Another Airport from Marc Leydecker …. KRIC
Marc Leydecker, yes, you know Marc a.k.a Belga12345 and for me, the SketchUp guru responsible for other great airport projects like KFYJ (Middle Peninsula Regional Airport) and KPVG (Hampton Roads Executive Airport) as well as his NAPS (North Atlantic and Pacific Simulations) participation which was or is it “is” led by Freddy De Pues.
Ok, I hope I’ve refreshed your memory a little bit, but now Marc comes up with a much bigger and complex airport namely Richmond International Airport (KRIC). Even when you live in the States, I can imagine that you’ve never heard of it. I, living in Holland, had also never heard of this airport, but now I have. It’s not that strange that Marc choose this airport since it’s in the vicinity of his home town, or should I say, relatively near each other. That said, you could hop from KFYJ to KPVG and then finally to KRIC. I suggest that you take a small GA aircraft for this task. On the other hand, KRIC could be also a good departing or arrival airport for your domestic flights. Anyway, you have many an option, but what’s not an option is that you must visit KRIC. Marc made this highly detailed airport all by himself while keeping the size in mind; it would be more a project for different SketchUp developers.
Time to visit Marc’s KRIC?
No no, hold on ….. let me first give you an idea what to expect from KRIC.
The real Richmond International Airport
Richmond International Airport is the busiest airport in central Virginia and the third most frequented in the state. The airport is about 7 miles (11km) southeast of downtown Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Seven commercial air carriers currently serve KRIC (subject to change), with non-stop flights to 20 destinations, and connecting flights to other countries. An estimated record 3,630,000 passengers used KRIC in 2007. In January 2012, following its merger with AirTran, Southwest Airlines hinted that they would begin flights to Richmond and actually began nonstop service to Orlando on Sunday, November 4, 2013.
To help accommodate the current and proposed increase in passengers and air service, KRIC has embarked on a major expansion program. It has increased (rounded up in 2007) the number of gates, added parking spaces (to 8,000), and created a new terminal roadway and air traffic control tower. The project features major renovations of the terminal building, including upper-level departures and lower-level arrivals, the construction of a central utility plant, and the widening of security checkpoints. Yes, yes, some history. The airport was dedicated as Richard Evelyn Byrd Flying Field in 1927 in honor of aviator Richard E. Byrd, brother of then Gov. Harry F. Byrd. Charles Lindbergh attended the dedication ceremony. Although the facility was in Henrico County, Richmond Mayor John Fulmer Bright was instrumental in the creation of Byrd Field, which was initially owned by the City of Richmond. Courtesy of the dedicated KRIC Wikipedia web page. Photos courtesy of Richmond Hilton Garden Inn, Airways News, Richmond.Com and Richmond Times-Dispatch.
What does the Airport Offer?
What said before, when you’re not familiar with “what happens on the East coast”, it would help you and me to show you some screenshots of the location, the airport diagram and the car parking garages and concourses.
Ok, what’s next … what can be found at the airport and where?As you can see on the airport diagram KRIC has two runways, 20/02 and 16/34. There’s a small one in-between (7/25) but I’ve got the impression that this could be used for GA traffic. The majority of activities lie along the West side of runway 2/20. The majority means the main apron, the main passenger terminal with car parking areas, the General Aviation apron and south of the main terminal the cargo area with a UPS freighter terminal and further south, near the beginning of runway 2, another General Aviation apron. Further on, all runways are interconnected, logically, with taxiways. Somewhere in the middle and in-between the main runways lies the airport fire station building. Besides a couple of small things, I haven’t mentioned, that’s it.
Oh, is that it?
It would give you the idea that this is it and that KRIC is a small and easy to develop? You’d be wrong unless you’re not so accurate and precise as Marc is. Modeling with SketchUp can lead to remodeling something or even worse, starting again from scratch. Knowing Marc, I can say that yes, that’s Marc’s style. Marc goes for the ultimate design and yes, I dare to say that he has the skills to create this.
Back to the airport diagram. I think it’s time to split the airport in sections which means for me a little easier to describe what I see since there’s so much to see. But first things first ……. what do you download, is there any documentation included and where to install it and which libraries are needed?
You download an ultra high quality, extremely detailed and an unbelievable realistic representation of the Richmond International Airport. I know, great words, but believe me, it’s worth the download. Talking about the download package; you can download Belga12345 “KRIC” via this dedicated X-Plane.Org web page (xxxxxxx).Inside the package you’ll find a folder named “_documentation”. This folder offers several Acrobat and two picture files. Although all are important, let me highlight quickly the “Belga_BuildingNames_Animation.jpg” picture file. This offers you an overview of all the major animated places around the airport. When you have the time, no, you should make some time for this, check out these areas. You’ll be surprised about the possibilities in X-Plane. The other file – READ_ME.pdf – is important since it offers some background information about the making of KRIC and copyright issues.
The installation of the package is very easy and straightforward due to the integration of, whenever applicable, libraries although it must be said that most additional objects are made and designed by Marc himself with a small amount of xscenery objects. Whenever there’s something that isn’t from Marc, it can be found in the folder “NotMine”. In my humble opinion, it’s really a huge relieve that no additional libraries are needed that could conflict or could lead to error messages during the loading process of the airport.
Ready to discover the airport?
Public Airport Area
I could start exploring the main terminal with its concourses and jet ways or I could drive towards the airport in my car and park it in one of the car parking lots. Whatever I do isn’t so important … but what you do! When you decide to land at KRIC, please, yes please explore the public area too. Marc has put a lot of time and energy into it to make KRIC complete and complete means all “as real as it gets” road signs and operational car parking tickets offices. When you’ve got no idea how much work all this is, and then believe me, it is. When you have no idea how much time SketchUp hours Marc has put into the making of all the car parking garages, ohhh, that’s really worth to walk around and see it close by with your own eyes. And, in case you’ve no idea how to walk outside your aircraft and explore every tiny airport construction, with keyboard key “C” you have all the possibilities to search every corner of KRIC. There’s also an option and that’s moving out of the 3D cockpit view, but that’s not always working. Normally, “C” would be enough.
I took the main road towards the airport and besides the realistic looking control tower, there’s so much more to see. I would say, you’ll find many trees, but this isn’t what I mean. Marc modeled also a couple of new trees so it’s not all looking default X-Plane trees. When you’re lucky you’ll see some fire brigade trucks passing by and then, on your left hand side the first car-parking garage, followed by the second. Further on, the ticket offices with movable barriers … all made exclusively by Marc. Oh yes, it seems I’m quite enthusiastic about this airport, and yes, I am. Is it strange? Marc’s airports are in my humble opinion all of a pay ware quality while it’s all offered for free.
Anyway, let me continue with what’s made or “how it’s made”. Normally I would drive on and see what else can be found at the public area, but I couldn’t leave it. I parked my car and decided to have a look to one of the many modeled car parking tickets offices. The one I’m standing for and what you see below is I think the biggest one. It’s in my opinion very feel modeled and looking to some real pictures, as far as possible, it quite realistic too. It has several lanes for EXPRESS, CREDIT CARD, CASH ONLY, AUTO EXPRESS etc. Ah, good to know … the parking price for one hour seems to be 4.75 USD! Normally Marc uses photo real textures, but in this case, simple because he hasn’t all photo material available, he used concrete texture material that is very dirty.
Realistic or not, to me it feels OK since a clean concrete ticket office isn’t realistic either. While here, let me have a quick look to the car-parking garage. Via plenty of grass objects and trees, I see the car parking garage with my own eyes. I couldn’t do it better. Wow, that’s massive and realistically modeled. I will spare you the additional work that has let to the current 3D object construction which came to me from Marc. What’s important for the moment is how real these objects are.
I jump back in my car and move on. After I passed the second and last car parking garage, I move toward the passenger terminal and while driving in this direction, I spot on my right hand side the cargo area. And although you’ve got not yet any idea, the cargo depot with the FedEx trailers is a huge building. No, it’s not high, but it’s very long and due to the right lighting conditions, I’ve got the idea that this is a one-piece 3D object. And logically, made via SketchUp by Marc. The road I’m driving on right now offers me two options; car parking and arrival baggage claim. Right after that, there’s a second sign; commercial vehicles, employee parking and the arrival baggage claim. The employee parking may be obvious what is does offer, so lets’ go for the commercial vehicles exit. Looking to many real terminal photos, I’ve got the impression that the interior is completely remodeled, but the exterior of the main terminal isn’t from the last year due to the present of all the brigs.Since the interior isn’t modeled, most simmers won’t care, the exterior is modeled with great detail and looks very realistic and even this has consumed a lot of time according to Marc. True or not, the brick textures that are used for the main terminal and concourses are sharp and crispy. Yes, it feels good! Arriving at the entrance of the main terminal or just passenger terminal, I must admit that the concrete road signs are blurry. I guess what could be written there, but I can’t read it at all. Most likely no sharp ground textures being available. While driving further with on my right hand side the end of the main terminal and on the left the last car-parking garage, I spot again the control tower.
At the end of this lane, it’s time to pay at the ticket office and before I know it, I’m out of KRIC, but hold on … is this all? No, this was a quick look of what you can expect outside of the airport fences.
Terminal Customs Area
The concourses are, as you might expect from Marc, well modeled and together with the presence of some static aircraft, lots of ground equipment of which some is animated, dirty or used aprons, good signs, it feels good. It feels when you arrive at the gate, as real as it can get. I’ll give you a bit of advice, don’t look too much during taxi in and out to the apron structure/textures. When you look at the previous presented real photos, you’ll notice that the aprons have seen many repairs and due to this which is not strange for an airport by the way, the repairs are either from concrete or tarmac. Whatever they repair in reality, it has never the same “look and feel”. It’s most of the time clean and not dirty, not full with oil or grease or not weathered yet. That’s what you’ll notice also with these aprons near the concourses, but in general, this is applies to the whole airport.
As far as possible I checked the look and feel of the real main terminal with the modeled one by Marc and yes, it looks gorgeous. When you zoom in on the walls of each concourse, you’ll notice that I mean and even the brigs are a pleasure to see. The jet ways, in case you think different, are modeled by Marc himself. That’s the nice part, everything you see at KRIC is modeled by Marc himself and while saying this, look at the apron screenshots. Very realistic and you will probably say … “ah, other freeware airports are of the same quality”. I dare to say that I have my doubts about that! Oh yes, you’ll find other good looking freeware airports, but an airport with so many handmade objects, no, I haven’t seen them. Perhaps the ones from NAPS?
You may find the building between the concourse and the entrance terminal simple, it actually appears like this in real-life. That said, in real it’s not much more than a building that is only covered by brigs and yes, that’s the way it’s modeled, but it reflects a good looking section. That together with some cars, buses, doors, and slightly weathered looking bricks, it fits all nicely together.
Control Tower Area
Walking from the concourse apron to the control tower area, I spot so many things, that I hardly know where to start and with what to start with. First you pass a construction area situated along a GA apron and perhaps you don’t want to spend so much time looking to the constructions, please do. It’s not just the sandy looking area, but it’s all the construction and machines and other equipment you see. The construction walls you see are high handcraft modeling skills from Marc. Wow, this really looks awesome. Together with a lorry, a caravan and many other dedicated ground equipment, this tiny area is fun to see. Walking from here to Dominion hangar with its own apron, and nearby the control tower, I could write many things about the hangar. No, it’s not just a hangar; it’s the overall area to feels good. It’s the grass along the concrete, some ground equipment, the rusty fence, and the nice looking Marc’s modeled trees and so on. Behind the hangar there’s a large car parking area and adjacent to it the control tower with offices.
Looking at actual control tower pictures I must conclude that the modeled tower is really a replica from the real one although one small note … I would love to have seen t the control tower walls textures have been a little sharper, this is possible of course since I have my knowledge of SketchUp. Looking from the top of the control tower, it’s great to see what else is modeled in this surrounding area. I see car rental offices with their car parking areas, a couple of more hangars with aprons, and next of the control tower the apron with hangar/offices from HeloAir. And very important for the overall “realistic” look, there’s much grass added with trees and although it looks so normal, it isn’t always with other freeware airports. It feels to me that not only inside the airport fence everything is modeled with great precision, but a lot of time and effort is also put outside the airport fence thus the public area.
Did I forget something to look for in this nearby control tower area? Oh yes, I did … the Virginia Aviation Museum. You could think …. ah, it’s a museum, but please, don’t think like that. It’s worth, after you’ve landed and parked your aircraft at the designated location, to have a look at this well modeled museum. I’m not so familiar with military aircraft, but the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is something I can’t miss. If this is really the SR-71 or perhaps the A-12 isn’t something I know, but it looks awesome. And when I write “awesome”, I not only mean the three static military aircraft, but also the museum building itself, the very small apron with a, this is the third aircraft, static replica of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom.Further on, the flags, the grass thus the overall museum environment and I think the building next of it, also a nice work of 3D SketchUp modeling, belongs to the museum too. I don’t know how to describe this … it’s not just a couple of buildings with parking places, grass and trees. It is the way it’s put together and thus, in my humble opinion, the atmosphere that’s created. Near the museum, I see a nicely modeled hangar from Martin Air and Aero Industries which is much bigger. Although they share the same apron, you can clearly see what belongs to what. Although it’s just an apron with hangar, it’s again the same feeling I have with every other objects I’ve seen so far. Each airport, at least what I’ve seen so far, fits, is complete, it realistic, is being used, is … yes, gorgeous.
When you’re familiar with other airports from Marc, in particular KFYJ (Middle Peninsula Regional Airport) you’ll notice that some of Marc’s high quality static or animated objects are integrated in KRIC too.
The cargo area, located south of the main terminal, is huge, complex and therefore impressive to look at. Looking from the main terminal in a southern direction, the first cargo or freighter building you see, is, logically, modeled by Marc via SketchUp. It’s very long, complex, with many tiny details and on each side of the building, many objects. All these objects together, as I wrote before, make or break the freighter storage and in this case, it makes it! Again, it’s not only the presence of the containers, trucks, lorries, people, high loaders, pallets, no …. it’s also the grass with flowers, the weathered looking apron and the storage building border. Although this area isn’t dedicated to FedEx, you’ll find a FedEx aircraft at the nearby apron with, of course, all kind of static and animated ground equipment. along the west side of the apron, I spot some car parking areas and many freighter storage buildings with offices.
It may become boring, but even these simple but oh so realistic looking objects are worth a walk around when you’ve landed here. Want to see another large but complex object … then you must check out the Commonwealth Cargo. Wow, that’s huge and it’s not that Marc didn’t put so much effort in it. No, this is again a SketchUp masterpiece; at least, that’s how I see it. When I count, it has 18 lorries loading/unloading places. Can you imagine how long this building must be? And guess, when you move to the other side, you’ll find again 18 of those loading/unloading places. Between this Commonwealth Cargo object and at the far end of the apron located Continental Express hangar, I spot some more parking areas and freighter storage area.
The Continental Express hangar is, as with many objects, a jewel. I know, it feels I’m in love with KRIC, but honestly, I am. I think I’ve said this many times before in my posts related to Belga12345, Marc’s airports are of pay ware quality. Period! Even though the Continental Express hangar is just one other object in this KRIC project, it feels good. The walls are weathered, grass is everywhere besides the apron, to complete the external look. With some steel containers on one side, and along the other side, a weathered concrete apron, it is as real as you may expect. At this large apron you’ll find many static objects as well as animated ground equipment like for example the high loaders near the Star Alliance Airbus and the same is also applicable for the UPS however, in this case it’s a truck and cleaning car. Last but not least is another GA area further to the south.
Southern GA Area and …
Further south and in the proximity of runway 02, there’s another GA area with handmade hangars and offices. The biggest hangar/offices is the one from Million Air. What makes these two hangars so special? Perhaps it’s the door design at the apron. It’s a folding door and both are handing halfway, so as far as I can see, these doors aren’t simulated. Not a problem to me, but just in case you ask. It’s not just the 3 hangars that make this area so special. It’s again everything that belongs to the Million Air environment. Within environment are the car parking areas, the fences, a battery of 8 fuel tanks, the people talking about the weather, the ground equipment and finally, the maintenance activities in one of the hangars. Just walk in yourself and see it with your own eyes.
After passing the DGS building, there’s then finally, at the far end, the Express Jet hangar with offices and all other objects you may expect.
And …. What’s the other object that I missed? Yes, you’re right … the airport fire brigade. In-between the two runways you’ll find the fire brigade and it seems it’s a quite day. There’s no fire truck outside parked so either they are away for maintenance or they are parked inside. Although the building is small and seems to be simple, a closer look tells me that Marc put a lot of effort in this tiny building. The brown bricks on the outside that cover the walls, are looking good and sharp and give the building a real appeal. Combine to that the fire truck parked at the car parking, and you’ll the “almost” ultimate fire brigade.
What else …. airport ground textures and linings?
The airport comes with, logically, ortho-photo real ground textures as well as realistic looking taxi way structure. I couldn’t find a spot that doesn’t look realistic, but at the same time, I must admit that it’s not always possible for me to find good looking real photo’s that show me the real airport while zoomed in on the apron and grass areas. Available or not, what I see at Marc’s KRIC is very real and sharp looking ground textures for the taxiway, aprons, weathered ground linings, the shoulders etc. The grass textures or at least the green areas that fill the other areas are very close to the real look and feel and it even becomes better when grass and flowers are added in these regions. You probably think … ho ho … what about the frame rates?
Of course, frame rates depend on so many other things and perhaps the actual frame rates also depend on if you’re using a Windows or Mac computer. Without going in too much detail, when I’ve set my rendering settings high (see 1 screenshot below), I’m still able to get approximately 20-25 FPS. You probably think … hum, that’s not high, but when I lower my settings to a more normal level, it’s not difficult to get 25-30 FPS. See for this the following rendering settings screenshot (2nd screenshot below) as well as some in-situ with FPS indication visible. The screenshots below are taken with SkyMAXX Pro 3.x, maximum visibility set for 14 NM and loaded and parked at gate A4 the rotate Md-88 Series. And yes, nearby shots to the Rotate MD-88 result in lower frames, but FPS at around 20 or 19.90 doesn’t always mean stutter. It’s also what’s between your ears!
I think … this is it!
This brings me to the end of this impression. Although the original idea of an impression is to give you an idea of what to expect from an X-Plane product, it seems that I’m not able to write a small article about a freeware or pay ware product. Never mind, as long as you’re happy with what you read. Oops, almost something forgotten … evening shots or is that not worth it or is it better to explore that yourself?
No no, that is an absolute must to include some evening shots. Look for yourself but more important, is it looking nice? Yes, it is although I have the idea that the control tower has no lighting at all. Not on the outside, nor on the inside or on the roof. Not sure if this is correct. The airport lighting, the buildings, the hangars, offices, road signs (beautiful) and taxiway and runway lighting system, it seems to me that it’s a complete night fever party!
For this review, I used the following pay ware add-on products besides the freeware airport from Marc Leydecker aka Belga12345:
Payware : SkyMAXX Pro 3.x
Payware: Rotate MD-80 SeriesYou can download this airport for free, but please vote, your freeware KRIC from Belga12345 via the dedicated X-Plane.Org page.
If there’s something you would like to know or to ask, you can always contact me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Freeware Richmond Regional Airport|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | Marc Leydecker (Belga12345)|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of Richmond Regional Airport|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 1.1GB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||August 4th 2014|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac 27″ 3.5Ghz Late 2013|
|- Intel i7 3.5Ghz / 3.9Ghz during Boost Mode|
|- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB|
|- 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3|
|- 1 internal 1TB SSD (El Capitan 10.11.4)|
|- 3 external 1TB SSDs|
|- Saitek Pro Flight System|
|Software specifications:||- El Capitan (10.11.4) | Yosemite (10.10.5) | Mavericks (10.9.5)|
|- Windows 10 Professional|
|- X-Plane 10.45c | X-Plane 10.45m|