The Microsoft Flight Simulator community is about to witness another groundbreaking release from Black Square, a name now synonymous with innovative and highly realistic aircraft add-ons. Following the success of the TBM 850 and their renowned Analog Cockpit conversions, Black Square is gearing up to launch their highly anticipated Duke and Turbine Duke for MSFS in March!
As Black Square developer Nick Cyganski explains in his latest update, a pivotal decision was made to prioritize the Dukes’ development during the holiday season. This decision has resulted in an array of innovative features, some of which are touted as firsts in Flight Simulator history. Let’s dive right in!
In-Cockpit EFB with Advanced Systems Monitoring
Black Square will introduce a revolutionary in-cockpit EFB tablet with the Dukes. Initially conceived as a replacement for the weather radar interface, this tablet has evolved into “the most complete interface yet for monitoring aircraft systems in MSFS.”
This EFB will offer a spectacular array of functionalities. Besides common options like configuration and payload and fuel management, simmers will see detailed visualizations of the piston and turbine engines, a live electrical schematic, an insightful cabin environmental system visualizer, and failure options.
Underpinning these innovative features is Black Square’s commitment to aviation education. The developer aims to demystify the complexities of general aviation aircraft systems for both seasoned and novice simulator pilots. By offering real-time graphical representations of intricate mechanisms, Black Square hopes to deepen pilots’ understanding of their aircraft, crucial for safety in the skies.
A Deep Dive into Realism
The Piston Duke will be a testament to Black Square’s philosophy of “unapologetically realistic” simulations. It will feature a new reciprocating engine simulation, revolutionizing engine starting, propeller feathering, and incorporating advanced simulations of fouling, vapor lock, flooding, backfire, and turbocharging.
For example, the crankshaft operation will be intricately simulated, influenced by cylinder compression, fuel ignition, propeller drag, and overall engine friction. Propeller feathering will be meticulously modeled, driven by engine oil pressure, and visual tracking of oil flow into the propeller hub will be possible. This level of detail extends to instrument stiction and friction physics, where instrument needles can stick and unstuck, reacting to engine vibration, and can be manually freed by tapping on the glass. Incredible!
Collaboration with Boris Audio Works
We’re happy to report that Boris Vanian of Boris Audio Works (read our recent interview with him here!) will play a key role in enhancing the immersive experience of the Black Square Dukes. Expect to hear intricate and layered sounds as the engine starts up, with each component reacting to the underlying simulation, contributing to a dynamic sound system.
Bendix/King KLN 90B GPS Supported
The Black Square Dukes will come with an impressive array of avionics options. The most interesting new addition may be the Bendix/King KLN 90B GPS from Falcon71 (we wrote about this unit before). This classic high-fidelity GPS device, available for integration by aircraft developers, will make the Dukes the first to integrate this equipment, hopefully paving the way for other developers.
Alongside, the Dukes will support the PMS50 GTN 650 and TDS GTNxi 650s – a first for Black Square. This allows a total of 12 hot-swapping avionics combinations, all seamlessly integrated into the new tablet interface.
An A2A-like Approach to Aircraft Development?
It’s not hard to draw comparisons between Black Square’s realism efforts and the pioneering spirit of A2A Simulations. Like A2A, Black Square is pushing the boundaries of flight simulation, not only in technical prowess but also in educational value.
The intricate system visualizers that will come with the Duke, along with the realistic engine simulations, provide a platform for pilots to gain a deeper understanding of aircraft mechanics, mirroring A2A’s work on the Comanche 250, which includes a fascinating Engine Analyzer that provides useful insights into engine performance.
March Release in the Plans
Black Square is aiming to release the Piston Duke and Turbine Duke in March, if all goes well. They will be released simultaneously, either separately or as a discounted bundle. The wait won’t be long! In the meantime, Black Square and Just Flight will publish a series of videos showcasing the features and capabilities of these promising airplanes.
It’s a great time to be a GA pilot in MSFS. Stay tuned!