Commercial Scenery Review
FunnerFlight John F. Kennedy Airport (KJFK)
|Add-on:||Realistic presentation of John F. Kennedy Airport (KJFK)|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | Aerosoft | FunnerFlight|
|Description:||Accurate Reproduction of John F. Kennedy Airport (KJFK)|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / approximately 3.8GB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||April 14th 2015|
|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|
Who doesn’t know KJFK or who hasn’t been flying to or from it, virtually or in real life? I’m quite sure everyone has heard of this impressive airport. That said, I see it as a challenge to review this brand new FunnerFlight KJFK version 2.x that comes with 1,000+ animations. Yes, that’s right …. 1,000+ animations! Wow, that will be a challenge to review!
Is it worth showing you how default X-Plane KJFK looks? No, it’s much more interesting to see what you get with this package. Therefore, I’ll start right away with some airport overview screenshots and, although those are not close-ups, they give you from a high altitude a good impression of what you’re missing if you don’t install this payware airport.
Bearing in mind what this airport offers, it is quite understandable that this package is payware, but actually the price is really competitive because it will only cost you US$19.95, although of course this may change in the future. Before continuing, let’s have a quick look at the airport promotion copy ‘KJFK v2 is the most detailed airport ever produced for X-Plane 10. It comes with close to 20,000 objects and 1000+ animations, and therefore, this is the most immersive airport you can get!’
Is this a justifiable comment?
That’s what I need to check out, but from what I’ve seen during my bird’s-eye view at a couple of thousand feet above this KFJK, I think it’s worth every penny. But time to move on…
The real KJFK
I intended to start immediately with the modelled airport from FunnerFlight, but perhaps it’s a better idea to give you some background information first, based on a real FAA KJFK airport diagram. This will give both of us a good idea what to look for when exploring the airport shortly.
First I need to add some explanation about the two airport diagrams shown above. Jeff has been working on this airport for several years. During that time, KJFK has seen a number of changes, and some buildings and terminals have been demolished. Jeff’s idea was – and still – is to offer you a KJFK depicting how it was with all terminals, around the year 2012. That said, the lower airport diagram represents the modelled FunnerFlight KJFK while the upper illustration is how KJFK looks in its current state.
As you can see on the airport diagrams, KJFK has four runways, namely 13L/31R, 13R/31L, 4L/22R and 4R/22L. Basically, all terminals and US customs are enclosed by the three main runways 13L, 13R and 4L. Near the beginning of runway 13R there’s the General Aviation terminal and the maintenance area. North of runway 13L is the cargo area. Due to the location of all the runways, there’s a large network of taxiways connecting everything together. Although this airport description doesn’t give you the impression that you’re dealing with a complex airport, believe me the modelled KJFK is quite detailed and that is without taking into account all the animations, like for example – Cargolux at US Customs, T5 gate 21 (full process), FedEx, KAL Cargo, JAL shipping, T3 (and T8) suitcase pile and American Airlines mechanics.
Anyway, that’s all for later.
I mentioned earlier about the available terminals, but wow, this is more than just one terminal, more than two, even more than three. Actually, the airport has in total seven terminals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 plus concourse C at terminal 8). In fact, terminal 3 is officially closed, but more about that later in this review. Just to give you a good idea of these terminals and their location, check out the following screenshots.
And these are only the directly visible buildings, terminals, hangars, etc. However, there’s so much more and that is before you consider all those tiny details that are modelled as well.
As the description suggests, the scenery package comes with more than 1,000 animations. Now that’s a lot, and that may well have an impact on your Windows, Linux or Mac computer. Therefore, I need to check this out first.
Read this First …
It is well worth studying the manual that’s provided and also the write-up at the dedicated KJFK v2 X-Plane.Org store page that indicates the kind of computer specifications you need. When you open the KJFK – John F. Kennedy Int’l Airport package, you’ll find two folders named README and INFO in the root directory of the scenery package, as well as a COPYRIGHT PDF document. The copyright details are self-explanatory, but the README folder is worth careful study. It includes the following files:
– CPU comparison chart
– Notes on FPS
– Notes on Rendering Options
I highlighted the ‘notes on rendering options’ file deliberately, since this is important to read. It tells you, depending on your computer specifications, how to deal with the Rendering Options and the Object Density. Besides this, it’s also worth mentioning the hardware recommendations at this stage:
– X-Plane 10.35+.
– Windows, Mac or Linux
– 2Gb Video Card Minimum. 3GB+ Video Card recommended.
– 8Gb RAM
Therefore, bear in mind that it’s better to reduce your X-Plane rendering settings first before exploring KJFK. When the frame rates are at a level that allows you to move quickly around the airport, then slowly increase the sliders. You will reach a point when you have balanced rendering settings while still being able to enjoy the airport.
Also I mentioned the inclusion of the INFO folder. The contents of look like this:
– FAA JFK
– JFK Cargo Facilities map
– KJFK overview
– terminal maps folder
– COPYRIGHT notice.
All of the above pictures or documents speak for themselves, but it is worth highlighting one item and that’s the FAA JFK PDF file. I mentioned this ‘closed Terminal 3 issue’ briefly before, but let’s go into it in a little more detail. According to Jeff; ‘You have to remember that I started this airport over 3.5 years ago. There is no keeping up with the changes at airports. My idea was to present a full-looking terminal area. A lot of work went into making the terminals that are now gone and the airport looks lopsided without them. So that’s the reason that my KJFK representation covers all terminals.’
And, before exploring the modelled terminals, there’s more to whet your appetite. The scenery pack also includes the following folders which can help influence the look and feel of KJFK. These are:
– GREENER GRASS AND NEWER ASPHALT
– GROUNDTRAFFIC INSTRUCTIONS AND OPTIONS
– TERMINAL LIGHTING OPTIONS with INSTRUCTIONS
These three folders are written in capitals, so that it easier for you to locate them in the huge list of other items. The content of ‘greener grass and asphalt’ is for those who prefer a little more vibrant colour in their airports. Using these files makes the asphalt appear newer, and the grass has a look like Spring. Of course, more information can be found in the folder itself.
Although the airport scenery package comes standard with the ‘lite’ ground traffic file installed in the root of the scenery pack, the ground traffic folder allows you to select the amount of ground traffic or if you prefer ‘airport vehicles’ from:
– ‘GroundTraffic Complete’ has 1000+ animations;
– ‘GroundTraffic Lite’ has approximately 700;
– ‘GroundTraffic’ airport vehicles only, which has approximately 470.
Important to mention is that all the three sets have the same amount of actual airport animations. And, finally you’ve got the terminal lighting conditions. You have three options. The brighter the lights, the harder it is on your FPS. The included manual comes with some examples, and how to implement them.
What and where to install?
Just unzip the package if not already unzipped automatically, and copy and paste the complete contents of the package to the ‘Custom Scenery’ folder. That’s all and you’re ready to explore KJFK. However, don’t forget, you need to go to the GroundTraffic INSTALL file, click the link, and download KJFK_extra_aircraft and Aircraft-Static_and_Animated library. Unzip and place into Custom Scenery as before.
Exploring the Terminals
Normally I know immediately where to begin, but this time it’s difficult to find an obvious starting point. Simply because the airport is so massive, so big, that you don’t know which and where to explore. Anyway, I decided to visit the terminals first, starting – logically – with Terminal 1.
The first thing that you’ll notice at Terminal 1 – and by the way not only applicable for just this terminal – are the large amount of static aircraft. In other words, you’re never alone at KJFK, so you need to be careful to pick out the right gate to park your aircraft!
Terminal 1 can be approached in two ways; taxiing to one of the gates or driving via the assigned road to the departure level of Terminal 1, checking in, and finding your gate. To get a good understanding of the road system that leads you to all terminal arrival and departure floors, parking lots, or car rental areas, I found it a good idea to drive to Terminal 1 departure.
Quite impressive I must say since KJFK has an extensive, and in my eyes a complex, road system that leads to all buildings and terminals. All the ground textures around these roads are, as far as I can see, not filled with ortho-photo material and thus what you see is the green default X-Plane grass. The advantage is that all roads are produced by hand and therefore sharp, as are the signs on the roads. The other option would have been to use ortho-photo material which most likely would have resulted in blurry ground textures and that’s not always nice to see. It appears that the same technique has been used for the bridges that connect all the roads together with the terminals. Again, Jeff could have opted to go for covering the bridges and car parking garages with ortho-photo material, but the chances are that you would end up with blurry bridges.
Terminal 1 itself is – as with the rest of the airport buildings and terminals – completely handmade. Jeff decided not to use photo real material to cover walls or the roof. It is and remains very nice modelling, but, perhaps some limited photo real coverage would have been useful or maybe a slightly more weathered look. As mentioned before, some of the gates or jetway positions are occupied by static aircraft. Besides static aircraft, you’ll find at each gate masses of ground equipment – some are static objects while others are animated.
There’s one thing that you need to bear in mind. Jeff wrote in his document ‘There is a cost to having realistic GroundTraffic. Surprisingly, the FPS is not hit that hard, but it does take some time for the plugin to load so many vehicles and their routes. If you are flying in to KJFK from somewhere else, then about 5 miles before landing GroundTraffic will freeze X-Plane to load the airport vehicles. If you are annoyed at this interruption, manually uncheck the GroundTraffic for this airport in the Plugins drop-down before getting 5 miles within the airport.’
I would like to add some additional background information about the static aircraft that appear every time you startup KJFK. According to Jeff ‘the OpenSceneryX library used with this airport gives one the pleasure of seeing different liveries on the statics used every time that you visit the airport so that you rarely see “the same old planes”. This makes for great variety and keeps it interesting. This random choosing process can be done with liveries, aircraft type, airline type, etc.’
Ok, back to all what’s going on at or near Terminal 1.
With the installation of the additional aircraft pack and the ground traffic package via the activation with the groundtraffic.txt file, I see many buses, fuel trucks, catering lorries, baggage carts and other vehicles driving around. I also notice moving aircraft taxiing or being towed to other places or to the assigned runway. With the level of animations I see right now, I must say that this is something you don’t come across often and this makes the airport very interesting. Even when you’re not flying, take a ground position and monitor for yourself what’s going on around Terminal 1. And of course, this is also happening throughout the whole airport wherever you are. OK, the number of landings and takeoffs do not reflect the real KJFK, but I’m impressed what I have seen so far.
By turning on AI Aircraft you can have 20 more aircraft taxiing, landing, and taking off. All runways have programmed traffic flows with 4L-22R and 13L-31R for arrivals, and 4R-22L and 13R-31L for departures, depending on the direction of the wind. And last but not least … all ATC is fully functional.
To give you an idea of the animated ground objects, catering trucks arrive at parked aircraft; then get into position, moving up to the appropriate loading bay. And when finished, the catering truck drives off again. The same is also applicable for the fuel trucks. The truck arrives at the correct side of the wing, refuels the aircraft and, when finished, it moves away. And there’s much more animated ground equipment that brings KJFK to life.
Let’s move on to Terminals 2 and 3
It’s only a small walk from Terminal 1 to 2. Terminal 2 has no passenger or pedestrian bridge connection with Terminal 1, but Terminal 2 has a passenger bridge that links it to Terminal 3. Terminal 2 is a basic building with nothing special about it, even so it is still handmade. So there’s nothing you see that comes out of the Legobrick box! I do like what I see, but bear in mind my weathered look suggestion.
While walking from the beginning of Terminal 2 to the end, I noticed the large amount of static and animated ground equipment. An example of a static ground equipment object is a tow bar or stair, while animated ground equipment consist of baggage carts, fuel trucks, catering trucks, cars, towed aircraft and many more. The included jetways are part of the AutoGate system. This plugin animates jetways and provides the docking guidance systems (DGS). Jeff says the jetways featured in his airport scenery use the Jetways and Safegate Docking System from Marginal (Jonathan Harris), also called Autogate.
On the public side there is a normal and priority departure for Delta Air Lines. By the way, I found in very old photos that this terminal originally belonged to Pan American! Anyway, there’s also a pedestrian bridge connecting the car parking directly with Terminal 3. As mentioned earlier, Terminal 3 is included although it doesn’t exist anymore, but I’m pleased Jeff left it in his airport scenery. The main part of Terminal 3 is a well-modelled circular building. This is designed in a way that it can hold several jetways as well as the ‘V’-shaped terminal behind it. This building has brown walls, as it was in real life too and even in pictures taken at the time the walls didn’t reflect very much. The only feature I miss is ‘depth’ or ‘weathering’ on the brown walls. When it comes to ground equipment, static or movable aircraft and jetways, they are basically the same as I’ve described on the previous gates and terminals.
Next in row is Terminal 4 which looks very nice and represents a much more modern building than the old Terminal 3, although I have to admit that the modelled Terminal 3 main building also has its charm. So, on to Terminal 4.
Terminal 4, also known as the International Terminal
It’s not only a big and modern looking building, it is also the location of the control tower. This control tower can’t be missed wherever you are at the airport. It’s a tall, basic construction with a large control area at the top, as usual, and what looks like some offices slightly below that. Not sure if Terminal 4 is one of the latest creations, but it feels to me quite new and modern. And I must say Jeff has succeeded in his portrayal. The minor comment I made about the other terminals regarding the weathered look is in my humble opinion also applicable for this terminal.
On the public side of Terminal 4 you’ll find a huge parking lot and further to the east also a multi-storey car park. It’s great to see how the roads and pedestrian bridges are all interconnected. It will also be no surprise that Terminal 4 and the attached gates are all hand modelled and nothing, and I repeat nothing, comes out of the Legobrick box. I’m very happy to see that most roads are well aligned with each other and, in the case of Terminal 4, they fit perfectly with the arrival and in particular the departure entrances. The public road markings near Terminal 4 as well as on the parking lots are sharp. The sharp markings are a pleasure to see and, as mentioned before, are the result of no photo real ground textures being used. On other airport sceneries, using photo real ground textures outside the airport fences can result in a blurry look and that’s really a pity.
Concourse A and B are linked to the main building which are of a different design than seen before. Further on, it is more of the same … lots of static and animated ground equipment, and some jetways are occupied with static and animated aircraft. Oops, what do I mean by animated aircraft?
I touched on this before, but while writing about Terminal 4, I witnessed an arriving aircraft at gate position 28. When you wait a little longer and monitor what’s happening, you’ll see all kinds of ground equipment passing, and stopping to offer services. Perhaps it would be a good idea if the tarmac at the parking locations of the terminal gates had a little more dirty spots due to oil and aircraft tyres. Between the two gates you’ll find the control tower. It has offices at different levels, identified by glass windows. Basically it’s no more than a square pillar that has offices at the bottom, followed by a small glass extension more or less half way and a huge extension further up covered with glass with the actual control centre for the airport ATC on top of that.
I’m quite sure this is a straightforward job to do. Overall, a nicely modelled control tower, especially the lighting of the built-in offices at night.
Terminal 5 and the ‘ex’ TWA Flight Center
OK, let me first start with Terminal 5 which is dedicated to JetBlue, but there’s more. Terminal 5 sits behind the preserved Eero Saarinen-designed terminal originally known as the TWA Flight Center, created by the Finnish-American architect. These days the TWA Flight Center is a part of Terminal 5. Terminal 5 is also used by Hawaiian Airlines, which announced a partnership agreement with JetBlue. The TWA Flight Center is connected by two passenger pedestrian bridges to Terminal 5 departure level. The quarter-shaped terminal building looks huge for only passenger arrivals and departures but on further investigation I discovered that Terminal 5 is known for its many gift shops and gourmet restaurants, including a steak house and a sushi establishment. There’s nothing to complain about the available jetways although a couple of them are occupied by – logically – JetBlue aircraft. I haven’t spotted a Hawaiian aircraft, but perhaps you’ll see one if you reload KJFK. The terminal building, gate or concourse with jetways, ground equipment, aircraft and all other static and animated objects give this terminal a realistic look and feeling. This also means that the tarmac or concrete ground markings near the gates for aircraft and ground traffic are all crisp. The same also applies to the taxiways and ortho ground textures.
If you think this is the end of Terminal 5, you’ll be surprised to see the Skywalk to another look-alike building. This is an extension that belongs to Terminal 5 and therefore to JetBlue. The Skywalk offers access to the parking lots and to another, much smaller, terminal building. This has two satellites, each with places for five jetways and another three in the middle. A little bit crowded, but when you want to park here, there’s always a place available for your aircraft. At this point, we’re very close to Terminal 7, so let’s check that out now. Actually, this is Terminal 6, the original home of JetBlue. They tore it down after they completed the new Terminal 5.
Compared to Terminals 5, 4 and even 1, this terminal is relatively small. Not only that, it is dedicated to some foreign airlines, Star Alliance members and OneWorld airliners. While the other terminals have modern or futuristic designed buildings, Terminal 7 is very basic. The modelling is done in accordance with the real building, so there’s nothing wrong about that. It’s just how simple and straightforward the real Terminal 7 looks like. Later, when I check Terminal 8, you’ll see something quite different. But there’s still a lot to look out for and it all fits nicely together. The terminal is connected to the parking lots via bridges as well as to the multi-storey car park. You’ll constantly see cars and buses driving along the arrival and departure lanes. It’s not really a big terminal.
It has a total of 12 jetways, with gates 7 and 8 positioned very close to each other. Like all previous gates regarding the ground equipment, static and animated objects, jetways, etc. the same can be said for Terminal 7. This time Terminals 7 and 8 are not located close together. You need to cross a sound barrier wall, several roads and another sound wall barrier, but it’s worth checking out Terminal 8 as well.
What cvan we say about terminal 8. According to the Internet …. Terminal 8 is a major Oneworld hub, and American Airlines is the major Oneworld carrier. American operates from Terminal 8, is the largest carrier in the terminal, and is the third largest carrier at KJFK. In addition to operations at Terminal 7, some Oneworld airlines including Finnair, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Air Berlin and LAN Airlines (and its affiliates) operate out of Terminal 8. Future member Qatar Airways also operates its flights out of Terminal 8. Although the following isn’t modelled, it’s interesting to know … It offers dozens of retail and food outlets, 84 ticket counters, 44 self-service kiosks, 10 security checkpoint lanes and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility that can process more than 1,600 people an hour. Terminal 8 has an annual capacity of 12.8M passengers.
The look and feel of the main terminal building is very nice. From this main building you reach concourse B and via an underground connection, you get access to concourse C. Although the overall view of static and animated ground equipment is at the same level as the other terminals (not forgetting of course the static and animated aircraft leaving and arriving the jetways), it’s impressive to visit this last terminal. At concourse B gate 4, I also spotted a couple of 3D people not sitting in a ground vehicle. After seeing these individual standing (not moving) objects, I immediately check to see if I missed these 3D figures at the other gates. Conclusion: As well the baggage cart staff, I also spotted at the other gates/concourses some more 3D people, so I think I must have been sleeping and missed them earlier!
The tarmac and concrete aprons and taxiways do provide all the necessary lineage and markings including the signs. It looks to me that the markings directing you to the gates are slightly different from those used at the older terminals. This would make sense because Terminal 8 is of the latest design and different marking rules comply. Looking from a distance to the concourses, I see many animated objects coming and going. Most of them are catering lorries and fuel trucks but once in a while I see baggage carts, yellow airport vans, and belt loaders. The taxiway and runway lineage look correct to me, the lighting as well, and it gives the overall airport a realistic look. But the walls of the terminal are not always as real as it should be. They still have in my humble opinion a too cartoonish look.
I think there’s still a lot to explore; it’s time to visit the fire station and the General Aviation areas.
Fire Station and General Aviation area
The location of the fire station may be easy to find, but the building itself is not really something you expect. It’s because it lies close to the taxiways Q, B and crossing NA, that I miss any fire trucks being parked outside. All the doors are closed, so it isn’t easy to be 100 percent sure. It’s a basic building, but it’s certainly handmade. Incoming note from Jeff: ‘This was called “Anthony Infante Plaza” when I started this airport. Later I notice a lot of police cars parked around it. Now you see fire engines, too!’
From the fire station we drive in the direction of the General Aviation (GA) apron, passing the fuel truck station and fuel supply tanks. There’s no doubt about this, since you’ll find many trucks parked outside at the designated positions and the green/crème tanks are clearly visible. Don’t expect to see only one, two, three or more tanks, no, actually 40! Not bad! Most of the lorries and cars are static objects, but a couple of animated trucks are coming and going.
The GA apron with associated hangars is huge and offers many handmade buildings. Before I forget, behind is a large cargo area where I also spotted some hangars. Right at the end you’ll find some more fuel tanks.
The GA apron is filled, not full, with static and animated GA aircraft. It comes with a couple of small hangars, a yellow roof open hangar, and a kind of unfinished hangar which lies next of the AVGAS fuel tank station. A little further away, the area consists of a parking lot with hangars and cargo terminals. Although the real and modelled area doesn’t look very exciting, I can tell you that every building, terminal, hangar etc. is not a Legobrick object. Every piece you see is bespoke. Moving from the GA apron to the north, I see many other buildings too. Wow, this stretches out further than I thought. Let’s see what this is.
UPS, United Cargo, KAC and …
Cargo Areas B and C as they are officially called.
This is a stretched out area with so many buildings and masses of things to see. I really don’t know where to start to be honest. OK, the first building I spot on my exploration is United Airlines Cargo. It’s the area that lies along taxiway SA and R, for those of you who want to know where I am. That said, starting with the United Airlines cargo building and others I can see from this point of view, all buildings are handmade.
Not that every building has an extraordinary design, no, that’s not the case. But it can be clearly seen that the buildings, and aprons aren’t built out of Legobrick stuff. The cargo and maintenance areas are mostly separated by aprons, grass strip or just by buildings. As with the passenger terminals, you’ll find in these areas lots of static objects like ground equipment and some aircraft, and again several animated objects as well. Not as many as at the passenger gates and concourses maybe, but enough to give it a realistic feeling.
I mentioned the United Cargo, but a closer looks reveals the depots of Korean Air Cargo, Delta, British Airways World Cargo and DHL. In fact, DHL lies on the other side of this huge cargo/maintenance area. To conclude … the cargo areas which feature animations are JAL Cargo, Korean Air Cargo, United World Cargo, Delta, UPS, Evergreen Int’l Cargo, British Airways World Cargo, FedEx, DHL, DJ Air Cargo, and US Customs.
I am pretty sure that on the other side of the apron, you’ll find only UPS cargo depots and those of DHL. This is confirmed when I find many parked static UPS aircraft. On one side you’ve got the aircraft, and on the other the trucks can be seen loading and unloading their freight. Besides the aircraft and some static ground objects, this apron also comes with a lot of animated ground equipment, one of which is a hi-loader. While investigating this area, I’ve already seen an Atlas Air, Cargolux and a Korean Air Boeing passing by. And, almost forgotten … where are all those ‘Yellow Cabs’? Found them … behind the UPS buildings. A large parking area dedicated to the famous NY yellow cabs. Can you miss them? No, you can’t!
From this area it’s not far away to the FedEx cargo apron that lies along taxiway C and runway 13L/31R.
FedEx, DHL and …
Cargo Area D as it is officially called.
The first apron belongs to the Cargo Airport Services and unmistakable FedEx. I only spotted one building used by the Cargo Airport Services because the next building, and the next, and the next and many more are dedicated to FedEx. The cargo depots are packed with masses of FedEx trucks with on the other side of these depots many different types of static and animated FedEx aircraft.
By the way, you’ll find a lot of static FedEx Express and FedEx Ground trucks, but also many animated ones as well. Yes, I’m impressed with the very nice mixture of static and animated objects. OK, back to the FedEx apron. On the side along taxiway C I see three large green roofed hangars which belong to the National Guard. If you have KJFK extra planes installed you will see the military static aircraft. Most likely they go to FedEx for the necessary maintenance when needed. Again, these three green roof hangars are not something out of the box. They are made by Jeff himself.
The next large apron belongs to NCA (Nippon Cargo Airlines) and DHL. The NCA apron and cargo depots only offer some ground equipment and no static Nippon Cargo aircraft; at least, I’ve not seen any, but while typing this section, an NCA 747 enters the apron!
On the opposite side of the apron you can see several static DHL aircraft and I’ve seen at least two animated aircraft taxing around at KJFK. Further on you’ll also find on the apron LD5 and LD6 containers. Along taxiway C you’ll spot the buildings, trucks and offices of the United States Postal Service and the United States Customs Office. All these buildings, hangars, offices and cargo depots, I can’t say it enough, are bespoke, following the look, feel and size of the real buildings at KJFK.
There’s one last location to look at and that’s the auxiliary fire station. It’s a basic building with some fire trucks parked in front, and a small surprise – although I don’t think it’s animated – a full-size X-Plane colourful balloon. Between these two objects I notice a fire brigade test aircraft.
Van Wyck Express Wy, JFK Express Wy and JFK Access Road
These roads and a couple more cover the public area to and from KJFK terminals and additional offices. As mentioned earlier, Jeff from FunnerFlight didn’t use ortho ground textures outside the airport fences and so you don’t have blurry roads and road markings. Further on within this area is the JFK access road that connects all the terminals together.
You’ll find car-parking areas and, again, because no ortho ground textures are used, the car parking ground markings are razor sharp. The same applies to the JFK access road that runs to all the arrival and departure lanes of the terminals. No problems with blurry textures, instead, everything is clear and well done. Besides the green grass mentioned earlier, you’ll find several trees which are all correctly aligned and no tree is located partly or completely on a road.
Close to Terminal 7 is, I think, an electrical power distribution centre that provides the electricity for KJFK. It’s a relatively large area with several buildings, surrounded by a fence. Checking real photos with the modelled buildings, I must conclude that this is a very good replica of the real thing.
When you’re lucky, you’ll find some animated objects (cars) in this location too. Perhaps you will hardly look here but, when you have the time, check it out for a few moments.
What else … Night Fever at KJFK!
But the night fever is only applicable when you have HDR ON. Of course, if your PC can’t handle it, then you have no choice but, believe me, FunnerFlight KJFK is developed and must be seen with HDR ON; otherwise it becomes quite a dark evening. That said, the way it is portrayed depends on your particular preferences and of course what your PC or Mac can handle. Remember that I talked earlier about this?
It was this paragraph from a previous section …. ‘And, finally you’ve got the terminal lighting conditions. You have three options for lighting your terminals. The brighter the lights, the harder it is on your FPS. The provided manual comes with some examples, and how to implement this.’
Note from Jeff: ‘With HDR lighting you want Rendering Options set no higher than FXAA. Any higher setting reduces your frame rates unnecessarily.’
I decided to install the FULL LIGHTING files and see with my own eyes the KJFK night lighting effect. I must say, it’s gorgeous! My only comment if you decide to do this is that I’m not sure if the FULL lighting package represents the real airport lighting. It could be that it’s a little over the top, but on the other hand it looks great and you won’t miss anything. Does it influence my frame rates? Ohhh, yes, it does. But Jeff warned you about this before and this is also applicable for the overall airport.
The amount of acceptable frame rates per second depends not only of your PC or Mac hardware specifications, but also your monitor size and therefore the active X-Plane screen resolution. In addition, you need to consider which aircraft you’re using to depart or arrive, the X-Plane rendering settings and, as Jeff mentioned, which animated and lighting files you decide to replace.
All together a lot of decisions to make to get to a position that is acceptable to you from the FPS point of view. On my iMac with a default screen size of 2560×1440, I need to reduce my settings first and increase them gradually later to see what’s possible. Of course, I could reduce my screen’s resolution too, but that’s not always what I like because of the legibility.
You can get reasonable frame rates with FunnerFlight KJFK v2, but it all depends if you read the minimum hardware requirements before and stick to them. When I say acceptable frame rates, I mean that it is possible, at least on my iMac, to get 20-25 FPS, but you need to follow all the suggestions and don’t just think your PC or Mac can handle it without any problem.
I think this is it. I am sure I have forgotten something, but I think most of it is covered. Is there a need to write down a summary complete with pros and cons for this airport? No, not that, but I have some suggestions for Jeff.
I would love to see the buildings, terminals and offices have a more weathered look. Now it all seems a little too ‘sterile’. I don’t think this should take a lot of time to create. The way the airport scenery is setup with all the animations is great. There’s some flexibility in the way the animations appear, or how the grass and roads are displayed as well as the evening lighting. That’s good news because these flexible items could influence the amount of frame rates. I thought KJFK may not be huge, but it’s so complex. And when I say complex, I mean complex. It’s a highly detailed scenery package because of all the different terminals, buildings, offices, gates, concourses etc.
As stated, the scenery package has no ortho ground textures outside and inside the airport fence. This means for example that roads can seem out of focus. In this package all the roads, markings, etc. are all modelled to achieve razor sharp results. I like that!
I could continue with this summary, but I hope that this review has helped you in making your choice. Is it worth it? Yes, but as stated on the dedicated Org website, check before if your PC or Mac can handle it. It is and stays a heavy airport. It’s already an extremely realistic airport, but with those minor alterations it will lift it to an even higher standard. Finally, I would like to thank Jeff for his advice and comments.
Oops, almost forgotten … I completely overlooked one of the biggest attractions of this airport scenery, namely ground drive animation to check out the airport with a car via the N Freeway or W Freeway! Just grab a car from the X-Plane.Org download section (Chevrolet Camaro). Then create under ‘Aircraft’ a new folder named ‘Ground Vehicles’ and place the car packages into the newly created folder. Load KJFK, but select from the RAMP START list either ‘N Freeway start for ground vehicle’ or ‘W Freeway start for ground vehicle’. Now you can drive around at KJFK, and don’t forget to try this Freeway drive during nighttime – that is even more interesting!
Angelique van Campen