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Review:  Pilot Experience Sim – Bordeaux LFBD v 2.0 for MSFS

Review by: Rick Desjardins

Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport, ICAO: LFBD is an international airport located just west of the city of Bordeaux in south west France. The airport can trace its origins back to the 1920’s when a joint military/civilian air field was established. At that time it was a major hub for Air France and used by the French Air Force as a training centre and bomber base. During World War 2 the Luftwaffe took control of the airfield. After the war Air France and the French Air Force resumed their operations.

Beginning in 1952 the airfield was used by NATO and the US Air Force until the late 50’s when it was returned to French control. The French Air Force has designated the military portion of the airfield as BA106 and it is used as part of their strategic air force.

Most of the civilian flights go between locations in Europe, Northern Africa and Canada. The airport also serves as a base for Easyjet and Volotea Airlines. In 2019 just under 8 million passengers passed through its facilities. It is one of the ten busiest airports in France. The airport has 2 runways; 05/23 @10,171ft and 11/29 @7,923ft

Installation

The installation involved running the scenery executable downloaded from SimMarket. At the end of that process the scenery will be installed and you will have access to a pdf manual, a GSX custom profile and the PESim_Central_v2 program. It is from this PESim program you can check for updates and access any of the program files such as the custom GSX profile.

PESim Central V2

Visuals

Ground Textures

Throughout the entire coverage area with the exception of the area used by the French military they made extensive use of high quality realistic looking ground textures for the grassy areas as well as the hard surfaces. The hard surface areas showed the tell tale signs of aircraft movements. The airport also seamlessly integrates into the surrounding landscape. For the area used by the military there was a definite difference in quality.

Detailed and realistic ground textures
Military apron area ground textures

Structures

As described earlier this airport is a mixed use airfield with both civilian and military elements with the majority of the airfield being populated with what you typically find in a civilian airport of this size; passenger terminals, control tower, hangars of various sizes, maintenance and administration buildings, fire station and cargo facilities.

The most prominent structure is the three passenger terminal complex which consists of terminal A for international flights, terminal B principally dedicated to Air France flights to and from Paris and finally terminal Billi used by low cost carriers Easyjet and Ryanair.

Each has its own architectural features with the developer capturing these individual characteristics and recreating them using a combination of high quality, high resolution appropriately coloured textures further augmented with extra surface details as appropriate to give them the realistic appearance we flight simmers expect in a quality product. Intricate roof lines are captured and glass surfaces are transparent so it is possible to enjoy the interior modelling while sitting in the cockpit waiting for passengers to board or deplane.   

Terminal complex overview
Terminal Billi
Terminal A
Terminal B
Terminal roof top details
Passenger pick up
Terminal B arrival side

There are many more structures at Bordeaux and the developer has given each of them the same level of care and attention in recreating them regardless of how big or insignificant they may appear to be.

Fire station
Old infrastructure
Cargo handling facilities
Sabena hangars
General aviation area
Dassault Aviation buildings

The military airfield portion occupies an area between runways 29 and 05 and it is a mix of several large hangars and other additional structures of varying sizes. I realize that access to this area is probably limited for security reasons however I felt that they could have been given a more realistic look had they been weathered similar to all of the other structures found throughout the remainder of the airport.   

Military Airfield area
Several military structures

Objects

Seen throughout the entire airport are a wide variety of high quality objects that you would typically expect to find in support of operations. All appeared to be placed to enhance the airport environment and increase the sense of realism. Not forgotten was also the inclusion of a variety of passenger and commercial vehicles you’d also expect to find with the movement of people and freight.

Apron clutter
Static aircraft
Misc objects
Large parking area
Freight containers
Access control
Passenger parking
Static training aircraft

Structure Interiors

Like so many developers they chose to model the interior of several of the airport`s buildings; terminals A and B, the control tower and a large Sabena Technics hangar. Exploring each of these it is easy to see that they were passionate in trying to make them as immersive and detailed as possible.

The modelling of these interiors was quite extensive. In each case putting yourself in their respective locations you felt as if you were there. Seating, gates, concessions, stairs, escalators, people, security checkpoints it was all there. They also went so far as to include animated message boards that changed their displayed messages on a regular basis.

The control tower was quite interesting as here to they seemed to think of everything. A nice touch was that each monitor seemed to be displaying the type of information one would expect tower staff to be viewing.

Terminal A gate boarding
Terminal B seating area
Terminal B check in
Detailed signage
Control Tower interior

In addition to the terminals and tower they modelled, also in great detail, the interior of one of the large maintenance hangars showing off the detailed structural elements and various pieces of maintenance and diagnostic equipment. The main focal point however is the new Airbus A350 that looks like it is in the process of being inspected.   

Sabena Technics hangar and A350

Animations

The scenery included a number of subtle animations that you would likely not notice unless you were exploring the scenery up close. I am referring to animations such as people moving in and around the terminals, terminal information boards inside the terminal where the displays change, flags waving in the wind, rooftop exhaust fan blades turning and the animated Bordeaux tramway that arrives and departs the terminal station. They are testament to the hard work the developers put into their product it is unfortunate that with the exception of the animated tram most of these are not evident unless you make a concerted effort to explore the airport up close.

Animated tram

Night

I found the night time rendition offered what I considered to be a realistic interpretation of how the airport would look. All types of lighting were included; interior lighting of the terminals and buildings, apron lighting, ground lighting used along the runways and taxiways, approach lighting and lights used to illuminate the adjacent roadways and vehicle parking areas. They took into account the various types of light sources, their varying intensities and the size of the areas that are illuminated.

Apron at night
Terminal B tram station at night
Terminal B interior at night

Approaches

I made several approaches to the airport utilizing both ILS and VOR and found that they functioned as expected. ILS approaches are only available on runways 23 and 29. The surrounding flat terrain also allowed for easy visual approaches.

Nearing runway 23

Final Thoughts

Overall I was very happy with the visuals, immersion factor and performance of the product. I only wish  that they would have made the military area look as good as the civilian part of the airport by weathering the buildings and using hard surface ground textures of similar quality to the remainder of the airport. Luckily this area is somewhat isolated and not an area you would normally frequent as a civilian pilot.

Review by: Rick Desjardins

ProsCons
➢ Lots of details throughout
➢ Interior modelling was quite good
➢ Suitable for both commercial and private flight operations
➢ Night time was realistic
➢ Military area looked too pristine and not up to the same standard as the remainder of the airport
PurchaseTest System
SIMMARKET.com
Developer: Pilot Experience Sim
Price: EUR 23.49 (+tax EU customers)
Ryzen 5 5600X,
ASUS TUF X570-Plus MB,
1 TB NVMe SSD,
32Gb DDR4 RAM,
ASUS RTX 3060 OC w/12Gb VRAM,
Win 11, Track IR,
FSLTL AI traffic, MSFS graphics settings to Ultra.
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Philippe
Philippe
1 month ago

Where is the taxi 🚕 please

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