. The layout is clear and it’s a nice manual to read through. I can’t comment on the German, but the English is easy to understand and it’s clearly written.

The manual discusses the history of the airport and goes on about performance issues and compatibility with other scenery, although it doesn’t go beyond Aerosoft sceneries. It seems that everything there is to tell, is being told in this manual, which is good of course. There is also a second PDF file with relevant charts: something that every serious airliner pilot will be happy with. Every chart you could imagine is included here. Even a chart that signifies all places where a light is installed (taxi lights, runway lights etc.) is put into this neat PDF file.

I think the documentation is good. It’s useful: you get all relevant information, including the best settings for the best performance, and the charts included are extensive and will provide you with ample information.

The PDF file containing the charts. The PDF file containing the manual in both English and German.

Review Structure

With sceneries, I tend not to talk too much. It’s the screenshots that tell you the most, so I will provide you with ample screenshots. First I’ll take you around the FS9 version of Berlin Tegel viewed from the ground.

I don’t think the difference between the FS9 and FSX version is very big, or at least as far as I could see. Besides, in FS9 I have active camera, meaning I can walk around and show you the buildings from much closer. I can’t do this well in FSX.

From the ground – FS9

The level of detail of this airport is rather uniform, and in my opinion you can see the same from the air as from the ground, so that’s why I’m going to keep this paragraph rather short. Note that this is the only chapter to include FS9 screenshots!

Starting with terminal A, here we have a view form the ground, looking over the road, under the jetways. I like the charpness of all the textures here. Looking at the other side, we see jetways from the other side, with more terminal buildings and the control tower in the background. The bus you see on the road moves. A jetway from up close. The textures generally are quite sharp, even from this close. There is a degree of blurriness here and there, but then again, this can be expected to some extent. The modeling of the jetway, though, is fantastic. It’s very detailed!
Top-down, we can have a good look at the ground beneath us. The textures are very sharp, and give a very believable representation of the apron at Tegel. The markings you see are also very sharp, and look very good. This is the parking at the center of the hexagonal terminal A. It is filled with little cars that all look very good, certainly from the sky. The actual roads are very blurry, but as you’ll see later, you don’t notice this a lot from the air, provided you don’t fly low. Fact is, if you fly an airplane and land at Tegel, chances are you probably won’t even see this part of the airport… Still at the terminal A parking, a close up on the taxi stand. This is basically why I tend to like Aerosoft products: the amount of detail, and the attention to their products, generally is very good. Tegel is no different. The only thing that could have made this nicer is if people had been placed here, like in Aerosoft’s LPPT scenery. The way it is is already great, though.
Leaving Terminal A, we give the control tower and surrounding area some attention, including terminal B. The first thing we spot is a bus stop, plastered with DHL commercials all around it. Here, too, I like the detail. The addition of a bus, standing here, is very nice. A view of the same area, but from a different point of view. Now you can get a good look at the balcony of terminal B. There are some parasols standing here, which really add to the atmosphere. Texturing is pretty good, and the slight blurriness of the textures on the buildings will not be really noticeable to the users who don’t zoom up on the buildings, like I did here. Behind the terminal building, there is a parking and drop-off location. Like with the parking we looked at earlier, the blurriness of the road is considerable, but the cars look nice and are well textured, like the buildings.
A general overview of what we have just looked at, from a different point of view. If you look closely, you will find some trees through which you can see cars. I’ll come back to this problem in a few moments. Terminal C. Detail is very nice, although I wonder how any other aircraft is going to park here, with this A330 parked this way… Terminal C apron, the other side. The cars you see are moving over the road. The textures used for the apron are actually a bit blurry, but once taxiing it isn’t that noticeable. Still, if you go up a bit with your view, you do notice it and it isn’t a pretty sight to behold.
You can again see here some very nice Aerosoft detailing, this time on (another part of) the terminal C apron. For example, the windows to the right you can see through. Also the objects around the lampposts are very well done. Extraordinarily, the textures of the cars are hardly blurry, even when viewed from this close. The same terminal C apron, but now looking at the other direction. Some cars of the German police on terminal C’s apron. The yellow van is moving over the roads.

So until now everything looks fine, but there is one glaring problem with the trees on the car park. Just look below:

As you can see, cars and clouds can be seen through the trees. While you won’t see this problem if you taxi around terminal A, B, D and E, if you go around the airport (around terminal C, and then to terminal E and D along the back of terminal A and B, there is a taxiway there too) you will notice this problem. Sadly, this is something within both FS2004 and FSX. I have seen it more often and I’m not sure what causes it.

For the rest, I’m happy with what I’ve seen: neat texturing and professionally done modeling. The ground textures may be somewhat blurry, though.

From the air

I will now continue solely with FSX screenshots. Basically, I have tried this airport with four aircraft: the default Robinson helicopter, the default Cessna 172, the CS757 and the CS727. With the last three I have completed approaches into the airport from both directions. Below I will show you some of it. Let us start with the Robinson helicopter.

The cargo ramp looks good. Ground textures, as already noted in the FS9 version is blurry, but I should mention that this is partly because my settings aren’t at their best, with a global texture resolution set at high. Still, even at the max, it would still be blurry.
The rest of the cargo ramp looks equally good. Basically, what’s there is there, and it looks good. The texturing of the objects is good and the ground markings look very accurate and are very sharp. The A terminal in FSX. Same amount of detail, same texturing. It simply looks very lifelike, and I like the site of it. It genuinely looks like an old airport terminal. Terminal B, de control tower and the parking lot behind terminal B. As you can see, everything looks quite alike the FS9 version, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. I quite like what I’m seeing, with the added note that these ground textures remain somewhat blurry.
Terminal E with corresponding parking lot, and in the distance you see the entryway to Tegel airport. Again, buildings look great, ground textures are blurry. Terminal C with apron: it looks good. The buildings are detailed, there are multiple objects on the apron, and the taxiways and corresponding markings are neatly laid out. You know what my criticism will be, though. Indeed, ground textures, and the roof of that building, which is a bit blurry. In this shot, I would like to show you that not all of the ground textures are bad and blurry. I think the look of this badly maintained patch of grass is great in all respects. It’s not as blurry (not noticeably, anyway) as the other ground textures and looks realistic.
This is actually a patch that lies outside of the airport perimeter, but it’s nice nonetheless, because Aerosoft took the opportunity to add moving traffic and some objects on the roads just outside of the airport perimeter, in order to give you, the pilot, a nice visual experience down your approach path. Offices and garages. This is inside the airport perimeter, and it looks very convincing. I like how detailed and beautifully textured al these buildings and cars are, plus the texturing of the ground is also quite fine here. The big Lufthansa hangar, in which you could enter into with a small plane, if you’re interested in doing so. The texturing is very good, anyway.

That should give you a good overview of the airport in FSX. As you can see, the amount of detail in FS9 isn’t really expanded upon in FSX. Moreover, I noticed that some of the blurriness that was present in FS9 is also in FSX, which is a pity. Again though, this could also be due to my settings, although I don’t think the difference will be that great. And besides, if I set everything at the max, the performance would become really bad…

Now I’ll proceed with some animations that I spotted that were very nice. For example, we have working traffic lights!

We follow this nicely laid out, though blurry road and…
…find ourselves at this traffic junction. This is where all the magic happens. The traffic lights will change, and traffic will stop or drive, depending on the signal they get. I have tried my best to make this as clear as possible. Encircled in green, yellow or red, you will see the relevant traffic light with the corresponding signal it’s given. So, here you see the traffic lights being green, and where they are, the traffic flows. The truck drives, because the traffic light is green. The cars next to it (red cross) are standing still because, as you can se, the relevant traffic light is red.
The cars now start driving: the traffic light is now green. This means that, for safety issues, the cars and trucks that were coming from the far side have now stopped, because the lights have sprung to red (encircled in red, stopped cars signified with a red cross). As you can se, the cars that have started driving go to the left, as expected Finally, we see that the right most traffic lights have sprung to yellow. Still, a truck managed to slip past (encircled in blue). One thing I noticed surprised me: this truck turns in exactly the way it should: the cab starts the turn and the trailer follows. Thus you get this sort of “bending” that is characteristic for these big trucks. Truly impressive!
Meanwhile, the lights are now all back to red. Now watch the red lights to the left… Indeed, these lights go to green in a very characteristic German way: while the light is on red, first yellow lights up together with red, as seen on the screenshot. Next, yellow and red switch off and green turns on, as can be seen in the next shot. And indeed, they sprung to green now, and from both directions we see traffic driving.

When I first saw this very complex set of animations and scripting and whatnot, I was truly impressed and still am. Not that many people will actually see this while they land their plane, but this is a magnificent attention to detail that I rarely saw and I greatly valued (provided the scenery doesn’t start lacking in more important detail, of course).

We are not yet ready to leave here, though, because we can follow these roads a ways into town.

These buildings, like the traffic lights, provide nothing in terms of functionality, but when you are doing your approach, it is an addition to your first experience at this airport. The ground textures, as always, are blurry but the buildings look good and there is traffic driving over these roads, which is of course, also nice.

Now let’s go back to the airport. I haven’t shown you how the entryway to this airport looks.

So here we are. Again, this is very blurry but I have gotten used to that by now. The point is, that the traffic here flows very nicely over these roads and it’s really nice to see how neatly this has been done. There is just one problem to be found: look at the second screenshot.

Because like at Amsterdam Schiphol, which the big international airport of my home country Holland, the traffic goes under the taxiway. Sadly, this bridge has not been modeled but still the traffic goes under the taxiway. This gives us a comical view of traffic sinking into the ground and then emerging on the other side. I wish this had been done in a better way…

Next up is the Cessna 172. I will keep this brief and only show you some extra stuff I noticed while taxiing and flying around.

A nice, but not very detailed model of a Boeing 707. Also very blurry. I like the sight of the approach lights.
All 3D lights along the taxiways and runways. They look very authentic! Runway detail: we see the runway textures, which are slightly blurry, and the taximarkings. Next to the (very sharp and crisp) taxi markings we see small, grey circles. These are the green lights that denote the middle line of the taxiway. They are flat, which is a pity, but then again, they could have not been marked at all, of course… There is an error here that requires a bit of searching before you find it, but it’s definitely there. It’s like the ground textures haven’t been properly aligned.
But once you spotted one of such weird misalignings, you see more… …and even more. I’m rather sure this is not some “path” of sorts. I checked it again and again, and also on Google maps there is nothing like a path running in this location. Here we have another one of those, and actually it’s a very clear one. This is definitely a problem that should be corrected at some point.

And finally, let’s have a look at the airport at night.

The road is nicely lit, even with the absence of lampposts. I love the look of approach and runway lights by night. North ramp, completely aircraftless, but with a nice, golden lighting.
Cargo ramp is nicely lit, but it’s a pity of these aircraft that are so very dark. Granted, that’s not Aerosoft’s fault by the least. Terminal A en B with the parking lot. Looks very nice with this lighting. Terminal A looks stunning by night. I’m very pleased with how it looks!
Also terminal C’s night lighting looks very nice, especially with the touch of white in the close perimeter of the building itself. The road that leads to Tegel’s entryway: you can see how the traffic models that Aerosoft uses have very nice lighting. The same road, but looking in the other direction. You can now also see the traffic lights I discussed earlier.

As you can see, the night lighting is pretty good. A soft golden light for most areas and around the buildings and parking lots it is more white’ish, which seems perfectly acceptable. It certainly is a nice airport, especially after dusk.

With that out of the way, it’s time for an approach with the CS727. However, let me make one thing clear: I know my landing was bad. It’s about the performance, and so I didn’t pay as much attention to the landing as I should have.

Far out, performance isn’t very good (9 FPS). A bit closer now, you can see FPS is about 11 now. Ever closer, and FPS is now around 8,5.
Still closer, and we have about 9 FPS. Still closer, and now we are down to about 7 FPS. Almost at touch down we have around 9 FPS.
However, if we turn our field of view to the Terminal A area, FPS promptly drops to 7. If we look from outside, though, we get around 11,5 FPS. If we turn our view the other way around, we get 21 FPS.

As you can see, during most of the approach I got between 7 and 11 FPS, averaging at around 9 FPS. That’s not great, but it’s doable. Plus, remember that my computer is getting old. I’m absolutely sure there are people that can easily get 20FPS on this approach. For the rest, this is a rather nice approach, and the lighting of the airport gives it a very nice atmosphere.

Now we go back to daylight, as I taxi around Terminal A area with the CS727.

When we go back to daylight, you can see how the FPS promptly bounce up from 11 to 17 FPS. In the VC, and taxiing towards the gates. You’ll notice in the coming two screenshots how FPS gradually increase when we get closer. Now it’s at 8 (but it jumped a lot. 8 was one of the lower numbers). Now it’s at 10…
And finally we get 12 FPS, which I don’t see as very bad. This is also a rather interesting feature. There is a crossing here for airport vehicles. At first I was worried, because the default airport vehicles tend not to stop for aircraft. Moreover, aircraft stop for the vehicles. Well, that’s not the case here. The airport vehicles stop for you, and wait until you have passed. However, sometimes they get stuck and won’t ever move, as you can see here. There is also no AI aircraft just out of view, the vehicles simply don’t move. This results in a huge backup, and so there are no moving vehicles anymore on airport grounds.

These final screenshots are the last I’ll be showing you, and I will conclude this chapter of the review with one more thing. Sometimes I tend to pick airport sceneries by the question, “is there AES support there or not?”, because it adds such great value to ground operations.

I’m happy to report that AES works for the FSX and FS9 version of Berlin Tegel. My final conclusion will be next, but first a few words on performance.

Performance

As I said, I tried this scenery in both FS9 and FSX, and in FSX I flew around with the default Robbinson helicopter, the default Cessna 172, the CS757 and CS727. Below is a small table on the performance these aircraft returned in FSX (these are no FS9 figures!). As an added “bonus”, a lot of the screenshots have the FSX FPS counter in their top-left corners, so you can see what the FPS was for each situation. Granted, they don’t all have it, but the most important ones do.

Aircraft + situation Description (when necessary) Performance
Robinson helicopter It really depends on where you are flying. If flying above, and looking at Terminal A and B, frames can go as low as 15-16, but most of the time I had an FPS of 20-25. 15-25
Default Cessna/day Pretty much the same as above. 15-25
Default Cessna/night At night, frames were a bit lower, but it was rather close. 15-23
CS757 The Captain Sim 757 is a hefty plane, but at Aerosoft’s LPPT I got a steady 15-20 FPS. At Tegel performance is lower, and I’m not sure why. Both airports are about as detailed, so Apparently LPPT is better optimized. 12-16
CS727/night It depends at what you are looking. If you look straight at the control tower and the Terminal A/B area, frames can go to the lower tens. Look the other way, and it’s promptly back to 15 in the VC, and 20-22 in exterior view. 7-22
CS727/day Interestingly, at daytime the frames are a bit higher. Not much, but a bit. 8-23

Regarding these FPS, I should say two things:

- It has always been my personal experience that in FSX, 8FPS gives a smoother motion than FS2004 ever did. Why this is, I have no idea; but that’s the way I experience it. Granted, 8FPS is rather bad but my standards are also fairly low, because my computer is a laptop and is over 1.5 years old. I don’t expect it to perform great. What this means for you, is that you’ll probably have way better performance numbers than I had if your computer is better than mine!

- In FS9, the FPS wasn’t drastically different. However, as I said, this means the motions are choppier than in FSX for reasons unknown to me.

Summary / Closing Remarks

And so we come to the end of this review. I have shown you Berlin Tegel airport from all sides, at day and at night. The buildings and objects are all very nicely done, with great attention to detail and a complexity that we have come to expect from Aerosoft products.

The vehicles on the airport grounds and the roads outside of the airport are a very nice touch, and stuff like a vehicle crossing where vehicles stop for aircraft is something that I greatly value (no greater annoyance that I can think of was, while taxiing you have to stop for one of those default airport vehicles). Also, the traffic lights are an innovation I have not seen before and I thought they were very nice.

Texturing of the buildings and objects is all very good, and although not everything is as sharp as I would have liked it, what is in direct view of the user is very sharp and is also a delight to look at. Ground textures, though, have problems. They are often blurry and there are some mismatches that ought to be corrected.

Overall, I think this airport scenery is quite good and represents the real airport in a realistic way, and I can recommend its use to whomever fancies flying into Berlin regularly.

 

What I Like About Berlin Tegel

  • Detailed objects (buildings, cars, etc);
  • Great texturing of most of these objects;
  • Very nice 3D detail all over the scenery;
  • Attention to detail by providing “vehicle crossings” and working traffic lights;
  • AES support for FS9 and FSX!
  • Texturing of taxiways and such is superb.

 

What I Don't Like About Berlin Tegel

  • Blurry ground textures;
  • Ground texture mismatches;
  • Problem with trees around parking lots in FS9. I didn’t see this in FSX, though;
  • Vehicles at vehicle crossing can get stuck;
  • Some performance hit, but not too dramatic.

 

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