In January 2022, SimWorks Studios (SWS) announced a collaboration with Pilatus Aircraft to bring the popular PC-12 to the virtual skies of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Now, more than a year later, SWS has released the first screenshots of the aircraft, which finally appears to be approaching completion despite a series of health-related setbacks.
In a statement on the developer’s social media, the team provided a comprehensive update on the aircraft’s progress, noting that the flight handling is mostly complete, with only a few issues to iron out. The team’s PC-12 pilots are currently evaluating the aircraft’s in-flight performance. As for the exterior model, the developers are working on final touches, such as adding fire extinguishers to the cockpit, closing holes in the exterior, and adding rivets. The trailing link landing gear is animated, and the team plans to fine-tune various animations in the coming week to finalize the exterior model. The texture layout has been designed to be repainter-friendly, allowing for easy customization of liveries even for users who are not experienced with advanced software like Substance Painter or Blender.
Moving on to the interior, the PC-12 legacy cockpit is nearly complete, with only minor corrections required. The developers have assigned materials to the model, expecting to achieve a high level of detail at a lower texture cost compared to the Kodiak. The mapping allows for extensive customization of the interior, and the team aims to make every aspect of the passenger cabin usable, from the armrests to the toilet, and perhaps even the snacks. Their goal is to enable the aircraft to receive unique interiors for each tail number.
By the end of next week, the team intends to have both the exterior and interior fully animated, so they can concentrate on finalizing systems and avionics coding throughout the rest of April. Sound work is also expected to begin once the animations are complete.
On the systems’ front, the custom Electronic Instrument System (EIS) is now integrated into the legacy cockpit, and despite a few quirks, it functions very closely to the real thing. The custom Electronic Attitude Director Indicator (EADI) is mostly finished, with only a few details regarding Glideslope and Localizer display operation remaining before the team moves on to the Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI). The aircraft currently features a GNS530/430 set along with a KR87 ADF. A GTN750/650 combination will be available to users who have the TDS GTN750Xi or PMS50 GTN750 packages, and the system will automatically swap if one of them is detected running.
Lastly, the developers have started coding the unique “useless” features that make SWS aircraft stand out, although they have kept the details under wraps for now. They promised to reveal more information in the coming weeks.
Despite facing numerous health-related challenges, the SWS team has made significant progress on the highly anticipated Pilatus PC-12 for Microsoft Flight Simulator. We finally have the first actual images of the aircraft in MSFS, even if they don’t show anything particularly exciting. It looks like a PC-12, that much is true! While the original estimated release in 2022 has come and gone, SWS seems to be closing in on the completion of this project!