|PUBLISHER||Turbulent Designs||BUY FROM||Turbulent Designs|
As part of our Community Charter, we provide full disclosure at FSElite.
Turbulent Design’s Big Bear City Airport (L35) was provided free of charge to FSElite for the purpose of reviewing for the community.
If you are like me, you love addon scenery. The kinds of scenery that surprise you, and even more importantly, those that are by small house developers that surprise you. Big Bear City Airport by Turbulent Designs is the perfect example of such preferences. If you live in California and/or are an avid camper, you have probably heard of Big Bear Lake. It’s the perfect place to take the family up into the mountains to a cabin, or set up tent and go fishin’ in the large lake. The surrounding mountains and beautiful valleys really cover up and hide the loud smelly Los Angeles just over an hour east. This place has definitely been worthy of being in our sims for quite some time, and Turbulent Designs have stepped up and done so. And if this is as far as you are willing to read, let me just say it now for the books this is the most beautiful scenery for flight sim I have ever seen.
When your first purchase it from Turbulent, it comes in a 4GB pressed file with the .exe installer. I note for all people in the western hemisphere, that Turbulent servers are based in the UK, so downloading overseas does take a bit. But after installing, you get the scenery as well as a nifty little Turbulent Console application, which you can use to control many aspects of the scenery, including enabling/disabling items such as clutter their foliage system and setting the seasons.
Now the actual airport. As I said before, this is undoubtedly one of, if not, the, most beautiful scenery you can buy for Flight Simulator. You will most likely load in on runway 08 with your tail to the lake, and you will be looking down the runway at a beautiful dynamic airport with static helicopters, jets, props populating the tarmac. On one side of the airport you have all of your hangars and service areas, and on the other you have the lodge-like building where you can meet your family and friends. Even across the street, you have the line of businesses like Big Bear Floor and tile, and ‘BodyTek’. Interesting. Anyways, along the taxiways are beautiful tall patches of green grass, and large trees lining the airport. Which reminds me. This place is 6,750 feet up, density altitude is a thing. If you can’t climb, the trees at the end on runway 08, and the overhanging mountains all around will prove to be an issue.
But as I said. The colors used for the grass, the little patches along the runway, the lodges and static aircraft really work together to make this one hell of an airport.
Now if we take off runway 08 and immediately turn northeast we will fly right over the salt lake. It’s a really cool dried up lake bed that is super fun to fly low over and the dodge the numerous cabins along the side. West of the airport is the actual Big Bear Lake. It’s a vast body of water with extreme detail along the shore, and where people have set up camp. It kind of tapers in on the east side to make a very interesting final turn onto runway 08 that’ll take you over a bridge and close to the houses. The visual approach to 26 is just as interesting, you’ll pass over the salt lake and come in very close proximity to the forest right under you on the final stretch. There is a little drop off right before the runway beginning that you need to be careful not to clip your tail on.
To the north/south are more gorgeous mountains covered in rich green vegetation and patches of snow. Turbulent Design’s Big Big City 1400km² of VFR heaven. And despite all of this detail, I was achieving a solid 35FPS throughout. VAS wasn’t going to be an issue for a primarily VFR airport, but Turbulent Designs have done a great job minimising the impact.
Night time is quite different than we are usually used to. You need to remember, this is a small un-towered field up in the mountains, you aren’t going to get the large stadium lights that you would get at larger airports. The runway has MIREL and maybe a few lights in the terminal building, and that’s about it.
Remember at the beginning I mentioned the console with the seasons editor? Well I took a little look at the different seasons and there isn’t a drastic change in the scenery. There’s Fall, Spring/Summer, and Winter, and only a few things change, like the amount of snow on the mountains, and the color of some of the trees. And in no means is this a bad thing. There are only two seasons in California, cold and dry, and the fact that the scenery doesn’t change 100% is a good thing because that’s how it is in real life. From summer to winter, there’s only a little snow fall up there, and it stays green year around.