Blackbird Status Update: Latest News on the SR-71, Huey, 737-200, and more

It’s no secret that Blackbird Simulations, formerly known as Milviz, has a broad range of aircraft in the pipeline for release in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Along with their already impressive lineup that includes the excellent Corsair and C310, the studio is poised to maintain simmers’ interest with an exciting array of upcoming releases.

Blackbird Simulation’s recent ‘State of the Sim’ broadcast was filled with details about many of the current products under development by the team. It provided a status update on many exciting aircraft such as the T-6A, the SR-71, the Huey, the Boeing 737-200, and much more!

The full 1-hour stream is definitely worth a watch, not only for the amount of information shared by Blackbird but also for the visual previews where the Huey and the SR-71 were shown in detail. But if you’d like to get the gist of things, here’s a quick summary below about each of the mentioned projects:

T-6A Trainer

The T-6A Trainer is nearing completion and is expected to be out “in very short order”. This model boasts very detailed construction and features Blackbird’s advanced external flight profile system (ADV), a custom external flight profile with a failures module that overrides the default MSFS system. The GPS system is fully functional and integrated with Navigraph for comprehensive data.

Additional features in the T-6A include detailed modeling and texturing, a comprehensive manual, the ability to fly from both front and back seats, and realistic failures and damage simulation, including effects like fire during crash landings.

The price point for this model is set to be under $40.

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SR-71 Blackbird

The SR-71 Blackbird remains in very active development and was also shown in the simulator. It’s still awaiting the addition of external elements such as stairs, fuel truck, and hoses. The model’s stunning modeling and texturing were highlighted by the team, which clearly is fond of this iconic aircraft.

Currently, the development progress is advanced, focusing on delivering an authentic flight experience that will also be powered by Blackbird’s ADV system for failures and accurate flight dynamics. The secret nature of the SR-71 will have an impact on its virtual rendition though. The cockpit will be a detailed replication, but with some limitations due to classified information on certain systems, such as the mapping system.

The SR-71 has “pretty good chances” of coming out in 2024, but no commitments have been made.

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The team is working to release the C-130J when possible. This will also be a highly detailed simulation, with fully functioning circuit breakers collimated HUDs for both pilots and co-pilots, a full simulation of the fuel system, and more.

Sadly, the C-130J won’t be available in the Marketplace due to the use of external injected code. So, no Xbox version of the C-130.

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Boeing 737-200

The Boeing 737-200 continues making progress, with the model nearing completion and ongoing code development and sound recording. The focus is on analog systems, with no plans for an FMS. The features include a full sound set recorded from the aircraft.

MH-60 Seahawk

The MH-60 Seahawk model is completed, but due to classification issues, it will be released under the Shrike branding, with some simplified systems. The features include weapon systems, although initial functionality may be limited. A weapons pack will be included for those who purchase it through the Marketplace.

UH-1H Huey

The UH-1H Huey is one of the most anticipated upcoming releases for MSFS and was highly featured during Blackbird’s stream. It was shown flying in the simulator and a release is apparently getting closer, although no release date has been set yet.

The development is progressing well, focusing on a realistic flight model and detailed modeling. The configuration offers options for personalization, including various operational features. The custom-developed flight model is aimed at extreme realism, replicating specific flight characteristics of this iconic American helicopter.

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Other Projects

While these are the main focus of Blackbird’s current efforts, there are several other projects under works on several levels of progress. Development continues on the T-38, F-15C/E, and F-16. There’s also the DHC-3 Otter, which now has a complete model and is under ongoing work on liveries and other details. A Turbo Otter is also in development.

Blackbird is also working on the F-86 Sabre. Here, the model and texturing are done, with remaining work awaiting on free time from a developer currently allocated to another project.

Finally, there’s also the B-1B Lancer! This bomber is also being worked on by Blackbird and already has a complete 3D model. Coding has not yet started. Decisions are being made on the simulated features of the aircraft, but since many of its systems and capabilities remain classified, the “Bone” may end up as a simplified product to be released by Shrike Simulations.

Oh, and there’s also the A6M Zero! The Japanese WWII fighter is also confirmed to be in development, so no news there, but Blackbird continues to look for experts on the aircraft to give a helping hand in the development process.

As you can see, there’s a wealth of exciting projects in the pipeline from the Blackbird/Shrike production line. While we’re eager to see an increased pace of releases, Colin Pearson emphasized during the stream that Blackbird prioritizes launching products ‘when they are ready,’ regardless of external pressure.

So, what are you most excited to see next from Blackbird? A classic Boeing airliner in the 737-200? A unique high-altitude, high-speed flier with the SR-71? Or do you prefer the rotating wings and iconic mission profile of the Huey? Let us know in the comments below!