Hype Perfomance Group H160: A Review

November 16, 2023

During my time as a flight simulation enthusiast, I have always had an interest in helicopters. However, the differences from fixed-wing aircraft have hindered my progress in this area. In the past, I would casually experiment with whatever default helicopters were included with whatever sim I was using, but that was the extent of my involvement. Microsoft Flight Simulator has completely changed my experience, largely due to the quality of the scenery, which enhances the immersion.

Hype Performance Group (HPG) was among the first development teams to embark on creating a helicopter for Microsoft Flight Simulator, even before they were natively supported with the 40th anniversary update. Following the release of their remarkable H135, HPG introduced the Airbus H145 as the benchmark for payware helicopters. They have maintained this level of excellence with the recent release of the H160.

The Airbus H160, a medium-lift passenger helicopter, took its inaugural flight in 2015. Airbus commenced the design of the H160 in 2011 intending to replace the aging H155 (previously manufactured by Eurocopter as the EC-155). The H160 incorporates a fly-by-wire control system akin to that found in modern airliners. With a flight endurance of four and a half hours, the H160 can travel a maximum range of 450 nautical miles and reach a service ceiling of 20,000 feet.

Since the introduction of helicopters in the 40th-anniversary update, I have started dedicating some time to familiarizing myself with the default Cabri G2, and I have become comfortable with basic manoeuvres. Initially, I was concerned that the HPG H160 would present a significant complexity leap. However, although it does feature more intricate systems and procedures, I was pleasantly surprised by how intuitive it all is. The included documents were more than enough to help get me started. 

When it comes to avionics I’m a huge fan of the Garmin GTN750 and I'm pleasantly surprised by the addition of PMS50's version. Additionally, the HPG tablet that is included in both the H135 and H145 is present in the H160. The tablet offers standard settings and options, integration with Little Navmap, and the ability to control the helicopter's autopilot system. The H160 allows users to map these controls to hardware buttons and switches, but having the autopilot controls easily accessible in your field of view is highly beneficial for individuals who have simpler hardware or prefer using a mouse. Getting airborne in the H160 can be done either manually or automatically with the press of a few buttons, this system has been integrated wonderfully and is probably my favorite feature.

The last thing I'll touch on is how well done the modeling is for the H160. HPG has included full PBR textures, 4k textures, and full VR support. As expected from HPG the animations are also top-notch and include full functionality for all the doors. The H160 package includes two variants of the H160 (civilian and VIP) and each variety comes with six 4k liveries. The only complaint I have is that the liveries all come stamped with a registration number, that being said it seems that HPG is one of the leaders when it comes to high-quality aircraft add-ons and the H160 reflects that. 

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