Drzewiecki Design have built up an immense reputation over the years as one of the underdog addon developers in the flight simulation world. They provide mass scale models of cities and surrounding landmarks (with well modeled payware airports to match) and keep it all tied in a pretty little bow with excellent VAS usage. Their ability to optimize and fine-tune scenery for the best performance has earned them a very well deserved spot at the table of big-name developers, and they still manage to impress.
The most recent product to come out of their hangar was Washington X, a highly detailed and optimized rendition of Washington DC, DCA airport, and the metropolitan area all around. While DC has immensely tight security in their airspace, this flightsim rendition lets you buzz the White House, hover around the GW monument, and fly the incredibly rewarding River Visual 19 approach into DCA. So, have DD captured the magic of DC flying? Let’s find out.
The installation of this product was simple and quick. Download the installer, run it, and you’re off to the races. The scenery installs SODE, and to quote from the 4 page manual provided with the scenery…
Detailed scenery of KDCA Washington National Airport, with terminal interiors, detailed ground markings, wet asphalt at rain, SODE animated jetways, static aircraft etc.
Lite sceneries of KADW Joint Base Andrews, KCGS College Park Airport, KVKX Potomac Airfield and W32 Washington Executive Airport with custom-made all airport buildings and realistic ground poly layer.
Overall, the installation was quick, simple, and got the job done. Exactly the way it should be.
From the product manual…
Washington, D.C. was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1791, President Washington commissioned Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant, a French-born architect and city planner, to design the new capital. He enlisted Scottish surveyor Alexander Ralston helped layout the city plan. The L’Enfant Plan featured broad streets and avenues radiating out from rectangles, providing room for open space and landscaping. He based his design on plans of cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Karlsruhe, and Milan that Thomas Jefferson had sent to him. L’Enfant’s design also envisioned a garden-lined “grand avenue” approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) in length and 400 feet (120 m) wide in the area that is now the National Mall. President Washington dismissed L’Enfant in March 1792 due to conflicts with the three commissioners appointed to supervise the capital’s construction however L’Enfant is still credited with the overall design of the city.
The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. In the 1830s, the District’s southern territory of Alexandria went into economic decline partly due to neglect by Congress. The city of Alexandria was a major market in the American slave trade, and pro-slavery residents feared that abolitionists in Congress would end slavery in the District, further depressing the economy. Alexandria’s citizens petitioned Virginia to take back the land it had donated to form the District, through a process known as retrocession. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia. Congress passed the Organic Act of 1801, which officially organized the District and placed the entire territory under the exclusive control of the federal government. Further, the unincorporated area within the District was organized into two counties: the County of Washington to the east of the Potomac and the County of Alexandria to the west. After the passage of this Act, citizens living in the District were no longer considered residents of Maryland or Virginia, which therefore ended their representation in Congress.
On August 24–25, 1814, in a raid known as the Burning of Washington, British forces invaded the capital during the War of 1812. The Capitol, Treasury, and White House were burned and gutted during the attack. Most government buildings were repaired quickly; however, the Capitol was largely under construction at the time and was not completed in its current form until 1868. The outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 led to expansion of the federal government and notable growth in the District’s population, including a large influx of freed slaves. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act in 1862, which ended slavery in the District of Columbia and freed about 3,100 enslaved persons, nine months prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1868, Congress granted the District’s African American male residents the right to vote in municipal elections.
Congress passed the Organic Act of 1871, which repealed the individual charters of the cities of Washington and Georgetown, and created a new territorial government for the whole District of Columbia. The city’s first motorized streetcars began service in 1888 and generated growth in areas of the District beyond the City of Washington’s original boundaries. Washington’s urban plan was expanded throughout the District in the following decades. Increased federal spending as a result of the New Deal in the 1930s led to the construction of new government buildings, memorials, and museums in Washington. World War II further increased government activity, adding to the number of federal employees in the capital; by 1950, the District’s population reached its peak of 802,178 residents.
Washington had an estimated population of 681,170 as of July 2016. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is a part, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country. The District has 7,464 acres (30.21 km2) of parkland, about 19% of the city’s total area and the second-highest percentage among high-density U.S. cities. By law, Washington’s skyline is low and sprawling. The federal Heights of Buildings Act of 1910 allows buildings that are no taller than the width of the adjacent street, plus 20 feet (6.1 m). Despite popular belief, no law has ever limited buildings to the height of the United States Capitol or the 555-foot (169 m) Washington Monument, which remains the District’s tallest structure. The architecture of Washington varies greatly. Six of the top 10 buildings in the American Institute of Architects’ 2007 ranking of “America’s Favorite Architecture” are in the District of Columbia.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (IATA: DCA, ICAO: KDCA, FAA LID: DCA) is an international airport 3 miles (5 km) south of downtown Washington, D.C. in Arlington County, Virginia, United States. The airport opened June 16, 1941, just before US involvement into World War II. It is the nearest commercial airport to the capital and serves the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. For decades it was called Washington National Airport before being renamed to honor President Ronald Reagan in 1998. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) operates the airport with close oversight by the federal government due to its proximity to the national capital.
Reagan National is a hub for American Airlines, which is Reagan National’s largest carrier. American Airlines also has near-hourly air shuttle flights to New York LaGuardia Airport and Logan International Airport in Boston. Delta Air Lines also operates near-hourly air shuttle flights to New York LaGuardia Airport, which are all operated by Delta Shuttle.
Other than the current 40 slot exemptions, flights into and out of the airport are not allowed to exceed 1,250 statute miles (2,000 km) in any direction nonstop, in an effort to send air traffic to the larger but more distant Washington Dulles International Airport. In the 12 months ending March 2015, the airport served 21,195,775 passengers.
Reagan National has United States immigration and customs facilities only for business jet traffic; the only scheduled international flights allowed to land at the airport are those from airports with U.S. Customs and Border Protection preclearance facilities. Other international passenger flights must use Washington Dulles International Airport or Baltimore–Washington International Airport.
In 2013, Reagan National Airport handled 20,415,085 passengers, which was a new record. From April 2014 to March 2015, the airport handled 21,195,775 passengers, which is slightly higher than the aforementioned record. American Airlines, following its merger with US Airways, has the largest share of traffic at the airport, accounting for 50.4% of the market share as of June 2015.
The visuals of this scenery are simply stunning. DD have used multiple tactics to make this scenery look as real as possible, with a combination of hi-poly 3d buildings and realistic ground textures. The result is that you can travel anywhere in the area of what is mainly considered “DC” and feel like you’re really flying.., the effect is immense. For the first time in a while I feel like I can’t simply type up how this scenery looks, so I’m going to put more screenshots than average in here.
Everything from the models in the airports to the car accident with smoke and fire effects is done beautifully, effectively, and with care taken about eating up FPS and VAS.
And that is all ignoring the custom 3D night lighting or massive amount of autogen trees and buildings that seem to make absolutely 0 impact on FPS. You know a scenery is good when you can’t figure out which one of two amazing features stands out more, something I’ve personally never experienced when writing a review.
I mentioned earlier in my review that DD had a reputation for optimizing their scenery really well, and I do mean really well. In my VAS test (PMDG 737 down the River 19 w/ Flightbeam KIAD also loaded in) I could not get the sim to OOM, or even break the 80% VAS usage barrier. Short of simply loading in a 300MB file because I wanted to, I could not get this sim to OOM. FPS also pulls way ahead of what you’d expect, meaning that you won’t be flying your river visual in slideshow quality.
This scenery punches hard in terms of visuals, performance, and even stability. What the included airports may lack in immense detail is regained by the space covered in incredible quality by this product. If you ever consider flying into DC, I fully recommend buying this product. Even though I personally have a review copy, I might be considering buying the product anyways, out of sheer appreciation for the devs and their hard work.