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Scenery Update : KSLC - Salt Lake City International v1.5 by ShortFinal Design In April 2017 mister6x made the jump from freeware to payware with this rendition of KSLC - Salt Lake City International and also at the same time a change to the formal name of ShortFinal Design. As a debut scenery then KSLC - Salt Lake City International was a sensational release in every respect including the sub-$25 price. But in two and a half years a lot can change in the X-Plane simulator and so also has ShortFinal design. Significant was the release last year of Short Final design's EDDM - Munich which was a masterpiece (and won our best airport scenery of the year 2019), it wasn't so much the high detail, but also in the way that ShortFinal had mastered the X-Plane11 dynamic features and the same airport was also the first third party to apply in a scenery the SAM - Scenery Animation Manager to great effect. The problem was EDDM - Munich rendered every other Short Final scenery to be a little dated so an update for SLC is now required, and here it is. Overall the airport in this v1.5 you will find it's layout is virtually unchanged which is a good thing There was not a lot of the first release of Short Final's KSLC scenery to moan about, as it was all a very high quality airport, but the one area that didn't quite work was that the scenery didn't fit in to the landscape very well. There are several reasons, but the main reason is that the default mesh and textures around Salt Lake are not of what you would call high quality... fair enough. But Short Final also created many blank areas around the airport that didn't help in blending it in with the background that worked either. With this v1.5 release a lot of those blank green areas have been adjusted, but a few blank areas are still there on the north and south approaches, at SLC airport itself these blank areas are part of the salt lake (white pools of salt) and are still noticeable... .... but however one of the biggest eyesores has been addressed. The area behind the General Aviation area that connects out to the city autogen has had a photo texture fill and it works very well in reducing the isolation factor of the airport from the city and in the actual texture mesh. It is a flat ground texture with no 3d buildings, but thankfully it all works very well. So the biggest issue I had with the scenery has been addressed, I do note I am using Short Final's excellent SFD Global texture package, and that also goes a long way in replacing the original poor mesh textures of the Salt Lake area. SAM - Scenery Animation Manager The first release of Short Final's KSLC had a variation of "Marginal's" autogate and docking guidance plugin. But now the docking system has been changed to the more adaptable Stairport SAM - Scenery Animation Manager like with Short Final's EDDM, and very good it is as well... ... you get a marshaller guiding you into the bay, then the menu connection to the aircraft. I thought this would have taken away the excellent featured Docking Guidance System (DGS) at KSLC, but no... it is still here and it has been adapted over to the SAM system. The Traffic Light system is so well done and great to use, beautifully reproduced here it shows a real attention to detail... ..... bay airport information boards are still very good as well and they show current local time, air pressure (inHg) and current air temperature (ºC). PBR Dynamics Like again the dynamic Munich you now have the PBR (Physically Based Rendering) on the ground and with the building textures at SLC... ... you could call them reflections, but the process is a bit more involved than that to bring out the materials and texture feel and realism. Glass was already reflective, but now add in the terminal design with the refined PBR materials and the the WOW factor kicks in. It is the sheer realism of everything that now brings the airport alive. The process is used also the refine the textures with down-scaled normal maps so that they now are more efficient as well, so you get the best of both worlds of not only dynamic realism, but a higher framerate in scenery use as well... I think it is known as a WIN-WIN. Beautiful light spill has been added to the navigation taxiway signage, this is another use of PBR to it's maximum effect. Short Final's v1.5 has also been dynamically adjusted to use SAM seasons and the TerraMAXX concept, I use the xEnviro seasonal adjustment for the same effect, and it is exceptional... Summer and Winter versions are also available. Short Final were always the leader in excellent clutter, and SLC is one of the best and the MisterX Library is required. Everything is here, Ice deployment trucks, graders, snowploughs and all the airport service vehicles are all locally branded, not only to airlines (plural) but SLC branding as well, all the quality vehicles have also been retextured for PBR. Also included is the Salt Lake City Skyline which is untouched but still very effective. As noted the main terminal and ground layouts remains unchanged, but it didn't need any adjustment or changes anyway, but you do get the more slightly darker PBR textures on the buildings and the ground and you could call it "nitty gritty", and it does certainly enhance the overall SLC scenery to a more and higher realism. ________________________________ Summary Only released two and a halve years ago, ShortFinal's (aka mister6x) statement scenery in KSLC - Salt Lake City International was at the time the best in many areas, but ShortFinal topped themselves with the extraordinary EDDM - Munich last year 2019 and so now SLC also gets the same dynamic and feature based tools and treatment as the German airport. The focus in this v1.5 update is on the dynamics and the application of PBR or Physically Based Rendering on all the textures. This makes the ground and buildings reflective but also dynamic to sunlight and environmental lighting conditions. Add in season effects and taxiway spill lighting and you have a very effective and highly realistic scenery. Other areas have had attention including new clutter PBR textures, and the replacement of the older Marginal autogate and docking guidance plugin with the more versitile Stairport SAM - Scenery Animation Manager that is also featured with it's seasonal effects, TerraMAXX and X-Enviro season effects now also work as well. Touchup of the surrounding blank mesh has been replaced by photo textures, but there are still a few blank areas, but overall KSLC blends in the landscape far better than with the original release. ShortFinal has a reputation as one of the very best scenery developers in X-Plane. They deliver quality scenery, all the latest features and dynamics at a huge value price, and you can't really can't pass a great deal like that up... SLC is a must have! _____________________________ The KSLC - Salt Lake City International v1.5 by ShortFinal Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KSLC-Salt Lake City International Your Price: US$24.95 Scenery Features: Accurate rendition of KSLC Highly accurate scenery for KSLC – Salt Lake City International Airport and parts of Salt Lake City Accurate models for all terminals, hangars, and other buildings Terminals with 3D interiors High-Resolution Airport Buildings and vehicles with PBR materials Baked Ambient Occlusion Custom high resolution ground textures High resolution photo scenery (15cm/px) Animated and populated Airport Animated airport vehicles (GroundTraffic) Animated jetways and custom DGS unique to KSLC using the Scenery Animation Manager (SAM) plugin Randomly placed static aircraft, can be easily toggled off in the X-Plane settings Weather support Summer and winter version Weather effects on the ground for rain and snow Requirements : X-Plane 11 (fully updated. not compatible with XP10) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 1.2 GB Current version and Review version: 1.5 (January 2nd 2020) Installation and documents: MisterX Library can be installed to get a larger selection of static aircraft. Stairport SAM v2.02 animation plugin is required for this scenery: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/49066-sam-scenery-animation-manager/ SFD Global is recommended Documents : Manual supplied but no charts v1.5 Update Log txt KSLC v1.5 Log.txt _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 8th January 2020 Copyright©2020: 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 11b15 and also used in X-Plane v10.52 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe GHD plugin : SFD Global - Global Textures : WT3 - WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : SAM Plugin - Free Scenery or Aircraft - Boeing 737-800 - (Xplane Default) by Laminar Research
Scenery Review : KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport by ShortFinal Design Welcome to New Mexico! Here is the next ShortFinal Design scenery after their excellent KSLC - Salt Lake City Intl from back in April 2017. As we now well know is that ShortFinal Design is also the great mister_x and it is his sceneries that has created some of the very best sceneries in X-Plane, we also found that KSLC was also his first scenery to be payware after a designer period of being a quality freeware developer. And that makes KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport a little interesting in because it is only a sniff away and 340nm east of one of mister_x's masterpieces in KPHX or Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that was released as freeware. So what we have here is freeware against payware, and here it is more so than with KSLC. Is that fair to again compare the two? Yes I think so because there is a differential between the two, it also shows how in a short time is that X-Plane in design is heavily moving forward and certainly as there are many similarities, but the differences are seriously noticeable here as well. KABQ - Albuquerque first impression In reality it is only a short hop East from Phoenix to Albuquerque in just over an hour's flying time (1h 5m to be exact) and my service is using the Boeing 757-200 by FlightFactor. When starting up at KPHX one thing becomes apparent in that for all of that great detail with mister_x's KPHX it does now feel quite empty, and this is even with WorldTraffic3 running at full throttle... (a note in make sure you have installed the latest ground routes for KPHX for WT3). The airbidges are also static and the ramps have a lot of objects, but not as complex as I remembered them as there is in a few areas there are some very good static setups, but overall the layout is basic. There is no qualms however about the excellent taxi, runway textures and linage as these layouts are excellent. Departure is a long taxi to RWY 28 and then East via FORPE with the flightplan set for St John's (SJNB). The Arizona skyline is desert basin and surrounded by mountains, and the New Mexico Albuquerque vista is not at all that different. One important item to note is the Albuquerque elevation... Phoenix is 1134ft AMSL, but Albuquerque is 5354ft AMSL and so you have to set your minimum approach altitude (arrowed below) at 12,000ft AMSL or you will find yourself flying into the ground. The runway layout at KABQ is to be studied as well. Most approaches are via RWY 08 or RWY 21, but if you use the RWY 26 approach and you find it is too tight to turn in (or around) with the mountainous barrier in the way... A GA or light Turbo-Prop would be fine for RWY26, but for a jet of the B752 size it is just too tight and dangerous a turn with the FMS routing, departures are fine. Even the RWY 21 approach is tight if you STAR in from the Northeast, as western approaches (and even then they can still be quite tight) are fine with usual KEKEE STAR approach but you will really need to study the RWY 21 approach pattern to get it perfect. Except for the very different KABQ runway layout, then Albuquerque does look similar to KPHX on the circuit. There are choices here in that you can install this SFD scenery directly as I have done here, and that is because I like any scenery to be well intergrated into the X-Plane default textures around the package and that works very well here. Or you can download a huge 3.3gb of NAIP imagery and 1/3 arc-second mesh to compliment the scenery and you will also need the all that computer power to run it all. The RWY 21 approach is the best of them all, no ILS though as that aid is available only on RWY 08 and RWY 03. There are plenty of objects or buildings on the approach as you are passing over the Kirtland AFB that shares a lot of the area in the North-Eastern section of the airport. Your finals on the RWY 21 approach also crosses the main east-west RWY 08/26 layout and so you have to be very aware of any landings on this busy runway (WT3) and usually they are landing in from the west. Note the excellent reedy sun-dried grass that matches the landscape, it is very good close up and realistic in all the landing views. Great filled out cargo ramps and buildings are situated at the southern end of RWY 21 and along the very long taxiway F. All ground (gravel) and runway textures are excellent. With also lots of different tarmac (asphalt) textures and all have great runway wear and tear. Lineage and markings are first rate and the same as KPHX. The runway layout can be complex from say landing on RWY 21, as you have to first taxi taxiway F, then C (not to confuse easily with G?) to then cross two runways in 12/30 and 08/26 to get the central terminal area, again 08/26 can be busy and holds can take time and a queue can easily form up behind you.. Guiding marshal's will bring you into the gate and the gates are animated to connect directly with your aircraft. As boarding bridges go, these here at KABQ are simply excellent in detailing... .... the airbridges are so supremely created, so much detail and with hard worked worn textures in they easily take your breath away, you are paying for detail, and you certainly get that here. The ramp and gate areas are excellent as well with well laid out and very numerous items of ramp equipment (many animated) and aircraft service vehicles. Running here is WT3 (xLife is fine as well) that supplies the aircraft and activity around KABQ. Ground routes are all completed and WT3 will run perfectly with the scenery in both ground route generation and the WT3 activity is excellent. First impressions, KABQ is certainly very good to excellent for realism and for the sheer detail that you get and yes even though KPHX's buildings and object count are both very good as is the excellent ground textures. But you really do certainly feel that significant difference in detailing and quality at the newer KABQ when you arrive. However KABQ STAR arrivals need study and FMS flightplans need to be set correctly except for RWY's 08 and 03 which are just straight in and clean approaches. ______________________________________ KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport Albuquerque International Sunport Albuquerque IATA: ABQ - ICAO: KABQ - FAA LID: ABQ 03/21 - 10,000ft (3,048m) Concrete 08/26 - 13,793ft (4,204m) Concrete 12/30 - 6,000ft (1,829m) Concrete Elevation AMSL 5,355 ft /1,632 m Runway layout at KABQ is not the usual parallel runway and centre island layout that pervades most US based airports. It is dominated by the east-west 08/26 main runway with the smaller angled cross of 03/21 - 12/30 off the 06 threshold. If you look closely the older 35/17 runway is still there, but now convertedin to a taxiway in A4, B4 and E4. Most pilots noted that 35/17 was dangerous to use. No doubt is that this layout was designed around the Kirtland AFB. There was airline operations out of Albuquerque earlier than the original 1940 army airfield as it was first served by two private airports in Oxnard Field which opened in 1928, and also West Mesa Airport, also known as the TWA airport which opened in 1930. As in 1935 it was suggested that the city build a new public airport using Works Progress Administration money. Having secured US$520,500 in funding, Governor Clyde Tingley broke ground for the project on February 28, 1937. Albuquerque Municipal Airport opened in 1939 with two paved runways, a Pueblo Style terminal building designed by Ernest Blumenthal, and a massive hangar designed to accommodate the new Boeing 307 operated by TWA. TWA became Trans World Airlines in 1946. Monarch Airlines came to Albuquerque in 1947 then merged with other carriers to become Frontier Airlines in 1950. The airport was renamed Albuquerque Sunport on April 17, 1963. This older terminal of 1939 has been restored and now houses offices of the Transportation Security Administration. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, and is situated behind a cargo facility. The Albuquerque Army Air Base, the precursor to today's Kirtland Air Force Base is still operational. The airport continues to share its runways with Kirtland AFB, which also handles rescue and firefighting operations. An Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) installation, the host unit is the 377th Air Base Wing (377 ABW). Flying units at Kirtland AFB consist of the 58th Special Operations Wing (58 SOW) of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and the 150th Fighter Wing (150 FW), an Air Combat Command (ACC)-gained unit of the New Mexico Air National Guard and these facilities cover the North-east of the airport. The present terminal was designed by William E. Burk Jr. It s built just east of the original terminal, and opened on November 12, 1965. At first the terminal had eight gates, four at the main building and another four at a small satellite building to the south connected by an underground tunnel. None of the gates back then had jetbridges. The main terminal has since been expanded several times, first in 1971 when a west wing was added with a large gate and jetbridge able to handle new wide-body aircraft. TWA used this gate to introduce the Lockheed L-1011 to Albuquerque in 1974 with flights to Chicago. After airline deregulation was passed in 1978, a flood of new airlines came to ABQ. The west wing was expanded in 1980 with three more gates, all of which had jetbridges and were used extensively by TWA and many new carriers. Southwest Airlines started service on April 3, 1980 using the old gates 1 and 2 at the main terminal and installed three ground level jetbridges at these two gates. From 1987 through 1989 the terminal was expanded and renovated. The satellite gate building was replaced with two concourses, A and B, giving the Sunport 19 new gates, all with jetbridges. Concourse A was further expanded in 1996 with four additional gates. The new above-ground connector link to the concourses was greatly expanded in 2005 to accommodate the need for additional security screening by the TSA after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The airport gained international status and was renamed the Albuquerque International Airport on September 27, 1971. The name was changed to Albuquerque International Sunport in 1994. These terminal facilities cover all the North- West section of the airport with cargo as noted in the South-West by the threshold of RWY03. Eclipse Aerospace was an American aircraft manufacturer based here as the manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 very light jet and its buildings are still prominent here... the company merged with Kestrel Aircraft, maker of the Kestrel K-350, to form One Aviation in April 2015. It is important to note that for this review I have the "runways follow terrain contours" feature switched ON. This is not the advice of ShortFinal Design as they would like their scenery to be flat. This of course creates the visual aspect of a few buildings being slightly misshapen and off the ground and not adjusting to the elevation changes. That is my choice, but the lovely elevation changes around the airport (for me) makes the scenery more realistic and better on the eye and fit into the X-Plane environment better. There is not much visually in New Mexico as it has very desert based envions, I mean they tested nuclear bombs out here because of the open space and empty areas. But the Sandia Mountains that frame the city are very spectacular, certainly at dawn or twilight, and overall in the background it is a very visually appealing vista. Terminal The terminal complex has been added on to for decades and decades as noted above, but still retains its mesa Mexican feel. Currently it is still one terminal with 25 gates in four concourses, including a concourse for commuter airline gates. Concourse A has 13 gates: A1 – A12, A14. Concourse B has 9 gates: B1, B3-B10 (Gate B2 was removed during the security hall expansion in 2005). Concourse E has 2 gates: E1 & E2. Concourse C, originally known as the west wing, consisted of four gates (11, 12, 14, & 15). Gate 11 was closed when the terminal was expanded in 1989 and the remaining three gates were renumbered to C1, C2, & C3. TWA continued to use these gates for a few more years until gates C2 and C3 showed signs of structural failure and later had to be demolished. TWA moved to concourse B and the lobby area of gate C1 (the gate built in 1971) has mostly been converted to office space. The lower level of gate C1 houses U. S. Customs and is still used for occasional international arriving flights. The Sunport last saw regular international service in 2009 by Aeromexico Connect with flights to Chihuahua, Mexico. Concourse D was a ground-level commuter aircraft concourse that was used by Great Plains Airlines. It was closed in 2004 after Great Plains Airlines liquidated due to insolvency. From a distance and on approach there doesn't seem to be much detail in this ShortFinal Design's take on ABQ. But get down to the ground level and that aspect is suddenly all very wrong. This is a very highly detailed scenery, but not to the absolute overfill of the airport. It is quite simply perfect or as good as you are really going to get in scenery reproductions. Close up building modeling is excellent in detail and texture reproduction, and outwardly there is a lot of similarities here with basic building construction and textures with KPHX, but then the detailing and quality is certainly a couple of levels above. All areas are highly filled out with ramp objects and as noted there is a lot of animated vehicle traffic as well. All building glass is reflective and realistic. Those airbridges will always make you smile evertime you focus on them, but to highlight the detailing you always look at the small stuff and not the big picture... here we highlight the terminals air-conditioning plants... ... nice aren't they, they are animated as well as the fans are working hard in the hot desert New Mexican sun to cool the terminal, great detail. The animated trucks are working hard as well in going back and to, to the parcel facility west of the main terminal which is nicely detailed. Behind this cargo facility is the older 1939 terminal that has been well reproduced, but the Swissport tankers seemingly don't quite fit into the ABQ scene, but the Swissport services are actually correct in this global branded world with a contract as suppliers to the ABQ airport. The areas behind the terminal in the landside zones are excellent as well. The highlight is the Sheraton Hotel which is perfect and so is the large carpark with efficient solar panels on the roof (great metalness), and their are hundreds of coloured shade carparking areas to keep your car cool. Detailing is breathtaking by SFD in the sheer amount of vehicles and items needed to fill in these areas. The famous welcome entry "Sunport" sign is well done. This is were your cash goes.... in the huge amounts of detailing that takes hours and hours to create, and you more than ever get your money's worth here. It is not just the sheer amount of objects you get, but the quality of the objects that are more important to make up the perfect visual scene. There are a few Albuquerque city buildings included into the scenery, not many but they do create a nice horizon skyline in the distance. Kirtland Air Force Base The former Army Air base is well reproduced, but feels a little empty compared to other areas around the scenery. I don't know if WT3 needs tuning to its military side to fill in aircraft, but still a few static aircraft here would certainly have helped in filling in the vast ramp areas. The base is extremely well modeled and with lots of detail, but the sheer openness also works against the areas. Modern and decades old hangars work together to create the full vista. The barracks behind and airbase infrastructure buildings are also fully covered and look great as noted on the RWY 21 approach as they fill out a large area to the Northeast. Control Tower KABQ's control tower is the standard issue US airport in a tall concrete structure and is part of the Kirtland AFB. It is well modeled with excellent reflective glass for realism. Tower view is good on all runway approaches. You do get a little of the base of the tower and of the railings and aerials if you look straight up... but for the visual following of the aircraft around the field it is fine. A couple of areas to the east are worth noting. Far northeast is the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center that has been created as has the Richard W. Lewis Advanced Laser Facility on the south threshold of RWY 26 east. Cargo and General Aviation The Cargo ramps are southwest along RWY 03/21. Here is a medium size cargo facility with FedEx and UPS having a large presence. Detail is overwhelmingly excellent as is the space to park on the ramps, so ABQ is a really good cargo hub for your operations, most cargo connections are of course with Memphis. In 2013 the aerial firefighting company, 10 Tanker Air Carrier, moved its headquarters to Albuquerque and currently have three DC-10 large air tankers based out of the Albuquerque International Sunport and they are well depicted here in the scenery... note the excellent FedEx containers ready for shipping. As runway RWY 03/21 is a busy runway you get a lot of activity via WT3, so this is not a boring area and animated cargo trucks help out with the action as well. There is a small zone for General Aviation here, but not a significant setup with just a few storage hangars. Private Jet service is there but again not significant but with a nice large parking ramp. The area is really Aerospace Industrial with the old Eclipse Aerospace complex being the dominant company that has been perfectly recreated and is very realistic. There is a huge amount of complex buildings and aerospace infrastructure, all very well created with loads and loads of objects that totally fills out the all the southwest quadrant of different areas. All the buildings have that been there and recreated feel, but in detailed value then this KABQ is simply off the scale. The Fire Station is way out off field to southeast as is the fire training hulk behind the station. Nightlighting Lighting as with everything else here at KABQ is very good. First is the dusk lighting that shows off the great ground textures and their excellent X-Plane11 reflections... ... Main runway and taxiway lighting is first rate. The lighting has been crafted to light or zone certain areas and that is highlighted by the carpark lighting which is perfect as is the main terminal ramp areas. Lighting on the ramps is great and highly workable.... But ramp lighting is only in selected areas... most of the Kirtland AFB is mostly in street lighting and some ramp lighting and like with the cargo areas and otherwise it is just regular the lighting around the industrial aerospace areas. Two lighting highlights is a nice Cutter General Aviation reception centre and a fully internally lit hangar which is great for late night private jet arrival and disembarking under the flood lights... Services Connections are US wide but Seattle, Chicago and Salt Lake are popular, there is a big northern port seasonal winter business as well. Southwest dominates ABQ, but all US major carriers use the port. Alaska Airlines - Seattle/Tacoma Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon Air - Orange County, Portland (OR), San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma Allegiant Air - Austin, Las Vegas American Airlines - Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth - Seasonal: Charlotte American Eagle - Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor Boutique Air - Alamosa (CO), Carlsbad (NM), Silver City Delta Air Lines - Atlanta, Salt Lake City - Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul Delta Connection - Los Angeles, Salt Lake City Frontier Airlines - Denver JetBlue Airways - New York (JFK) Southwest Airlines - Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, San Diego, San Jose (CA) (begins April 8, 2018) - Seasonal: Austin, Orlando, Portland (OR) United Airlines - Denver - Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental United Express - Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, San Francisco Routes Surprisingly the shortest routes to Phoenix and Dallas Texas are the most popular from ABQ, but most routes are really hub connections (LAX, Dallas, Atlanta and Denver). Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona - 317,000 : American, Southwest Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas - 263,000 : American Denver, Colorado - 224,000 : Southwest, United, Frontier Los Angeles, California - 164,000 : Allegiant, American, Southwest, United Dallas–Love, Texas - 157,000 : Southwest Las Vegas, Nevada - 147,000 : Allegiant, Southwest Atlanta, Georgia - 136,000 : Delta Houston–Hobby, Texas - 110,000 : Southwest Chicago–Midway, Illinois - 94,000 : Southwest Oakland, California - 83,000 : Southwest Cargo Ameriflight from Dallas is the main cargo contractor into ABQ, the rest are the main parcel runners in FedEx and UPS Ameriflight - Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Clovis, Farmington, Gallup, Grants, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Las Vegas (NM), Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Roswell, Silver City, Tucumcari, Sierra Vista (AZ) FedEx Express - Lubbock, Memphis FedEx Feeder operated by Empire Airlines - Durango, Farmington, Gallup UPS Airlines - Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Louisville, Ontario, Phoenix–Sky Harbor Summary As at the head of this review the main comparisons with this excellent KABQ are going to be with mister_x's own KPHX freeware scenery. Is that possible. Well yes it is and in reality it is not either. PHX - Phoenix is a larger scale scenery than ABQ and it is highly detailed for it's size and the buildings and textures are also very similar. But there the comparisons really end, the main difference is that KABQ is ultra detailed compared with PHX, with the more minute and the overwhelming sheer volume of detailed objects. On approach ABQ looks quite average, but once on the ground it is anything but so. Some items like the airbridges are so well crafted and animated. Background Sandia Mountains vistas also add in a lot to the feel and look of the airport (In other words it is a nice place to be or fly into). Unlike PHX then ABQ also comes loaded with features with mostly using the X-Plane11 dynamics for animation, textures and lighting, add in the well sorted ATC ground routes and WorldTraffic3 and you have a very active and dynamic airport. Is there any negatives at ABQ? not much really. The Kirtland AFB is very well done but needed a few static items to fill out the ramps as it looks quite empty otherwise, and although there is some really great branded animated trucks (Southwest) and a few are European in Swissport which is correct but looks odd and documentation could be better... all nit picking... well yes really. mister_x is one of X-Planes master scenery developers and really anything he releases is always going to go straight into the collection. ABQ is excellent for your network as well with great connections and usability, there is huge value in here as well that makes this Albuquerque International Sunport the full monty in every area... his best release yet in scale? Yes certainly in that it is a big "yes" from me. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport by ShortFinal Design is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport Your Price is US$19.95 Features Highly detailed airport Highly accurate scenery for KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport and Kirtland Air Force Base Accurate models for all terminals, hangars, and other buildings, with baked Ambient Occlusion Dynamic reflections on buildings (X-Plane 11 only) Custom high resolution ground textures HDR night lighting Fully Animated Airport Animated airport vehicles using the GroundTraffic plugin by Jonathan Harris (marginal) Custom animated jetways and Docking Guidance System (DGS) (when using the AutoGate plugin) Randomly placed static aircraft, can be easily toggled off in the X-Plane settings High Resolution Mesh Textures surrounding the Airport High resolution orthoimagery for the airport (15cm/px) Stunning photoscenery covering the Albuquerque area with NAIP imagery and 1/3 arc-second mesh, made by forkboy2 Overlays based on HD Mesh V3 by alpilotx (used with permission) Installation : Download scenery file size is 640.50mb. With the full installation at 1.04gb in your custom scenery folder. Scenery options include: downloadable 3.3gb of NAIP imagery and 1/3 arc-second mesh, and options for both X-Plane10 and X-Plane11 versions, Ortho4XP Patch X-Plane 10 Flat X-Plane 10 Mesh X-Plane 11 Flat X-Plane 11 Mesh There is a "readme" txt with the above options, but in reality more documentation is required on the what the options actually do and what the optional NAIP scenery installation is required. Documentation None, except for the above "readme" No charts are supplied for KABQ WT3 : WorldTraffic3 ground route conversion is excellent and activity is perfect... a must have for this scenery! ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 23rd November 2017 Copyright©2017: 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) 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 11.05 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - KPHX - Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 1.1 by mister_x (X-Plane.org) - Free - Boeing 757-200 Professional v3 by FlightFactor/Steptosky (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$64.95
News! - Announcement! : EDDM - Munich coming by ShortFinal Design (aka misterX6) You would think after completing a mega sized airport project like KLAX that you would try something a little less taxing... say a small GA airport or medium sized regional airport? There was a hint from ShortFinal that they wanted to try something away from North America (the sobbing can be heard over here), but the choice is... da, da dah! EDDM - Munich! Not exactly a backwater airport, if not the largest airport in all of Southern Germany, and god really some people are a glutton for punishment, anyway's ShortFinal's pain is our gain. And a brilliant gain it will be if EDDM is up to the usual ShortFinal quality and outstanding features, and there is no reason why it shouldn't be. Images are breathtaking... Features are also pretty good and totally on current spec: 3D interiors for all terminals and large hangars, animated 3D people Custom highly detailed jetways with AutoGate support Custom animated airport vehicles, cars, and trains (using GroundTraffic) High resolution orthoimagery for the entire airport area (30cm/px) High resolution ground textures with PBR materials Complete taxi routes and airport flows, World Traffic 3 compatible Randomly spawned static aircraft with accurate gate assigments Custom Mesh and fully modeled taxiway briges, optional Ortho4XP patch file To put this project in to perspective, then KLAX was finished only in Mid-July this year, the above EDDM has been completed since that date, incredible work done in just three months... just think about that in all this in only 3 Months! The Terminator was less persistent! No release date yet, but certainly before Christmas, no price either, but KLAX was US$26.95, so that would be a good guide... Images are courtesy of ShortFinal Design ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 11th October 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews
Scenery Review : KSLC - Salt Lake City International by ShortFinal Design I will first give you the bad news with so that you can then absorb this new excellent scenery in its correct context. This scenery is not from a new developer called ShortFinal Design, but from an old and much loved scenery developer called Mister_X6, Yes the same Mister_X6 that created the outstanding KLAX, KSAN, KSFO, KPHX (Phoenix) and the overwhelming KBOS (Boston) and now you will suddenly realise what is coming next... Mister-X6's scenery is not freeware anymore, as it is now going to be payware. And this KSLC is the first payware airport from the former freeware master. To be honest the scenery created by Mister_X6 was payware quality from the start, it was just released as freeware... In other words you just got lucky to get this level of scenery free. But the amount of time and work required to create sceneries of this scale cannot be supported on good fortune alone. The problem is that to continue to produce great scenery something has to give, one either get remuneration for all the time and experience or the other option is in giving the game away. So payware is better than nothing at all from a designer of Mister_X6's caliber, as to depart then everyone loses and so does the X-Plane simulator as well. But going payware does also put the onus on the developer as well, this is not freeware and payware does demand a high quality return for the investment, because that is what high quality payware scenery actually is in an investment. The one thing that the large state of Utah is that it has a lot of space between the large salt flats and mountain ranges. The state is like Colorado in that it has the last vestiges of the southern Rocky Mountain chain. Salt Flats are very flat, so if you want to build an airport then you have the right wide space in to do so. (Google Maps) So KSLC which set in the area to the north of the city is wide and uses a lot of the low flat space that is a part of the Great Salt Lake itself. KSLC Overview Having a very flat salt lake as a base works for the developer and against them. For is very simple in that the orthoimagery used in the scenery which was sourced from the USGS is easy to install as the ground is very flat, but it can really work against you as well as it did with Tom Curtis's Denver in that from the ground level it feels totally and unrealistically flat and bland as well, another point is that you have to make sure the insertion of the your add-on scenery melds in well with the surrounding default X-plane scenery to create the right realistic effect. There is a flatness effect with SFD's scenery but it is not extremely noticeable, but it is there... From the air you can easily see the USGS install from the X-Plane surroundings as the colouring is different, and on the east side a blank area is (very) noticeable... ... However from a distance on a departure or arrival perspective I think SFD gets away with the colouring, the blending is not bad at all. KSLC Layout Salt Lake International Airport IATA: SLC - ICAO: KSLC - FAA LID: SLC 16L/34R 12,002ft, (3,658m) Asphalt 16R/34L12,000ft, (3,658m) Concrete 17/35 9,597ft (2,925m) Asphalt 14/32 4,892ft (1,491m) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 4,227 ft / 1,288 m KSLC As the airport does cover a very large area it is best it be segregated into five defined areas: Terminals, Control Tower & Delta maintenance, Cargo North & South and East General Aviation. Terminals Control Tower & Delta maintenance Cargo North & South East General Aviation & Salt Lake City Air National Guard Base Terminal detail. From a distance it looks like KSLC has only one terminal, but in fact there are three in Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and the International Terminal. (iFly) Concourse A (left) are (gates A1-A9) and Concourse B (right) are (gates B1-B22). Con A and Con B is domestic mixed use but the terminal was built for "Western" which merged with Delta in 1987. But Delta use Terminal 2. Concourse C (left) has (gates C1-C13) is domestic, but Concourse D is mixed with (right) with (gates D1-D13) and Concourse E (below) with (gates E60-E85) is mixed with International, but use only gates D2, D4, and D6 in Concourse D for overseas flights. Concourse E's both finger departure gates are walk on only with no airbridges to the aircraft, but this gives you a great mix for short domestic flights with longer domestic services. All the terminal elements are really well developed by mister_x6, you know his work is already of a high standard and so it is here. A lot of the ground equipment is also highly prevalent as to the point of watching out for your wingtips when parking to avoid strikes. A nice touch is the excellent covered boarding ramps... Images here above are with the X-Plane11 static aircraft switched off, but the scenery is developed with all static aircraft positions (images static aircraft on below) created and all taxi routes are built in (default ATC and X-LIFE). When using the static aircraft feature you will need the required MisterX Library downloaded and installed for a wider variety of static aircraft and items in the scenery (the misterX library is a welcome tool to have anyway for other sceneries) A major feature with this scenery is the specific Docking Guidance System (DGS) at KSLC. The system is a variation of "Marginal's" autogate and docking guidance plugin, but beautifully recreated here. Green is "hello, I know who you are", Yellow is "Slow" and Red is "Stop" and if the lights turn off you have gone past the parking point. Aircraft alignment is via a protruding green bar over the red, if the only the green bar covers the red you are aligned correctly... simples! All auto gates are operational as well, turn off your engines and the airbridge will attach to the aircraft. On the non-airbridge gates (E) you have the marshall to guide you in. There is excellent aircraft gate display boards as well for authenticity, again beautifully done. All building glass has reflections (X-Plane11 only), but they can be odd with what they reflect sometimes if you get close or mess with the angle, but in most circumstances it is a realistic effect. There is detail inside the the concourses as well.... .... but only in the concourses and not the actual terminals, but still very well done. Landside detailing is excellent as well, highly realistic, just the photo roadway markings are a bit low resolution. There is animation of vehicles both Landside and Airside for scenery movement and that buzzy activity effect, both are well done as the vehicles are streaming around the terminals or along in alignment with the roadways in and out of the airport... always an important addition for me for realism... highlight is the animated UTX TRAX trams that weave their way out of the scenery and past the airline situation boards in the carpark, All car rental outlets are covered with the correct buildings and 3d cars in the yards, again a welcome addition for realism. Control Tower & Delta maintenance detail Centre field of KSLC is the control tower, Delta maintenance facility and the airports main fuel depot. KSLC's control tower is very well modeled, with great detail and glass reflections. Tower view is excellent as well, with all corners of the field covered and approaches well visible. In addition to the 328-foot-tall (100 m) Air Traffic Control Tower, TRACON is also located on the airport with the Salt Lake Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) located adjacent to the airport. The Salt Lake ARTCC covers the largest geographical area in the continental United States and controls airspace as far north as the Canada–US border. The main fuel depot is highlighted here, and there are a lot of airport infrastructure facilities that are also well reproduced, includes Fire Station, Skywest maintenance and fuel refuelling station... ... but the standout building centre field is the huge dominating Delta maintenance facility, the building is the primary maintenance, repair and overhaul arm for Delta TechOps. The hangar itself is certainly well created, but the real highlights here are the side paneled widows with excellent reflections that creates a real realism on the various light angles. North Cargo There are two cargo terminals in North and South Cargo. North Cargo is well north to the rest of the airfield and the larger (newer) of the two facilities. Home to DHL and FedEx it is well recreated. The Fire practise area (well done) is to the west of North Cargo as well. There are in various places around the scenery large ramps for Ice spraying, these are noted by the parked lines of ice protection spray trucks, a small but well thought out addition. South Cargo United States Postal Service dominates South Cargo, but Skywest Cargo, Delta Cargo and the Commissary are here as well. East General Aviation & Salt Lake City Air National Guard Base The northeast of KSLC is the where Utah Air National Guard operates what was previously named the Salt Lake City Air National Guard Base. In November 2014, the installation was renamed the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base after Brigadier General Roland R. Wright, USAF (Ret). The base occupies approximately 135 acres as a U.S. Government cantonment area leased from the airport. In addition to flight-line aircraft, the installation comprises 63 buildings: 3 services, 13 administrative, and 47 industrial. There are 255 full-time Air Reserve Technician and Active Guard and Reserve personnel assigned, augmented by 1,343 part-time traditional air national guardsmen. The host wing for the installation is the 151st Air Refueling Wing (151 ARW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit operating the KC-135R Stratotanker. The Utah Air National Guard base has been faithfully reproduced and is excellent. The rest of the eastern boundary is ulitised by private jet operators with mostly the Salt Lake Jet Centre making most of the facilites and areas for general aviation, with a lot of aircraft parking garages (hangars) to the south and rear. Even the most minor buildings get the most detailed attention, almost as perfect is these hangar buildings as the real things. But the eastern area has a boundary tranfer issue to the X-Plane default scenery. In most cases you would dismiss this perplexity as one of those things that could happen in X-Plane. But the default autogen does not match up with the scenery boundary on two sides, so you get a big open boundary area that is highly noticeable from any aerial viewpoint even from a distance, and it doesn't work on the ground either.... ShortFinal Design does also provide with the scenery a few 3d buildings of the Salt Lake City skyline, Including the Utah State Capitol building, Court house, US Bank, Keybank and the Wells Fargo Bank which has a usable helipad on the roof. KSLC Lighting ShortFinal Design's lighting of KSLC is excellent... Approaches to all runways are well done with a few with RAIL lighting. All taxiway guidance (green) lighting is also covered. But you have to get closer in to see the diversity of the lighting with a good spread of different lighting for different areas. You have no problems working around the ramps, but the non-autogate terminals are a little duller than the other concourses. The reflective glass feature doesn't work as well at night, as glass comes out grey. Not too bad, but not totally realistic either. One area that does stand out though is landside and the terminal signs are not lit? It makes it pretty dark around there... There is a lot of down-lighting around all the various hangars and warehouses that is well done and creates a lot of detailing, however the highlight is the Delta maintenance building which is very well done. Services Domestic and Denver wins the most used route and I recommend the flight as it is a great view over the Rockies. Otherwise it is the standard selection of US destinations... Delta, Alaska, American and Southwest dominate but Frontier gets a look in. Denver, Colorado - 789,000 : Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United Los Angeles, California - 650,000 : Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona - 610,000 : American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest Atlanta, Georgia - 526,000 : Delta, Frontier Seattle/Tacoma, Washington - 494,000 : Alaska, Delta Las Vegas, Nevada - 492,000 : Alaska, Delta, Frontier, Southwest Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas - 416,000 : American, Delta Portland, Oregon - 346,000 : Alaska, Delta Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois - 333,000 : American, Delta, Frontier, United San Diego, California - 303,000 : Alaska, Delta Except for Paris and Amsterdam, most international routes are to Mexico and Canada and Delta runs the show. Paris (Charles de Gaulle), France - 124,425 : Delta Cancún, México - 80,351: Delta, Frontier Mexico City, México - 74,818 : Delta Amsterdam, Netherlands - 63,185 : Delta Vancouver, Canada - 61,879 : Delta Calgary, Canada - 55,788 : Delta San José del Cabo, México - 32,429 : Delta Puerto Vallarta, México - 24,733 : Delta _______________________________________________________________ Summary The move from Freeware to Payware is a big step. A hard one as well as now your work will have to meet higher expectations and a more critical examination of all the aspects of what the developer is presenting. There is no doubt here with their KSLC scenery is that ShortFinal Design are well aware of this factor, and there is a lot of extra of of everything to meet and even supersede their original scenery presentations. There are few notes to be aired and mostly they are centred around the scenery's intergration with the X-Plane default scenery and autogen. The trick is that if a developer understands the system well, then can turn the disadvantage into an advantage for their work. JustSim scenery is very good at doing this even to the point of using the default tools to create their own autogen to match their add-on scenery. With KSLC ShortFinal Design are lucky in that three boundaries of the scenery don't clash with the default autogen, but with the one that does it is noticeable, if the airport was much lower south in the main Salt Lake City metro area then this scenery would have stuck out like a sore thumb, but they get away with it here, even with the darker USGS photo textures... but just. The point is they not do so next time. A nice additional feature to this scenery would be winter textures, maybe in an update... Otherwise this is sensational scenery and very high quality. You do get a lot of everything for your money. Great buildings and internal as well as external, well conceived layouts, huge and mindless amount of objects and items around the airport including all terminals, hangars and airport infrastructure and great features including great vehicle and tram animations, great glass reflections, great features in the autogate and docking guidance systems, great lighting, everything is great, great, great. Great value as well at under US$25, so this KSLC is a certain addition to your American Mid-West scenery collection... Positives : Great scenery, many great X-Plane features including many animations, specific to airport docking guidance, great internal and external detailed terminals, good lighting, huge amount of objects and detailed buildings and famous X-Plane developer. Negatives: Slightly better intergration into X-Plane default scenery needed, poorly lit signage landside, no charts. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The KSLC - Salt Lake City International by ShortFinal Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KSLC-Salt Lake City International Your Price: US$24.95 Scenery Features: Accurate rendition of KSLC Highly accurate scenery for KSLC – Salt Lake City International Airport and parts of Salt Lake City Accurate models for all terminals, hangars, and other buildings Most terminals with 3D interiors High-Resolution Airport Dynamic reflections on buildings (X-Plane 11 only) Baked Ambient Occlusion Custom high resolution ground textures HDR night lighting High resolution photo scenery (15cm/px) Animated and populated Airport Animated airport vehicles (GroundTraffic) Animated jetways and custom Docking Guidance System (DGS) unique to KSLC (using the AutoGate plugin) Randomly placed static aircraft, can be easily toggled off in the X-Plane settings Requirements : X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10.50 Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum. 3Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 720Mb. 1.2Gb Extracted Framerate is excellent for the density of the scenery, but still subject to computer system standards Installation and documents: MisterX Library can be installed to get a larger selection of static aircraft. AutoGate can be installed to use the included docking guidance system and moving jetways. Download for the KSLC - Salt Lake City International is 732.19mb and the unzipped files are deposited 1.18gb in the "Custom Scenery" Folder Note... scenery must be set in that above order to work correctly, You can rearrange the order in your scenery_packs_ini file. Static aircraft can be switched on or off via your "Graphic Settings" menu in "Draw Parked Aircraft". Documents : Manual but no charts _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 10th April 2017 Copyright©2017: 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 11b15 and also used in X-Plane v10.52 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe GHD plugin Scenery or Aircraft - Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 by FlyJSIm (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$30.00