Bremen airport (EDDW) is a medium German airport serving about two million passengers per year to European destinations handling 38,876 commercial landings and takeoffs in 2008. There is quite a lot of non-commercial activity as well, totaling about 9000 aircraft movements last year such that this airport will allow you to be amongst similar types (AI) with either your heavy irons, biz jets, twins, and/or general aviation preferences, unlike some very large airports where you can actually feel out of place in your cherished Cheyenne next to an exclusive club of 747s and MD-11s.
Personally, I favor this sized airport which tends to be a lot friendlier on the frame rates while still completely immersing you in a highly active airport environment. You also don't require an i7 CPU to have fluid movements of correspondingly reasonable amounts of AI. The included manual has an interesting history write-up covering Bremen airport.
Aerosoft makes available a rendition of this eloquent airport for both FS2004, and just recently, FSX. You do get both versions with the one purchase. Being a subset of German Airports 3, I would also expect it to be made available later in a larger package once that series is complete (... speculative). As a standalone it is sold at a low $18 US (at the time writing).
This review only covers the product as properly installed in FSX (with acceleration,) with occasional mention to some detail of FS2004 version's known applicability.
Installation, Configuration Tools and services:
At 62 MB, there is not much to plan ahead for, just chose the installation path and you’re all set. The usual call for your email address and the supplied product key unlocks this package. The only real decision I had to make was whether or not to install it with static aircraft. I decided on a yes because it does add static AI that may be useful if you decide to decrease dynamic AI in order to improve frame rates. This static AI can be removed later if you know where to go (I will not elaborate on this).
In FS2004 you will be asked if you have installed other terrain sceneries or landclass in this area. Choose this option when you have installed add-on sceneries like Ultimate Terrain on your computer. There are no such questions for the FSX installation.
In the start menu under Aerosoft you will find lots of tools: charts, manual, a ground traffic tool and a seasonal tool. There is also a patch accessible from the same start menu for flickering textures which by default is off. If you experience the flickers this will help although there are compromises. More on these later.
A ground traffic tool (FSX version only) allows you to activate and/or deactivate three loci of ground activity: landside, apron, and the train. By default these are on. If you experience too much stuttering these may be turned off (you will need a reboot of FSX). Unlike in the native FSX, this custom ground vehicle traffic will pause when near your aircraft but will not react to AI.
A season tool is used to render the custom tree objects to coincide with FSX's seasonal autogen type. This is not needed for users of Aerosoft's VFR Germany North which has only summer textures (the tools default).
If you’re using an AI traffic generator other than Aerosoft‘s MyTraffic, AI aircraft may become non-visible. If such is the case you should disable “Aircraft casts shadow on ground“ in FSX's display/settings/aircraft menu.
Airport Enhancement Services (AES): Animations of the jet ways and the interactive ground handling for this Bremen scenery has been adopted for both FS2004 and FSX (requires one credit for those that are in the know on this activation purchase option). Note that AES is not as yet fully functional within DX10 mode.
Getting There: nav
Bremen (EDDW) is situated 2NM south of the city of Bremen in the northwestern quadrant of Germany, 48NM northwest of Hannover (EDDV) and 55NM southwest of Hamburg (EDDH). This places it within Aerosoft's VFR Germany North. It has two CAT III ILS approaches for runways 09 and 27 which are detailed in the supplied charts as a pdf document. A smaller runway, 23, is only 700 meters long. BMN is the VOR and HIG and BW are the two NDBs.
The included charts are exhaustively complete and detailed. There
are 19 reproductions of various charts including all applicable
instrument and GPS SIDs and STARs but alas not all is perfect,
as there is no index nor table of contents, so you have to navigate
the pdf documents to find what you're looking for.
A search at Wikipedia for "GLS approach" does not produce any meaningful results other than things like ... Great Lake Swimmers... which is not it unless you plan on ditching your aircraft there. However from a site about the Garmin SL30 Nav-Comm, I read that it has to do with doing a "fake" radio navigation using onboard GPS and database of VOR and ILS approaches. Thus the terms GLS for GPS ILS and GVOR for GPS VOR navigation. It is called the GPS Landing System, aka GLS.
In real life I do think they want to replace our dear old flashlight-like radio beacons; the well worn ILS. Interestingly GLS can accommodate adjustable glide slopes and custom touchdown points amongst other innovations integrated into the new RNP (Required Navigation Performance) instrument procedures. It becomes a flexible yet more precise ILS and can make for safer, better, and variable criteria for near zero-visibility landings with the innovative prospect of providing precision approach for helicopters. A more detailed explanation is available from Boeing.
The reproduction of this small airport is outstanding. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will show a series of photos taken while at and after arriving at Bremen.
I regularly make use of the VFR-Germany series 1 through 4, so I am showing some high altitude pictures using FSX generic, Ultimate Terrain Europe and VFR-Germany for comparison.
My medium computer was sufficient to allow for a fluid approach through to a landing with most settings a notch less from their highest. Even with an LOD radius manually extended to 8.5, frame rates were always in the mid-teens. The only exception occurs when you are taxiing around the tarmac areas, where activation of any of the traffic dynamics also adversely affects performance, albeit minimally.
Night lighting effects are well covered, as is the nice blending of its photo-real tiles with neighboring ones.
Optional Dynamic Scenery:
Using the configuration tool as described earlier, you can select between three traffic options: 1) the trains; 2) local vehicle traffic; and 3) tarmac traffic. With three separate check boxes, any or all three can be active or inactive at one time.
The train somewhat follows the outer perimeter as delimited by the airport's buildings, as does the vehicular traffic. The tarmac traffic is made up of the usual tarmac vehicles. There is no control for their density, and I found the tarmac density too frequent. There is a minimal effect on performance, nothing too drastic, but I should mention that I always turned these off for an approach into Bremen.
Summary / Closing Remarks
With my system being of medium performance, I never really noticed any significant performance hits while flying into and around Bremen except for a small hit when enabling all three dynamic scenery options.
My overall impression of this airport add-on is, as is usual with Aerosoft's products, one of unequalled high satisfaction. I greatly appreciated the introduction to the new GPS navigational approach systems known as GLS, as I am out of touch with the real aviation world now that it is so expensive.
What I Like About Bremen
What I Don't Like About Bremen
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