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Scenery Review : KDFW Dallas Fort Worth by Aerosoft

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Aerosoft DFW_Header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : KDFW Dallas Fort Worth by Aerosoft

 

One scenery I use a lot in reviews here at X-PlaneReviews is KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft. As it was not only a really high quality scenery, full of great features and was functional as well. The scenery was the first project by Omar Masroor under the Aerosoft banner and it set out from the beginning to be a high standard of quality scenery...  so now for Masroor's follow up and the scenery is DFW.

 

As scale goes you couldn't pick a larger airport to cover except for KATL - Atlanta, as DFW is a major international incoming hub to the United States. DFW is the third largest airport in size in the United States and the tenth in passenger movements in 2015. This is Texas after all.

 

I will admit to being a little bemused by the choice of DFW, because it was covered by Tom Curtis's "American Country" scenery only this time last year and of course comparisons are going to be made between the two projects, it is fine if you are going to deliver a much more higher quality scenery, but if you don't you are wasting your efforts when they could be put to better use on scenery that is required in X-Plane and not just duplicating what is already available.

 

First Impressions

 

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First impressions are entirely favorable. The building construction is very good , even impressive in detail, remember our old adage in that the larger the scenery then the less we must expect in raw detail, but the DFW buildings here are very well defined.

 

Approaching DFW from a distance it doesn't completely meld into the surrounding scenery, the boundary is distinguishable from the default textures by a lot of surrounding green space and the photo textures are slightly lighter inside the boundary, not that bad in reality but it is slightly noticeable. But look at a google map (below) and DFW is hemmed in by its surrounding suburbs, here the scenery feels slightly disconnected with all the bits of green space surrounding the airport. As a note that American airport developers seem to struggle more with intergrating their photo-textures into the default scenery textures, witness the same with Mister_x6's Salt Lake City Airport.

 

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Google DFW.jpg

Google Maps

 

KDFW - Dallas Fort-Worth layout

 

KDFW - Dallas Fort-Worth International

IATA: DFW – ICAO: KDFW – FAA LID: DFW

 

KDFW-Left Ground layout.jpgKDFW-Right Ground layout.jpg

 

13L/31R 9,0002ft, (743m) Concrete
13R/31L 9,3012ft ,(834m) Concrete
17C/35C 13,4014ft ,(085m) Concrete
17L/35R 8,500ft, (2,590m) Concrete
17R/35L 13,4014ft, (085m) Concrete
18L/36R 13,4004ft, (085m) Concrete
18R/36L13,4004ft, (085m) Concrete
H1 158ft  (48m)  Concrete
Elevation AMSL 607 ft / 185 m

 

Aerosoft DFW_Layout 1.jpgAerosoft DFW_Layout 2.jpg

 

Runway layouts are excellent and you have a lot of if not a huge choice at DFW, only 31L does not have an ILS and it is a shame as it is the best approach to the airport.

 

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Runway and taxiway lineage is good, as is all the correct taxiways direction signs.

 

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The black side tarmac looks good, but overall the infield grass feels quite bland with not a lot of saturation (colour) and the difference is not only noticeable, but also creates an overall bland feel to the scenery...  or could it just be that hot Texan sun?

 

Aerosoft DFW_Layout 14.jpgAerosoft DFW_Layout 15.jpg

 

Dallas Fort Worth Airport is so large you really have to break it down into bit sized chucks to digest it.

 

Central Terminal Area

Central Terminal area has Five Terminals in north A - C - E and south B - D and Express South (carpark) which will be Terminal F

 

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Terminal A

Terminal A has 30 gates: A8–A25, A28–A29, A33–A39. with Gates A34–A39 closed for renovations, as of March 2016. An American Airlines Admirals Club is located at Gate A24. The A terminal is a wholly an American Airlines terminal and is semi-circular in design.

 

A major feature of DFW is the SkyLink terminal people-mover that commenced operations in April 2005 in replacing the notoriously slow original Airtrans APM (17mph). The large corner iconic terminal buildings are not actually part of the terminal, but are the Skylink stations that are sited around the extensive terminal loop that makes up the full transport system. In this scenery the Skylink is excellently reproduced with constant movement rail-cars moving (quite fast) right around the system in opposite directions, the track breaks now and again but overall the system here is excellent and a really great visual feature with the latest orange updated cars are animated in moving in and and out of your line of view.

 

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Lots of great animated traffic running round the ramps as well and giving you that busy feeling, but there is this strange anomaly that most of the vehicles are SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) vehicles...  in Texas? The ramps are crowded as well with a large selection of vehicles, but with a bit too many.

 

Aerosoft DFW_Ground.jpgAerosoft DFW_Ground 2.jpg

 

If you use JARDesign's excellent "Ground Handling Deluxe" which I do a lot, then it becomes horribly confusing? I never had this problem with Omar's KRSW, in fact it was the best in the right factor of amount of ramp vehicles and space usability, but here they all clash in together.

 

The see through glass feature is to be noted as it looks really good, and it is usable inside as well to see out.

 

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Terminal B

Terminal B is opposite Terminal A and has 49 gates: B2–B3 (FIS optional) and there is an American Airlines Admirals Club located at Gate B3, B4–B29, B30–B39 (North Stinger), B40–B49. and Gates B18–B23 are closed for renovations, as of March 2016. North Stinger is a walk-on satellite terminal. Terminal B was originally the main Braniff Airlines complex, but it is now completely American Eagle territory as they now run all the gates.

 

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Note the traffic highway (bottom right) that runs through the centre of DFW, cars and trucks run in and out of the airport very nicely to give you a movement feel.

 

Terminal C

Terminal C has 31 gates: C2–C4, C6–C8, C10–C12, C14–C17, C19–C22, C24–C33, C35–C37 and C39. And the The Hyatt Regency DFW hotel is part of this terminal complex (not to be confused with the south terminal D Grand Hyatt). Originally Terminal 3E is is another wholly American Airlines terminal with an American Airlines Admirals Club located at Gate C20. This terminal is domestic. The ramp tower situated between Terminal A and Terminal C and is also highly visible on departure or arrival from A or C terminals.

 

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Terminal D (International)

Terminal D is the International terminal for DFW and it is a  2,000,000 sq ft (186,000 m2) facility capable of handling 32,000 passengers daily or 11.7 million passengers annually. The 298-room Grand Hyatt DFW Hotel is directly connected to the terminal.

Terminal D has 30 gates: D6–D8, D10–D12, D14, D15–D16–D16X (A380 gate with three loading bridges), D17–D18, D20–D25, D27–D31, D33–D34, D36–D40. There is an American Airlines Admirals Club located at D24. A British Airways Lounge, a Korean Air Lounge, a Lufthansa Lounge and a QANTAS Business Lounge is located at D21. Both Emirates and Qantas use the A380 at this terminal.

 

The highlight of the scenery is Terminal D. Noticeable is the extra attention the terminal has been given as it is more highly detailed and has a more complex construction.

 

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The terminal has lovely lines and shape, detail includes electrical work boxes and cabling. The scenery has full built in "autogates" and guidance by Marginal and the red digital "Welcome to DFW" signage is very welcome.

 

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Terminal D is also more detailed inside as well with shopping areas and the usual brands in situ.

 

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Terminal E

Terminal E, was originally occupied primarily by Delta Air Lines until Delta closed its hub here at DFW in 2005 (still Delta does 50 flights a day from here). Now it serves U.S.- based carriers at the airport other than American Airlines/American Eagle and Sun Country, as well as Air Canada Express and WestJet USCBP that are precleared flights from Canada.

Terminal E has 35 gates: E2, E4–E18, E20–E21, E22–E30 (Satellite Terminal), E31–E38. Delta and Alaska Airlines are the current occupants of the E satellite terminal, following the renovation project of gates E31–E38.

 

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The scenery can use three options for static aircraft. 1 ) is the inbuilt X-Plane11 static aircraft (shown here) and can be regulated by your graphic settings slider. 2 ) X-Life is also available with notes on how to use and install in the manual and 3 ) is World Traffic WT. All the correct inlaid ATC and taxiway traffic flows are built in and ready for use.

 

Express South

Express South is a huge carpark opposite Terminal E. It is the site for any terminal expansion and is noted as Terminal F and planning is due soon. The Skylink is already in place and well represented here as the orange rail-cars move right around the the carpark boundary.

 

Aerosoft DFW_Ep South 1.jpgAerosoft DFW_Ep South 2.jpg

 

Taxiway A/B - X/Y Jet Bridge

Who doesn't love a taxiway Jet Bridge over a highway!   I love them...   At DFW taxiways A and B east and X and Y west pass over the Route 97 International Parkway.

 

Aerosoft DFW_Taxi A_B 1.jpg Aerosoft DFW_Taxi A_B 2.jpg

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In the Aerosoft DFW scenery it is really well done as you cross over the moving traffic, only note is that the street lighting pops up through the taxiway?  A slight distraction in the day, but odd at night with the glowing street lamps in your path?

 

Central core

Both approaches from the west and east to DFW is well done, but the moving traffic adds a lot of functionality to the scene.

 

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The main 232ft central control tower (there are three field towers in South, Central and North) is the only main building on the strip.

 

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It is not an over detailed tower but I would note it as functional.

 

The Tower view over the main central runways 18R/36L 18L/36R and 17R/35L 17C/35C thankfully is excellent with no obstructions and you can see the full four corners of the field.

 

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On the southern-east section of taxiway A and B is the "SouthEast" Cargo area (below right) which is a multi-user facility for quick transit parcel movement. With another long-term and car rental carpark areas set more to the south.

 

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On the south-west side of the southern approach to DFW are mostly the catering facilities (above left). A small fuel depot is well done with a large mobile-office (demountable) administration area set out behind.

 

On the northern approach to DFW there is a large long term carpark to the west, The car-cover screens are not in 3d like Tom Curtis's version, but only flat in the ground images? On the west side along taxiway K is a corporate aviation ramp (Apron 1E)  and reception terminal. With airport support warehouses next to the Parkway.

 

Aerosoft DFW_Central North 1.jpgAerosoft DFW_Central North 2.jpg

 

DFW West

The western boundary is defined by 13R/31L to the west and 18R/36L to the east and the Cargo and Maintenance (American Airlines) infrastructure placed between them.

 

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South-west in this area is "West Cargo" but noted as the DHL cargo aprons. American Airlines have maintenance complex here with two hangars covering the site. The "West (control) Tower" is positioned behind the AA maintenance hangars.

 

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American Eagle has its offices and maintenance hangars central west with another cargo apron along side known as "West Air Freight". Still another cargo complex area is north-west and this time it is for UPS (United Parcel Service). Also set out west - west by RWY 13R/31L is the airport's comprehensive fuel depot and fuel tanks. All items are covered but the area is not over detailed.

 

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DFW East

On the Northeastern boundary FedEx has a big cargo complex aligned with RWY 13L/31R known as "East Cargo". In reality this area and runway is an airport on its own just for FedEx cargo operations, There is an adjoining Fire Station (no.3) complex as well.

 

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Mid-field east ibetween runways 17C/35C and 17L/35R there is the "East (control) Tower" and a big American Airline maintenance hangar (Hangar 5) and support aprons with the adjoining main central Fire Station (no.1).

 

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The American Airline office complex and operations centre and the DFW (airport) Human Resources building are covered as is the large "Flight Safety International" training facility. But they are facade style buildings and not 3d objects that are placed more for filling in than replication of existing buildings. The east runway radar tower is notably absent.

 

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Lighting

Approaching DFW is always an event, and the scenery looks very good at night.

 

Aerosoft DFW_Lighting 1.jpg

 

All runway and taxiway lighting is first rate, there is nothing better than taxiing round (and believe me you taxi a lot and a long way at DFW) and here it is a very good view.

 

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Ramp lighting is excellent with those huge towers of directional lights hanging over you...

 

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And here is a little bit of a incertitude in that those lovely daytime glass effects that don't translate to night time look. It is all of course a personal difference on the effect. It helps in that you can see the buildings internal areas, but overall it feels grey and flat.

 

The cause is not helped by the average night textures on the carparks and hotels. The Grand Hyatt is devoid of any life whatsoever (HYATT sign is the only highlight) and very different as the building looks great in the daylight, the building should be a visual highlight on departure or arrival. The Hyatt Regency is a better, but still uniform in its lighting patterns. But overall this throwback lighting is boring.

 

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If these lighting carpark/hotel effects had been more effective then they would have taken away some of the flatness of the terminal glass, but together they make the building lighting and the central/terminal area average and even bland. Night textures are very hard to get right. But if you do then it can lift a scenery into a great destination for a night arrival.

 

Aerosoft DFW_Lighting 10LG.jpg

 

Services

You can connect pretty much everywhere from DFW certainly on any American Airlines/U.S Airways routes. So your choice is huge... top ten domestic routes are interesting with LaGuardia routes notably more used than JFK and no major Washington D.C. routes noted.

 

Domestic

  • 1. Los Angeles, California -1,199,000 - American, Delta, Spirit, United
  • 2. Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois - 1,060,000 - American, Spirit, United
  • 3. Atlanta, Georgia - 977,000 - American, Delta, Spirit
  • 4. Denver, Colorado - 858,000 - American, Frontier, Spirit, United
  • 5. New York–LaGuardia, New York - 787,000 - American, Delta, Spirit
  • 6. Phoenix, Arizona - 693,000 - American/US Airways, Spirit
  • 7. Las Vegas, Nevada - 672,000 - American, Spirit
  • 8. San Francisco, California - 660,000 - American, United
  • 9. Miami, Florida - 628,000 - American
  • 10. Charlotte, North Carolina - 613,000 - American/US Airways

 

International

International routes are very interesting. You expect Mexico and Canada to be popular, but the British seem to really like Texas as well. Notable routes to the Far East (Toyko/Seoul) are surprising. Also surprising is the absence of the middle-east carriers, but with Emirates upping the Dubai - Dallas route EK221/EK222 to A380 services and other new connections then that absence won't be for too much longer.

 

  • 1. Cancún, Mexico - 682,977 - Aeromexico, American, Spirit, Sun Country
  • 2. London (Heathrow), England - 636,251 - American, British Airways
  • 3. Mexico City, Mexico - 476,167 - Aeromexico, American
  • 4. Tokyo (Narita), Japan - 305,321 - American
  • 5. Frankfurt, Germany - 269,442 - American, Lufthansa
  • 6. Monterrey, Mexico - 246,804 - American
  • 7. Seoul (Incheon), South Korea - 245,514 - American, Korean Air
  • 8. San José del Cabo, Mexico - 240,412 - American, Spirit
  • 9. Toronto (Pearson), Canada - 221,385 - Air Canada, American
  • 10. Vancouver, Canada - 200,460 - American

 

Qantas currently operates the world's longest nonstop service route from DFW to Sydney. In August 2015, Emirates announced plans for a nonstop flight from Dubai to Panama City which will take the title of the world's longest scheduled nonstop passenger flight starting on February 1, 2016.

 

Cargo

With 22 cargo operators and with 578,906 tons of cargo handled annually, DFW is the world's 29th busiest cargo airport. If you have followed all the cargo areas in this review you would understand how big a cargo hub DFW is. So with plenty of choice in operators and destinations will keep any cargo hauler easily grinning from ear to ear.

 

Summary

Obviously the comparison with Tom Curtis's "American Country" scenery is always going to be a hard choice. In perspective they are very different sceneries and both have great features and ideas. In more modern effects and features certainly then Aerosoft's version has a lot more the Tom Curtis's but they are very different views of the same airport.

 

In the negative I think Aerosoft's version is slightly blander because of the very light saturation of the photo textures. I had to work hard to get any colour into the images here because there isn't much colour to be had to do so. In fact the google image shows that within the airport grounds it is far more darker than the surround areas, and here it is the opposite way around. Building and texture night lighting is a bit more of the same, a bit grey and flat, but then KRSW's night glasswork was a little grey as well.

 

Highlight is certainly the terminal modeling as it is very good, with Terminal D being the standout. And the Jet Bridges over the highways and great moving traffic flows fill out a great visual aspect while taxiing in and out of the airport. There are lots of features including the step approach of installing sections of the airport that if you wish to leave out can help with your framerate and not affect the visual aspect of the scenery.

 

DFW is a far bigger scale up from KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport and all the great things that made that scenery good is in this DFW, but the larger scale does mean something can be more highlighted than they were on a smaller airport. Overall this KDFW - Dallas/Fort Worth scenery is very good with a lot of great aspects and features, but a more attention to the ground textures and night building lighting should have made it really great.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! KDFW - Dallas Fort-Worth by Aerosoft is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

KDFW- Dallas/Fort Worth

 

Price is US$23.99

 

Features:
  •     30 cm/pixel orthoimagery and 1 cm/pixel custom ground detail/markings
  •     Airport lighting and pavement markings closely follow FAA/ACI standards
  •     Terminals with interiors modelled using actual architectural drawings
  •     Modelled aircraft overpasses crossing International Parkway
  •     Ray-traced ambient occlusion, local illumination and specular mapping
  •     Uses advanced X-Plane features such as decal shading and 3D spill lights
  •     Animated passenger boarding bridges and Safedock® A-VDGS at all gates (using the freely available AutoGate plugin by Jonathan Harris)*
  •     Animated road traffic and Skylink APM
  •     Complete taxiway network for use by ATC and AI aircraft
  •     Fully compatible with the X-Life plugin by JARDesign
  •     Makes full use of the new ground service vehicles introduced in X-Plane 11
  •     Thousands of hand-placed objects such as parked cars and streetlights
  •     Parked cars, streetlights and terminal interiors can be individually turned on/off to optimize performance
  •     Uses 4K textures to maximize performance by minimizing draw calls
 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10
Windows, Mac and Linux
2Gb+ VRAM Video Card

 

Installation and documents: Download is 307.90meg and the scenery is deposited in the "Custom Scenery" X-Plane folder in this order...

 

Aerosoft_KDFW_1_Parked_Cars (106kb)*

Aerosoft_KDFW_2_Street_Lights (12.7kb)*

Aerosoft_KDFW_3_Terminal_Interiors (58.30kb)*

Aerosoft_KDFW_4_Roads (10kb)

Aerosoft_KDFW_5_Scenery (678.90mb)

 

* selections can be removed to save framerate.

 

Marginal's jetway and docking guidance system plugin is required for the animated jetways : AutoGate plugin 1.72

 

Full manual is provided. No charts but available here : faa.gov

____________________________________________________________________________________
 
Review by Stephen Dutton
16th May 2017
Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews
 
(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)
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11 and also used in X-Plane v10.52

Addons: Saitek x56 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin - US$14.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- Airbus A320neo by JARDesign (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$59.95

- Boeing 737-800 X-Plane default

 

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