Horizon Hobby E-flite UMX Vapor Lite HP

Written by Rachelle Haughn Perform aerobatics in your living room Product review As seen in the Fall 2018 issue of Park Pilot.


Type: Indoor ultramicro electric slow flyer Skill level: Beginner to advanced Wingspan: 13.3 inches Wing area: 60.7 square inches Length: 11.5 inches Weight: .44 ounces Flight time: 8-plus minutes Needed to complete: Four-plus-channel transmitter with Spektrum DSMX/DSM2; 70 mAh 1S LiPo battery and charger for BNF version; nothing for RTF version Price: $69.99 BNF; $99.99 RTF Info: horizonhobby.com


>> Comes completely assembled >> Ideal for flying in small indoor areas >> Equipped with high-power coreless motor, gearbox, and propeller >> Lightweight and durable carbon-fiber airframe >> Spektrum DSMX 2.4 GHz receiver >> Fully proportional throttle, elevator, and rudder control
>> The first time that I saw an E-flite UMX Vapor Lite HP (High-Performance) was in Horizon Hobby’s Christmas catalog. I remember flipping through the pages, getting the same giddy feeling that I had as a kid when I went through the annual Sears catalog. When I spotted the Vapor Lite in the Horizon Hobby catalog, its bright green color scheme and light weight caught my eye. A couple of months passed, and I saw the Vapor for the first time in person on display at AMA Expo West in Ontario, California. Each time I walked near the Horizon Hobby booth, I was drawn to it. Finally, I decided that I needed it in my life! The day that the Vapor arrived at my office felt like Christmas. I couldn’t wait to open the box and dig through the paper to find it nestled in the bottom. Inside the sturdy box, the Vapor Lite BNF (Bind-N-Fly) was fully protected by Styrofoam. Horizon Hobby provided an E-flite 3.7-volt 70 mAh LiPo battery with which to fly it.
The BNF version of the Vapor Lite comes with everything shown here. The RTF version also includes a transmitter, battery, and battery charger.

A coworker kindly gave me a USB port battery charger that she no longer needed. I plugged the charger into my computer and began reading the multilingual 72-page instruction manual while it charged. If you opt to purchase the RTF (Ready to Fly) version, it comes with the same LiPo battery that Horizon Hobby provided for my aircraft, a battery charger, and an E-flite MLP4 DSM transmitter. The manual has 21/2 pages dedicated solely to the RTF version, so I skipped over those. The Vapor Lite is my first BNF aircraft, so I looked through cabinets and storage areas in the office in hopes of finding an unwanted Spektrum transmitter equipped with DSMX/DSM2 technology. A coworker helped me find one, but the throttle and elevator/rudder sticks were reversed (Mode 1). I thought I could fly fine with the sticks in this manner, but trust me, don’t try this at home. (Sorry, landing gear!) A dab of foam-safe adhesive and accelerator later, the piece of landing gear that broke off during a rough landing was reattached. After another search of the office, I found a Spektrum DX5e with the controls in the correct location (Mode 2), and the little Vapor was back in the air. A few minutes later, it was easy to see why so many pilots have been attracted to the Vapor since the first version was released in roughly 2010. It’s lightweight, portable, and fun to fly. According to Horizon Hobby, the newest version of the Vapor is more powerful than its predecessors. The UMX Vapor Lite HP is equipped with a 17,000 Kv motor—providing ample power to fly faster than other indoor aircraft and perform graceful aerobatics. It is also easy to control and responsive to stick inputs.
A small piece of Velcro holds the Horizon Hobby E-flite UMX Vapor Lite HP’s battery in place. Keep your fingers clear of the propeller when you connect the battery.

Horizon Hobby suggests that if you choose to hand launch the Vapor, don’t hold it by its pushrods because they can be damaged. Hand launching requires a gentle, level toss at shoulder height and approximately half throttle. The company also suggests that beginner pilots fly the model in larger areas, such as a gymnasium or garage, but advanced pilots can fly it in a space as small as a living room, if they wish. Although the aircraft is designed to be flown inside, you can fly it outside on a calm day. I found that if I hand launched the airplane at half throttle, I needed to quickly increase the throttle to roughly 75% so it wouldn’t nosedive. That could be because I’m a beginner pilot. If the aircraft is launched from a smooth surface, it requires full throttle to become airborne. A small piece of Velcro attached to the bottom of the aircraft near the landing gear secures the battery. During my flights, I noticed that the Velcro had become loose, so I secured it with a dab of foam-safe glue. I also used foam-safe glue to reattach another piece of the landing gear after a hard landing. If your landing gear breaks off and you choose not to reattach it, you can hand launch your airplane each time.
Advanced pilots can easily perform graceful aerobatics with this agile airplane.

When you connect the battery, make sure to keep your fingers clear of the propeller. It might be unique to my airplane, but each time I connected the battery, the propeller spun on its own. I had no problems with the propeller or frame because both are flexible and easily absorb impact. The Mylar covering stayed on the frame well. If yours happens to detach or rip, it can be repaired with clear tape. Inexpensive spare parts are available through Horizon Hobby should something you can’t fix become damaged. When it’s time to land, fly roughly 6 inches above the ground and gradually decrease throttle for a smooth glide to the ground. If you haven’t tried the previous versions of the Vapor and are looking for something to fly indoors as fall transitions to winter, consider giving the Horizon Hobby E-flite UMX Vapor Lite HP a toss! -Rachelle Haughn rachelleh@modelaircraft.org

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This plane suffers from the same problem as its cousins. I'll call it the death tuck. It will tuck under at will and continue until it comes to an abrupt stop, usually the ground. This abrupt stop will either break the motor shaft or landing gear. No amount of tuning seems to help. Sorry but this plane misses the mark.

I’ve been flying my Vapor for over a year now and love it!

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