Hammerfest (ENHF) – ORBX – review (5*)

Small airport beyond the Arctic Circle. Expect bad weather and circle to land approach to a short runway. Hammerfest. Norway. A scenery by ORBX.

Pros and cons

What do I like in ORBX’s Hammerfest?

  • curved runway
  • airport model and textures
  • static planes matching the location
  • Hammerfest town
  • 50cm/px photoscenery (10cm/px at the airport)
  • the best industrial site I’ve seen so far!
  • approach lights

What do I not like?

  • still looking…

What can be improved?

  • runway and appron elevation – accordint to charts it’s a little too high (by 10-40 feet)
  • scenery coverage
  • anti-avalanche barriers in summer – I have no idea why aren’t they present (you can see them on location photos and in the photoscenery)

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In short – 5 stars

It’s one of those sceneries that simply have no flaws. It’s well designed, well modeled, textured and filled with autogen that matches building locations. I flew over Hammerfest several times looking for the buildings that exist in the real world and I always succeeded in finding them. It also features a curved runway – something rarely seen in FSX or P3D. In short – this is a solid and faultless scenery. But somehow… I don’t see the magic here. That’s why I recommend Hammerfest to anyone looking for a small airport in northern Norway but I don’t think it’s a “must have” for everyone. If you fly in this region – that’s something for you.

Buy ENHF Hammerfest Airport at ORBX direct.

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Do you ever wonder about how people live in harsh conditions of the northern latitudes? Why they settle there and how the towns grow? Most towns like Hammerfest owe its development to rich fisheries, abundance of wild game and good means of transportation, which in this case means – a safe harbor and navigable waters connecting it with other settlements. For centuries Hammerfest depended on fish and game as a sources of food and trading goods. During those times it was only accesible by boat.

The climate in Northern Norway is mild compared to other locations beyond the Arctic Circle. Gulfstream current brings masses of warm water from the Gulf of Mexico. It warms the place – the annual average temperature is as high as 2 degrees (C) – just compare this to Barrow, Alaska where annual average is -11 C. Gulfstream also brings humid air, so Hammerfest endures four to five times as much precipitation as Barrow.

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Today Hammerfest lives from gas industry and tourism. LNG facility on Melkøya island supports Snøhvit gas field in Barents sea – some 80 miles from Hammerfest, which makes it the best airport to transport people to and from the offshore platforms. Helicopter transport companies like CHC and Bristow Norway make much of the traffic at Hammerfest Airport.

The town is also a starting point for boat trips to the Nordkapp (The North Cape). The northernmost point of Europe (let’s not get into the discussion if it really is the northernmost point or not – it’s being questioned). Hammerfest is also a popular stop for ships that cruise Norwegian waters. The beauty of this place has been long acknowledged. German Kaiser Willhelm II enjoyed his visits here. He later became one of the major contributors for the rebuilding of Hammerfest after a huge fire destroyed half of this city in the late 19th century.


Hammerfest Airport (ENHF)

It’s a usual story for the Northern Norway. Floatplanes and flying boats were the first planes to arrive in Hammerfest (in the 1930s) and for the next four decades, the harbor served as a water runway that was available in good weather from spring to autumn. Unfortunately for the small town, the local airline – Wideroe (pronounce like if it started with V) decommissioned their floatplanes in the 50s or 60s, which left Hammerfest with no permanent air connection.

During the 60s and 70s, a new airport was designed and built just a few kilometers north from Hammerfest. Its single runway (05/23) is almost 900m long, which makes it accessible to small planes – mostly piston singles and twin, and the turboprops. Wideroe started its service with Twin Otters later switching to DHC-7s. Currently, Dash 8-100 of Wideroe and VikingAir operate scheduled flights.

Wideroe started service with Twin Otters later switching to DHC-7s. Currently, Dash 8-100s of Wideroe and VikingAir operate scheduled flights.

The runway slopes up from the point roughly in the middle towards both ends. It’s a 1% gradient slope both ways (1% – more or less).

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What for fly and where?

Wideroe and FlyViking fly to (and from) Alta, Berlevåg, Båtsfjord, Bodo, Hasvik, Honningsvåg, Kirkenes, Mehamn, Sørkjosen, Tromsø, Vadsø… Keep in mind that most of those flights are not direct, but require stopovers. For example, WF968 flight brings passengers from Alta, Berlevåg, Honningsvåg, Mehamn, and Vadsø. The trip from Alta to Hammerfest takes three hours and twenty minutes. Plane departs Alta at 16:05, and lands in Hammerfest (80km away as the crow flies) at 19:25. Driving by car would take little over two hours.

If you don’t have a DHC 8-100 for FSX or P3D (I don’t know about any decent add-ons for this plane) – you can still do the same flight in a Twin Otter.

Helicopter pilots will not find any offshore platforms in FSX or P3D, but with a little help of AI Carriers add-on, you can put a ship where the platform would be. For short flights – go to Melkøya LNG facility. There is a helipad on top of a building.

The airport has limited general aviation handling capabilities (only two small hangars for ga aircraft), but you can take a Cessna or any other plane that is not limited by the 900m runway.

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ORBX – ENHF Hammerfest Airport

Hammerfest is the lates Norwegian airport by ORBX and it fits with their FTX Norway area scenery. With five airports by ORBX and several other created by various developers Norway becomes a very nice place in FSX and P3D.

The scenery was created by Finni Hansen who did Notodden earlier – check out my 5-star review of this airport.

Key features (according to ORBX):

  • Full interior modeling
  • Curved runway
  • Entire cityscape of Hammerfest
  • 3 Seasons; Summer, fall, winter
  • 10cm + 50cm/px aerial imagery
  • Custom effects
  • Running rabbit and circle-to-land
  • Custom AI planes and vehicles
  • Orbx Flow technologies
  • By Finni Hansen

Purchase, installation, manual

You can get this scenery at developer’s online store – ORBX Direct for $32.95 (Australian).

Installation is fully automated – just click the installation button in the FTX Central.

The manual contains the usual credits, descriptions of location and recommended settings. There are also three charts – I’m not really sure why they didn’t include other charts for this airport. Fortunately, the Norwegian AIP is free and easily accessible.

Sloping runway

FSX and Prepar3d users, who perform most of their takeoffs and landings at perfectly level airports, may be shocked by the sloping runway in Hammerfest. You will notice that something is off at the very first sight. The apron is elevated and then you need to taxi few feet down to the runway. Choose taxiway A and the drop will be quite significant. From there you need to backtrack to either threshold – and both ways you will taxi upwards.

I took measurements. The runway lowest point is located close to the intersection with taxiway A – it’s at 259ft. Runway 05 threshold is at 277ft and the opposite threshold is a bit lower – 274ft. This runway profile is very similar to the real runway.

Stickler in me can’t ignore a little mistake in airport elevations. The thresholds are actually a little lower (262 and 261ft) and the midpoint of the runway should be at 249ft according to the data in AIP. Also, the apron should be much lower – in the real world it’s at 254ft – just 5 feet over the lowest point of the runway. But these details are insignificant and they do not change the way I feel about the airport elevation profile – it’s outstanding job!

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Approach lights

You will often encounter circle-to-land procedures in Norway. There are several factors contributing to their prevalence. First – Norwegian small airports are often located in a difficult terrain and therefore their runway direction and favorable approaches were often sacrificed. This may be the case here – the airport was built on the only level area of sufficient size and it’s constrained by the sea at one end and rising terrain at the other. With mountains on one side and the town on the other, there was no way it could be built differently. There is a proposal for the new airport, which is currently evaluated and it says that the only way it can be built elsewhere is by reclaiming land from the sea.

In Hammerfest, the terrain rises approach minimums to the level of more than 1000 ft. In this case circling approach may be a faster and more convenient way of reaching the runway than maneuvering for the opposite approach.

To make it easier (and safer) circle to land lights were built on the hills and running rabbit lights were added on the extended centerline. The sequential lights make it easier to find the runway in bad weather.

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Make sure you enlarge both screenshots – the lights are somewhere on the ground. They are not obvious (do not count for the usuall FSX lights that are visible from 10+ miles). These lights are tiny. But they do help!

A little procedural advice. When flying instrument approach the pilot needs to see the runway or approach lights (!) before descending below minimums or flying past the Missed Approach Point. The pilot also has to see the runway (or the lights) during circle to land maneuver. Circle-to-land lights that you can find in this scenery make it much easier to fulfill this requirement (which makes my approach legal – it would be questionable with no additional lighting).

Melkøya – LNG facility

For me, this is the best industrial site I’ve seen so far in FSX or Prepar3d!

LNG facility is easily visible from a distance due to flames from flare stack where unwanted gases are burned. It’s a good landmark for navigation – especially at night when the visibility is good.

I did some reading about Melkøya and it appears that it reduces its carbon footprint by sending carbon dioxide back to the gas field for storage. For this process another pipeline is layed on the ocean flor.

Back to the sim. A properly modeled industrial site is a rare sight in a flight simulator. Such place requires extensive modeling (just look at all this piping in any refinery!) that would kill performance with only a slight addition to the scenery. I think that Finni Hansen chose the optimal level of detail ensuring that Melkøya is pleasant to the eye but doesn’t lower the framerate. Helicopter pilots will be pleased to visit this place and its helipad.

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Hammerfest – the town

Hammerfest is considered the northmost city in the world (Honningsvåg, also in Norway, disputes this claim). With the population of a little over ten thousand, it’s a perfect place to put in a scenery – it’s large enough to fly around it for a short while, but it’s size does not impede modeling. With larger cities, developers look for simplifications. Here I’ve found every real world building that I’ve been looking for.

Just take a look at the strange building in the harbor – just next to the ocean-going tugboats (they usually use them to tow offshore platforms). The building with the ragged facade on one side and the round facade on the other – it’s a school! And yes – it’s such an unusual building in the real world too.


Buildings in Hammerfest are usually simple, cuboid structures covered with gabled roofs. That makes it easier to model them. The time saved on modeling was probably spent on texturing. Even the curtains and flowers are visible behind some windows. And I’m talking about the town, not the airport, so it’s the place where the developers rarely pay such attention to detail.

What else caught my attention? There is a strange crescent-like building overlooking Gávpotjávri lake. Curious thing. But that’s exactly how it looks in Hammerfest.


I also noticed the Baksalen school and Skytterhuset hotel nearby (the building with a light green roof). Flying back to the coast I flew over Turistua – a highly recommended hotel and one of the best viewpoints in Hammerfest. Its strange architecture resembles buildings that one can find in the Austrian Alps.

In the city center there is a blocky building with a keep like structure on top. It’s ther Gjenreisningsmuseet – the museum of reconstruction. Church (also a characteristic landmark) is located 100m further from there.

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Turning back to the airport I overflew the hills again. There is another object worth mentioning – the anti-avalanche barriers. The winters here are harsh with abundance of snowfall. Avalanches put the town at risk so wherevere it’s practical such barriers are being built to prevent damage. I’ve read that where the avalanche risk is too high some families are evacuated from their homes until the danger passes. Unfortunately the barriers are not visible in summer. They should be (confirmed with real location photos – the summer photoscenery shows them too).

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The airport

Fully modeled interiors? I’m usually indifferent to this feature, which becomes more and more popular in sceneries. This may actually be a good idea here – on a small airport interiors improve visuals a little with no visible impact on performance.

Let’s check them out. First I looked into the tower. This is the point where I’m slowly becoming convincet that modeled interiors may be actually a nice addition. There are amazing details inside – like this plant in the back. Or the screens showing images typical for ATC consoles. What I like most is the totally uninterested guy maning the tower. He’s just reading his newsparer. Let’s hope that it’s the shift of the other guy – the one who is standing on the balcony.

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The terminal interior is also modeled and filled with “slightly animated” people. I used the word “slightly” to distinguish them from animated people that I know from ORBX’s recent sceneries. People in Hammerfest move a little, but they don’t perform any complex actions. That form of animation is nice but somehow I miss the usual ORBX scenes – like this mechanic I remember from Palm Springs and Sandane.

I hate emptiness at airports so here I’m delighted to see several planes and helicopters – all are painted in the colors of companies that fly here.

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Coverage – “airport plus”

35 square kilometers. Aproximately 6 by 6km. Sea makes the third of this. With this size it’s too small to make a nice place to fly over for a longer period of time. And the visible difference in texture color between Hammerfest and FTX Norway doesn’t help. So, despite a very nice rendition of the town it’s just another airport scenery. Mostly suited for departures and arrivals. It’s not a flaw. It’s a choice. But this choice affects my opinion (look at my price to value description).

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Performance – greate, with some reservations

In terms of framerates it’s a very good scenery and it only helps that you will probably never fly a PMDG 777 into this airport. Unfortunately I have some reservations about photoscenery optimization – I could not get it to load as sharp as my other photosceneries. Yes – it was perfectly sharp in a close distance to the plane. But as the distance grew the sharpness dropped.


Summary – 5 stars

It’s one of those sceneries that simply have no flaws. It’s well designed, well modeled, textured and filled with autogen that matches building locations. I flew over Hammerfest several times looking for the buildings that exist in the real world and I always succeeded in finding them. It also features a curved runway – something rarely seen in FSX or P3D. In short – this is a solid and faultless scenery. But somehow… I don’t see the magic here. That’s why I recommend Hammerfest to anyone looking for a small airport in northern Norway but I don’t think it’s a “must have” for everyone. If you fly in this region – that’s something for you.

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Price to quality / value ratio

Let me split this into two parts. There is a price to quality ration and unquestionably this scenery is worth its price.

On the other hand – I’m not sure if it should be the first choice if I someone has $32.95 (Australian) to spare. Possible activities I see in this region and in this scenery are a bit narrow. That’s why I recommend this scenery to the people who enjoy flying over Norway. It’s not a “must have” for everyone. But it’s a worthy addition to a “Norwegian collection” – if you have one.

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Buy ENHF Hammerfest Airport at ORBX direct.

This review features following add-ons:

Review Date
Reviewed Item
ENHF Hammerfest Airport by ORBX
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