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Scenery Review : KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport by StarSim


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KSTL ST Louis header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport by StarSim

 

Truth be told. I haven't criss-crossed the United States that much. Atlanta, Denver or Albuquerque is about as far inland as I have got... I never even made it to Cincinnati. Why is a very good question as I have criss-crossed Florida repeatably.

 

My main guess is that really good major city based payware scenery has been quite dire, as developers have kept mostly to the eastern and western seaboards. So I was interested in a MidAmerica St Louis scenery, as it could finally break my decade old dunk.

 

KSTL St Louis is a first time scenery by StarSim for the X-Plane Simulator, It has been a 1½ year old project to bring you this Missouri-Mississippi River local with it's famous St Louis Gateway Arch.

 

St. Louis Lambert International Airport, formerly Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, is an international airport serving metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Commonly referred to as Lambert Field or simply Lambert, it is the largest and busiest airport in Missouri. The 2,800-acre (1,100 ha) airport sits 14 miles (23 km) northwest of downtown St. Louis in unincorporated St. Louis County between Berkeley and Bridgeton. In January 2019, it saw more than 259 daily departures to 78 nonstop domestic and international locations.

Named for Albert Bond Lambert, an Olympic medalist and prominent St. Louis aviator, the airport rose to international prominence in the 20th century thanks to its association with Charles Lindbergh, its groundbreaking air traffic control (ATC), and its status as the primary hub of Trans World Airlines (TWA), and its iconic terminal.

 

Originally a Naval Air Station St. Louis, it was a Naval Air Reserve facility that became an active-duty installation during World War II. In 1930, the airport was officially christened Lambert–St. Louis Municipal Airport by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd. The first terminal building opened in 1933.

 

After airline deregulation in 1978, airlines began to change their operations to a hub and spoke model. Trans World Airlines (TWA) was then headquartered in New York City but its main base of employment was at Kansas City International Airport (KCI) and had large operations at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) as well as St. Louis. TWA deemed Kansas City's terminals unsuitable to serve as a primary hub. TWA reluctantly also ruled out Chicago, as its Chicago operation was already losing $25 million a year under competition from American Airlines and United Airlines. This meant that St. Louis was the carrier's only viable option.

TWA proceeded to downsize Chicago and build up St. Louis, swapping three Chicago gates for five of American's St. Louis gates. By December 1982, St. Louis accounted for 20% of TWA's domestic capacity. Lambert's terminal was initially too small for this operation, and TWA was forced to use temporary terminals, mobile lounges and airstairs to handle the additional flights. After Concourse D was completed in 1985, TWA began transatlantic service from Lambert to London, Frankfurt, and Paris, hence St Louis became the central TWA (originally Transcontinental & Western Air) main hub and operations base.

 

KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport by StarSim

 

KSTL ST Louis head 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis head 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis head 3.jpgKSTL ST Louis head 4.jpgKSTL ST Louis head 5.jpg

 

The Lambert airport has four runways, three of which are parallel with one crosswind. The crosswind runway, 6/24, is the shortest of the four at 7,607 feet (2,319 m). The newest runway is 11/29 was completed in 2006 as part of a large expansion program.

 

St. Louis Lambert International Airport

IATA: STL - ICAO: KSTL - FAA LID: STL

STL Navigraph Charts.jpg

12R/30L 11,019ft (3,359m) Concrete

12L/30R 9,003ft (2,744m) Concrete

11/29 9,001ft (2,743m) Concrete

6/24 7,607ft (2,319m) Concrete

Elevation AMSL 605 ft / 184.4 m

 

KSTL ST Louis head 6.jpgKSTL ST Louis head 7.jpgKSTL ST Louis head 8.jpg

 

The "Gateway to the West", and the way west from Lambert Airport is flat, it is not the most exciting surrounding landscape, not helping is the broad blank areas that blend the airport custom scenery into the surrounding X-Plane default textures, and it gives the airport a sort of island feel, the darker inner field textures to lighter green default textures don't help either. The real airport surroundings has a lot of surrounding infrastructure, including long term carparking ,Hampton and Marriott Hotels that fill in the gap behind the main terminal areas. Looking at broad blank areas on arrival is not going to get you your real feel of the airport or the area.

 

The Lambert airport has two terminals with a total of five concourses A, B, C, D and E. All international flights without border preclearance are processed in Terminal 2. Terminal 1 features an American Airlines Admirals Club and one of the largest USO facilities in the nation.Terminal 2 features a common use lounged operated by Wingtips.

 

KSTL ST Louis Terminal Layout.jpg

 

Terminal 1

Minoru Yamasaki was originally commissioned to design a new terminal at Lambert Field, which began construction in 1953. It was completed in 1956 at a total cost of $7.2 million, the three-domed design preceded the same terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City and Paris–Charles de Gaulle Airport. A fourth dome was added in 1965 following the passage of a $200 million airport revenue bond. This four-dome design is still highly visible, but the external infrastructure in concourses and buildings have snaked their way out of the building and have surrounded it. Terminal 1 contains 68 gates across four concourses, lettered A–D

 

KSTL ST Louis Terminal One_1.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_2.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_3.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_4.jpg

 

The quad dome structures (certainly the nice roofs) are really nicely done, and overall the terminal is nicely designed, lower textures are very nice and feel authentic, but the frames are a little model like... overall a great effort.

 

Concourse A

There are 15 gates on Concourse A, A2 - A21. A finger concourse and the building is nicely done. Detail is panels high and a brickwork sub-ramp access lower. The lower portion has built in access doors and the wider roller doors that are really realistic in being weather worn. This construction format is the same throughout all the concourses. I like the detail and quality around the terminals as presented here, it is well done. Glass is just a dark shade with a matt-reflection, and again really effective.

 

KSTL ST Louis Con A_1.jpgKSTL ST Louis Con A_2.jpgKSTL ST Louis Con A_3.jpgKSTL ST Louis Con A_4.jpg

 

Concourse B

There are 10 gates on Concourse B, B2 - B16. A tree Concourse which are all walkon/walkoff with no airbridges.

 

KSTL ST Louis Terminal One_B_1.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_B_2.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_B_3.jpg

 

Concourse C

There are 30 gates on Concourse, C1 - C38. A long finger concourse that is the main activity concourse at Lambert. Notable is that StarSim has used real world photo textures for the roofings of all the concourse areas, it adds in detail, but it also makes the custom modeling air-conditioners standout with no textures. The idea is solid, but needs more better co-ordination between the two elements for better realism and in this case the Air-Conditioners are of a more lighter sky-blue than the darker blue used here.

 

KSTL ST Louis Terminal One_C_3.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_C_1.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_C_2.jpg

 

Clutter is not bad in parts, but the more you move out to the end of the finger, the more the clutter is weaker... and the end there is no detailed clutter at all, where as an arrival point of view this is where you actually need the detail. It feels like the developer didn't finish off the detail and left it.

 

At the end of Concourse C there is an LIMA PAD, a ramp holding area for arrivals. The layout is as sighted is well done.

 

KSTL ST Louis Terminal One_C_4.jpg

 

Concourse D

There are 12 stands on Concourse D, D2 - D18. Concourse D is a very long finger connection one-sided concourse separating the two 1 and 2 Terminals . Most of the inner section is not used in the StarSim scenery with clutter hiding a few workable stands that could be available for use? Note Concourse D ends at the Airbridges, which are part of Concourse E.

 

KSTL ST Louis Terminal One_D_1.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_D_2.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_D_3.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_D_4.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal One_D_5.jpg

 

Terminal 2 - Concourse E

There are 17 stands on Concourse E, E4 - E40. Basically Terminal 2 carries all the international flights as noted are used via Terminal 2, hence the BA (although the wrong ones here in Regional CRJs). Notable is that the STL release came with no correct parking gates (ATC Routes) for designation of the correct identification of the gates for Traffic Global and WorldTraffic. This can be fixed via a new apt.dat file file attached below. The same apt.dat will be fixed in the next update with the correct gate designations.

 

KSTL ST Louis Terminal Two_1.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal Two_2.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal Two_6.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal Two_3.jpgKSTL ST Louis Terminal Two_4.jpg

 

Terminal Two is probably the highlight in the modeling of the scenery. There is some great lattice work and detail to be found here, and the building looks impressive, but slightly let down (again) by some untextured signs and bollards.

 

A bit of trivia... One aircraft from the Missouri History Museum currently hangs from Lambert's ceilings. This aircraft is a red Monocoupe 110 Special manufactured in St. Louis in 1931, and it hangs in the ticketing hall of Terminal 2. The airport has also played host to two other aircraft. A Monocoupe D-127 hung near the eastern security checkpoint in Terminal 1. Charles Lindbergh bought it in 1934 from the Lambert Aircraft Corporation and flew it as his personal aircraft. And a Ryan B-1 Brougham, a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, hung next to the D-127.

 

Concourses A, C and E all have SAM (Scenery Animated Manager) Airbridges, SAM brings the usual high quality interaction to any airport, and so the system is good here. There is "Southwest" Airbridge branding on Concourses A and E, but none on C?

 

KSTL ST Louis SAM 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis SAM 2.jpg

 

Control Tower

The very prominent 156-foot (47.6-meter) control tower was opened in 1997 at a cost of approximately $15 million and is placed central to the Terminal 1 facility. A very modern slab-sided concrete structure, it is well represented here.

 

KSTL ST Louis  Tower 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Tower 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Tower 3.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Tower 4.jpg

 

Tower View is set correctly, just slightly above the tower, so the views of all the approaches are really good. The radar on the roof is nicely animated.

 

There is a "MetroLink" LightRail that runs between the St. Louis City and on to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, a secondary airport about 37 miles (60 km) to the east. The LightRail stops at both Terminals, and it is well represented here and animated with the correct Metro livery, but although there are the correct pantographs shown, the corresponding overhead power lines are not displayed, so it looks a little odd.

 

KSTL ST Louis Train 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis Train 1.jpg

 

Inner Landside is very good, with a large short-term carpark dominating the drop-off area. It is nicely detailed but not finely so. Notable is there is some nice animated airport traffic, and the roads surrounding KSLT are also well animated.

 

KSTL ST Louis  Landside 4.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 3.jpg

 

StarSim relies heavily on Lo-Res photo images for the base. Overall the images are very good, but come with a lot of burnt in areas, like cars, which are quite noticeable. Nicely done are the four animated flags that represent the Country, State, City and Airport.

 

Northwest of the Terminal 1 is the "Airport Terminal Services" area and airport support buildings. These buildings have been faithfully reproduced and the area looks very good...

 

KSTL ST Louis  Landside 9.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 5.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 6.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 7.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 8.jpg

 

...   but to the more Southwest StarSim has used only the photo element to fill in the area, it looks good...  but in reality the area should have been modeled in to create an overall fill of the Landside. There are actually only a few prominent buildings in the zone to cover. The area is important as it represents the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Navy Operational Support Center and should be represented.

 

More Northeast you see the maintenance area of STL. This area is the remnants of the older part of the airfield in the original Naval Air Station St. Louis. As during World War II, the St Louis airport was also a manufacturing base for the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation (later McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing) and Curtiss-Wright.

 

KSTL ST Louis  Landside 10.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 13.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 11.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 12.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Landside 14.jpg

 

All the old factories and hangers are still here, with also some engine testing bays thrown in and all now used by American Airlines (but are ex-TWA). Notable is the FireStation facing taxiway C

 

NorthEast

Over the other side of the field on the Northeast are three areas...  A General Aviation apron area that is used by Signature Aviation, with nicely logo-ed three hangers and reception/adminstration building.

 

KSTL ST Louis  NorthEast 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis  NorthEast 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis  NorthEast 3.jpg

 

Situated behind is the STL Cargo ramp...  FedEx, Amazon Air Distribution and UPS are all represented with a nice bit of cargo clutter.

 

KSTL ST Louis  NorthEast 4.jpgKSTL ST Louis  NorthEast 5.jpg

 

The rest of the Northeast area is dominated by Boeing...   Here the Aviation company designs and builds autonomous vehicles, develops space and missile systems, and builds the F/A-18 and F-15 fighters. Future projects include the MQ-25 Stingray, “the Navy’s first operational, carrier-based unmanned aircraft" will be based here.

 

KSTL ST Louis  Boeing 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Boeing 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Boeing 3.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Boeing 4.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Boeing 5.jpg

 

However only about half of the Boeing complex buildings are represented including the impressive administration building, as the buildings and factories continue the other side of the railway tracks, here in the scenery it is just another blank space (image upper Right).

 

There is another large "Airport Terminal Services" facility facing Banshee Road on the north boundary (there is a noted General Aviation park area as well).

 

KSTL ST Louis  Boeing 6.jpgKSTL ST Louis  Boeing 7.jpg

 

The north area is well represented, but again missing the highly visible and large GKN Aerospace facility situated behind ATS, which is again a large green blank area.

 

Notable is that at the centre of the field is the "Cardinal" VOR-DME CSX 116.45, and nicely represented here.

 

KSTL ST Louis  Boeing 8.jpg

 

St Louis City

There is a St Louis Gateway Arch, but I'm not sure if it is part of StarSim scenery or an X-Plane default object, I think the latter. There is however no city skyline provided, which is shame as it can be seen from the Lambert airport. However there is a great CityX St Louis scenery package you can download (118.20MB) by Jaben42. The package includes the required Gateway Arch, Old Courthouse, SBC Building, Edward Jones Dome, Busch Stadium, Scottrade Arena, Union Station and many more.

 

KSTL ST Louis CityX 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis CityX 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis CityX 3.jpgKSTL ST Louis CityX 4.jpg

 

Lighting

Overall the lighting here at STL is average. Approach lighting is nicely defined, and thankfully there are two different tones of lighting to separate the Airside from the Landside...  the side expressways also do help in creating a lot of the Landside lighting effect as well.

 

KSTL ST Louis Lighting 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 3.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 4.jpg

 

Not sure on how to do night window lighting? then just do bland grey...  everywhere.

 

KSTL ST Louis Lighting 5.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 6.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 7.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 8.jpg

KSTL ST Louis Lighting 11.jpg

 

Most non-active apron areas use just simply down lighting or spot lighting for fills, it sorta works, but overall it is not very creative.

 

KSTL ST Louis Lighting 13.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 14.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 15.jpg

 

Some ramp areas are also quite dark, the worst point are gates C35, C36 and C38... black as night down there, so avoid?

 

KSTL ST Louis Lighting 9.jpgKSTL ST Louis Lighting 10.jpg

KSTL ST Louis Lighting 12.jpg

 

Ground Textures

We are seeing a new technique here, lay down photo textures, then lay the Burnt-in ambient occlusion effect laden textures over the top, the results...  mixed. The hard surfaces are actually very good. But the shoulders and a lot of the approach linage is very, very Lo-Res and even jaggy, that is courtesy of the photo images and not doing correct cover lineage...  personally effective at a distance, but it is not very realistic close up.

 

KSTL ST Louis Textures 1.jpgKSTL ST Louis Textures 2.jpgKSTL ST Louis Textures 3.jpg

 

As shame actually, because the concrete textures are very nice and realistic, but jaggies at this close quarter just don't work for me.

 

KSTL ST Louis Textures 4.jpgKSTL ST Louis Textures 5.jpgKSTL ST Louis Textures 6.jpgKSTL ST Louis Textures 7.jpg

 

There are also burnt in images on some texture areas, and they shine as much as the ramps do in the right lighting conditions. Grunge and dirt is there, but not as heavy or worn that you would expect at such an old airport, but passable in context.

 

KSTL ST Louis Textures 8.jpgKSTL ST Louis Textures 9.jpg

 

There is no 3d Grass, just again Lo-Res field texture areas, the colour though (thankfully) is realistic. But overall it is a dot-matrix of a field view. Notable is that a lot of uses have noted the field at STL is far from absolutely flat as shown here, but quite hilly. Sure that aspect can be very daunting to a new developer, but it is also required to show the true elevations and folds of the field.

 

KSTL ST Louis Textures 10.jpgKSTL ST Louis Textures 11.jpg

 

Field Navigation Signage is clear and good, and look authentic at night, but there are no ground lighting effects from the signs.

 

KSTL ST Louis Textures 12.jpgKSTL ST Louis Textures 13.jpg

____________________

Summary

St. Louis Lambert International Airport (KSTL) is the first released scenery from StarSim, and the airport has been a year and a half in development.

 

A significant MidAmerica scenery, STL has been home to a Naval AirStation, a wartime and current aircraft production facility, and also the past main base to the now defunct Trans World Airlines. A true American Airfield of some note.

 

Creating a first time scenery or any Simulation project is a very steep learning curve. What starts out as an interesting idea and project, soon turns out to be a far harder idea to create and deliver. So assessing a introductory project is wrought with conflicts. The bottom line is that this is a payware product, so to a point it has to deliver a certain standard to the purchaser. So does this St. Louis Lambert scenery deliver? Well overall yes, but there is still more room for development that is required to fulfill the whole promise.

 

The modeling overall is very good (Terminal 2 is excellent), but there are elements of non-textured items that should have been textured and stand out. All the Terminals and Concourses are represented and three come with the featured SAM Airbridges and two with branding, however a lot of Concourse D is unusable because of placed clutter on the stands?. Daytime windows are nice, but come with average grey lighting in the dark.

 

There is a very heavy reliance on photo-textures through-out the scenery, it works very well from a distance or from an airborne perspective as they are of high quality, but looks very burnt in and flat on the ground, also most of the important runway language in arrows and markings are all very Lo-Res and jaggy. Lighting overall is also average, with dark ramp areas and an over reliance on a lot of down and spot lighting.

 

My biggest issue with the scenery are the blanks of areas all around it, creating a scenery island feel. So Lambert it is not intergrated well into the surrounding built up zones as it is in reality. Important blank areas in infrastructure are also missing, directly south of Terminal 1, half of the Boeing complex and the notable large GKN Aerospace facility. There are no St. Louis City objects, but a good CityX download fixes that aspect.

 

So the outcome is that currently this St. Louis Lambert International Airport is a "Very Good" scenery, but not the high quality one it could be, as there is still more work to be done. Do I like and would use KSTL Lambert... overall yes, as the scenery has a huge amount of potential, it just currently needs that extra 15% to deliver on the idea.

___________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport by StarSim is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport

Price is US$22.00

 

Features:
  • Accurate and highly detailed recreation of STL airport and parts of the surrounding area
  • High resolution PBR texturing for ground and objects
  • Extensive custom HDR night lighting
  • Animated custom jetways (SAM plugin required)
  • Custom modelled and animated MetroLink train, car traffic and airport traffic 
  • High-quality Orthoimagery
 

Requirements

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 1.3 GB
Current and Review version : 1.02 (December 2nd 2021)
 

Installation and documents:

STL is download of 828Mb download that is translated into a 2.84Gb install in your Custom Scenery folder.

 

SAM Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 or higher is required for this scenery

 

apt.dat file file attached is required to fix the non-data gates for correct identification of the gates for Traffic Global and WorldTraffic. You just replace with the same "Earth nav data".

Earth nav data.zip

 

There is an excellent CityX St Louis scenery package you can download (118.20MB) by Jaben42 to add in a great visual aspect to this scenery.

 

Documents

There is a "Read Me" page for installation and requirements

________________________________________

 

Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton

6th December 2021

Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews

 

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) All Right Reserved
  

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.55

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : Traffic GlobalJustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

- None-

 

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I got it after reading your review (was waiting for a decent stl forever) with little expectations because you sounded mostly negative there and I have to say I am really impressed. The ground textures are some of the most realistic I have ever seen and after comparing the terminal model to what google earth shows it seems absolutely spot on down to the number of windows (yes i counted them lol).
I found night lighting looked pretty good and accurate.
In my honest opinion you could have maybe focused a bit more on what this scenery does well instead of presenting a list of things you don't like, almost made me miss out on this one.

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Well I am glad you liked it, and as always fair comment. For a first release it actually very good, but the quality level now has to be high even to extreme, if not users will be satisfied with a freeware version...  so you have to deliver far and above to not only sell, but make a profit as well.

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