Danish airports are some of the most popular in the flight sim community. Thanks to the beautiful terrain, challenging and varied weather as well as a huge variety of routes available. Various developers have created some masterpieces for some of Denmark’s biggest airports, yet some of the more mid-range airports have been left relatively untouched. Billund is one of those airports, and lucky for us, Vidan Designs have stepped up to the plate to create the Lego-founded airport.
Lego? What’s Lego got to do with flight simulation? For those who don’t know the son of the Lego Group established a small private airport next to the factory of Lego in Billund. Eventually, the strip of runway turned into a fully-fledged airport and by 1997 the airport was designed to handle of 3.5 million passengers a year. Since then, Billund is now home to one of the busiest air cargo airports as well as various charter and scheduled flights in Denmark. With a long runway, you’ll be able to bring in your freighter aircraft in easily, as well as your passenger jets. It’s an interesting airport with plenty of variety for your simming experience.
As for the package itself, it’s relatively easy to install. No complicated DRM and no issues with selecting the correct file location. Click. Click. Installed. What is really nice is how detailed the documentation is for the product. There is plenty of information about the airport itself in addition to the ideal simulator settings to get the best from the product. Furthermore, fans of configurators (like myself) will be pleased to see you’ll be able to change some options more suited to your taste (and to your hardware). Everything from seasonal state to airport clutter will ensure that regardless of your preference, you’ll always have a good experience. What I found odd was that by default some of the coolest features are switched off. So if you want moving traffic, you’ll need to head in and switch it on.
Within the configurator you will already see some of what the scenery package by Vidan Designs has to offer. What I was most surprised was to see that the whole city of Billund is included with the package. You’ll see some of the hotel complexes, a waterpark and some detailed housing and streets. Disappointingly there are no signs of any Lego buildings and this is due to Lego not approving it. A massive shame seeing as this is a huge part of the airport’s history. Not a discredit to the scenery itself, just a forewarning for those looking to purchase to see the iconic building. The city texturing and modelling balances between high resolution and performance – so if you fly too close and slow, things will come across blurry, but providing you stick to the SIDS and STARS, you’ll get some great views from the window.
Let us now turn our attention to the airport itself. First impressions are good – clear texturing on the runway with skid marks in the touchdown sections, and a silky smooth frame rate as I panned my camera around. All looking swell. At first, I thought that the airport looked good, but there wasn’t much to it.
Of course, first impressions always count for something and personally, I wasn’t sure where to set my expectations with Vidan Designs. I can honestly say I am pleasantly surprised! As the engines of my 737 scurried past the 3D grass verges I noticed a rather detailed BA aircraft on stand, as well as a few other high resolution static models. When I got closer to the building itself, I started to notice the level of detail the developer has clearly put into the airport. I first began noticing the road signage. Speed restrictions, no entry signs and hazard signs were all present and with the moving traffic, the vehicles were all abiding to these ‘rules’. As I inspected these vehicles some more, I then took note of just how detailed they were. I could even read the number plate clearly and tell you that these cars Volkswagen. I don’t remember the last time seeing that much detail in traffic around the airport perimeter. And this is when I really started to notice just how detailed Billund has been created.
The terminal buildings themselves are littered with little details such as vents, dirt and panelling which gives them ‘life’ instead of just being there to suit a purpose. The jet bridges too also flourish in these details. All of which are SODE controlled meaning you will be able to add to the realism of your turnarounds.
The apron itself is also full of airport clutter, markings and dirt. This detail is well textured and adds even more depth during your walk arounds. I took this opportunity to also change some of the settings in the configurator, as I was curious to see what the included Winter textures looked like. Not only that, but you had the option to add snow-covered textures to the taxi and runways. Sadly, adding the additional snow looked a bit forced on the runways and seemed blurry from the 737 cockpit. Not a major issue, just disappointing compared to the high standard of other areas of the scenery. Not put off by this, I decided to dim the lights in the sky and test the airport at night.
Yet again, I was taken back by how beautiful it really looked. The soft glow from lights suited the airport and the atmosphere and the detail in taxiway lights were clear and defined. Leaving the 737 behind, I took a spin in a lightweight aircraft to see the airport from an aerial view. I ran into some issues with the airport car park whereby the lights were flickering which caused a strange strobe-like effect, however the detail was quite good even close up. Night lighting looks fantastic and the attention to detail means that regardless of time of day, you’ll always get a great experience.