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Tom Curtis Update : KLAS Glitter Gulch v1.4

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Tom Curtis Update : KLAS Glitter Gulch v1.4
 
Tom Curtis from Scenery4XP has updated his Las Vegas Glitter Gulch scenery to version 1.4. This update includes now in the package KLSV - Nellis AFB which is situated just to the east of sin city. To check out the scenery I flew the Bombardier Challenger 300 in U.S. Air Force colours to deliver a high ranked VIP to Nellis AFB from Tom Curtis's other large AF base at McChord Field in his Scenery Review : Gateway to Boing Country by Tom Curtis scenery.

 

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The area around Las Vegas is mostly desert, and is one of the most significant areas in the world for not only in aviation but also for the famous military testing grounds of places like Edwards AFB, China Lake, MCAS Miramar, Tonopah Test Range Airfield and the not supposed to know but everyone does know "Area 51" in Groom Lake. This is "Top Gun" territory and Nellis AFB is dead centre of all the training and "Red Flag" advanced aerial combat training exercises. That the Air Base it is positioned just a stones throw from Sin City is just a coincidence...  right.

Tom Curtis's original "Glitter Gulch" release included McCarran International Airport (IATA: LAS, ICAO: KLAS) and Henderson Exeutive Airport (IATA: HSH, ICAO: KHND), There was also included in the package a Las Vegas skyline and the review can be found here: Scenery Review : KLAS - Glitter Gulch by Tom Curtis A second update (v1.3) was released a few months later in November 2013 which included "Autogates" to Concourses C, D and E and more buildings in the Las Vegas skyline and the update can be found here : Tom Curtis Scenery : KLAS Glitter Gulch v1.3 update.

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Approaching the Las Vegas area you will note that McCarren Intl is right in the heart of Las Vegas, Henderson Exec is to the west and Nellis AFB is directly to the east.

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03L/21R  10,123  (3,085m)  Concrete

03R/21L  10,055  (3,065m)  Concrete

Elev 1,867 ft / 569 m AMSL

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Approaching runways 03L/03R from the southwest is over Las Vegas and Las Vegas North itself and almost parallel to KLAS 01L/01R. If you want an ILS approach then that is only on RWY 21L and that approach is from the north-east. The problem with the north-east approach is that it is closed in on both sides by high ground and ranges, and you have to fly up a valley basin over the Las Vegas Dunes Rec lands to finally collect the ILS on RWY 21L. Tricky?  Yes it is. You can try the very tight turns into Nellis coming from each approach path at 90º but that means you will have to be really low to collect the ILS and it is really very tight. Maybe this approach is easier in a GA at a very slow speed, but in a Jet or Military Heavy then you would have your work cut out.
So my approach was the slightly easier way of cutting between the ranges and heading directly towards Lake Mead and then doing a 21º heading that puts you on a parallel course to the airbase but on the other side of the range. You follow the basin right up to "Crystal" before doing a total 180º turn back down the other side of the range and follow the lines of the "Great Basin Hwy" (15) almost directly to RWY 21L. I say almost because at the last moment you still have to dog right to finally collect the ILS. It is challenging, and it requires a lot of skill when you get down to your final approach height.
 
Once in the clear of the ranges then KLSV opens out before you and Las Vegas sin city is directly in the distance. Most of the buildings and installations are on the north-west side of KLSV and the tower and DOE (Department of Energy), Bomber Pad areas are on the south-east boundaries.

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The military airport is very wide and very open, and the runways are very realistic in textures, well signed and taxiway markings are excellent. There is only one cross taxiway mid-field (-B-) and so you have to taxi down the runway a fair way before being able to turn off. Taxi distances are large as the airport is very well spread out and a turn right along Taxiway (-F-) to Base Operations well to the north of the base can take a fair time. You do however take in the various areas and homes to the many air-wings that are based here and including the The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron ("Thunderbirds") as the air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force (USAF), which are assigned to the 57th Wing. There are simply rows and rows of aircraft positioned here (capacity 300), in fact more aircraft than small country would have all in one place.

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The Nellis Base reception centre/base ops is a nice welcoming building and the VIP general got all the red carpet treatment. Air Force One or any Government aircraft would not look out of place here. It is important you have the "CustomSBDatarefs004" plugin installed your resources/plugins and it is provided in the package, because it will bring the many flags to life by them moving in the wind, and here at the reception centre they look very good.
 
Nellis Air Force Base Complex
Nellis AFB covers about 11,300 acres (4,600 ha) in the northeast corner of the Las Vegas Valley in the Basin and Range Province. Nellis has about 7,000 acres (2,800 ha) of undeveloped space; has areas added since WWII, e.g., Area II in 1969; and had 1 WWII runway removed. The base has 3 areas (I, II, III), and the GNIS names 5 different USGS locations for the base: "Nellis Air Force Base", the airfield, the post office, a Community College of Southern Nevada campus, and the census-designated place (CDP).
 
Nellis Area I has the airfield (2 runways and ramp space for up to 300 aircraft), recreation and shopping facilities, dormitories/temporary lodging, some family housing, and most of the command and support structures in with Suter Hall for Red Flag operations.
Nellis Area II northeast of the main base "at the foot of Sunrise Mountain" (formerly the U.S. Navy's Lake Mead Base) has the Nellis Gun Club, the 820th RED HORSE and 896th Munitions Squadrons, and the largest aboveground weapons storage complex[specify] in the United States.
Nellis Area III is west of the main base with family housing, administration and industrial areas, and the Mike O'Callaghan Federal Hospital, (the base's "unincorporated town is called Sunrise Manor". Area III also includes a 23.4 acres (9.5 ha) munitions response area (MRA XU741) which had WWII storage for small arms ammunition, pyrotechnics, and chemical bombs and that now includes 2 remaining WWII buildings (numbers 1039 & 1047), 5 modern igloos, & the RV storage.
 
The Nellis AFB missions of advanced combat training for composite strike forces is commonly conducted in conjunction with air and grounds units of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and allied forces. The base also supports operations at the nearby Creech Air Force Base, the Tonopah Test Range and the Nevada National Security Site. Nellis ground systems for range operations (e.g., by callsign "Nellis Control") include the Computer and Computed Subsystem used to receive microwave signals from the NTTR Ground Based Stations of the Tracking and Communications Subsystem (TCS) for presentation on Nellis' Display and Debrief SubSystem (DDS).
 
Assigned Commands are:
    79th Air Base Group, 7 July 1941
    70th Base HQ and Air Base Squadron, c. 14 August 1942
    82d Flying Training Wing (Flexible Gunnery) 8 January 1943 – 16 June 1946
 
Assigned Units are:
    3595th Pilot Training Wing, 1 April 1948[24]:54 – 1 July 1958
    4520th Combat Crew Training Wing, 1 July 1958 – 1 September 1966
    4525th Fighter Weapons Wing, 1 September 1966 – 15 October 1969
    474th Tactical Fighter Wing, 20 January 1968 – 15 October 1989
    57th Wing (Various Designations), 22 August 1969 – present
    554th Operations Support Wing, 1 March 1980 – 1 November 1991
    USAF Fighter Weapons School, 1 January-1 September 1966; 30 December 1981 (USAF Weapons School on 15 June 1993)
    4477th Tactical Evaluation Flight ("Red Eagles"), 1 April 1975 – 1990
    USAF Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, 1 September 1966[41] (USAF Warfare Center on 15 November 2005)


Nellis Air Force Base was named on 30 April 1950, and the 20 May 1950 dedication was attended by Lieutenant Nellis' family. By 1 July the Air Force had directed ATC to accelerate Korean War training for a new 95-wing Air Force. The first school opened at Nellis, and ATC redesignated the 3595th Pilot Training Wing (Advanced Single-Engine) as the 3595th Training Wing (Combat Crew).On 17 July 1950, Nellis began a replacement pilot training program to provide 115 FEAF F-51 Mustang pilots and 92 combat-ready F-80 Shooting Star pilots. Nellis' advanced single-engine pilot training transferred to Alabama on 1 September 1950. Nellis assumed fighter-bomber training, and ATC established its USAF Air Crew School (Fighter) on 14 November 1950, equipped with F-80s and early-model F-84C Thunderjets. On 1 October, Nellis AFB base management functions transferred from Williams AFB. In early 1951, ATC assigned recently graduated airplane and engine mechanics to Nellis to learn jet aircraft maintenance.
The airfield was expanded 1951-4 with longer jet-capable runways, reconfigured taxiways and a larger aircraft parking ramp; and WWII wooden structures were replaced with concrete and steel structures (e.g., barracks and base housing for married personnel). The first Wherry houses were completed in 1954, with updated Capehart houses being completed in February 1960. Nellis AFB has more military schools and more squadrons than any other USAF base.
 

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Tom Curtis - Nellis Airforce Base
The airbase is separated between the north-east side and the south-west side by the two runways. The layout by Tom Curtis is excellent and is underlined by using photographic plates under the scenery. Here though the plates have been intergrated into the landscape very well and you can't tell the areas were they join up with the default X-Plane scenery. So the outward view of the airbase is excellent.
 

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There are a huge amount of hangars, buildings and covered ramp areas on the north-east side, the buildings just go on and on into the horizon. All buildings are functional and are a great reproductions of the original airbase buildings and barracks, you can spend hours just picking out which building is related to whom. Highlights are the Red Flag buildings, USAF Air Demonstration Squadron ("Thunderbirds") complex, Fire Station,  57th Wing operations and the Base operations areas. Great areas of detailed carparks are laid out and with real 3d cars and not just flat photo style images...  excellent. In some areas there is a flatness between buildings with the photo underlays, but KLSV is much more better than these sort of bases in the past and the areas are very well covered. In the far north section there are helipads and rotorcraft support areas, that are excellent if you do helicopter support.

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The ramps are full of static aircraft and their support covers, the areas covered are huge, but this is certainly a great place to base your fighter operations. Off site there are fuel tank areas and other small buildings with great detail spread around a fairly large area. Tom Curtis notes "Numerous aircraft are parked on the ramp in various stages of mission preparation. Some are in the process of refueling, some are uploading bombs and missiles, and several are waiting in the arming area at the end of the runway in preparation for launch. Along with the aircraft you’ll see all of the support equipment required to “turn” the aircraft. You’ll see bomb loaders (Jammers) loading live and inert bombs and Mavericks on several aircraft. The End Of Runway Arming crew can be seen pulling the safety pins from the weapons just before the aircraft take the runway for takeoff".

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The south-west areas are far less populated, and are mostly a collection of separate cluster areas. The Bomber command areas are to the south of the centrally positioned control tower with the DOE (Department of Energy) ramps to the north.

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All the south-west ramps can be seen from the excellent tower view including the wide scope of the north-east side. And notable is that although the complete Glitter Gulch scenery is very comprehensive, Tom Curtis's work does not lean very heavily on your computer. So you get both sides of the deal in that it is great detailed scenery, but it is also very kind to your processing power, and that alone makes any Tom Curtis sceneries very worthwhile.
 
Nightlighting
The airbase's night-lighting matches in well with KLAS and far away Henderson, but Las Vegas looks a little gaudy on the horizon (Las Vegas gaudy! heavens no)

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The lighting is comprehensive, but not very different in the types of styles. But overall it is very good. Building texture lighting is very good as well, certainly if you can run your textures res at a high setting, runway lighting is very good, but remember at night those dark shadows are high terrain monoliths and ranges that tower over you...  landing at night from the north-east is for the highly skilled only.
 
Other version 1.4 features
Also added to the "Glitter Gulch" package in this version (1.4) is the “High Roller”, which a large ferris wheel that towers nearly 300’ high and provides the riders a panoramic view of the entire valley, it is animated as well as it slowly rotates around. Also added are three rooftop heliports on some of the hotels along the strip. You can now start your flight at the Excalibur Hotel, Bally’s Hotel, and Treasure Island Hotel. Just flying around trying to spot them is like a "Amazing Race Around The World" Roadblock task, get all three and you can move on!

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The 1.4 update also includes a new feature in Jonathan “Marginal” Harris and Mr3D’s animated marshaling crewman. You can now get parking guidance on the Cargo and UPS/FedEx cargo ramps at KLAS and several of the parking spots at KLSV - Nellis AFB  and have someone to wave you in. First point to note is that the aircraft you are using has got the the correct settings that are used to connect the "Autogate" to the aircraft. These settings are located in PlaneMaker if your marshaller does not work, of which mine did not with the ABSim DC-10.
 

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To set them then go to PlaneMaker, load the aircraft and select the "viewpoint/default" panel. Then set the three coordinates for the boarding door settings are on the lower right of the panel, then save your aircraft and load it into X-Plane...  Tom Curtis does provide with the package the full set of instructions on how to do this and also full sets of coordinates for fighter aircraft that don't have boarding doors. 
 

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The marshaller himself is totally brilliant...  turn into the gate and he comes to life guiding you into the bay...  brake when he crosses his hands and he will then go back to normal when you turn the engines off.


Summary
The 1.4 update to "Glitter Gulch" is quite comprehensive in adding in KLSV - Nellis AFB to an already highly set out scenery. KLSV - Nellis AFB alone is worthy of a download, but to be included extra into this already comprehensive package is a really great deal all round. As a side note KVGT - North Las Vegas Airport is part of the default (lego) airports of X-Plane 10.30 that is automatically installed and it is very good. So that area (below) is also filled as well until Tom Curtis replaces it in another GG upgrade.
 

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Once there was only desert out there, but this Las Vegas scenery is starting to get crowded, but in a great way. Totally comprehensive and frame-rate lite, and all at such a great price, then Glitter Gulch has it all. And for flying around this area it is one of the very best you can think of, You have all the military ranges and training areas to test your "top Gun" skills, local visual hotspots in the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon and it is brilliant General Aviation country...  What more do you want?
 
Yes! the "Glitter Gulch" scenery by Scenery4xp (Tom Curtis) is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgStore : KLAS - GLITTER GULCH

Price is  US$24.95
 
If you already have purchased Scenery4XP "Glitter Gulch" then the v1.4 update is free. Just go to your account on the X-Plane .Org Store and check into your account for the v1.4 download.
 
Features
This scenery pack includes faithful reproductions of the following airports:

  • KLAS - McCarran International Airport
  • KHND - Henderson Executive Airport
  • KLSV - Nellis AFB
  • Traffic animated on the KLAS Airport
  • Autogates to Concourses C, D and E at KLAS
  • 24 Las Vegas Skyline buildings and a Ferris Wheel

Update Review by Stephen Dutton
 
16th October 2014
 
Copyright © 2014 : X-Plane Reviews
 
Installation: Download is 109.8meg to an expanded 301.80meg that is required to be inserted into your "Custom Scenery" Folder. Any older "Glitter Gulch area sceneries must be removed In another folder are the plugins that are required for the animations in the scenery in "AutoGate" and "CustomSBDatarefs004" and HANGER OPS ( Courtesy of Shade Tree Micro Aviation ) which animates various hanger doors and other objects. These items are to be inserted into the Resources/Plugins folder in X-Plane unless you have the latest versions already installed. All details are supplied in the OPEN ME! Folder.  X-Plane9 version of Glitter Gulch is available on request.
 
Technical Requirements:
Windows, Mac or Linux
X-Plane 10.32 or 64 bit mode
X-Plane 9 version is not included in the download package but is available on demand. Just place the order and send us an email to get it.
8GB RAM/512MBVRAM (1GB VRAM Recommended)
Current version : 1.4 (last updated October 16th, 2014)

 
Review System Specifications:
Computer System:     
- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”
- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3
- ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb
Software:     
- Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.4
- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.30 (final)
Addons
- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

Aircraft
- Bombardier Challenger 300 Captain Edition by Dden Design - the X-Plane.org Store $24.95 : Bombardier Challenger 300 Captain Edition
 
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