After one of the last updates on the 222, Joshua Cowan, the man behind Cowan Simulation, started working silently on a new project. Very recently, though, some teaser images started to popup on their social media (note that there are 3 links in the previous sentence) and a few community members started trying to guess, with some success.
In fact, a few of you have suggested some sort of “500-family member” and you hit the nail there, as Cowan Simulation is, indeed, working on an MD 500E for X-Plane!
Excited much? I know I am.
You may be wondering: we already have a good 500 for X-Plane! Why another one? Well, Joshua answers that question: “the 500 is a very popular and fun helicopter. The team behind the Hughes 500 did a great job and I realized it quickly became a favorite for a lot of people. I love the 500 as well and I thought that getting a newer version of it would be fantastic. There were quite a few requests to mod the freeware Hughes 500 and make it an E model but that wasn’t possible, so I decided to just go for it. It was impossible not to!”
Joshua rolled up his sleeves, got hard at work and the 500E quickly started to gain a life of its own in X-Plane. He used all the knowledge and expertise he got from the 222 and put those lessons to work, which “helped a lot! I now do things a lot faster and don’t fall into a lot of mistakes I obviously made when starting the 222. I feel like I’m in the zone now and my workflow is so much better. I am still learning a lot, of course, but that initial learning curve is gone so I can do a lot more, a lot faster.”
And it shows, the 500E is already in quite an advanced stage of development. But it’s not over yet and Joshua will need some more time since one of the things he wants to do is to “add a bit more options to customize the helicopter. One of the cool things I like about the 500 is the fact that a lot of people see it as a sports car or a workhorse, depending on how you want to use it. But that means that you may want to equip it for the job. It’s not like we will be having all the equipment available, but I want to at least make it more interesting and help users ‘make it more their own’.”.
The 3D model is practically done, Joshua is still tinkering with textures – which are PBR – and the flight model shall be addressed soon (although Joshua says it already flies nicely but it’s still a very early flight model and it needs a lot of work).
For now, Joshua will be delighting us with some screenshots (and perhaps a video soon? Please? Pretty please?).
The 500 is one of my favorite helicopters and the E is, definitely, on the top 5 of my favorite light helicopter list. Am I excited about it? Oh yes!