Hacker Nexus Powered Paraglider Review - RC Groups

Hacker Nexus Powered Paraglider Review

Hackers new hybrid 4.3M Nexus wing is total blast to fly...

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Introduction

Wing Size: 4.33M (170.5")
Weight: 8lbs as flown in video
Motor: Hacker A30-8XL V3
ESC: Hacker X 55-SB Pro
Prop Size: 10x5
Radio: Jeti Duplex DS-14
Servos: Savox SV-1270TG
Telemetry: Jeti Duplex MUI 75
Battery: 3S 3300mAH to 5100mAH
Wing Only Price: $599.99 Wing Only
Package Price: $1199.99 Wing and Power Pack
Available at: Hacker USA
Pilots: Woody and Jessie from Toy Story

It should be no secret that I totally dig paragliders, both full size and R/C. The Hacker Free setup that I reviewed last year is amazinly fun to fly. In the fall I attended the Hacker Fly Alps meet in Austria and got to experience true R/C Alpine Soaring. At the event I picked up a Flair wing and bought a new power package for the Free to do more aerobatics. I love both of them and when Lee from HackerMotorUSA offered to send me the new 4.33M Nexus wing setup, I didn't hesitate to say yes. The Nexus is a hybrid wing. The Free and Flair are single skin wings, but Hacker also makes wings with a full double skin structure and open cells just like the full size wings have. The Nexus is a mixture of both so it will be interesting to see how it behaves.

What's in the Box

These are the items Hacker provided for the review.

Other Items Used:

Assembly

Putting everything together only takes an hour or two. Most of it is very basic like installing nuts and bolts. I started out by opening up the motor and installing the X mount and prop adaptor using the hardware that comes with the motor. The motor leads already have 3mm bullet connectors soldered on and they match the ESC connectors saving you time later. Next I installed the 4 long screws in the back of the seat frame and secured them with a washer and standard nut. I used a dab of locktite on each screw.

Next I installed the servos with screws and nuts to the frame. The output gear should be positioned towards the top of the frame as shown in the photos below. Once the servos are installed you can now slip over the seat harness and get it adjusted into place. This is easier said than done, but take your time and it will fit.

Once the harness is in place you can position two screws up through the top from the inside and attach the crossbar with two washers and lock nuts. There are holes in the top of the seat harness made for the screws to go through. With that done, you can now position the metal cage over the 4 screws in the back. Slide the cage in place and then install a plastic spacer on each screw and then slide the motor X frame onto the screws and secure it all with lock nuts. I did have to use a dremel and cut the rear motor shaft down some for it to fit without rubbing the back of the harness.

Next I wired up the ESC to the Jeti MUI module and Castle BEC. Since I'm using HV servos I needed the BEC to provide 7.4V to the servos instead of the ESC's 5V output. I disconnected the red wire from the ESC servo lead to disable the ESC output. I also extended the battery power lead to make it easier to connect when installing a battery. Once that was all wired up I installed it into the pouch located on the left side of the harness. It was a tight fit but it works. There is an opening in the harness where the leads can get inside to connect to the receiver. I also attached the motor leads to the ESC leads at this time. The receiver gets tucked up inside near the top and is impossible to photograph in this location, but I installed it and connected the servos, BEC, and ESC to it and tested for proper motor direction. I ran one of the receiver antennas out through the pouch on the left side to it is free from obstruction.

With the electronics in place I could now install the control arms. I used the aluminum servo arms provided and attached them to the plastic control arms with the screws, washers and nuts provided. Use locktite on these to make sure they don't get loose over time. I also installed the Acro ring accessory here. You can choose to attach the wing brake lines directly to the control arm as the instructions show, but I prefer to double the throw and attach the line through the control arm and then back to the C ring. I'll show that later when we get to the wing installation. Once the control arms are ready you can power up the radio and install the arms onto the servos with the proper neutral position. See below in the radio setup section for the proper neutral position.

Now we can install the wing. First lay out the wing and separate the right and left risers and make sure there are no twists in the lines. Attach the risers to the cross bar using the U connector. Once both sides are attached, you can set the brake lines and secure them. Make a mark on the brake line 50cm below where the lines split out into multiple lines. That mark should be positioned at the top of the riser rings when the control arms are in the neutral position. See photos for clarification. You can either attach the brake lines directly to the control arm for the standard setup, or if you have the acro rings, you can run the brake lines through the rings on the control arms and tie them off to the lower C ring.

The radio setup is very similar to a delta wing except the neutral position is at the highest point. With the stick centered the control arms should be raised to the full up position almost even with the riser attachment bar. Push the stick right and the right control arm should move down to full travel while the left arm does not move at all. It's the same for left with only the left control arm moving. What this does is pull down the trailing edge of the wing on that side, which creates drag causing the wing to turn in that direction. Moving the elevator stick forward should not move the control arms at all. Pulling the elevator stick back should move both control arms down equally to full travel. This is used mainly for landing to help slow down the wing slightly. After you test everything for function you can install the prop and add a pilot figure if you like. The 16" Woody from Toy Story is a perfect fit. I chose to make this one a tandem flyer with Jessie as the passenger.

Jeti MUI 75 Sensor

I installed a Jeti MUI 75 telemetry module to the ESC becuase I had one on hand and connected it to the telemetry port on the receiver. This device is pretty cool. It monitors the battery voltage, amperage, run time and even capacity used. With the Jeti Duplex radio I can set alarms based on this data so the radio will audibly warn me when the battery voltage reaches a defined level, or I have used a certain amount of capacity from the battery. This makes certain you don't over discharge the batteries and it's nice that I don't have to worry about flight timers which can be inaccurate based on varying throttle levels. I can also monitor the battery status in real time on the radio display or have it read out any of the data based on a switch or just by tilting the radio. I really like my Jeti DS-14!

Flying

What is a Hybrid Paraglider Wing Anyway?

The Nexus is a Hybrid wing, but what does that mean and why do you want it? Full size paragliders are double skin wings with ribs and cell structures that inflate the wing with ram air. This is efficient and improves performance in speed and glide ratio. There are R/C paraglider wings with this same double skin structure and they perform extremely well. The downside is that they can be more challenging to launch and are mainly targeted to competition level pilots. Single skin wings have an advantage in being very stable and easy to launch, fly and perform aerobatics. The Nexus combines the advantages of both a single and double skin wing by strategically placing double skin cells throughout the wing. It means the wing is easy to launch and very stable throughout the flight envelope like a single skin wing, but it also performs extremely well and efficiently like a double skin wing. You get the best of both worlds.

Take Offs

The key to taking off is what you do before you actually take off. You'll want to lay the wing out flat with the bottom side facing up. It does help some to make an arc shape out the wing. Make sure you face it into the wind, if not, the wing will likely not lift up straight and you'll have problems. When you are ready, hold the bottom of the seat harness and pull forwards. If there is a breeze, you may not have to do anything more than that to bring the wing overhead. If there is no wind, you will need to run forward to get the wing moving and flying overhead. This all happens within a second or two, but once the wing is overhead you can power up and release. It's harder to explain than it is to actually do it. The video below will help show what it should look like. I haven't yet flown a fully enclosed R/C wing, but I've heard they are trickier to launch. The Nexus didn't feel much different than my Flair or Free single skin wings while launching and I'd say that's due to the hybrid design. Flight times were a little over 10 minutes of mixed flying with a 3S 5100mAH Lipo battery. You can extend that time greatly by just cruising or by catching thermals.

Basics

Flying a large wing brought a smile to my face. It looks even more realistic than my smaller wings. The tips arc down more adding to the scale appearance. The hybrid design really improves glide performance while remaining extremely stable. The soaring abilities of this wing is outstanding and it will thermal or fly in slope lift like a champ. Shallow turns are much flatter than the smaller wings I've flown, but larger control inputs will bank the wing over for tighter turns when needed. Just cruising around is fun and you can really venture out pretty far and still be able to see it.

Aerobatics

Smaller wings like the Free are better suited for extreme acro, but that's not to say that the Nexus can't be flown that way. I was able to do spins, wing overs and even managed a helicopter on the first flight. The power with the A30-8XL and a 3S lipo is strong enough for a nice climb. I was using a single APC 10x5 prop for my test flights and video, but later learned you can add a second prop for more power and it cuts the noise down by about half. I've since added the two prop setup and it has lots of thrust! I like that the wing is very stable even if you get a control input wrong during a maneuver. It means that you can horse around with the Nexus and not get into to trouble and if you do, just release the stick and it self stabilizes.

Landings

Getting it back on the ground is simple. I prefer to hand catch it and since paragliders fly slowly, that's no problem at all. The brakes are extremely effective and you can actually flare at the bottom like a full size wing. If you get the timing right, you can catch it with nearly zero airspeed. The wind speed does make a difference here so feel it out based on the conditions you have at the time. If you don't want to hand catch it, you can just set it on the ground. Make sure to have the brake setting turned on for the ESC as you want the prop to stop instantly when you kill the throttle. That way if any lines get near the prop during the landing, the prop won't be free spinning and cause any issues.

Video

Photos

Conclusion

I may be somewhat biased with my full size paraglider background, but I absolutely love the Nexus setup. I still very much enjoy flying the smaller wings, but there is something different about flying a 4+ meter wing. It's majestic and therapeutic. I wasn't sure what to think of the hybrid single skin/double skin design, but after spending some time with it, I'm a huge fan. You get the advantages of single skin in launching stability, but you also get the advantages of double skin in flight performance. It's a win win. That performance and majesty doesn't come cheap however, the Nexus wing by itself retails for $599 with a full package deal coming in north of $1199. That may seem pricey, but when you consider the quality of the parts, it is really a bargain. The wing for example is made of the same materials and construction as full size wings, and I would expect nothing less since it's made from German full size paraglider maker Swing. They know what they are doing and it shows. If you are at all interested in an R/C paraglider you cannot go wrong with the Nexus setup from Hacker. It will certainly put a smile on your face.

Click here to see the Hacker Powered Paragliders at Hacker USA.

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Apr 11, 2016, 07:15 PM
Registered User
flydown's Avatar
$1200!!! #%*~
I like the idea but I'll wait until a manufacture can make a sub $300 PNP Paraglider.
Apr 12, 2016, 07:16 AM
this space for rent
funwithplanes's Avatar
Umm,
MODS
pleas delete above!
Apr 12, 2016, 09:00 AM
Registered User
Umm why,

$1200 wow.... perhaps i'm off slightly but is this a very labour intensive thing to manufacture ?

It looks awesome and i want one but at that price, it will not happen for me.
Apr 12, 2016, 09:22 AM
Registered User
ducatirdr's Avatar
People that are getting sticker shock should look at getting a quality DLG. That will cure your sticker shock. Same principals. Limited audience and a lot of work to bring to market.
Apr 12, 2016, 11:33 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
You also don't have to start out this big. For $550 you can get the full Free Wing setup and power pod. I have to warn you though, once you get one, you'll want more!!!
Apr 12, 2016, 01:14 PM
14s 180mah should be enough...
IFLYOS's Avatar
Thats a nice wing, Jason! Great review!
Latest blog entry: Intro..a few years to late!
Apr 12, 2016, 08:36 PM
hst
hst
Registered User
hst's Avatar
To cut down the budget, use alternative, cheaper motor, ESC, etc.

But for large wing of this type, good-quality 15~20kg servos are essential, which will be a big investment!
Apr 14, 2016, 09:44 PM
KG7NXX
SurfSloper's Avatar
What kind of flight times could be achieved just cruising around for endurance, Jason. Is 10 min about max without thermals?
Apr 14, 2016, 09:50 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Yeah I'm getting 10. I could get more if I only cruised, but I enjoy acro too much...
Apr 16, 2016, 04:56 PM
The Future is Gnar
fluxcapacitor121's Avatar
My boss is an avid non powered paraglider. He holds 5 state records for long distance. I've seen him fly 8 hrs straight off nothing but thermals. Not even over mountains. Over the Midwest.

Anyway, his wings/harness/etc cost about $6-$8k new. Thats without an engine/prop. I'm guessing the construction of this wing is similar. Hand made, hand sewn. Plus a very small quantity. I too would like to try one of these. Probably not this big to start.

You gotta pay to play...
Apr 25, 2016, 05:06 PM
Registered User
Also look at Opale Paramodels for a large selection of wings, carts and backpacks. While still not cheap by any definition, prices have come down a little bit with some kits becoming almost affordable.
Apr 29, 2016, 09:41 AM
Registered User
ducatirdr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxcapacitor121
My boss is an avid non powered paraglider. He holds 5 state records for long distance. I've seen him fly 8 hrs straight off nothing but thermals. Not even over mountains. Over the Midwest...
That brings up an idea. Ground towing RC paragliders...
Apr 29, 2016, 11:08 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ducatirdr
That brings up an idea. Ground towing RC paragliders...
Ohh, let's do it!
May 03, 2016, 07:37 AM
Red Beard
Quote:
Originally Posted by funwithplanes
Umm,
MODS
pleas delete above!
Why would you delete. We are alowed to state our opinion. I also think it is very high. I held one in my hands at Toledo show and it is nice, but I wouldn't buy one at that price. I have a third scale airfoil aviation , and I'm looking for another one slimalir and this one would be fine. 40 percent cheaper I would buy.


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