My Top 10 Payware Airports for Prepar3D v4

I recently compiled a My Top 10 Payware Aircraft for Prepar3D v4 listing where I ranked my favorite ten (plus an honorable mention) payware aircraft and why.  This list will be similar in style, but will obviously focus on payware, add-on airports.  I would encourage you to read my latest article titled “Why Consider Payware Airports” as it answers some of the questions as to why we spend the extra $$$ to add extra scenery to our flight sim.

For the record, I have a fairly large amount of payware add-on airport scenery.  Sometime last year I compiled a Google map so I could (at a glance) see what I owned and where I might want to fly so I can enjoy this add-on scenery.  At the time of this writing, I own a total of 63 add-on, payware airports and over the course of this article, I’ll give you the rundown of my favorite ten or so.  Let’s get started!

#10 – UK2000 London Heathrow (EGLL)

Actually, Heathrow is one of my favorite places in the world.  I absolutely love to plane spot here.  Both my wife and I enjoy our time we spend in the English Countryside and arriving at Heathrow is truly an awesome experience.  Generally on our way back home we’ll arrive a bit early so I can stand in awe and watch Boeing 747’s, 777’s and Airbus A380’s land and take-off to/from destinations all over the world.  I’m always amazed at just how efficient this airport operates with the volume of traffic and only two runways. 

#9 – FSIMStudios Cancun International Airport (MMUN)

Cancun is one of the newer add-on airports to land in my collection.  While I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Cancun in real life, it’s certainly a place I wouldn’t mind going.  The team at FSIMStudios have done a fantastic job with the scenery and I’m looking forward to their future work. 

#8 – Imaginsim Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KAUS)

Austin-Bergstrom is another newly acquired add-ons which I picked up a few weeks ago.  This is a great airport in real life and it’s nicely modeled in the sim.  I really like the work Imaginsim puts into their sceneries and also own Atlanta KATL.

#7 – Captain 7 & 29 Palms Nuremberg Airport (EDDN)

The second largest airport in Bavaria, Nuremberg is beautifully done and is a great airport to pair up with flights from London Heathrow or London City.  For the level of detail this add-on also performs really well with little to no impact on sim performance. 

#6 – Drzewiecki Design Seattle Airports X (KSEA, KPAE, KBFI and KRNT)

If you’re like me and often enjoy taking delivery of your favorite Boeing aircraft direct from the manufacture, then you’re going to want to add Seattle Airports X to your inventory.  Obviously Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) KSEA is the primary commercial airport servicing the greater Seattle area.  A major hub for Alaska and Delta airlines, you’re sure to find lots of flight opportunities into and out of KSEA. 

Paine Field, KPAE is the home of Boeing’s Everett Assembly Plant and home of the largest building in the world and where the largest planes in Boeing’s fleet are born including the 747, 767, 777 and the 787 Dreamliner. 

Boeing Field, KBFI is where Boeing conducts final preparations for deliver of the 737 aircraft. 

Renton Municipal Airport, KRNT is located adjacent to the Boeing Renton Factory that manufactures 737’s.  KRNT is the initial point of departure for airplanes produced in the Boeing Renton Facility. 

#5 – My Dangerous Airport Collection EGLC, LPMA, LXGB, LOWI and TNCM

I’m grouping these five airports together and calling it “My Dangerous Airport Collection”.  Each of these five airports have very unique landing criteria and in the real world some of them require special certification and frequent training. 

London City, EGLC Along with Heathrow, this is another airport my wife and I use every 18 months or so as we connect from London to Antwerp, Belgium.  Much like Heathrow, this is a great airport to plane spot.  London City Airport features a single 4,900 foot runway and only certain aircraft are certified to operate here.  This includes ATR 42, ATR 72, Bombardier Q400, BAe 146/Avro RJ, Embraer ERJ 135/170/190 and the Fokker 50.  The largest jet aircraft that can operate here is the Airbus A318 which British Airways operates from London City to New York, JFK (with a brief fuel stop in Shannon, Ireland).  The return flight operates non-stop from JFK to London City.  Aircrew must be certified to fly the 5.5° steep approach.  If you’ve never flown into London City and never in that steep of an approach, let me assure you that you can feel the difference.  London City, EGLC is developed by UK2000.

Madeira Airport, LPMA this airport is ranked 9th in the world of Most Extreme Airports due to its location and spectacular runway construction.  Much of the 9,124 runway is built on stilts.  The cross wind action at this airport will test your skills like almost none other.  Madeira Airport, LPMA is developed by Aerosoft.

Gibraltar International Airport, LXGB is another one of my favorites.  Gibraltar was ranked 5th in the Most Extreme Airports of the world.  Just like Madeira, you have the possibility of strong crosswinds, terrain all around you and to top it all off, Winston Churchill Avenue intersects the short 5,511 ft runway and consequently has to be closed every time a plane lands and departs.  Gibraltar, LXGB is developed by Aerosoft.

Innsbruck Airport, LOWI  The Innsbruck airport offers something for everyone.  The airport can handle aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767 but you’ll most likely see smaller aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A319/320/321’s operating in and out.  The approach can be both difficult and also breathtaking.  Innsbruck, LOWI is developed by Orbx and they have done a fantastic job with both the airport scenery as well as the surrounding area.  Of course it blends in with the Orbx Global products. 

Princess Juliana International, St. Maarten, TNCM  You’ve probably watched videos of aircraft departing and arriving into this extreme airport.  Folks hang onto the fence just behind runway 10 and try to keep from being tossed backwards from the jet wash.  TNCM features a 7,546 ft runway and until just a few years ago handled Boeing 747’s operated by Air France and KLM on a regular basis.  Perhaps today the largest aircraft flying into TNCM is the Airbus A340.  St. Maarten, TNCM is developed by FlyTampa.

#4 General Aviation Favorites by Orbx 7S3, WA56 and WA79

Another, but the last grouping of favorites.  This one is some of my favorite general aviation favorites by Orbx.  I just love loading up my A2A Cessna 182 or Cherokee and exploring the countryside.  Each of these airports is within the Orbx FTX regional system so the everything just blends in so nicely.  Plus each have a little extra eye candy to enjoy.

Stark’s Twin Oaks, 7S3 is located in Oregon and is a privately owned, public use airpark.  I believe this was the first of these I purchased.  Developed by Bill Womack, it’s a classic. 

Israel’s Farm, WA56 is located in Washington State and you’ll certainly experience the thrill of skimming over the trees, avoid clipping the fence and stopping before you run out of grass. 

Walter Sutton’s Private Strip, WA79 I often fly between Israel’s Farm and Walter Sutton’s place and it’s only a short hop from Stark’s Twin Oaks.  Another grass strip airfield which will certainly test your skill and nerve.  

#3 FlyTampa Las Vegas McCarran International Airport KLAS

When I began identifying the payware airports I owned for this “Top 10” list, Las Vegas wasn’t included.  Keep in mind that it may take me a few days to write an article and I often find a creative burst and I’ll start the framework for many articles at one time and then work on them a bit here and a bit there.  In the meantime, a new version of KLAS was released by FlyTampa and OMG…it’s amazing.  If it weren’t for the reasons I’ll later mention for my #2 and my #1 entries…this airport scenery would be #1.  Without a doubt.  FlyTampa has completely raised the bar and in my opinion snatched KLAS away from FSDreamTeam.  I love FSDT scenery, but what FlyTampa has done with Vega is just simply amazing.  Buy it!  You’ll thank me later.

#2 FSDreamTeam Dallas/Ft.Worth International Airport KDFW

If I had any way to track the number of flights into or out of a particular airport, I would honestly believe KDFW would be at the very top in the ranking order.  In the real world and starting at the age of a young boy, I have very fond memories of going plane spotting at DFW.  I saw the Concorde back in the 70’s when it was being operated by Braniff Airways and I’ve watched the airport grow (and the surrounding area) into what it is today.  As I became older and began my IT career, DFW was a common sight for me on Sunday afternoons and late Friday evenings for many years. 

In the virtual world, FSDreamTeam’s KDFW was one of the first add-on airports I purchased and the first from FSDT.  In my mind, FSDT’s KDFW has stood the test of time and is still pretty accurate.  One of my favorite routes to fly in the sim is between #1 and KDFW. 

#1 FlightBeam Denver International Airport KDEN

For those who know me and/or those who are regular readers of my blog content, it should come as no surprise that I would list Denver International Airport (DIA) as my #1 payware airport.  After all, DIA is my home airport and I fly out of DIA both in the real and virtual world often.  In just a little over two months, my wife and I will board a British Airways 747-400 and travel to London and I frequently fly out of Denver on American and Southwest.  If I’m not careful, I may surpass the number of flights into/out of KDEN in the virtual world as I do enjoy simulating both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines flights.  As I previously stated, my favorite route is between Denver and Dallas/Ft. Worth flying the PMDG 737-800 for American Airlines. 

In Summary

Most likely (and just like “My Top 10 Payware Aircraft for P3Dv4” list), I could re-write this posting a year from now, two years from now…perhaps 5-10 years from now and items #10 – #3 would/could change.  But I wouldn’t anticipate either of these top 10 lists changing the #2 and #1 items. 

While it was easier to compile the aircraft list, it was truly difficult to pull this list together.  When I began the framework for the article, I had noted over thirty different airports and through process of elimination I began whacking that list down to what you see here.  It truly was a struggle as I own so many really top-notch airport sceneries.  

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E13

Episode 13 picks up where we left off with episode 12 and is the final leg of our trip.  As always, thank you so much for reading. 

Flight Details

Welcome to Southwest Airlines flight 1031 with service to Atlanta, Georgia.  We’re in the same B737.  Our block time for this flight is 1 hour, 55 minutes with a flight time of 1 hour, 27 minutes.  Our planned fuel is 14,842 lbs. and our take-off weight is 132,041 lbs.  Our cruise altitude is FL380.

Route:  ARKES4 ARKES SEAZY MATLK Q77 WASUL Q77 SHRKS LAIRI LARZZ JJEDI2

1

Headed Back To Atlanta

This the final leg of a three leg journey will have us back in Atlanta before sunset.  We seem to be running slightly ahead of these storms and that’s a good thing.  We’re hoping to get out of Fort Lauderdale before a ground stop ruins our day.  With all passengers/bags loaded, the aircraft is ready to pushback for another on-time departure. 

2019-7-3_14-53-40-654

Taxing out to 10L.

2019-7-3_14-56-45-250

Blasting out of FLL

2019-7-3_15-0-15-527

Making our left turn to join the departure. 

2019-7-3_15-1-37-505

The view off the starboard side.  The combination of REX SkyForce, REX Environment Force and ActiveSky is doing an amazing job of providing the eye candy for this trip.

2019-7-3_15-5-37-47

ATC vectoring us around the strongest of storm cells.  We’re keeping the seatbelt signs on until we get above these clouds.  The turbulence is bouncing us around as we continue to climb up to 38,000 feet.

2019-7-3_15-5-47-881

Between cloud layers things have calmed down a bit.  Just a few more thousand feet and we should be in the clear. 

2019-7-3_15-8-12-571

Smooth skies at last.  We’ve turned off the seatbelt sign and released the cabin crew to begin cabin service. 

2019-7-3_15-24-13-981

I quite like the new Southwest livery.

2019-7-3_15-54-58-401

Beginning our descent into the Atlanta area. 

2019-7-3_16-7-16-670

Joining the approach for runway 27L

2019-7-3_16-13-50-617

Clear to land, runway 27L

2019-7-3_16-21-16-92

Touchdown imminent.

2019-7-3_16-22-0-422

Parking up at C6 at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. 

2019-7-3_16-25-0-528

Our day is done and what a day it’s truly been.  Once we turn the aircraft over, I have about 90 minutes to grab something to eat and head to gate C14 to take a jump seat flight to Chicago Midway.  Tomorrow I will serve as Sr. First Officer for a flight out of MDW to Detroit and back.  Then I jump seat out to Oakland where I’ll have three days off before another full day of flights on the west coast.  Fun times ahead. 

Before I close out this report, let me just show my APL progress thus far.  As you can tell from the image below, my total XP is 395.66 and climbing.  I have just over 254 XP to go before my promotion to the rank of Captain and the move over to the left seat.  As previously discussed, I’m earning $40.25 per hour at Southwest as a Sr. First Officer and now that I’m getting the hours I need, I’m content to stay at SWA for the near future. 

3

With the last payday, I purchased a headset which along with the mobile phone and flight bag is earning me an additional 25% XP on each completed flight.  While I really don’t think there is any right or wrong way to build your APL career, in my opinion (at this time) earning extra XP is more important than earning additional money bonuses.  So all my salary earnings has been going to building up the XP bonuses. 

4

See you next time.

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-700
Airline: Southwest Airlines (SWA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KFLL FSDreamTeam, KATL Imaginsim
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E12

Episode 12 picks up right where we left off with episode 11.  After a quick turnaround, we’re set to fly the second of three legs today.  Thanks for reading…

Flight Details

Welcome to Southwest Airlines flight 2098 with service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  We’re in the same B737 we arrived in from Atlanta.  Our block time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with a flight time of 1 hour, 43 minutes.  Our block fuel is 15,480 lbs. and our take-off weight is 133,369. 

Route: DCT BLVNS Y290 BAGGS JINGL6

1

Let’s Go

I mentioned last time how quickly the MSY ground crew unloaded bags, they are equally as fast in getting them loaded. 

2019-7-3_13-0-52-787

With bags loaded, the catering crew is quickly dropping off drinks, ice and some of those wonderful Southwest FREE snacks.  Yum

2019-7-3_13-5-14-663

Push back underway.  We’ll be in the air again shortly. 

2019-7-3_13-10-4-71

We’re not wasting any time…..on-time departure? Check!

2019-7-3_13-15-58-293

Making our turn with the Mississippi River off the left wing. 

2019-7-3_13-16-42-29

We look to be running from another approaching storm.

2019-7-3_13-19-6-737

Climbing up to FL370.

2019-7-3_13-19-51-776

Leaving Louisiana direct Gulf of Mexico. 

2019-7-3_13-26-11-286

Watching and monitoring a storm over the Gulf. 

2019-7-3_14-12-7-316

Land ho…That’s Florida down below.

2019-7-3_14-18-8-283

More lightning down below.  Shouldn’t be an issue on the arrival.  However, this storm might be a consideration for our third leg up to Atlanta.  Time will tell….

2019-7-3_14-27-34-247

On final approach

2019-7-3_14-45-14-985

Short final for runway 10L

2019-7-3_14-45-55-998

On the ground in Ft. Lauderdale. 

2019-7-3_14-53-40-654

As was the case in New Orleans, we’re on a tight schedule to deboard our passengers and get the aircraft turned around and headed back to Atlanta.  Tune in next time for the 3rd leg of this journey.

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-700
Airline: Southwest Airlines (SWA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KMSY LatinVFR, KFLL FSDreamTeam
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E11

As a beta tester for A Pilot’s Life, I needed to change airlines to test new features which debuted with version 1.33 which was released in late June.  These new features (including multi-hub and multi-leg routes is a very nice addition to an already wonderful add-on application.  If you’re not a user of A Pilot’s Life, I encourage you to check it out.  You won’t be disappointed.  Links can be found below.

Present Day

I hit the breaking point with Alaska Airlines.  While I truly enjoyed my time both in Seattle and San Francisco, I just wasn’t getting enough flight hours.  I’m hoping to eventually make Captain and  of course I still need to earn a living.  After arriving back to SFO from Palm Springs, I was told my next flight wouldn’t be for another week.  So I went home and called the recruiter which had contacted me with an offer from Southwest Airlines. 

At this point I was getting pretty desperate.  While each of my career moves have been working my way up both the career ladder as well as the salary scale.  I just wanted to work and fly.  Southwest Airlines wanted to meet with me and they flew me down to Dallas.  Things just clicked and soon I was offered a position as Sr. First Officer and they even bumped by pay rate up to over $40.00 per hour.  WOW. 

While I still hope to land a job with American Airlines (at some point), I’m willing to wait until I reach Captain if necessary.  Southwest has assured me that if I’m willing to work, they’ll certainly keep me busy.  The other exciting them I’m looking forward to with SWA is their multi-leg route structure.  I’ll be honest, after a while of flying hub/spoke flights, one gets a little bored.  While some SWA flights are hub/spoke, the majority are multi-leg routes and I’m really looking forward to this.  So for now, I’m going to keep my apartment in San Fran and see how things unfold over the coming weeks. 

Flight Details

Today we’re operating the first of three flights out of Hotlanta (Atlanta).  Yes, it is HOT, HOT, HOT today.  Our first leg will have us flying down to the Big Easy (KMSY) then over to Fort Lauderdale (KFLL) then back to Atlanta.  I guess when Southwest said they could keep me busy, they actually meant it. 

For the first leg, we’re operating Southwest Airlines flight 5716 with service to New Orleans, Louisiana in the Boeing 737-700.  Our block time today is 1 hour, 45 minutes with a flight time of 1 hour, 10 minutes at a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet.  Our block fuel is 12,736 lbs with take-off weight of 126,715 lbs.

Route: ATL5 POUNC DCT GRGIA DCT SJI SLIDD2

1

It’s Time to Feel the Love

I’ve gotta say, I enjoyed my time with Sun Country (gosh that feels like ages ago) and I did enjoy most of my time with Alaska.  But I must admit that the folks at Southwest are some of the friendliest I’ve met. 

After a quick walk-around inspection, we’re all buttoned up and ready to roll out of here.  I think the captain knows what might happen with these storm clouds and he’s not wanting to waste anytime. 

2019-7-3_11-44-15-127

The Atlanta airport is HUGE and a very busy place.  Usually….

2019-7-3_11-45-44-895

Taxing out to our active runway 27R. 

2019-7-3_11-48-57-330

Cleared for take-off, 27R

2019-7-3_11-52-15-912

Wheels up, my inaugural flight with Southwest Airlines is underway. 

2019-7-3_11-53-18-953

Making our left turn direct POUNC and climbing up to 10,000.

2019-7-3_11-54-19-681

Cleared up to FL380

2019-7-3_11-57-47-44

After a relatively short cruise, we’ve started our descent.  The Gulf of Mexico is just in the distance. 

2019-7-3_12-34-39-791

The Gulf of Mexico is normally not this blue. 

2019-7-3_12-38-51-113

Nice clouds

2019-7-3_12-44-39-988

The Huey P. Long Bridge which spans the Mississippi River and the New Orleans skyline. 

2019-7-3_12-51-58-75

Lake Pontchartrain just off the right wing.

2019-7-3_12-52-15-894

Clear the visual for runway 29.

2019-7-3_12-54-19-309

Seconds from touchdown

2019-7-3_12-56-30-553

The ground crew and baggage handlers working hard to get us turned around quickly. 

2019-7-3_13-0-58-731

This was a wonderful first leg of what I’m sure will be a fantastic trip.  I’m really excited about the opportunity fly for Southwest and build my career. 

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-700
Airline: Southwest Airlines (SWA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KATL Imaginsim, KMSY LatinVFR
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

GrizzlyBearSims

7 User(s) Online Join Server
  • DC_Dave
  • 𝓓𝓾𝓬𝓴𝔃𝓸𝓻𝓵𝔂 🦆
  • Oberonhelix
  • MonitoRSS
  • PistolpackerWV
  • Jagger
  • MEE6