28.12.2023 – 16:43z

Blackbird Simulations’ ‘State of the Sim’ Recap

Blackbird Simulations has taken to its YouTube channel to post the latest development updates on all of its ongoing projects. Originally live-streamed on Twitch, ‘State of the Sim’ focused on showcasing and bringing the community up to date on some of Blackbird Simulations’ highly anticipated aircraft.

T-6A Texan II

The Texan is Blackbird’s ‘closest-to-release’ aircraft. With most systems already completed, they expect to be able to “get this out the door in fairly short order“. The T-6A will feature ADV, which is Blackbird’s external flight profile system. This allows them to work around some of the limitations present in MSFS to be able to fine-tune the flight dynamics to be more like the real aircraft and to accurately model failures, many of which will be included.

Some other features mentioned on stream that you can expect from the T-6A include highly detailed interior and exterior models and textures, fully operative GPS (apart from a few sim-limited features like maps), custom effects for failures and fires, an operative back seat, and more. The price point for the T-6A has not been decided yet but Blackbird did confirm it will be under $40 USD.

Read also: Active Sky for MSFS Announced by HiFi Simulation Technologies

Blackbird Simulations' 'State of the Sim' Recap - Microsoft Flight Simulator, Blackbird Simulations, Milviz

C310R and Porter Livery Packs

Blackbird is working on a paid livery pack for their Cessna 310R and Pilatus Porter. No details were given on how many liveries will be included or what the price will be, however, they mentioned that it will be similar to the Corsair’s livery pack which included ten liveries and cost $5.99 USD.

Blackbird Simulations' 'State of the Sim' Recap - Microsoft Flight Simulator, Blackbird Simulations, Milviz

SR-71 Blackbird

The SR-71’s model is mostly complete, with only a few things like the pilots, startup carts, and fuel truck missing. The Blackbird will also feature ADV and will have extremely detailed textures and modeling for both the interior and exterior. The developer’s intentions are to make all the systems work as they do in the real SR-71 with the exception of the map (for the previously mentioned sim-limiting reasons) and the rear seat, the systems for which are still classified.

To get around these limitations, an AI copilot will be used. This AI copilot will be able to do many of the functions that a real SR-71 rear seater would, like setting up the INS and helping you throughout a mission. They mentioned that the avionics and systems are around 60 to 70 percent done, but they don’t know how long the rest will take as no one has done a simulation of the SR-71 as advanced as Blackbird Sims intends to do.

Read also: miniCockpit Reveals 2024/2025 Roadmap

Blackbird Simulations' 'State of the Sim' Recap - Microsoft Flight Simulator, Blackbird Simulations, Milviz

Lockheed C-130J (D30)

Referred to as the “D30” by Blackbird, this appears to be a model of a C-130J, a modernized version of the C-130 that has been in production since 1996. The models and textures for the D30 are completed, and they are currently working on systems like CARP (Computer Air Release Point) and trying to work out how they will implement cargo delivery and paratrooper drops.

Other systems they mentioned you can expect include a fully functioning CNIMU, fully functioning circuit breakers, collimated HUDs, a realistic fuel system, and more. Blackbird stated that due to sim limitations, the systems for the D30 will be injected, much like Fenix does with their A320, which unfortunately means that the D30 will not be available on the marketplace or XBOX.

Blackbird Simulations' 'State of the Sim' Recap - Microsoft Flight Simulator, Blackbird Simulations, Milviz

UH-1H Iroquois

The model and textures for the UH-1H are completed, and the aircraft is in the sim and flying already. The team is now working on the sounds and on refining the custom-coded flight dynamics, which will include all the relevant helicopter quirks such as retreating blade stall, vortex ring state, translational tendencies, and auto rotations. They are working with real UH-1H pilots to ensure that it is as realistic as possible.

Read also: X-Works Announces Upcoming A380 Project for X-Plane 12

Other features you can expect on the UH-1H include realistic failures using ADV, weapons on non-marketplace versions, a period-appropriate “tablet” where you can enable various customization options, persistent cockpit configuration, and more. It’s worth noting that, although the UH-1H has a custom flight model, it will still be available on the marketplace and XBOX.

Blackbird Simulations' 'State of the Sim' Recap - Microsoft Flight Simulator, Blackbird Simulations, Milviz

Other Aircraft

The following aircraft were talked about briefly on stream but were not showcased:

  • Boeing 737-200: Development is still ongoing for the 732. The model is nearly done and the code is still being worked on. Blackbird has no intentions of adding an FMS or doing the modernized version of the avionics due to a lack of manuals.
  • MH-60 Blackhawk: The model for the MH-60 is done, however, Blackbird will not be able to do all the systems as in-depth as they hoped for as some of the systems either have no manuals or are still classified. Therefore, they have decided to ‘Shrike-ify’ it (Shrike Simulations is Blackbird’s lower-fidelity brand) so that they can still release it, even if it’s not quite up to Blackbird standards.
  • T-38 Talon: The models for the T-38 are almost done, and they expect to receive them early in the new year, at which point they will decide whether the systems will be injected like in the D30 or not.
  • F-15 Eagle: The models for both the C and E variants of the F-15 are almost done. Blackbird expects the systems coding to go fairly quickly for the C model due to its lower complexity. Afterwards, they will work on sounds and manuals. They are hoping for a 2024 release for the F-15C, but the F-15E still has a long way to go.
  • F-16 Fighting Falcon: The F-16 model is being remade, as competition in the market from other F-16s has made Blackbird want to pursue a higher level of detail. They mentioned that the lead coder for this project works on Falcon BMS, commonly considered to be the best F-16 simulation available on the market.
  • DHC-3 Otter: External and internal models for the Otter are done, with textures being worked on and expected to be complete in ‘three to four months’. Both the Turbine and Piston Otters are being developed.
  • F-86 Sabre: Models and textures for the Sabre are done and research on the systems and flight dynamics is ongoing. The Sabre will not be an ADV product.
  • B-1 Lancer “Bone”: Models and textures for the B-1 are almost done. Due to the systems for the B-1 still being classified, the systems for the Defensive Systems Operator (DSO) and the Electronic Warfare Operator (EWO) will not be functional. They have not yet decided whether or not they will have AI operators for these positions, nor has it been decided whether or not the B-1 will be ‘Shrike-ified’.
  • A6M “Zero”: Blackbird intends to recreate the Zero as realistically as possible, including the guns, which you will be able to charge and fire, as long as you don’t purchase it from the marketplace or are on XBOX. The cockpit labels are written in Japanese, but they are looking to find a way to include a translation. Blackbird are looking for experts on the Zero to help them develop it, so if you are one or know someone who is, you can reach out to them on their email: [email protected].

In total, 13 aircraft were talked about on stream. Some are expected to release in 2024, others later, however, one thing is certain: Blackbird is quite busy. The full VOD is available on Blackbird’s YouTube Channel here. You can keep up with the latest updates on their projects here!

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