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Quick Impression : ZBAD - Beijing Daxing International Airport by Star-Atlas

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ZBAD - Daxing Header.jpg


Quick Impression : ZBAD - Beijing Daxing International Airport by Star-Atlas


CHINA!...  this is the first X-Plane payware from China by a Chinese developer Star-Atlas, and it is the brand new and the second largest airport in the world in Beijing Daxing International Airport. Only the MEGA and another new airport ISA - Istanbul Airport in Turkey is bigger. Bigger than Atlanta, bigger than Changi, bigger than Dubai, bigger than Hong Kong, bigger than anything, as we are now in the age of changing the demographics of air transport, the biggest airports before are now the old school system, we are in the new, new mega age.


It is satisfying that X-Plane is also (finally) moving away from the US/Europe centric mindset and embracing the rest of the world, but it won't be easy. I have flown to China or Shanghai a few times and mostly in a cargo role of my routes around the world to F1 Grand Prix races, in Shanghai it is the Chinese Grand Prix..  But if I wanted to fly any routes into China there was always a lot of pre-work to get the flight completed, scenery obviously was simply almost non-existent, but I always got the route done. The biggest issue to flying online in China is just simply the lack of data...  look at any route map and any area over China and it goes down to single digit waypoints, enough waypoints to get you in or out of the country but not much else, ditto are the arrival and departure waypoints, in most cases they were simply non-existent as well, in all cases I had to create the arrival/departure waypoints for each route right down to the simple Latitude and Longitude coordinates...  secondly was the another lack of data for anything representing China in infrastructure, as there are no Open-Street-Maps here so that means no autogen or simply anything to represent towns or cities in the country except for botches on a very flat landscape, sadly it is still mostly the same. So once you cross the Chinese border you are going back to the 1930's in aviation, but that does not mean you should not fly here. It is important to understand this aspect with the review of this scenery.


Hopefully more professional scenery will bring the data with them as well, we do have one new tool to use and that is misterx6's SFD Global, if any autogen does pop-up, then you get at least some Asian housing courtesy of SFD Global, but it is rare. But there is a few areas SFD is viewable in this scenery of Daxing Airport.


First look and this is a big airport in the absolutely middle of nowhere or lost in the Middle Kingdom, Daxing International Airport is 46 km from Beijing and is a green-field construction and the airport has cost a staggering 13 billion dollars, however being so far away from the city and situated in the countryside, does help the developers here with no autogen.


ZBAD - Daxing_head 1.jpgZBAD - Daxing_head 2.jpgZBAD - Daxing_head 3.jpgZBAD - Daxing_head 4.jpg


You can see the scenery is surrounded by the maze of boring default textures with nothing to break up the landscape. Intergation here is near impossible.


ZBAD - Daxing_head 5 LG.jpg


The highlight here is of course that huge sensational starfish shaped main terminal, and it looks very good....


ZBAD - Daxing_head 5.jpgZBAD - Daxing_head 6.jpgZBAD - Daxing_head 7.jpg

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ZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 12.jpg


The terminal's design and modeling is first rate, there has certainly a lot of work gone into getting the shapes and the complicated structure just right...


ZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 1.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 2.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 3.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 4.jpg


...    glass is dynamic and see-through. So the internal areas are visible externally, and the complex design is translated inside as well for your viewing pleasure. Most of the internal areas are not highly detailed, but some shops have low-res textures, but mostly it is empty. The terminal has the world's largest seemless steel roof structure and double deck departure and arrival platforms. The design is clever in that it reduces walk time to each of the five curved spokes, no gate is more than 600 meters from the check-in area.


ZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 11.jpg


All 79 airbridges are SAM - Scenery Animation Manager plugin (Plugin Required) active and excellent, and all are well modeled to match in with the terminal design...  but on arriving I found the VDGS board set too high, and hard to find the stopping point without lowering your viewpoint.


ZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 5.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 6.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 7.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 8.jpg


The SAM also powers the doors on the huge China Southern maintenance hanger, the biggest maintenance hanger in Asia and it can service 12 A320 aircraft side by side...


ZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 9.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Terminal 10.jpg


It is important to understand China's aviation policy of it's airports. They are govened by the "One route, One Airline" policy which means that no two Chinese airlines can base themselves at one airport, so Air China is based at the older Beijing  BCIA-Beijing Capitol International Airport (PEK-ZBAA), China Eastern is In Shanghai and China Southern is entrenched at Guangzhou. And for instance when China Southern wanted to do Beijing-Paris services with their A380 aircraft they were refused the route, for international airlines the policy is not valid and so they can fly to all the major airports in China. 


ZBAD - Duxing is the first airport in Chine to change this outdated policy, as all the major Chinese airlines will now be allowed to operate from the airport, but Air China still has the vast majority stake on slots and aircraft fleet numbers here.


Control tower is like a very large football world cup trophy, really well done in the detail and the included internal view is fantastic...


ZBAD - Daxing_Control Tower 1.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Control Tower 2.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Control Tower 3.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Control Tower 4.jpg


....  tower view is set correctly for realism, but you get an obstructed view... best position is to hover just above the tower for no obstructions. Because of the huge layout of Daxing, there are other runway and ramp towers which are scale versions of the main one, some however are hidden behind trees.


ZBAD - Daxing_Control Tower 5.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Control Tower 6.jpg


There are also the airport's infrastructure buildings of which there are many, but they are pretty basic in detail and have flat textures with no real depth of detail...


ZBAD - Daxing_Buildings 1.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Buildings 2.jpg


...  the radar however is animated. There is some local Chinese branded vehicles, and animated traffic which are the X-Plane default stock of vehicles. Not a not of clutter and very repeated in positioning, but not bad overall. Clever animated sign needed to be more local in advertising.


ZBAD - Daxing_Clutter 1.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Clutter 2.jpg

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Beijing Daxing International Airport



ZBAD Chart.jpg


01L/19R - 3,400m (11,155ft) - Concrete

17L/35R - 3,800m (12,467ft) - Concrete

17R/35L - 3,800m (12,467ft) - Concrete

11L/29R - 3,800m (12,467ft) - Concrete

Elevation AMSL98 ft / 30 m


ZBAD runway layout is quite unusual, of which there are currently four runways... one more is still under construction, it is an odd layout because two runways in 11L and 17R go over the infrastructure on approach?


Runway and taxiway textures are very good with off set ridges, this is all newly laid concrete at Daxing so you can't expect a patchwork of texture styles, in lower light the ridges shine and show depth with the PBR...


ZBAD - Daxing_Ground textures 1.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Ground textures 2.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Ground textures 3.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Ground textures 4.jpg


There is a massive amount of 3d grass and it is all very good, but aligned in sharp rows that make the airfield areas look like cabbage fields? All the other fauna is all very over-saturated, even strikingly so that it all looks almost unrealistic, and there is a lot of that fauna as well...


ZBAD - Daxing_Ground textures 5.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Ground textures 6.jpg

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....  blue areas and bright green fencing is to a certain taste? and a lot of the Lo-Res textures are not pretty.



Overall the lighting at Daxing is actually really good and mostly all one tone...  but at least there is a lot of it.


ZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 1.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 2.jpg

ZBAD - Daxing_Ground textures 9.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Ground textures 10.jpg


Approach, runway and taxiway lighting is all good, but the field navigation signs are all buried in the high grass and are unreadable or simply unusable?


Terminal lighting is very good, and very well lit and looks realistic. There are a lot of remote static parking areas at Daxing and they are all also well catered for as are the extensive approach roads to the terminal...


ZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 3.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 8.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 5 LG.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 4.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 9.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 6.jpgZBAD - Daxing_Lighting 7.jpg


... the lighting detail is very good, internally it is really good as well, and very well lit and even realistic.


WT3 generation is a waste of time in waiting for WT3 to generate 234 ground routes that don't actually work? Star-Atlas have noted the ground routes are coming soon, but in reality this airport required them at release... Epic Fail. So ZBAD looks like it is still under construction with just a few test flights going on, and not the busy active airport that is required....


Feature list is very good, with a lot of dynamic X-Plane11 features provided including the SAM Plugin.


  • HD Ground Texture
  • Animated jetways (SAM needed)
  • Animated Hangar Doors (SAM needed)
  • Vehicles with Chinese characteristic
  • Orthoimage with commercial license
  • Customized vegetation 
  • Highly accurate taxiway guidance sign
  • Customized dynamic lighting
  • Animated airport ground traffic
  • Experimental underground structure (Refers to User Manual for further information)
  • Compatible with Gateway & P3D Scenery
  • Detailed terminal includes internal structure
  • Excellent night effect 
  • Free updates for XP11


First Impressions

Opening up China to X-Plane users and Far East routes is a very welcome addition to the simulator, but these first time Chinese developers have more work on their hands to create a believable Chinese scenario. In X-Plane there is no Chinese data to create any autogen world or routings. So even inserting any scenery into the landscape it is like going back in time and looking at an X-Plane9 landscape. The point of Star-Atlas being a new and a foreign developer to X-Plane is one of the main considerations of purchasing and using this ZBAD-Daxing... yes a lot of the modeling here is very good like with the iconic star-fish terminal and the lighting, and yes they show a lot of future promise, but there are still many areas that are over done or over-saturated, or even under done. Obviously there is always a learning curve, but this is pro-scenery and quality is the order of the day. Highlights are SAM, layout, PBR textures and runways and that excellent terminal with internal detailing.


Contrary are the over-saturated fauna, too much grass and hiding important navigation aids, over-saturated flat Lo-Res textures, average modeling and textures for outer buildings and no ATC routes (WT3) is a hanging offence.


Two out of Five stars ☀️☀️


ZBAD - Beijing Daxing International Airport by Star-Atlas is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore here:

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


ZBAD - Beijing Daxing International Airport


Price is US$21.80


Requirements are:

X-Plane 11.36+
Windows, Mac or Linux
2 GB VRAM Minimum, 4 GB+ Recommended
Download Size: 780MB
Current and Review Version: 1.0 (23 Nov 2019)
Noted is:
WT3 will be supported as an upcoming feature
Detailed manual with debug information



Quick Impression by Stephen Dutton

26th November 2019

Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews


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


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  • 4 months later...

There is an update 1.3 at the store, I think some of the issues are addressed. Strangely, your like to this review is not present anymore. I bought at $15 and yet to to a flight with it, but I'm impressed with the animated billboards. The interior, I don't really care too much about, good enough I would say.  Stay safe in AUZ! Greets from Ireland.

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The review is presented as seen on release or with an update, yes Star-Altas has done an update, but in reality the release version should have been completed with the complete WT3 or ground routes in the first place, that was a bad oversight for them.

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