E-flite/Hori­zon Hobby UMX Va­por Lite HP BNF Ba­sic

Slow, high-per­for­mance model is a blast to fly

Model Airplane News - - CONTENTS - By John Reid

Slow, high-per­for­mance model is a blast to fly

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the E-flite FPV Va­por, the E-flite UMX Va­por Lite HP has even bet­ter per­for­mance and sta­bil­ity in the air. The Va­por Lite is a smaller and lighter ver­sion of the clas­sic Va­por mod­els, but that doesn’t mean it is not high in per­for­mance. Its slow-flight ca­pa­bil­ity is cou­pled with ag­ile and quick ma­neu­ver­abil­ity, which makes it pos­si­ble for any­one to fly it, even in tight spa­ces, like a liv­ing room. The light­weight de­sign and full move­ment of the con­trol sur­faces give it the abil­ity to per­form a good num­ber of aer­o­bat­ics and even some 3D ma­neu­vers, like hov­er­ing.

The UMX Va­por Lite HP air­frame is de­signed so that it is light­weight yet durable. It can bounce off walls and other ob­sta­cles with­out any need for re­pairs be­fore get­ting back into the air. It comes in a box that can be used as a car­ry­ing case, and the plane is sur­rounded by a pro­tec­tive layer of foam that’s molded around the Va­por so that it is locked in and not able to move dur­ing trans­port. The Va­por ar­rives fully as­sem­bled and is ready to fly right out of the box. The light­weight car­bon-fiber air­frame has a feather-light film cover­ing on all the con­trol sur­faces. The Va­por Lite BNF Ba­sic’s DSMX re­ceiver/speed con­trol/servo unit is al­ready in­stalled and ready to bind to any Spek­trum 2.4GHz ra­dio. While the UMX Va­por Lite HP is de­signed for the be­gin­ner pi­lot, ad­vanced pi­lots will en­joy fly­ing this bird as well.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

As men­tioned ear­lier, the UMX Va­por comes out of the box fully as­sem­bled and ready to go. All I needed was a 4+-chan­nel ra­dio and a 1S 70mAh LiPo flight bat­tery. Us­ing my E-flite Celec­tra four-port charger, I got the bat­tery pow­ered up quickly and ready for fly­ing. After in­stalling the bat­tery, I plugged it in and started the bind­ing process with my Spek­trum iX12. Once bound, I checked to make sure both con­trol sur­faces moved in the cor­rect di­rec­tions and thought about mak­ing some ad­just­ments and adding some expo. I de­cided to wait, how­ever, to see just how well this bird flew with the stock set­tings.

The rud­der and el­e­va­tor have full sur­face move­ments, and when you first pull on the sticks, it seems like a lot of move­ment. But one of the nice things about the Va­por is that both con­trol sur­faces—the el­e­va­tor and the rud­der—are fully pro­por­tional and the con­trols are smooth. In ad­di­tion, this air­craft comes with a pow­er­ful core­less mo­tor, with a gearbox that al­lows for a good-size prop. This com­bi­na­tion makes for some rather brisk ma­neu­vers, and the throt­tle also has a fully pro­por­tional re­sponse. Now that the bat­tery was charged and the Va­por was bound to my trans­mit­ter, the only thing left to do was to fly this bird.

IN THE AIR

For my first fly­ing ef­forts, I de­cided to take the Va­por Lite out­side and fly it on a calm, cool morn­ing. Take­off was from a park ta­ble, and I have to say that this bird can get in the air quickly! I punched the throt­tle all the way up, and the Va­por was air­borne within a foot (maybe a lit­tle less) al­most in­stan­ta­neously. At full throt­tle, the con­trols are a bit touchy and re­ally re­spon­sive, so if you are a be­gin­ner, I sug­gest set­ting up low rates and adding in some ex­po­nen­tial be­fore your flight. But if you don’t have any in, not to worry—this bird can take a hit and keep fly­ing. Once in the air, I throt­tled back and found that the Va­por Lite will cruise around nice and slow, mak­ing it a stress-free plane to fly. It was easy to keep the plane close to me and make some rather sharp turns, which is what I will want to do when I take my fly­ing in­doors. After about 10 min­utes of fly­ing, it was time to bring this plane in for a land­ing. The land­ing gears are not made for land­ing on any­thing but a re­ally smooth sur­face, but the speed is so slow that land­ing on the grass was sim­ple and didn’t harm the air­craft. Now that I know just how the Va­por Lite flies, the next flight will be in my liv­ing room.

GEN­ERAL FLIGHT PER­FOR­MANCE

Sta­bil­ity: At full throt­tle, the plane can be a bit of a hand­ful with its quick re­sponse, but just throt­tle back a lit­tle and you have an easy, sta­ble air­craft. Adding in a bit of ex­po­nen­tial and some lower rates made full-throt­tle fly­ing just as sim­ple as slow-speed flight, with even bet­ter sta­bil­ity.

Track­ing: At all speeds, the Va­por Lite does a good job of track­ing through the air, but don’t ex­pect it to be a first-class pat­tern plane. With the plane trimmed out, how­ever, let go of the sticks and you’ll see that it will con­tinue in a straight line for a good dis­tance.

Aer­o­bat­ics: The “HP” stands for “high per­for­mance,” and be­ing equipped with a mo­tor that is large (for its size), the Va­por has great ac­cel­er­a­tion and the power to hold and pull out of a hover. From this, you can guess that it will be able to do other aer­o­bat­ics, but you are lim­ited to ma­neu­vers re­lated to rud­der and el­e­va­tor. Things like loops, stall turns, flat turns, and har­ri­ers are easy to do with such a light plane.

Glide and stall per­for­mance: It doesn’t take much power to keep this bird in the air and on a nice shal­low glide. Even with the throt­tle off, the glide is ex­cel­lent. But add in a lot of up-el­e­va­tor and you will get a stall, and as far as my plane goes, the stall was straight­for­ward. Once the plane picks up even the tini­est bit of speed, it is rather easy to pull it out of the stall.

PI­LOT DEBRIEFING

This plane is noth­ing but fun and easy to fly. It makes ev­ery liv­ing room an ex­cit­ing fly­ing space; the best part is that you don’t have to worry about hit­ting things. The plane is so light that it bounces off the ob­ject with no dam­age to ei­ther the plane or the ob­sta­cle it just hit.

The ul­tra-mi­cro DSMX re­ceiver/ESC/servo unit is a light­weight board that is mounted on the main car­bon rod used for the body of the air­craft.

The powertrain con­sists of the bat­tery, mo­tor, gear train, and prop. All this works to­gether to form a pow­er­ful pow­er­plant for the Va­por. The bat­tery is held in place by hook-and-loop tape on the un­der­side of the car­bon­fiber body. You can slide it for­ward and back­ward to get the best pos­si­ble bal­ance.

Left:

For such a small air­craft, the prop is rather large and pumps out a good amount of air for the con­trol sur­faces to kick around when guid­ing the plane.

The pushrod con­nec­tions to the el­e­va­tor and rud­der have full sur­face throws, which pro­vide good re­sponse from stick move­ments. Right: The en­tire rud­der moves with any stick move­ment and can be a hand­ful at top speed. For a plane of this size, it’s a large con­trol sur­face. This light­weight de­sign is sur­pris­ingly stiff and durable.

The land­ing gear is stiff enough to keep the plane from hit­ting the prop on take­off but flex­i­ble enough to ab­sorb a rough land­ing ev­ery now and then.

The bat­tery is color coded, so it is easy to know where to plug it in.

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