FTX: NA KPSP Palm Springs International Airport
For FSX / Prepar3D Published by Orbx
Reviewed by Brian Buckley
Introduction - A Brief History
Lying some 100 miles east of Los Angeles in
Southern California, Palm Springs is a major international airport
situated in the vast Coachella Valley. Palm Springs was built as a United States Army
Air Corps emergency landing field in 1939 on land owned by the Agua
Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians. It made for a perfect emergency
landing field due to its clear weather and its proximity to March
Field and the Los Angeles area.
In March 1941, the War Department certified improvements to the
existing airport in Palm Springs as essential to National Defence
and in November 1941, the airport was approved to serve as a staging
field by the Air Corps Ferrying Command, 21st Ferrying Group. Land
was acquired to build a major airfield one and half miles from the
old airfield site. The new airfield, Palm Springs Army Airfield, was
completed in early 1942 and the old airfield was then used only as a
On June 1, 1944, training moved to Brownsville Army Airfield, Texas
and the airfield was used for Army and Navy transport flights until
the end of April 1945. The auxiliary field, or backup field, was
declared surplus on May 12, 1945 and the main airfield was declared
excess and transferred to the War Assets Administration in 1946 for
disposal and was sold to private buyers. The City of Palm Springs
purchased the land in 1961 and converted it to Palm Springs
Although a true international airport, KPSP has customs and
immigration facilities for general aviation aircraft only. All
inbound international commercial flights are from Canadian cities
which have pre-clearance facilities.
Once again, acclaimed developer, Jarrad Marshall, has been at the
drawing board and has produced his tenth offering in the shape of
Palm Springs. This follows his highly successful airports such as,
Redding (KRDD), Jackson Hole (KJAC), Felts Field (KSFF), Cairns
International (YBCS) and many others.
"...Palm Springs International Airport is located a couple of miles
from downtown Palm Springs, and hosts fourteen airlines serving
destinations across North America. The unique airport terminal is a
combination of mid-century Modernist architecture (main building)
and open-air planning (Sonny Bono Concourse). This makes for a
wonderfully unique setting for your airliner flights - park
alongside an open-air waiting area including retail shops,
children's playground and sculpted parkland. Aside from the
terminal, there is plenty to see at the airport, too. Explore the
Palm Springs Aviation Museum with it's vast array of outdoor
exhibits (don't forget to check out the parking lot, too!). As well
as this, check out the new control tower, the work going on at the
SkyWest hangar, and finally hang out with the rich and famous at the
several corporate FBOs...". Courtesy Orbx
Availability and Installation
FTX US KPSP Palm Springs International Airport is available in
download format from the
, for £17.44 (€22.11) at the
exchange rate at the time of writing this review. A backup DVD is
also available for a nominal fee, should you require it.
The download file size is 1.1GB and the installation process is
simple, intuitive and although my download took over three hours,
the installation only took five minutes to complete.
There is a warning near the end of installation that tells you to
disable AEC for KPSP in the FTX Global Vector Config program. This
opens after installation allowing you to check this has been done.
As with any Orbx product, it is highly recommended that after
installing the product, you install or reinstall the latest version
of the Orbx Scenery Libraries (ORBXLIBS).
Scenery Coverage and Detail
FTX VECTOR Configuration Tool
" The Desert Oasis. With one of the most dramatically scenic
backdrops in the United States, Palm Springs is a resort city
situated 100 miles east of Los Angeles in Southern California. In
his most expansive scenery to date, acclaimed developer Jarrad
Marshall (Monterey/Redding/Jackson Hole/Cairns Intl) brings us not
only Palm Springs Intl, but 1500 square kilometres of hand-crafted
scenery. Explore the resort cities of Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage,
Cathedral City, Indian Wells, Thousand Palms, Palm Desert and Desert
Hot Springs, the high-altitude alpine wonderland of San Jacinto
Peak, the windswept wastelands of the San Gorgonio Pass and the
harsh beauty of the Coachella Valley desert. Famous during the 50's
and 60's as the playground of Hollywood elite, Palm Springs is home
to some of finest examples of mid-century Modernist architecture in
the world; many examples of which can be found in this scenery. From
the vast wind turbine farms, to the impressive 6000ft Aerial
Tramway, from the modern skyscrapers of the Reservation Casinos to
the retro chic of City Hall, there are literally dozens of
interesting landmarks and features to explore. Outside of KPSP, try
your luck landing at the difficult Aerial Tramway and hospital
helipads, or explore the outer regions of the scenery from Banning
Municipal and Bermuda Dunes airports. As for KPSP itself; as the
largest airport in the ORBX North American library, this field is
genuinely suited for all types of flyers - from the heaviest
jetliners, through corporate types and even low-and-slow GA flyers,
Palm Springs is the perfect destination. Served by most US and
Canadian mainline airlines to destinations across North America, the
airport is famous for it's unique "outdoor terminal" - use our
freeware BOB to wander around the highly-detailed terminal grounds.
If that is not enough, be sure to visit the Palm Springs Aviation
Museum - many types operated by the US Navy are open for viewing.
Optimised for performance, a huge coverage area, beautiful runway
approaches for all types of aviators and extraordinary detail around
the airport, Palm Springs is your perfect base of operations for
Southern California. Far more than just an airport!" Orbx
Explore the resort cities of Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral
City, Indian Wells, Thousand Palms, Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs,
the high-altitude alpine wonderland of San Jacinto Peak, the
windswept wastelands of the San Gorgonio Pass, and the harsh beauty
of the Coachella Valley desert, some of which I have pointed out on
the map below.
Places to Visit
• ultra detailed rendition of KPSP Palm Springs International
• enormous 1,500 square kilometre coverage area at 30 centimetre /
one metre resolution;
• impeccable 10 metre high resolution mesh and custom vegetation
• dozens of custom landmarks;
• Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and hospital helicopter landing areas;
• custom animated AI helicopter and train;
• extraordinarily detailed airport terminal;
• advanced rendering, ambient occlusion and unique night-lighting
techniques used for maximum realism;
• highly detailed APX to allow unique parallel runway operations;
• strongly optimized for good performance with complex aircraft
• designed to blend seamlessly with FTX GLOBAL in both P3D2v2 and
Of the three charts above, only the Palm Springs chart is included
in the documentation. The charts for Banning Municipal and Bermuda
Dunes are available from
, they were kindly produced by Mutley's
Hangar member and administrator, John Allard. My thanks go to John
for producing the charts almost immediately upon request so that I
may include them here.
Banning Municipal Airport
Bermuda Dunes Airport
Being a desert location I wasn't expecting huge differences in the
seasons and that was true of this scenery. Between seasons, only minor tonal changes occurred on the
ground and surrounding mountains reflecting
the differing light levels.
The exception was San Jacinto
Peak at 10,834 feet (3,302 m),
it the highest mountain around. It has remnants of snow
above 4000ft for most of the year. Winter brings the greatest change
to 'San Jack'
as full snow can be seen on the peak.
The screenshots below give you some
indication of the differences on the peak with Palm Springs in the
Airport Buildings and Objects
Now we come to what I feel is the crux of Palm Springs International
Airport. Jarrad has worked his magic, yet again, with the buildings
and associated airport objects having been brought to stunning life.
From the superbly crafted terminal building complex right down to
the objet d'art scattered around the whole region. Whenever I
purchase or review Orbx airports, I immediately fire up FSX and
choose BOB as my aircraft. You can download BOB from Orbx,
those who are not aware of BOB, it is a freeware, first person
walkabout utility, which allows the user to walk about and explore
the buildings and surrounding area, on foot so to speak. I
thoroughly recommend it if you like to see the work the guys at Orbx
put into their airports. For me, it is always breathtaking when I
see the level of detail they create in the airports for our use.
Inside the Palm Springs terminal you are greeted with an animated
escalator which takes you up into the main concourse. This, to me,
was a real surprise and something that wasn't really necessary, but
to include that level of detail demonstrates to me the commitment
that Jarrad and indeed the other guys at Orbx have towards their
Jarrad has come up with some very bespoke and unusual buildings in
this project and once you take off from Palm Springs, you have some
very nice surprises ahead of you. In all directions, there are
objects galore and extremely well presented scenery. See below for
just a small glimpse into what Jarrad has produced.
Terminal at Night
Terminal by Day
Sonny Bono Concourse
Air Museum - Left Side
Air Museum - Right Side
As you can see, Jarrad has spared none of his artistic skills in
producing some of his best work in Palm Springs International
Airport. There are just thousands of artefacts and buildings in and
around the whole of the Coachella Valley. He has even produced some
stunning replicas of some of the hotel/casinos in the area. Two of
which are below. I have included real world shots for you to
compare, but I'm sure you will agree, they are stunning.
Morongo Casino - Orbx
Morongo Casino - Real World
Agua Caliente - Orbx
Agua Caliente - Real World
These two superb hotel complexes serve as very good landmarks when
you fly VFR, as they are two of the tallest structures in the area.
Another area which Jarrad has covered more than sufficient, is
animation. There are bucket loads of animations to amuse you if you
take the trouble to go looking for them. Apart from the obvious
thousands of wind turbines that pepper the whole region, there is
the renowned Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This takes you from the
valley floor, up to 8,516 feet to the San Jacinto Peak. It is the
largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. It was opened in
September 1963 as a way of getting from the floor of the Coachella
Valley to relatively near the top of San Jacinto Peak and was
constructed in rugged Chino Canyon.
Flying 'low and slow' is the only way to find it, as it is hidden in
a gorge. Once you have located it, you are able to follow the cars
up and down the mountain. Below are some shots, both real world and
from Jarrad's hand.
Aerial Tramway - Orbx
Aerial Tramway - Real World
This is extremely hard to spot from any great altitude, but once you
find it, it is kind of worth the effort. We have similar things in
Scotland, but nothing on this sort of scale. Go find it, it's worth
Another interesting animation which Jarrad has injected in to Palm
Springs, is the Fire Drill at the airport. You need to figure out
what time of day the fire fighters do their stuff. Once you have
figured it out (and no, I am not telling), you will be given a
reassuring display of the fire fighters skills, as depicted below.
(Yes I figured it out). Also, there is a large amount of animated
people scattered in and around the airports included.
Ah, Ha, Ha, Ha, Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive
Another thing which has been done exceptionally well is the night
lighting. The airport terminal lights and taxi lights certainly add
more realism to the overall ambiance and it looks very realistic
when you are flying to/from KPSP at night. Since this is built to
work with Orbx's FTX Global, the well known night lighting from FTX
Global surrounds the area so the photo real won't be very dark. You
can take a look at the images below from some more good examples of
SkyWest Maintenance Hangar
This is a huge area and, as such, I was expecting to have some frame
rate issues when transferring between the 30 centimetre photo real
area to the one metre coverage areas, but no, I noticed no adverse
effects on my frame rates at all. Having said that, I did follow the
advice in the manual. I have a mid range PC and it coped very well,
even with the copious amounts of trees and vegetation in the area.
My advice is, "Read the Manual", and start with the lowest advised
settings then work your sliders up to find the happy medium for your
machine. Blending is almost seamless, which also makes for a
pleasurable flight around the area and transitioning outside the
covered area, if indeed you want to. As Palm Springs is a large
airport, it makes a great place to fly any type of aircraft to and
from. Assuming you are type rated of course!
Palm Springs comes complete with a 21 page pdf manual and its own
specific Control Panel, as per most, if not all Orbx airports. The
manual takes you through the best settings for your machine and
offers support on how to get the best from your machine. I advise
you not to skip reading it if you really do want to make the most of
Value for Money
This is always a contentious issue. For me, £17.44 for an enormous
1,500 square kilometres of unbridled desert flying, is a snip. I
have been flying around Palm Springs and the whole coverage area for
20 to 30 hours and I still haven't seen everything. Imagine what
that would cost in terms of real world flying. A whole lot more than
£17.44 and that's a fact.
|This product is only compatible with the following simulators:
• Microsoft Flight Simulator X,
• Lockheed Martin Prepar3D V1, and
• Lockheed Martin Prepar3D V2.
FTX Global BASE is also a prerequisite to get the maximum out of
Palm Springs, so make sure you have this installed beforehand. If
you don't already have this installed, you will find it
With the exception of requiring FTX: Global installed, there are no
other stated, specific system technical requirements, other than a
system capable of running FSX / P3D. The FTX: NA KPSP Palm Springs
International Airport User Manual provides some excellent advice on
the various scenery slider settings and KPSP Control Panel settings
which will maximise the performance of the software and FSX / P3D
for a range of hardware specifications. Note. Whilst FTX: NA KPSP
can be installed without the FTX Global product, there are
limitations with such installations.
Review Computer Specifications
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted
are as follows:
• Asus P8Z77-V motherboard, Intel i7 3.4GHz 'Sandybridge';
• 16GB, DDR3, Corsair Vengeance, 1600MHz RAM;
• NVidia, Geforce, GTX 570SC, 1280MB, graphics card;
• 500GB, WD Velociraptor - OS;
• 128GB, Corsair Force 3 SSD - FSX;
• 1.5TB flight simulator add-ons;
• Matrox TripleHead2Go - 3 x 23" Acer LCD monitors; and
• Operating System - Windows 7, 64 Bit.
To conclude, all I want to say is that Palm Springs is not just an
airport, Palm Springs is almost a country. In fact, it is larger
than a lot of islands I know. With Jarrad Marshall at the helm of
this project, there really is nothing to question. Jarrad has done a
remarkable job, giving us an area almost the size of the Isle of
Skye in Scotland. Not only have you got Palm Springs International
Airport but you have two other highly detailed airports in Banning
Municipal Airport to the northwest of Palm Springs and Bermuda Dunes
Airport to the southeast. With literally thousands of buildings,
trees, shrubs, vehicles, and other objects to enhance this area, I
believe Jarrad Marshall has done an outstanding job on our behalf.
Verdict and Rating
Massive coverage area to fly around.
Magnificently detailed Palm Springs International Airport.
Two extra highly detailed airports.
Unbelievable amount of trees and custom vegetation.
Animations - people, escalators, the Aerial Tramway, and more.
Numerous 3D landmarks.
Beautiful night lighting.
● Scenery Coverage:
Level of Detail:
Quality of Objects:
Value for Money:
Orbx FTX: NA KPSP Palm Springs
International Airport is awarded a Mutley’s Hangar score of 10/10, with an "Exceptional"
and the Mutley's Hangar Award for Excellence.