McClellan-Palomar (KCRQ) Airport
For FSX/Prepar3D Published by SIM720
Reviewed by a Brian Buckley
March 2015

Introduction - A Brief History

McClellan-Palomar Airport opened in 1958. It is a public airport situated about three miles southeast of Carlsbad and 30 miles north of San Diego in San Diego County, California, US. The airport is named after Gerald McClellan, an aviator and civic leader in the San Diego North County area. McClellan-Palomar Airport is wholly owned and operated by the County of San Diego and serves the northern part of the county for its domestic aviation requirements. The facility is mostly used for general aviation, but there are also two commercial airlines, United Express, operated by SkyWest (Los Angeles – seven flights a day), and Vision Airlines (North Las Vegas – runs two to three days a week – Phoenix and Las Vegas).

The new terminal building was opened at McClellan-Palomar in January 2009 and covers 18,000 ft² and is six times larger than the old one. Previously, the commercial terminal was a prefabricated building, which was installed over a 24 hour period in 1999, and located near the control tower. Construction work on the new terminal began in late 2007 on a 255 acre site along Palomar Airport Road, just west of El Camino Real, near the airport's main entrance. During this expansion project, the airport also gained three new long-term carparks along the southern edge which are connected to the terminal building via elevators and a passenger bridge. The modern terminal has a seashore themed decoration that propels the airport into the 21st century. There is a special baggage distribution area and a full service 2,481 ft² restaurant. In March 2013 McClellan-Palomar was the fourth busiest single runway airport in the United States.

Website - http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dpw/airports/palomar.html

Real World KCRQ

Availability and Installation

McClellan-Palomar Airport is available as a download from SIM720 via their website here , priced at £15.99 + VAT (£19.18 incl VAT).

The download file is 336.51MB and took me approximately seven minutes to download using IDM (Internet Download Manager). I find this a very effective tool for downloading large files.

Installation takes approximately a minute using the SIM720 installer, which allows you to install to FSX, FSX Steam Edition, or Prepar3D (V1 and V2). The installer will ask you for your email address and a Serial Key, which you will have received by email.

Within the download folder there is a 17 page user guide, which takes you through the usual settings procedure.

A Control Panel for McClellan-Palomar Airport is installed as part of the installation and this allows you to either enable or disable various elements of the scenery. It also gives you the option to select which other scenery packages you want McClellan-Palomar to be compatible with.

SIM720 Control Panel

Scenery Coverage and Detail

Features include:
        • high resolution ground polygon;
        • photo realistic layout and textures (30 cm resolution);
        • hand placed high resolution buildings within the airport boundaries;
        • extensive library of airport clutter;
        • animated people;
        • accurate taxiway lanes;
        • custom made static aircraft;
        • custom night lighting;
        • compatible with MegaSceneryEarth California and Orbx Global; and
        • DX10 compatible.

Area Covered. The total area covered is approximately 466 acres (1.89 km²). As you can see from the picture below, SIM720 have only covered everything within the airport boundaries. It would have been nice to see some of the surrounding area included, such as the golf course immediately behind the threshold of Runway 06. What has been covered, has been done to the usual SIM720 high standard.

Area Covered

Airport Diagram

Airport Buildings and Objects

The guys at SIM720 have done some excellent work in producing some very realistic buildings, static aircraft, and airport clutter. They have hand placed high resolution buildings within the airport boundary and used 30 cm photo realistic layout and textures. Animated people and an extensive library of airport clutter bring the airport to life. Some of the buildings are extremely detailed and if you have ever used programs like GMax or Sketchup, you will appreciate the hours of technical work which has gone into some of the buildings.



Dining Alfresco


Western Flight

Reflective Solar Panels

Daily Newspaper

Ubiquitous Trucks

There are hundreds of pieces of clutter dotted around the airport and there is always room on an airfield for the ubiquitous trucks. Seen at virtually every airport, at McClellan-Palomar you can even pick up the daily newspaper at the al-fresco dining area.


Fuel Depot

On Site Cars

Waste Area

Ground Textures


Looking at the airport for the first time, you may think there is an awful amount of static aircraft parked all over the site, but on further investigation, I found this to be normal. In March 2013, the airport was the fourth busiest, single runway, airport in the United States. In 2008, the airport had 192,960 aircraft operations, an average of 529 per day. Of these, 89% were general aviation, 7% air taxi, 3% scheduled commercial, and 1% military. There are approximately 325 aircraft based at this airport, 61% single engine, 24% jet, 11% multi engine and 4% helicopter.

The ground textures and markings are of a very high quality, as is evident in the screen shots above. SIM720 have even gone as far as including the logo that is on taxiway A, at the southwest end of the runway - go find it!

The guys at SIM720 also inject a little humour into their projects. Here is a little something I found - but can you find it? Not only an energy drink of some description but an iPad with what looks like the SIM720 website on it. Very funny!
A Little Humour

Seasonal Variation

As McClellan-Palomar Airport is situated close to the Pacific Ocean and fairly close to the Mexican border, there is generally not much in the way of seasonal change. The changes which SIM720 have made to this airport are also along these lines, as you can see from the screenshots below. What is noticeable from the angle I took the screenshots, is the ground textures appear to be substantially darker than the surrounding area. As I was using Orbx Global with this airport, it is hard to know which textures are correct. It just looks slightly unreal to me considering this area is almost wall to wall sun most of the year. Perhaps they could be lightened with a patch to bring them up to match the surrounding areas.





Come on now, you didn't expect to see a snow covered airport......did you?
Even I'm wrong sometimes.....Check this out! .....Apologies!

This is one area I have noticed where SIM720 have really upped their game. In my opinion, the night lighting in this airport is some of the best lighting they have done to date. Gone are the sharp, cone shaped lights which were in their Inverness Airport scenery. What we have now looks far more realistic and believable. Superb work guys.

Night Lighting 1

Night Lighting 2

Dawn Approach RWY 24

Dusk Approach RWY 06

Airport Night Lighting

As with all the SIM720 airports I have installed, there was absolutely no problems regarding frame rates or stuttering during flight. I had most of my sliders at either maximum or very high settings. With judicial use of the SIM720 Control Panel, I would expect anyone with a lower spec computer would be able to gain the same results I did. I have my frame rates locked at 30 fps in NVidea Inspector and set to unlimited in FSX and with these settings I was still achieving frame rates in excess of 29 fps.

Value for Money

SIM720 seem to be improving with every airport they publish and although this add-on only covers the environs of the airport, give or take a few commercial buildings to the southwest end of the airport, I still believe it to be of good value. There was a missed opportunity to extend this airport to the wider area, which would have made this a better airport from which to explore the southern end of California. There is a large golf course abutting the west boundary of the airport and LEGOLAND, California right on the doorstep too - perhaps these could be added at a later date. For a little over £19.00, and if you enjoy flying around southern California, I feel it is worth adding to your scenery library.


SIM720's McClellan-Palomar (KCRQ) Airport has been designed to work as a standalone product. Using the supplied control panel, you can select what you want the photoreal area to be colour matched to. With McClellan-Palomar Airport, you have the option of choosing Default FSX, Orbx Global or MegaSceneryEarth California.

Light spill on the ground polygons does not work in P3Dv2. If you use Orbx products ensure you set this product above the the Orbx products in the Settings - Scenery Libray screen. McClellan-Palomar Airport is DX10 compatible.

Review Computer Specifications

The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
        • Asus P8Z77-V motherboard, Intel i7 3.4GHz 'Sandybridge';
        • 16GB, DDR3, Corsair Vengeance, 1600MHz RAM;
        • Asus Strix GeForce GTX970 OC 4GB, graphics card;
        • 500GB, WD Velociraptor - OS;
        • 128GB, Corsair Force 3 SSD - FSX;
        • 1.5TB flight simulator add-ons;
        • Matrox TripleHead2Go - 3 x 23" Acer LCD monitors; and
        • Operating System - Windows 7, 64 Bit.


As I said earlier, SIM720 are going from strength to strength as they add more airports to their portfolio. With this, their ninth airport to date, and more in the pipeline, I think 2015 is going to be an exciting year ahead in the airport add-on market. There is plenty to explore within the airport, with great detail and textures everywhere. Accurately modelled buildings and aircraft, a forest of hand placed trees, shrubs, animated people, custom night lighting, and more, all go to make McClellan-Palomar Airport a great airport to consider adding to your scenery library, should you wish to fly in to California and beyond.

Verdict and Rating

Hand crafted 3D models.
Huge amount of static aircraft.
High resolution, hand crafted buildings.
Excellent ambient night lighting.
Superb SIM720 ground textures.
Photo realistic vegetation.
Low impact on frame rates.
Value for money.

Ground textures slightly darker than real world.
Mixture of photo realistic and SIM720 ground textures is not the best.
Price could be considered a little high.



McClellan-Palomar Airport on Wikipedia.

McClellan-Palomar Airport

Pilot Resource Guide (pdf)

NB. Some users experienced some anomalies with some of the ground textures and airport altitude differences and SIM720 have issued a patch to rectify these problems.

The patch is available here:
SIM720 McClellan-Palomar Airport PATCH V1.0

   ● Scenery Coverage: 8.0/10
   ● Level of Detail: 10/10
   ● Quality of Objects: 9.5/10
   ● Performance : 10/10
   ● Documentation : 9.0/10
   ● Value for Money: 8.5/10

SIM720 McClellan-Palomar (KCRQ) Airport is awarded a Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.2/10,
with a "Highly Recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Silver Award.