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Aircraft Review : Hungarocopter HC-02 by vSkyLabs


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VSL HC02_XP12_Header.jpg


Aircraft Review : Hungarocopter HC-02 by vSkyLabs


The project was born in 2007, and as the experimental stage progressed with more continuous and sophisticated solutions, the main and innovative component constructions were further developed into the first ultralight helicopter designed and manufactured totally in Hungary by Hungaro Copter Limited of Verpelét, an affiliate of the Hungarian SteelRiders company.


The result was the HC-01, basically a single pilot airframe with a four-cylinder, four stroke 135 hp (101 kW) Subaru EJ22 engine. The HC-01 is very much like the VS-300, the first ever practical flying rig helicopter built by Ogor Sikorski in 1939.


The experimental HC-01 by the lead engineer Zoltán Juhász has now been developed into the more commercial HC-02, a twin-seater machine with now being powered by a Rotax 915 IS four-stroke air cooled engine, with 141 hp (105 kW) for take-off, 135 hp (101 kW) in continuous flight. The aircraft is supplied as a kit for amateur construction, but still incorporates all the clever innovations of the first HC-01 design. These innovations include an Electrical Rescue System, Automatic anti-tip device, a Center of gravity offset, compensation with movable fuel tank system and Self-developed, high-efficiency and quiet-running rotors (Silent Type). The HS-02 also comes with an enclosed cabin...  this aircraft reminds me in design of the Schweizer S300CBi, more so the Dynali H3, in being another ultralight helicopter design, spaceframe based with a long circular tail-boom.


This being a vSkyLabs aircraft, Then the vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is usually not completed to 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft, and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements. So this aircraft is noted as an "Early Access" project.


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The HC-02 design is modern and clean. vSkyLabs have done a remarkable job in translating the Hungarocopter to the X-Plane 12 Simulator (to note the HC-02 is only available in X-plane 12). The composite feel is very evident, but in a finished well made production model sheen. The development here is based on 1st hand, actual materials, with real-world HC-02 pilots input. Note the door latches, with hotspot clicks to open the doors. Glass is excellent (nicely tinted), deep and well reflective.


VSL HC02 - Head 6.jpgVSL HC02 - Head 7.jpg


Under the smooth exterior however is a 25CrMo4 welded steel tubing spaceframe, supporting the Rotax 915 IS which is sticking out of the back, and the forward HC-02 cabin. Note the well modeled skids and supports attached to the spaceframe.


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The design is very clean, but this is not a working aircraft, but a demonstration machine directly out of the factory sort of way. Detailing is excellent, anyone that has supported in vSkyLabs philosophy knows what they will get, with all this great detailing, but no frills, and that same philosophy is again very evident here.


The HC-02 is a single main rotor and tail rotor configuration, and the tall rotor tower and hub is very well modeled, as all the fittings and bolts are very well represented. It all feels modern and fresh in design, in a forward moving approach to an old idea. The collective twist movement is animated, but not the pitch or sideways cyclic movements.


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Note the innovative blade design at 7.0 m (23.0 ft), all carbon-composite for strength, reliability and low noise.


VSL HC02 - rotor 5.jpg


The boom-tail stabilizer wings are quite pronounced for a ultralight machine, and they adapt (move) in flight for better stability.


VSL HC02 - rotor 8.jpgVSL HC02 - rotor 6.jpg


Rear rotor assembly is detail is excellent, with the full construction visible and authentic. The Yaw blade movement is well animated as well. 


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The vSkyLabs aircraft all use only "Hotspots" and comes with no menus as their feature control. Both doors can be opened by their latches, but press the upper part of the outer windscreen (both sides) and you can also hide the Swan styled doors off the aircraft.


VSL HC02 - cabin 1.jpgVSL HC02 - cabin 2.jpg


Internally there are two lay seats, set in a bright red with black inserts, and the (nice) seatbelts are HC (HungaroCopter) branded. This is a full dual control machine, with both dual cyclics and collectives. So either pilot can fly the machine. Central is a large instrument panel/console.


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The cyclic is simple with no features except for a PTT (Push To Talk) button, the collective has a working rotating throttle and end button governor. The fuel tank valve is on the floor between the seats. Rudder pedals are just basic aluminium.


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The main instrument panel is dominated by a state-of-the-art EFIS NESIS III, a navigation, flight and engine system for ultralight aircraft and helicopters. Noted here it is only showing the "Engine Screen", as there is also a "Classic" (flight instruments) and "Navigation" (MAP) screen pages also available on the NESIS lll, but not reproduced here. Top of the instrument panel are a row of Warning/Caution lights.


VSL HC02 - console 1.jpg


Flying instruments include, far left a Heading/Compass, Altitude/Speed/Baro (top), EMSIS Engine/Rotor Tachometer (bottom). Engine readouts (NESIS) consist of; Fuel Level/Pressure/Flow, Engine/Rotor Percentage %, Amp/Volt, Oil Temperature/Pressure, Gearbox Temperature/Pressure and Cylinder EGT - Exhaust Gas Temperature (per cylinder). If you press on the Amp/Volt gauge, it will change to an Artificial Horizon...


VSL HC02 - console 4.jpgVSL HC02 - console 5.jpg


Lower right is an instrument/light test button that works, lower console is a Upper/Lower (rotor) bearings Temperature readout, and ERS System Status Display (The ERS is a UAVOS’ Drone Parachute System, but currently non-operable, but maybe added in later as a future feature)


VSL HC02 - console 2.jpgVSL HC02 - console 3.jpg


Lower is a Radio/Communications panel...   Centre Console has a switch panel for External lights (Land/Nav), Fans and Power/Standby/Clutch switches. Bottom is a clever Transponder, turn the outer manipulator for the first two digits, then the inner manipulator for the last two digits... easy. far, far bottom is the FAN switches.


VSL HC02 - console 6.jpgVSL HC02 - console 7.jpg


On the roof are two panels... left is the circuit breaker/fuse panel (non-working), right the MASTER start switch, Strobe (tail) light and A/B Busses, Start relay cover switch is up here as well.


Top Instrument panel is a AviTab (plugin required) tablet, you press the area on the top of the glareshield to make it appear. It's quite large, good for reading, but helicopters are all about visual references, so it can be a bit of a distraction being so big if in restricted areas.


VSL HC02 - AviTab 1.jpgVSL HC02 - AviTab 2.jpg


External lighting is all very basic. A single white strobe light tail, and side Red/Green Navigation lights, there are two LED landing lights in the nose.


VSL HC02 - Lighting 1.jpgVSL HC02 - Lighting 2.jpg


Finally there is a really well dressed young pilot, with trendy torn jeans flying the HC-02. He has great arm and leg movements to the control changes, but no head movements, but he does look great.


VSL HC02 - Pilot 1.jpgVSL HC02 - Pilot 2.jpg



Flying the Hungarocopter HC-02

First recommended with the HC-02 is to adjust the "Flight models per frame rate", usually to three or four models per frame. This will help out with fluctuations of the flight dynamics model, usually resulting in 'jumps' of the aircraft. The settings can be found on the X-Plane/Menu/General page. It generally makes the HC-02 easier to fly.


As the HC-02 is not a gas-turbine sort of machine, but basically just a normal Four-stroke piston engine. It is as easy to start as a car engine...   Power on, fuel pumps on...  adjust the throttle to mid-turn, then turn the overhead switch to START.


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The whine comes from below, then the rotors take, wait until you are at 100%. And your ready to fly! You will hold the 100% unless you go back into a "Low Idle", then it drops down into 70% yellow zone. Basically the output is automatically governed at the high output, usually 105%, no matter what mixture setting you have, or be set within the green zone. Full throttle is of course required to takeoff.


This is an "UltraLight", so it is very ULTRALIGHT. This means with the full power setting the aircraft will jiggle, feel nervous, so control inputs are minuscule small. You will have a nervous tail as well, so a lot of left foot is needed to correct the yaw thrust.


The drive system incorporates a clutch system that allows the engine to start without load, as well as a freewheel that allows autorotation (free rotation of the main rotor) regardless of the operation of the engine or transmission system.


VSL HC02 - Flying 5.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 6.jpg


First slightly airborne, I went first drifting right sideways, but the tail under control. With a slight counter on the cyclic, and I was nicely hovering in one spot, and I could easily hold it there. It is not recommended to put the nose down and increase the collective and to do a usual move away from the low hover position. Basically here you will need a bit more height to do that.


VSL HC02 - Flying 7.jpg


I increased the collective and held the hover, but a bit too much as I climbed straight up high to 300 ft. Now I can do the standard 5º nose down to move forward.


VSL HC02 - Flying 8.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 9.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 10.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 11.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 12.jpg


Finding the correct pitch to move forward is important, too little and you will simply climb (and climb), too much and you lose nose down altitude very quickly, the line between them is extremely fine. You need to find it, and quickly, in finding a balance of a forward cyclic and collective position, then you will gather speed in a forward motion without gaining (or losing) height. 


VSL HC02 - Flying 13.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 14.jpg


You can see why you can't do this forward manoeuvre close to ground until you are more skilled with the HC-02, as you will mostly crash, or simply lose control. As you have to feed in your skills as you get more confident in the way the machine behaves, with plenty of space (mostly to the ground) to find the centre of the machine. This aspect is also explained in the well conceived POH (Pilot's Operating Handbook)


"A pushover (forward cyclic maneuver) performed from level flight or following a pull-up causes a low-G (near weightless) condition which can result in catastrophic loss of lateral control. To eliminate a low-G condition, immediately apply gentle aft cyclic. Should a right roll commence during a low-G condition, apply gentle aft cyclic to reload rotor before applying lateral cyclic to stop the roll."


Once you get there it is then a simple fingertip touch to go forward, or sideways. With both doors installed, a solo pilot weight of 70 kg
or greater will ensure the CG is within limits, or that the aircraft (in being so light) can be balanced.


VSL HC02 - Flying 15.jpg


In the air there is a lot of movement around the aircraft. The spinning Rotax is highly visible, as are lovely twin-red cooling fans under fuselage, underside detail is simply excellent.


VSL HC02 - Flying 16.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 17.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 18.jpg


There are no helpers obviously, no SAS (Stability Augmentation System)...  just the right trim and balance to fly the aircraft.


But then the HC-02 is sweet to fly...


Up to 3000 feet density altitude speed (vne) is 100 KIAS, doors off you are restricted to only 70 KIAS. I found that the average speed was around 60-70 KIAS, that is if you can get to that speed, as it take ages to build up momentum depending on the right nose pitch.


View reminds me a little of an underwater sub, the forward windows look like portholes, but the sides are not, and the view to your side is excellent.


VSL HC02 - Flying 19.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 20.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 21.jpg


You fly sort of head down. As you want to have the top of the instrument panel with the Altitude/Speed/Baro instrument and the Artificial Horizon visible, and in this position it does restrict your forward view, but you will fly mostly by these two instruments.


Lighting and sound are standard, even basic. Internally there is only the instrument lighting, externally the Landing lights, nav and tail strobe lights. An annoyance is that the strobe flashes in the cabin, on the window frame.


VSL HC02 - Flying 22.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 23.jpg


Sounds are very good, but nothing special in spatial awareness, it sounds and flies like a Rotax, and you can feel and hear the four-stroke working hard, the blades are very refined, and there is no blade-slap, no matter how hard you try to make it appear.


VSL HC02 - Flying 24.jpg


What works against you in taking off, works for you in landing. Lift the nose and the speed drops off very quickly, but to go lower, you need to push the nose down low. Get the two actions right with collective (power) control and you can drop and slow down at the same time.


VSL HC02 - Flying 25.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 26.jpg


Effective Translational Lift (ETL) is almost non-existent, you feel the transition, but the dropping of the speed goes smoothly into the lower forward speed, yes the collective is very fine here and it needs a little skill, but otherwise it is very easy in the approach and hover phases.


VSL HC02 - Flying 27.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 28.jpg


You can't get too complacent, this is still a very, very lite spidery machine. Getting closer to the ground and you have to be so smoooth, with fine touches on the controls, and the rudder yaw. But as you are now more in tune with the aircraft's dynamics, you can feel it better and control the HC-02 with more experience, no doubt the pro's will throw this one around the sky, but for the rest of us it is still a bit of a learning curve.


VSL HC02 - Flying 29.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 30.jpg


I'm down and back at base...  and to do the full circuit was an achievement, but fun as well in the Hungarocopter!


VSL HC02 - Flying 31.jpgVSL HC02 - Flying 32.jpg


Anything I want to add. Yes I would like more EFIS NESIS III pages in "Classic" (flight instruments) and "Navigation" (MAP) screen, I think it would add in a lot more to the aircraft instrumentation, and even maybe a spotlight on the skids. There are no extras or even liveries with the vSkyLabs HC-02.



Created and built by Zoltán Juhász in Hungary, the commercial HC-02 Hungarocopter, is a twin-seater Ultra light machine powered by a Rotax 915 IS Four-stroke piston, air cooled engine. Evolutionary from the earlier experimental HC-01, it incorporates many of the earlier machines innovative features. And all relevant technical and other information of the Hungarocopter HC-02 from the actual company was used in designing the HC-02.


Most users are well aware of the vSkyLabs philosophy, in that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is usually not completed to 100%. There are also no menus, or external features on the aircraft, and any changes are usually via hopspots.


Design and modeling is always one of vSkyLab's most strongest attributes, plus add in an almost perfect set of flying dynamics, makes any aircraft highly realistic to the real aircraft from this highly experienced developer. Systems are excellent with a lot of realistic detail of the state-of-the-art EFIS NESIS III, a navigation, flight and engine system for ultralight aircraft and helicopters. Sadly it does not have the Classic" (flight instruments) and "Navigation" (MAP) screen options. But all the systems and aircraft specifications are very well covered in the supplied POH (Pilot's Operating Handbook), that also comes with checklists.


These very lightweight machines can be very tricky to fly. But the HC-02 has a lot of interesting attributes that will keep both the Professional and novice pilot's happy. As once mastered it is a fun machine to learn and use without too many of the usual distractions. It is totally VR - Virtual Reality certified as well, always a good thing with Helicopters.


The aircraft is X-Plane 12 only, so no X-Plane 11 will be available. But this is another great and interesting helicopter that has a lot of interesting innovations to fly...  It's a lot of fun as well, as well as in being an ongoing project.


Designed by VSKYLABS
Support forum for the  HC-02



X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! - the Hungarocopter HC-02 by vSkyLabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Hungarocopter HC-02

Price is US$29.95

On sale: $29.95 US$14.97...   You Save:$15.00(50%)



X-Plane 12 (not for X-Plane 11)
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Current version: 1.0 (October 6th 2023)

Installation and documents:  download for the HC-02 is 209Mb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder.

Full Installation is 372MB


AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft


Documents supplied are:

  • How to INSTALL your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf
  • How to UPDATE your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf
  • VSKYLABS HC-02 POH.pdf
  • VSL HC-02 Essentials.pdf


Four documents cover setup, configurations and the general options on the aircraft available, excellent supplied POH (Pilot's Operating Handbook), that also comes with checklists.


Review System Specifications

Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD

Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a release candidate review).

Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00

Scenery or Aircraft

- Airport Marseille XP by Aerosoft - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99



News by Stephen Dutton

10th October 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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