Taxi2Gate KSEA is an add-on airport of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) and Lockheed Martin Prepar3D (P3D). Taxi2Gate offers payware airport sceneries for the flight simulation community and appears to be based in Monterrey, Mexico.
The real KSEA airport added a third runway in 2008. Since this was after the simulated airport was originally created by Microsoft, it was missing. Other changes were made to the airport after this and are also missing from the default KSEA. I wanted to get this fixed.
I tried the free KSEA AFCAD from Fly Away Simulation, but had constant problems with taxiways disappearing. I could use the KSEA included with payware Orbx FTX Pacific Northwest (PNW) Region, but that incurs a heavy resources penalty if not actually using the entire region. Then I found this Taxi2Gate KSEA airport. All three options include the third runway, but this one seemed to work and look the best.
Per Taxi2Gate, their KSEA airport includes:
• Custom ground textures
• Custom photo scenery
• Custom mesh
• Hand placed autogen
• Carefully detailed 3d objects
• Full detail buildings
• Realistic ground markings
• Numerous static objects
• Realistic ground textures
• Night illumination
• Volumetric grass
• Moving jetways
• And much more…
ORDERING / PRICE (in Euros)
Taxi2Gate KSEA was purchased and downloaded from simMarket. It is approximately 690MB in size.
€24 – Taxi2Gate KSEA Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
SHIPPING / PACKAGING
Taxi2Gate KSEA is only available as a digital download so no shipping/packaging is required.
DRIVERS / MANUALS
There is a 8-page full color PDF document included in the directory that the installer creates. It gives history of the KSEA airport, installation instructions, recommended graphic settings, and contact information.
ASSEMBLY / INSTALLATION
No assembly required.
The version of Taxi2Gate KSEA I purchased was designed for FSX and P3D v2 only. Since I run P3D v3, I had to make it think I had P3D v2 installed. I wrote up a Tricking Addons article for how I accomplished this. Then, it installed normally.
INTEGRATION / OPERATION
Since I tricked this into installing a P3Dv2 application (see section above), it installs it into the /AddOn Scenery folder within the P3D root directory. P3Dv3 doesn’t use this folder by default, so I needed to manually add the KSEA and KSEA-TERRAIN subfolders to the Scenery Library. This is likely not required for FSX/P3Dv2 installations.
TIP: Taxi2Gate has a separate installer that you can download from their website to use their KSEA with the Orbx FTX PNW region.
Below is the default KSEA airport. It uses simple buildings, taxiways, and textures, and is missing the third runway. The default runway, taxiway, ground, and cloud textures seen in all of these images are upgraded using REX4 | Texture Direct, unless otherwise noted.
Above is the Taxi2Gate KSEA. There is the third runway! Notice the new custom buildings, textures, runways, taxiways, and ground imagery. These even supercede my default REX4 textures. By the way, the blocky corners of the taxiways is not a mistake, that is how the real airport is!
Included with KSEA is a terrain scenery for the immediate area around the airport. It updates roads, traffic, and the elevations. You can see some of those changes in the above photos as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the airport buildings. Below is the default KSEA airport. It uses stock textures, basic shapes, and no alpha transparency. It has incorrect gates and jetways.
Above is the Taxi2Gate KSEA. Notice the new custom building shapes, locations, textures, and corrected gates. The main terminal has transparent glass and you can see inside. Even the entire apron/ramp is concrete as per the real thing.
However, all is not well. After a few initial flights, I quickly discovered some issues…
EXTRA SEATTLE BUILDINGS
With Taxi2Gate KSEA, there were duplicate downtown Seattle buildings. Notice the extra Space Needle (and it’s in the wrong place) and other duplicate buildings like the pair of round Westin towers.
I found that if you rename the Seattle-C.bgl file extension in the …/Addon Scenery\KSEA-T2G\KSEA\Scenery folder to something else, these extra downtown buildings disappear. Here, we are back to the correct default buildings:
Taxi2Gate KSEA does include exlusions for their custom buildings in the downtown area in their KSEA_AF.bgl file. However, I removed them using ScruffyDuck’s Airport Design Editor (ADE) and the compilers from the P3Dv3 SDK. I will likely write up an entire article on the ADE application in the future, it is quite handy.
Here is the default FSX airport for KSEA with my plane sitting on 16L. No third runway, and the scenery around it is messy.
Here is the Taxi2Gate retail (downloaded from SimMarket) version. It is basically photorealistic and includes the autogen scenery and terrain around the airport as well. However, if we look closely, the ends of the runways have these weird grey apron triangles jutting out past the blastpads.
Taxi2Gate has an update on their website for KSEA’s runway lights in P3D, and the included KSEA_AF.bgl fixes this issue:
MISSING RUNWAY START POINTS
Taxi2Gate KSEA does not allow you to select the center runway 16C/34C as a starting point. I wanted this, so using the patched KSEA_AF.bgl file from above, I went back into ADE.
I added the missing Runway Starts so now all six runways can be selected. I also updated the runway traffic patterns and changed which runways support takeoff and landing. This was so the default ATC will use them like I want (close to real). In my version, the two longest are for takeoffs, the two shortest for landings.
AREA NIGHT LIGHTING
Due to an exclusion somewhere in the Taxi2Gate KSEA package, autogen lighting does not populate around the airport even though the ground has lit areas. Here, if you look past the edge of the airport to the right, you can see the darker area.
And here is the default KSEA with autogen night lighting right up to the edge.
This is not a huge deal, but it does look odd coming in for landing. It was not worth my time to find the exclusion and fix it. They should have included it in their terrain package.
Taxi2Gate provides support via their online Support Forums over at iFlysimX. They appear fairly inactive, but I have yet to require them.
Taxi2Gate KSEA airport is not perfect, but it is a major improvement from the stock airport. The buildings look fantastic and the textures are amazing. The third runway exists and that was my main goal. It does have some issues I covered earlier, but most could be somewhat corrected with some knowledge and work. For these reasons, I give Taxi2Gate KSEA a score of 7 out of 10.
Taxi2Gate imagery by Taxi2Gate.org. my737NG.com is not affiliated with, maintained, authorized, endorsed, or sponsored by Taxi2Gate.