Today’s reveal for Microsoft Flight Simulator add-ons from third-party creator Blackbird Simulations was extensive, and a pertinent airport has also been made available.
During the “State of the Sim” live stream, Blackbird Simulations revealed the debut of a new brand called “Shrike Simulations.”
The brand concentrates on reasonably straightforward and affordable add-ons (from $12.99 to $19.99), which are less detailed than the main Blackbird brand and have default-level systems and no manual. They won’t be study-level and won’t have the wear-and-tear feature, but they will still “fly and look fantastic.” In essence, they are lovely “toys.”
The MD 530F chopper will be the first vehicle, and it will arrive “soon” (hopefully within 30 days). It will contain weapons, but not those found on the formal in-sim market, which forbids them (for some unfathomable reason).
The Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche follows, and the Beechcraft Baron 55 serves as the third Shrike aircraft, though it was not on display today.
Within the next three months, Xbox users will be able to download all of the Shrike-branded airplanes. When Shrike releases the game on its website, Microsoft will receive the marketplace version for PC and Xbox at the same time, but the developer has no influence over when Microsoft actually makes the game available.
Following Shrike, we examine elite aircraft from the primary Blackbird Simulations company. The de Havilland Canada DHC-3-T Turbo-Otter is the first. In addition to the wear-and-tear feature, it will have a similar level of simulation and details to the previously released (and excellent) Cessna 310, and it will use the simulator’s decal technology to make it appear even better.
The radial engine version is also on the way, but it hasn’t been decided yet if it will be sold independently. Information will be released later.
We now take a first glimpse at the Lockheed C-130J Hercules’ flight deck. The arrival of the aircraft in the Microsoft Flight Simulator is verified.
After being developed for a business client on another simulator, it will then be made available for MSFS. The developer will make an effort to have it completely study-level, but they can’t guarantee that certain features, like FLIR, which aren’t yet implemented, will be by the time the aircraft is published.
Wingflex, decals, and a completely modeled cargo bay with the capacity to transport Striker cars and freight pallets are all supported. The developer is considering the potential to deliver cargo and paratroopers while in flight, but these are just “Maybes.”
The AC-130 won’t be included because the cockpit will be the variant without a CSO (Combat Systems Officer) station. Also proposed is a civilian version. The developer may eventually consider creating an Xbox version of this aircraft, but it might need to be simplified because the model and textures are so high resolution. For the time being, this aircraft will only be available for PC (with a flight profile running separately from the sim in an external application).
Following that, we examine the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. While working on the programming, the model and textures are completed. There will be 20–25 liveries, including HH-60G Pave Hawk and MH-60 Black Hawk stealth versions, as well as military and civilian variations. With a working CDU, it will be near to study level or even study level. A variant of the S-70 cockpit with all-glass instruments will be used.
The refueling boom, cosmetic pods, and weaponry (not available on the official Marketplace), and removable seats will all be included. Release this year is the goal, but there are no guarantees. For carrier missions, the rotor and tail will be foldable, and the flare dispensers will work.
The Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird (work-in-progress), which was previously revealed, is the subject of the following revelation. The algorithm has been developed for about a year, but the model is still not complete. The front seat’s systems will be simulated, while the rear seat’s systems will be partially interactive. The airplane is 100% study-level, according to the developer, and flying it will be very difficult. Three degrees of difficulty for aerial refueling will be used (simple, simplified without the need for precise positioning, and close to the real thing), and the chute will also function.
All 31 actual liveries and two unique styles are included in the package. There won’t be a training version included. There is currently no information on whether the developer will create a simplified variant. Additionally, the publication date is unknow. Again, this year is the target, but no guarantees were given.
Here, we examine the Bell UH-1 Iroquois (nicknamed “Huey”). Study-levels, detachable doors, military and civilian variations, wear-and-tear, contemporary armored Vietnam-style seats, and cosmetic weaponry will all be included (not on the Official Marketplace). The release is scheduled for the end of the summer of 2023. The developer also plans to produce later the N, Y, and Z versions and perhaps a contemporary TH-1H trainer (but no guarantees on these). We’ll see, but it probably won’t be available on Xbox.
Additionally being developed by the company is an F-15C Eagle with 8 liveries. It will be “incredibly high-detailed,” and an independent F-15E Strike Eagle model will also be produced. The HUD will be collimated and usable, and cosmetic weapons will be available. “As study-level as a military aircraft can be built in MSFS,” is how they describe it.
Additionally, we get a sneak peek at the North American F-86F-30 Sabre. It’s “almost done” because the sounds are still lacking and the flight profile needs to be perfected. Do keep in mind that for Blackbird Simulations, “almost done” doesn’t necessarily imply that it’s close to release. It simply indicates that it is in a more developed stage.
The T-38A and T-38C are being worked on by the manufacturer. The A version (which is truly the same version used by the military) will “absolutely” be released at study-level, and it will be followed by additional trainers, including the T-6A and B, which will also be at study-level. The T-38C’s release for MSFS has not been decided because it is dependent on business contracts. At least initially, none of them will be available on Xbox.
The previously revealed Boeing 737-200 model is currently being improved and redesigned. The addition of decals, fasteners, panel lines, and other details. Included will be the gravel set and universal FMS (coding is in progress). It’s possible that the transparent cockpit will arrive this year or in 2024.
Because there are pretty significant differences between the models, the 100, 300, and 500 versions are “not probable,” at least not immediately.
The F-105 Thunderchief is another “maybe,” while an E and S variant of the F-4 Phantom is currently being produced. The developer would like to create it and has a model and a small portion of the code base, but there are no guarantees.
In addition, we see Beale Air Force Base (KBAB), which Blackbird plans to make available “fairly shortly” on its website, Orbx Direct, and the official marketplace. There will be two variations—a modern iteration with drones and one from the 1970s with SR-71s. It will be this developer’s first landscape.
You can view the complete livestream recording here to see a ton of footage of the aforementioned goods. Reiterating Blackbird’s insistence that the release dates revealed today are all estimates rather than promises is pertinent.
Speaking of add-ons you can use right away, Gibraltar International Airport (LXGB) from RDPresets was just made available.
For $19 plus applicable VAT, you can purchase it on Simmarket or the developer’s own shop.
- The airport at LXGB, Gibraltar, is an accurate reproduction.
- A functioning, animated vehicle crossing
- Custom Gibraltar Mountain Model
- The entire runway was modeled and texturized entirely from scratch using PBR textures.
- Completely customized 3D interior with 3D passengers
- Over a thousand cluttered items on the patio and nearby areas
- VDGS that is realistic and functional
- Personalized ground patterns that accurately reflect the variations in asphalt as they actually are.
- Performance enhancements.
- Precise lighting at twilight.
- Individual runway signs.
- Ground movement.