E-flite/hori­zon Hobby X-vert VTOL

In­cred­i­ble flight ca­pa­bil­ity in a ready-to-fly air­frame

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Mike Gantt

If you, like me, are al­ways look­ing for some­thing new within the realm of re­mote-con­trol air­craft, you’ll want to read on. As its name im­plies, the X-vert is a VTOL (ver­ti­cal take­off and land­ing) air­ship with quite a few ad­di­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The model not only can take off and land ver­ti­cally but also can fly like a mul­ti­ro­tor or as a sport plane. Tran­si­tion­ing be­tween the two flight modes is sim­ple be­cause the on­board flight con­troller that per­forms this task does so with the flip of a switch. The air­frame it­self is con­structed from EPO foam and has a few plas­tic parts. I tested the BNF (bind-and-fly) Ba­sic ver­sion, which, along with the one-piece air­frame, gives you pro­pel­lers, prop guards, winglets, and all the re­quired elec­tron­ics. The model ar­rives as an all-white wing with four large de­cal sheets in­cluded, so you can iden­tify your X-vert with sev­eral cus­tom­iz­a­ble color schemes. Whether you pre­fer a mil­i­tary look or an aer­o­batic de­sign, you are cov­ered. The well-writ­ten in­struc­tion man­ual is mul­ti­lin­gual and in­cludes all nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion, from pre­flight to post­flight, with plenty of pho­tos. If you have flown mul­ti­ro­tors but not air­planes (or vice versa), the X-vert could very well be your bridge be­tween the two. Per­fect for an in­ter­me­di­ate pi­lot, this air­craft could as well be han­dled by a be­gin­ner who has some RC ex­pe­ri­ence.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

A low-part count means that there is lit­tle to do when you open the box. Get your 2-cell 450–800mah Lipo pack on a charger quickly be­cause the X-vert will be ready to fly in no time. While your flight pack tops off, you can add any mix of the in­cluded de­cals, your own fa­vorite de­cals, or ap­ply an orig­i­nal paint scheme. EPO foam is eas­ily dec­o­rated with Sharpie mark­ers with min­i­mal weight gain, and I have also used wa­ter-based paint sprayed from “rat­tle cans” with great re­sults. The brush­less mo­tors and counter-ro­tat­ing pro­pel­lers are pre­in­stalled, but the prop guards are op­tional. Four screws are pro­vided for se­cur­ing them to their na­celles, and I rec­om­mend us­ing them.

The wingtip/land­ing gear pieces are easy to at­tach. They are op­tional but are re­quired for VTOL op­er­a­tions. The dou­ble-beveled con­trol-sur­face hing­ing was cre­ated dur­ing the foam-mold­ing process and is some­times called “live hing­ing.” Sim­ple and ad­justable wire con­trol rods are al­ready added and con­nected to the two tiny ro­tary ser­vos. All mo­tor and servo wiring is cleanly con­cealed un­der white tape, which was also added at the fac­tory. A hinged belly pan is held closed with magnets and, when opened, re­veals E-flite’s all-in-one re­ceiver/speed con­trol/flight con­troller and the flight-bat­tery lo­ca­tion. The hook side of hook-and-loop tape has been ap­plied in the hatch area, and a mat­ing piece is pro­vided for your bat­tery. A JST plug is presol­dered to the elec­tronic unit, and there is enough wire to eas­ily reach the bat­tery bay. Air holes are lo­cated on the bot­tom of the air­craft to help with cool­ing the elec­tric com­po­nents dur­ing flight. If you add de­cals over them, be sure to un­cover these open­ings with a sharp hobby knife.

Op­tions are al­ways wel­come, and the de­sign­ers knew that some pi­lots would want to fly the X-vert in first-per­son view (FPV), so there is an FPV cam­era mount avail­able separately. The demo video shows that this new FPV mount will au­to­mat­i­cally tran­si­tion with the

air­craft, so whether you are in mul­ti­ro­tor mode or air­plane mode, your view will ad­just for you in flight, al­low­ing you to fo­cus on fly­ing. Should you ever have a hard land­ing or push the limit a lit­tle too far, re­pairs are easy. EPO foam fixes quickly with some CA, and there is a com­plete list of re­place­ment parts avail­able.

IN THE AIR

Here is where I typ­i­cally tell you about how far an air­plane rolls out or how much space is needed for a take­off and land­ing. In the case of the X-vert, along with its VTOL op­tion on your side, you only need a 2-foot-square area to op­er­ate from. The model was tested in a small liv­ing room, at a club field, from grass, and from pave­ment. While in mul­ti­ro­tor mode, the air­craft sim­ply lifts off ef­fort­lessly and holds its place well, al­most hov­er­ing it­self. Punch-out power is ex­cel­lent, and this trans­lates to a quick top speed when you tran­si­tion to air­plane mode. Tran­si­tion­ing is done au­to­mat­i­cally as men­tioned, and three flight modes will also help you in the air. Sta­bil­ity mode can be used dur­ing mul­ti­ro­tor and air­plane op­er­a­tions, and keeps you out of trou­ble. An AS3X Acro mode avail­able dur­ing air­plane flight al­lows some in­cred­i­ble stunts and more in­tense flight ma­neu­ver­ing. While a ver­ti­cal land­ing can be achieved from a hover, a hand catch or belly land­ing can also be per­formed. Be ad­vised that wind will have some ef­fect on the plane while in a hover, as the ma­jor­ity of the model’s area will be ex­posed like a sail.

GEN­ERAL FLIGHT PER­FOR­MANCE

Sta­bil­ity: The pre­pro­grammed sta­bil­ity mode fea­tures the SAFE (Sen­sor As­sisted Flight En­ve­lope) pro­to­col and makes the X-vert in­her­ently sta­ble. In a nut­shell, the pitch and bank an­gles are lim­ited, so you can’t over con­trol the air­craft while in SAFE mode. In Acro mode, you lose the sta­bil­ity aid and can then ex­plore the plane’s ma­neu­ver pos­si­bil­i­ties. Track­ing: Be sure to zero out your trims on the trans­mit­ter end and uti­lize me­chan­i­cal ad­just­ments to cen­ter your con­trol sur­faces. When you get them close, only a click or two of trim should be needed and the plane will stay on track just fine. Aer­o­bat­ics: When you first watch the on­line video of the X-vert, you will won­der how some of the ma­neu­vers were per­formed. Thrust vec­tor­ing; ex­cel­lent power out­put; and large, strong con­trol sur­faces al­low for some real ex­cite­ment and lots of fun in the air. Glide and stall per­for­mance: With a su­per-sleek de­sign and just a hair over 120 square inches of wing area, the glide slope is steeper than a trainer but not at all un­com­fort­able.

PI­LOT DEBRIEFING

Min­i­mal time is needed to get your X-vert fly­ing. Trans­mit­ter set­ups are out­lined in the in­struc­tion man­ual, and the fac­tory pro­gram­ming pro­vided is out­stand­ing.

Left: The winglets are op­tional and are easy to in­stall and re­move. I rec­om­mend us­ing them, es­pe­cially for VTOL op­er­a­tion. Right: Mo­tor cool­ing holes are molded into the air­frame at the fac­tory.

Above: Props, guards, and propul­sion sys­tems are all in­cluded and pro­vide plenty of thrust. Right: The “heart” of the X-vert is pre­pro­grammed for su­per-fun, ex­cit­ing flights; the rec­om­mended bat­tery fits per­fectly.

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