FTX: NA KSTS Sonoma County Regional Airport
For FSX / Prepar3D Published by Orbx
Reviewed by Brian Buckley
Sonoma County Regional Airport is the fifth scenery from Misha Cajic
for Orbx and one that promises to be his best work to date. It sits
in the wonderful wine region of the Sonoma Valley, California and
the airport's full title is Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County
Airport, having been named after the renowned cartoonist who devised
the Peanuts comic strip and who lived in Santa Rosa for some 30
years. The airport's logo features Snoopy in all his glory atop his Sopwith 'Camel' and sporting his World War I flying ace attire.
The airport came into existence in the 1930s, although not at its
present location. The original airport was some six miles southeast
in downtown Santa Rosa. The present airport opened in 1942 and was
known as Santa Rosa Army Air Field. Since then, the airport has had
a variety of uses, from the early days as a US Army Air Force base,
through to the present owners, Sonoma County who, in March 2000,
voted to change the airport's name to its present title.
The airport lies approximately 40nm north of the San Francisco Bay
area and is well placed for flights between other Orbx airports in
FTX: NA KSTS Sonoma County Regional Airport
is modelled airport to an extremely high
level of detail, covering what appears to be every building and object
within the airport boundary. The main terminal also includes some very
interesting internal modelling, giving a whole new dimension to the
flight simulation world. Using Orbx's BOB
as my walkabout buddy, I
made my way through almost all of the buildings and looking inside the
main terminal is quite surreal. The inclusion of a Peanuts comic strip
character in the banner was amusing to find and being able to peer in
and out of the windows of the terminal adds a whole new dimension to
flight simulation reality - it is almost as if you are actually at the
airport, although there are no queues to blight your day.
Availability and Installation
FTX: NA KSTS Sonoma County Regional Airport is available from The
FlightSim Store as a 'download only' product (a master back-up DVD
service is also available for a minor additional cost). It is priced
at AU$32.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The download
file size is 1.4GB and a key code is issued via email and required
The installation process is easy and intuitive and the scenery
installs seamlessly as part the FTX Central 2 application. 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).
• over 250sq km of 30/60cm
photo real terrain to explore;
• pristine 7cm ground textures
• optimized for the Q400 and
• fully custom modelled airport
• advanced ambient occlusion
and night rendering techniques;
• full Santa Rosa cityscape and
• internal modelling of
terminal and restaurant,
• advanced animations,
including vehicles and guard gates; and
• custom vegetation at the
Please note that the airport
depicted in this add-on is prior to the October 2014 runway extension.
With the scale of this project, not only does it come with a
fantastically equipped airport, but, also with what I can only
describe as days upon days of low level flight exploration. I can only
liken the size of it to having another map for my Grand Theft Auto
experience. The developer has modelled most of the city of Santa Rosa,
including some impressive landmark buildings, some of which are below.
Level of Detail
Santa Rosa High School
DeTurk Round Barn
To be quite frank here, I believe the level of detail which Misha
has applied to the whole area covered in Sonoma County has surpassed
any of his work to date. His attention to detail is incredible. Sonoma
County Airport is only the centre piece of what is a huge area of
extremely well detailed content. From the 'Lucy's Help Desk' in the
terminal building, to the custom modelled buildings, everything is of
a very high standard indeed. Although the assistant looks nothing like
Help Desk KSTS
With the airport terminal and apron area being rendered at 7cm and
the greater airport bounds rendered at 30cm, this gives us some of the
highest quality rendering possible, resulting in crystal clarity. The
Santa Rosa town centre is also rendered at 30cm leaving the greater
coverage area rendered at 60cm, including Mount St Helena, which even
at 60cm, gives us some of the clearest resolution for a mountainous
Summit Mount St Helena
Mount St Helena Close-Up
Mount St Helena Fly Past
I think you will agree by looking at my screenshots above, the
detail of Mount St Helena, at a resolution of 60cm, is extremely good
and very nicely rendered.
Quality of Buildings and Objets d'Art
With over 100,000 yes, you read it right, over 100,000 models
and objects placed around the area covered in KSTS, it is suffice to
say that I won't be covering them all in this review. However, there
are a few that deserve a special mention. One such deserving a mention
is the wine glasses in the terminal building which are easily
bypassed, especially if you are not the kind of person like me, who
goes on a walkabout when looking at airport/scenery add-ons for the
Now, why would you, I hear you say. Well, I feel that if the
developers go to such great lengths to model objects and buildings on
our behalf, it only seems fitting that we take some time out to go and
find them - even if it is only once.
The developer has done an outstanding job in modelling some of the major
buildings in this add-on and he has paid particular attention to the
downtown area of Santa Rosa. The main shopping malls, the old and
quirky buildings, his attention to detail leaves nothing to the
imagination. Even modelling the see through glass bus stops complete
with pregnant lady. (well, I hope she is pregnant).
Al Fresco Dining
There are also several animations within this add-on, some of
which I am excluding from this review, purely to leave some surprises
for you. Misha has also modelled some very complex bridge formations,
which must have given him some headaches at the time, as I have tried
doing this on several occasions with varying degrees of success and /
The animations range from the rotating Codding Town sign, which is a
tricky one to find, but there is a significant clue in my screenshot
to help you find it, to the Gulfstream jet, also animated and the tow
truck pulls it in and out of the hangar periodically. All the
animations give the airport a more realistic feel to it. It is with
some precision that the developer has managed to achieve the animation
of several cars around the airport, turning at exactly the right spot
and some even parking at the correct places too.
Night lighting is also another hugely improved aspect of the
in KSTS. The superbly rendered lighting gives a whole new life to the
airport at night. Runway lighting, taxi lights, building and street
lighting are all expertly covered.
Night Lighting - 1
Night Lighting - 2
I waited for what seemed like an eternity to see if this guy on the
left above was going to walk through the gate, but alas, it appears
the gate is not animated. Below it is evident that the deveoper has also
worked his magic with the roads and bridges which surround Santa Rosa.
I mentioned earlier that there are in excess of 100,000 objects and
buildings hand placed in this scenery and, coming back to the airport,
you will find the Air Museum. Although in the real world there are
more aircraft in the museum, the developer has done an admirable job at
recreating the museum. There are some beautifully rendered aircraft in
and around the museum and also spread across the whole of the airport.
Pacific Coast Air Museum
Real World Air Museum
The fire station and the rusting hangar are typical examples of the
level of detail which the developer has added into this project.
The hangar, particularly, looks like it is about to collapse from
Included in the download is a 21 page PDF file which is a fully
comprehensive user manual. It is easy to follow and it takes the user
through the usual set up options and has you flying as soon as
possible. It also contains all the airport diagrams and charts you
need to be able to utilise any of the available runways at Sonoma
County Airport. Two of the charts are below to give you a flavour of
the information covered.
Having locked my frame rates in FSX to 31fps, (which is half my
monitors refresh rate plus 1, as described in Steve's DX10 Fixer) and
with my system specifications, I was able to consistently achieve
31fps, even over the immediate airport environs, with 7cm resolution.
All this and with my sliders set as directed in the user manual.
Obviously, this may not be the case for everyone as it is dependent
solely on your individual system specifications. On my system, I never
experienced any adverse effects whatsoever and flying was smooth and
free of any flickering, stuttering or OOM errors.
Value for Money
In my opinion, FTX: NA KSTS Sonoma County Regional Airport is
extremely good value for money. With over 250sq km to explore and a
fantastic airport in the mix, what is there not to like? For the
price, you are getting the very best work to date from one of Orbx's
You will need
FTX: NA Gold USA Northern California
to installing KSTS. The FTX: NA KSTS Sonoma County Regional Airport
User Manual provides some excellent advice on the various scenery
slider settings and KSTS Control Panel settings which will maximise
the performance of the software and FSX / P3D for a range of hardware
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';
ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 970 OC, 4GB graphics card;
• 16GB, DDR3, Corsair Vengeance, 1600MHz;
• 500GB, WD Velociraptor -
• 128GB, Corsair Force 3 SSD -
• 1.5TB flight simulator add-ons;
System - Windows 7, 64 Bit; and
•additional major add-ons
include: Orbx FTX Trees HD; and Steve's DX10 Scenery Fixer..
Misha has balanced his other life commitments and accomplished a
mega detailed airport, and more. It is testament to his commitment to
scenery development and design. KSTS Sonoma County Regional Airport is
more than an airport, it is quite simply, a stunning work of art and
I, for one, am going to enjoy using it. I am now looking forward to
future projects and I will be watching the release
updates with anticipation.
Verdict and Rating
Another great airport from Orbx, FTX: NA KSTS Sonoma County Regional Airport is the latest and best work to date by Misha Cajic and it needs to be seen to be believed.
Exceptional coverage area.
High quality and extremely detailed models and objects.
Exceptional modelling of the airport terminal and restaurant.
Highly detailed Santa Rosa cityscape and landmarks.
Nothing major noted.
● Scenery Coverage:
Level of Detail:
Quality of Objects:
Value for Money:
Orbx FTX: NA KSTS Sonoma County Regional Airport is awarded a Mutley’s Hangar score of 10/10, with an "Exceptional"
and the Mutley's Hangar Award for Excellence.