Two payware files today, Turbulent Design’s brand new (to X-plane) KMBS International, located in east-central Michigan, as well as a somewhat older file from Down Under: Rim & Co’s Ayer’s Rock/Connellan Airport. Both are smaller airports with a decidedly commercial focus, but beyond that these two files couldn’t be more different. KMBS serves a limited commuter clientele headed to Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, or Minneapolis-St Paul, while Connellan Airport at Ayers’ Rock serves one of Australia’s primeir tourist destinations with non-stop flights to Sydney Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane and good ole Alice Springs. That said, let’s jump right in and take a look at these two…
I’ve been looking forward to this release ever since Turbulent’s Idaho Falls released late last year. I bought from the Turbulent Store so of course browsed through all their Fsx/P3D files, and when I laid eyes on this one it was love at first sight. Cue flash card: WARNING: SOURCE BIAS! Well, yeah. So? Any long-time user of Xp (of any version) looking at this terminal and not getting hot flashes needs to find another hobby. Knitting, perhaps?
Well, when the teasers popped on Threshold over the weekend I was ready to rock and roll, so when the announcement flashed on my Threshold feed I went straight to the Threshold Store and pulled the trigger. No pause to browse, no hesitation, just did the deed.
Installation was straightforward, everything all in one folder and in she went, straight into Custom Scenery. Open her up, not one error – and after the last several files I can not tell you how much I appreciate Turbulent’s simple execution – with the end user first in mind. I opened the X-Craft E175 and looked in the terminal windows…
And just about lost it. This team is one class act.
So yeah, source bias. How do you as a reader account for it other than to realize expectations ran high on this end – and after just a minute or two every expectation I had was blown right out the window. This file isn’t perfect, no airport file is, not really, but this one comes so close it leaves you kind of breathless. Gone are all my expectations that big airports are the best. After Idaho Falls and then Fly Design’s Two Polish airfields – and now this file, you’re going to want to reconsider that paradigm too.
So, just where the devil is this airport?
So, distances? Well, in the Beech 1900 it’s a little over an hour to O’Hare, and that’s the farthest afield. In other words, this airport will provide short-flight CRJ-200 nirvana. In winter conditions? IFR, baby! – all the way!
The modeling of the terminal is scrumptious, and I’ve never used that word to describe anything in X-plane. This isn’t a terminal fit for a flight sim; it worthy of an architectural design firm’s CG walk-thru. The only things NOT modeled are the bathrooms and two janitors closets. It’s just an outrageous tour de force, period. Everywhere you look, from the car park and passenger drop-off areas to the ramps and aprons, this is as good as it gets. Note the sidewalks and built-up curbs in and around the car-park; ramp detail minimal but believable; and the painted apron markings. All first-rate.
And it just gets better at night. Everywhere you look – you look and SEE inside. The only thing missing? People. None, nowhere in sight, and even a few strategically placed would help lend scale…but look at these images…!
The interior? Well, again, the only shortcoming is the lack of people, but the rest is simply audaciously perfect, even the carpeting and the recessed light cans in the ceilings. HVAC registers? Check! Departure and arrivals monitors – everywhere? Check! Doors with scuffed kick-plates? Yup. Baggage claim carousels? Like – duh… Security point. Coffee bar. Herman Miller seating… Perfect. Just perfect.
Another oddity? From the inside, textures on the windows show carts and such, but not your aircraft, and at night the windows turn blue so you can’t see out at all. I don’t know why, but I think it would be nice to be able to see out, night or day. With a few people standing at the windows looking out, this would make a great setting for people who like to make videos of their flights.
Another minor drawback? Street lighting as you approach the airport – and around the airport entry proper – is lacking. You can make out the light-pole bases on the ortho, and even the shadows of light poles on the street at the entry, but no light poles. The area around the airport is a little too dark at night as a result, and the fix is simple enough.
Still, there isn’t a better airport file for X-plane out right now. There are a bunch in this league, however, including DDs Warsaw, Fly Design’s two Polish airports, Short Final’s KABQ, and Turbulent’s Idaho Falls, and all this points to a vibrant future and good momentum for X-plane going into the important summer sales period.
Oh yes, there’s more to this airport than just the commercial terminal, but I guess you knew that. There’s a nicely modeled tower/fire rescue station as well as a large GA/bizjet hanger/ramp area, and taking off from here you’ll get to see most of it:
Note: no smeary orthos with smudge-stick cars? No smeary window textures? Great lighting, excellent ramps (though no static aircraft), and great surrounding details? All at a price LESS than many recent files that get nowhere close to this level of quality? And a location in the heart of the American Midwest?
Well, I picked up my copy at the Threshold store for about 25 buckeroos, and I highly recommend you do too.
I saw this at the Threshold Store and decided to pull the trigger on this one, too. Simon and I started to model this airport back in v9 and I was curious to see how Rim & Co chose to model this airport terminal, because while it looks simple enough it’s actually quite a complex little building, especially the roof. There’s also a basement level with inclined ramp access from ramp side, and they chose not to model this feature. I completely understand, as X-plane doesn’t like underground features. Other than that, the only other design shortcoming concerns the lack of trees that shade the ramp side of the terminal building, and yet – I understand that decision, too. Why build and texture this building only to hide it all behind a bunch of rocks and trees? Well, because that’s the real way the airport looks? Yeah, maybe. I guess.
So, where is Ayers Rock?
A little perspective? Auckland is roughly 2800 nmi distant, most Australian airports 1300-1800 nmi. Perfect for medium range aircraft, or the 752 from NZ.
How ’bout a few images now? Just for fun?
You’ll recall this developer, Rim & Co., made the St Helena Island file we enjoyed so much last December, and this file is quite similar in feel. A nice airport and huge ortho coverage are included, and the airport looks quite good night or day. That, to me, is the hallmark of a superior file and this file is a winner in that regard. You’ll also find lots of animated action on the ramps, especially the biz jet ramps, and there are people all over this airport! Hallelujah!
We’ve gone over massive City-VFR files for Melbourne and Sydney the past couple of weeks so maybe now is the time to think about adding this file to your Custom Scenery folder. This makes a perfect 2-3 hour flight in anything from the 733 to the A319, and even the Dash-8 Q400 or Saab 340 makes sense here from a few airports. And I hate to admit this, but this is probably as close to Ayers Rock as many of us will ever come, and the landscape here is ably presented, enough to make the experience worth the time. As such, this makes an immersive and very interesting flight opportunity, one you might want to take up from time-to-time, and we recommend this file as another Must Have…for off the beaten path adventures in X-plane.
Of course, we look forward to what comes next from both these developers. Their work is redefining the quality of the experience we enjoy in Xp.
Ayers Rock, too, is available at the Threshold Store, as well as via other outlets.
That’s all for today. We’ll continue looking over both these files, adding insights this weekend. Until then…adios – C