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KDEN, Taxiway G, and X-Plane 11

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Okay, short story time - but first a little context. I've flown MS-based flight sims since I started, and if you disregard combat sims and a brief interlude with the first version of Fly! (which I loved), I've been exclusively invested in that family. From subLOGIC's FSII on my C64, to subLOGIC's ATP and Flight Lite, and then MSFS4, 5, 5.1, 95, 98, 2000, 2004, FSX, and FSX:SE, I've owned them all. I always viewed X-Plane as a "second-class citizen". Bought XP10 on a lark on Steam and put a few minutes into it and never went any farther. I was all in for DTG's FSW, seeing that as really the logical successor for FSX (please, no comments - I know). When that fell apart, I was left with FSX:SE or moving on to Prepar3d. The $200 price tag of Prepar3d was just too much, so I was left with FSX:SE. And yeah, it's still good, especially tricked out with all the add-ons, but its age is definitely showing. And that brings me to the story.

My first job out of college was a flight simulation pilot's dream: I got a job with the construction team at what was then the "new" Denver Airport (KDEN still meant Stapleton - we were DIA!!!) Get this: I got paid to spend the entire day driving down every runway and every taxiway so I could update a map with the paving progress of the various contractors, and then in the afternoon update a map in the management office so they'd know the overall progress each day. By the time I started, 7/25 was the runway with the most paving activity left, and one of the most notable differences about 7/25 from the rest of the airport is that the runway complex is lower than the rest of the field, so driving down taxiway G to the 25 approach end was a downhill drive in my little Subaru Justy. The grade obviously isn't a problem for airliners but in my car it was quite evident.

But in FSX and all the other sims, of course, the airport is exactly the same elevation everywhere, and that little bit of immersion was lost. It was a little sad because of all my DIA memories, driving down that taxiway somehow sticks out the most (there was also a rather gnarly road intersection there for construction traffic that of course no longer exists but I digress)...

So today, during the Steam summer sale, I picked up X Plane 11, and for fun flew the C172 from 3V5 (which isn't open anymore) to KDEN and landed on Rwy 7. I know XP has boasted "sloped" runways for a long time, but now, looking up taxiway G towards the terminal area, I can actually see a hint of what it's really like. It's probably not as drastic in the sim as it is in the real world, and it certainly isn't a showstopper in any of the other sims, but for the first time in a LONG time, I can see it. Maybe its an illusion, but the rest of the terrain (including the runway) seems to have the right "feel". Certainly I haven't seen this in FSX!

I've got a lot to learn about XP11 and I'm sure there are going to more "little things" like this, but I have to say Thank You to the developers - for a moment at least, you helped recapture that time I spent at DIA in a way no other sim has! I can tell I've underestimated XP11 - I'm glad I'm in the fold now. Well done!


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Mark Lam

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Xplane does have runways follow terrain, but sometimes if the terrain dat is bad it can be a shocker, so there is a flatten airport option which flattens the whole airport. Hoping one day we will be able to flatten parts as necessary and keep the sloping runways. There is always hope.

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Go take a flight to Telluride (KTEX) and see what that looks like.  As you may already know, it's a great flight, and the runway shows more slope than KDEN. 

Edited by NismoRR

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