Narvik Airport, Framnes – ORBX – review (5*)

Narrow runway lies dangerously close to the waters of Vestfjorden and the unique ice-free harbor of Narvik. This adds to the thrill of winter approaches as if the often rising for wasn’t scary enough.

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Pros & cons

What do I like in ORBX’s Narvik?

  • the best airport textures for winter I have ever seen in FSX
  • 3d terrain model around airport
  • autogen
  • landmarks
  • port infrastructure and ships
  • lighting
  • airport buildings
  • photoscenery
  • static planes and airport clutter

What I don’t like?

  • the difference between scenery lighting and the lighting of the surrounding area

What can be improved?

  • the momentary performance drop on approach

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Short version – 5*****

ORBX’s Narvik is an example of a great craftsmanship. It is good or very good in each and every aspect that I rate. There are no shortcomings, no flaws. I had to think really hard about it before I found one minor issue that caught my attention – and it’s a negligible one (some may say that the difference in lighting is actually an advantage). In some ways Narvik outmatches other sceneries – for example, its winter textures are far better than any other I have seen in FSX. That makes me want to fly to Narvik in winter (and I generally don’t fly in winter at all due to the quality of winter textures in FS). All this makes Narvik a perfect destination for a small piston plane or a turboprop.

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ENNK Narvik Airport, Framnes – ORBX

Scenery features (according to ORBX website):

  • 1m detailed terrain model for Airport and City
  • Hand crafted airport ground textures
  • Airport building textures created from onsite photography of the actual buildings
  • Photoreal area including mountains
  • Helipad in the Narvik mountains
  • 10m terrain mesh included
  • Uses most Orbx Flow technologies
  • Unique full seasonal variations
  • Unique static aircraft models
  • Custom animated windsock (p3d only)
  • Custom trees and grass
  • Unique night lighting for airport and city
  • Highly optimized for good performance
  • Designed to blend seamlessly with FTX Norway
  • Can also be used with FTX Global BASE with the included 10m mesh, but we recommend to use FTX Norway for a seamless blend to photoreal.
  • Developed by Tore Stranden

Purchase & installation, manual, config tool

Narvik can only be purchased via ORBX Direct system. FTX Central application will take care of the download and installation once you place the order. It’s a convenient way to install the scenery. FTX Central will also make sure that the scenery is up to date.

ORBX used the standard layout of its manuals for Narvik too. That means that you will get a neat pdf file with all information you need to install and properly configure the scenery. This time (it’s the only difference from the standard layout of the manual) the charts are included! I hope that ORBX will add charts to all its future products too.

Scenery configuration tool (you can access it from FTX Central) allows for extensive customization of the scenery. It will be helpful in case you have a low-end PC.

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Narvik

If you are into military history you might have heard about the battles of Narvik. During the second world war several land and naval engagements took place around Narvik and Vestfjord in spring of 1940. First the Germans landed there during their invasion of Norway. Then the battle had been joined by the English, French and Polish forces which landed around Narvik in an attempt to take it back.

Narvik owes its strategic importance to the Gulfstream current which brings warm water from Mexican gulf far north into the Sea of Norway. This makes Narvik the closest ice-free port to Swedish Kiruna, which is one of the most important iron ore mining centers in Europe. Both allies and Germans wanted to control the shipping route for the ore. Germans succeeded and occupied Norway for the next five years bringing the much-needed ore to Germany for the whole duration of the war.

After the war Narvik kept or even increased its role as the transit point for Swedish ore and today it’s not only a harbor but also an important administrative and business center between Tromso and Bodo.

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ENNK Narvik (Framnes) airport

Framnes is a local airport located very close to the city of Narvik. Don’t get it confused with much larger Harstad/Narvik Airport located in Evenes – a little over an hour away from Narvik.

ENNK single runway (01/19) is almost 1km in length (3,166ft) – just enough for small prop planes and some turboprop airliners (Wideroe operates Dash 8-100 on a route to Bodo). If you wonder what to fly to and from Narvik – Twin Otters, King Airs, and similar planes will be perfect. And everything smaller – like the Cessnas, Pipers and so on. From what is available in FSX – I would say that PMDG Jetstream and Carenado’s Beech 1900 are among the largest planes that can (realistically) fly to Narvik. The popular Dash 8-400 seems a little too big to fit in here.

The airport is very small – there are only two designated stands in front of the airport building, one of which is occupied by a static plane – Dash 8-100 (quite appropriately). There are also two other static planes – a King Air and a single engine Piper parked around the airport. If you wish to fly to Narvik online with some friends – I suggest you disable those. If you are flying alone – there is just enough free space to taxi around.

As space is sparse and you will find yourself looking at various objects from a very close distance. To make the impression positive the creator of this scenery had to prepare detailed objects and sharp textures. I have to say that he succeeded – it is one of those airports where you will want to find yourself walking around. In P3D you can use the avatar mode, if you use FSX – I suggest you use slew mode and take a walk around to see all the details of small objects and buildings. Really – go. Take a walk. The models are superb.

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Harbor

Both allies and Germans were interested in Narvik’s harbor. You will see why just after departure from runway 19. Take-off in the southern direction and turn left following the coastline. First, you will see a bulk carrier (a ship designed to carry coal or iron ore) being loaded with Swedish ore which was brought by train. Look carefully and you will be able to see rail tracks with ore carrying cars on the photoscenery. I miss the models of the cars a little – but tens of rail cars would probably be quite heavy on the performance.

Fly a bit further along the coastline and you will reach a small container terminal. The gray, clean concrete looks friendlier than the brutal, industrial and dirty ore depot and loading facility. The southern route along the coastline will get you to Håkvika where the scenery seamlessly merges with FTX Norway. If you are a diver look at the inlet in front of the ore loading faciliyy – these waters hide several shipwrecks that are accessible.

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Northern departure

Use runway 01 and climb steeply so that you will be able to see a training center and Narvik stadium. After several low-level flights I grew suspicious of the chairs on the stadium – they are clearly overscaled. Instead of hundreds (1000+?) seats on a covered stand, there are just 75. So the scale is off by a factor of ten or more. Still – I don’t mind. I don’t think you will ever watch a match at this stadium and for the purpose of sightseeing from the helicopter it’s more important to have a correct stand layout (it is correct) and correct colors (again – they are correct) than to have hundreds of chairs that would kill the performance.

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Further to the north, you will find the city of Narvik and Hålogaland bridge even further. Hålogaland in this scenery is completed. In the real world – it will be opened in 2017 shortening the distance to Evenes by 20 minutes.

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City

It’s not one of those idyllic Norwegian towns that you can see on a cover of a guidebook. Narvik is not a beautiful town. Instead of red, yellow and blue houses, you will find many gray, beige and brown. When I visited Narvik I have felt that this is more of an industrial than a touristic town. This scenery brings my memories flawlessly. The colors match with my memories. The lines of terraced houses and small blocks of flats are sometimes interrupted with an eight or ten story building. And I still ask myself – who came up with the idea of placing such a building among lower buildings. It seems out of place.

Mountains

Check out the mountains above Narvik. It’s a popualar skiing destination in winter and you will notice skiing routes cut in autogen forest of the scenery. Get to the top of the mountain with a helicopter – a helipad is located just next to the antenna.

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Lighting issues

I don’t likt the contrast between the lighting of Narvik scenery and the surrounding terrain (in my case – the lighting of FTX Norway). The lights are distingtively different. I would prefer the lighting to be toned a little to be less pronunced.

On the other hand – I have to say that the lighting of this scenery is excellent. In fact – my issue is with the lighting elsewhere.

But the bottom line is – when you approach Narvik – you will notice it from far, far away. You cannnot miss the brightly lit town.

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Performance – very good

The performance is very good (and my PC could use an upgrade). The only issue I had with the performance was a little drop during approach (it happens in every flight, sometimes once sometimes several time). I presume that it has something to do with loading of textures or models (maybe it happens when my FSX loads hi-res textures?). It is not a problem – just a minor issue that I noticed. Does not affect my flights.

My rating – 5*****

ORBX’s Narvik is an example of a great craftsmanship. It is good or very good in each and every aspect. There are no shortcomings, no flaws. I had to think really hard about before I found one minor issue that caught my attention – and it’s a negligible one (some may say that the difference in lighting is actually an advantage). In some ways Narvik outmatches other sceneries – for example, its winter textures are far better than any other I have seen in FSX. That makes me want to fly to Narvik in winter (and I generally don’t fly in winter at all due to the quality of winter textures in FS). All this makes Narvik a perfect destination for a small piston plane or a turboprop.

Quality to price ratio – good

32.95 Australian Dollars for a very good scenery – it is a good price.

Products also visible on my screenshots:

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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Narvik Airport, Framnes - ORBX
Author Rating
5

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