ADX FirstLook: JetStream Little Rock!
FSX/P3D. JetStream Designs is back and I am glad to see the diversification in the destination selections chosen. Now, usually developers start off small time and work their way into the big leagues. However, oddly enough, JetStream Designs seems have gone the opposite direction with the Mega Airport Marseilles being the first project followed by the smaller Little Rock. If you have not yet, be sure to catch the ADX FirstLook of Marseilles. It's a terrific product.
Now big or small, there is one clear indication I am getting form this developer and that's good quality in good time. The development period between the 2 projects was only about 5 months. At that pace, we can expect 1 to 2 releases per year whereas many developers need in many cases up to 1 to 2 years to develop an airport project. No doubt, JetStream Designs is going places in this community and fast. With that said, in the case of Little Rock here, so much was done well but there is still room for improvement as well. Come along with me and let's discover!
[Note: For format purposes, images are cropped. Click each image for full size resolution preview.]
This is actually the very first time I have had the opportunity to visit this part of the US in FS. This is a region mostly ignored by developers so it's very nice to see someone step in and give it some love. Besides this, Nearby Texas is starting to see quite a bit of growth giving some short hops in the area to visit.
For today's trip, I departed from FSDT's Dallas and made my way north east on the extremely short hop in the PMDG NGX. The weather was not too friendly. Looks like a CAT|| approach awaits me on the other end.
Once below the clouds, the terrain of FTX Global + Vector start to come into view. Orbx has covered the aera quite nicely. Now on final, the Arkasas River starts to come into view. On touchdown I see some very crisp runway textures. I also appreciated the inclusion of the taxi bridge with the road passing below. Your default AI automotive traffic will not realize the road though. But looks good nonetheless.
Pulling up to the gate, i'm impressed with the quality of the jet bridges and ramp objects. As I get closer to the terminal, I also notice the transparent windows revealing the terminal interior and passengers. Very nice touch! Lets disembark and have a look around. I arranged a helicopter to get the best look around.
Now I found myself wondering why would a French developer go from the South of France to Arkansas for project development. But if you know much about this airport then you are well aware of the connection that lies under the name Dassault. Dassault Aircraft Services operates the main completion center for all Falcon jets built in France injecting millions into the local economy annually. The most interesting thing is, even though Dassault is headquartered in France, the Little Rock location is the the largest Dassault facility in the world.
But even then, Little Rock is still a very small airport. But it really didn't have to be this way. In fact, Little Rock very well could have been a major super hub for one of the world't largest airlines.
A young man by the name of Fred Smith who had a controlling share in a small Little Rock business named Ark Aviation Sales a very bold idea to start up a delivery company based on using the very Dassault aircraft he was selling at KLIT. He had the idea to convert them to cargo freighters based on the purpose of delivering parcels overnight. Sadly, the Little Rock airport authority refused to support Fred with his start up venture, so he moved his idea to another airport equally as small just 130 miles to the east essentially building damn near the entire economy of Memphis Tennessee. Go FedEx!
Little Rock remained small as a result and I am sure in the long run, they regretted their decision. Little Rock pretty much remained just as small as it is today. Thank goodness Dassault stuck around!
Now airborne in the chopper, I was able to get the bigger picture of the airfield. Lots of hangars out here. All Dassault, Hawker, and GA hangers represented. The photo terrain is represented fairly well also. There is even good water masking techniques used on the creek west of the airfield. What I would have liked to see is actual trees covering the 2D flat tree images on the ground. Instead, only a few trees were used. Not a big deal for many, but something I pay attention to.
Next are the hangar logos. I found them to be a bit blurry and would have preferred to see them applied independently instead uf the photoreal application as part of the building objects themselves. Lastly, the car parking areas. One thing I pointed out with Marseilles scenery was the fact that the cars although plentiful, appeared to be parked on dirt. I was pleased to see that has changed here, but where are all the cars? Only a few of the lots have them and sparsely at that. In many lots, the 3D cars do not exist, leaving 2D car images on the ground. Something I wag my finger at. On a more positive note, I was impressed with the multistory car park.
If the lack of trees and cars were due to performance concerns, I can happily say the performance was very good with an average of 30 FPS flying in. Even higher with the helicopter with lesser complex modeled systems.
Moving over to the town financial center, I found I was very impressed to see the downtown towers and buildings created. A+ for the inclusion but only the most prominent ones were added leaving many 2D flat building images exposed. Not all buildings needed to be modeled. Some generic buildings could have stood in on top of the images improving the heli VFR experience. Here it looks great yet barren. However, if you never visit the area, the buildings look perfect and highly realistic from the airport given how close the town center is which is approx 2 miles.
Moving back airside to the main passenger terminal, I can honestly say I really liked everything about the representation in this area. The jetways were of very good quality with airline logos, very nice. The internal terminal lighting, ramp and custom approach lighting was all very well done not to mention the lighting from the towers in the background. Much better than Aerosoft's US Cities buildings. I hope to see more of this in the future.
So the question: do i recommend it? Absolutely! It's small but sweet and will make for great short 15 min turns between destinations. I am pleased to see the developer has improved all my little nitpicks from my previous review. Here at Little Rock, all I can really do is nitpick the smallest things that need improvement which is a great thing because there is always room for growth. The static Falcon jets were also a very nice touch.
JetStream Designs is a developer that is currently where Taxi2Gate was just over a year ago. Now everyone is raving about T2G much in the same they rave about FlightBeam, FlyTampa, and FSDT. In the current direction, no doubt JetStream will soon be on that list and I am very pleased with the efforts this newcomer is bringing on the scene. Couple that with the fact that the developer is already focusing on P3Dv2.2 means positive things for the future.
You can purchase Little Rock here:
Enjoy and happy Flighting!