Milviz revealed earlier this year that the company would experience a few strategic changes going forward, in an effort to differentiate its commercial work (mainly devoted to the government and the military), from the consumer side of things (virtual aircraft for consumer-level flight simulators). The idea would be to split the company’s branding into two entities, with the consumer side getting a new name.
Milviz becomes… Blackbird Simulations
Nearly eight months after that revelation, Milviz has finally shared the new name that will be behind all their products for MSFS: Blackbird Simulations. With time, expect the “Milviz” moniker to be dropped in favor of this new name. A new website reflecting this new branding should be up in about 4 to 6 weeks.
This news came during the “State of the Sim“, a live stream with Milviz team members that sheds some light on the status of the team’s current and future products in development.
As usual, this live stream was packed with information about Milviz and their plans for the near future. Besides the aforementioned unveiling of a new name, the team also shared extensive details about a wide range of products currently planned or in development for MSFS. Besides updates about well-known ongoing projects, there are also a few surprising teasers!
The ATR is looking phenomenal
Let’s start with the ATR, probably the most awaited of Milviz’s (now Blackbird Simulations) current projects. The team continues to keep the stakes high for this project, which they say is being developed up to “study-level” standards.
The Blackbird Simulations ATR for MSFS continues to be very actively developed, but the team doesn’t seem willing to share many details right now. There’s competition around (maybe the Asobo/Microsoft ATR?), so they don’t want to disclose any secrets at this stage. However, they did share a few impressive preview images that showcase the very realistic flight instruments and some FMS screens.
Milviz is currently working with over 10 real-world pilots to gather the most authentic information and feedback about the aircraft. Not only that, but they also managed to get access to a real ATR and record a complete set of high-quality sounds that will be added to the package.
The ATR has been in development for quite a while, so it’s natural that everyone is waiting to hear about a release date. Well, Milviz isn’t ready to set that yet… however, they say the ATR should be out “soonish”.
SR-71 is about 80% done
The legendary SR-71 “Blackbird“ (guess where that new name comes from…) has also been in development for MSFS for a while. However, things have changed somewhat in the project. This aircraft was initially planned for P3D, but with the arrival of MSFS and the huge popularity of the platform, Milviz decided to bring the SR-71 to the new simulator.
The problem is that the original 3D model didn’t quite cut it for MSFS, so it had to be revised from scratch. The team is currently happy with the results and claims that this project is about 80% done, so it seems to be in an advanced stage of production. Note that this will be a “pilot-only” aircraft… there won’t be a backseat in this model.
Beaver and Skyraider sold to other companies
Milviz has a bunch of products being worked on at a given time, which sometimes makes it hard to track them all down. Remember the A-1H Skyraider? Earlier his year it was estimated to be out around March… clearly, that hasn’t happened, and we stopped hearing news about that aircraft… until now. Milviz revealed that the Skyraider has been sold to another company! We don’t know who, but it’s now up to them to release the Skyraider for MSFS. We’ll stay on the lookout!
As for the Beaver, its fate is now well-known: it’s coming as a free aircraft with the 40th Anniversary Edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator, scheduled to launch in November. Milviz sold the plane to Microsoft and is currently putting the final touches on this beloved airplane.
Milviz also revealed that the Beaver won’t launch with compatibility with the GTN systems from TDS and PMS50, given that it will now be positioned as a “default” airplane in the simulator. Furthermore, don’t expect it to be as featured-packed as the C310 (no dirty textures, no wear and tear). It will be more akin to the Porter PC-6, with an authentic model and flight characteristics, but without many of the extra features.
However, Milviz did say that they are also developing the Otter and Turbo Otter, the bigger and more powerful evolutions of the Beaver. These are fully in-house projects that will come with more bells and whistles than the Beaver, including the GTN750 integration. The team “hopes” to release those two airplanes next year.
Porter PC-6 Stage 2 incoming, Huey in flight… and the 737-200!
Speaking of the Porter PC-6, it seems the long-awaited Stage 2 is finally getting ready. This upgrade to the Porter will add an analog cockpit, GTN support, and floats. There will be no changes to the flight profile, as the team seems happy with their current implementation, even if it’s a custom solution and not developed with the latest CFD dynamics in MSFS in mind.
As for the Huey, the highly-anticipated first MSFS helicopter from Milviz, it was actually extensively previewed during the stream. Despite being “heavily work-in-progress“, the team showed the helicopter both inside and out and even took it for a quick flight. Looks fantastic, and with a flight model that has been approved by the USAF, it’s bound to be a challenging but highly-authentic aircraft to take to the skies in MSFS.
Finally, in the list of confirmed airplanes Milviz is working on for MSFS, there’s the classic Boeing 737-200. This project is being worked on behind the scenes and recently got a promising boost thanks to the help of Nolinor Aviation, which has provided the Milviz team with access to the real airplane. The Blackbird Simulations 737-200 is planned to come to MSFS in its combi and standard configurations.
A few surprises on the horizon?
A detailed development update like this one would be complete with a few teasers for what’s coming. Accidentally or not, the team managed to slip out a few seconds of the MSFS Aircraft Selection screen where a thumbnail of the T-38 was clearly visible. The team didn’t confirm nor deny that the supersonic trainer is in development for MSFS, however… they also ended up showing – by mistake, or maybe not? – a list of folders in a development PC that appears to indicate at least a good amount of aircraft that are either being developed or being considered for MSFS!
The list includes the products we already know about, but also the Bell AH-1Z Viper, Bell 407, B55 Baron, C-17, CH-47, the T-6 Texan, and the aforementioned T-38!
These are just the main highlights of the stream, but there are more smaller tidbits that may be of interest to you! To learn all about the latest developments at Milviz, make sure to watch the full video above!