McClellan-Palomar (KCRQ) Airport
For FSX/Prepar3D Published by SIM720
Reviewed by a Brian Buckley
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.
Availability and Installation
Real World KCRQ
McClellan-Palomar Airport is available as a download from SIM720 via
, 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
Scenery Coverage and Detail
• high resolution ground polygon;
• photo realistic layout and textures (30 cm resolution);
• hand placed high resolution buildings within the airport
• 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.
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.
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
Reflective Solar Panels
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.
On Site Cars
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
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
Even I'm wrong sometimes.....Check this out!
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
Price could be considered a little high.
McClellan-Palomar Airport on Wikipedia.
Pilot Resource Guide
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:
Level of Detail:
Quality of Objects:
● Performance :
● Documentation :
● Value for Money:
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.