Product: NOTAR 500 Light Utility Helicopter 1.0
by The Omega Concern
Modeler, Scripter, etc: April Heaney
Support Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Product Revision Date: 2015-01-04
Manual Revision Date: 2015-01-04

Thank you and congratulations on your purchase of The Omega Concern's NOTAR 500 Light Utility Helicopter. Please read this manual before island hopping in your new helicopter.

The Omega Concern is dedicated to producing quality work at affordable prices, and we support everything we sell. All of our products are designed with the balance of impact on sim performance and ease of use in mind. If you find one of our products to be causing lag, behaving in unexpected ways, or otherwise being a pest, we need to know so we can correct it.

You are eligible for all upgrades on this version, being version 1. Also, your feedback is valued! If there's something you love, hate, or just think would be better if it were just a little different, we want to know. Your input directly influences the course of development and future features of Omega Concern products.

There is a technical support pass phrase in this manual, which you are strongly advised to use when first contacting support about this product. We do this because other people (not you!) don't bother reading the manual which contains the answers to their questions, thus taking our time and attention away from thoughtful questions not answered in the manual, such as yours. As always, emailing the support address above is preferable to offline IMs and notecards, both of which too easily get lost in the shuffle.


About the NOTAR 500

The Omega Concern's NOTAR 500 is a functioning and detailed model in the style of the MD 520N helicopter made by McDonnell Douglas, part of the 500 series of utility helicopters used by military, police, and fire search and rescue by agencies in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Hungary, and South Korea.

The Omega Concern is not affiliated with, nor endorsed by McDonnell Douglas or any other company involved in the design and production of the MD 500 series or its component systems.  All trademarks and copyrights are and remain the property of their respective owners.

Unpacking and Setup

Package Contents

The NOTAR comes in a surprisingly attractive and charming box. You will need to rez this box, and select "Open".

Copy the contents of it into your inventory, and you will now have a new folder in your inventory named "NOTAR 500 Light Utility Helicopter 1.0" (or similar) which will contain the helicopter and its related gestures.

The included gestures are bound to keys which are are merely suggested key bindings, feel free to reassign them to whatever works best for you, or not use them at all - they are completely optional. If you are not using a viewer that allows you to bind gestures to the keys these are, editing the existing gestures will not allow you to save with the current letter and number key bindings.

You may have other gestures using the same keys as the ones included in this package. To locate and correct these conflicts, press control - G in your viewer and click on the"Key" column header to sort by key assignment.

Rezzing the NOTAR

The NOTAR is a mesh model, which means you will need a viewer capable of displaying mesh. The standard SL viewer is one such option, as are several others on the Third Party Viewer Directory.

To rez the helicopter, simply drag the object named "NOTAR 500 1.0" from the folder in your inventory to an open area suitable for take off, bearing in mind that the aircraft has a main rotor span and overall body length of about 10 meters, and you will need 143 prims free on the parcel.

It is best to rez a new copy of the helicopter from inventory for each use and deleting it when done, as opposed to taking one in-world back into inventory and reusing it.


Getting in and out

  • Pilot: The pilot boards the NOTAR by right-clicking on the helicopter body and selecting "Board" (Some viewers may simply show "Sit Here" which serves the same function). The owner may allow guests to fly the helicopter, as long as they are in the same group as the helicopter was rezzed under, and the owner has enabled guest mode via the options menu.

  • Passengers: Passengers board by right-clicking on the helicopter body and selecting "Board". They may board while the aircraft is running, but the helicopter must be within 1 meter of the ground or other suitable surface.

Getting back out of the aircraft may be accomplished by simply hitting the "Stand up" button, but this is rather inelegant and makes you look like a noob. All the cool kids use the "EGRS" button on the HUD, which stands for "egress" and is explained below.

For those without HUDs (i.e. everyone but the pilot) the chat command "/5 egress" or "/5 out" will serve the same function, but only when the aircraft is fully stopped and shut down. You will exit the aircraft on the side to which you are closest. However, if you wish to specify which side you get out on, adding a "L" or "R" to the command will serve to do just that. Thus, "/5 egressl" or "/5 outl" will exit to the port (left) side, and "/5 egressr" and "/5 outr" will exit to the right (starboard) side.

Adjusting Sit Position

The pilot may adjust his or her seat height via chat command. "/5 sit 0.10" will move the position up 0.10 meters, "/5 sit -0.10" will move it down 0.10 meters. The adjustment range is from a maximum of plus or minus 0.30 meters.


All of the aircraft's systems are controlled by the HUD/MPD (Head-up Display/Multi-Purpose Display) which is also used to convey information about the aircraft. Upon boarding, if you do not already have it attached, you will be given one. Locate this object in your inventory, right-click and select "Wear." It will attach to the "Bottom" screen attachment point, and if you are in the aircraft, it will come into view in the lower area of your screen. When you get back out of the NOTAR, it will hide itself from view. To detach, simply locate it in your inventory, right-click and detach.



The airspeed is displayed in actual knots, though the performance envelope of the aircraft is considerably scaled down for the Second Life environment.

Attitude Indicator

This displays the aircraft's pitch and roll relative to the earth using a symbol representing the aircraft as a dot and horizontal "wings" over a moving pitch ladder. With this type of attitude indicator, when the symbol is above the horizon line (blue) the aircraft is nose up. If the symbol is below the horizon line (orange) the aircraft is nose down. When the symbol is on the horizon line (white), the aircraft is in level flight. A roll to the left or right will cause the pitch ladder to roll opposite, keeping parallel with the real horizon.

If you find the fixed symbol and moving horizon ladder confusing, just remember: "Fly the little airplane, not the horizon."


The NOTAR altimeter is based on a radar altimeter, meaning it will display the distance from the helicopter to the ground, or any obstacle below it such as a building. The long hand indicates 10-foot increments, as delineated by the numbers around the dial. The small hand indicates 100-foot increments, from 0 to 1000 feet.

Proximity Warning System (PWS)

The PWS works to alert you to imminent flight into terrain or other obstacles. When moving faster than 6 knots, if the vehicle's current flight path will result in surface impact within 5 seconds, this will appear in yellow and sound an alert. If an impact will happen within 2.5 seconds, this will appear in red and sound another, higher-pitched alert. Unlike the ACAS, it does not act upon the controls of the aircraft.

Advanced Collision Avoidance System (ACAS)

ACAS is related to the PWS, but is an active system which will apply collective and cyclic controls to pull the helicopter up and away to avoid forward flight into terrain or other obstacles. Its look-ahead is three seconds in the direction of flight.

Vertical Speed

Displays aircraft vertical speed from +30 to -30 feet per second. When descending greater than 16 feet per second, the needle will appear red. Impact with the ground or other large objects is likely to cause serious damage at or above this velocity.

Compass and Take-off / Landing Point Indicator

Displays the helicopter heading in degrees, which may or may not be the direction in which you are looking, and also indicates the direction and range to your take-off and landing point, where your helicopter may be repaired and refueled.

When you are within 15 horizontal meters of your take off location, the direction arrow and range bar readout will appear green, to let you know that you are within the refueling/repairing radius.

Flight Controls

The NOTAR 500 can be flown in or out of mouselook, with slightly differing functions for the left and right keys depending on modifiers and hover status. Shift + A and Shift + D (or Shift + Left Arrow and Shift + Right Arrow if you prefer) will control the cyclic out of mouselook just like they do without the shift key, but act as rudder control while in mouselook, which gives you a more fine-grained level of control.

Key Control
W or Up Arrow Forward Cyclic
S or Down Arrow Back Cyclic
A or Left Arrow Left Cyclic (Rudder Left with Hover Assist)
D or Right Arrow Right Cyclic (Rudder Right with Hover Assist)
Shift + A or Shift + Left Arrow Rudder Left (Out of mouselook)
Shift + D or Shift + Right Arrow Rudder Right (Out of mouselook)
E or Page Up Collective Up
C or Page Down Collective Down

HUD Buttons

What do they do?

HOVER Toggles hover assist mode.
TURB Starts up and shuts down the turbine engine. A double-click is required for shutdown.
ACAS Toggles the Aircraft Collision Avoidance System.
OCS Logo When orange, indicates that OCS mode is active. Clicking it will bring up the options menu.
EGRS Moves you gracefully out of the cockpit so you don't look like a noob.
SPOT Toggles on and off the nose spotlight.
AC Toggles the anti-collision strobe lights.
CAM Cycles through preset camera views of the aircraft.

Options Menu

  • Livery
    Presents a menu from which you can choose from one of the twelve built-in liveries: "TC", "Olive Drab", "Blue Jive", "Police 1", "Police 2", "Fire 1", "Fire 2", "Tiger", "CoastG", "GreenTwist", "Grey", and "Black".

  • Insignia
    You may make and apply your own insignia. A properly formatted insignia has a square aspect ratio (1:1).

    To set a custom insignia, type /5 insignia followed by a space, then the texture UUID, for example:

    /5 insignia 4b51498c-f797-8246-e4ad-dc363fa25adc

  • Dust
    Toggles the dust effects on and off.

  • AutoDel
    Auto-Delete (anti-littering) toggle. Normally, if you leave the vehicle on land you do not own and leave the region, the vehicle will self-delete. When Auto self-delete is disabled, the vehicle will not do this. This option is intended for those who wish to display the vehicle on land they lease or group owned land, where they are not the technical landowners.

  • Guest Mode
    The owner may allow guests to fly the helicopter by toggling this option. Guests must be in the same group as which the helicopter was rezzed.


The NOTAR spotlight features a unique feature, that being the ability to light up the ground from up to 250 meters away. It does this through a combination of emitters, and while it will do its best not to cause you any problems, there are some circumstances (such as parcels with scripts turned off) under which you may experience issues with the long range emitters.

Starting the Turbine

After boarding, to start the turbine, press the TURB button, which will appear red, and will appear yellow when the turbine is starting up and also when it is shutting down. They will reach full power in about 20 seconds and the TUBR button will appear green, while you'll notice full torque and rotor speed will take a few seconds longer. This is normal. If starting on an uneven surface, applying some collective down (C key or Page Down) can help prevent the helicopter from skidding. Lift off is possible without full torque and rotor speed, but will be sluggish at best.

Lift off

Once torque and rotor speed are up to 100%, apply some collective up (E key or Page Up) until you leave the surface and rise into the air. Releasing will cause the NOTAR to slow and then stop its ascent. It is, more or less, neutrally buoyant and will neither rise nor fall with no control inputs.


While the NOTAR was designed to be very "new pilot" friendly, flying the NOTAR is a skill that must be learned, and learned with a light touch. While it is much more forgiving than a real helicopter, it will take some practice and familiarity with how the aircraft handles to become a competent pilot. While you may first find it challenging if you are accustomed to the unrealistic "magic carpet" model of helicopter flight, you will earn considerable bragging rights when you master it. (And you will, we promise!)

Wind and Turbulence

Second Life regions have wind, and you're flying in it. This helicopter is affected by the regional wind and will display turbulence effects, becoming more pronounced with higher wind speeds and in closer proximity to the ground.

Ground Effect

Within approximately 5 meters of altitude, i.e. about half of the rotor diameter, helicopters (including this one) will experience more lift, due to the "cushion" of high pressure air below the rotor disc and the reduced downward velocity of the air around the rotor. What does this mean for you? It means you will find the NOTAR at full power lifts off the ground quickly, then slows its ascent somewhat after it's 5 or so meters up.

Hover Assist

Hover assist does what it says. It helps the pilot maintain a position above the ground without having to constantly correct for wind and turbulence. It allows the helicopter to freely yaw while suppressing pitch and roll. When yawing to a new heading, release and tap again the left or right control input to indicate the new heading, or alternatively toggle the hover assist off and back on at the new heading.

Hover assist will allow the helicopter to change altitude. However, altitude changes of less than 2.5 meters vertically will cause the hover assist to return the aircraft to its original position. You may toggle hover assist or move beyond the 2.5 meter range to set a new hover altitude.


Landing requires a horizontal speed under 6 knots and vertical speed under 16 feet per second to avoid damage to the aircraft. Try to land on flat areas or surfaces, as landing on uneven terrain can cause the helicopter to tip and pull itself lateral (a condition known as dynamic rollover), which can easily lead to rotor strikes with the surface and loss of the aircraft.

Once on the ground, clicking the "TURB" button once will cause it to turn orange, and clicking it again while it is orange (or simply double-clicking while it is green) will begin the turbine shutdown sequence. This is to help prevent accidentally turning off the turbine in flight.

Taking Damage

The NOTAR can be damaged in one of two ways: By flight into terrain or solid objects, or by OCS-enabled weaponry. It offers a moderate degree of protection to the crew against OCS damage. The turbine is subject to damage and failure, as is the main rotor. Flight performance and handling is degraded as hit points are lost, usually resulting in an aircraft that is just too ornery to land in a controlled fashion. Catastrophic failure, such as experienced from flight into terrain, may result in fire and explosion, which can be damaging to an OCS enabled aircrew.

Turbine Damage and Failures

The turbine may be degraded or disabled by weapon fire or, rarely, as result of mechanical failure. The state of the turbine is reflected in the torque and rotor gauges, as explained below.

Failure of the turbine will require any pilot hoping to walk away from the inevitable crash that's in his or her near future to perform an autorotation.


Autorotation is a (normally intentional) state in which the main rotor is allowed to spin faster than the turbine driving it. All helicopter transmissions have a free wheeling unit to allow this without the turbine taking energy away from the rotor and slowing it down. The main rotor will have a considerable, though limited amount of inertia which can be used to produce lift, albeit at the expense of this stored inertia. The pilot will be able to control the descent speed and main rotor RPM with the collective control stick. The main rotor RPM can be increased and maintained by reducing the collective pitch, i.e. descending. Forward movement will also help maintain the rotor RPM.

  1. Entry: Reduce collective to cause the helicopter to descend and maintain rotor RPM. Do not let the nose drop during the entry. Whatever attitude the helicopter is in, enter the autorotation in that attitude. After the autorotation is established make any attitude adjustments required for proper airspeed.

  2. Glide: Keeping an eye on the rotor RPM (Nr) establish a descending glide.

  3. Landing Area: A preferred landing site is flat, level and with no obstructions such as buildings. A good pilot is always considering contingency plans and stays aware of nearby areas which could facilitate an emergency landing.

  4. Flare: As you approach the landing site, initiate the flare by pitching the nose up using aft cyclic. The purpose of the flare is to reduce vertical and horizontal speed and set up for a survivable landing.

  5. Landing: Touchdown is typically accomplished by putting the aircraft into a level attitude and raising collective to bleed off vertical speed just above the ground. (This is the entire autorotation procedure for an autorotation from a hover.) It is important to maintain a steady descent at this point, and not stop downward progress and find yourself in a hover, which will bleed off rotor RPM followed by a short but sudden drop to the surface.

A turboshaft engine is similar to a jet engine, except the exhaust jet drives a turbine which then delivers the power through a rotating shaft.

The Np turbine is constructed to run at a constant RPM, and is directly connected to the main rotor through a reducer. The engine itself will attempt maintain the Np turbine at 100% RPM. The speed of the Np turbine depends on the amount of energy given to it by combustion, and the energy taken from it by the rotors and associated systems. Increasing collective will make the main rotor demand more power, and large control inputs will cause Np and rotor RPM (Nr) to deviate from 100%, but will return once the additional load is reduced.


Torque is how much force is available to spin the main rotor.


Main rotor revolutions. This directly represents how much power you have to maintain the helicopter in the air. Below approximately 50%, the aircraft will not be able to remain flying. This is very important information in the event you need to perform an autorotation.

Heli HP

The total OCS hit points remaining on the helicopter, represented with a colored bar, and with 100% indicated by a full green bar. Flight performance and handling is degraded as hit points are lost, and if exhausted, result in the complete destruction of the aircraft.


The NOTAR burns fuel, and will give you approximately 45 minutes of flight before it runs out, or less if the aircraft is damaged.

Low Fuel Warning

When the fuel level is at or below 20%, you will receive a warning telling you so, and an estimated remaining flight time, in minutes. In an undamaged aircraft, this will be 9 (nine) minutes. You will receive a second warning at 10% fuel remaining.


Refueling and repairing is accomplished by landing back at the same point from which you took off and shutting down the helicopter. To help you locate this place, the TO/LP instrument is available and explained below.

Take-Off / Landing Point (TO/LP)

This pair of readouts tells you from where you took off with an arrow and how far away that point is in meters. When you are within 15 horizontal meters of your take off location, the distance readout will appear green, to let you know that you are within the refueling/rearming radius. Do note that you must be away from your take off point for more than 5 minutes for refueling and rearming to be available.


The NOTAR 500 has been extensively tested and is free of any known scripting bugs. If you believe you have discovered a bug, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and provide, with as much detail as you can, step-by-step instructions for reproducing it. Things don't get fixed if we don't know what needs fixing. :)

  • There is a known issue with some viewers such as Firestorm which can cause the textures of the Viper (and other mesh objects) to take on an unusual appearance. This can be solved by going into Preferences > Graphics > Hardware Settings and disabling "Enable OpenGL Vertex Buffer Objects".

  • To rez the NOTAR 500, the parcel in which you are doing this needs to have at least 143 prims/prim equivalent free.

  • If things aren't rezzing for you, such as the gun rounds, rockets or missiles, check your group tag and the group tag of the helicopter to make sure it is harmonious with the area you are in. Some viewers give the option of always creating objects under the group to which the land is set, which may cause you issues if you aren't expecting it and travel to another parcel that requires a different group.

  • If you seem to be doing no damage in OCS, first make sure you are wearing an OCS HUD. The OCS logo near the bottom of the NOTAR 500 HUD will appear orange when OCS is engaged and working.

  • You may have other gestures using the same keys as the ones included in this package. To locate and correct these conflicts, press control - G in your viewer and click on the"Key" column header to sort by key assignment. The keys are merely suggested key bindings, feel free to reassign them to whatever works best for you. If you are not using a viewer that allows you to bind gestures to the keys these are, editing the existing gestures will not allow you to save with the current letter and number key bindings.

  • Sounds, and not being able to hear them: If you're using a Viewer 2 or 3 based viewer, the default sound settings cause sounds to carry a few meters at most, then be unable to be heard. If not already showing, press Control-Alt-Shift-D and make the Advanced Menu appear. From that menu, select "Show Debug Settings." In the box, enter or locate "AudioLevelRolloff" and try setting it between 0.040 and 0.200 for better hearing.

  • Asset corruption happens. Rarely, a copy of something will become corrupt and behave in very strange ways. The first thing to try is to unpack a fresh copy of the item from the box in which it came. If that doesn't solve the issue, you can have another box of the same item sent to you via the service kiosk at The Omega Concern's main store. Failing that, contact the support address and request a new box be sent to you and you will receive it as soon as possible.

Your support passphrase is "Magnum."

The End

First, a heartfelt thank you to all The Omega Concern's customers over the years. You guys gave me the sweetest gig in the world, and I love you all for it. I do this all for you.

Big thank yous to Eddison Campbell, Eric Sheppard, Ropemasterdom Skellerjup, and Caete Chevalier for beta-testing, constructive criticism, and helpful feedback..

As it always has been, and always will be: Fun is the whole point. Do go have some. :)