With the 40th Anniversary update Microsoft Flight Simulator introduced helicopters and helicopter support into the simulator. This was an effort that was a couple of years in the making and has opened the sim up to an ever growing collection of helicopters for the sim. There were a few prior to the anniversary release but compared to that we now have a bunch of available helicopters and very likely more on the way. Let’s have a look at some of the popular options available right now!
Got Friends Mini-500
One of the helicopters released recently is the Got Friends Mini-500. Based on the kit-build Revolution Mini-500 helicopter, this exceptionally small single seat helicopter has a bit of a controversial history with the exact number being built and the quality of the helicopter all in question. But for simming purposes this looks like a very fun little helicopter to fly around in and that’s what Got Friends is doing with their Mini-500.
Features on the Got Friends Mini 500 include custom MGL avionics, visual effects for things like downwash, heat, rain and icing, a MSFS native flightmodel using the new SDK, and exchangeable radio and nav systems.
The helicopter is available for purchase from the Got Friends website for $15 USD. They offer a couple of website exclusive configurations with a military and hunting version so presumably this will find its way to the MSFS Marketplace eventually.
Cowan Sim has two and one more coming
Well known helicopter maker CowanSim has expanded their product portfolio from X-Plane to MSFS recently and the pace has been rapid. Already available for purchase are the CowanSim 206B3 and 500E both which have been released in recent months and have seen a spate of updates too.
Both helicopters sport similar features with the usual array of high quality textures, 3D modeling, sounds, detailed paint kit, pilots and passengers, and the promises of future updates. Some of those updates include a spot light kit, spray kit, and cineflex camera features which will be added later.
While both of those are already released, Cowan Sim is busy getting the next one out the door too. The H125/AS350B3e is next in the pipeline.
In the meantime, if you want the 206B3 or 500E you can purchase those from CowanSim for $32.99 USD for each.
FlyInside B-206 and B-47
A couple of Bell Helicopter types are also available from Fly Inside. That includes the FlyInside B-206-B3 and the FlyInside B-47-G2. Yep that means that we’ve got two 206 models to choose from already.
FlyInside has been doing their helicopters since before official support was available and so their B-47-G2 and then the B-206 are both using an external flight model of their own creation.
As with the other helicopters we also see the usual mix of high quality PBR textures, sounds, and detailed modeling.
The B-47 is available for $34.95 while the B-206 is up for $37.95 via the FlyInside website.
Hype Performance Group and the H145
HPG and their H145 helicopter have been around for quite some time now and is among the first of the helicopters to be added to MSFS. That project has become increasingly built out with not only the H145 itself but HPG have also been building scenarios to give their helicopter something to do.
The H145 itself comes in a base package with just the helicopter. That comes packed full of features including a tablet to control different settings, three variations (civil, military and luxury), Airbus Helionix avionics, support for the TDS GTNXi, and on.
The base pack is available from Hype Performance Group on their website and on several storefronts for $50 USD.
There is then the Action Pack Expansion which is $40 USD and that comes with Emergency Medical Services, Search and Rescue, Firefighter, Offshore Utility & Coast Guard, Civilian Cargo and Military Cargo options.
And if all of this is a bit too pricy, the slimmed down H135 is freeware and I did a mini-review here.
More are coming
This is just the start. I saw someone say something in one of the community groups asking where all of the helicopters were. We’ve already got a half dozen with some really compelling options and there are surely many more to come.
With the release of the MSFS helicopter SDK and several more improvements coming to helicopters in Sim Update 12, the future looks bright for fans of helicopters in Microsoft Flight Simulation!
6 Comments Add yours
Still enjoying the HPG145. It’s a very well put together module with lots of flair. It’s not cheap for the base and expansion pack, but in five-minutes you’ll know you’ve bought a quality chopper.
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That’s a good recommendation! I might have to pick it up.
The trick here is figuring out which ones fly well and which ones don’t…
For e.g., the Asobo default Cabri flies well, but the default B407 built by Nemeth does not. Yet both feature the vaunted CFD…
The HPG, last I checked, didn’t yet have CFD implemented on the release version, and the beta had some real issues with SAS conflicts (it flies fine if you turn SAS off! 😉 ).
I’m sure they’ll get it sorted (perhaps already have), but it was disconcerting trying to work through that.
So even though CFD is there (and it can be great), it’s not at all like X-Plane. I.e., not all MSFS devs are using CFD (even/especially prominent ones like PMDG & MilViz/BlackBird), and even those that are haven’t got the hang of it yet (e.g., Nemeth Designs, et al).
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There is a mod that improves the default B407a lot. Look for “Bell 407 improvement mod” on flightsim.to.
Thanks for sharing that Jim! Will have to check it out.
After so many failed redevelopment or rebranding projects based on the FSX engine, the runaway success of Microsoft Flight Simulator blows my mind. They really found the magic formula and rarely put a foot wrong in execution.
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