LDDU Dubrovnik Airport – ORBX (5*)

Dubrovnik. An excellent natural harbor and an airport where you can park a Cessna next to a 747. Plus centuries of grand history.

In short – 5 *

I could write a guidebook on how to create a nice scenery based on this product. They covered the whole area with aerial imagery, placed dense autogen accurately. I found landmarks where I searched for them and recognized them easily from memory and real-world location photos. If the score is not higher, only the ORBX can be blamed, for raising the bar with every scenery they publish. Five stars here. Five stars for scenery done in every respect as it should.

Pros and cons?

What do I like in Dubrovnik?

  • craftsmanship – this is a very good scenery!
  • performance
  • “all the usual suspects” – 3d models, autogen, photoscenery, static aircraft…
  • coverage – the scenery covers the area I use for approach

What do I not like?

  • There is no marina! (I’m joking).

Place for improvements?

  • I would like to see some landmarks in the old town (for sightseeing trips in helicopters)

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Whining – defects that are not…

When I discuss such sceneries, I have this thought – why didn’t they… Well. I have been to Dubrovnik. I know how Dubrovnik looks like. I would like to ask where is the marina where I tied up the sailboat?!

Jokes aside. When I notice such deficiencies, I know that it will be an excellent review. Criticizing airport buildings or obvious faults is easy. Trouble starts when there is nothing to criticize. Because the textures of the airport plate have tire and dirt marks. Because there are just enough airplanes at the airport to make it crowded but not that many that it would be hard to park. Someone has planned this and I can take my favorite 747 and I have a choice of two stands where I can put it.

So the investigation begins. Did they make a cathedral in the city? (the city is a few miles from the airport). They did not. Ships in the port. Placed. Bridge? This spectacular suspension bridge that crosses Rijeka Dubrovačka? The Franjo Tuđman Bridge? Placed and shaped accurately in 3D. I’m flying a helicopter further, maybe I’ll find something. And I do. There should be ACI Marina at the far end of Rijeka. Not so long ago, it was the most expensive and the best harbor in Croatia (probably it still is). In the scenery, there is merely a photoreal background with piers. That is a small success. I found a weakness.

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Contents – what to look for in FSX and P3D?

Traveling along the coast, I first noticed the Franjo Tuđman Bridge – a characteristic concrete structure between the banks of the bay that cuts several kilometers into the land. Until recently, entry to Dubrovnik was possible only by the road running along the banks of this bay. At this road, small towns attract tourists who would like to spend some time in Dubrovnik and avoid crowds pulling into this city. You can see them in the scenery – the characteristic apartment compound in the township of Gornje Obuljeno spoils the landscape in the simulator just as it does in the real world.

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Two cruise ships were moored next to the bridge. Familiar view – this is the place I remembered from the cruise in this area. From here, take a helicopter towards the old town. More attentive observers will recognize the characteristic shape of the Grand Hotel Park and the extensive hospital complex (Opća bolnica Dubrovnik). You can land on a clinic’s helipad.

Cypress trees, without which the Croatian scenery would be incomplete. In several places, they stand in groups and stand out above the line of other trees. Nice.

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Srđ mountain towers over the old town. A small, but steep mountain, with an old fort (now a museum of war) on top. There’s also an antenna mast with a peculiar shape. The base resembles rocket’s tail. When in Dubrovnik, you would choose a cable car to get to the top of Srđ. In the scenery, the animated carriages travel from the base to the top station.

The cable car ropes lead to the old town. If you are searching for landmarks on the walls – you will find them. Minčeta Tower. Fort St. Ivan. Bokar’s Tower and the Fortresses of Lovrijenac and Ravelin are in their places. I recognize them from memory. The shape of the walls and the general appearance of the old town were preserved and included in the scenery. Here I can start whining about the details – I miss the cathedral, and the boats in the port are incorrect (no sailing yachts – only small fishing boats are allowed here). These are the details one could hardly expect in airport scenery. Once again – jokes aside. I love Dubrovnik and its scenery.

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Park your 747 next to a Cessna 172

What to fly from Dubrovnik and where? Dubrovnik is a typical seasonal airport, serving charter and holiday operators. In winter, it is quiet and boring – in January 2017 it served only 19,000 passengers. The traffic begins in the spring – in April, the number of passengers exceeds one hundred thousand (143,000 in 2017), and the peak season falls on July and August when over 400,000 passengers use this airport.
To meet these crowds, the airport can handle up to four Boeing 747 and additionally a 777. Usually, on the apron in front of the terminal, there are 20 stands for aircraft not larger than a Boeing 737-900. A 747 takes two or three stands.

Dubrovnik is also a popular destination for private jets and small jets. For them, there is a general aviation parking. Additional eleven places where you can leave a Cessna 172 or a Citation while you go sightseeing.

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All stands are available in the scenery although some are taken by static aircraft (you can switch them off in a config manager if you wish). The authors took care of placing the correct airplanes – same as those which operate at this airport. They left enough room for subsequent arrivals. I managed to park a 747 (I even had the choice of two of the four positions where 747 fits – which I mention, because recently I failed to park a Jumbo Jet because the only parking for such a large plane was taken by an A319).

Where to go from Dubrovnik? Considering the city and the airport, the most realistic destination are airports next to large European cities. Most flights serve tourists coming here for holidays. There are a few year-round connections to the capital of Croatia (Zagreb) and to several cities in Europe (Frankfurt, Rome, London, Istanbul, and Barcelona). In 2018 a new route to Dubai opens.

In the case of smaller aircraft – there are plenty of destinations. I like flying along the mountainous coast of Croatia. To the south, there is Montenegro, Albania, and Northern Greece. I most often flew to Innsbruck. It takes three hours on a small plane flying below 10,000 feet, but the view of the Croatian mountains and then the Alps is worth taking this time.

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Take the challenge – the circling approaches

The airport has a complicated location which makes IFR approaches challenging. To the north Snijenica hill tops at 4049 feet. A little behind the state borders limits the space for maneuvers – just a few miles divides LDDU from two other FIRs (flight information regions) – FIR Sarajevo lies just to the north, and FIR Belgrade to the east of the airport.

Because of this position, the approach to runway 30 follows an unusual route. Landing from the east should follow ILS approach to runway 12 with a circle to land maneuver for RWY 30.

Due to the obstacles inside the circulatory zone, the minima are restrictive: 1300 feet for categories A and B, 2170 for categories C and D. These are 773 and 1643 feet above the surface of the runway. The circle-to-land maneuver itself has to be carried out under the procedure that sets out the turning points and the courses to follow.

Additionally, there is a VOR-A approach to runway 30. The approach comprises a leg on the NDB bearing, DME ARC leg and some maneuvers in visual conditions.

A measure of the quality of the scenery is the ability to find the characteristic points and obstacles shown on maps.

I recorded both approaches.

LDDU Dubrownik – ORBX

Features (according to ORBX)

  • Ground imagery at 60cm per pixel
  • 100sq km+ of photoreal terrain
  • Multi-elevation airport model
  • Optimized for NGX and airliners
  • Custom modeled high def airport
  • Advanced AO and night rendering
  • FULL Dubrovnik cityscape included
  • Custom vegetation at airport
  • Large area of custom LC & vector
  • Full suite of Flow technology used
  • ONLY FTX Global required!
  • By Rasha Tucakov and Misha Cajic

Performance – great

The authors boast of optimization for NGX (737 NGX by PMDG I suppose) and I think they managed to do a very good job. Both 737 and 747 PMDG work great here. Cessna 172 and 182 A2A is better.

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Summary – 5*

I could write a guidebook on how to create a nice scenery based on this product. They covered the whole area with aerial imagery, placed dense autogen accurately. I found landmarks where I searched for them and recognized them easily from memory and real-world location photos. If the score is not higher, only the ORBX can be blamed, for raising the bar with every scenery they publish. Five stars here. Five stars for scenery done in every respect as it should.

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