E-flite/Horizon Hobby UMX Vapor Lite HP BNF Basic
Slow, high-performance model is a blast to fly
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.
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.
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.
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.