Third-party developer Drzewiecki Design recently released Krakow John Paul II International Airport (EPKK) for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
As the second busiest airport in Poland, EPKK is another relevant addition to the simulator. It is a hotspot for budget airlines like Wizz Air, Easyjet and the local branch of Ryanair, Buzz, in addition to many other traditional airlines. It is also a mixed-use airport used by the Polish army.
The airport is available on Orbx Direct for around $ 24, which means it can be installed and updated without any hassle just using the publisher’s handy Orbx Central client.
If you want to see what the airport looks like, you can watch an ILS approach and landing on runway 25 in the first video below, and a full flyby in a variety of lighting and weather conditions in the second. video.
This package includes much more than the international airport. It also includes the Krakow-Rakowice-Czyżyny Airfield (EPKC) and a large number of monuments tailor-made for the city itself.
The additional airfield, located in the middle of Krakow, is not very operational (it is closed to most flights and is basically just a runway), but it is quite relevant as a location of the Polish Aviation Museum, which means you can find all of its historic airplanes modeled and displayed.
On the other hand, EPKK is fully functional. All instrumental, SID and STAR approaches are properly implemented, and if you prefer visual approaches, the PAPI lights are well calibrated and will guide you on the correct descent path.
Taxiways and ramps are also implemented and labeled to match the maps, so you will have no problem navigating your way following the default ATC and Live AI Aircraft will navigate the aprons correctly. That being said, I saw some that did not take off from runway 25 and others disappear after landing, and I could not identify the cause.
The ortho-imagery that serves as the basis of the airport is quite crisp and detailed, highlighting the plowed texture of the ground around the runway.
Speaking of the track, taxiway and aprons, they are all beautifully textured and feature decent markings replicating the most current layout I could find to perfection.
We’re just seeing the right level of weathering and the marks are perfect, not too fuzzy, not too bright or cartoonish.
The main terminal is absolutely stunning, displaying masterful modeling, texture, and detail. Physics-based rendering improves realism, and the weathering is excellent.
The interior is fully modeled, allowing for pretty much seamless travel from the catwalks (which are also custom and superbly detailed) or aprons to the city side area.
This is without a doubt one of the most detailed airports of this size I have ever seen in Microsoft Flight Simulator, if not the most detailed. It’s not uncommon to replicate a smaller general aviation aerodrome by this standard, but you don’t see many large international airports that look this good.
The other airport buildings, towers and hangars, are no less beautiful or detailed, although they do not feature modeled interiors.
Terminal 2, the freight terminal and its adjacent offices have their interiors made with parallax shaders, which always do a good job while saving resources.
The military base is also lovingly modeled and textured, matching the quality of the rest of the airport and including many static models of the EADS CASA C-295s that you will indeed find in the real airport.
Speaking of static models, Drzewiecki Design has updated their airliners, and they’re gorgeous, with modeled cargo and passenger doors, a real cockpit, relatively high polycount, and crisp textures. One is also lively, being towed back and forth across the tarmac and adding some life to the airport.
I am aware that many are skeptical of the presence of static planes, but I totally agree with them when they look this good, although I hope the developer will come up with an option to remove them. after the simulator receives better air traffic implementations.
The rest of the clutter on the aprons and vehicles at the airport is also very well done, with the correct logos you will find in Krakow.
There are also a lot of people modeled around the airport (some of them gathered to board or leave the plane). They are well placed, but they are static and above all, their quality does not match the rest of the decor. Sure, it’s a booze, but it’s worth mentioning considering the overall quality is so high.
The level of detail doesn’t drop even when looking at the city side area, which is again one of the best I’ve seen in a while: parking lots and silos, hotels, gateways, checkpoints and signage are a feast for the eye.
To give you an idea of the insane level of detail presented in this setting, the station is fully modeled with passengers and everything, it has an animated train and… 3D tracks. Most developers will be fine with depicting the tracks with a flat texture on the floor, but Drzewiecki Design has gone above and beyond.
Stepping away from the airport fence a bit, you’ll always find plenty of additional bespoke designs including freeway toll gates, a McDonalds, and the airbase facilities with its vintage static display planes.
It’s pretty obvious to me that someone at Drzewiecki Design must really like dioramas, as the work that has gone into replicating additional areas that almost every other developer would miss or overlook is absolutely refreshing.
As you move away from the airport, you will find the hills near Krakow decorated with their highly visible monuments, including the Piłsudski Mound, Kościuszko Mound, and the Camaldolese Monastery.
Finally, we come to the city itself, which is a feast for the eyes. You will find the iconic city center with St. Mary’s Basilica, Cloth Hall, Town Hall Tower, Royal Wawel Castle and its Cathedral, St. Wojciech Church, etc.
If you’ve ever visited Krakow in Microsoft Flight Simulator, you’ll know that this area actually comes with its custom made template by default… and yet Drzewiecki Design has decided to do it again with better quality. Talk about dedication …
Many other bespoke designs include bridges over the Vistula, Główny Station, Henryk Reyman Stadium, Marshal Józef Piłsudski Stadium, Tauron Arena, the local Ikea, custom apartment buildings, massive fireplaces from the coal-fired power plant, and much more.
There’s no way I can mention it all here, but what Drzewiecki Design modestly describes almost casually with a single line in his marketing is roughly equivalent to the content you’ll often find in a sold city add-on. separately for $ 10-15. The value offered here is arguably unmatched.
Speaking of weather, the landscape reacts well to rain (only the glass parts stand out a bit too much in the haze) and the snow cover is not 100% perfect, but better than most.
Night time lighting is also excellent, in the airport itself, its surroundings and throughout the city.
With all the extra models, you may think the performance might not be great, and you’d be wrong. On my PC (RTX 3070, Ryzen 9 3900x, 32GB RAM) with 1440p resolution and Ultra detailed settings, I only lose 2-3 FPS around the airport and around 4-6 around town.
This is surprisingly good considering the absolutely huge disparity in detail between this landscape and the default area in Microsoft Flight Simulator. You can check the difference in the gallery above.
Ultimately what can I say about this package that I don’t already have? Krakow John Paul II International Airport (and everything that comes with it) is arguably the best, if not the best, landscape add-on I’ve tested for Microsoft Flight Simulator to date.
Not only is its quality extremely high across the board, but the value it offers is exceptional, giving you everything you need to enjoy the location not only on the ground but also during approach and departure.
I love when I see developers raising the bar both in terms of quality and quantity, and this add-on certainly does.
- World-class modeling and texturing.
- Accurate reproduction of the actual airport.
- Fantastic modeled interiors.
- Many high-quality bespoke models enrich the city and its surroundings.
- Nice static plane.
- The Polish Aviation Museum is a gem.
- Excellent night lighting.
- Human models do not measure up to the quality of the rest of the landscape.
- AI Aircraft appears to have issues taking off and disappearing after landing.