A review by Joe (Mutley) Lawford
German Airfields 1 - Island Hopping is the first in a
series of 12 regional packs from Aerosoft for FSX
covering small airfields and regional airports.
The "Airfields" series are designed to fit in with the
overall strategy from Aerosoft to sectionalise their
scenery software range. This makes it easier for the end
user to choose and build their collection. For the major
airports there is the German Airports series or the Mega
Airports series that depict world-wide major hubs for
example Frankfurt the home of Lufthansa.
The mainland airfields are fully detailed plus an area
of around 4x4 km around the airports. The islands
however are fully modelled as they just would not look
right being partly detailed. Also, Aerosoft have
added the island Spiekeroog located right between
Wangerooge and Langeoog as it is not included in FSX on
it's own. Another addition is a small landing
location on Pellworm again not a listed airport.
Soon, hopefully, Aerosoft will be releasing VFR Germany
2 photo scenery so these these small pockets of high
definition scenery will fit in seamlessly with their
Included airfields are as follows-
EDXO St. Peter-Ording
Google Earth from supplied link
Installation & space requirements
hopping is now available on DVD but my review copy came
as a download of nearly 500Mb. The download was fast
enough with Aerosoft's server sustaining a very high
speed connection. Once downloaded you will need to
activate using the online method with your keycode.
says the required amount of free disc space is 15Gb,
this must be for the whole series as this one came in at
a more reasonable 700Mb as advertised in the product
page on the website.
installation process is swift and uncomplicated with the
scenery being automatically activated in the scenery
Ok so what do we get for our money? Well we
get a manual in English and another one in German.
Make sure you read it because you may miss out on a lot
of features if you don't. There are some useful
performance hints and recommended graphics settings that
are explained in detail, I found this guide so handy!
Also it shows you how to enable extra airshow scenery
Next up, another pdf manual of airfield charts with
loads of detail,
Before starting the sim I clicked on the included Google
Earth link. This fires up GE and displays all the
airfields so you can get a feel for where you are in
relation to mainland Germany. I thought this was a
very nice touch and just goes to show how much thought
has gone into this. (Psst. Aerosoft, Bremerhaven is EDWB
not EDWP as GE and the manual shows!).
Included is a mission which is based on the "Kinofliegers"
who are a bunch of pilots that fly movies around the
islands. This would be a great introduction to the
islands but sadly for me it is only in German. There's
going to be lots of pilots out there wondering what
they are missing (Including me).
In preparation for my review I created a flight plan
starting at Bremerhaven and finishing at Sylt/Westerland
taking in all the islands between.
Exploring the mainland
So my first sight parked on the ramp at Bremerhaven was
the terminal and a very ghastly pink ground texture,
this could well have been down to the colour look-up
table of my graphics card so you may see it differently.
From an aerial point of view it looks better but had me
taking off in a hurry! The buildings here were
functional and not very exciting but there is some nice
detail in the freight terminal to the north east of the
My flight took me to Wilhelmshaven, a lovely location
right on the shore of a huge expanse of water. This
airfield is protected from the sea with a large grass
bank. Here you will find more detail with open hangars
and aircraft also smoke pouring from the chimney of a
hangar building on the apron.
Next up Emden, here things really start to happen and I
am getting more excited by the minute! The building
quality is very good, more hangars and even a couple
having a hug in the car park!
Wilhelmshaven, I suffered some shimmering here
tender moment at Emden!
There are two other airfields on the mainland, Harle
which has some good photoscenery and more people on the
ground and Norden-Norddeich which is larger and has a
great regional airport feel with passengers waiting
behind the barrier.
So it's time to head North for some hopping!
islands are going to take your breath away. The
first island airfield I landed on was Borkum. The islands with airfields are
fully modelled with plenty of scenery and autogen.
Here you are seeing car ferries, harbours with boats
bobbing around and seagulls. Detailed buildings
including two lighthouses with rotating beams, they look
great at dusk! Make sure you power down the engine
then turn the speakers up and you will hear wonderful
sounds of the waves on the shore and the seagulls
screaching in the distance. There are other
environmental sounds too depending where you are.
Borkum, with car ferry, harbour and seagulls!
So on I flew up the chain of islands exploring everyone
in full. Juist, Norderney, Baltrum and Langeoog they all
look very beautiful.
On arriving at Wangerooge I had an audience, some guy
was waving his arms at me, there was an airshow on I
think he was telling me to get out of the way! I
parked up and looked around at the displays. I took
advantage and stayed here overnight, the beer tents saw
The next day I took my longest flight to Heide-Büsum a
cute place where the waitress service is good. The
airport has several hangars and fixed aircraft here and
there and a lad on a bicycle doing some aircraft
St. Peter-Ording - An interesting place featuring a
round hangar. There are more animated characters here, I
don't want to spoil it for you, I will let you find
On my way to Wyk/Föhr I passed overhead Pellworm which
is a nature reserve. The strip is right next to some
wind turbines so watch out for those huge blades!
Wyk/Föhr looks quite bland from the sky bust just wait
until you land. There is plenty to see (Mostly for
male pilots!) It's got two runways so no problem
with the wind direction. Again being close to the
sea you can hear those Gulls.
Last up for me was journey's end at Sylt/Westerland.
This has to be the biggest and best modelled of the
airports in this pack with a good looking terminal and
plenty of other airport buildings. There's a
gliding school and loads of things to discover as well
as watching the AI taking off and landing.
There's not a great deal of AI around the islands as
that is how it is in real life, I did notice the
advertised GA doing the tours though!
Bird watching at Wyk!
Journey's end at Sylt
Back down to earth
get down to business. This piece of software is going to
cost you 27.95 Euros for the download or 29.99 for the
box. Thinking of all the features I have described
above and others I haven't it's good value for money.
No performance issues for me it flowed nicely all the
way using the suggested settings. I guess if you
were going to fly a ridiculously complex aircraft you
may have a problem but I didn't try.
I did suffer however with some shimmering runways with
the base Microsoft default runway breaking through when
viewed from a distance. Mostly it clears up when
you are close. Some of the scenery shimmered too mostly
glass objects, at Heide-Büsum the trees show through the
control tower textures at certain angles. Aerosoft
say in their included Q&A's that this cannot be avoided
but neither can it be ignored.
If I was to be really picky I could point out some
problems with object placement, mostly the people but
they really wouldn't bother me on a day-to day flight.
Watching the AI at Sylt
and 3d people, not cardboard cut-outs, the sights, the
sounds. You feel that life is going on all around.
What Microsoft call the "Living World"
An excellent, well crafted, absorbing piece of software.
I found myself thanking Aerosoft every time I saw
something new. Island hoping has just to be the best of
it's class in this genre.
The total distance of my adventure is only around 230 Nm
so you could do it in a day, easy. But why would
you? I spent as much time looking at the details
in the scenery as I did flying!
I would recommend you fly this adventure in something
like the Digital Aviation Dornier DO-27 also available
from Aerosoft. I am sure when VFR Germany 2 is
released they will make ideal partners.
I could have posted a whole lot more screenshots but you
should buy it and see for yourself!
here is a small slide show, enjoy!
My review machine
MSI Intel 975X
PCI Express Motherboard
Intel E6600 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo
4x 512Mb DDR2 667Mhz PC5400
Nvidia 7900GTX 512Mb DDR3 PCI-E
Windows XP Pro SP2
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