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Calum Martin

JetStream Designs - Little Rock National Park Airport (KLIT) Review

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When I reviewed JetStream’s latest release, Marseille (LFML), I distinctly remember mentioning how talented the developer was, and also how they would soon become the next “Taxi2Gate.” With their release of Clinton National Airport (Little Rock / KLIT from here on out), I can firmly stand by that statement.

 

Through 2009, more than 2.1 million passengers entered Little Rock’s airport, making it Arkansas’s largest commercial airport. By no means the largest airport in the United States, it’s fantastic city scape, lush green approaches and numerous rivers and lakes surrounding the airport, make it a very scenic approach. Served by only a handful of commercial airlines and several general aviation and privately run airlines, it makes for a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the busy international airports.

 

 

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Furthermore, by focusing on a smaller, mid-range airport in the middle of the States, it enables JetStream to really hone in on the finer details of the airport, and also give those with slightly weaker machines a chance to explore an incredibly detailed airport with their favourite US Airline.

 

 As I approach the airport from the south, fog, dense cloud and rain clot up my view of the approach lights. Just as I change to weather to better suit my ability to really take everything in for the review, my eyes suddenly caught glimpse of the PAPI lights… then I saw the runway threshold lights and before I knew it, through the all of the low visibility, a fantastically lit-up and dirty runway laid before my eyes. I continued with the approach, with clouds lifting behind me and more and more of the wonderful airport lighting fell before me. It was a sight truly to be seen – it is a major improvement over their lighting work on Marseille.

 

 

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My heart was as captured on this airport as much as my aircraft captured the ILS.

 

Once I taxied myself back to stand, I cleared the weather to see just how impressive the airport looked behind all of the cloud. I was stunned. The detail spread for miles and miles, and the terminals were transparent and full of life. This was really high-end stuff.

 

I quickly set up to fly again, but taking off in the opposite direction as I wanted to admire the beauty of the nearby satellite imagery and hand-placed custom buildings.

 

As I taxied over numerous taxi routes, I noticed the quality of each taxi-sign and marking. The cracks in the pavement meant I could feel the bumps as my forward wheels took a beating – this is by no means a new airport. Dirt and grass stains contaminate the runways and taxiways and the 3D grass really add depth and immersion to the atmosphere of the airport.

 

One of my favourite features of the airport, which has been represented well in the Flight Sim world is the dual taxi-way bridges. The roads underneath have some impressive views of various aircraft going back and forth over them, and all of it has been recreated wonderfully. My only gripe is the change in texture colour from the original taxiway to the bridge. However, for a new developer, it’s quite an achievement.

 

Continuing to the runway, you’ll see various hangers and office buildings throughout the airport. All complete with fully rendered static aircraft, which also look fitting for the regional airport.

 

As you hurtle down the runway, the wear and tear from it is clearly visible from the flight deck windows. Cracks, dirt and tire marks are all present, and as you approach VR and V2, you’ll of wished for a rejected take-off to be able to see the details of the runway for the full length.

 

Once the gear was up, I spent time doing some touch and goes to get a sense a full-visibility approach.

 

Coming in from the North this time, I flew right over the Arkansas River, which was glistening in the sun. You could see the waves crashing against the rocks below. It was a stunning sight to see the approach lights so far out into the river and gives you a real sense of achievement when you reach the touchdown zone. As you do come in over the river, you’ll have a fantastic view of the city to your right. Although not rendered by the scenery, given the right settings, it can still look just as believable as the real thing. Not many airport add-ons can immerse me with default settings as JetStream’s Little Rock has.

 

 

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If you read my previous review of Marseille, you will have read that I was very complimentary of JetStream's use of night lighting. Suffice to say, it was another fantastic improvement seen here in Little Rock. The runway lights are bright enough to look realistic without being blinding. The approach and taxi-way lights have all been redesigned from the ground up and look stunning. With third-party aircraft lighting up the rest of the taxi-way, I've never been so impressed with the night-lighting of an airport. The terminal buildings look fantastic, streaming with light and shadow, as well as the parking aprons.

 

Whilst overall the airport looks and feels impressive, there is certainly room for improvement. Inconsistency with texture work and modelling usage certainly deters me slightly. One area of the airport will look great, whilst the next looks blurry in comparison. I also found performance to be of an issue in some respects. Whilst I appreciate the number of buildings and nearby forestation can cause the autogen to be demanding, I feel that other developers still have that creative edge to create mesmerizing airports without seeing too much of an impact – the developers have also decided not to include an easy way to switch off 3D grass or other special effects. Furthermore, jet ways aren't functional and the airport feels a little empty without any moving vehicles or other environmental effects.   

 

As you can tell, I am highly impressed with the work and dedication from JetStream. The new ground texture and modelling system used and the techniques learned from their previous efforts have put their name on the map. Even if you’re unsure Little Rock would be a frequently visited airport, I can assure you that once you fly there once, you’ll be back again and again.

 

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My Specs: 


Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz)
RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800)
GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5
Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD
Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit)

 

Add-ons Used In Screenshots: 

Scenery - JetStream's Little Rock National Park (KLIT)
Aircraft - PMDG 737-700 NGX

Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global

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