All photos courtesy Matt Gunn
Product: Parkzone makes the art of night flying easier than ever with the ready-to-fly ultra-micro Night Vapor. Based on the original Vapor, this featherweight flyer is perfect for indoor, slow-flying sorties, or late night liaison missions when the wind is calm. The Night Vapor features a multi-colored LED lighting system that gets its power from the 70mAh LiPo battery. Two versions of the Night Vapor are available; you can choose the ready-to-fly version, or the bind-and-fly version that requires a DSM2-compatible transmitter. Both versions include a charger and battery.
Performance: When measuring the performance of the Night Vapor, slower is better. Its lightweight PET film covering and carbon-fiber frame are integral parts of an extremely lightweight platform developed to fly as slow as possible for upwards of 15 minutes on a single charge. However, crack open the throttle and the Night Vapor transforms into a quick and nimble little airplane capable of doing tight loops, corkscrew turns, and mild alpha hovering.
Overall, it's an easy airplane to pilot. At around one-quarter throttle, it floats around, nearly suspended in the air, giving any new pilot plenty of time to react to changes in direction and height. At full throttle, the Night Vapor requires a faster reaction time and can be over-controlled if you're not careful; it's one of the more agile slow-flyers out there.
Accidents with the Night Vapor are usually uneventful; the design is modular, meaning any part can be replaced quickly and easily, within a matter of minutes. While flying the Night Vapor in the dark, I had a number of contacts with the ground, none of which resulted in broken parts.
The Night Vapor is fun to fly indoors, outdoors, during the day or at night. Any wind, however, will make it quite difficult, if not impossible to fly. Outdoor flights should be reserved for calm evenings; or wait until darkness falls and choose a spot free of street lights for some lazy night-flying fun. Try setting up a camera on a tripod and capturing the Night Vapor as it streaks around in the dark, leaving red, white, and blue light trails across the sky.
Marketing: Appealing to everyone from beginners to seasoned veterans, the Night Vapor has a broad target audience. New pilots will benefit from its gentle flight characteristics and entry-level price, while experienced pilots will love stepping back from their expensive models and relaxing with an easy-to-control, high-quality night-flyer.
The Night Vapor makes a great gift because it’s ready to fly (excluding the BNF version) and affordable. An uninformed customer searching for a "gift for dad" can easily become overwhelmed by expensive ARF's that require additional electronics and building materials. While selling them a 4-channel trainer could result in a better sale at the register, a simple RTF such as the Night Vapor can make an introduction to the hobby much more enjoyable, and create a loyal customer in the process.
The Night Vapor's box is relatively lightweight, compact, and doubles as a carrying case. The box art clearly displays the plane in its natural environment: the dark. Display the box on a shelf for the customer to inspect and they will soon realize it's a must-have plane at an entry-level price. Point out that the RTF version comes with everything needed to operate the Night Vapor, right down to the AA batteries for the transmitter and charger. If you sell both the RTF and the BNF, it's best to point new pilots towards the RTF, while more skilled pilots with an existing Spektrum DSM2 radio might be more inclined to purchase the BNF version.
Product: Night Vapor RTF (No. PKZU1100, MSRP/MAP $179.99/$129.99); BNF (No. PKZU1180, MSRP/MAP $129.99/$99.99)
Availability: Horizon Hobby
Great intro to night flying
RTF version is truly ready to fly
Exceptional slow flight performance