German Airfields 1 - Island Hopping
from Aerosoft

A review by Joe (Mutley) Lawford
February 2008


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 surroundings.

Included airfields are as follows-


• EDXW – Sylt/Westerland

• EDXY – Wyk/Föhr

• EDXB – Heide-Büsum

• EDXO – St. Peter-Ording

• EDWR – Borkum

• EDWJ – Juist

• EDWY – Norderney

• EDWZ – Baltrum

• EDWL – Langeoog

• EDWG – Wangerooge

• EDXP – Harle

• EDWB – Bremerhaven

• EDWS – Norden-Norddeich

• EDWI – Wilhelmshaven

• EDWE – Emden

© Google Earth from supplied link


Installation & space requirements

Island 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.

The manual 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.


The installation process is swift and uncomplicated with the scenery being automatically activated in the scenery library.

First impressions.
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 too.

Next up, another pdf manual of airfield charts with loads of detail, excellent.

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 airfield.


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 A 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. 

Island Hopping

So it's time to head North for some hopping!

These 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 to that!  

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 spotting.

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 them.

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

So lets 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

Lasting impressions

Animated 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!

Oh! ok here is a small slide show, enjoy!



   My review machine specs:   GAIH Links:
   Self build:

   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
   FSX SP1

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