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Aircraft Review : NHRacer by NHAdrian FutureTech is coming. The dream of flying cars and the conceivability of "Blade Runner" Spinners is of science fiction. But the advent of Drones, even if on currently a small scale are creating a revolution. Now suddenly we have Uber and others already prophesying the futuristic notions, that yes even in a few years we will all be simply flying around up there as Deckards. There is a big difference between a "Flying Car" and a Drone. Flying cars have actual wings or rotor blades (Gyrocopter) and travel on normal roads, but can fly. Drones are altogether different, not even a helicopter, but are multi-bladed lifting machines and there is a big difference in being called a Multicopter. My personal take on this is that with any futuristic speculation, there has to be an element of realism or realistic expectations on these hundreds of Multicopters twirling fast around above your heads. For one regulation would be required. As humans can't even drive sensibly on roads, never mind letting us all loose in the air, and then there is the high noise factor, as they are called "Drones" for a noisy reason. Then the biggest variable is the weather... Drones can easily fly in calm controlled conditions, but not within the usual changeable weather patterns... however I do think that passenger drones will become reality, and will one day shuttle you from point A to Point B, but I doubt (unless homemade) you will park one in your garage. X-Plane in Laminar Research has however noted that Drone aircraft will be part of the future of the Simulator. Again I find this category very exciting, and there is now also a category now set out in the "Flight Configuration" menu ready for the coming onslaught, called "VTOL". In reality X-Plane has already, and to point, to the core of the simulator's ideal to do experimental aircraft in the Simulator, so this is not a completely new area to us. But it is acknowledging the coming realisation of the new category in aviation, and that aspect is again very exciting. NHRacer by NHAdrian This Multicopter by NHAdrian of Let L-200D Morava fame is still more in the "experimental aircraft" category than a real world machine. But it does create a sort of insight on how these aircraft will fly and the feel of flying them in the future. The NHRacer looks like a bathtub with six pylons connected, or more a airborne Bobsled in it's racer guise... The bobsled... sorry fuselage has six pylons attached with twin-blade propellers, but only the two central pylons rotate... .... this action creates the "Yaw" movement of the aircraft as the four other blades are fixed. The directions are created in say the pitch action by tilting your Multicopter forward and titling backwards and in the same manner as rolling left or right. By adjusting the pitch, your drone will sag down in the front causing it to go forward, or sag down in the back causing it to go backwards. So there is no rotor head or collective movement adjustment like you find on a helicopter. The pylon detail is very good, with an exposed 40kW motor on each pylon with a built in Navigation lighting. Blades are composite carbon fibre weaves that look very and highly realistic. Carbon Fibre weaves are also used on the four leg stands (not the usual helicopter skids). Under a panel at the rear there is the Electrical recharge socket, just press the socket to instantly recharge the NHRacer's batteries... I would have liked an external charger and cable with both the same instant recharge or slow recharge options. There are also four landing lights built into the shark like nose. The Pilot (Racer?) is animated with the excellent head movements and with both left (throttle), right (joystick) arm movements... Your view though is constrained as being placed within the pilot's helmet, and there is the optional (hotspot) to hide this helmet effect or to move to a full screen view directly above the left throttle lever. You can hide the pilot also via a hotspot on the right leg (but not from the external view). Instrument Panel The instrument panel is basic, but very interesting from an aviation point of view... in fact there are only three instruments that are primary aircraft instruments on the panel. The big centre left switch is the main power switch, and turning it on will start up a lot of system checks, including left a Garmin G5 AH (Artificial Horizion) that is more like a fully Integrated Standby Flight Display (ISFD). The "Garmin" logo comes up on startup. Far right is the NHAdrian Flight Controller status display, that also has a great test and startup procedure. Turn on the avionics and then two large display screens start up with the COM device (radio) to the right. The left large display is the Electric Drive Management System (EDMS), and the right display is the Battery Data Management System (BDMS). Final large instrument centre left lower is the Davtron M850 Chronometer. The four centre switches cover MASTER (Power), AVIONICS, NAV (Navigation) LIGHT and LANDING LIGHT. Below is the three setting FLIGHT MODE SELECTOR with ACROBATIC, STABILIZED and ALTITUDE HOLD modes. There are five (working) Circuit Breakers far left and a Main ARMING power switch far right. In reality it is the motors start/stop switch under the red cover. Finally lower right are the ACRO MODE RATES that adjust the ROLL, PITCH and YAW rates. These adjustments allow you to adjust maximum rotating rate in either the Roll, Pitch and Yaw directions for maximum roll control input. STABILIZED left mode banking limit will also adjust the roll and pitch control inputs to be scaled to this banking range. There is a Samsung branded AviTab Tablet, that can be accessed via a hotspot on the far left main circuit breaker module. Flying the NHRacer Starting up the NHRacer is almost a joke... all power on and ready, just flip up the Red ARMED cover and flip up the switch, and instantly all six blades are in action.... Sounds are very fast twirly blade noises, but very realistic (the only other sounds are wind noises). To fly just advance the throttle (could it be called a throttle here, or a power stick?) and up you go! The aircraft is very stable, you go up and down within the same space, movements in any direction are minute, just teeny-weeny adjustments on the joystick is all that is required to move in the direction you want to go. So the question is, is the Multicopter like flying a helicopter? Well yes and no. Like a helicopter you still adjust the directions via small input movements, and there is still the side-slip feel... but the unlike a rotor based aircraft the platform is extremely stable... hovering in a chopper is a challenge, but here it is a complete doddle. So in reality anyone should easily fly the NHRacer. As a side note I did set up my external throttle lever in the reverse direction to get the same feel as flying in a helicopter (collective), the throttle setting the other way around messed up my flying brain. The power of each motor is shown in the EDMS, and note how very quickly the power usage creates a very real "Range Anxiety" feeling, as you can't fly too far away from base, or for long. Range or time flying is noted around 10-15 minutes only with today’s Li-HV battery cells. Huge fun is just spinning or Yawing on an axis, but don't get carried away and start twirling around too fast or you will lose the Multicopter, said the same for just pulling the power down too quickly, as the plummet to the ground is quick and quite deathly... You can't be aggressive here like in a helicopter. To move forward fast you can drop the nose and wind up the collective and the chopper will move forward and quickly... try that with a multicopter and it just sorta stalls, as the blades don't move in a thrust vectoring way (or to pitch or roll into the direction you action). So a slight dip of the nose is far more effective, and you will very quickly gain speed... secondly there is no front or back... the Multicopter will go as fast sideways as forwards, even fast straight backwards if you are brave enough. The trick here is in the need to use the yaw to keep the nose pointing forwards in the right direction. So the Multicopter is very, very easy to fly, but be aware if it goes wrong, it goes really wrong in a big way. So you fly it like flying a flat wide pancake, keeping it level and smooth in the air. 5º nose down is the most effective (same going backwards!). Move the stick to the right and the aircraft will roll, but will not actually bank to the right, but instead only tilt? To get a change of direction then you bring the yaw in, and a bit more power to push you in the direction you want to go. It is a little tricky as all aircraft have a central balance point (CofG) that you fly around, but not in the Multicopter? There are the three different flying modes... STABILIZED is the the default and the standard setting for basic flying. AEROBATIC changes the behavior In the flight controller system allows the roll/pitch/yaw input controls in the desired rotation rate which can now be adjusted (scaled) with the appropriate knobs. The more command input the more rotational rate applies. The throttle behavior is linear in this flight mode, the center throttle position is about the hover throttle required. Inverted maneuvers are also available in this flight mode like loop and roll, although continuous inverted flight is not possible because of always positive throttle direction. ALTITUDE HOLD FLIGHT MODE will simply hold your current altitude, so it is a sort of Autopilot function... ... in the HOLD mode you have to be careful not to adjust your throttle position to much, as the hold mode will not move around much, but your power will. So when you come back into the default STABILIZED mode the aircraft will suddenly jump or revert to the new power setting. Flight controller display also gives you feedback on the actual state of the Flight Controller (FC) system. It shows information on the bootup procedure. FC screen has different background colors depending on the actual current state of the system; Blue – system startup, green – system ready, red – error status Lighting There are only two lighting adjustments available for the Instruments, one knob that adjusts the instrument brightness, and another knob that adjusts the panel LED light strip under the glareshield. Overall the panel lighting is excellent. External lighting has a navigation light on each pylon (Four forward green, and two rear red), and four very weak "Landing Lights" in the nose. Again your descent has to be controlled. Pitching your nose down like in a helicopter won't simply lower your altitude, it is a combination of lower lift thrust and angling the NR Racer to deliver a realistic descent rate, note the increasing or decreasing "Range Anxiety". Drag of course can slow you down, but the Multicopter is so very slippery in the air, in being very light and aerodynamic. That a slight yaw can help to takeaway the streamlined nose on approach, so you have to approach the field carefully, and yawing to keep the vehicle straight. Control can be tricky, not helicopter tricky but different tricky... the inputs to move forwards, slow down and adjust are the same in a way to a helicopter, but you have a more flat lift aspect, so your platform overall is far more stable... still very small movements in any direction helps. 7 Min of lift remaining and I go into the below 30% yellow warning zone... "Gulp". So you have to be in a "Cool" mindset, don't panic, but fly the machine.... .... Interesting is that you can fly the Racer in spaces that you would never ever consider in a Helicopter, better still you can hover totally in control, then maneuver around that situation without fear and adjust your position with precision. Be very aware of the X-Plane boundary... it will grab you and pull you down very violently and quickly, so a lift adjustment is required to hold the slow rate of descent when going through the boundary... and slow, slow going down is very good, unless you want that "pit of your stomach" falling feeling. Touch of a hover slightly above the ground is a worthwhile idea, then control the final lowering to touchdown. The Racer does give you so much control, and it is far easier than it looks. You are of course supposed to push the envelope, I am just flying the Multicopter around, and not mastering the extreme dynamics or as the name suggests... racing. But I doubt any racing or course flying would give you very long, before the power supply starts to go into critical red mode... so keep it tight and fast. Supplied are object elements to create you own racing course in WED, provided are six Flags and six Gates to fly around. Emergency Parachute We know your power can sort of deflate rather quickly. So what if to say, your at 5400ft above planet earth, and your numbers are not looking real good? Certain death awaits! Well thankfully the NHRacer has a safety tool built in, with a parachute situated just rear of the pilot... ... there is a pull lever under the instrument panel that releases a lifesaving parachute from the rear bay... boom! and the six electric engines all immediately also stop at the same time. Nicely done are the support cables from the NHRacer to a central bracket, then to the extended cables upwards to the bright red&white parachute. From 4500ft it is a long slow way down, but safe. Landing is with a "Thump"... but worse is the very long walk back to the airfield. Liveries There are eight funky liveries, including three camouflage, some very carnival, Mighty 8 and a bold red racer. There is also a blank white (default) and a painkit to create your own racing design. Summary A new aviation category is now being born out of the unexpected success of Drones. VTOL, or multi-bladed lifting machines are not really a helicopter or an aircraft per-se, but a completely new dimension to flying. Multicopters, do have some areas in common with helicopters, in being mostly vertical flight machines. But there are also significant differences in the way you fly these a more sturdy fixed propeller machines, only the Yaw axis is manoeuvrable in a dynamic sense. NHAdrian in context has created a sort of flying bobsled, a machine to race through a created race course... that is in itself a very exciting aspect of this machine drone. But the really interesting area is on how you learn and fly this exciting coming of age (and a neighbourhood) near you drone style machine... and very interesting concept, and to learn it is. NHAdrian has certainly given you all the fundamentals to create a very realistic machine to understand and even to enjoy immensely the future of local airspace flying. The design presented here is clever, with highly realistic instrument and the correct details to understand these machines. Modeling is straightforward but excellent, and highly detailed for the realistic element. Negatives are few, but an external recharger would be nice, to hide the always present pilot, and very weak landing lights would all benefit in future changes. There is no doubt that over the next few years this new VTOL category will blow open with loads of interesting and exciting machines. This NHRacer is one of the first quality ones to surface and excellent to explore this new and exciting dimension. _______________________________ Yes! the NHRacer by NHAdrian is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : NH Racer - Manned Racing Multicopter Price is US$19.99 Product features Custom flight controller system with multiple flight modes using X-Plane’s experimental flight model as base Realistic engine, ESC and battery model incl. temperatures, battery curve, etc. Custom avionics Permanently stored user settings Realistic BRS system Realistic prop stalling effect Visual + audio “Helmet” effect Full FMOD sound package 4K high-definition PBR textures 8 stunning liveries incl. 4 exclusive liveries by PWDT Full VR compatible Detailed flight manual included Complete paint kit for livery creators Racetrack elements for scenery builders Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB Current and Review Version : 1.0 (November 5th 2021) NHRacer uses a custom flight controller system that stabilizes the multicopter during flight, working together with X-Plane’s own flight model, therefore at least stable 30 fps is mandatory! If you plan to do lot of acrobatic flights, 45+ fps is recommended. _____________________________ Installation and documents: Download is 1.02gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Installed Aircraft is 1.03Gb Documents supplied are: NHRacer_Users_Manual.pdf Supplied are: RACETRACK elements (6 Flags-6 Gates) PAINTKIT Designed by NHAdrian - Popular Freeware developer and co-designer of the L-200 Morava Support forum for the NH Racer _____________________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 17th November 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55 Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft- EGGD - Bristol International Definitive by Pilot+Plus (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.95 (Disclaimer. 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