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Update Review : Sikorski UH-60 Blackhawk v2.0 by BFDG

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Update Review : Sikorski UH-60 Blackhawk v2.0 by BFDG (Brazilian Flightsim Development Group)

 

In July 2014 I reviewed the Sikorski UH-60 Blackhawk by Brazilian Flightsim Development Group and the final verdict was not good, in fact it was not great at all. It felt under developed and the flight model was very poor, if unflyable. To many users it was a Blackhawk to fly in X-Plane, but as a serious helio it was not and the Blackhawk and X-Plane deserved better. It did have a few updates but nothing than a complete rework of the performance was going to fix the embedded issues, and so here is that update to v2.0 and this new version also includes X-Plane11 compatibility as well.

 

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The original release was to be honest awful. The 3d modeling was average in a very competitive arena and the textures were of a very average resolution and even by the standards of that time. In v2 both of those areas have had serious attention and this Blackhawk does have a far better modeled design. A lot of the pointed 3d work has been smoothed out and the details have been given a far more finesse look. Some areas are still clunky, but overall this new UH-60 is light-years away from the original.

 

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The textures have also had a huge improvement in quality and resolution, that terrible blurriness is gone and that has been replaced by sharp detailing and fine lines.

 

Menu

Now you have a menu as well of which the original release did not. The original release system was clumsy without a menu of which it was hard to open doors or whatever and worse you had completely different aircraft files for each version (eight in all) and that made it a huge download and a complex arrangement in loading up the version you required (plus the setting up of the countless view versions).

 

Blackhawk v2_Menu 1.jpgBlackhawk v2_Menu 2.jpg

 

The new menu tab is positioned lower left of your screen, and you now have only one aircraft file to load. The menu is called the "The Hawk Pack', but I am just glad of the easy access.

 

"The Hawk Pack' does however make aircraft changes now far more easier...  in just pushing a radio button.

 

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Want either an external two tank or four tank setup then just select the radio button, easy.

 

Doors can be opened and closed including the pilot and cargo door, but then they still only bang straight open and have no smooth animation between open and closed positions.

 

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Seating can be optional as can the passengers, or now you can also select a cargo option for crates.

 

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The crew are a bit Thunderbird/ Gerry Anderson in that their faces are bigger than their bodies, but overall they are not too bad.

 

There are still the two optional gunners...

 

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They can be set internal or with the windows removed with the protrude out (gunship mode) via a flick switch called "Master ARM" on the centre pedestal. Of course the external fuel tanks have to be removed for this layout.

 

Seahawk

There is the Seahawk version that changes the rear wheel position to under the cabin from the tail, and adds in a few different packages for carrier operations.

 

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Pave Hawk

You also have the option of the Pave Hawk or the HH-60 Pave Hawk. Pave Hawk's primary mission is insertion and recovery of special operations personnel, while the HH-60G Pave Hawk's core mission is recovery of personnel under hostile conditions, including combat search and rescue. Both versions conduct day or night operations into hostile environments. Because of its versatility, the HH-60G may also perform peacetime operations such as civil search and rescue, emergency aeromedical evacuation (MEDEVAC), disaster relief, international aid and counter-drug activities.

 

Pave Hawk combat enhancements include a radar warning receiver, infrared jammer and a flare/chaff countermeasure dispensing system.

 

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Other options include Nose FLIR (Forward looking infrared), refueling probe and a different radar dome position (larger).

 

You can winch up and down a crew member via the red button on your cyclic and can also perform a Helicopter Rope Suspension Training (HRST) or SPIE which is Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction.

 

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Slung Loads are also available of which you can carry up to 368lbs. It uses the built in X-Plane system to select the weight and a button on the cyclic (black) to attach the crates.

 

Final menu options include in that you can have the sounds as "earplugs" in that you have a headphones on and opening the pilot's door will give you the same effect. And P1 and P2 views for Pilot view and Co-Pilot view.

 

Flying the v2.0 Blackhawk

To put it bluntly the original Blackhawk in handing was simply awful and required more than just a quick adjustment. To be fair BFDG has not tried to do a quick fix, but to redo the complete set up and find that balance and make the aircraft airworthy, it still has a few foibles in that if you go too aggressive and outside the envelope the aircraft will behave in a way you will not recover control (I did once but lost it a second time). That said if you keep to the parameters then the Blackhawk will fly quite well, not perfect but very flyable. A bonus here is that users that don't have high helio skills will and can fly the aircraft, but for absolute helio pro's there is still a bit of more tuning required.

 

First thing to note is that if you use a dual-throttle system (I use x56 Rhino) then the collective is set on the 2 Throttle and not the usual 1 throttle setting which is quite odd? (I kept wanging the 1 throttle up and down for ages with no lift?), and the throttle levers require both the main (button out) and the XFD to be both set forward for full power.

 

The collective need a lot of travel to bite, almost past halve way is required and the yaw is very strong (tail-rotor push power) in that the you are almost full left rudder to control the aircraft forward. These actions are to highlight the weight of the aircraft, the Blackhawk fully loaded is no lite-weight machine unlike say a niggly Robinson R22, but you are holding that heavy left yaw very high in flight in that for long periods in that it would certainly tire out your wrist.

 

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But control is not that bad once you get the right feel for it...

 

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...   the UH-60 is quite nice to manoeuvre and you can easily get a nice flow ofwhich you require with flying choppers.

 

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It is still very dark on the panel. Unless there is direct sunlight it is very hard to read or see instruments and the text is close to 5 point small and in areas buzzy. Certainly the X-Plane11 lighting dynamics do help in brightening up areas of the panel and it looks quite sensational in the right lighting conditions, but overall it is still quite a dark place to be.

 

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To a point in times I had to use the built in X-Plane flashlight to find things...  in the daytime? and the main instruments have a sort of frosted look (not reflections) and do not great resolution or a blurriness that makes these important instruments hard to read, so you sometimes have to guess your speed and and height and the Artificial Horizon was very hard to read in feeling the attack angle of the aircraft for forward flight.

 

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Instrument lighting is average as well. Really only one knob on the overhead panel works, and a lot of the switchgear on here is also still only for show.

 

Centre console is quite good with radio units and flight controls with SAS - Autoflight controls, but again it is quite low-res if you don't have your texture quality set at all the maximum settings.

 

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A GNS 530 GPS (default) is now installed centre panel and is a great addition for longer flights and precision navigation, it pops-up as usual for easier access.

 

The SAS - Autoflight is also new to v2 and it does take away a lot of flying work for flying over distances. There are three buttons to control the Autopilot on the panel for HDG (Heading) NAV (Navigation with the GNS530) and ALT (Altitude) with SAS 1 and SAS 2 available. You do have to get the correct height and speed and heading correct to lock it in, and get it wrong and it then takes awhile to settle down, mostly in the pitch and it requires a little touch here and there from the stick to settle it down, but once centred it is fine. Likewise coming back to manual control requires you to find the transition point cleanly so it doesn't jump the aircraft (again mostly in the yaw position). Both panel and console switchgear activation works.

 

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Sounds are very good, but not at the FMOD level yet, so you don't get that 360º sound directional feel, but I overall enjoyed them.

 

That dramatic Blackhawk tail down look is now very evident to wash off the speed...

 

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...  but even with the collective to the floor the aircraft doesn't want to descend. The best way to lose height is by pushing the nose down early before you wash off the speed, if not you will find yourself too high or floating at the landing area.

 

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Autorotation is not to bad and control in the landing phase was not the fine jiggly art you require with a lot of helio's, the UH-60's size and weight works into your favour here and is easier for the more novice vertical flight pilot's out there.

 

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Another fix in v2.0 is that the aircraft will now sit on the ground correctly and not above it, and with the correct shadow position. And the wipers also sit flat on the actual glass, and that one was really visually annoying.

 

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Liveries

The original release had only four liveries and they were all of very poor resolution...  this v2 release fixes that in a big way with twelve liveries and all of them in a very Hi-Res and quality textures, to say they are night and day different is that they are.

 

Included is the US Army default, US Army Black, Civil 1 & 2, a few Brazilian liveries in Exercito, Forca Aerea, Marinha and Federal Policia. A United Nations and US Navy with Airforce VIP (Trump mover) and another US Airforce Black in a Medivac role. Final two are US Coastguards in standard orange/white and yellow.  

 

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Blackhawk v2_Livery Br_Exercito.jpgBlackhawk v2_Livery Br_Forca Aerea.jpg

Blackhawk v2_Livery Br_Marinha.jpgBlackhawk v2_Livery Br_Fed Policia.jpgBlackhawk v2_Livery UN.jpgBlackhawk v2_Livery US Navy Grey.jpg

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Summary

Thankfully in a way the Brazilian Flightsim Development Group didn't try to patch up the Blackhawk original release as it needed a more serious and deeper redevelopment. And that is what you get here in v2.0.

 

Most of the offending areas have been redeveloped and that included the modeling, livery and texture quality and the inclusion of a menu system to reduce the aircraft files to one from eight as before.

 

Also added in has been various combat enhancements like FLIR, HRST, Slingload and Cargo (yes slingload and HRST was on the original, but here they actually work).

 

Most importantly the flight dynamics have had a lot of attention with those completely rebuilt flight dynamics and the aircraft is now actually flyable and even a very nice aircraft to fly if you get the correct feel for it. Don't get me wrong in that a Pro chopper pilot would not agree with that in context, it is certainly not at that level of performance, but it is a nice machine to fly if you want to use it at a certain skill level and that includes any entry fliers to helicopters, the newly added in Autopilot (autoflight) helps in this case as well.

 

Not all areas have had however the focus put on them. The cockpit is still very dark, but the actual poor instrument resolution and small unclear text doesn't help here either (although it is noted as upgraded?). Poor reflection detailing can make the instruments really hard to read and instrument lighting is quite average and they are all very important when flying helicopters as you do rely on your instruments for stable flight and certainly that altitude instrument.

 

Overall though this is a nice and though upgrade to the UH-60 Blackhawk from BFDG, certainly more work is needed in areas but you can now enjoy and fly the Blackhawk on a mission capability scenario and that was not at least possible before, the more I flew the Blackhawk then the more I liked it, but to note that this v2 is now X-Plane11 compatible only as the X-Plane10 version is now on the shelf.

 

Certainly the aircraft is head and shoulders better than before, so now this aircraft is well worth a purchase and deserves a lot of flying time to get the most out of it...  overall this is a very good and deep upgrade.

 

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Yes! the UH60 / S70A Black Hawk v2.0 by BFDG is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Sikorsky UH60 Black Hawk v2

 

Price is US$24.95

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11 (not compatible with X-Plane 10)

Windows, Mac or Linux
2Gb VRAM Minimum

 

Support Thread : BFDG Sikorski UH60L/S70A Black Hawk

 

Features:

  • UH60 BlackHawk with several 3D models variants 
  • Nice real UH60 Blackhawk sounds
  • High-res custom textures, gauges and systems
  • Animated flight controls, rotor axis and blades
  • Detailed virtual cockpit and cabin with animated switches, knobs and levers
  • Realistic Flight Characteristics
  • Animated gunner windows with retractable M134’s
  • Animated pilot and cargo doors
  • Stability augmentation system
  • Passengers in or out just in a click
  • Hoist down with a rescueman just in a click
  • HRST rope extraction to 5 men just in a click
  • A slung load with some crates in a cargo net just in a click
  • GPS – Autopilot – NOE Flight mode
  • Nice flight model tested by real helo pilots
  • English manual – user friendly – checklists

 

Installation:

Download is now a lighter 440.50meg to an expanded 566mb folder that is positioned in your X-Plane "helicopter" aircraft folder.

Note the collective is set on "Throttle 2" and not on the throttle one setting in X-Plane settings.

 

Documentation:

  • Pilot Operational Handbook - Manual is 29 pages.
  • X-Plane G530 Manual

 

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Review by Stephen Dutton
14th November 2017
Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
 
(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.05

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- Seattle, WA - Gateway to Boeing Country by Tom Curtis  (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$29.95

 

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