E-flite/horizon Hobby X-vert VTOL
Incredible flight capability in a ready-to-fly airframe
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.
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.
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.