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MSFS Kaman K-Max


Resource contributor
Updates on K-Max, settled on 3 liveries, Rainier Heli Lift, Rotak and VMU-2 Afghanistan. I'm hoping to include a Bambi bucket, I have a good model, whether it can be integrated convincingly is yet to be seen.

Rainier Heli-Lift.png

Rotak Helicopter Services.png

Started testing in the sim. I'm as yet unable to enable the animations, so getting a little frustrated, but it's why I haven't raised the model using the Aircraft Editor yet. Also a small issue with the normal texture, in that the sheet metal should be concave in relation to the framing, but the effect is reversed on the rotor fairings. If I invert the texture, then the tail boom and control surfaces look wonked. I'm pretty sure this is a consequence of Asobo's compression algorithm and I think I'm going to have to leave it, unless I can figure out a way to selectively invert rivets and such.


More pictures of K-Max, using the Rotak livery this time. A bit of the wet candy look in hangar, but the finish looks about right in sim. Have gotten some control surface linkages animated and I really like how the intermeshing blades render in sim, I'm currently working on the various visibility states for them.

KMax hangar2.png

Kmax hangar1.png

KMax linkage.png
Hello Rick

Are you sure those aren't photos? Just kidding, she looks astonishing!!!
Darn MSFS, it seems to be in its prime (at least, with a quantum computer not yet designed LOL).

Kudos n' keep it up!!!
Sergio K.
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Thank you sir! So much yet to do, one step at a time. It is very different from developing for FSX, yet experience with that platform proves invaluable time and again.
Very much looking forward to this one. Do you have preview pictures of the cockpit?

I can think of at least three developers since the FSX days who have promised a K-Max, and none have delivered, so to see what looks like a quality version for MSFS is very exciting. May want to contact https://www.helisimmer.com/ to both let them know of your development, and ask for assistance if needed as the page owner seems to have quite a few connections in the flightsim helo development world.
Thanks! The cockpit is fully modeled, however none of the gauges are animated and the configuration does not match standard K-Max panels. Before release I'd like to add the three gauges to the pylon outside and below the left window, some owners even cut the bottom off that side blister to improve visibility of the gauges.

Kmax Interior.png

K-Max Blister.png

Kmax Panel.png

Ideally, I'd like to parent the controls to the pilots ambient motions for external view and while in cockpit view have the pilot invisible with the controls parented to the control inputs. That seems ambitious but no doubt doable.

Definitely not making any promises, there is so much yet to do! I can tell you what it is with these things however, is that they are neither airplane, or helicopter. The one beauty is that there is not a lot to animate up there, the servo tabs do all the work, they're connected through regular helicopter controls and they don't move at all when the blades aren't turning, you can't even cycle the controls to test them. Then the hub just has some rubber bushings and torque absorbers, the blades are wood, spruce I believe and they barely even have any droop to them. So not a lot to animate up there once you get your animation states down and I think we're good there. Not great, but better than payware helos I've seen.

K-Max Servo Tabs.png

That said, the sim isn't really set up to support a synchropter and the project hasn't even started down that flight model rabbit hole yet. To be done right, pitch, yaw and roll would have to be controlled by the blades. So that's probably why we don't see any of these making it into the community. I think that sometimes when I am stuck at one of those "give up" points, about how much almost awesome stuff must be out there, if only. It's like running for office, everyone wants 2020 and I am thinking, "hmmm, maybe even better in 2024?" We'll see.
Anyway, thanks for the encouragement, I'll keep posting updates, next step after finalizing these exterior animations is the cockpit, pretty excited about that. Then the Bambi bucket, I have some ideas for that as well.
Dang, gourgeous she is!

Each detail is made to perfection; brilliant sir.
Kindest regards.
Dang, gourgeous she is!

Each detail is made to perfection; brilliant sir.
Kindest regards.
Thank you so much sir! You're very kind.

I have a small test flight video, nothing spectacular, in fact I think I'm going to discard the propeller blur animations I'd worked so hard on. Even when K-Max is flying under load you can see the individual blades, they just don't spin that fast, so that's what well have to do here as well.

Hello Sir!

From what I've seen in the video, she's closer and closer to be ready to do some cargo lifting!
Shee looks fantastic already.

Cheers and take care,
Small update, have some working instruments and trying out the Rainier Heli Lift livery. Spent 3 weeks studying Wwise to come up with a sound set that's nothing to brag about, but I did start to understand it, I hope. Not at all like grabbing the relevant sound clips and dropping them into the Sound folder like in FSX, it's more like mixing a rock concert.

Ranier Heli Lift.png

So far here's the basic six pack with Garmin 650 MFD, still trying to work out the navigational gauge situation and the Artificial Horizon needs some calibration, but I think we'll get there.

6 pack.png
Thank you so much for your suggestion. I'll tell you what I really want is a Bendix/King KX 165, not much chance of finding one of those I'd guess. You can see there's already a reasonable facsimile in the panel, I could probably add detail and apply WASM functionality. It's on a not incredibly short to do list and I'm still tearing what's left of my hair out over the Bendix/King Ki-525. :)

really cool aircraft.
I want to give a help, but I my hand is full at the moment.
Happy to be able to report continuing progress, still futzing with gauges:

Torque Gauge Portrait.png


I wanted to share an incredible resource in this regard with developers. It really is a time saver when designing gauge faces, the site is called "Blocklayer," https://www.blocklayer.com/gauge-templates
and it is amazing for helping turn this


into this


from here, we can superimpose a screen capture of the gauge model, to which various gradients of color have been applied representing "depth."


Then we can run that layer through Photoshops 3d normal map generator and get a pretty acceptable result!

Fuel Normal.png
Quick update for the faithful and to bump us up to the top of the stack, we've got our first "home made" tool tip highlight, I've learned there are several iterations of the Bendix King KX-155/165 series navigation radios, the most obvious being in the Nemeth developed default Bell 407. I started to lift that one but then discovered the beautiful ASOBO_AS_155_TSO Template within the default NavComSystem.xml and decided to go with that. Still no display, but all the buttons and knobs are clickable, volume and frequencies change so, progress!

Rick: did you ever solve your rivets problem? I had the same problem when doing liveries for the MSFS B-314 and to fix it, I flipped the red and green channels in the normals map.
Well as you probably know, you can invert a normal map and get the opposite effect from the original in sim. My problem is that the skin between the framing is visibly concave as it should be, if the rivets are "belly buttons," but the skin becomes oddly bloated if the rivets are correct. To me, it's clearly a case that the normal was created from a 2d image, no big problem there, but specific elements needed to have been inverted in the original 2d image before processing into a normal - even areas of the skin are reversed when other parts are correct. I think it is a matter of trial and error, I do this with every component I develop for this model including the radio above

and you can see how it appears "backwards" here, yet the Bendix/King logo appears correctly in sim. If it hadn't, I would have flipped it and tried again. The artist that I got this model from did not conduct in sim testing and I do not have access to his original contrast map, but thank you for your tip and I will explore the channel flip as part of my resolution of this before publishing.