A big step for HELI-X happened in 2015. For version 5.0 a new graphics engine was used, the jMonkey engine, which is still the OpenGL base for HELI-X. Since then OpenGL shaders are supported and there are realistic shadows. By the way, the graphics engines before were Java3d (before 0.9) and then Xith3D, which is unfortunately no longer developed. That’s why the change was necessary, and now there is also an integrated user interface since 2015, which by the way can also be used in the current VR version.
Jan Stauffacher has been active for HELI-X since 2015. He has already created a lot of models and 3d scenes for HELI-X. From him come the best models with the best graphics. For questions about Blender he is my first contact person. By the way, he also wrote a great tutorial about creating models for HELI-X with Blender. A must for every model builder!
During this time, Matthew de Wilde also created some demo flights in HELI-X.
Since version 8.0, we are in 2018, there are airplanes in HELI-X. I fondly remember the many hours I spent tinkering with Martin Wycisk to implement flight physics for airplanes. We spent hours looking at flat spin, and looking at “high angle of attack”, the transition from normal flight to hover to torquing. With Martin I am still optimizing the aerodynamics of new models. Together with the airplanes, the possibility for hang-gliding with the corresponding scenes in HELI-X was developed.
I also like to mention Michael Peer, who models for HELI-X, e.g. the Whiplash and the Furion 6, and Martin Münster, who also gives valuable inputs on flight physics.
In 2019, Daniel Wiedemann (Helischule Gonzalez) came to me. He wants to use HELI-X for his book project, and has been extremely supportive of me improving the pyhsics of helicopters. For me he is a phenomenon. In principle he can fly all figures blind and knows exactly with which setting the helicpter behaves how. His contribution is especially noticeable in the autorotation behavior of the helicopters in HELI-X. Not for nothing it is said that the autorotations in HELI-X are the most realistic. I always remember an old advertising slogan from a company that makes a finite element program: “Nature is non-linear”, and that applies even more to the flight pyhsics of 3d helicopters. By the way, Daniel offers an online flight school for helicopter flight, using HELI-X. So the impemented physics seems to be not bad … 😉
Since version 9.0 there are also high resolution scenes (4K) in HELI-X.