• Jennifer Kimball Developer Interview

    Jennifer Kimball Developer Interview

    Conducted by Dominic Smith

    Jennifer Kimball


    Jenn, when did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    As a real-world pilot, I've always been interested flight simulation, my first simulator being Microsoft Flight Sim 98. I started developing for X-Plane 10 in 2015 after I saw all of the content available for download and got inspired to develop my own planes. So, along with my good friend Alex, I learned the art from scratch starting with Plane Maker. I soon progressed into 3D modeling, textures, and animations, and progressed from there.

    Could you tell us a bit about your amazing designs?

    Sure Dom! All of the projects I've worked on so far have been smaller aircraft, the most complex being the Mitsubishi MU-2. Alex and I have been known for our "grass roots" collections of aircraft including but not limited to a PA-18 Super Cub package, a J-3 Cub package, an Aeronca Chief and Champ, and even an amphibious flying fishing boat. Some of the projects I did entirely on my own include the MU-2, Glasair, and Rans Coyote. I did the majority of the 3D and texture work on the Cub and Super Cub as well.

    Jennifer Kimball     Jennifer Kimball

    Haha...I remember the flying fishing boat when you first uploaded it...that was wacky!

    Jenn, out of all the aircraft (and flying fishing boats) you have created, what do you consider your best or most popular work?

    The Cub packages, hands down! Everybody loves a Cub! The runner up would have to be my MU-2 Solitaire. Although the Solitaire isn't my most eye-catching work, it's a great addition to anyone's freeware hangar, as it's perfect for those longer cross country flights; plus it has a really decent cockpit setup (and a G1000 version). It's plain old fun to fly.

    Having seen how complicated your desktop looks at times due to your 3D modelling work, could you tell us what you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    Animations and cockpit click regions. Getting everything to function right in a virtual cockpit can be a lot of work and tinkering, and it can be frustrating, but it's always worth it when you can start a plane from cold and dark, switch by switch, and become immersed in the experience not only of flying the aircraft but of operating it.

    Jennifer Kimball     Jennifer Kimball

    Even though creating aircraft is challenging, is there a particular project you have worked on which you consider to be a favorite?

    The MU-2, because it was a huge learning experience. I didn't put as much into the 3D work or virtual cockpit as usual, but I focused on getting the systems right. I had a lot of help from the community (including real MU-2 pilots) in getting this tricky airplane to handle and operate as much like the real one as possible. In fact, look for a future update with better 3D modeling and a more immersive virtual cockpit, because I think it deserves it!

    Another favorite project was the Super Cub, particularly the float version. That was just plain old fun, and I'm due to make another float plane some time soon.

    Jenn, in regards to your X-Plane work, who would you consider to be your mentors or inspiration?

    My good friend Alex helped me get into developing. He did his first plane, a Lockheed AL-60, and showed me how to do it. Then, we started working together on planes, sending stuff to each other and making mistakes together until we got fairly good at it. It was really great to have a friend to work with while learning how to develop. He's no longer developing (he's pursuing new things in life now), so I'm taking over our old projects from here and working on my own. I really owe it to him for helping me get comfortable developing!

    Jennifer Kimball     Jennifer Kimball

    Do you develop payware/freeware or both and why?

    Currently, I only develop freeware, because I took developing up strictly for fun, but I'm open to the idea of releasing a nice payware model some time in the future. Even if I move into developing payware, I'll still release freeware once in a while, because I feel that the X-Plane community benefits big time from having a large pool of quality content available for free, as well as payware. When people purchase a simulator, a lot of the times the first thing they'll ask is, "how many add-ons are available, and are there free ones?" So having a nice collection of free add-ons helps draw a lot of people to the simulator.

    1. flydog59's Avatar
      flydog59 -
      nice work. I'm a pilot myself retired Capt ValuJet & AirTran dc-9 AWS your really good at modeling keep up the great work
    1. LowTransition's Avatar
      LowTransition -
      Excellent interview! Jennifer does great work!
    1. Sean McLeod's Avatar
      Sean McLeod -
      Really great to learn more about the people behind the aircraft projects, great interview.

      Thank you Jenn for your contributions to the community!
    1. SWM1968's Avatar
      SWM1968 -
      Great interview Dom and Jennifer, really good to get a look behind the scenes and learn about the fine folks behind our virtual world! Keep it up!
    1. brosenguy's Avatar
      brosenguy -
      Jennifer, I enjoyed reading your interview and I enjoy flying your Cub, Chief, and Champ. Keep up the good work! We need more women like you!
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