• Review: Orbx Skagit Regional Airport

    Review: Orbx Skagit Regional Airport

    By Shawn Weigelt

    Orbx - Skagit Regional Airport     Orbx - Skagit Regional Airport

    I'm willing to bet that many of us have had a lot more time with X-Plane 11 lately than we ever would have anticipated just a couple months ago. "Social distancing" and "self-quarantine" during the COVID-19 pandemic the world is currently combating has become a way of life for many of us, and getting a little more time in front of our favorite flight simulator can be a great distraction from all the awfulness that is happening.

    On a personal level, all this extra time spent at home has led me to do a little more "shopping" for X-Plane 11 related products than I normally would. Typically, I've always been far more interested in airplane add-ons than scenery (this is a flight simulator, after all), but my relatively recent exposure to some really high-end packages from the Orbx development team has drastically changed my attitude in this regard. So, instead of turning to another airplane, I elected to browse the Orbx web site for something new to tickle my fancy. It didn't take long before I settled on KBVS Skagit Regional Airport to help me pass my self-quarantine time and be the subject of my next review. KBVS is by no means a new development from the Orbx team, as it has been available for FSX and P3D users for quite some time. However, everything they do for X-Plane 11 is new, so to speak, so it definitely needed to be reviewed. As the proud owner of Orbx's outstanding 74S Anacortes Airport and 1S2 Darrington Municipal Airport, Skagit Regional Airport was the logical next acquisition for me as it is a perfect halfway point between the two airports.

    Orbx - Skagit Regional Airport     Orbx - Skagit Regional Airport

    Western Washington's scenic Skagit Valley is renowned for being one of the top commercial producers of tulips in the world and is a truly beautiful corner of the state. Skagit Regional Airport is a small general aviation airport that services the nearby communities of Burlington and Mount Vernon. According to 2016 data acquired from airnav.com, KBVS aircraft operations average 169 per day, with 58% of that traffic being transient general aviation. It seems like Skagit Regional is a popular destination or temporary stopover for travelling fliers, and I have enjoyed utilizing it as such in my personal X-Plane use. KBVS has two runways: runway 11/29 and 4/22. 11/29 is fairly long for a General Aviation airport essentially at sea level, with a length of 5,478 feet and a width of 100 feet. This is plenty long enough for any piston powered aircraft and business jets. Runway 4/22 is a lot shorter at 3000 feet and 60 feet wide, which provides light aircraft with a nice crosswind option. The runways have PAPI lights at both ends, but only 11/29 has instrument procedures and no ILS is present.

    Orbx - Skagit Regional Airport     Orbx - Skagit Regional Airport

    Before testing the Orbx KVBS package, I made sure to conduct a flight out of the airport with X-Plane 11's default version. Of course I kept the gorgeous Orbx TrueEarth US Washington HD scenery installed, but even so, the default airport itself looks bland and uninspired. It works, sure, but looks just like any other airport you'll find around X-Plane 11's default world.

    Installing any scenery package for X-Plane 11 has been an absolute breeze on my iMac through the use of the brilliant Orbxdirect installer. One simply downloads the product they've purchased, and the installer plugs it right into X-Plane's scenery folder. Easy peasy.

    Orbx - Skagit Regional Airport     Orbx - Skagit Regional Airport

    Once KBVS was installed, I decided to test the scenery by first flying from Anacortes Airport. I have to admit that Anacortes is my absolute favorite Orbx airport thus far, and as far as custom scenery in Washington State is concerned, it is the benchmark by which all others should be judged in my humble opinion. Hopping into my current preferred piston single, the Just Flight Piper Tomahawk, I plugged KVBS into the GPS and set off, but not before taking in the juicy goodness that is Orbx Anacortes. I love the charming noise abatement signage near the runway, authentic looking ground textures, and the intricate attention to detail found in the precise modeling of the buildings, static aircraft and other surrounding objects. My hope as I lifted off the ground in my spritely little Tomahawk, was that Skagit Regional would at least come close to my current favorite offering from Orbx.

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