x+s+r // klax hd (sfd)

xsr LAX

We spent a few hours puttering around Short Final’s new KLAX HD today, and there’s a lot to like about this file. We touched on a few of those things in our Sunday post and that assessment stands: the detail we’ve come to expect from Mr X is everywhere you look, and while this file isn’t as “cute” as his KABQ, I guess you have to say that KLAX isn’t a very “cute” place. Indeed, there’s nothing cute about Los Angeles these days, unless you’re into smog, often searing heat (and did we forget to mention wildfires), and more than their fair share of street gangs. Still, LA has a certain appeal and tourists still flock to the city in droves, and there’s the elephant in the room: most Californians live in Southern California, and California has a population larger than Canada’s. Also, taken as a whole, California’s is the 8th largest GDP in the world – and the principal gateway to this economy is, you guessed it – LAX.

Short Final’s file costs 27 buckeroos now, and it weighs in at 1.16Gb, but on the high side until you consider the amount of detail not only on the airport grounds but in the area immediately surrounding the airport. Also, this file contains the most important landmark of all time, the very epitome of Los Angeles – but more on that later.

So, as per our custom, we’ll focus on some nighttime images first, because most mediocre files may work well enough in daylight but simply don’t do the job at night. Knowing a little about Mr X’s previous files will tell you all you need to know about this, however; he makes among the very best airport files in X-plane, and this KLAX is no exception to that rule.


Ramps are little on the dim side in this file, and the lighting could use some punch here and there to add depth. The uniform gray you see in the image below isn’t representative of the KLAX I know (and, frankly, despise), but we’ve seen this before in his KSFO package (but not at KABQ, thankfully). There’s not a tremendous amount of activity on these ramps, either, so the net effect is a little lifeless. Still, there IS a ton of detail out there, from airline specific ground equipment to the correct static aircraft at the appropriate airline concourse. There IS animated activity on the ramps, but the overall dim lighting diminishes the effect just a bit, just as it does at KSFO. Minor, but the “issue” is there.

LAX 2.1

His model is spot-on, an excellent recreation of the original, circa 2017-18. Jetways are perfect, the weathered, rain-grooved ramps utterly convincing, and with the window textures showing people inside (a new innovation for Short Final) the overall immersive effect of this file is great.

Working our way around the airport, from Southwest to Delta to the International Terminal on the north side of the airport, we see the newest additions to the facility, and there’s good spatial depth, in good measure provided by hundreds of wall-mounted “sconce-type” lights.

LAX 2.2.png

Also noteworthy, the breaking wave motif used on the new international terminal is pulled off here with precision, and as this iconic building is the current highlight of the airport (and this file) is it appropriate to consider this a more visually arresting feature than even the old circular restaurant…maybe…?

Other areas are included and modeled with precision, including the RJ ramps, maintenance hangers, and surrounding hotels. In the end, the file presents KLAX as it really is these days: a hodgepodge of architectural styles accumulated over the decades, surrounded by dense cityscape.

LAX 2.3.png

You’ll also find gates to accommodate just about any aircraft in the commercial inventory, including the 748 and A380. In fact, there are several multi-Jetway gates located along the international terminal’s outer wall to accommodate the biggest Airbus. Isn’t that right, Simon?

LAX 380 gates

And yes, just about any aircraft in the commercial inventory will be found here, from the  biggest to the smallest…and…in the image just below you can just see the most important landmark in the universe…

LAX end set up

Yes…the In-and-Out Burger drive-thru on Sepulveda is faithfully modeled and presented in all it’s grease-splattered glory. The parking lot here, and the little park just across the street, is the most famous spotters locale in LA, if not, truly, the entire universe! Thank You Mr X for slipping this one in for us!


Adios, and next time at LAX, don’t forget to stop off for a burger – A


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