ParkZone Mini Vapor

 

The Mini Vapor is the smallest model in ParkZone’s lineup of ultra micro ready to fly radio control aircraft.

Front view of the ParkZone Mini Vapor

Front view of the ParkZone Mini Vapor

The Mini Vapor weights a mere 0.3 ounces, or 8.5 grams. The tiny airplane has a wing span of 8.7 inches with a length of 11.75 inches. These figures are almost too incredible to comprehend yet they combine to produce a superb flying RC model airplane.

I had seen the original earlier and larger Vapor flying with our indoor RC model group and liked what I saw. The aircraft seemed easy to fly, handled well and I never heard of any complaints.

First impressions

When I first saw the ParkZone Mini Vapor I was not sure of the concept or need for such a small aircraft. Based on a friend’s recommendation I went ahead and purchased one.

I could not be more pleased with this fun little sport flyer. The Mini Vapor comes completely assembled in a handy box/carrying case. There is absolutely nothing to put together.

Carefully remove the aircraft from the foam packing. Install the supplied AA batteries into the transmitter (I purchased the version with a transmitter) and charging station. Charge the 30 mAh lipo flight battery, plug into the three channel receiver/electronic speed control/dual servo brick, bind the 2.4 GHz transmitter to the receiver and take off.


The ParkZone Mini Vapor is a fully proportional three channel radio control model aircraft. Weighing 8.5 grams, this is the lightest production ready to fly RC model plane that I am aware of. Other contenders for very light weight models include the Ares Tiger Moth 75 at 14 grams and the pioneering ParkZone Cessna 210 at 18 grams.

Mini Vapor, transmitter and charger in carrying box

Mini Vapor, transmitter and charger in carrying box

The Mini Vapor makes extensive use of carbon fiber for the fuselage and push rods. The wing is made from a composite plastic and carbon fiber structure that provides an airfoil shape.

The model’s wings and tail surfaces are covered with a special lightweight PET film covering. The Mini Vapor uses a Super Lite DSMX 3 channel receiver that incorporates and electronic speed control and two linear servos into a single compact unit. Aircraft electronics and motor are powered by a single 30 mAh lipo battery.

Mini Vapor demonstrating close in flight

Mini Vapor demonstrating close in flight

The instruction book is well written and provides all the information you need to fly the model.

The center of gravity location is clearly shown and can be adjusted if needed by shifting the lipo battery fore and aft. The transmitter is a normal Mode II arrangement with throttle on the left control stick and rudder/elevator on the right stick.

Flying the Vapor

The Mini Vapor is well-balanced while airborne in the sense that the engine power and control surface effectiveness are harmonized. The model provides plenty of rudder and elevator movement without concerns on over controlling. The tiny brushed coreless electric motor provides lots of thrust for rise off ground takeoffs.

The rudder and elevator are all-surface moving controls for optimum effectiveness at low airspeeds. You will find that high angle of attack (or high alpha) flight is a specialty of this remarkable model and you need lots of control authority to pull this off.

The Mini Vapor, despite is diminutive size, handles like a much larger and heavier aircraft. The included transmitter starts with high rates of control which is recommended for normal flights. There is the option of low rates if so desired.

For first flights keep the Mini Vapor close in so you can observe control inputs. Fly with a higher throttle setting to minimize inadvertent stalls. Once you get a feel for the model you realize the little aircraft is actually flying “on the wing” and is under full control at surprisingly low airspeeds.

There really is nothing you can do wrong with the ParkZone Mini Vapor. The aircraft is so light weight that bumps into a wall or the ground cannot cause any real damage. The instruction manual does recommend that you move the throttle to idle before a crash to keep from damaging the motor with a moving propeller striking the ground.

You need to be careful while picking up and handling the Mini Vapor. It is easy to accidentally tear the plastic covering or bend tail surfaces. Repairs can be done but will quickly add to the weight of the model and adversely impact performance. Light weight is an absolute requirement for this unique model.

The Mini Vapor can perform acrobatics, to include nose high slow flight and tight loops. The plane has no bad habits and is a ball to fly. The model does best when flying indoors as the slightest wind gust will have an effect. The good news is the model is so maneuverable that it can be flown in the smallest of indoor areas.

Mini Vapor electric motor detail

Mini Vapor electric motor detail

The question usually comes up regarding the use of the Mini Vapor as a trainer. In my view the Mini Vapor makes an ideal trainer. The plane can survive most crashes without any damage. The plane is responsive to control inputs in a positive yet not a “twitchy” way.

If the tyro pilot senses trouble the best course of action is to simply close the throttle and let the model plop down to the ground. Once basic maneuvers are mastered the new aviator will be flying like an old hand, building skills and confidence for higher performing RC aircraft.

In summary you cannot go wrong with adding this one of a kind ready to fly ultra micro radio control model to your indoor flying fleet. The Mini Vapor is a well designed and expertly built model that opens an entirely new aspect of ready to fly radio control fun.

Author: Gordon McKay