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RAS Galway Airport and Arann Islands
For FSX Developed by Roussillon Aero Simulation
Reviewed by Kieran Marshall
December 2012


Galway Airport was conceived originally as a Royal Air Force landing ground at Oranmore. That may surprise you, since it is in the Republic of Ireland. But, until 1922, Ireland was ruled by the English, hence it being a RAF base. It was a grass airfield, and as such, was unusable in the winter when the ground became frozen.

A German businessman, Ernest Steiner, built his own airstrip outside his factory in Carnmore, approximately 4nm west of Galway city. In 1974, the Irish regional operator Aer Arann moved in, serving various destinations in the UK and one or two in mainland Europe. The runway was later extended to 3937ft (1200m), to accommodate Aer Arann’s ATR42’s.

Aer Arann weren’t the only operator. For a time in 1988, Ryanair operated services to London Luton (later Stansted), using HS-748’s. Aer Lingus also flew Galway-Dublin services. Some business jets can use the airport – for example, the first jet aircraft was a Gulfstream II.

Galway in real life, shot from the motorway

Aer Arran made Galway the fastest growing Irish airport in 2007, with new flights to Birmingham, Lorient, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Cork and Dublin, amongst others. Unfortunately, the €10 travel charge introduced by the government, and the general economic downturn, signalled the end for Galway Airport as a commercial airport. The airport suspended operations at the end of December, 2011.

Galway in real life, shot from the motorway 2

But what of the Arann Islands? Well, the islands (known in Gaelige as Oileáin Árann) consist of 3 islands – Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Thiar. These translate roughly to Big Island, Middle Island and East Island.

Inis Mór (Inishmore is the official translation) is obviously the largest of the three islands – it is also the most westerly. It is most famous for the fort Dún Aengus. It was built in the 2nd Century BC. It is an impressive sight, as it sits on top of a 382ft cliff.

Inis Meáin is the middle of the three islands. It is made up of limestone, being an extension to the Burren national park (made up famously of a massive limestone pavement). It has an unusual climate – the temperature in July is around 15°, whilst in January it is 6°. This gives it one of the longest growing periods in Ireland. The climate is shared in the three islands.

Inis Thiar is the most easterly and smallest of the islands. It too shares many of the characteristics of Inis Meáin. Being the smallest, it really only has an airstrip and some historical monuments.

Across the three islands, a strong Irish-speaking community exists. They share not only the language but the cultures that were mostly wiped out in the hundreds of years of English rule. It survived mainly because no-one bothered to go out there! Over the years, the people have survived by ferries and later the planes that flew from the Galway coast. This is now their lifeblood – planes and ferries bringing in tourists.

Downloading and Installing

I received the review copy by download. It’s a reasonable 138mb download, and it is easy enough to install. I’d recommend reading the manual to ascertain which version you should install. The missions for FSX are a separate installation. The FS9 version installed no problem – the FSX one requires a password. I had to request the from Flight Sim Store, who kindly donated this copy for review

What you get

You get an improved land-class for the Arann Islands, along with the three airports on the islands; Galway Airport (EICM) and a mission pack, containing 4 missions. Everything is for both FSX and FS9, except for the missions which are FSX only.

Galway Airport

The first impressions of Galway Airport are that it is quite basic. There are only a few buildings dotted around, but don’t let that fool you this is quite an accurate representation. The main building looks good, and is kind on frame rates. The car park could be a little bit bigger, but is nicely modelled.

04 - Galway main terminal
Galway main terminal
05 - Galway Terminal at night
 Galway Terminal at night

The main hangar is accurate, with the ‘inverted V’ style. Unfortunately, there is only one hangar. From my own pictures, there should be two. The taxiways are well-drawn out, albeit in default textures. This is a nice compromise – the buildings are rendered well, whilst the taxiways help performance on lower-spec machines.

06 - Galway secondary hangar
Galway secondary hangar
07 - Galway secondary hangar at night
Galway secondary hangar at night
08 - Galway main hangar
Galway main hangar
09 - Galway main hangar at night
Galway main hangar at night
Strangely placed hangar

Arran Islands

The default Microsoft offering was sparse at best. The offering here is much more enhanced. There is a slight change in the mesh from what I can see but the main differences come in the airports.

Default FSX, they are just simple runways. In this offering, simple buildings reign. This is accurate with the real airports. On Inismór, the simple taxiway off the runway leads to a small, one storey building. This is semi-covered in a metal, and is nice to look at. The overall shape is good compared to what I can find.

The same goes for the other two airports on the islands. Inis Thiar has a nice little building with ‘Aer Arann’ in green on the side. On Inis Meáin, the building is very church-like. This is because it has a look-out tower. It is also the only airfield with more than one runway – a grass runway on a crossing path to the main runway is sometimes used.

11 - Inismaan
12 - Inismaan 2
Inismaan 2
13 - Inismaan at night
Inismaan at night
14 - Inismore
15 - Inismore 2
 Inismore 2
16 - Inismore at night
 Inismore at night
17 - Inismore at night 2
 Inismore at night 2
18 - Inisheer
19 - Inisheer from the landside
 Inisheer from the landside
20 - Inisheer at night
 Inisheer at night


The missions are a separate installation. Once installed into FSX there are 4 missions to choose from. Three are in the ‘Just for Fun’ category and one is in the ‘Backcountry’ category. They use the default Cessna 172 and the Bell 206. The missions consist of navigating to the Islands and back, but with the added challenge of the typical Irish weather. I shan’t give too much away, but just to say that they are worth doing!

Overall Experience

Overall, the scenery is a welcome boost to the islands and Galway. There are minor inaccuracies in the manual (stating Galway Airport is 4 miles west of Galway, when in fact it is east), and a slightly difficult installation, requiring a password. But, apart from those slight problems, it does offer a large improvement in the area over the default offering.

21 - Looking over to the main hangar
Looking over to the main hangar
22 - On the ground at Galway
 On the ground at Galway

System Specs Required

Internet connection (for download only)
Microsoft Flight Simulator X Acceleration)
2.0 GHz or any Dual Core processor
2.0 GB of RAM
150 MB hard drive space
512 MB video card

Frames Rates

Around the scenery- 20-30fps

Note on Frame rates – Whilst 10-20fps may sound slow, and it is, but the default Cessna 172 barely tops 20fps outside, and about 20-30fps in the VC. This is because my system isn’t great for FSX, but will still run it

Total flight time – Around 15hrs around the scenery areas


Great performance
Much needed to bring the area up
Missions useful to look at the area

Slight inaccuracies in the manual
Only one big hangar at Galway
Textures on the buildings aren’t high quality

    • Level of detail:
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    • Quality of buildings (if applicable):
    • Documentation:
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Final Mutley's Hangar Score 7.5/10


Kieran Marshall
Review machine Spec:
Intel Core2 6400 @2.13GHz | 2GB RAM |ATI Radeon X1300 |Windows XP