It has been some years now since Orbx first started producing the original FTX Airport series for Australia. I remember my first thoughts and questions at that time around the choice of airports and why such small airfields and regional airports where the focus of Orbx's development. As development work continued and new products where released, the logic behind a network of airports which provided an opportunity for a range of general aviation flying became more apparent.
Since the release of the FTX EU Regions and FTX Global products, a similar development pattern has emerged with a range of small airfields around Germany. This range has covered both freeware and payware airport scenery add-ons, however, the fundamental logic continues, one of providing a network of airports for some great general aviation adventures. Now, to a certain extent, this should not come as a surprise, for outside the USA, Germany is the next largest flight simming community. Add to this equation that Germany has been announced as a future release in the FTX EU Region series and the puzzle all starts to come together.
As part of this overall plan, Orbx have now released another airport in the FTX: EU Airport series, FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport, to complement and extend your flying adventures in and around Germany and Europe. Orbx developer, Thomas Zipfel, applies his skills to deliver a lovely rendition of this great little airport nestled in the heart of the Saale-Holzland-Kreis district in the east of Thuringia.
Located close to the technological centre of Jena, in the district of Saale-Holzland-Kreis, in the state of Thuringia, Jena Schoengleina Airport has a history dating back as far as 1929. Established at its current location in 1941, the airport closed for a period from 1945 before restarting operations in 1956. Jena Schoengleina Airport has a rich history in the gliding sports, an association which continues to this day. With a main runway length of approximately 3,800 feet, Jena Schoengleina Airport is an ideal airport for local adventures and general aviation flights further afield.
FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport is available from The FlightSim Store as a 'download only' product (a master back-up DVD service is also available for a minor additional cost). It is priced at AU$14.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The download file size is 228.14MB and a key code is issued via email and required during installation.
The installation process is easy and intuitive and the scenery installs seamlessly as part of the Global Region in the FTX Central 2 application.
FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport encompasses a relatively small area in the vicinity of the airport and surrounding towns and countryside. This area of coverage, whilst small, provides a point from which to explore this beautiful area, or provides an excellent departure / destination point for exploring further afield in Germany or Europe.
It is fair to say that Orbx have become the default standard in global airport scenery add-ons, and this release is no different. Whilst only a small airport, FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport is represented in marvellous detail and with the expected high degree of accuracy. The exacting detail within the airport precinct demonstrates a high level of research and application, with some wonderful bespoke modelling of buildings, and to a lesser degree in the surrounding area.
Credit to the developer, Thomas Zipfel, for he has done a excellent job in producing an extremely accurate depiction of Jena Schoengleina Airport. As usual, various aspects of scenery complexity levels for FTX: EU EDBJ can be set in the EDBJ Control Panel and this is addressed appropriately in the documentation.
Airport Precinct. Jena Schoengleina Airport and the immediate surrounding area is covered by 60 centimetre photo realistic scenery. The level of detail around the airport precinct is excellent and the accuracy is exceptional. The main terminal building has been modelled beautifully and a range of fixed based operators, aircraft hangars and sheds, and other general operational areas are also accurately represented. There is a great range of static aircraft and ground vehicles consistent with this airport's primary use and these add further to the depiction of the airport. The glider storage area and Antonov An-2 are a particularly nice touch. A comparison of FTX: EU EDBJ with Google Earth imagery confirmed the accuracy in the level of detail within the airport precinct extends to the accurate depiction and placement of signage, ramp markings, and minor object placement.
Other Airports and the Surrounding Area. Umpferstedt - Weimar Airport (EDOU) is located 12 nautical miles west northwest of Jena Schoengleina Airport. It has a single runway of approximately 2,200 feet in length. Whilst not modelled to the same level of detail as Jena Schoengleina Airport, it has had additions and enhancements and provides a quaint addition to the FTX: EU EDBJ package. The modelling of buildings in the area of Umpferstedt - Weimar Airport are of a lesser quality and, in some cases, appeared more generic in nature. Outside of the airport precinct, the focus on the level of detail is tailored to the scenery coverage area.
Seasonal Variation. Jena Schoengleina experiences some significant variations in climate throughout the course of the year. The developer has colour matched the seasons to provide a very good representation of these seasonal variations. Whilst the colour matching was effective, it was evident across all seasons and not as accurate as expected. As such, the coverage area around the airports was more dull in contrast to the surrounding scenery.
The end result with FTX: EU EDBJ is a coverage of 60 centimetre photo realistic scenery, with wonderful annotation, which provides a very good level of balanced detail for this region. This balance achieves a very good visual representation which provides sufficient visual reference points for VFR navigation purposes.
FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport delivers a high level of quality in the main buildings around the airport precinct and the modelling and representation of these buildings is very realistic. A comparative review of images from FTX: EU EDBJ and images researched on the internet clearly demonstrated this high level of quality. However, there was a contrast in the quality of objects across the product. Even though the major buildings and specific objects around Jena Schoengleina displayed a good level of quality, the more general objects appeared to be generic in nature and some static objects appeared very square or box like. This was also evident around Umpferstedt - Weimar Airport.
As part of the installation, a 12 page User Guide is provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) and is accessible from the FTX Central 2 application. Other than providing a detailed overview of FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport, it also provides comprehensive information on the following:
Jena Schoengleina Airport;
manual scenery library configuration;
EDBJ Control Panel; and
With my frame rate locked at 31 frames per second and most of my settings set high to very high, I enabled all features in the EDBJ Control Panel. I then flew a broad range of general aviation aircraft in and out of Jena Schoengleina Airport. FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport performed excellently within the existing settings I have in FSX. I did not need to make any adjustments to compensate for performance issues and there was no discernible impact on frame rate performance against what I typically get. Of course, this is also system dependent and paying heed to the relevant sections in the User Manual should avoid any disappointment and provide optimum performance for your particular system.
Whilst FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport is only a small airport and the scenery coverage is not extensive, for what you get, it is still considered excellent value for money.
Orbx FTX: EU EDBJ Jena Schoengleina Airport is a beautiful scenery add-on. The accuracy and detail of the scenery is such a quality, it provides the ability to fly in this area using VFR navigation techniques and whilst it is an airport with a small coverage area, it is appropriately priced.
Overall, FTX: EU EDBJ is positioned nicely in the Orbx product range, particularly in light of the planned FTX: EU Germany region release, and provides an excellent base and focal point for flights in this gorgeous region. For anyone who wants to explore this region on their flying adventures, and for fans of Orbx products, FTX: EU EDBJ is an addition to your scenery you will want and one which will provide hours of future enjoyment.