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Scenery Review : Aerosoft - PANC Ted Stevens Intl, Anchorage, Alaska


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Scenery Review : Aerosoft - PANC Ted Stevens Intl, Anchorage, Alaska

 

Route : PAJN Juneau to PANC Ted Stevens Intl

 

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (IATA: ANC, ICAO: PANC) is known as the "Crossroads of the World". If any airport's location signifies its importance it is certainly PANC which is located in Anchorage, Alaska. The airport was not built however with international air travel in mind. It was defence and Anchorage's proximity to Russia that created the building of first airports in the area. First with Merrill Field (IATA: MRI, ICAO: PAMR) in the 1930's and then the construction of "Anchorage International Airport" in 1951.

 

Range became Anchorage's friend, To cross the Pacific from the USA (mostly to Japan) as when Northwest Orient became the first airline to operate scheduled transpacific flights after WWII, there was the requirement of airports for refueling stopovers. But it was the Polar routes from Europe that Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) began with the transpolar flight from Copenhagen to Tokyo via Anchorage in 1957, that really opened up the north to services that then also opened up the United States West coast to Europe and Asia. That Russia and China were No-Fly zones during the 50's and 60's helped the cause no end.

 

Most scheduled passenger services from Anchorage to Europe and Asia ceased in the late 1980's and early 1990's following the end of the Cold War and with aircraft with finally equipped to handle significantly longer ranges. Korean Air continued to serve Anchorage on a scheduled basis until the early 2000s. China Airlines was the last Asian carrier to serve Anchorage on a regular basis and used Anchorage as an intermediate stop on its Taipei-New York route until 2011, when itthen  rerouted these flights to stop in Osaka. Today it is just a few charter passenger aircraft that still stop at Anchorage on flights between Asia and the eastern United States. 

 

To counter the lost traffic, PANC reinvented itself as a major cargo hub. As of 2010, it was ranked as the fifth busiest airport in the world by cargo traffic after Hong Kong, Memphis, Shanghai and Seoul.

 

FedEx Express and UPS Airlines operate major hubs at Anchorage International for cargo heading to and from the Far East. NWA Cargo used to operate a major hub at the airport until December 28, 2009 when it closed all operations for Northwest Cargo at all airports. FedEx Express is the airport's largest cargo facility and it can handle as many as 13,400 packages per hour and employing more than 1,200 people and providing a full customs clearance system. United Parcel Service's hub handles about 5,000 parcels per hour. Both companies forecast a large growth in traffic over the next several years as trade with China and other Far East countries increases and plan to expand their Anchorage facilities comparatively. The United States Postal Service also operates a large sectional center facility.

 

Today PANC is a seriously busy airport. In the 12-month period ending December 14, 2006, the airport had 289,472 aircraft operations which is an average of 793 movements per day. Total operations for the year 2011 it was 261,375. By the year 2030 this number is expected to rise to 334,279 or 918.882 operations per day.

 

PANC or Anchorage International Airport was renamed "Ted Stevens Anchorage International" in 2000 in the honor of Ted Stevens, the U.S. Senator from Alaska whom served from 1968 to 2009.

 

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7L/25R 10,600ft (3,231m) Asphalt

7R/25L 12,400ft (3,780m) Asphalt

15/33 11,584ft (3,531m) Asphalt

Elevation (AMSL) 152 ft / 46 m

 

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Aerosoft/Sim-Wings

In June 2013 Aerosoft - Sim-Wings released "Aerosoft - Airport Anchorage". It is the first from Aerosoft for the USA/Pacific region. The package is a huge 1.70gb download (expanded to 3.53gb in the Custom Scenery Folder). The scenery of "Anchorage Ted Stevens Airport" includes all facilities and buildings (International Terminal, National Terminal, cargo areas, maintenance areas, Kulis Air National Guard Base, South Airpark,...) and features.

 

Photorealistic ground textures based on aerial imagery (15cm/pixel)

Detailed rendition of Lake Hood (LHD), the world’s largest seaplane base including lots of static aircraft

Landing strip Z41

Complete taxiway and runway signs

Stunning X-Plane 10 night effects

Optimized for good frame rate

Comprehensive manual in German and English

LIDO charts

 

Scenery Installation

As noted the PANC scenery download is 1.7gb. So that is going to take some time depending on your internet connection. (I usually download overnight to save computer downtime). Installation is via Aerosoft's (copyright) and install popup panel (or dialog box). You only have to select your X-Plane10 main folder and the installer does the rest. (this scenery will only run on X-Plane10 and 64bit mode is recommended with the size of the scenery).

 

Two Documents (pdf) come with the Scenery: 1) Manual (12 pages) only in German? 2) Charts (35 Pages) which are excellent.

 

First Impressions

I flew the route PAJN Juneau to PANC Ted Stevens Intl and selected Runway 07L as my approach runway.

 

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From the air you can see the orthophoto underlay that makes up the whole of the scenery, It is also the cause of the use 3.31gb of your scenery memory. And that has to be held in hand as in the way you use Airport Anchorage. Orthophotos can be a blessing and a curse. Here at Anchorage they are not to bad. Besides the large memory consumption, they create areas of flat ground from the lower perspective. Here the photo colouring is also off from the X-Plane default scenery and so the colours are slightly odd in yellowish areas and with oddly coloured blues. I have seen far worse, but they seem to feel more suited to FSX than X-Plane.

My first attempt of using the scenery failed for two reasons. One is that first I flew the Boeing 777 (Flightfactor) into the Anchorage and hit the frame-rate penalty?... The MD-82 shown is a far less lighter aircraft file and worked fine. But I was able to use the B777 later by reigning in my (Render Options) "World Distance Detail". You lose a lot of the Anchorage city default objects. But at least you can use the scenery with a heavy aircraft file. The second was a "oh S***" moment in that Anchorage is always going to be a low cloud base destination. On arrival I dropped out of the low cloud and found Runway 07L (and 07R) had not formed correctly ?

 

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The scenery step was right on the touch-down point, and required a power float to try to get over the step, unfortunately by the time I got the wheels on the ground on 07L , the B777 was then far too short to stop and a go-around was to slow to activate (spool-up).  The step was unusual in that the "runways follows contours" setting was switched off?.... I turned the setting on then off again and the scenery is now correct? (It may be noted in the manual which is the correct setting but I can't read German?)

 

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The arrival by the Alaskan MD-82 was more benign and as this is "Alaska Airlines" home base the MD-82 fitted in perfectly with the Alaska Airline Maintenance hangars and offices set out perfectly in the background. Taxiway and runway lineage, signage and lighting is excellent and up to the usual Aerosoft standards.

 

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Terminals

Ted Stevens International has two terminals. Alaska Airlines uses the main (Domestic - with continental USA)  South Terminal. With Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Condor (Departures), Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Sun Country, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America. All regional intrastate carriers also use the South Terminal.

 

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South

South Terminal is L shaped around the corner opposite Runways 07L/25R and 15/33 with a single pier. The terminal contains 3 concourses: Concourse A, Concourse B, and Concourse C. Concourse C was completely rebuilt in 2004 while Concourses A and B were built in 1985 and 1969 respectively and both renovated in 2009.

 

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Detailing is absolutely excellent with great ramp areas and a gates, Building design is also very good with excellent glass areas. There is good ramp equipment, but pure to Aerosoft standards there are no static aircraft sited at the stands?  This makes the scenery sterile and the airport look abandoned. The moment I finished this review I went straight to on to X-Plane's WED (World EDitor) and filled the place up with activity. (but you shouldn't have to do that now - should you!)

 

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The Control Tower is situated to the north of the South Terminal and is slightly set back from the terminal itself. Perfectly realised, The tower and lower administration buildings are a fine reproduction of the original.

 

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The South Terminal is well created with exceptional attention to detail, the glass is excellent and all the required facilities in carparks and associated vehicle ramps with lighting are very well done. The carparks however are deserted of any car, buses or any other form of passenger transport?

 

North Terminal is slightly to the north of the South Terminal and is known as the International Terminal. It is a simple single pier or concourse building. The north terminal is well created with its distinctive black glass, gates and the passenger boarding jetways are excellent.

 

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The North Terminal is used by airlines: Condor (Arrivals), Icelandair, Yakutia Airlines (Russian), and many international seasonal charter flights. In addition to these airlines, a few cargo airlines use the north side of the terminal for parking. This terminal was built in 1982.

 

1) Alaska Airlines  2,780,000 - 64.11%

2) Era Aviation 380,000 - 8.77%

3) Delta Air Lines 378,000  - 8.71%

4) United Airlines 337,000  -7.76%

 

Alaska Airlines pretty well run the house here in passenger traffic. In destinations then Seattle easily gets top billing.

 

1)  Seattle, WA 721,000 - Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, United

2 ) Fairbanks, AK 193,000 - Alaska, Era Alaska

3 ) Minneapolis, MN 140,000 - Delta, Sun Country

4 ) Portland, OR 107,000 - Alaska

5) Kenai, AK  93,000 - Era Alaska, Grant Aviation

6) Juneau, AK 71,000 - Alaska

 

Cargo

Once you turn to cargo the picture changes significantly.

 

Air China Cargo - Beijing-Capital, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Shanghai-Pudong

Alaska Air Cargo - Juneau, Seattle

Alaska Central Express - Aniak, Bethel, Cold Bay, Cordova, Dillingham, Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Iliamna, Juneau, King Salmon, Kodiak, Port Heiden, Saint Paul, Saint George, Sand Point, Sitka

Asiana Cargo - Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, Seoul-Incheon

Cargolux - Hong Kong, Los Angeles

Cathay Pacific Cargo - Atlanta, Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Guadalajara, Hong Kong, Houston-Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, San Francisco, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver

China Airlines Cargo - Atlanta, Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston-Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, San Francisco, Taipei-Taoyuan

China Cargo Airlines - Chicago-O’Hare, Shanghai-Pudong

China Southern Airlines - Shanghai-Pudong, Zhengzhou

Empire Airlines - Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Kenai, Kodiak, Sitka

Era Alaska -Fairbanks, Homer, Kenai, Kodiak, Valdez

EVA Air Cargo - Atlanta, Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Osaka-Kansai, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Taipei-Taoyuan, Vancouver

Everts Air Cargo - King Salmon, Bethel, Dillingham

FedEx Express - Guam, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Indianapolis, Memphis, Newark, Oakland, Osaka-Kansai, Taipei-Taoyuan, Tokyo-Narita

Kalitta Air - Cincinnati, Hong Kong, Khabarovsk Novy

Korean Air Cargo - Seoul-Incheon, Toronto-Pearson

Lynden Air Cargo     

Nippon Cargo Airlines - Dallas/Fort Worth, New York-JFK, Tokyo-Narita

Northern Air Cargo - Bethel

Polar Air Cargo - Cincinnati, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Seoul-Incheon, Tokyo

 

All the major Cargo (and Airline Cargo) haulers are well represented as the cargo area runs long northwards adjacent of RWY 15/33. So your main usage for the scenery will be for cargo, as PANC will be mostly used as a cargo transfer or refueling point.

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All freight buildings and warehouses are represented with associated equipment. Ramp areas are excellent but again with no static aircraft to fill them?

 

Running East along RWY 07L and east of the South (main) Terminal is the Alaska Airline Maintenance hangars and offices and associated airline servicing areas.

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The main Alaska Airline Maintenance hangar is a significant landmark that stands out and is expertly created and signed. On the whole the area is excellent with addition hangars with vehicles and airline staff carparks dotted with cars.

 

South of both 07L/25R - 07R/25L main runways is the South Air Park and the now empty Alaska National Guard Base. Which was a National Guard facility in Anchorage, Alaska. The 127-acre (51ha) facility was in the past home of the 176th Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard until the unit moved to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (in an area now known colloquially as Camp Kulis) in February 2011.

 

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In time private operators will take over the abandoned base facilities, but for now there are hangars for Million Air, Great Circle and a Executive Terminal. To shield your expensive private jet you could use the old open sided fighter hangars? All elements here are well laid out and are highly usable for GA and Private Jet use. Aerosoft have again done a comprehensive job in recreating all these facilities.

 

PANC is really the embodiment of twin airport facilities in one. Situated behind the western placed terminals and cargo areas is the Lake Hood Seaplane Base (ICAO: PALH, FAA LID: LHD) situated on Lake Hood and Lake Spenard. Lake Hood is the world's busiest seaplane base with a handling of an average of 190 flights per day.

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E/W 4,540 (1,384m) Water

N/S 1,930 (588m) Water

NW/SE 1,370  (418m) Water

 

There is a noted side runway “Z41” designated 14/32 with a gravel surface measuring 2,200 by 75 feet (671 x 23 m). This runway is mostly used for aircraft with Tundra style landing gear for rural (meaning rough) flying applications.

Evidence of the value of the seaplane base can also be traced to operations around the aerodrome, with 53 businesses operating on the lake's edge. The largest operators at Lake Hood are K2 and Rust's (Flying Service). Each company operates Turbo Twin Otters, DeHavilland Beavers and Cessna 208s for flight sightseeing, fishing and hunting. there are 500 float slips that cost $105 per month for those who are lucky enough to have one. The 500 tie-downs at the gravel strip and parking areas are $50 a month. The slips are so valuable that many aircraft owners and some of those have been waiting a decade or more have lied and cheated to get a spot. noted by one owner  "You can kick my dog, mess around with my wife, but don't ever screw with my float slip at Lake Hood".

 

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Aerosoft have recreated Lake Hood and the Seaplane base with all the huts and slips. A nice touch is the assortment of aircraft situated around the area with some in the water and others on slips. This is certainly a great area to fly to or from while flying deep into the Alaskan wilderness or just to have a local short flight around the Anchorage area. Detailing is very good with all buildings represented and also the Alaska Aviation Museum which is located on the south shore of Lake Hood.

 

Lighting

Both the main terminals in lighting is excellent with great effects on the glass, and there is excellent ramp lighting coverage for both the Terminal and Cargo ramp areas

 

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Lighting sources however are slightly blobby and not very realistic close up (or at a distance either) and again very FSX in viewing style. Away from the main central areas the lighting is quite poor and only sporadic in placement. Only a few drop-downs lights are on the hangars and the other outlying buildings and these are mostly situated on the South side of the airport.

 

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Conclusions

PANC - Ted Stevens International Airport is a significant airport for anyone flying in simulation. It's position which is literally on the top of the world gives it a unique status for flying either East - West or with Polar operations. As noted this position is more rife today for cargo operations than passenger. But there is also a lot of passenger route scope for domestic Alaska and to Northern Canada and the Northern American state capitals. Lake Hood provides another significant dimension for all local waterborne aircraft including our beloved Beavers and Twin Otters and Tundra wheeled equipped aircraft on using runway “Z41”.

 

Aerosoft have created a comprehensive package and excellent scenery with the "Airport Anchorage". The massive (If overwhelming) orthophoto base can give you problems if your computer is average in power or scale, It is frame-rate heavy (certainly in HDR mode) but render tricks can make the scenery work as the central objects are quite light in scale. If you have a machine that is very good with this sort of heavy tasking scenery then you will totally love it. The slight orthophoto colouring can spoil the view and certainly from a distance. On the ground you don't however notice the difference. The main annoyance is the complete desertion of static aircraft. It makes this very busy working hub feel completely empty. You can fix that thankfully with an hour or so in WED (World EDitor) and maybe even do a better job than if Aerosoft had done so in the first place, because their static aircraft in other scenery packages are very poor with their texture performance (in other words - badly fuzzy).

 

On the modeling side and building textures "Airport Anchorage" is excellent if not the best that Aerosoft have released (except for Keflavik which is also excellent), the actual building lighting is also very good, but on the whole the lighting is average.

For X-Plane. Airports like "Airport Anchorage" are important to build up an excellent network to get the best out of the simulator as a departure or arrival scenery. As scenery it is excellent and well worth your investment. You will receive a very high return and use from this scenery, I personally wanted this scenery from the moment it was released. And it is now an important connection with my simulation flying and I was not disappointed once I sorted out the render settings and fixed the static aircraft placement. For value it is excellent scenery in the detail and comprehensive layout.... final words would be "It is an excellent investment".

 

Aerosoft - Airport Anchorage is available now from the X-Plane.org Store : PANC - Anchorage International Airport

 

Price is US$29.95

The scenery is available for only X-Plane10 (64bit is recommended)

 

Note: the download is very large for this scenery at 1.7gb and install disk space required is 3.31gb

 

System requirements:

X-Plane 10

Windows XP(SP3)/Vista/7/8, Mac, Linux

2,6 GHz Dual Core 2 Processor

2 GB RAM

Graphics card with at least 512 MB (1024 MB recommended)

Download-Size: 1.7 GB  (Windows-Version) / 1.75 GB (Mac-Version) / 1.6 GB (Linux-Version)

Installation-Size: 3.31 GB

 

Developers Site: Aerosoft (X-Plane)

 

 

Review By Stephen Dutton

 

4th November 2013

 

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

- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final)

Addons

- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
I see clearly, that you never designed it to feel like a working a/p.  Instead, it feels like an a/p after a nuke went off.  Don’t get me wrong... I love what you did, and in no way did you advertise anything that I didn’t get..... I just assumed that it would be like every other a/p I have downloaded (and they all show some signs of life).  I’ll leave you alone at this point.... but, would be thrilled, if in the future you could do something to give this very large (1.7 Gigs) and very expensive a/p a feel of life.
Beautiful scenery and well done on what you did do.
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