Life reared its insistent little head this past weekend and took me away from the project for a couple of days. Once I got back, it was clear what had to happen next – the runways needed to be finished. I had been putting this part off because I knew it’d require some experimentation and a lot of pixel pushing and many FS reloads before I got it right. The runway at Plum Island is, to put it mildly, distressed. Winters are tough in Massachusetts, and the cycle of freeze/thaw/freeze wreaks havoc on the asphalt. As a result, the surface is a maze of patches and cracks. It gives it character, no doubt about that, but it makes it tough to model convincingly in the simulator. The final surface is composed of four layers; a base asphalt that has the close-up detailing baked in, a semi-transparent overlay from the actual aerial photo to give the color and tone shifts along the pavement, a layer of markings such as rwy designators and centerlines, and a layer of cracks and patches. Here’s what you get for all that:
Looking down on the field from the air, it’s easy to tell where you are…
Okay, this is one of my favorite details because of the story that goes with it. Apparently, the previous owner of the airfield got into a property dispute with the current owner (I’m hazy on the details), and as a result, he claims the last 400′ of the runway as his property. Look beyond the runway 28 designator, and you’ll see a fence cutting across the runway. Beyond the fence is obviously not usable runway, and in the final version you’ll see RV’s parked right on the tarmac, just daring some hapless pilot to clip ’em.
This parking lot beyond the fence used to be the end of the runway, and you can still make out the old 28 designator, now faded with age, at the far end.
Major modeling is complete, and I’m off on a host of tiny details now. Look for a notice soon that beta testing has begun!