Jump to content

Airport Review: KSAT San Antonio International Airport by SXAD

Recommended Posts


KSAT San Antonio_Header.jpg


Airport Review: KSAT San Antonio International Airport by SXAD


Reviewed by Dennis Powell

Welcome to historic San Antonio, Texas, the home of iconic landmarks like the Alamo and the River Walk. As the state's second-largest city after Houston, San Antonio is a bustling metropolis, complemented by attractions like Sea World and at least five military bases. As such, there's no better gateway to explore Texas Hill Country than KSAT, San Antonio International Airport.

In 1941, the city acquired 1,200 acres of land, situated 8 miles north of the downtown area, with the intention of constructing the San Antonio Municipal Airport. The outbreak of WWII in December of that year disrupted these plans. The Army then took control, renaming the facility Alamo Field, and used it as a base for several training squadrons and the 77th Reconnaissance Group until the war's end.

Today, KSAT has expanded to more than double its initial size, sprawling over 2,600 acres, and now boasting three runways, each stretching over a mile in length. It features two terminals: Terminal A, with 17 gates, accommodates both international and domestic flights, while Terminal B, hosts 8 gates, and caters to domestic and regional routes.



KSAT San Antonio International is SXAD Studios' latest contribution to the X-Plane universe, offering an incredibly detailed recreation of the airport. The package not only covers the airport but also includes glimpses of the surrounding area, such as light industry, hotels, and segments of the freeway leading to and away from the airport. Interestingly, SXAD initially designed this airport for Prepared 3D and later adapted it to be compatible with both X-Plane 11 and 12, so it will be interesting to see how it holds up. 

One of the KSAT’s strengths is its ability to handle a broad range of aircraft. Whether you're piloting an ultra-light general aviation craft or commanding a massive jumbo jet, KSAT can accommodate you. Though I haven't piloted jetliners myself, the airport's real-life capabilities suggest it can handle the heavy stuff, just like it does in the virtual world, so heavy metal pilots are well cared for. 


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 13.50.02.jpg

Package Contents
So, what do you get for your $19.99 investment? The download, clocking in at 1.2 GB, offers a feature-packed package. According to the official listing, this includes a meticulously detailed replica of San Antonio International Airport. It also boasts the new car park and rental building, 1 ft/pix seasonal photo scenery, a vast area outside the airport, custom night lighting, custom PBR ground textures, baked night lighting, and Ambient Occlusion.

Download & Installation
The download process was, like most X-Plane payware sceneries, smooth and hassle-free. Dragging and dropping the folder into my Custom Scenery directory was all it took to get started. Just be aware: you’ll need to install the free SAM library for the airport to function properly; this was the only slight hitch I encountered. Other than that, there were no activation codes or licenses to worry about.


The only documentation that comes with the download is an installation PDF, which is brief and straightforward. It provides different configuration options, such as versions with or without grass and static aircraft. My advice? Go for the version without grass, as it doesn't really add much to the experience. Should you require more information, further documentation can be found online. Additionally, the real-world airport diagram for KSAT is compatible with its X-Plane counterpart.


Airport Diagram.jpg

First Impressions
Prior to my testing KSAT in X-Plane 12, I had a quick peek at its layout using World Editor to see what was included. As advertised, it provides an in-depth portrayal of KSAT and even extends into a large section of San Antonio's north side, just outside the airport's perimeter. This extra detailing features the light industrial zones encircling the airport, a handful of nearby hotels, and even fragments of Interstate 410, complete with on-ramps and off-ramps. These feed into the airport and connect to Highway 281, which takes you towards downtown San Antonio.


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 20.50.54.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 20.51.36.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 20.52.29.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 20.54.29.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 20.55.31.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 20.57.01.jpg


Testing the Ground
After satisfying my curiosity, I fired up X-Plane 12 and decided to give the airport a whirl, using my go-to Cowan Sim Bell 206B3 helicopter for testing out new sceneries. While this add-on might not be the most frame rate-friendly, it makes up for it by being incredibly stable and easy to hover; a crucial asset when you're meticulously inspecting scenery.


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 20.58.15.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.00.33.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.04.21.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.04.55.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.05.35.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.07.25.jpg


The initial version I downloaded had a few anomalies; floating streetlights, absent fences, and even a hangar near the fire station that had trailers embedded inside. However, after contacting the developer, I was promptly sent a revised version, so, chances are, by the time you're reading this review, this version will already be available at the store.


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.28.40.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.30.19.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.31.13.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.32.14.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.33.04.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.34.43.jpg


The outside of the terminals, hangars, car parks, and adjacent buildings are executed with great finesse, enveloping you in an authentic airport ambiance. If you're wondering about building interiors, I can confirm there aren't any. And how did I ascertain this? Well, let's just say flying a Bell 206 into a building is an unconventional method of investigation, but it got the job done :)


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.19.00.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.18.21.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.21.26.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.11.54.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.17.02.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.14.01.jpg


Being a significant hub primarily for airliners, I thought I'd put the airport to the test using X-Plane's default Boeing 737. My primary objective? To see if the jetways were animated, and the result? Let's just say airliners aren't my forte. It wasn't a flaw on the airport's part; the fault lies entirely with my lack of skills in handling large commercial planes.


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.37.29.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.38.48.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.40.02.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.40.40.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.43.40.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.45.15.jpg


One oddity that caught my eye was the lack of AI aircraft, as despite having several selected, the numerous ramp start locations remained deserted. The probable culprit here is the runway texture, which is transparent, with custom polygons from TearWearDesigns. While this workaround was a necessary concession for the X-Plane 11 iteration, X-Plane 12 now supports the use of multiple pavement polygons, offering a more accurate representation of the actual airport runway.


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.49.14.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.50.29.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.59.41.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.52.19.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.53.15.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 21.54.47.jpg


Night Lighting

One feature that truly stands out is the night lighting, a real showcase of X-Plane 12’s new lighting engine. Except for a couple of occasions, it's executed with a fine touch, never straying into the realm of excessive brightness, and contributing substantially to the airport's immersion factor. The terminal lighting, in particular, offers a dynamic experience. As the night deepens, so does the intensity of the terminal lights, an elegant touch, and one that was greatly appreciated. 


While most of the lighting is well-balanced, there were a couple of outliers near the red hangars. These lights seemed to emit an almost distracting level of brightness, but it's not something that would make or break the overall experience. The only major critique would be the airport beacon; it's surprisingly elusive at night, even when you know precisely where to look for it.


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 22.03.41.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 14.02.24.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 14.01.41.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 14.00.29.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-23 22.15.34.jpgCessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 14.05.53.jpg


In terms of performance, KSAT was rather forgiving in terms of framerates, as speaking from someone with an older setup, and although I didn't hit my usual 30 FPS, the experience was far from a slideshow, which is something you notice, especially when piloting a helicopter where smooth operation is crucial. For those with even moderately updated systems, performance should be a non-issue.


Cessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 13.22.44.pngCessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 13.32.21.pngCessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 13.32.57.pngCessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 13.34.56.pngCessna_172SP - 2023-09-24 13.39.38.png


So, is KSAT worth your hard-earned cash? My resounding answer is yes. Priced at $19.99, it offers a wealth of details that set it apart as the most accurate rendition of San Antonio International available for X-Plane. While I did initially encounter some minor issues, these were quickly acknowledged and addressed by the designer. As such, the updated version of the scenery should already be available in the store.




Whether you're navigating intricate landing patterns in a helicopter or soaring high in a Boeing 737, this package is sure to elevate your flying experience to new heights of realism. For this reason, I see no reason why San Antonio International Airport by SXAD shouldn't achieve a full 5-star rating.


Dennis Powell, Sunset Arts LTD.






KSAT- San Antonio International Airport by SXAD is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:


KSAT- San Antonio International Airport

Priced at US$19.99



  • A detailed recreation of the entire airport and buildings
  • The new car park and rental building
  • 1ft/pix Seasonal photo scenery
  • A significant area outside the airport modelled
  • Custom night lighting
  • Custom PBR ground textures
  • Baked night lighting and Ambient Occlusion


X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4GB VRAM - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 1.2 GB
Requires the SAM Library
Current version: 1.0 (August 30th, 2023)


Review System Specifications

Windows 10 Intel i5-6600K 16GB RAM Radeon RX-570 with 8 GB VRAM




Scenery Review by Dennis Powell
23rd Sept 2023
Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...