Review: Imagine Sim – KSJC San Jose Intl, USA for FSX

Imagine Sim are renowned for their quality add-on airports and KSJC is no exception.  It is extremely well detailed, accurately modelled and fits in exceedingly well with the default FSX scenery.  The night visuals are stunning, and the whole package is a vast improvement on what is offered in FSX.  I experienced some mild impact on frame rates but even so my simming experience was still extremely smooth.  I could never go back to the default airport having flown in this one.


Background:  (Courtesy Wikipedia and

San Jose is the third-largest city in California and the tenth-largest in the USA; it is located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area, (aka Silicon Valley). The population is approximately 1 million, with the greater metropolitan area containing approximately 7million residents.

The airport was started in 1939, on 500 acres of a former ranch being progressively upgraded in the intervening years.  Terminal C was built circa 1965, and in the 1990’s, San Jose International Airport expanded resulting in the opening of Terminal A.  In 2009 Terminal A, the North concourse were renovated and almost completed by the end of 2009.  A new terminal B is due for completion in mid 2010.  The airport has three paved and lit runways: 12L/30R and 12R/30 and 11/29.  Each year it handles over 200,000 aircraft operations and up to 11 million passengers.   All of the airport features have been modelled by Imagine Sim in great detail including the car parks (complete with parked cars) and security cameras.


Very easy a relatively small exe files which expands (after inserting a serial number) into an Imagine Simulation folder in FSX.

The Manual

The manual is small and concise having 13 + 1 (frontispiece) pages.  It covers system requirements, support details, PC optimisation, product features, airport information, parking and docking and frequently asked questions.  It does not mention any support for Windows 7 but I can confirm that I had no issues running this software in Win 7 HP 64-bit.  There is no mention of FSX SP1/Sp2/Acceleration, so one presumes that the software will run on all 3 versions.  I recommend reading the manual, (which will not take very long) as it is a mine of information.

The Visual Experience

Imagine Sim have produced a busy commercial airport in great detail that in real life is still being finished with completion due in mid 2010.  It is visually stunning and leaves the stock FSX airport way behind.  The three major terminals are faithfully reproduced and add AI traffic together with animated vehicles and the whole place becomes alive.  I experienced some loss of fps with this add-on but it still remained smooth throughout the test.  To get around and have a look at the airport I used a nifty little device from OrbX — “BOB”.  BOB allows you to wander all around the airport at ground level so that you can look at all of the buildings and AI planes there.  I was even able to drive into the car park which was full of AI cars.

Imagine Sim have done a great job in reproducing all of the different activities that you see at a major airport, such as freight, passenger planes, vehicles, and car parks.  The taxiways and runways are accurate with excellent textures, great lighting and very clear signs guiding you to the departure or parking point. (One minor point according to the official specs Rwy 11/29 is paved with asphalt, but in the ‘IS KSJC; it is shown the same as the other runways, ie concreted.  Google Earth seems to show a different texture on the other 2 runways when compared to Rwy 11/29.  Has it been re-paved recently — I wonder.)  The runway signs are all present and are in the correct locations ie left turn signs are on the left side of the and right turn signs are on the right side of the sign.  The perimeter fences and anti-blast areas are also well represented.

Figure 2 Long-term Parking Area

Figure 3 Taxiway signs illuminated at night

Figure 4  those pesky ground vehicles

Figure 5  More ground vehicles at Terminal B

Figure 6 Runway Detail

Figure 7 Perimeter Fence Detail

Imagine Sim provides a plethora of ground vehicles which are constantly on the move, including loads of police and security vehicles (fig 4 and 5).  Watch out for them as you taxi in or out of the gate as they won’t stop for you.  The security cameras will probably record your every move, especially if you do something wrong!

There are some very nice features in this airport, too numerous to mention in this review but they all add to the experience of flying to and from a busy USA airport.  I spent several hours just wandering about with the OrbX BOB marvelling at the detail even in the places you do not normally go.  I attach some pictures that I hope do justice to this scenery.

Figure 8 Detail where you don’t normally go

Figure 9 Around the back max height 7 Feet

Figure 10 Parking Building and signs

Figure 11 In among the cars – which is mine?

Figure 12 CONAC building parking on Top

In terms of AI scenery, there are two AFCADS provided by Imagine Sim one with AI planes statically parked at some of the jetways, ramps etc and one without so you could use your own AI program.

Aircraft Taxiing and Parking

Imagine Sim recommend the use of Aerosoft AES to help you get from the runway and taxi to the gates and vice versa, ie taxi from the gates to the runway.  This is quite a useful device that has a “truck” that you follow to get to where you want to go, it stops when you stop and indicates which way to turn, etc.  In the Imagine Sim KSJC without AES, you can follow the FSX arrows to the gate.  When you get to the “run in” to the gate a ”traffic light” and green and red steering neon lights guide you into the parking spot so that the plane can be disembarked.  There are NO animated Jetways (Air bridges) at IS KSJC, and this is another reason to use AES which provides these and/or stairs (plus other features) to disembark passengers.

In the cargo area there is a similar system to allow you to park correctly at the cargo ramp, the marshaller appears on a “screen” in front of you and guides you into the correct docking spot.

Figure 13 Traffic Lights at ramp

Figure 14  Marshalling lights at the gate

Figure 15 B737 Parking Lights

Figure 16 Lear Jet Taxiing

Figure 17 Cargo Ramp Parking

Figure 18 Cargo Ramp Marshall

Figure 19 B737 Pushback

Night Textures

Excellent, the buildings, the lights the runways are beautifully lit much, much better than the default.  The pictures I publish can’t do the software justice:

Figure 20 LT Parking at night

Figure 21 Terminal B from the air at night

Figure 22 Terminal B at night close up

Figure 23 Another view at night

Figure 24 Night View

Summing Up

This is a quality airport add-on from Imagine Sim.  They have gone to great lengths to ensure accuracy and have even “finished” off Terminal B before the real life variant is completed in mid 2010.  You cannot see the join between KSJC and the default scenery and although there is a slight impact on frame rates, I did not find them significant.  I can vouch for the accuracy based on Google Earth and Official Photographs of the real airport.  Unfortunately I could not get permission to publish the photos, so you will have to take my word for it! However, I guarantee that once you fly into or out of the ‘IS KSJC’ you will find it hard to go back to the default airport.

WOW Factor: 9 out of 10.

Peter Hayes, Australia, January 2010

General Pictures reflecting the detail:

Figure 25 Terminal Detail from the air

Figure 26 Terminal view

Figure 27 Blends nicely and accurately with the default scenery

Figure 28 Cargo area

Figure 29 Great ground detail

Figure 30 Ground details look at the trees

Figure 31  There’s even a helipad!

Table of the Important Bits:


Imagine Simulation


File Size:

Exe File 28 MB

Installed File Size:


Simulator Requirement:

FSX (no specification for SP1, SP2 (Acceleration))

OS Requirements:

Win XP, Vista and/or Win 7;

Testing System:

Intel E8600, 4GB DDR 800 RAM, Vista 64 SP2, nVidia 9800 GT, 182.50 Driver;
FSX SP1 + SP2; 750GB SATA II Seagate 7200 HDD. 
No Tweaks all standard and no over-clocking.


FSX Default; FS Genesis, UTX USA/Canada; GEXn; X-Graphics plus OrbX “BOB”


Installation is simplicity itself being automatic via a self extracting exe file.  Should be installed with Admin rights — VISTA right click “Run as administrator”.

Manuals / Documentation

One manual 14pp



Support: – by email




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