KBVS Skagir – ORBX – review (5*)

Skagit Regional Airport shows how the past shapes our world. I will talk about history and about this very nice scenery.

TL;DR Summary – 5*

Skagit becomes the hub of my flights around Pacific Northwest. Surprising, is it not? Let me explain why. It fits my various flying habits – I can use it with small bush planes when flying to local grass strips (ORBX included one in the scenery), I can make $100 hamburger flights (closer to $200 – $300). I did lots of long-range flights too (IFR procedures came handy). And it is a well-designed scenery.

Skagit Airport at ORBX Direct Store

A lesson of airport history

The triangle runway arrangement suggests, at first sight, a former military airport. In the past, long before the giant airports spread around the world, civilians rarely built airports of such a scale. You can not compare Burlington and nearby Mount Vernon to the NY or San Francisco. Even now these two cities in Washington state house less than fifty thousand inhabitants.

The airport was a direct effect of President Roosevelt‘s New Deal. Created in response to the Great Depression the Public Works Administration built various public works such as bridges, schools, and airports. PWA built the Hoover Dam. And La Guardia airport. And, among many others – a small airport in Skagit County.

Remains of the old airport are still visible – former runway serves as the western taxiway. I consider it to be a scenic route. Nice, with the dense forest surrounding it, but too long to be worth taking if any other departure is available. 

During the war, the Navy took over. They constructed two additional runways which made the triangle outline. The airport served as a satellite base for Whidbey Island NAS. Later, with jets in service, short runways were inadequate for the service, and the airport was no longer needed. Local government took the airport back in 1958. 

Since then, the shorter secondary runway (4-22) performs a secondary role. This shows in the markings which restrict the use of paved surface to about the half of its width. Scenery shows this. With these restrictions runway 4-22 is 3000 feet long and 60 ft wide.

New users changed apron arrangement, extending north aprons first and later adding space along the 4-22 runway.

Skagit Regional Airport – Pilot Info

It is another ORBX scenery of a non-towered airport, but in contrast to 74S Anacortes that I reviewed recently, Skagit uses IFR approach procedures (RNAV for runways 11 and 29, NDB 11). Departing traffic uses Penn Cove VOR (CVV at 117.2 MHz). 

lack of ATC at the airport restricts IFR operations to one at the time. It also prevents VFR pilots from operating on both runways simultaneously. Listen to the radio while in the vicinity and follow the traffic in front of you to the same runway when flying over the network.

Like in Anacortes you need to pay attention to the C-class airspace of Whidbey Island NAS that starts at 1300 feet just west of the airport. If flying VFR, you need to contact Approach before entering this airspace (European pilots should remember the difference in rules – in Europe entering class C requires clearance, radio contact is not sufficient). The need for entering this airspace will occur if the pilot follows noise abatement procedures and suggestions. It is recommended to overfly built areas at the altitude of 2000 ft or more and the scenery shows these areas clearly.

What to fly and where?

The main runway is 5478 by 100 feet in size which makes it perfect for almost any general aviation plane you can think of. Most business jets will fit too. Two cargo airlines fly their small aircraft (Cessna 208) to Skagit – you can check photos of FedEx Feeder Cessnas on the internet.

I found none news of airliner visits, but with Bellingham, nearby (40 kilometers) it is understandable that the larger planes do not land here.

Routes? Anacortes, Friday Harbor, and Seattle with its surrounding airports were among my favorite destinations. Just consider GA aircraft’s capabilities and check the number of airports in range!

Heritage Flight Museum exhibits and operates warbirds. They also host events and air shows so any air-show plane will be a good fit.

Skagit Regional Airport – ORBX

It is difficult to find this airport from the air. Which I consider an advantage in the simulation. Let me explain why. All the default airports and many sceneries are so pronounced – shiny, covered with bright and saturated textures – that you will notice them from far away. Much unlike in the real world where the grass at the airport is not much different from anywhere else. Therefore I find it pleasing that I can miss this airport when looking around. Not that the airport is invisible – I can find it with when focused on the task. But it is not imposing on me when I look around. This may be the biggest advantage of this scenery.

It is the biggest because other advantages are related. Photoscenery is neither especially big nor too small. Just ok. But it blends with surrounding Pacific Northwest scenery and it complements the nearby Anacortes. I am impressed with the resolution – 60 cm per pixel as far as two miles from the airport is better than I expect. 

Also, they processed colors in a way that I appreciate – it is natural. Both at the airport and around it. 

One slight disappointment comes from the images covering the airport (30 cm photoscenery) and the taxiways. If they were just a bit sharper. The overall experience is good.

I mentioned the scenic taxiway. The taxiway C. I like how it crosses a small forest that covers parts of Skagit Airport. It would be a nice drive if it was not so long (taxiing from the north apron to runway 4 makes a long journey in a Cessna 172). Just like with any other ORBX scenery I reviewed – the forest is dense! I like that.

If I expressed a little doubt when reviewing ground textures at the airport, let me praise the buildings. The textures are superb – you can see bricks on the terminal building. And the models are as good as I wish for. They look great when viewed from the cockpit and stay nice when I do avatar walks in my P3D.

The scenery includes (how could it not?) the clutter – small objects scattered around buildings, The things you would find at the airport. Here – I had doubts regarding those objects. I am more used to smaller airports with them being closer to the plane, but this is me – when I browsed through real-world photos – I am satisfied. Animated people move around too. Just what one would expect in the scenery by ORBX.

Volumetric grass covers the airport. You can use the config tool to adjust the growth (normal, dense, none).

WN51 Bayview Farms

There is a small private strip north from Skagit Airport. Few buildings and a turf runway (7-25) 2000 ft long and 120 feet wide. A great trip in a Skyhawk or a Beaver.

When departing Bayview Farms keep in mind that there are power lines close to the runway – right in your flight path. ORBX added orange balls to mark the wires – in the real world, there is a much smaller warning sign. I am puzzled by a note in the airport guide which says “30 ft Power Line 700 ft from runway“. No way! More like 70 feet. Wires hang on the opposite side of the road next to the runway. This power lines make overloaded takeoffs and balked landings dangerous. Watch out.

Skagit Regional in the world of P3D and FSX

I can not imagine a better place to fly in Prepar3d than Pacific Northwest. And the area north of Seattle is by far the best in this region. If I am looking for a 5-minute flight – there is Anacortes. 10-minute flight ideas – Friday Harbor and Orcas Island. I know no other place with this number of quality sceneries in a 30-minute flight distance. If you like bush flying – visit Bayview Farms (included), West Wind (ORBX freeware) or Israel’s Farm (ORBX payware). Other developers contributed too and there are airports ranging from smallest to the largest you can dream of.

Summary – 5*

Skagit becomes the hub of my flights around Pacific Northwest. Surprising, is it not? Let me explain why. It fits my various flying habits – I can use it with small bush planes when flying to local grass strips (ORBX included one in the scenery), I can make $100 hamburger flights (closer to $200 – $300). I did lots of long-range flights too (IFR procedures came handy). And it is a well-designed scenery.

Skagit Airport at ORBX Direct Store

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