Review by Rick Desjardins
Gibraltar International Airport, ICAO: LXGB is the civilian airport that serves the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. There is a single runway 09/27@5,827ft. The airport is listed among the 10 most dangerous airports in the world. It was given this distinction for several reasons; it is located between the iconic Rock of Gibraltar and the busy city of La Línea de la Concepción, pilots must brake as soon as they touchdown and possibly the most important reason is that there is a busy road that runs directly across the runway which must be closed every time an aircraft lands or takes off.
The operations at Gibraltar airport are a bit unusual as both the aerodrome and runway are owned by the British Ministry of Defence and operated by the Royal Air Force as RAF Gibraltar with civilian operators using the civilian terminal.
In 2022 approximately 446,000 passengers on 3,868 flights passed through the airport’s facilities with the majority of flights connecting to London-Heathrow.
The interesting geography and inherent difficulty of landing at this airport are what drew me to want to review this product. The airport has no ILS or VOR facilities only non precision approaches are available utilizing either surveillance radar approaches or visual approaches.
The product features the airport proper along with the area south of it that includes the city of Gibraltar, including its harbours and marinas and then the Rock of Gibraltar.
Documentation and Configuration
Installation was quick and simple requiring you to add your email and registration code to complete the install. They do allow you to choose where you want to install the scenery which is nice if you use a program such as MSFS addon linker.
After the installation you will have access to a one page readme.pdf document as well as the RDPresets Gibraltar Configuration tool. The readme suggests you disable the Asobo version of LXGB for a better experience and also tells you how to use the configuration tool. When using the config tool the first point to note is that you must set your aircraft preference while MSFS is closed. The second is that only the specific aircraft listed or the default MSFS aircraft are supported. If you are not flying any of the aircraft listed you will need to select “Turn off vehicles” to disable the vehicle traffic crossing the runway. I tested the tool with default MSFS aircraft and found that turning the strobe lights on actually enabled traffic which was the opposite of what I found when flying with the Maddog MD82 and Just Flight BAE 146. With these two aircraft traffic was disabled when the strobe lights were on, this was how I had expected the tool to work as strobe lights would normally be on when taxiing, taking off or landing.
Ground textures throughout the entire airport area were very good being high resolution and realistic which is something I have to come to expect in any MSFS airport scenery. Weathering and dirt were visible in those areas such as the aircraft apron parking stands. Ground markings throughout were also well defined and looked to be accurate when compared to aerial photos.
Probably one of the most recognizable visual features of this scenery has to be the Rock of Gibraltar; it’s imposing presence looming tall adjacent to the airport and the city of Gibraltar. Here they used high resolution rocky textures giving it the rugged look it deserves.
The ground textures used for the city of Gibraltar and adjacent harbour were for the most part hi res photo textures as well and I was happy with the overall look.
This airport does not have many structures. On the north side of the runway are the main terminal, control tower complex, fire hall and several smaller ancillary buildings. On the south side of the runway are the main cluster of RAF Gibraltar buildings consisting mainly of two hangars and a couple of other smaller structures.
The standout structure here is the main terminal and you can see that they gave it a lot of attention. Both the interior and exterior were meticulously recreated with appropriate textures, colours and weathering. Exploring the exterior you can see how they captured the building’s modern look with its massive multi storey floor to ceiling windows and extended outdoor terrace. The sloping roof with the small added details was not forgotten either. The attention to detail has been carried around to all sides including the terminal roadside passenger arrivals and departures area.
As I mentioned earlier there are a number of other buildings besides the passenger terminal that have also been diligently recreated in the scenery package; control tower, RAF hangars, fire station etc. Here to they have used a combination of hi res textures, colouring and weathering techniques and added details to give us a realistic representation of all these various structures.
Surrounding Area Structures
The city of Gibraltar plus the harbour and marinas which are located to the south of the airport and at the base of the Rock of Gibraltar are also modelled. These have all been populated with a variety of high quality residential, commercial, recreational and industrial structures as appropriate.
The interiors of most structures were modelled as well providing that extra bit of detail that could be appreciated when exploring up close. Again the main terminal was the most obvious to the eye due to the large transparent windowed walls. Sitting in the cockpit of the 737 at my designated parking stand I could see into the terminal building giving me a realistic impression of being at Gibraltar Airport. Exploring the inside there were people scattered about in various locations going about their business. There was plenty of seating, restaurants, shops, escalators, security check points and much more; overall, well done.
Another interesting one was the control tower, a very unique vantage point overlooking the runway and the Rock of Gibraltar.
Other structures such as the fire station and RAF hangars also had their interiors modelled to further enhance the realism factor.
I found the airport to be populated appropriately with a wide variety of high quality objects. When you consider the different types of day to day operations that are required for aircraft navigation, security, passenger and baggage handling at any airport and then look around you see that they’ve taken these factors into consideration. Over and above the obvious they have also populated the south apron, which is used by the RAF, with several static military helicopters and a jaguar fighter jet. In front of the jet there is an aircraft marshaller who looks like he is dancing. This is a little something they could have left out.
The scenery depicts the construction of the Kingsway Road that will take traffic around the airport traversing it just beyond the end of runway 27. They have shown this as ongoing construction with various work vehicles, infrastructure items like drainage pipes and concrete piers and walls.
As the scenery includes the entire land mass south of the airport they have also put a lot of effort into making it more realistic through the addition of many different objects. There were ships and boats of varying sizes in the adjacent harbours and marinas, the prominent Muslim and North Front cemeteries located next to the runway are both populated with headstones. You have vehicle traffic circulating in the city and of course crossing the runway.
Having just complimented the developers on their work there was one rather important visual feature they omitted. That would be the yellow marker buoy topped with a flashing light that is located in the water approximately 5,000ft west of the end of runway 09. It is a marker used for approaches and take-offs for that runway.
Night time as expected is an entirely different experience and it was no less interesting or satisfying. All of the lighting was very good. The overhead apron lighting was not too bright and the illuminated areas matched the sources of that lighting. Ground lighting along the runways, taxiways and aprons was also very good with realistic colours and intensity. PAPI lights were visible and functional
Those buildings that had the interiors modelled also had their interiors lit up at night. Especially noticeable due to their size and location was the passenger terminal and control tower.
Night time lighting extended beyond the airport’s boundaries with various buildings in the city of Gibraltar being lit up as well as some of the roadways.
I found this to be a very interesting airport to fly in and out of. To see the Rock of Gibraltar as you near the airport is awe inspiring due to its size and how it dwarfs the airport. The most challenging for me was definitely trying to land on runway 09 as it requires your full concentration. You must maintain your situational awareness being mindful not to overshoot the turn inbound to the runway while being at the correct altitude.
I had a few issues with performance experiencing some stutters on final approach while flying jet liners. I flew the Maddog X, Just Flight BAE 146 and PMDG 737 products and had the same problem. It was not enough to affect my ability to land the aircraft but it was noticeable.
Review by Rick Desjardins
|➢ Detailed airport|
➢ Unique landscape
➢ Interesting and challenging approaches to ➢ airport
➢ Configuration tool to manage crossing vehicle traffic via aircraft strobe lights
➢ Good value for the price
|➢ I experienced some stuttering on approaches when flying complex jet liners|
➢ Would like to have seen configuration tool work with every aircraft type and not just specific aircraft
Price: EUR 17.99 (+tax EU customers)
|Ryzen 5 5600X,|
ASUS TUF X570-Plus MB,
1 TB NVMe SSD,
32Gb DDR4 RAM,
ASUS RTX 3060 OC w/12Gb VRAM,
Win 11, Track IR,
FSLTL AI traffic, MSFS graphics settings to Ultra.