The last time we truly saw the #FreedomFox by Parallel 42 was back in July with a short teaser video. The 42-second clip gave us a brief look at the plane, but now, we have a lot more information thanks to our new exclusive interview with Edson from Parallel 42.
Before you read the interview, it’s worth noting that Parallel 42 has worked in full collaboration with Trent Palmer in bringing the FreedomFox to life. For those who may not know, Trent Palmer is a film-maker, vlogger and aviation enthusiast who is constantly filming his experience with developing his Series 5 Kitfox STI. By working directly with Trent, Parallel 42 has been able to get unrestricted access to the aircraft and have its own pilot flight test the plane to be as realistic as possible.
In addition to the exclusive interview with Edson Soriano from //42, we have a number of brand new never-before-seen images of the #FreedomFox in action. Let’s see what Edson had to say.
How did development start? Who approached who?
E: It started with a dream, and an email sent with wishful thinking! Like many other aviation enthusiasts, I’m a fan of Trent Palmer and #FreedomFox. His YouTube channel opened my eyes to a way of flying that captures the freedom you expect in the sky. Sure, flight planning for 1hr and flying along a magenta line saturated in rules CAN be fun. But feeling free, is well, a different vibe; to me, that’s flying!
Trent responded positively to the email showcasing our work and our proposal. Initially, he was cautious about the sim space; past experiences of capitalizing on his brand without permission left a sour taste. Justifiably so, the sim development world can be a bit of a wild west in that sense. However, our professional approach put his mind at ease, and it wasn’t long before we switched to texts, then phone calls. When we had something to show, we moved into our private Discord “Area 42” where Trent works with us daily to get the aircraft dialled in.
What was the goal of working with Trent?
E: To make sure nobody can tell us it doesn’t fly like the real thing.
I’M KIDDING! But really, it’s fantastic to have him fly it in-sim and bless each change. As far as I know, //42 are the first to develop an aircraft alongside a current-day public figure like Trent. The brand he built with #FreedomFox has pretty much transformed the airplane into an aviation celebrity! We had to get this right. Once things got nerdy, we pulled in the best, GotGravel, for flight model tuning. With Keven and Raul making changes to systems and GotGravel ensuring it does as Trent says it should, it’s an all-star team, and Trent’s signature on the dash validates our final product.
How did this shape development between both parties?
E: Trent had a direct influence on the project. The real #FreedomFox is actively being tuned and customized; as you know, it is also a STOL Drag competitor! We plan on following its progression as long as the current sim platform allows. Influence from Trent to //42 was mainly in the performance realm and keeping us in sync with changes to the actual aircraft that may affect release. Fun fact, we had his Beringer wheels on the aircraft before he did. That was thanks to him sending us photos of the new wheels fresh out of the box. A few weeks ago, we woke up to a message that started with “Sorry guys…” and then photos of the changes to the dash. With Raul’s magical touch, we accommodated this new addition quickly. Trent beat us to that one tho!
As far as influence from //42 to Trent, it’s been awesome! He built a sim rig, bought some controls, and has spent time in his aircraft on a rainy day, but in-sim. Oh, a warning to yoke owners, he once joked about not letting anyone fly #FreedomFox with a yoke…of course, we didn’t block that but buy yourself a joystick, even a cheap one. You want the right vibe for this well-tuned yet wildcard of an aircraft!
This is Parallel 42’s first entry into aircraft development. Why and why now?
E: It’s no secret that MSFS development is challenging, or rather I should say in our case, limiting. In the days of FSX and Prepar3D, ChasePlane was our portfolio centerpiece. So why didn’t we bring over ChasePlane?? Well, the official answer here is, “We can’t.” We simply can’t at this time. The camera system is locked down like the weather system, and there is no glimpse of hope, either thru our direct contacts at Asobo or in their public roadmap. Cinematic utilities and effects are the foundation of //42, and we found ourselves unable to do either in MSFS.
We’re lucky enough to call ourselves full-time employees of //42, but we also have to eat. So we thought of the SDK as a random sampling of parts. We don’t have a lens, so we can’t build a camera, so what cool thing CAN we build? The Skypark was something we had in the works for Prepar3D that had just about every piece available in MSFS, and pilots could play it in a more attractive playground out of the box. It made sense for The Skypark to be our first venture into the new sim, so we rebuilt it, and it’s been a fantastic journey so far; the feedback is AMAZINGLY positive.
For the next release, we put on our thinking caps. A simulator NEEDS two things to succeed at the core: Aircraft and Scenery. Every business wants to produce something they don’t have to explain to consumers. So, I’ll spare you the long nights of brainstorming, but we decided on an aircraft first. That’s the night I sent an email to Trent.
Will you be doing anything to celebrate the release in The Skypark?
E: Great question! While at ClearSky HQ, I heard Trent reached out to Brigit for a meetup at Johnson Creek Airport. I’m guessing there will be something for all the new #FreedomFox owners; after all, that is one of Trent’s favorite strips!
You must be pretty close now. Will I have work over Christmas to tell the world it is released?
E: If everything goes according to plan, you’ll have a merry and socially distanced Christmas Eve [December 24th 2021] with family and friends. But this year, your very own #FreedomFox will be sitting in a hangar.
Will we see the FreedomFox in the In-Sim Marketplace for both PC and Xbox?
E: Yes. But, I’m not a fan of how long MSFS Marketplace updates take, not from the consumer or the developer side. Therefore, the initial release will be exclusive to Orbx until the product is out and stabilizes. We value the rapid distribution of updates that Orbx enables for our customers. And I’m sure our customers value it too! Nobody likes bugs, and we pride ourselves on eliminating them swiftly.
Post-release, we’ll enter the Microsoft Marketplace on both PC and Xbox. Oh, and wait until you see our in-aircraft update notifications; we pushed the envelope again!
So come Christmas Eve (hopefully), what can customers expect when they have the #FreedomFox in their hangars?
E: The #FreedomFox by //42 includes two aircraft, Trent Palmers’ #FreedomFox, and a customizable variant we like to call “Fox2”. #FreedomFox is available at release; Fox2 will be arriving through a free update soon…ish after. Buyers will also notice a Mod Manager installed, allowing bonus content to be deployed and installed easily, such as Fox2 mods, liveries, and sceneries.
Fox2? Does my fox-sense tingle and we’ll see Fox3, etc?
E: Think of Fox2 as a //42 experimental build. #FreedomFox will continue to follow its real-world counterpart as long as the sim enables us to do so. However, with Fox2 we will have the liberty of deploying a beautiful paint kit, engine mods, and more. Regarding Fox3…no comment at this time!