• Review: UH-60X Stealth Blackhawk MH-X

    Technical Matters

    Area 51 Simulations' UH-60X Stealth Blackhawk MH-X is for FSX only, and this is emphasized on their product description.

    The installation program installs all necessary files into the appropriate folders.

    The two helicopters appear in the Aircraft Selection menu under Area 51 Simulations for manufacturer and publisher and under Rotorcraft for aircraft type.

    Technical support is available through an email address available from the Pilot Shop. Readers with technical questions not answered in this review should inquire of Area 51 Simulations because they are best able to answer such questions.

    PURCHASE FEATURES

    Delivery Method

    Instant Download

    Installation program

    Yes

    License key

    Yes

    Copyright acknowledgment

    Yes

    Documents included

    None

    Uninstall program included

    Yes

    TECHNICAL FEATURES

    Simulator Version

    FSX

    Operating System

    XP, Vista
    Windows 7

    Special Settings

    No

    Frame Rates

    Good

    Tech Support

    Email

    Price

    $19.95 US

    Simming the Stealth Blackhawk

    With most of the information about this advanced helicopter being speculative and conjecture, we can only guess where it is being deployed. Afghanistan and Pakistan are obvious theaters because of the May 1, 2011, raid on the Osama Bin Laden compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan. Other sensitive locations around the world would be realistic because it was designed for special operations where stealth and secrecy are of utmost importance. Training flights stateside might not be realistic because of the aircraft's exposure to the public, but remote bases such as Area 51 in Nevada or Edwards Air Force Base in California might be realistic. The trick is sneaking in and out on our missions without being caught -- or without crashing and leaving the evidence behind. For utmost realism, I would rely on the MFD instead of the Garmin GPS popup because the real Blackhawk doesn't have a Garmin GPS.

    More Information

    Information about the real-world UH-60X Stealth Blackhawk MH-X helicopter can be found here:

    Any internet search will show numerous images of real-world UH-60 Blackhawks, but photos of the Stealth Blackhawk are not as common. A photo of a Stealth Blackhawk in a hangar with a soldier posing in front of it seems so unrealistic that I wondered if had been photoshopped. The explanatory text on that website mentions a Hollywood motion picture and opines that this is a mockup prop.

    REAL-WORLD UH-60 BLACKHAWKS
    Real-world UH-60 Blackhawk?
    Aviation Intel
    Real-world UH-60 Blackhawk
    Defense Aviation
    Real-world UH-60 Blackhawk
    CNET

    The Developer

    Area 51 Simulations makes military and civilian aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator®. Its other products include a variety of helicopters, the C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster, U2S and more; info can be found here. I previously renewed their MH-47G Chinook last March.

    Summary

    Area 51 Simulations' Sikorsky Stealth Blackhawk helicopter is visually stunning inside and outside in both its models. Sounds are realistic. It's easy to fly. Area 51 provides no specifications or written guidance for flying it, but I found it easy to fly. I did not receive responses to two emails sent over several days regarding the questions I raised in this review such as weight variances and nonfunctioning instruments.

    Bill Stack
    billstack@flightsim.com

    Purchase here.

    Bill Stack is author of several books about flight simulation, a regular author in flight-sim magazines, and a contributor to Flight Sim Com. His website is www.topskills.com/flitsim.htm.


    4 Comments
    1. highside7r's Avatar
      highside7r -
      Probably based off the usual B206 airfile. The weights are off, and we never fly at 23K, but these things happen when a developer picks a subject with little to no real world reference material. At least it's <$20 USD.
    1. biffer's Avatar
      biffer -
      Bill, I think it's fairly obvious that the "multi-color cylinder on top behind the main rotor", is a representation of what you might call a 'standard' piece of gear on today's military helicopters. It's an infra-red warning and countermeasures device - probably an ALQ-144A, or updated version thereof. This consists of blocks of heated silicon carbide that throws off heat to confuse incoming infra-red homing missiles. The device has a distinctive, highly-reflective look to it, which I imagine would be very difficult to model for flightsim. Portraying it as different coloured segments would be a good compromise.

      It makes sense to model the Stealth Hawk with this kit, although, whether this aircraft would carry something even more sophisticated is beyond my knowledge. Incidentally, I read an account of the Bin Laden raid in which the author mentions a 2nd generation Stealth Hawk; something a bit larger with more range and even more sophisticated systems on-board, which he referred to as the Ghost Hawk. He claims the 'older' Stealth Hawks were used after it was decided to scrub the provision of top-cover by Navy F/A-18s - they just couldn't risk one of the Ghosts being brought down over Pakistani territory (?).

      BTW: I'm not seeking kudos as some kind of 'stealth-copter guru'. Anyone could have found this information on good old Wikipedia - I just happened to have the time on my hands to reply first.

      Fly safe (virtual or otherwise) to all in 2013!

      Biffer
    1. firehawkordy's Avatar
      firehawkordy -
      I'll add this to the look of the ALQ -144 or "disco light", the reason it was probably done in different colors is that in real life the tiles have a mirror appearance. Having to help install or remove those things while I was in a Navy HH-60 unit you don't forget how they look or weigh.

      As to the bird itself, I got this the first week it came out and my impression was it's not bad. The forward view in the VC is a bit obscured so landing on a small LZ is tricky more so if it's an AI vessel. To counter that I found making an "S" approach like you would taxiing a tail dragger helps.

      I find all the negative remarks about this thing in the various forums a laugh, no one really knows what it does, for the general public this helo is a work of fiction. I doubt anyone is going to come out and say what it really feels like and it true performance. If that happened I'd take that info with a huge grain of salt.

      All in all it's a fun bird to fly, because of the cockpit visibility you have to learn some new tricks and because of it's performance you can't be lax. I've not regretted paying out the $20 for it, unlike parting with almost twice as much from another publisher for something that is totally unflyable.
      My two cents for what it's worth.
    1. 79127912's Avatar
      79127912 -
      First of all. The picture you got from "Aviation Intel" of the soldier standing next to the helicopter: This is a movie prop for the film "Zero Dark Thirty" on the account of Operation Neptune Spear and the assassination of UBL. So this is just a prop. Not the real deal. No point making it look like a reference.
      Then, I would like to address all the information you gathered. I loved your explanations and thorough analysis, but I think you needed a bit more research. The "Cylinder" behind the main rotor you refer to, is actually an infrared countermeasure system. Also, you shouldn't assume that this new Hawk has anything to do with the standard Blackhawk. In fact you shouldn't even assume that it is only Sikorsky building it. Maybe Boeing had something to do with this and picked up where the RAH-66 Comanche left off. This would change both the base frame and even the engines and number of blades on it. So this area51 thing is pure overpriced speculation. There's no point on comparing it with the real deal, because the real deal is far from being public.
      Again, I loved your thorough analysis and hope you make more and better ones, but this bird isn't worth the shot.