FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport
For FSX/P3D/P3DV2 Published by Orbx
Brian Buckley
September 2014

Introduction - A Brief History

From the landing of the first aircraft at Sumburgh Links on 18th April 1933, it was another three years before a regular scheduled service to Shetland commenced. The first scheduled flight to land was on 2nd June 1936 by Aberdeen Airways and piloted by Captain Eric Starling. The first scheduled airmail service, three times a week, started on 23rd November 1937, by Allied Airways.

With the outbreak of World War II, the airstrip at Sumburgh Links was taken over by the Air Ministry and included major works to construct runways and associated infrastructure. By 1941, the runways were in place and the RAF flew 'Mosquitoes', 'Hurricanes', 'Spitfires', 'Swordfish', and 'Beaufighters' out of Sumburgh with successful missions including the bombing by 'Mosquitoes' of the Gestapo Headquarters in Oslo.

During the war years, scheduled services were continued, and following the end of the war, BEA (British European Airways) started a scheduled service in 1946. In the late 1970s, the rapid expansion of oil related traffic saw the airport become the fastest growing in the UK with a peak of 685,000 passengers and 51,000 aircraft movements in 1978. A new terminal was built to replace the "Virkie Terminal" and this was opened by HRH Princess Alexandra in 1979. Runway extensions took place in 2005 to allow larger aircraft to use the airport and this included transporting large rocks from Norway by barge to protect the runway from the elements.

Orbx now brings us the second project from the 29Palms design team, Lars Pinkenburg and Martin Pahnev. Having already set the bar quite high with FTX: EU EGHI Southampton Airport, they have gone a step further with the detail in FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport. Sumburgh is the first FTX airport to have the ability to switch between sloped and flat runways. Also featured is a custom made 1 m terrain and airport mesh as well as a large photo realistic area. The night lighting (which I will cover later), is also quite exceptional and atmospheric.

Sumburgh Airport lies some 17 nm south of the Shetland Islands' capital of Lerwick and is the main hub of air transport in and out of the Shetland Islands. Serving many airports on mainland Scotland as well as other international destinations, Sumburgh Airport is owned and operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL).

Availability and Installation

FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport is available in 'download only' format from the FlightSim Store for £18.27 (€22.90) on the exchange rate at the writing of this review. A backup CD is also available for a nominal fee should you require it.

The download file is 296.36Mb and, as per all Orbx downloads, the installation process is simple, intuitive and only takes a few minutes to complete The usual FlightSim Store online activation codes have to be inserted, which takes very little time at all.

To see FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport and surrounding area in all its glory, you should have Orbx FTX: EU Scotland installed.

Scenery Coverage and Level of Detail

Coverage Area

Scenery Coverage

Features include:
    switch between sloped and flat runways,
    custom made 1 m terrain and airport mesh,
    large 30 cm photo realistic coverage,
    includes the stunning Fitful Head,
    fully custom modelled airport,
    detailed models of surrounding landmarks,
    high definition ground polygons,
    complex car animations in 3D,
    realistic rendition of light sources on all 3D objects,
    use of most Orbx Flow techniques,
    complete depiction of the airport’s lighting equipment , and
    developed by Lars Pinkenburg and Martin Pahnev.

I approximate the area covered by this release to be in the region of 20 sq mi, and I stress approximate, which I feel is generous considering the price tag for the level and quality of detail included.

The coastal areas included here are some of the most dramatic around Scotland and the Isles, it is great to see 29Palms and Orbx have gone to great lengths to enhance these for this release. This gives the pilot some challenging approaches to Sumburgh, especially Runways 33 and 15.

Approach to Runway 33

Approach to Runway 15

Foggy Approach to Runway 27

Approach to Runway 09



The difference between having and not having FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport is impressive. As you can see from the screenshots below, this add-on brings Sumburgh Airport and its environs to life. The plus side for me was the fact that having activated Sumburgh Airport in my scenery library, I failed to detect any adverse impact on my frame rates.

The level of graphics detail shown on all of my screen shots is, for me, very acceptable, but add a better graphics card to the mix and I would expect an even greater degree of photo realism. I am quite satisfied with the results I have achieved, so I would assume if you own a more powerful GPU, you too would be very pleased with the outcome.

Below are two screenshots showing the stark difference.

ORBX Sumburgh Airport

Default FSX Sumburgh Airport

It is clear to me, as I live in the Highlands, that if you enjoy flying around Scotland and its myriad of Islands, it is surely a must have add-on. The attention to detail that Lars and Martin have exacted on Sumburgh can only be told in screenshots in my opinion, so below is a small selection of what you will find in and around the airport. Bear in mind, I only have a 1.25GB graphics card on my system.


Tower Complex

Static Aircraft

Landside Passenger Drop Off

Grasses & Flowers


Orbx Sumburgh Hotel

Real World Sumburgh Hotel

Orbx Sumburgh Lighthouse

Real World Sumburgh Lighthouse

As you can see above, this airport and surrounding area is extremely close to the real world in its detailing and this makes for some very interesting flights both in and out of Sumburgh Airport. Not least of which because you actually have to fly very close to some of these buildings shown above on your approaches to the airport.


The night lighting around the airport is also very atmospheric and is some of the most beautifully rendered night lighting I have seen in any airport add-on. This all adds to joy of early morning and evening flights both in and out of Sumburgh Airport.

Dusk Lighting

Night Lights

Night Lights with Moon

Seasonal Variation

Being an Orbx airport, Sumburgh Airport also has some subtle changes in the seasonal variations. Admittedly, between the two sets of screen shots below, there appears to only be a difference between spring/summer and autumn/winter, but the differences between all four seasons can be spotted if you look closely enough. Suffice to say, at least there is some degree of variation as opposed to none at all.





As you can see above, the autumn and winter textures are similar, if not the same. This is quite true of the real world on Shetland. Due to lying between 59° and 60° north, the days are very short and the nights very dark and lengthy, during these months.


We all know by now that Orbx scenery add-ons tend to use much more accurately placed autogen in their scenery, which if used with all sliders maxed out, will bring some systems to their knees. With this in mind, it is best to start with your sliders at a modest level, then increase the sliders' values until you achieve a happy balance of frame rates and stability. It is going to be nigh on impossible to get 60 fps without crippling your system, so it is always best to be fairly judicial in the use of the sliders. If you follow the advice in the table below, you should be able to achieve that happy medium. The highlighted area shows the settings I used for my system.

Settings Table

Value for Money

There is nothing more to add in my opinion. For less than £19, FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport is a steal. The quality is simply exquisite thanks to the collaboration of 29Palms and Orbx.


FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport is designed for FSX and Lockheed Martin Prepar3D and Orbx FTX: EU Scotland. Although it can be installed without FTX: EU Scotland, to get the very best out of what the Sumburgh Airport scenery has to offer, I strongly advise you install FTX: EU Scotland first.

You will miss out on all this if you have not installed FTX: EU Scotland:
    blending of the airport photo realistic scenery into the surrounding terrain;
    moving traffic on roads, properly aligned to the photo realistic ground terrain;
    3D light poles along roads and in urban/township streets and around the airport;
    Orbx's modified houses and trees which match the European houses and trees; and
    the FTX Central application, which is used to launch all the Orbx tools and also switch FTX off.

Technical Requirements

Here is what is required should you wish to get the most out of FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport.

Requirements Table

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;
    Geforce, GTX 570SC, 1250MB, 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.


In my opinion, what you are getting with Orbx's FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport is a first class add-on which will enrich your flights to and from the Shetland Islands. The overall attention to detail and the all so popular Orbx treatment, gives you an overwhelming sense of reality which, for me at least, has yet to be superseded. At just less than £19.00 for the download, you will find it almost impossible to get so much detail in any other add-on for the same price.


Sumburgh Airport.

Sumburgh Airport on Wikipedia.

Sumburgh Airport

Verdict and Rating

Superb textural detail.
Atmospheric lighting, including on moving traffic.
Acceptable frame rates.
Sloped runways.
Many animations with no adverse effects on system performance.
Superb price.

Nothing major detected.

   ● Scenery Coverage: 10/10
   ● Level of Detail: 9.5/10
   ● Quality of Buildings: 9.5/10
   ● Documentation : 10/10
   ● Performance : 10/10
   ● Value for Money: 10/10

Orbx's FTX: EU EGPB Sumburgh Airport is awarded a Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.8/10,
with an "Outstanding" and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award