Review: Skyline KSNA John Wayne Airport

Introduction

I love flying in California so every payware scenery of an airport in this region is of special importance to me personally. Back in October 2017 Skyline Simulations, formerly known as Icarus Simulations (read this post if you wonder what happened to this brand), announced they were working on a conversion of LatinVFR’s KSNA Orange County John Wayne International Airport. This conversion was released just in time for this year’s Christmas and so it is my pleasure to welcome you all to my review of this beautiful airport in sunny Orange County!

See what the developer has to say about their latest offering:

“John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA, FAA LID: SNA) International airport located in Orange County, near Los Angeles USA. KSNA provide General aviation operations, commercial operations and several facilities like the Aeroclub pilot training at the airport serve the general aviation and corporate aviation community. The largest airlines at John Wayne Airport were Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines. This is a highly detailed airport by Skyline Simulations (formerly from Icarus)”

It’s also worth looking at the impressive feature list. Here it is:

  • Animated Jetways
  • Ground Traffic in whole airport for G. Aviation and Commercial services
  • Randomly placed static aircraft, can be easily toggled off in the X-Plane settings
  • Ultra High Definition Textures
  • Detailed 3D modeling
  • PBR Materials for shiny reflections
  • Ground reflections and decals
  • Custom “soft” animated 3D Grass blends with orthophotos
  • Custom HDR Lights billboard and spill in Terminal and Taxi Signs
  • High resolution orthoimagery for the airport
  • Animated radar
  • Accurate ATC/TAXI flows
  • for the mid-to-low end machines: a replacement dsf file, that removes the 3D cars, where already exist as part of the orthophotos
  • Airport Chart PDF included
 Before we start with the actual review, as usual in my latest reviews, see what add-ons I used:

Default Airport

Alright, there we are. Welcome to California. Since this is one of the most popular areas in our sim I thought It might be worth having a look at the stock scenery. X-Plane features some impressive default scenery (especially in popular areas) and lots of folks are happy with what the stock simulators offers out-of-the-box. Let’s see if we can change your mind!

For stock scenery, default KSNA looks… well it looks like bricks. It looks like any other stock airport to me. Personally I believe the bigger the airport, the more you can see the use of standard bricks. This might be enough for some folks but if you want a realistic and immersive experience then we certainly need a lil’ more, right? And isn’t this the reason you’re reading this review? That said, let’s take a first look at Skyline’s KSNA!

Blending

As you can see I used ortho scenery for this review. Personally I believe California is one of those areas where flying without ortho doesn’t make sense. Only ortho imagery does the variety of this unique landscape justice. For this reason I did not use this airport with HD Mesh v4 or any other base mesh. Now that I made enough advertisement for orthographic imagery I suggest you get Forkboy2’s California (see link above). Got it already? Right on! Let’s move on!

The scenery doesn’t blend too well into Forkboy2’s orthographic imagery. However, as I said many times before, this cannot be the fault of the developer. There are just too many ortho sources available to choose from and it’s impossible for a developer to provide color-corrected orthos for all available Ortho4XP sources. You might even find that Skyline’s KSNA perfectly works with your personal ortho tile!

The Airfield

Remember the screenshots of the default airport? Now look at this:

That’s just a whole different league we got here. Yeah, I love good conversions! Look at all that detail. There is a lot to discover at Skyline’s KSNA! If you wonder about the aircraft rolling around the taxiways. These are displayed by the World Traffic 3 plug-in and yes, this airport is fully compatible with this latest version of this popular AI traffic tool. You don’t need World Traffic 3, though, to experience an airport full of live! There are plenty of vehicles moving around the apron so there’s definitely enough to watch and discover at this airport!

A feature I personally like in any scenery is a good representation of grass. It just adds to the immersion. Skyline did a great job with their grass. I didn’t see any repetitive patterns which certainly is something not all developers are capable of. I would have loved to see even more grass but I guess this would have had negative side effects on the performance. Speaking of performance, with this airport I certainly experienced a performance hit, even when I used the included replacement dsf file which removes some of the 3D cars. That’s not really a surprise for an airport of this quality in the Greater LA area, though. Luckily, the airport is usable for airliner operations, but there is a noticeable hit. So just bear that in mind should you use a lot of VFR add-ons in this area. You might want to remove those objects in case you experience bad performance.

The Surroundings

Thankfully, Skyline’s KSNA also covers some blocks around the airport. This adds a lot to the immersion and it’s certainly appreciated. Have a look at the screenshots:

Night Lighting

It’s the night time when Skyline’s KSNA really begins to shine. The Greater LA area really makes for some stunning late evening or night approaches. I don’t even know what to write about this. Judge for yourself but make sure to check out those lovely reflection effects on the runway and the apron:

My Verdict

Skyline’s KSNA Orange County John Wayne International Airport is a conversion of a 2015 airport by LatinVFR and you can certainly see this heritage. However, Skyline Simulations are experts in converting FSX scenery for X-Plane. With their latest offering the team proved once more that they can revive older scenery and bring them up to modern standards. KSNA Orange County John Wayne International Airport is therefore recommended for anyone who loves to fly in California or just likes a scenic approach!

Skyline’s KSNA Orange County John Wayne International Airport is currently available for just $21.90 (limited offer, regular price will be $24.95) and thanks to the organisational change of former Icarus Simulations (who exclusively published via X-Aviation) you are now able at buy this scenery via the x-plane.org store here.

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