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Scenery Preview : PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska by NorthernSkyStudio

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PAKT - Ketchiken Header.jpg


Scenery Preview : PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska by NorthernSkyStudio


If your brief was to create an International airport with limited space and on the side of a steep hill, then certainly PAKT - Ketchikan International Airport, Alaska would be the result. Unique as well with this position is as the airport is located on Gravina Island, just west of Ketchikan itself on the other side of the Tongass Narrows, and passengers must take a seven-minute ferry ride across the water to get to the airport from the town.


Around the World War II era until the early 1970s, longer range land plane air service to Ketchikan including flights to Seattle were operated via an old military airfield located approximately 20 air miles to the south on Annette Island. Aircraft operated into the Annette Island Airport (ANN) for flights in the local southeast Alaska area included the Grumman Goose and Catalina PBY with these amphibian aircraft being utilized to link the airport with the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base.


The current airport PAKT was opened on August 4, 1973 and was dedicated on the following day. The airport opening was the culmination of an effort by local residents, a 1965 study by the Alaska State Division of Aviation, another study in 1967 choosing the current site on Gravina Island, and land clearing in 1969. One of the first airlines to serve the new airport was Alaska Airlines which inaugurated the first jet service from Seattle to Ketchikan International Airport on August 4, 1973 with a Boeing 720 jetliner. Alaska Air primarily operated Boeing 727-100, 727-200 and 737-200 jetliners (including 737 passenger/cargo Combi aircraft) into the airport before switching to later model Boeing 737 jets. (edited wikipedia).



The first release in scenery for X-Plane by NorthernSkyStudio, was in Hawaii with their Molokai and Kalaupapa airport package. This was a well done package, but quite a small release that would be a great addition to anyone that need's a very good Hawaiian scenery. So here is their next release with the very complex PAKT - Ketchikan International in southern Alaska.


My main connection with PAKT - Ketchikan is that is a superb supply airport for CZST Stewart, and the excellent Beti-x scenery that is positioned close by there. So I have over the years toodled back and too to Stewart in mostly Bush, 208 Caravan and the odd GA aircraft from Ketchikan. But that is not using this scenery to anything but it's full potential. The airport is of course positioned central on the famous "Inside Passage" that consists of thousands of islands that are stretched right up the upper west North American continent from Seattle to Glacier Bay, and it is noted as one as THE very best flying areas in the world, for bush pilot and regional flying services.


Ketchiken is also on the famous "Milk Run”. The Milk Run are routes that are run daily by Alaska Airlines and Flight 65, starts in Seattle and stops in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg and Juneau before flying on and landing in Anchorage. The opposite route flight, Flight 66, starts in Anchorage and stops in Cordova, Yakutat and Juneau before flying on to Seattle. There used to be B737 Combi aircraft flying on the route, but the last run was completed last year, and the combi's have now all been replaced by three dedicated 737-700 freighters.


Ketchikan International Airport


11/29 - 7,500ft (2,286m) Asphalt

Elevation AMSL 92 ft / 28 m


PAKT - Ketchiken Head 1.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Head 2.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Head 3.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Head 4.jpg


PAKT - Ketchiken Head Ov.jpg


The airport does have a very unique layout with the main runway of which is located about 30 feet (9.1 m) higher than the apron further on up the hillside, and is connected between the two areas by two sloping taxiways in Taxiway A - RWY 29 and Taxiway B - Rwy 11 for departures.


PAKT - Ketchiken Side.jpg


PAKT - Ketchiken TWY 1.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken TWY 2.jpg


From an X-Plane modeling point of view this multi-elevation layout is extremely hard to get right as you can't rely on the initial mesh layouts, so everything has to be modeled to fit. Get it right, like here at this PAKT and it makes for one of the best arrival experiences in X-Plane.


PAKT - Ketchiken layer 1.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken layer 2.jpg


To fit aircraft parking areas on a hillside, it requires different parking zones and there are two (another zone looks like a parking area on TWY A but it is large turning or holding area.). The lower, lower zone (above) accessed by TWY C is for all General Aviation parking and it is quite a large area. The upper apron in front of the terminal is the main commercial zone.


PAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 1.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 2.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 3.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 4.jpg


If International in the broad sense is the general idea, then PAKT is not in the same capability as say like KDEN - Denver or KLAX - Los Angeles. To put that into context it is to say international here is going from the USA into Canada, not to Japan or Europe. So in that context you have one (yes only one) airbridge and only one large stand or two large (B737/A320) parking slots.


The (small) international terminal and it's very striking offset control tower is excellent, really well done with even the local carving set out around the building for authenticity, all the areas around the terminal are also very authentic and highly realistic...


PAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 6.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 7.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 8.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 5.jpg


....   including the ferry connection ramp system landside, which is highly detailed. The Ferry itself "Ken Eichner -2" is also animated and docks on both sides of the Tongass Narrows waterway. On the airport side it perfectly fits into the wharf. Only comment is that the single airbridge is static and not animated, which is a shame as that would have been a big feature for the scenery.


PAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 9.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 10.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 11.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 12.jpg


Next to the main apron is a commercial apron for local services, in i.e. charter, sightseeing flights, and island hopping. On the apron are four large hangars of which the first "Aero Services" of who is the cargo handler for the airport. All four hangars have been faithfully reconstructed and are simply excellent.


PAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 13.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 14.jpg


Note the excellent grass and foliage, that is done all around here very well. Ground clutter is again excellent, with correctly branded and shaped custom cargo pallets (called cargo Igloos!), ramp aircraft boarding stands and branded baggage trolleys. Static aircraft are also provided with 208 Caravans and Lear Jets and are all also correctly locally branded.


PAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 15.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 16.jpg


Detail is also really well done. With all the correct fencing and airport aids (including the ILS System).


PAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 17.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 18.jpg

PAKT - Ketchiken Detail 2.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Detail 1.jpg


Seaplane base is also highly detailed, beautifully done. There is also a tunnel under the runway, a small thing but again great detail.


PAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 19.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Terminal 20.jpg


Textures and surfaces are good, but feel a little light in colour and especially with the runway and taxiway A, which both needed to be both slightly darker, and note the excellent steel drainage grids. The odd looking light green colour surrounding the runway and taxiway areas is actually correct, and not a faded poor texture as it must be a coloured concrete mix (I checked).


Port of Ketchikan

Where as the airport island scenery is excellent, the port area on the other side of the narrows is a mixed bag. The area looks fine from the airport view point, but I feel the issue here is the underlay ortho textures in being far too light (washed out) in colour. The textures are flat around the wharf edges and level with the water and that creates a non-realistic feel?


PAKT - Ketchiken Port 1.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Port 2.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Port 3.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Port 5.jpg


Worse there are a few important buildings missing that in their distinctive style and roof colour looked poor in being flat, and are as well front and centre visually... overall there is that "okay we will stop there, why bother doing any more" sort of feeling. And missing is all the shipping at both here at the port zone and in downtown Ketchikan (cruise shipping) as well and because they would be noticed from the airport on arrival or departure it makes it all look again rather more empty than it needs to be ...


PAKT - Ketchiken Port 4.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Port 6.jpg


...  there is a huge slipway building, but I can't find the same on any maps? but it looks visually very good. The sailboats don't work either?


PAKT - Ketchiken Port 7.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Port 8.jpg


They are all a bit bright and samey... I'm not expecting every one to be different, but a few changed styles would have made it that all the more realistic.



The lighting overall at PAKT is excellent...  Approach lighting is fine.


PAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 1.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 2.jpg

PAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 11.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 10.jpg


The signage though looks totally out of scale...


PAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 12 LG.jpg


...  the sign looks as big as a Cessna 152? The colour brightness reflection is far to strong as well and not realistic. A shame because the terminal building and ramp lighting is absolutely first rate.


PAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 6.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 5.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 7 LG.jpg


So many developers get night lighting textures so wrong? but here they are perfect and highly realistic. Detail lighting including the excellent down lights are very well done...


PAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 3.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 4.jpg

PAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 8.jpgPAKT - Ketchiken Lighting 9.jpg


Ketchikan Port side is more simplistic, but fine and still includes nice lighting window textures, so the lighting is very good all over the scenery.


WT3: WorldTraffic GroundRoutes are provided with the scenery, and over all they work very well including the hard situation of a taxi and turnaround on the end of RWY 29. But don't expect a lot of traffic here at PAKT as it is pretty quiet operations wise.


Preview Notes

I was actually pretty surprised by this PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska by NorthernSkyStudio as it is really very good, even excellent. Quality and detail is very through and there is a lot in this scenery to consider it's worth. And plus Ketchikan as in it's position is a pretty important airport for not only recreating the "Milk Run", but for a base to cover and explore this excellent "Inside Passage" area, as it is a bush pilot, and regional service supreme flying area.

There is a lot of excellent work in here, and to say that NorthernSkyStudio is a developer to watch in delivering quality scenery, but there is the odd fumble in here that needs to be watched, but overall from them this is an excellent release.


Positives: Great modeling with a very difficult X-Plane terrain (mesh) to recreate. All airport scenery is absolutely top notch, and night lighting is first rate, detail is excellent with the terminal and ferry ramp and ground clutter is branded and well recreated in detail.

Negatives: Ketchikan Port feels like a bit of a left over from the main airport scenery, and feels a little half finished, no shipping is a big visual emptiness that shouldn't be? Signage is out of scale to the airport, looks odd at night and the single airbridge is only static.




X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes!...  PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska by NorthernSkyStudio is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska


Price is US$25.00


Requirements :

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Current Review version : 1.0 (August 6th 2018)
Download Size: 1gb : Install Size 2.29gb
Installation is the airport folder must be set above the "terrain" mesh in the .INI order

PAKT_Northern_Sky_Studio (2.25gb)
PAKT_Terrain_Northern_Sky_Studio (35.80mb)


There is optional 2K textures if you run a lower powered computer, but to be honest they are not really needed as there is really nothing around PAKT to overuse your processors, running 4K textures my framerate was well within the 40's to 50's

Extras and Documents:
Manual in txt
  • PAKT Installation manual



Preview by Stephen Dutton

13th August 2018

Copyright©2018 : 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)


Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25r2

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

- Boeing 737-800 - Default X-plane by Laminar Research

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