For FSX/P3D/P3DV2 Published by
Reviewed by Brian Buckley
Introduction - A Brief History
Having recently completed a review
of SIM720's Stornoway Airport (EGPO), I decided to take
off on a heading of 169° to pick up the BFD NDB (390.0)
on the Isle of Skye, and with a slight course correction
to 168°, land at Oban Airport (EGEO). A total distance
of only 108.5 nm. From here, I will continue my reviews
of Scottish airports published by SIM720.
Oban Airport lies 5.8 miles (9.3 km or 5 nm) northeast
of the town of Oban, near the village of North Connel,
in the idyllic Argyll and Bute area of Scotland.
Following fairly recent upgrading of the airport and
runway in 2006, the airport has a CAA licence, allowing
it to operate as a commercial airport.
Like a lot of the smaller airfields around the UK, Oban Airport
was adopted by the RAF during WWII as an auxiliary airfield.
Built at North Connel, it was located to the east of the now
A828(T). It was later known as Connel Airfield but is now the
thriving site of Oban Airport.
After WWII, a bunker was built (circa 1960s) to house The Royal
Observer Corps (ROC), more specifically, ROC 27 Group.
More info here
The building stands there to this day, albeit in a rundown
In 1967 the airport site was purchased by Oban Council and was
being used for glider launching. Today, the airport is a fully
functioning small airport which serves as a vital lifeline for
some of the outlying small islands, such as Colonsay, Islay,
Coll and Tiree, as well as providing tourists and local
residents, with the chance of sightseeing flights up and
down the stunning west coast of Scotland.
Availability and Installation
Oban Airport is available from SIM720 and SIM720 product
resellers as a 'download only' product for £15.99 + VAT (£19.19
including vat). Presently, there is no boxed version available,
however, some resellers offer a master back-up CD / DVD service
for a nominal fee. The download file is 475MB in zip file format
and it took my system 23 minutes to download. Bearing in mind I
am not on a cable connection, this was pretty good, for me at
least. As with all the airports from SIM720, prior to
installation you need to obtain a registration key and a
digitally signed copyright agreement, which are sent to you by
email from SIM720.
Once unzipped to a temporary folder, I ran the installation.
This only took two minutes, during which the user gets the
choice of the flight simulator version to install, either the
FSX version or the Prepar3D version. I installed the FSX version
which took up 950MB of space on the HDD.
SIM720 includes a separate program which enables users to enable
or disable certain aspects of the airport's scenery, such as,
static objects, seasonal grasses, and product compatibility. An
icon for this program is placed on the user's desktop during the
scenery's installation process. It is very simple to use and I
found the settings in the panel below worked best for me and
the system I have (system specifications are provided at the end
of the review).
SIM720's Oban Airport is DX10 compatible and has been designed
to work as a standalone product, but using the supplied control
panel, you can select what you want the photo real area to be
colour matched to. You have the option of choosing default FSX,
Orbx FTX: EU Scotland, or Horizon VFR.
Scenery Coverage and Detail
The features listed by SIM720 for Oban Airport include:
● photo real layout and textures (30cm resolution within airport
boundaries and 60cm resolution outside the boundaries);
● high resolution ground polygons;
● hand placed high resolution buildings within airport
● custom autogen buildings outside the airport boundary;
● extensive library of airport clutter;
● accurate taxiway lanes;
● custom made static aircraft;
● custom night lighting and improved runway lights;
● 3D grass;
● compatible with default, Orbx and Horizon add-on scenery;
● DX10 compatible; and
● installs into FSX and P3Dv1 (Version 1.1 is now available
with an installer for P3Dv2).
As was the case with SIM720's version of Stornoway Airport, the team have covered a fair area outside the airport boundary. Knowing this area as I do, having spent some time there whilst on various holidays, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the guys at SIM720 had placed the buildings outside the airport boundaries. Although, personally I would have liked to
have seen a slightly greater area covered. However, for the price, you are getting a very well constructed replica of Oban Airport and more. With 30 cm resolution within the airport boundary and a resolution of 60 cm outside the boundaries, Oban Airport and the area covered knits seamlessly into FTX: EU Scotland.
Below are the comparison screenshots between default FSX and the SIM720 Oban Airport and also the airport chart supplied with the Oban Airport download.
Default FSX Airport
Again, I revisited the SIM720 Control Panel, and I took a series of
screenshots as per the settings shown in the Control Panel
screenshot above. To get any real amount of snow however, I
had to chooe a hard winter setting. As you can see from the
screenshots, the changes in season are very subtle and the
colour changes which occur, do so in the requisite frame. The
hues in each screenshot appear to be almost as true as is
possible. No mean feat considering how easy it is to get
this part of the scenery so drastically wrong. SIM720 have done
another fine job with this airport.
As you can see by my screenshots, I found it almost impossible to get a full covering of snow,
although Oban Airport is virtually at sea level, it does have its fair share of snow. I could not replicate
Airport Buildings and Objects
Oban Airport also has its fair share of airport clutter and plenty of people dotted around the confines of
the airport. The detail on some of these is extremely good and it is possible to see the team at SIM720
have used photographic textures for many of the static objects.
The people used in Oban Airport certainly
appear to get about, as I am sure I have spotted some of the folk used here, at Stornoway Airport. Having
said that, they are still very good depictions of life at the airport. Ranging from passengers to airport
crew and staff.
Most, if not all of the buildings, have been given the SIM720 treatment and they have photo
real textures on them, as you can see from the screenshots below. Although SIM720 have placed a fair amount
of buildings in and surrounding the airport, I must admit to being slightly disappointed in the choice of
some of the buildings used.
As I stated earlier, I have spent some time down on the west coast of Scotland
and I know this area particularly well. Consequently, considering the hard work that SIM720 have put in to
their airports, I was expecting to at least see some hotels that are fairly close to the bridge (I did
mention in my Stornoway Airport review I err on the side of pedantic - perhaps it has kicked in again).
Ok, so some of the buildings I was hoping to see were not there, so what. The buildings SIM720
have used are very well done. See for yourself in the screenshots below, amidst the selection of goodies
found around the airport.
Royal Observer Corps Building.
Although the ROC building is outside the airport boundary,
considering the history the Royal Observer Corps has with Oban
Airport, it is a nice touch SIM720 added this to the scenery.
This is a very realistic interpretation of the actual building.
Real World SOC Building
SIM720 SOC Building
There are a lot more items spread around the airport site, all of which are of the same high quality as the
above and it is evident a considerable amount of time has also been spent on the various buildings at Oban
Airport. The missing rendering on the wall below, is testament to the time and effort the guys at
SIM720 put into making airports. Unfortunately, this sort of damage to the rendering is an all too common
occurrence in the Highlands due to the severe weather. A sample of some of the objects and buildings are
As my screenshots portray, you can see SIM720 have done a great job with the various buildings and objects
around Oban Airport. The whole airport has the air of a long time used airport. However, Oban Airport, in
its present form, has only been operating since 2006 when the work to extend and improve it took place.
There are not as many buildings at Oban Airport as there are at some of the bigger players but it certainly
has the ability to function just as well as the big boys out there. In 2012 there were some 3,000
passengers using the airport and in the first quarter of 2013 this had risen by 12% and is climbing
steadily. These figures do not include the number of people taking flying lessons or using the tourist
scenic flights on offer from Oban Airport. These figures are also the most up to date statistics I could
find when doing this review.
Real World Connel Flying Club
Connel Flying Club
The Connel Bridge, which carries the A828 and is on your right hand side as you approach Runway 01, has been
modelled perfectly. This includes the stone archways at each end of the bridge which allow the local roads
to pass under. The bridge also has enough headroom to allow you to fly under it, should you get the urge -
just make sure you are in a suitable aircraft though. The bridge was originally constructed in 1903 and was
used to carry the Caledonian Railway until 1966. Since the closing of the railway, it has been used for
road traffic. Below is a screenshot and a real world view of the bridge.
Real World Connel Bridge
Connel Bridge - East View
Under the bridge are the Falls of Lora which have not been modelled in this version but still worth a mention here, I feel. The Falls of Lora are created on the ebb tide when the tidal waters in the Firth of Lorn fall below the water level of Loch Etive. The difference results in the flow which pours through the narrows spanned by the Connel Bridge. The feature results from an underlying ridge of rock in the area beneath the bridge. This means the effect occurs in both directions but the flood tide is the lesser of the two, when observed. Annual and seasonal variations mean the tidal range can vary from less than one metre to over four metres.
Falls of Lora on the Ebb Tide
Oban Airport does have a certain degree of night lighting, although I have to admit to being slightly
disappointed in the overall lighting department. SIM720 have included some street lamp posts in the airport
vicinity but the glow from the lights does not show on the ground as this is an
issue with maintaining DX10 compat
The runway and taxiway lighting is as you would expect from a small airport and is quite acceptable. The
PAPI lights are great and light in sequence as they are supposed to. The one thing I am beginning to
discover with SIM720 airports is the lighting of the terminal and other buildings within the airport
vicinity is done in such a way that it looks as though there is light on the inside and it looks as though
you can actually see through the windows. Judge for yourself.
Street Lights - No Ground Illumination
Street Lighting Downwash
PAPI Lights - Day
PAPI Lights - Night
Terminal Lighting - Airside
I found with my settings set as per the suggested settings in the manual, I was achieving very good frame
rates. With my system and setup I was getting well in excess of 30 fps and sometimes, depending where my
aircraft was facing, I was getting between 45 and 50 fps. In my opinion this is more than adequate for a
smooth flight. The settings I used were exactly as in the manual and were as follows
With these settings you should be able to achieve acceptable frame rates but it obviously depends very much
on your system specifications. The specifications of my system are at the end of this review should you
wish to compare my system with yours. My system was top of the range when I built it but it is far from
that now and yet, I still achieved very good frame rates and with no stuttering. If your system is letting
you down when it comes to frame rates drag the sliders to the left a little until you reach acceptable
Value for money
With Oban Airport being the gateway to the Isles
and linking the mainland with the islands of Coll, Colonsay,
Islay, and Tiree, at just £15.99 + VAT (£19.19 including VAT) it really is worth adding to your scenery
Oban Airport is compatible with FSX, P3Dv1 and P3Dv2. It has been designed to be compatible with default
FSX, Horizon VFR Scenery, and Orbx FTX: EU Scotland. You can choose which version you wish to use
Oban Airport Control Panel and Oban Airport is also DX10 compatible.
● Microsoft Flight Simulator X (SP2, Acceleration Pack or Gold
Edition) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3D (v1 or v2);
● Windows XP, Windows VISTA, Windows 7, Windows 8 (Windows 7 64
● 3.0GHz processor (Dual Core processor recommended);
● 4GB RAM;
● 1024MB 3D graphics card (minimum);
● 64 Bit operating system highly recommended;
● Download size -
● Installations size -
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;
● GeForce GTX 570SC, 1280Mb;
● 500GB WD Velociraptor - OS;
● 128GB Corsair Force 3 SSD - FSX
● Matrox TripleHead2Go - 3 x 23" Acer LCD Monitors; and
● Operating System - Windows 7 64bit.
I can recommend SIM720's Oban Airport without reservation. They have produced another great airport for us
to either fly to and from or base ourselves at for further exploring of this idyllic area. Ok, I sighed at
some minor details such as some of the lighting and the building details, but overall, this package is
quite beautiful. When I looked at the area covered by this add-on I was hopefully going to see some of the
places I had seen whilst staying over in Oban. Yes, so some types of building have been omitted, so what!
The overall package is a very good rendition of Oban Airport and the surrounding countryside and would not
be a disappointment to anyone purchasing it. It fits snugly into Orbx's FTX: EU Scotland and is a huge
It is a great base for exploring the myriad of islands scattered
up and down the west coast of mainland Scotland. There was never
a better time than now to get yourself over to Oban and start
exploring this stunning area of Scotland. If you buy it today
you could start your ventures as a small air hauler operator
operating out of this great little airport and whilst you are
based there, take yourself off to Oban and explore the wonders
of Oban Distillery. Who knows, you may even bump into me and some of
the guys who go Haggis hunting over on the Outer Hebrides.
The screenshots speak volumes. Also, the support team at SIM720 are very friendly and all they want is for you/us to enjoy their products and, to this end, they are very attentive and helpful - should you need help that is.
Verdict and Rating
Hand crafted 3D objects, buildings and static aircraft.
Excellent level and attention to detail.
Excellent third party compatibility.
Exceptional value for money.
Omission of certain buildings (personal opinion only).
Lack of ground lighting under the streetlamps.
● Scenery Coverage:
● Level of Detail:
● Quality of Buildings:
● Value for Money:
SIM720's Oban Airport is awarded a Mutley's Hangar score of 9.2/10, "Outstanding"
and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award.
Oban Airport 2
Oban Airport on Wikipedia
Oban Rescue Mission
● Information on the Connel Bridge and Falls of Lorn
More information on the Connel Bridge and Falls of Lorn