First impressions of the HPG H135

The H135 by Hype Performance Group (HPG) is a freeware helicopter available for Microsoft Flight Simulator. It’s been on my list to check out for a long time and I finally had a chance to do a couple of flights with it. Here are my first impressions.

It’s free?

Hype Performance Group have two helicopters in their portfolio right now: A freeware version of the H135 and a payware H145. Both are modern Airbus helicopters in the 4-tonne range with high performance, modern glass cockpits, and are fully capable in both civilian and military operations.

HPG are offering the H145 for $50.00 USD (with a $43 USD price at time of this writing thanks to a sale) while the H135 is a freeware project that offers less fidelity and details but it does get you up and flying a helicopter in a sim that, until recently, has had very few – though we know they are coming thanks to support that Asobo is currently working on building into the sim.

Quick flights

So far, I’ve only had time to do a couple of quick flights so this is a first impression and not a full review.

My impression of the H135 inside and out is generally good. The cockpit is adequately textured, well modelled in most places although there are some hard edges in a few place. Every switch that I needed to press seemed to be working. There are some inoperable controls too. On the exterior, there are some great textures and 3D modelling work on display.

Initial flight model feeling was actually pretty good. Beyond what I was expecting giving the limitations of helicopter modelling in MSFS at this point. Appropriate amounts of counter rudder are definitely required to get the helicopter hovering. I’m not sure how true to life this is but once you get flying the H135 starts to feel more like an airplane with fly-by-wire with very easy and almost carefree handling.

The H135 has avionics and systems modelling with RPM (managed by a digital FADEC system) and other engine components modelled. It has a glass cockpit as well as an add-on tablet that lets you toggle an autopilot with the ability to direct the autopilot to fly the helicopter for you if you just want to do a little bit of a hands off cruise through the environment.

Check it out for yourself

Despite some of the simplifications, the H135 is a freeware project and a kind of demo for the H145 that, from what I’ve seen of it, is a far more evolved project both visually and from a systems and modelling perspective. HPG is still calling that product a beta and I get the sense that it is still waiting for full helicopter support in MSFS before it fully emerges as a realized product.

The good thing is that the H135 gives you a free experience that can get you started with the feeling of a helicopter in MSFS right now. If you wanted to check out helicopters but weren’t sure if you’d like them, the H135 gives you a reasonably decent taste of that experience.

If you want to see for yourself, check it out for free on the website.


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