Impression | NAPS George Bush International
And there it is … a massive production from NAPS (North Atlantic & Pacific Sceneries), the creation of George Bush Intercontinental/ Houston Airport. As we are all aware of NAPS/Fred-E.Net airports, their latest airports are always developed with ortho photo material for realistic ground textures, but this airport is more than that.
This NAPS airport comes with a lot of hand modeled buildings and other objects.
This not only gives the airport a realistic ground look, but it may be that the overall airport design reaches the same quality as pay ware products. That sounds interesting and therefore it’s worth checking out this new NAPS airport.
Finding information about KIAH (George Bush Intercontinental/ Houston Airport) isn’t difficult. Everywhere on the Internet or on official websites, reliable information can be found.
George Bush Intercontinental/ Houston Airport is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas serving the Greater Houston metropolitan area, the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located about 23 miles (37 km) north of Downtown Houston, between Interstate 45 and Interstate 69/U.S. Highway 59, George Bush Intercontinental Airport has scheduled flights to domestic and international destinations. The airport is named after George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport served 40,187,442 passengers in 2011 making the airport the tenth busiest for total passengers in North America. In 2006, the airport was named the fastest-growing of the top ten airports in the United States by the United States Department of Transportation. Houston Bush Intercontinental is the largest passenger carrying hub for United Airlines carrying 16.6 million passengers annually with an average of 45,413 passengers daily.
The following screenshots are courtesy of Airliners.Net and offer you an idea of the complexity of taxiways, terminals, and other buildings.
There’s so much more to tell about this airport. However, I think it’s time to check out first what can be found there.
The Package and …
Before I proceed, let me first explain from where you can grab your NAPS KIAH copy and the requirements. First, you can download KIAH at Fred-E.Net. NAPS KIAH consist of two packages:
– KIAH Airport
According to Freddy De Pues “You will need two airports: KIAH and PAPA_42T. The latter is a helipad inside KIAH with its own ICAO. I had to create it and cut its beacon generated by XP, since an airport can only have one.”
Once you’ve downloaded these two packages which are roughly no more than 65MB, copy and paste them to your Custom Scenery folder. Hold on, you’re not yet ready and the following needs your full attention. The following isn’t shocking, but you need to make yourself familiar with these requirements:
– The airport package is made on Macs, so there’s no Windows clean up
– OpenSceneryX v2
– Autogate 160 plugin
– And of course, X-Plane 10.20+
Besides these requirements, you should also keep in mind that it is not intended for Houston ZL17 photo scenery nor for OSM North America. Global Scenery was not an issue at the time of the first edition.
Due to the size of the airport and the ground texture tiles, we recommend a high-end computer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try! And last but not least, delete any earlier versions of the airport if you have not already done so.
When you check the contents of the downloaded and unzipped “USA_TX_KIAH_Houston George Bush Intctl Airport v3.0” folder, you’ll find a copyright Acrobat file. The contents may be clear I suppose, but there’s also a “Documentation” folder. This folder offers the following Acrobat documents:
– Brian Godwin on KIAH ATC
– Houston Terminals and Gates
– RoyalOak’s Permission (png file)
Take a look at both the Acrobat documents. They give you some background of how the terminals are arranged and Brian’s document deals with the ATC issues at the airport. I think the time has come to explore first the real KIAH. After that, NAPS exploration!
Exploring KIAH FAA Ground Map
Besides the complex terminals, hangars, transient parking and the central and east cargo area, KIAH comes with five runways. Some are close to the terminals, but runway 26R/8L lies far away. To facilitate these runways for quick access, you’ll find a lot of taxiways, which isnot really a problem for the real airport, but to model this required quite a lot more work. It should be noted that the following FAA approved KIAH Ground Map is no longer correct. The south situated terminal B is replaced by a central passenger terminal with three gates.
Along the south side of runway 26L/8R, you’ll find the terminals A, B, C, D and E. Further to the east, when you’ve passed the terminals, you’ll see some hangars and, when that’s not enough, via taxiway “NB” you reach the east cargo area.
I hope you’re still with me!
And what else can be found? East of runway 33R/15L you’ll see from the north to south the central cargo area, transient parking areas and some other buildings. While here, next to this runway lies the shorter 33L/15R, and on the west side is another transient parking area and the fire station. Basically, this is KIAH. Ok, to see all these areas, I’ll have to drive a long way around the airport to see everything. Since this is impossible for me in real life, I think it’s time to explore NAPS KIAH airport.
This is right now only based on what‘s visible at the airport map, but in reality there’s much more to explore. For example; just before terminal D and E starts, you’ll find the control tower which is on the map, but the nearby country flag pillars aren’t as are so many others things not visible on the airport map. That said, please join me on my virtual trip at NAPS George Bush Intercontinental/ Houston Airport.
NAPS Overall KIAH View
Flying over NAPS KIAH, I can tell you that you will be impressed. During my US flights and visits to KIAH, I couldn’t keep my eyes from the ground and buildings. For the NAPS team and Freddy De Pues as coordinator, it’s their largest created airport and I can tell you, it’s awesome. No, just in case you think, I’m not a part of the NAPS team and I haven’t modeled anything. I’m trying to look to the airport, as everybody else will do, with an open mind.
Not always easy, but for this airport, it will be. From what I’ve seen right now, the airport borders are very nicely blended with the surrounding US ground textures tiles.
The integrated ortho photo ground texture tiles give the whole airport a totally different look. What kind of look? As real as it gets!
A top view tells me that the taxiways and aprons have different grey tints and when coming closer, I can even spot weathered parts on the ground. The borders along the taxiways are slightly lighter grey than the taxiways themselves, as I’ve seen on real KIAH pictures. In addition to the many areas you will find in this scenery, it offers basically two big main areas of interesting complex building and objects.
That’s the “central cargo” and of course all the terminals. I think all the cargo buildings and hangars in the east cargo area are hand made, so there’s nothing taken from the XP Legobrick library. And this is basically the same for the terminals, except for the garages who are XP10 library “fac” objects. It’s all hand made and for freeware (donation appreciated), this is exceptional!
While hovering above the airport there’s another interesting detail that you can’t miss and that’s the Marriot Hotel, and along with the entrance of the airport, I can spot the authentic control tower and Camilli’s modeled and highly realistic country flags, which are situated near the tower. Another thing I noticed is the presence a many static aircraft.
Anyway, all those static aircraft are parked at different gates, and as far as I can see from this distance, all the other objects everywhere at the airport give the overall KIAH a busy, realistic look.
Time to check out the main control tower and terminals.
The Control Tower and Passenger Terminals
KIAH lies north of Houston, in between the Hardy Toll Road on the west and the Eastex Ferry Way 59N on the east. These highways are interconnected with each other via the Will Clayton Parkway and the John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
I’ll start my NAPS KIAH exploration by driving along the Will Clayton Parkway in a westerly direction, turn off following the S Terminal Road where I make my first virtual stop at the control tower and Camilli’s flags. By the way, the Will Clayton Parkway lies parallel with runway 27/9.
I’ve parked my car near the control tower and even in this small area there’s already a lot to see, all well modeled. There’s the “Flags” creation of NAPS team member Camilli, and a highly detailed helicopter platform (from the XP10 library) and of course the hand made control tower. Although it’s just a control tower, it looks gorgeous! The only comment I have is that a slightly weathered look would be more realistic.
Other than this personal feeling, it’s great that I’ve stopped here to take some pictures. At the control tower ground level you’ll find authentic offices, a parking lot filled with cars, and the fences with a gate. CAMI’s flags represent France, Italy, the European Union, USA, Canada, Japan, England and in the middle, Belgium.
From the control tower area, I go into the tunnel that’s situated beneath taxiway SF. My only observation is that my road ends far before the tunnel starts, but in the summary section Fred explains why this is along with a couple of more things. Out of the tunnel you can drive towards the Marriot Airport Hotel.
I think it’s worth a stop at the Marriot where I have a quick look at the modeled buildings. Before you reach that, you’re driving along the massive default XP Legobrick library parking houses. Arriving at the Marriot, I’m impressed with how it’s made. And yes, it’s a hand made creation and comparing to real Marriot hotel pictures, very realistic. It starts with the characteristic look of the round Marriot hotel building, linked to the newer main building. But there’s more to see.
The area around the hotel is filled with palm trees, flowers, but hold on, there’s even more! One each side of the hotel you’ll find parking houses and parking lots. Not to forget, visible on the north side of the Marriot you see the monorail that interconnects the terminals with each other.
While driving further along the road, I pass terminals B and A and at the end, a road that makes a loop that goes back on the other side of the terminals A, B, C and E. Due to the length of the terminals, I spot another control tower at the terminal A side of the airport. This tower looks created of the same overall quality as the first one I saw. What I’ve seen so far has been only at the public side of the airport, being the area where you drive with your car into and out of the airport. It looks to me that terminal B south is the newest and south D (identified as terminal E on the provided ground map) is the recent one.
My assumption is based on the fact that terminal A has an old-fashioned structure with bricks while the latest terminal E is of modern architecture. The road that’s in between the parking houses and terminals is just one long road. I informed Fred that the parkway lining is not complete and that it seems something is missing. Fred has confirmed that with the release of version 3.1, this will be solved and lines/marking will be added to the ground textures.
Restricted Airport Area
With special permission I’ve access to the restricted airport area with the gates, jet ways, aircraft, etc.
I start my restricted tour from terminal A. Being at the far end of the terminal, the only thing between me and the apron and public side is just a fence. I can see the parking lots near the last parking house, and the smaller second control tower. As I know from my experience travelling through Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, aprons are never organized. That said, pallets, trucks, baggage carts, baggage belts, high loaders, stairs and whatever else I’ve forgotten, should be parked at designated places when not used.
In most cases that’s the reality, but sometimes you find this ground equipment everywhere. In other words, ground equipment is an essential part of the airport objects. In the case of NAPS KIAH you’ll see ground objects and ground equipment everywhere. You don’t have to worry that the apron doesn’t reflect the real KIAH apron. The only thing at the NAPS apron that’s different than the real KIAH are the jet ways.
As far as I could find, at the real KIAH all the jet ways are white without windows while the ones at the NAPS airport are open and filled with blue glass. But other than this, the apron near terminal A looks very close to “as real as it gets”.
I did mention it before; many jet ways are occupied by static aircraft which gives the realistic feeling a boost, but it’s not only the parked static aircraft that adds to the immersion. It’s all what’s around it. Near a parked static aircraft you could find a fuel truck, stairs, containers, baggage belt for the cargo holds, pushback trucks, static people and other stuff I’ve forgotten.
But don’t worry.
There are still enough available jet ways to park your Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 Family at one of the free positions. The following screenshots are representing terminal A.
The next terminal is terminal B, one on each side. On one side of the apron, along runway 8R/26L, you’ll find two satellites and a little further on, two gates. On the south apron, along runway 06/27, is a main building with three connected gates and jet ways. This looks slightly different than the official AirNav ground map I found on the Internet. But be aware as I had too, that according to Freddy De Pues “this terminal B with the main building and three gates is renewed and officially handed over in 2013. In other words, what NAPS modeled is as real as it gets.”
When I move along the terminal B satellites with jet ways, you’ll find the same simulated busy look as with terminal A. Some jet ways are occupied by aircraft and as I saw at terminal A too, ground objects are included and situated around the aircraft. Since we’re dealing with smaller aircraft, the fuel trucks are smaller and less ground equipment that normally belongs to the larger models, isn’t found at these gates.
With the real terminal B photos in my hand, it’s not difficult to conclude that the NAPS terminal buildings and satellites are modeled very close to the real ones.
The first four screenshots are representing terminal B north while the latter are representing terminal B south.
Moving on to terminal C.
It seems to me that these are for the larger aircraft, mostly Boeing 737 models. The idea is basically the same as terminal A. Some jet ways are occupied with static Continental Boeing 737 aircraft, and as expected, the apron is filledto overflowing with static objects like containers, pushback trucks, stairs for the AFT passenger doors, fuel trucks, catering trucks, buses, pallets, baggage belts for the cargo holds, people etc. The jet ways are of the same type I mentioned before although with blue glass instead. Whatever I see, I’m very happy with the overall look of the terminals so far.
With their white plates, the terminal C walls look very simple or unrealistic, but believe me, this is how they actually appear and therefore I compliment NAPS with the end result.
The following screenshots represent terminal C.
And then, along runway 8R/26L, there’s terminal D. At some jet ways, I spot intercontinental static airliners like the Emirates, Air Canada and Star Alliance, so I may assume that non-American airliners use this terminal. It’s crowded at the apron as I’ve seen with all the other terminals too and as far as I can see, the building itself is an extension of the previous terminal C. But don’t worry about parking at terminal D. There are still enough jet ways free to park your aircraft. By the way, due to the size of this terminal D apron, on the other side you’ll find several more parking locations.
The following screenshots represent terminal D.
And finally, I cross via the previously mentioned taxiway SF, and reach terminal E, the latest and most complex terminal area. The center-modeled building, gates and jet ways are, as far as I can see, accurately modeled. It’s very crowded at the apron, or is it actually a mesh of ground equipment that can be found everywhere? Wrong or right? No, it’s the reality what you see at the apron. You’ll find a mix of intercontinental airliners and US airliners, but there’s still enough places available to park if you should be guided to terminal E. There’s even an Air France Airbus A380 parked at gate E19.
Still don’t believe it’s bigger then the Boeing 747-400?
Then compare the Airbus A380 with the Alitalia 747-400 at gate E5. Anyway, driving over the service road from E5 to E19 gives you a beautiful view of the very nicely modeled main terminal E building.
All together it took me a while to discover all the terminals and the way they are modeled. Due to the huge amount and different types of ground equipment, static people and static aircraft, at arrival and departure the terminal areas give you and me a real KIAH look and feeling. But KIAH is a little more than just terminals. I think it’s time to check out central cargo area, modeled by CAMI.
The Central Cargo area
As said before, the central cargo area and further along on runway 33R/15L (the transient parking) is a complex area with, according to Freddy and CAMI, hand made buildings and objects. From a certain altitude the area is smaller than all the terminals together, but it’s still huge and stretched more or less along the whole length of the runway.
Entering the first apron is done via taxiway WG. This apron is a collection of many building scattered around with an unbelievable amount of objects like containers, containers and even more containers.
But there’s more scattered stuff around between the buildings; you’ll find there pallets, trollies, LD6 containers, catering Gateway service cars and buses, an UPS truck, portable toilets, and many more objects.
Keeping all those static objects in mind, I’m still pleased to see that it has not a huge impact on my FPS (Frames Per Second). On one side of this apron I can spot handmade buildings, which I think belong to TSIndustries, a Houston located company that takes care of the Houston Airport System or HAS.
More information about TD and HAS can be found via this link.
One taxiway further, WH, you’ll reach the cargo area belonging to three companies; FedEx, United Cargo and United States Postal Services. What I can see at this apron is again many objects that should give you the feeling of a cargo apron, and some static aircraft complete the immersion. Three FedEx McDonnell Douglas MD-11 or MD-10 aircraft are parked at the FedEx warehouse while on the opposite side of the same apron, I can spot some United Airlines Boeing 737 NG’s.
On the other side of the FedEx warehouse it’s once again as as real as it gets, a mess of FedEx trucks, containers, pallets and other stuff. Don’t I like this? Oh yes, I like it since it reflects what is found on every cargo area on all large intercontinental airports in the world.
Taxiway WK is our next stop.
One part of the apron is a United hangar with not as much clutter, and directly next to it, a GA office from Atlantic. In front of the office at the apron, two business jets are parked and so I assume we’re dealing with business flights, but hold on, a little further on the same apron I can spot several Atlantic hangars. That said, Atlantic would seem to be responsible for maintenance.
It seems that the apron is also used as a parking lot although I’m not sure if this is the same as on the real apron near taxiway WK. Reality or not, it’s still fun to see the parked cars.
We’re finally approaching the last set of four aprons. These aprons are dominated by hangars and are quite tidy. You won’t find too many objects around here. At the beginning of the four aprons, I’ve spotted some static GA business jets and further on, it’s a clean and empty apron. All the hangars are hand made modeled by CAMI, and therefore without any doubt, the overall look is gorgeous. At the last of these four aprons there’s also an area not defined as an apron.
It seems to me more of a storage area for ground equipment. Although not found anywhere on a map, it’s a nice way to close this central cargo area.
Aprons along runway 33L/15R
While being here on the other side of this runway, it’s a good moment to check out the aprons and buildings along this runway. Although not as complex as the central cargo area, there’s still a lot to see. The first apron I reach is that from Landmark Aviation. I suppose it’s a maintenance company, specialist in line maintenance for GA and business jets. The reason to think this is because of the big hangar. The next two aprons are for transient parking although some hangars are placed here too. Moving further along taxiway WC, I pass the fire station and at the far end near the threshold of runway 15R, there’s a fuel supply station.
This is a little more than expected. First exploring every terminal and then the central cargo area, and then on to the opposite side and some additional aprons. What’s left that needs further description?
I need to check out the eastern cargo area and another fire station. Due to the size of this airport, you’ll find three fire stations.
One I just mentioned, situated along runway 33L/15R and taxiway WR, another one near the large control tower and terminal E (taxiway SB) and the last one along taxiway NE. The other two fire stations look very similar to the first fire station I’ve seen. These are, accordnig to Freddy De Pues, handmade modeld by himself.
You can check this out by reading the Houston Rescue and fire 99 sign!
East Cargo Area and Continental Maintenance
At the end of terminal D, we jump over to the next area which is, according to the ground map, a hangar area. That could mean everything and looking to it, I find a Continental hangar, some others smaller buildings and a few more hangars although these are not identified to an airliner. On the apron you’ll find some parked static Continental aircraft. The aprons are lucky not cluttered so there’s some space left in case you want to park your aircraft here for unloading or loading your freight. Behind the buildings and hangars there’s also a large parking lot for the employees.
When I take the time to look a little closer to the apron, I also have the impression that it’s a mix with cargo too. All these objects are handmade by Freddy De Pues, except for two cargo XP LIB buildings and the three garages which are borrowed from Camilli.
At the far end of runway 26L and 26R, you’ll find the east cargo apron. It’s basically one large apron, accessible via three taxiways and split by three large cargo warehouses. Compared to the central cargo area, this seems to me a quite new developed area, with not too much clutter of containers and pallets. A few static aircraft are parked here too, but basically there’s a lot of space left for additional aircraft parking, just in case the airport parking spaces are full.
Some of the storage buildings belong to DHL, Atlas Air, ABX Air and AeroLogic. Regarding the third building, situated more or less in the middle, I can’t figure out to which company it belongs. Overall, it’s a nice completion of all the aprons I have seen and I can tell you, there are a lot!
I started this review with ortho photo material that’s used for the ground textures. Besides the overwhelming airport and the complexity of the modeling, I always say that the ortho photo material completes the realistic view of an airport. I’m aware it’s not always possible to get high quality ortho photos, but in the case of NAPS KIAH, it completed the KIAH jigsaw.
For sure I’ve forgotten something since the modeled airport is so big, that before you know it, you’ve forgotten a specific area at the airport.
Perhaps this is a good one: what about the frame rates?
Lucky that it’s not a pay ware product, but rather freeware (donation ware) and that you can first try it before keeping it. Even on my new Late 2013 iMac, it’s still something I need to keep in mind. I can easily run the airport with all the ground equipment objects and static aircraft at 25 to 30 FPS, but then I need to reduce the sliders too or reduce the screen resolution.
He, hold on!
I’ve completely forgotten how NAPS KIAH looks by night or not? When you’re able to switch ON HDR then please do so. It makes a big difference especially the reflecting apron lights. Without HDR there’s no reflecting apron light at all and then KIAH becomes a dark and mysterius airport. Also nothing werong about that, but we’re not looking for a dark KIAH. Check out these last bonus screenshots!
It was supposed to be a short to medium NAPS KIAH impression/review. The reality is that this review isn’t short at all. NAPS KIAH is a complex airport with a lot to see and thus a lot to write about. That said, when you want to do this right, it will take time and effort to visit every place and to write about it. Is it then worth downloading NAPS KIAH? First of all, there’s nothing else available for X-Plane 10, but second and perhaps even more important, the airport is worth it! And yes, many buildings are handmade and some buildings are straight out of the XP Legobrick library. More precise; except for the three garages in the terminal area, two cargo building in the East Cargo, everything is customized.
Based on a couple of things I’ve seen during my walk-around at the airport, I decided to contact Freddy De Pues for some background information. According to Freddy “KIAH’s garages are genuine Lego brick “fac” objects. They were not customized by me and therefore, I have no control on those objects. The tunnels – located near the control tower and terminals D and E – you are describing are mine, but not the system’s OSM or XP roads network. I aligned them with the SAT representation of the road, not the embryo of XP roads network.
Besides exclusions, I have no control on XP roads network. But even exclusions are subject to random results: if I want a road to stop in a particular place, it might not do it. It will also be cut 0°-180°or -90°-270°. If a road goes below the airport’s average altitude, it might become truncated in the simulator or it will flicker. Also, you might discover that this huge airport is 95 percent made out of concrete aprons and taxiways. Mine are made out of asphalt because I like it, and pavement markings are highlighted by asphalt, not by concrete. All the terminals are a reflection of the reality twisted by my desire to keep it modest for FPS (Frames Per Second) reasons.
Some roads are misinterpreted by the SAT to OSM engines It creates a strange web of roads. Most of them were eliminated by exclusions. Final results may vary due to the lack of control on the exact place where I can apply the exclusion. Finally, the areas where airplanes taxi, take off and land are very accurate. I decided not to add yellows stripes everywhere though. The gates are not always in the exact place, their number may differ from reality. This is because I am using the system’s ramps (an agp object) whose size is not customizable.”
What else can I say?
Simple … you should, no, you must, download the airport from Fred-E.Net via this link. And please read the requirements and which other add-ons you need. And when you like it as I do, then it’s worth leaving a donation for Camilli De Bellis and Fred De Pues. They deserve it since making a complex airport like this is a tremendous undertaking.
For this review I used a couple of freeware add-ons besides the NAPS/Fred-E.Net Houston George Bush International Airport. These are:
– Freeware | Aerosoft Sky Tools v1.10a | Sky Theme “Sweet Summer” and Clouds “Theme 2” (reg. required)
Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this review. You can reach me at email address Aerosoft.Sim.News@gmail.com.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Freeware NAPS George Bush Intercontinental Airport|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | NAPS|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of George Bush Intercontinental (KIAH)|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 286MB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||June 6th 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