Product Review
NZGS Gisborne Airport by Orbx

For P3D (v1 to v4) and FSX
By Tim Arnot, October 2019

  • Airport Bus

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Gisborne is a small town on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, population approximately 37,000. It is famous as the location of Captain Cook’s first landing in New Zealand exactly 250 years ago, in October 1769.

There had been aircraft flying from makeshift fields since 1920, but the first dedicated aerodrome opened at Darton Field in 1930. In 1942, the railway arrived in Gisborne, its single track cutting across the southern end of the field. 1949 saw the country’s first aerial top dressing begin operations, and in 1955 the Lockheed Lodestar that would eventually become the airport’s first gate guardian started work. In 1965, the sealed (paved) runway and new terminal buildings opened. In March 2019, construction began on a new terminal building, expected to open in 2020.


Availability and Installation

NZGS Gisborne Airport is available as a download-only product from Orbx Direct. It’s designed to work with Lockheed Martin Prepar3D (versions 1 – 4) and Microsoft FSX / FSX Steam. The price at the time of writing is £18.56 (AUD$32.95 / US$23.20 / €20.65). Download size is 3.05GB. The scenery is designed by Finni Hansen.

It is strongly recommended that you have Orbx NZ North Island region scenery installed. Without it, the scenery will still work, but you will lose the following:

  • blending of the airport photoreal into the surrounding terrain;
  • moving traffic on roads, properly aligned with the photoreal ground terrain; and
  • enhanced FTX Global 3D lighting with improved FPS in urban/township streets around the airport.
Download and installation of the airport is accomplished through the Orbx FTX Central program. This acts as a manager for all Orbx sceneries, and includes a control panel for toggling product options.
Coverage - What you Get

NZGS Gisborne covers the airport, the entire town of Gisborne, the port, nearby Young Nick’s Head mountain, plus the whole of Poverty Bay and its surroundings. Additional features include PeopleFlow, an animated vintage steam train that crosses the runway at certain times of day, ground specular maps and baked-in AO (ambient occlusion – like shadows) and night lighting. Dynamic lighting for P3Dv4 is also included.

In Use

Within the airport, textures are detailed, with plenty of scuff marks and staining on the apron, taxiway and runway. All the airport buildings are well represented, with plenty of clutter to add atmosphere. Static aircraft are parked on the grass and in some of the hangars. You can look inside the terminal building too, where there are people, seats, counters and a departure board modelled. Beyond the terminal, ancillary buildings and the car park are present. There is even a gate guardian at the entrance (the Kiwi-produced Fletcher FU-24, representing the crop-dusting operations carried out here for many years).

Outside the airport, the town of Gisborne “CityScene” has nearly every building represented, and placement is accurate to the underlying photographic ground textures. These are not to the same level of detail as the airport buildings, being closer to autogen, and while you wouldn’t necessarily want to drive through it (this isn’t a driving sim after all), it does look very convincing from 1000ft and up.

With the sim set to the recommended settings, I saw no framerate drop from my target settings of 30fps.

There is only one ground textures set, so seasonal changes are subtle—as befits the temperate climate—and only visible in the vegetation and lighting. There’s no snow texture, even though this part of New Zealand does occasionally see the powdery white stuff.


There is an 11-page pdf user guide, which includes a coverage map, and aerodrome chart. Much of the documentation is boilerplate, and copied from one airport to the next (at one point this manual thinks it’s Idaho Falls!), but to be fair there’s not really a lot you can say: here’s an airport, you can fly to it and from it, and here’s a map. That pretty much covers it.

There’s a control panel for the airport inside FTX Central, which allows you to toggle on or off the 3D grass around the runways and parking areas, and the PeopleFlow animations. Additionally, for Prepar3D you can toggle dynamic lightings. There are no tooltips for the dialog, but the functions are pretty self-explanatory.


This is a solid example of a small regional airport, and a worthy addition to the small but growing collection of airports in the land of the long white cloud. The inclusion of the town and extended landscape gives plenty of local interest to explore.


If you fly in New Zealand, you’ll want this. Highly Recommended.

Pros & Cons

  Quality 3D modelling No major issues
  Very little impact on frame rates
  Fun extras

Overall Recommendation

NZGS Gisborne Airport by Orbx is awarded a "Highly Recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award.

Review Computer Specifications

Intel Core i7-6700k @4.0GHz;
32GB DDR4;
Gigabyte NVidia GTX 1080 Ti, 11GB, 1519/1633MHz;
Windows 10 Pro, (64bit); and
Lockheed Martin Prepar3D v4.0.28.21686.