For FSX/P3D/P3DV2 Published by SIM720
Reviewed by Brian Buckley
Introduction - A Brief History
So here is the third review of SIM720 Scottish airports and this
time we are at Inverness (EGPE), the capital of the Highlands of
The site of Inverness Airport was originally identified as being
suitable for aircraft operations with hard runways in the 1930s by
Captain Ted Fresson, the pioneer of aviation in the Highlands and
Islands. The existing airport dates from World War II when it was
developed by the RAF, and since 1947 it has served as the principal
civil airport in the region.
Today, the Inverness Airport site in HIAL's ownership extends to 185
hectares. It is bounded to the north by Dalcross Industrial Estate
and farmland, and to the south by farmland, land comprising part of
the Inverness Airport Business Park joint venture, and the
Inverness-Aberdeen railway. The airport's western and eastern
boundaries are farmland.
Over the preceding decades, a number of changes have occurred to the
site, including the lengthening of the main runway, and the
construction of a new air traffic control tower, fire station,
engineering base, and offices. The terminal building is in its third
incarnation following the opening of the current facility in 1999.
In more recent years, developments have included new car parks, the
installation of upgraded navigational aids, additional apron space
to accommodate higher volumes of air traffic, and the construction
of Inverness Airport Way linking the airport with the A96 trunk road
to the south of the airfield. Substantial environmental works have
also been completed to treat run off water from the runways,
taxiways and aprons.
Today, the main developed area of the airport is centred around the
passenger terminal building on the north side of the airport estate
and includes car parks, offices, stores, airport fire station,
engineering base, and hangars. Airside infrastructure, including
aprons, taxiways, runways, and airfield ground lighting, is located
airside to the south of this area and extends almost to the
airfield's southern boundary line where the air traffic control
tower is located.
Inverness Airport lies approximately 7 nm to the north-east of the
city and in 2013 saw 607,266 passengers, passing through the
terminal (courtesy of
It is small in comparison to some of the major airports around the
UK but still quite busy nonetheless.
Availability, Installation and Documentation
Check In Area
Inverness Airport is available from SIM720 and SIM720 product
resellers as a 'download only' product for £15.99 + VAT (£19.19 incl
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 766MB in zip file format and it took my system
9 minutes to download. Bearing in mind I am not on a cable
connection, this was very 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, which
took approximately 2 - 3 minutes, whereupon the user gets the choice
of which flight simulator version to install, either the FSX version
or the Prepar3D version. I installed the FSX version which is a file
size of 950MB.
A separate program enables the user 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.
SIM720 EGPE Inverness Airport has been designed to work as a
standalone product. Using the supplied control panel, you can select
what you want the photorealistic area to be colour matched to. In
EGPE Inverness Airport you have the option of choosing Default FSX,
Orbx FTX Scotland, or Horizon VFR. Just simply pick what you want.
EGPE Inverness Airport is also DX10 compatible.
Scenery Coverage and Level of Detail
photorealistic layout and textures (25cm resolution within airport
boundaries and 60cm resolution outside the boundaries);
high resolution ground polygons;
hand placed high resolution buildings within airport boundaries;
extensive library of airport clutter;
custom made static aircraft;
custom night lighting and improved runway lights;
compatible with default FSX, Orbx, and Horizon sceneries;
DX10 compatible; and
installs into FSX and P3D.
As I have already covered Stornoway Airport and Oban
Airport from SIM720, I was keen to get a look-see at Inverness
Airport, this being my home airport. First impressions were good.
The team have covered a good swathe of land, covering the airfield
and outer reaches. Although not as far as Inverness city
unfortunately. With 25 cm resolution within the airport boundary and
a resolution of 60 cm outside the boundaries, Inverness Airport and
the area covered knits almost seamlessly into FTX EU Scotland.
Below are the comparison screenshots, between default and the SIM720
Inverness Airport and also the airport chart supplied with the
Again, I revisited the SIM720 Control Panel, and
then took a series of screenshots as per the settings shown in the
Control Panel screenshot above. The actual hue changes are not as
near the real world hues as I personally would like them to be.
There could also be a more dramatic change for the winter hues in my
opinion. Inverness Airport does suffer greatly from lying snow
during the winter months, but I found it difficult to replicate this
and found it impossible to get a decent covering of snow on the
Buildings and Objects
Inverness Airport has a terrific amount 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. Although, I did spot a few items which do not belong
at Inverness, or indeed the Highlands. I also believe some of the
static folk have more than one job, as I'm sure I've spotted the
same folk at Stornoway and Oban Airports. I suppose in these austere
times, people have to take the work where they can find it. That
said, it is rather comforting to see some old faces knocking about,
as well as some new ones, ranging from passengers to airport crew
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
Most, if not all, of the buildings have been given the SIM720
treatment and some have photo real textures on them, as you can see
from the screenshots below. The actual buildings in the immediate
airport complex are very well done, as are the buildings within the
extremely busy retail park to the north of the airport. SIM720 have
again replicated another airport in exacting detail and if you look
carefully enough, you can also find references to SIM720 dotted
around the airport.
Fire Station - Front
Fire Station - Rear
The main airport terminal has been replicated extremely well and it
represents a true vision of the real world terminal at Inverness
Airport. This is a tricky building to draw due to the curved roof,
but the guys at SIM720 have pulled it off.
As my screenshots portray, SIM720 have done a great job with the
various buildings and requisite objects around Inverness Airport.
There are literally hundreds of other objects dotted around the
airport but they are for you to find. As a whole, I found the
airport smacks of a well oiled machine, despite some of the
oddities. These oddities did not ruin my overall experience of
Inverness Airport but I will share some of them with you.
|Lothian buses only run on the roads around Edinburgh and surrounding
areas. Moreover, at the present time, there is no ocean terminal in
Inverness, as far as I am aware. The service which takes you to
Inverness Airport is the Jet Bus run by Stagecoach, which runs
hourly throughout the day. Whoops!
|Next up is maybe not an anomaly
rather than a missed opportunity by SIM720. This bare patch of
grass nestles within the confines of the retail park, to the
north of the airport. In reality, it houses Inverness' only
aircraft museum, Highland Aviation Museum. Again, although
this omission does not impair the use of the airport, I feel
it would have been very nice to have had it included in this
|On a more serious note is this misalignment of the A96, which runs
from Inverness to Aberdeen, routing through Nairn onwards. I'm not
sure what has happened here and it's the only hiccup I could find
with the roads. This is part of the boundary of the airport and is
at the eastern end of the airfield. I'm sure it is easily rectified.
Inverness Airport does have a certain degree of night lighting,
although I have to admit to being slightly disappointed in the
overall lighting department. As you can see in the screenshots
below, the runway and taxiway lighting is as you would expect to
find at an airport and is quite acceptable. The PAPI lights are very
good and worked perfectly on each approach 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. My main concern with lighting at Inverness
Airport is the wash from the tall lights on the apron. The lighting,
for me, just does not look realistic. Having said that, there are
some other standard height lamps which have a more realistic effect.
Judge for yourself.
Final Approach RWY 05
Final Approach RWY 23
As you can see, there is something not quite right with the downwash
from the tall lights, but the effect of the smaller street lamps is
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 30fps and sometimes getting
as high as between 45 and 50fps. In my opinion, this is more than
adequate for a smooth flight. The settings I used were exactly as in
the manual, as seen below.
With these settings, you too should be able to achieve acceptable
frame rates, but it obviously depends very much on what your system
specifications are. 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 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 frame rates.
Value for Money
With Inverness Airport being the capital of the Highlands, it is the
perfect base for exploring further north and onto the Orkney and
Shetland Isles. At just £15.99 + VAT (£19.19 incl VAT), it really is
worth adding it to your scenery library. Inverness Airport is now
serving as a hub for flights throughout the UK and even into Europe.
If you already own Stornoway and Oban Airports by SIM720, it really
is the next logical step to get Inverness downloaded and into your
scenery library. It is also the ideal base for a budding 'Air
Hauler' operation also. Now where did I put my copy of 'Air Hauler'?
Inverness 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, on the Inverness Airport Control Panel. Inverness
Airport is also DX10 compatible.
The technical requirements for SIM 720 Inverness Airport are as
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 Bit
3.0GHz processor (Dual Core processor recommended);
1024MB 3D graphics card (minimum); and
64 Bit operating system highly recommended.
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, 1280MB, 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.
I realise that SIM720 are producing airports for us but it would be
nice if they would generate scenery a little further than what has
been done. By this I mean, with Inverness Airport it would have been
nice if they had covered the city also. If you can work around the
scenery anomalies which I have pointed out in this review, then I
can recommend adding SIM720's Inverness Airport to your library.
They have produced another fine airport for us to either fly to and
from or, base ourselves at for further exploration of the Highlands
and beyond. What can you buy for £19 these days? I'll wager not a
great deal, so fire up your PayPal account and download Inverness
Airport today for a great deal. You won't be disappointed.
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.
Inverness Airport on Wikipedia.
Highland Aviation Museum.
Verdict and Rating
Hand crafted 3D objects, buildings, static people and objects.
Excellent third party compatibility.
Very low impact on frame rates.
Value for money.
Omission of Highland Aviation Museum. (personal opinion only)
Poor, almost strange, lighting effects in places.
Ground textures are lacking depth and shading in some areas.
Regimented grass textures.
● Scenery Coverage :
Level of Detail :
Quality of Buildings:
● Documentation :
● Performance :
SIM720 Inverness Airport is awarded a Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.1/10,
with an "Highly Recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Silver Award.