Orbx Fresno Yosemite International Airport
Many years ago while visiting the famous US National Parks Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we passed and stayed during our trip to San Francisco in Fresno. Not that we visited KFAT, we enjoyed our stay in Fresno. That said, I found it a good idea to visit this region once more, but this time using Orbx scenery.
To get the most realistic scenery sensation, you absolutely need when buying Orbx Fresno Yosemite International Airport also buy and install Orbx TrueEarth Northern California. Personally I would say add to this also the other TrueEarth west coast scenery packages, but Northern California is an absolute recommendation, so no requirement!
The modeled airport is as always with Orbx airport a stunning piece of art. It’s so beautiful and so detailed and perfectly blends with their own TrueEarth Northern California region. I could add many sentences in this section, but I think it’s better when you and I drive to KFAT, have a cup of coffee and look around and rent a GA aircraft and fly around the modeled Fresno are.
Are you ready to join me? But first, some words about the real Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
Oops, the installation and document
A few words are needed. Downloading Orbx products goes via Orbx Central and although this review is written and tested on an iMac Pro with macOS Big Sur, the way to buy an Orbx product all goes via Orbx Central. Curious about Orbx Central? Then you should check out the following Orbx Central URL. When you install Orbx Central for the first time, you have to follow a couple of steps before you can actually buy and download Orbx products. As expected, Fresno Yosemite International Airport can be found under Store – North America – Airports.
When you’ve followed all these steps KFAT or Fresno Yosemite International Airport will be downloaded, installed and if needed, extracted, and the scenery_pack.ini file will be updated in your designated X-Plane Custom Scenery folder and you’re ready to go. No serial key or whatsoever is needed. As far as I can see, there’s no manual included with for example background information of the airport or with ICAO airport charts. In case you’re looking for background KFAT information, you can always check the KFAT Wikipedia web page and for charts I suggest that you look at the dedicated AirNav.Com KFAT URL or at the dedicated SkyVector web page. When you have a full subscription with either Aerosoft NavData Pro or Navigraph, then you can download also from these sources the necessary charts.
The Real KFAT
Fresno Yosemite International Airport is a joint civil-military airport in Fresno, California, United States. It is the primary commercial airport for the San Joaquin Valley and three national parks: Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. It offers scheduled passenger flights to several major airline hubs in the United States and international service to Mexico. The facility opened in June 1942 as Hammer Field, a military airfield.
The airport is owned and operated by the city of Fresno and has two runways on a property spanning 1,728 acres (699 ha). Its airport code ‘FAT’ stands for “Fresno Air Terminal,” a former name for the airport.
Due to its central location within the state, the airport is home to several military, law enforcement, firefighting, and medical air units. The Fresno Air National Guard Base on the southeast corner of the airport is home to the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard. The Fresno Air Attack Base ;on the eastern side of the airport supports aerial firefighting aircraft.
The majority of scheduled commercial flights to Fresno use smaller regional jet aircraft operated by regional airlines, and the airport is home to a significant operations base for SkyWest Airlines, the nation’s largest regional airline. Fresno does still see mainline jet service on the busiest routes, and while only a few international flights operate to Mexico each day, they are some of the airport’s most well patronized.
Mainline air carrier service includes Allegiant Air service to Las Vegas, American Airlines service to Dallas/Fort Worth, United Airlines service to Denver ;and Chicago, and Frontier Airlines service to Denver with. International carriers also use mainline jets on their service to Mexico. All airlines use narrow-body aircraft from either the Airbus A320 family or the Boeing 737 family of jets.
And this concludes just a small piece of the Wikipedia text. The whole story can be found at the dedicated Fresno Airport page at Wikipedia. Feel free top check out the other stories at Wikipedia.
Visiting Orbx Fresno Yosemite International Airport
What previously said, time to visit the modeled airport by car. Yeah, that’s a different way seeing what Orbx has modeled and I can tell you, it looks gorgeous. But it is also fair to say that the real KFAT and thus the modeled Airport doesn’t have an impressive main road with lots of signs where to go to like driving to the arrival terminal, or heading for the departures, or car parkings, car rentals, the freighter area and others what you normally could expect. In that respect, KFAT has a basic road system that guides you to the huge and well modeled car parkings, then passing along the terminal building and then by following the same road you reach the E. Clinton Way with a bit further south, E McKinley Ave.
Both the real and modeled airport is completely build in by houses, the Airways Golf Club, factories and roads. I won’t say that the airport is situated in the middle of Fresno, but close to that. Downtown Fresno lies a bit southwest of it. Anyway, the public area as just described is basic, but this is as basic as real as it gets. Time to check it and see what to expect at the other side of the fence.
An Awesome Modeled KFAT
Although the modeled airport is one that is really basic, the “you can’t miss” passenger terminal with it’s unique structure is gorgeous. It is modeled with eye for all those tiny details, and even the inside of the concourse isn’t forgotten. Add to this SAM World Jetways and you’ve got it in one place. It’s a pleasure to see and to visit this airport near Fresno while on-route to either the Rocky Mountains or to the US West-coast. And yes, I mentioned this before, I highly recommend Orbx TrueEarth North California to install to get the right feeling and awesome look and feel of California.
Ok, back to the passenger terminal, the aprons and the nearby GA areas. I didn’t want to copy and paste the whole KFAT Wikipedia story in this review as I did in a previous section, but it was needed to understand why this international airport has such a small passenger terminal.
With that knowledge from the previous section “The Real KFAT”, lets see what else can be found in this modeled airport. The apron, in particular around the passenger terminal is a bit too clean in my humble opinion. Looking to some Goole Maps images it would be a good idea when the developer could add a bit more dirt and weathering to the apron textures. It’s not a big deal since I do like it a lot, but just “that” realistic touch would make it a bit more real.
When you look to this passenger terminal area, but actually it can be seen at the whole airport, many static aircraft are implemented, ranging from commercial jets, to freighters – UPS and FedEx 757 Series – GA aircraft, and military fighters and helicopters. Perhaps it was an idea that the developer made it possible to select these static aircraft ON/OFF.
Yes, I know what you think; I had already X-Plane option “Static Aircraft” not ticked. This means that these static aircraft I see are a part of the modeled airport. The reason that I bring this up is because from the six available jetways three are occupied by static aircraft.
While driving with the local airport authority car to the beginning of runway 11R, I see a lot of hangars, offices and static GA aircraft. I can’t say anything else then this is well done, but the tarmac and aprons are a bit too clean, as I mentioned before while inspecting the passenger terminal apron. Moving my way to the runway, I’m a bit surprised to see with huge letters TAXI on the taxiway and wondering why this is. The answer was quickly found when I checked the real KFAT with Google Maps and simulated an approach for runway 11R; it’s easy to mistaken and land on the taxiway.
As can be seen on the previous last X-Plane screenshot, even though it’s a simple straightforward runway design, it has extensive taxiways with at each end large parking positions whenever the pilot finds a need to stop here and do his/her checks and leave the taxiway holding point to the runway available for other aircraft. I do like the implemented ground textures that simulate the red-brown earth. But I mentioned this before, when you like this realistic ground texture color, then you must add also Orbx TrueEarth North California. It’s not a must since you can use the modeled KFAT airport without TrueEarth NoCal, but it is highly recommended besides the Orbx libraries and SAM which is needed for the airport itself.
During my drive along the hangars on my left-hand side to the beginning of runway 11R, I mentioned that many different modeled hangars can be found. All these different objects do reflect the reality. Don’t believe me? Check out with 3D look the Google Maps KFAT and you’ll see yourself.
A couple of words about the modeled control tower. Although the control tower may look straightforward and not as impressive as with huge airports, it’s still well modeled and as real as it gets in respect to the real control tower. And it’s not just the control tower alone. It’s also what’s created around it. The tress, the fence, other building, car parking lots etc. It completes it all!
I cross the runways 11R, followed by 11L and on this side of the runway, many buildings, offices, and hangars can be found. It starts with the Signature Flight support building/hangar BBA Aviation till and including the last area with its aprons and the large SkyWest Airlines hangar as well as some small hangars and several static helicopters. In between I spot many individual areas, dedicated to either military organizations including static helicopters, military bunkers I assume, and a remote parking place for aircraft although it looks like that freighter aircraft like the Boeing 757 Series from FedEx and UPS are parked here. Oops, almost forgotten, there’s also a golf resort. That’s something you didn’t expect, right? I didn’t too although I’ve seen this more with other modeled airports.
Passing the helicopter pads with lots of well modeled static helicopters, I drive along the other end of the runways – 29R and 29L – and before driving back to the passenger terminal, I first pass an area that’s clearly dedicated to fighters. I’m not that familiar with these fighters, but I think these are F-15 models. A bit further not identified as buildings, offices and hangars. All what I’ve seen so far is well done and confirms the reality.
I know that I briefly discussed this already, but the overall ground textures give the modeled KFAT a realistic look. I can’t check everything like the correct taxi and runway signs, but I think most of it is correct. The red-brown ground textures are as real as it should be, but the textures for the taxi- and runways including the aprons, could get a bit more weathering and dirt from either oil dripping from the engines, or rubber strips from the wheels/brakes and so on. Does it disturb me? Not at all, but it’s just to inform you and hopefully the airport will get an update and the developer can have a look into this.
Due to a couple of things in December 2020, I’ve learned that the same airport performs much better under Windows 10 than on macOS. That doesn’t surprise since we all know that macOS or iMacs in general don’t perform the same for games or simulation programs, but the modeled KFAT does a nice job under macOS, even when you install TrueEarth NoCal.
It depends of course on your monitor settings, your rendering settings and so on. But overall, I’m happy with the frame rates that easily go to 27-37 FPS or more. That’s measured with an iMac Pro, using macOS Big Sur and X-Plane 11.51r1. On Windows 10, in my case created with Apple’s Bootcamp, and using the default AMD driver updated via AMD, I reached with the same rendering settings the same amount of FPS. That’s something I didn’t expect since with other airport sceneries from MisterX and FunnerFlight there was a noticeable difference. Anyway, good news that a nicely modeled airport still offers good frame rates.
When I think about it, it surprises me that the frame rates are ratter high keeping in mind all the additional objects I’ve seen many cars (read objects read polygons), buses, static aircraft, high quality and detailed modeled buildings, hangars, offices, but also lots of trees, lights, signs and many other objects. Normally too many objects result in a frame rate drop, but for some reason we’re dealing with a well balanced airport.
Finishing this Orbx airport review cost me a bit more time, but that was due to a challenging hardware review I had to finish first, but now that I’d seen it, explored it, and flown from it as well as approaching it, I’m a happy simmer.
Oh yes, I mentioned a couple of items that could be checked or perhaps even updated like the missing dirt at the aprons, but besides that, the passenger terminal in particular, is very well crafted, as well as other parts at and around the airport are also looking good. Add to this Orbx TrueEarth Northern California and you’ve got a great place to fly.
That said, I sincerely hope that Orbx will release in the near future additional Northern California airports so that GA pilots can fly from one to the other modeled airport, enjoying the TrueEarth landscape below.
As of this writing, Orbx Fresno Yosemite International Airport (KFAT) for X-Plane 11 cost at this moment 23.07 AUD while the regular price is 32.95AUD. That means you get a discount of 30 percent on the airport. Add to this another 30 percent discount on the TrueEarth Northern California and you’re in, but don’t wait too long. It’s a limited time offer!
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Payware Orbx KFAT Fresno Yosemite|
|Publisher | Developer:||Orbx Simulation Systems |Orbx Simulation Systems|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of KFST Fresno Yosemite Intl. Airport|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 2.39GB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||January 4th 2021|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Bootcamp Windows 10)
- 1 external 2TB LaCie Rugged Pro SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
- Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls
- Honeycomb Bravo Throttle Quadrant
|Software specifications:||- macOS Big Sur (10.15.x)
- X-Plane 11.5x