Microsoft Flight Simulator - Blackbird Reveals Tons of Aircraft: Hercules, Eagle, Black Hawk, & Many More

Here's your daily dose of Microsoft Flight Simulator news: Blackbird revealed TONS of aircraft, the C-130 Hercules, UH-60 Black Hawk, F-15 Eagle & more, & a new lower-detail brand called Shrike with MD 530F, Twin Comanche, & Baron 55 also for Xbox 👀

Published: February 25, 2023 5:19 PM /


Microsoft Flight Simulator C-130

Today third-party developer Blackbird Simulations had plenty of reveals to share for Microsoft Flight Simulator add-ons, while a relevant airport has been released. 

Blackbird Simulations hosted its "State of the Sim" livestream and announced that it's launching a new brand named "Shrike Simulations."

The brand focuses on relatively simple and inexpensive add-ons (from $12.99 to $19.99) with default-level systems, no manual, and less details than the main Blackbird brand. They won't have the wear and tear feature and won't be study-level, but will still "fly and look great." Basically, they're nice "toys." 

The first aircraft is the MD 530F helicopter which is coming "soon" (hopefully within 30 days). It'll include weapons but not on the official in-sim marketplace that does not permit them (for some unfathomable reason). 

Next, we get to see the Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, while the third Shrike aircraft is the Beechcraft Baron 55, but that last one was not showcased today. 

All of the aircraft coming under the Shrike brand are coming for Xbox and will be released within the next three months. The official marketplace version for PC and Xbox will be sent to Microsoft at the same time as the release on Shrike's website, but after that, the developer has no control over when Microsoft will actually make it available. 

Moving on from Shrike, we take a look at high-level aircraft from the main Blackbird Simulations brand. The first is the de Havilland Canada DHC-3-T Turbo-Otter. It'll have a similar level of simulation and details as the previously-released (and very good) Cessna 310 including the wear-and-tear feature and it'll use the simulator's decal tech to look even better. 

The version with the radial engine is also coming but the decision on whether it'll be sold separately has not been made just yet. Details will be announced down the line. 

Next, we take the first look at the flight deck of the Lockheed C-130J Hercules. The aircraft is confirmed coming to Microsoft Flight Simulator. It's being created first for a commercial customer on another simulator and after it's done, it'll be released for MSFS. The developer will try for it to be fully study-level, but they can't promise that features currently not implemented (for instance FLIR) will be by when the aircraft is released. 

It'll support wingflex, decals, and the cargo bay is fully modeled including the ability to carry Striker vehicles and freight pallets. The developer is looking at the possibility to drop cargo in flight and Paratroopers, but these are a "Maybe."

The cockpit will be the version that doesn't include a CSO (Combat Systems Officer) station, so the AC-130 won't be included. A civilian version is also planned. This aircraft will be PC-only for the moment (with a flight profile running separately from the sim in an external application) but the developer may consider an Xbox version in the future, yet, it may have to be simplified because the model and textures are extremely high resolution. 

We then take a look at the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. The model and the textures are finished while the code is being worked on. It'll include 20-25 liveries including military and civilian variants, the HH-60G Pave Hawk and the MH-60 Black Hawk stealth version. It'll be close to study-level or possibly even study-level with working CDU. The cockpit will be an S-70 version with all-glass instruments.

It'll include removable seats, cosmetic pods and weapons (not on the official Marketplace), and the refueling boom. The hope is to release it this year but no promises. The rotor and tail will be foldable for carrier operations and the flare dispensers will be functional. 

The next reveal is a look at the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird (work-in-progress), which was announced a while ago. The model isn't finished yet and the code has been worked on for about a year. The systems of the front seat will be simulated, while the back seat will be semi-interactive. The developer defines the aircraft as 100% study-level and it'll be really challenging to fly. Aerial refueling will be implemented with three levels of difficulty (simple, simplified which doesn't require precise positioning, and close to the real deal), and the chute will also work.

The package will include two different modes and all 31 real-world liveries. The trainer variant won't be included. The developer may decide to do a simplified version but that's unknown for now. The release date is also unknown. Again, the hope is this year, but no promises were made. 

We take a look at the Bell UH-1 Iroquois (nicknamed "Huey"). It'll be study-levels with removable doors, military and civilian variants, wear-and-tear, modern and armored Vietnam-style seats, and cosmetic weapons (not on the Official Marketplace). The developer also intends to create the N, Y, and Z versions down the line and possibly a modern TH-1H trainer (but no promises on these) and the release is planned by the end of summer of 2023. It probably won't come to Xbox, but we'll see.

The developer is also working on an F-15C Eagle with 8 liveries. It will be "extremely high-detailed" and the F-15E Strike Eagle will also come down the line as a separate product. Cosmetic weapons will be included and the HUD will be functional and collimated. It'll be "as study-level as a military aircraft can be made in MSFS." 

Microsoft Flight Simulator F-15 Eagle

Microsoft Flight Simulator F-15 Eagle

We also get to see a tease of the North American F-86F-30 Sabre. It's "almost done" as it's still missing the sounds and the flight profile needs to be nailed down. Do keep in mind that "almost done" doesn't usually mean that it's close to release for Blackbird Simulations. It just means it's in an advanced state of development. 

Microsoft Flight Simulator F-86

The developer has work done on the T-38A and T-38C. They will "absolutely" release the A version at study-level (it's actually the same version used by the military) followed by more trainers including the T-6A and B, which will also be study-level. The decision on whether the T-38C will be released for MSFS has not been made as it depends on commercial contracts. None of them will come to Xbox at least for now. 

The model for the previously announced Boeing 737-200 is being enhanced and overhauled. Decals, rivets, panel lines, and such are being added. The gravel kit and universal FMS will be included (coding is in progress). The glass cockpit is a "maybe" and it'll come possibly this year or maybe in 2024. The 100, 300, and 500 versions are "not likely," at least not right away as there are fairly large differences in terms of models.

Last, but not least, an F-4 Phantom is being made in E and S versions, as for the F-105 Thunderchief, it's another "maybe." The developer has a model and a small part of the code-base and would like to make it, but again, no promises.  

Incidentally, we also get to see Beale Air Force Base (KBAB) which Blackbird will release fairly soon on its own website, on Orbx Direct, and on the official marketplace "fairly soon." It'll include two versions, circa 1970s with the SR-71s and modern day with the drones. It'll be the first scenery by this developer.

You can watch the recording of the full livestream here to see plenty of footage of the products mentioned above. It's relevant to reiterate that Blackbird stressed that all release windows shared today are estimates and not promises.

Speaking of add-ons you can enjoy right now, RDPresets' Gibraltar International Airport (LXGB) has been released today.

You can grab it on the developer's own store or Simmarket for $19 plus applicable VAT. 

  • Realistic replica of LXGB - Gibraltar Airport
  • Working and animated car crossing
  • Custom Gibraltar Mountain Model​
  • Completely custom modelling and texturing with PBR textures on the whole airport.
  • Full Custom 3D Interior including 3D Passengers
  • More than 1000+ clutter objects on the apron and surrounding area's
  • Realistic and functioning VDGS
  • Custom ground textures, faithfully recreating the asphalt differences like reality.
  • Performance optimizations.
  • Accurate night lighting.
  • Custom taxiway signage.
  • Ground traffic.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is currently available for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, including Game Pass. If you'd like to learn more, you should stay tuned on TechRaptor as we host daily Microsoft Flight Simulator news to keep you updated on the many add-ons coming and released for the sim. We have also recently reviewed Orbx's Oslo Gardermoen Airport

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More Info About This Game
Learn More About Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020)
Asobo Studio
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