Hammerfest Airport (ENHF) is the second airport developed by Finni Hansen for Orbx. His first airport being Notodden Airport (ENNO) in southern Norway. For Hammerfest though, Finni has ventured way up north and into the Arctic Circle.
Hammerfest Airport is a regional airport at Prærien in Hammerfest, Norway. It is operated by the state owned Avinor and handled 145,396 passengers in 2014, making it the third busiest regional airport in the country. The airport has a 880m (2,890ft) runway aligned 05/23. Services are provided by Widerøe using the Dash 8-100. Up to eight daily flights are available flying to Tromsø and public service obligation flights are flown eastwards to other airports in Finnmark. The airport is the base for offshore helicopter services operated by Bristow Norway and CHC Helicopter Service. An estimated 40,000 people from Hammerfest Airport's catchment area annually use Alta Airport for flights to Oslo.
The first plans for serving Hammerfest with an airline route was launched in a government plan from 1933. It proposed that flights in northern Norway be carried out using seaplanes and proposed Hammerfest as one of several stops on a route from Trondheim to Vadsø. Norwegian Air Lines (DNL) received the concession to operate all routes in Norway from 1935, resulting in the coastal route from Bergen to Tromsø commencing. The following year a connecting route from Tromsø via Hammerfest to Honningsvåg was subcontracted to Widerøe. The water aerodrome in Hammerfest was located at Rypefjord, which is approximately 4km south of Hammerfest, and consisted of a buoy where the aircraft parked. Passengers were transported to the aircraft in a boat. All flights were terminated in 1939 and remained so until the end of World War II in 1945.
ENHF Hammerfest Airport is available from Orbx Direct via the FTX Central 3 application. It is priced at AUD$32.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. Download and installation took no more than a few minutes with the process being incredibly simple and quick using FTX Central 3. Since FTX Central upgraded to Version 3 and Orbx have set up their own direct online store, there is now no need to go to any third party reseller. All purchasing and downloading happens from within FTX Central 3. Simply click on the scenery you want, pay for it, then FTX Central 3 does all the work for you, even placing the scenery in the correct location within your scenery library. The Orbx Norway Region pack is also required for full functionality.
There are approximately 35sq km of beautiful Norwegian scenery to explore with Hammerfest. Finni Hansen has incorporated the whole cityscape of Hammerfest, including the offshore island of Melkøya. Melkøya only covers approximately 171 acres and Finni has modelled the whole area, including some animated fire emitting from a couple of gas exhaust towers. Finni has given the city of Hammerfest the full Orbx treatment, which includes a fully operational, beautifully curved, sloping runway.
Features include:full interior modelling;
It is evident in this package that Finni Hansen has gone to a great deal of effort to model the city of Hammerfest in its entirety. The attention to every single building that he has developed and placed is quite amazing. In addition, the underlying photo real textures blend seamlessly with the Orbx textures. There are three seasonal textures to Orbx Hammerfest, but I should point out that at this latitude winter and hard winter are much the same texturally as are autumn and spring. If you stay up here long enough though, the summer textures are vibrant greens, greys and browns.
Hammerfest sits in a very rocky area with very sparse vegetation and very sparse trees, if any at all. This all plays into the hands of the frame rate seekers because Hammerfest performs wonderfully smoothly. This may also be because Hammerfest is quite a small area and even though Finni has packed a lot of custom objects and buildings in this area, it runs very smooth. My frame rates barely move and equally, my vas usage barely dropped at all. Which brings me to the airport. Finni has modelled the interior of most of the buildings at the airport and this adds to the immersive factor for me. It never ceases to impress me when developers take the time to model the interiors, as I always like to have a walk around the airports before flying. It gives me a feel for the place, especially creeping up to the tower to surprise the air traffic controllers. It looks like Hammerfest may have bouts of down time because I caught one ATC person managing to read the daily tabloid. There are the usual Orbx PeopleFlow in and around the confines of the airport and some custom AI aircraft and vehicles. There are also one or two small lighthouses to look out for too.
Finni has also included some very nice animations in the guise of windsocks, smoke stacks (that can be switched off in winter in FTX Central if that is your preference), flames emitting from the gas towers, and even a small cargo crane is in perpetual motion on Melkøya.
There are some remarkable architectural buildings in Hammerfest and it is clear that Finni has spent a lot of time in this region in order to get that detail into his work. Looking on Google Maps, confirms that the buildings you see in Orbx Hammerfest are actually there and has the detail associated with each and every one of them.
These are just two of many, many more superbly rendered buildings which Finni has included in Hammerfest. There are a great number of custom made buildings and objects in and around Hammerfest for you to explore. Getting away from the city and up to the airport itself, Finni has produced an excellent bijou airport, with excellently detailed buildings and ground textures.
Night lighting has been cleverly achieved and includes the whole city of Hammerfest, the airport, and the offshore gas terminal island of Melkøya. The slope of the runway is even more evident at night as the runway lights curve away from you as you approach from either direction in the diminishing light. The approach to Runway 23 has animated running rabbit lights. Although the night lighting is evident, I found that it is only visible whilst in the immediate vicinity. Flying not too far away and the lights diminish greatly to the point of extinction and this is also true of Hammerfest itself. Being a small city, it soon fades away all too soon when you fly only a few minutes away. Nevertheless, Finni has done a good job with this small area.
As with most (if not all) scenery add-ons I have reviewed, I managed to dig out a couple of anomalies within Hammerfest, but rather than point these out in the details section, I thought they could be added as an aside rather than a criticism. The couple I found are only being mentioned as I found them purely by chance. I like to have a nitpicker's look around the airports, just to see if there is any anomaly. Sure enough, I stumbled upon these two. As I say, these do not alter the fact that Hammerfest is a great little airport and Finni has done a great job with it. It is just for laughs and do not in any way influence my decision making when I arrive at the score for Hammerfest. Anomaly or nitpicking, you decide!
As part of the installation, a 15 page user manual is included and it explains all the user needs to know, including how to use the control panel, and how to configure your settings for Hammerfest. A short, succinct manual which does what it says on the tin.
Performance using my system was excellent. There was no discernible downgrade in performance and no stuttering at all apart from what looked like a couple of tiny blips on exiting the runway at the tower end, but even that was not great enough as to ruin the experience. Although, in the user manual it states that various components of the scenery, if enabled, could reduce frames rates. This was not evident whilst I flew or walked around the Hammerfest scenery. I believe this is testament to how thorough Finni has been in rendering this add-on. My frame rates are locked at 31fps within the sim and this was achieved throughout my time flying around Hammerfest.
I seem to be always playing devil's advocate when it comes to Value for Money with airport add-ons. The reason being is I have a little idea as to how many hours work goes in to producing these wonderful scenery additions. That being said though, I feel maybe, just maybe, Hammerfest is a tad on the high side when it comes to "bang for your buck". When Hammerfest is compared to other much larger airport add-ons, it is clear that you are not getting that Value for Money we all seek. For a few dollars more, it is possible to pick up much larger airports with multiple runways and much more detailed area coverage. However, here is the rub, Hammerfest contains a sloping runway. The majority of us know that sloping runways are the "Holy Grail" for airport designers because they are notoriously difficult to implement in flight simulators, even Prepar3D, at the moment anyhow. Finni has mastered this elusive technique with Hammerfest, so I feel for that alone it is worth every penny. The only bugbear is AI traffic still cannot seem to get it right. Whilst I was parked at Hammerfest, I observed an AI aircraft approach both runways and both times the aircraft disappeared under the scenery having landed at least two thirds of the way down the runway first, only to reappear from under the hills further on. This is not the fault of the developer, it is just the way flight simulation is at the moment. After flying around Hammerfest for ten minutes or so, it is obvious that you soon exhaust what there is to see and do. Apart from the runway at Hammerfest, there is also the heli-pad on Melkøya but that is it.
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
Asus Maximus VIII Hero motherboard;
Intel i7 6700K, 4GHz;
Asus Strix GeForce GTX970 OC 4G;
32GB DDR4, Corsair Vengeance, 3000MHz;
500GB, Corsair Force 3 SSD (OS), 2TB WD HDD (Prepar3D), and 1.5TB WD Sata HDD (programs);
Windows 7, (64bit); and
Lockheed Martin P3D Version 3.4.
Additional Major Add-ons. Active Sky 2016, Active Sky Cloud Art, Orbx FTX Global BASE; Orbx FTX Global VECTOR; Orbx FTX Global openLC series; Orbx FTX region series; Orbx FTX airport series; Orbx FTX Trees HD, SPAD, FSUIPC, and WIDEFS.
This is only the second airport that Finni Hansen has produced for Orbx, which just goes to show that Orbx are continuing to amass a fine collection of extremely talented developers. Although ENHF Hammerfest Airport is small in comparison to other Orbx titles, it still has that sprinkling of Orbx magic dust - small in size, extra large in detail.