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Scenery Review : KRDU - Raleigh-Durham International Airport by Departure Designs

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Scenery Review : KRDU - Raleigh-Durham International Airport by Departure Designs

 

Located in the state of North Carolina, Raleigh-Durham International Airport is the 39th busiest airport in the U.S and the second in its state, just behind Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The airport started its operations with Eastern Airlines in May 1943, making flights to Miami and New York. Last year the airport had a passenger traffic superior to 14,200,000 (enplaned + deplaned) passengers. The airport has passenger city to 68 cities and an average of more than 450 flights daily. As you see by the title, the airport has international flights too, being London, Paris and Toronto the most popular international routes.

 

X-Plane didn't have a payware version of the airport until mid-April, when Departure Designs released their KRDU scenery. In the last month, our friend Stephen wrote two reviews of Departure Designs airports, Fort-Lauderdale and Oakland. Both airports had their pros and cons, however, Departure Designs released a lot of products in a short time and this may have reduced the quality of them. Let's take a look at this replica of Raleigh-Durham Airport.

 

Raleigh-Durham International Airport

IATA: RDU - ICAO: KRDU

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05L/23R 10,000ft (3,048m) Concrete

05R/23L 7,500ft (2,286m) Asphalt

14/32 3,570ft (1,088m) Asphalt

Elevation AMSL: 435ft / 132m

 

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The first thing I've noticed after installing the scenery were the trees and orthophoto. Departure Designs made an incredible job adding more trees, which gives you the feeling of a real forest. They also nailed the orthophoto, high-quality color graded satellite imagery, that when combined with the nice trees results in an awesome airport surrounding area. Pretty nice to see these during an approach.

 

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The orthophoto quality is one of the best I've ever seen in X-Plane, showing almost every detail in the ground. The transitions between the runways/taxiways and the grass is pretty smooth and detailed.

 

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The most popular way to get in the airport is by car, and that makes sense because the airport between two Highways that connect the cities of Durham and Raleigh. The orthophoto is so good that Departure Designs didn't even have to use modeled roads.

 

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The pickups and dropoffs zones in both terminals, as well as the parking lots, are very nice. The designer seemed to have worked pretty hard in the parking lots, adding 3D cars, being careful with details and producing a nice 3D modeling. In my opinion, the only downside related to the roads is the lack of animated traffic, however you wouldn't notice it in most of your departures and landings.

 

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Even though Raleigh-Durham isn't a big airport, it consists of two terminals and three concourses, A, C, and D. You can navigate through the terminals using a shuttle bus or the moving walkway. Let's take a look at both terminals right now.

 

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Terminal 1

This terminal occupies the site of the airport's original terminal, which opened in 1955 and went trough many expansions. In 1982 the building received an expansion that would create a new terminal, which is known as the current terminal 1. The old part was demolished in 2016 due to expenses and lack of practical use. Nowadays, the Terminal 1 has 9 gates, named A1-A9. Until the end of March 2020, Southwest was the only airline operating in the terminal, using gates A5-A9, however, in April the gates A1-A4 were reactivated and are now operated by Frontier, Allegiant and Spirit Airlines. 

 

When compared to other payware airports, or even terminal 2, the modeling is very basic. But this isn't Departure Designs fault, the terminal is actually a pretty good replica of the real one. 

 

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Instead of having glass and a modeled interior like Terminal 2, this terminal has solid windows. At least the textures are quite nice and those columns between the windows give a nice perspective depending on the angle you look at them.

 

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Even though the building is quite basic, Departure Designs inserted some nice details in things like the ground handling vehicles. Pretty nice to see them with the Southwest painting or Spirit and Frontier colors, and the fact that the vehicles are parked around the correct gates is nice too.

 

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Terminal 2

The terminal occupies the site of the old Terminal C, which was built between 1985 and 1987 and served as an American Airlines hub. In 2003 announced plans to expand and renovate the terminal, however in 2006 it was completely rebuilt. Designed under the philosophy of contextual regionalism, related to Critical regionalism, the terminal is divided into two concourses, C and D, and has 36 gates, which 4 can accommodate the huge 747.

 

I may say that Departure Designs made a overall good job in T2, even though it has some quite strange problems. The 3D modeling is pretty nice, it isn't incredible but doesn't seem to have any problem.

 

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The glass is a problem in T2. The addition of a 3D modeled interior requires glass, which can give an airport insane visuals or ruin it. We saw that glass was quite a problem in KFLL by Departure Designs, and sadly this KRDU also has problems with it. Note that I tested many graphic settings and none of them solved the problem.

 

It is quite hard to exactly describe the problem, which appears to be related to reflections and textures. While looking from outside you will notice that the interior textures seem to disappear, resulting in all silver objects and some strange blue and light green colors. Sometimes, depending on the angle you look at the interior, the colors change, resulting in a very weird effect. The reflections are quite strange sometimes.

 

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Just like KFLL, when you are looking from inside the terminal it appears to have no glass. The interior is  very basic, but at least the textures are nice.

 

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All jet bridges, in both T1 and T2, are equipped with SAM - Scenery Animation Manager. They are really nice, however, due to the fact that many jetways are to close from each other, it's recommended to connect the jet bridges manually. 

 

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If it wasn't by the problems related to the glass, this would be a very nice terminal. It has some good features like 3D modeling, textures and attention to detail. It would be nice if Departure Designs fixed that problem, but I believe that it won't be easy to solve it.

 

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Cargo

Raleigh-Durham airport has two cargo areas, South and North. The North cargo area is used by cargo airlines, being the largest cargo operator FedEx and UPS. The South cargo area is used by commercial airlines with cargo operations.

 

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General Aviation

The airport has a quite big general aviation area, with some hangars and other facilities. Some of the hangars have their doors open, this means that you can park your aircraft inside them.

 

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Right next to the general aviation terminal is located the control tower. It's pretty simple, but at least it doesn't have any kind of problem.

 

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Military

Raleigh-Durham Airport has a military facility located right next to the runway 32. There you will see some hangars and some other facilities. Sadly some of the buildings are under the ground, so I expect Departure Designs to fix that. Pretty interesting to see an easter egg in this scenery, which is the S.H.I.E.L.D jet, from the Avengers movie. I know that some people may not like things like that in a simulator, however, you won't even notice it unless you start searching for it.

 

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Ground Textures

Just like most part of the orthos, the ground textures in KRDU are very good. If you closer to the ground, you will notice that the textures have a really high-resolution. It's pretty nice to see so many details in the ground.

 

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Even though the airport doesn't have 3D grass, the combination of the extremely good ground texture, high-density trees and awesome orthophotos results in a fabulous landscape around the airport. It's important to note that the airport comes with a custom mesh that will show you all the nice elevation changes.

 

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Another pretty nice quality related to the ground is the reflections, which make the airport way more beautiful, especially during the sunset and sunrise. The reflections impressed me in a very good way.

 

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Lighting

The lighting in KRDU is pretty average, and needs to be improved in some ways. When it isn't really dark yet, the lights are nice, however, when it gets darker the lights seem insufficient. The main parking lot seems very nice when illuminated.

 

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As I said earlier, the lights seem to be insufficient when it's pretty dark, especially when you are away from T1 or T2. Apparently, the only good thing related to the night time in this airport is the interior modeling from the Terminal 2. I don't what is happening there, but at night the glass is fine and the interior doesn't have those textures problems I've shown you earlier. Even though, the internal lighting is pretty bad.

 

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Summary

Raleigh-Durham International Airport by Departure Designs is an interesting scenery for X-Plane 11, offering many good features as well as having some problems. Generally, we can assume that this is a good airport that needed more love from the designer.

 

Both T1 and T2 overall modeling are nice and even though they aren't outstanding, you won't be disappointed with them. Probably the only problem related to the terminals is that strange glass in Terminal 1, which appears to have issues with reflections, causing problems in the indoor textures and modeling.

 

As I said earlier the ground textures are pretty good, with reflection, many details and high-resolution textures. The only downside related to the ground textures is the absence of wet textures for the taxiways and runways, which would give the airport a very nice visual while raining. The orthophoto is another good feature of the airport, with very high-resolution and colors that match the airport region really well. Those are probably one of the best features offered by this replica of KRDU by Departure Designs.

 

The designer seems to have some difficulties with lighting, sometimes it seems insufficient. During the KFLL review, Stephen showed us that lighting wasn't very good there either. These little problems are the reason for KRDU not being a top tier airport for X-Plane, and they could be solved by paying a little more attention to details.

 

As I said in the very first beginning of the review, Departure Designs released three airports in a short period, and that could have affected the quality of the products. After writing the review and analyzing the airport I could conclude that my affirmation was true, all the problems in the 3 airports could have been fixed with a little more time. KRDU is a beautiful airport and even though it has some problems, I liked it. I know that it isn't easy to make an airport, but if this scenery received a little bit more of love, it would be perfect.

 

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The KRDU Raleigh Durham  by Departure Designs is available at the X-Plane.Org Store

 

KRDU Raleigh Durham

 

Price is US$23.99

 

Features:

 

  • Heavily optimized Airport 
  • PBR Textures throughout Airport 
  • SAM Seasons 
  • Highly detailed Custom Animated SAM Jetways 
  • Custom WT3 support 
  • Custom Night Lighting 
  • color graded Satellite Imagery 
  • High Resolution 4K Textures 
  • Terminal layout circa Q2 2020 
  • Custom Mesh seamless with VStates North Carolina 
  • Ortho4XP Patch included

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11

Windows, Mac or Linux
4GB VRAM Minimim - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended
Current version: 1.0 (April 16th 2020)
Download size: 3.5 GB
 
Installation:
Download scenery file size is 3.18GB
 
Three folders are included+One manual
 

Dep_KRDU - Raleigh Durham

Dep_yRDU_Overlay

Dep_zRDU_Mesh

 

Final scenery size is 6,76GB, quite big.

 

SAM plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - suite 1.2 is required for this scenery

 

Documents

One manual is included with the scenery package

 

->RDU Manual

 

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Scenery Review by Benardo Pierdoná Casa

06th June 2020

Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications:
Computer System: Intel Core I5-9600K 4,30GHz / 2x8 Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 3200MHz - Gigabyte RTX 2070 - Z390 Aorus Master - Kingston A1000M.2 SSD 240GB

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane  11.41

Addons: Logitech Pro Flight Yoke/Pedals/Throttle Quadrant - Logitech Extreme 3d Pro Joystick - Sound: Samsung Home Theater System J5500WK

Plugins:  Environment Engine v1.13 by xEnviro US$69,90 Traffic: Traffic Global by JustFlight US$52.99   Ground textures: ALES US$15.99

Scenery or Aircraft

Boeing 737-800 by Zibo (X-Plane.Org)free

Default Baron B58 by Laminar Research

 

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review 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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