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Horizon Hobby ParkZone Mini Vapor RTF & BNF Review

The Mini Vapor is the smallest and lightest plane in ParkZone's current hangar of planes and is a joy to fly indoors or outside in truly calm conditions. Even beginners can quickly learn how to fly the Mini Vapor with a High Alpha attitude.

Splash

Introduction

As an owner of a Night Vapor I at first questioned the need for a Mini Vapor ... and then I saw the Horizon Hobby video of the Mini Vapor flying in a living room and saw it needed even less space to fly then my Night Vapor. I was very impressed when I saw the promotional video of the Mini Vapor flying in a house but then I realized my home doesn't have quite as much open space width as the home in the video and I wondered if I could fly one in my own home. (I can!) That point of curiosity lead to my buying a Mini Vapor and then to this review. Whether you read the complete review or skip to the pictures and videos I bet you too will like the Mini Vapor.


Wingspan:8.7"
Weight:0.30 oz.
Length:11.75"
Is Assembly Required:No
Power Plant Size:Micro Electric
Transmitter:2.4GHz DSM2 MLP4DSM 4-channel
Fuel Type:Electric
Battery:3.7V 1S 30mAh LiPo
Motor:6mm brushed coreless motor
Manufacturer:ParkZone
Available From:Horizon Hobby
Price:$99.99 RTF
Price:$79.99 BNF











Kit Contents

Kit Contents RTF

  • Fully assembled Mini Vapor
  • MLP4DSM 4-channel transmitter
  • Charger
  • 8 AA batteries for charger and transmitter
  • 3.7V 30mAH LiPo flight battery
  • Instruction Manual

Kit Contents BNF

  • Same as above except
  • No transmitter
  • 4 AA batteries for charger

Promoted Key Features

Key Features

  • Fully-proportional throttle, elevator and rudder control
  • Super Lite DSMX® 3-channel receiver/ESC with 2 servos
  • 1S brushed coreless motor
  • Carbon fiber fuselage rod
  • Carbon fiber push rods
  • Composite plastic/carbon fiber wing structure
  • Lightweight PET film covering
  • Includes ParkZone® MLP4DSM 4-channel transmitter
  • Includes 1S 30mAh 25C Li-Po battery
  • Includes 1-cell DC charger

Assembly

The Mini Vapor comes fully assembled. No assembly was required. With the RTF I just put the batteries in the charger and the transmitter. Then I charged the flight battery with the charger. Next I confirmed that the receiver was bound to the transmitter and I was ready to fly. With the BNF version one just needs to put the batteries in the supplied charger and charge the flight battery. Use a four channel Spectrum or JR 2.4 GHz compatible transmitter and bind the Mini Vapor's receiver brick to your transmitter when the flight battery is charged.

Charging The Flight Battery

Most of the little one cell flight LiPo batteries slide into the charger. The battery for the Mini Vapor is so short it would get lost sliding into the charger so it plugs into a wire coming out of the charger to charge the battery. I just added the supplied AA batteries to the charger and plugged the flight battery into the wire coming out of the charger and charged up the flight battery. This is shown in a picture below. The charger turned off when the battery was fully charged and the red charging light was initially solid red and then flashed as the charge neared conclusion and went out when the flight battery was fully charged. Nevertheless it is always recommended to watch the battery charge and never leave the room with the battery charging.

Completion

The plane balanced on the recommended Center of Gravity with the flight battery installed where the hook and loop material was installed on the plane's carbon fiber fuselage rod. While I fly with high rates on most of the time, low rates are available on the supplied transmitter that comes with the RTF or can be programmed with most Spektrum transmitters. Set it up for the way you like to fly.

Flying

Basics

This is a three channel plane and my RTF came with throttle on the left stick and rudder and elevator on the right stick which is also known as mode 4. I am used to flying three channel planes this way if they have ailerons or rudder. The Mini Vapor was easy for me to fly immediately.

Taking Off and Landing

I have flown my Mini Vapor both indoors and in calm conditions outdoors. My Mini Vapor has taken off from my club's little aircraft carrier as shown below in a video in only a couple of inches and from a table outside as shown in the outdoor video below. With a fully charged battery the plane takes off in just under a foot when a rapid takeoff is desired. It can be tossed almost straight up to launch into a High Alpha flight angle or tossed straight forward for level flight. Landings can be made to a spot with no roll out or at least almost no roll out. On a smooth surface landings can be made with a roll out and with Taxiing on the ground as well. At the county fairgrounds and outside in very calm conditions takeoffs and landings have been none issues for me and are something a beginner should be able to quickly master. Landings on a coffee table size surface from a High Alpha approach takes more experience but can be mastered by an experienced pilot fairly quickly.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

As seen in the videos the plane can easily be flown in normal level flight much like any other plane. It can also come to a hover or very slow forward flight when flying in a High Alpha, nose up attitude. Just fly the Mini Vapor into a steep climb and control the throttle so that the plane basically hovers. The plane will do small loop de loops from basically level flight and needs very little room to do them. It can be turned in a very small space in High Alpha flight and that has allowed me to fly it in my house much more easily then in level style flight which I have also done but found that level flight was a little more intense in the small confines of my house as I was constantly turning. In large spaces or outside in complete calm the Mini Vapor has been a pure joy to fly. I have found no bad habits in the handling of the plane and I and my club members who have a Mini Vapor or have flown one have all enjoyed the experience.

Is This For a Beginner?

The Mini-Vapor has very lightweight construction and I could easily break it if I was careless. However, in my opinion it can be a trainer plane for a Beginner due to its easy to fly characteristics. A beginner can learn traditional level flight with this plane in a gym or other larger room or outside on a COMPLETELY CALM day. The plane is a three channel plane, flies well on high and on low rates and flying level a beginner can learn the basics of RC flight. If trouble is encountered just kill the throttle and unless another plane hits the Mini Vapor it should survive 99% of its crashes as it is so light. Once the basics are mastered the beginner can quickly learn to fly the Mini Vapor in a High Alpha attitude and before too long will be able to fly the Mini Vapor in a smaller indoor space.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery













The first video below is the Horizon Hobby, You Tube promotional video that spawned my interest in the Mini Vapor.

This second video is clips of the first flights by my friend Jose Macias and myself at the county fairgrounds in early December.

Downloads

This third video features normal flying in calm conditions outdoors.

Downloads

This final video features fellow author Dick Andersen's first attempt with success at High Alpha flying outside in calm conditions.

Downloads

Conclusion

If planes were priced like meat, by the ounce. Then the Mini-Vapor just may be the most expensive plane I own. If I had a full ounce of Mini-Vapors the cost would be $266.66. That is $266.66 per ounce and I thought bottled water was expensive. I know it is a pretty silly way to start my conclusion but I was blown away by how light the plane is at 0.3 ounces and pricing the plane by the ounce really brought that home to me as three Mini Vapors don't even weigh a full ounce. But if the plane didn't fly well the low weight might be interesting but would otherwise be insignificant. The great news is that the plane does fly well and does so both in level flight and with nose up in High Alpha flight. Even some older pilots were impressed when they found they could fly the Mini Vapor in High Alpha right off the bat. The handling of the plane showed me the error of my first impression and there is definitely a space in my Heer (Pronounced "Hair") Force for the Mini Vapor. Since shooting the enclosed videos I have even landed my Mini Vapor on a wall and kept it there with throttle management. It will be fun to see what else I can do with this little plane.

Pluses

  • No assembly
  • Charge the battery and fly
  • Flies well in level and High Alpha flight
  • With the RTF just grab the box and go flying
  • Flies in a very small space
  • Even a beginner can fly her in a gym or other large room

Minuses

  • There were no spare 30mAh batteries when I bought mine

Thanks

I want to thank Jose Macias and Dick Andersen for their help with the media in this review. I want to thank Horizon Hobby and ParkZone for the Mini Vapor they supplied for this review. Finally, I want to thank our editor for her help with this review.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Jan 22, 2013 at 05:31 PM..

Discussion

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Old Jan 23, 2013, 03:49 PM
a little kid at heart
poulsbobill's Avatar
Poulsbo, Wa
Joined Sep 2004
1,226 Posts
Let me start by saying I Love Mine!! Truly a little engineering marvel.
I actually like it better than the full size Vapor as it is more versatile. Great indoors, but slap on a 70mah battery and the wing loading is just fine for a lite breeze outside too. Daddy Vapor always got blown away.

Great Job

Bill
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 08:29 PM
Registered User
Sydney Australia
Joined Aug 2009
406 Posts
I love my MV as well. Pound for pound it has to be one of the most fun planes I have ever flown.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 02:07 AM
Registered User
UK
Joined Oct 2001
118 Posts
I found that flying characteristics don't seem to degrade if you use a 70mah battery, which helps with the lack of 30mah spare batteries.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 03:23 PM
Transmogrified.
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,853 Posts
This is the most fun you can have with something this small.

I had the opportunity to put one through its paces at one of the local hobby shops. It has a surprising amount of power, so much so that it'll pitch upward with a bit too much throttle.

For those with ready access to a gym or any large indoor space, this little sweetie is a must.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 10:54 PM
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Oklahoma
Joined Aug 2008
670 Posts
Gotta get one!
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 12:29 AM
Registered User
Sandy, Oregon
Joined Sep 2006
123 Posts
Rocking Chair Mini Vapor?

I really like this little "Mini Vapor" too.

I have a question: Do other "Mini Vapors" start to rock back and forth in flight when the battery is getting low? I am not sure it's because the battery is getting low or just happens to mine.

I have use all the small Lipos up to 160 mah outside in low wind conditions they all work well. I guess it's because the little motor/gearbox has plenty of power. When I fly in my garage I stick with the 30 mah batteries and fly mostly in high alpha. When I let the nose down, I can only stay in control for a lap or two. I have to get the nose up before I hit something.

I really do enjoy all of the "Vapors". I have the first "Vapor", "Nite Vapor" and now "Mini Vapor". I feel like they really made indoor flying easy for everyone.

When I first started flying indoors I put together a "Indoor Flyer ARF" and because it was way too fast, I crashed every time I tried to fly it at Indoor Night. Then I got a "Wattage Butterfly" and it was slow enough but after I would gain some altitude, it would crash. I finally learned the CF pushrods were bending. I was able to stiffen the pushrods and then I could fly indoors pretty well.

When the first "Vapor" came out I couldn't believe how well it flew. It was night and day. If you will pardon the pun.

Thats my ramblings for tonight. I would like learn if your "Mini Vapor" has the rocking like mine.

Thanks,

Michael
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 03:35 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,432 Posts
They are supposed to rock when the battery is low. As commented on in writing about one of my videos mine was rocking due to low video. It is not just yours. Mike H
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 02:33 PM
Registered User
Sandy, Oregon
Joined Sep 2006
123 Posts
Low Battery Indication

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Heer View Post
They are supposed to rock when the battery is low. As commented on in writing about one of my videos mine was rocking due to low video. It is not just yours. Mike H
Michael,

Thanks for the help. I missed the information the first time. I find the reviews very helpful. I feel better about spending the money on a product that I have seen in a review. If you don't rate a product a good value I think twice about buying it.

Michael
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 09:19 PM
Chad
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United States, CA, Cathedral City
Joined Dec 2010
1,703 Posts
yeah it is the torque from the motor pulsing at low voltage. it is just so small and light when the motor pulses the whole plane will rock from the torque

love mine. I work at the local hobby shop and flying this thing around in between customers is a blast(tough job). so easy to fly up and down the isles and around the cash register. we have 3 ceiling fans spaced throughout the shop and when this little guy flies under one of them it has some severe turbulence but very fun to fly through. lol I cant get enough of this plane but my dog will eat it if i fly at home.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 09:00 AM
Transmogrified.
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,853 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOne420 View Post
yeah it is the torque from the motor pulsing at low voltage. it is just so small and light when the motor pulses the whole plane will rock from the torque

love mine. I work at the local hobby shop and flying this thing around in between customers is a blast(tough job). so easy to fly up and down the isles and around the cash register. we have 3 ceiling fans spaced throughout the shop and when this little guy flies under one of them it has some severe turbulence but very fun to fly through. lol I cant get enough of this plane but my dog will eat it if i fly at home.
Yo, Chad!

I was in the other day and I saw you fly it. It's true what you said; you did a heck of a job threading it around the place.

Just keep it away from Fido.
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Old Feb 02, 2013, 03:07 AM
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USA, CA, Cardiff-by-the-Sea
Joined Nov 2005
1,834 Posts
My only complaint is repairs aren't easy. I'm used to helis where I can swap out new parts.
My landing gear broke at the struts and you can't buy those. You have to buy a whole new airframe. And I ripped my wings and I can't find any Mylar and no idea how you'd replace the whole wing assembly since you don't get the little carbon fiber rods. I guess I could try superglue remover to get the old wings off
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Old Feb 02, 2013, 10:49 AM
Chad
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United States, CA, Cathedral City
Joined Dec 2010
1,703 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by sideburn View Post
My only complaint is repairs aren't easy. I'm used to helis where I can swap out new parts.
My landing gear broke at the struts and you can't buy those. You have to buy a whole new airframe. And I ripped my wings and I can't find any Mylar and no idea how you'd replace the whole wing assembly since you don't get the little carbon fiber rods. I guess I could try superglue remover to get the old wings off
you could probably get away with using cellophane for the wings and the leanding gear can be made from the very small carbon tubing.
or you can buy the complete airframe without electronics for about $45

http://www.wholesaletrains.com/Detai...FQhyQgod3CQAGg
http://www.amainhobbies.com/product_...FWyCQgodCGIAbA
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Old Feb 04, 2013, 04:43 AM
Dan Thompson (MP8K developer)
Iflyj3's Avatar
USA, KY, Paris
Joined Dec 2002
329 Posts
Well guys, I do not have great words for the MV. I bought one of the original Vapors when they first came out. I have since aquired two Night Vapors and enjoy flying them. We use Night Vapors to teach middle school students and have the experience of many flights. I bought the Mini-Vapor and wish I had not. I believe I can fly the NightVapor in as small of space as I can the MV. Torque of the motor is very pronounced with the MV. At high Alpha, the rudder loses control whereas the NV does not. However, it is cute.
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Old Feb 04, 2013, 11:07 AM
Slope-a-Dope
Steve 0's Avatar
United States, UT, Draper
Joined Dec 2012
2,067 Posts
From a newbie...just getting started into R/C planes and I wanted to begin flying a plane right away as well as getting simulator time in. So checking my location for a Hobby Shop, I stopped in and started asking questions. Being winter here made me instantly decide that a small indoor flyer was my best bet instead of waiting for spring (windy) and summer weather. The Mini Vapor and a Spektrum DX6i were my choices. No regrets at all! The LHS techie said for the a beginner the DX6i was the most bang for the buck and would fly everything in the store and then some. The MV has been a blast to learn on as I have a gym across the street from me and the keys to it. Wasn’t long before my son wanted one for his B-day. Now my 11 year old daughter wants one and to build some foamies like her dad.

We’re finally getting outdoor flying weather and we’ve put the MV up in the front and back yards when there was minimal breeze. What a blast! After a slow, spiralling, hands off-I might add!, trip for some altitude, we can do most anything we want with them. Dives, spirals, rolls, inverted (which looks really weird) and then right them and send them back up for more. We have both broken the motor mounts a couple of time due to wall or gym floor impacts and the CA repair only held for one smack. A tiny smeered drop of hot glue is holding nicely. I have also snapped the LG on mine and pulled them off completely and hot glued them back on 3X. The first repair was CA back in the same position. Didn’t hold long. The second repair was hot glue, also in the same position. Off again. The third time was the charm. I removed the glue boogers and slipped the open triangle frame right behind the lg mount around the main stick frame with a spot of hot glue. I lost maybe 5/16s height but have plenty of prop clearance and no more issues. Flew at sunset yesterday for most of a 70mah batt. I expect this will continue to be a go to plane for some time and everytime the weather outdoors is unflyable.
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