The name of the Paderborn-Lippstadt airport is a bit of a peculiar one: you’ll find the small international airport not in Paderborn, nor Lippstadt, but near Büren, about 18 kilometres from Paderborn, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The airport sees mainly Corendon Airlines, Holiday Europe, Sundair and TUI Fly Germany serve flights to European leisure destinations like Antalya, Heraklion, Hurghada and the Canary and Greek islands among others during the summer season.
Paderborn-Lippstadt airport opened in 1971 and has seen a slow decline in numbers over the last few years from just over a million to around 600,000 passengers a year. The huge short- and long-term parking facilities make it a very agreeable airport.
The airfield has 1 main runway (06/24), which measures just over 2 kilometres, thereby limiting the type of aircraft to anything up to an Airbus A320 or equal mid-sized aircraft. Boarding goes through 1 of the 5 stands at the single terminal building, of which 3 have a jet bridge. It’s also popular as a general aviation airport, with at least 10 GA stands.
Aerosoft, a well-established developer in the flight sim world, have their main offices in a building at the airport in which they hosted the Aerosoft Conference. The fact they chose this airport as their first MSFS add-on and even making this free of charge didn’t come as a surprise. Even though this is freeware, we expect Aerosoft to live up to their reputation, so let’s take a closer look.
General Overview & Surroundings
When you compare the airport on Google Maps, to the Aerosoft scenery, the similarities immediately stand out. The main features of the airport are all there: the distinctive tower, all the buildings, the vast long-term parking, the hotel, and of course, the Aerosoft building itself; only a small part of an unused general aviation parking area is missing. The scenery blends in perfectly with the surroundings, and that in every season.
The “50cm snow” setting still shows the airfield lighting, runway and taxiway contours, the low cut grass, and even some, but not all, perfectly snow-free ground markings feel as weird as the green treetops of the forests near the airport in this type of weather. Maybe this is how the airport looks like when it’s closed because in these conditions no pilot will think about landing or taking off here.
The airport’s elevation is 690 feet AMSL, as checked on the official charts, on a plateau about 100 feet higher than its surroundings.
The light grey tower building connects the main terminal building and private charter company Padaviation and is a spitting image of the real one. There’s a lot of attention to detail in the several antennas on the roof, the small cameras, the glasswork, the alarm system with its lights in the correct colour, even the fire extinguisher on the wall and the white truck, doing its best to look radiant. They even made sure the virtual pigeons also can’t use the antenna’s any more to rest on, by putting metal spikes on top of the red wheel on the top of the tower. The large square base with the tower room on top looks impressive, the many virtual glass windows reflect the sun like the real ones. You can even see plants in the offices, but when you try to enter the building, all you can see are the remains of a very early building stage. Pretty cool though is the fact you can actually enter the airfield’s nerve centre and have a virtual view from up there, which makes for some awesome views, and a surprisingly clean desk!
Again, the level of detail is quite refreshing, starting from the moment you walk from the car park to the main terminal, past the blue pillar, and see the yellow Deutsche Post mailbox next to the Departures entrance. The distinctive glass front of the terminal building with the triangular motifs and even the pyramid-shaped lights are all present, as are the posters you can see behind the windows. Unfortunately, the resolution of the images of those posters is so low, it’s not adding to the value of the airport and rather looks messy.
Just like the top part of the tower, you can walk around in the real-life modelled terminal building and enjoy the feeling when you wait for your flight. Unfortunately, you can’t see the glass windows anymore once you’re inside. A cool feature is the fact you can visit the baggage collection area. When you look closely at the baggage carts, you see the logos of Eurowings, TUI Fly and Lufthansa, not by coincidence the airlines that operate at this airport.
Stands & Ramps
Next stop is the tarmac. Remarkably, the virtual concrete has been repaired at the same places as the real one. This scenery’s tarmac shows more wear and tear than the one in real life, although the used concrete is of a lighter grey. The old taxi lines here and there haven’t been added, which makes the markings easier to read but also strips away a bit of the charm of a used airport. The textures also look very flat, even though there are some concrete slabs in the tarmac. The closer you look, the more grainy and uniform it becomes. All ramps and stands are perfectly aligned, just like the sometimes curvy taxi lines at the GA stands. Catering and fuel trucks, tugs, baggage carts, they’re all there to accommodate the aircraft.
Signs & Markings, Runways & Taxiways
The high-resolution custom taxiway signs Aerosoft has used, are sturdy with appropriate lighting. All taxiways are an overlay of the real world, and the taxi line was removed from taxiway E. According to the AIP, runway 06 should have a heading of 235°, which checks out, and is about 8 feet shorter than the actual runway, that measures 7,152 feet. Transmissometers A and B, which provide information about the visibility next to the runway on the airfield are present in high resolution, next to two anemometers. The third, C, is missing. The non-directional beacon (NDB) is visible, just short of runway 06. To get perfect marks, they will have to change the brightness of the PAPI lights though, which are visible from a lot further than the average of 5 miles before the start of the runways. The same low-resolution issue with the textures here, unfortunately, with sometimes quite blurry edges. The custom markings look sharp and neat though.
Paderborn looks inviting at night. The neon signs and infrastructure look quite nice, but some of the illuminated interiors are very blurry because of the low resolution and again make it look sloppy. Overall they’ve done a nice job; nothing is too bright or too dark, making it look like you could see this in real life, but the other buildings could use the same skilled interior decorator that would improve the main terminal, meaning upgrading those textures.
The parking is undoubtedly the worst rendered part of the airport. Even though the concrete looks real, a lot of the textures are blurry, with sharp unrealistic edges, grass and bushes seem to turn into concrete and vice versa, and the cars are definitely not from this century. The whole surface is as flat as a pancake, which would require much more than a complimentary cocktail onboard your flight to convince you to leave your car here. Since the long-term parking is one of the assets of the airport, this would really benefit some extra attention.
All in all, Aerosoft has given the community a nice present as their first MSFS scenery. Overall this is a scenery that you can appreciate in your (freeware) collection. The important features are all there, nice and shiny: the tower, the main building, the stands, clear markings and signs, correct taxiways and runways. Being able to look out from the tower, the inside of the terminal building, and all the great details you can find all over the airfield will make you enjoy Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport even more. So much attention to detail was given to those things, so little was left for certain others, like the disturbingly low-resolution textures and blurry dimensionless-looking spaces. Those textures seem to indicate this isn’t a brand new scenery but ported from FSX. It’s also a pity they omitted the old taxi lines, which give the airport a more used look and realistic feel.
- True reflection of real life airport
- Detailed tower and main terminal
- Custom signs
- Tower view and baggage collection area
- Low resolution textures in buildings
- Lack of detail of the car park
- Missing old markings
- Inconsistent weather rendition