The Night Vapor is quite different from most of the other remote control airplanes we review. Instead of looking like a stereotypical plane, ParkZone’s flier is just a series of cellophane flight surfaces mounted to carbon struts. Instead of zooming through the air, it lazily lists along at a pace so slow you could feasibly fly it indoors. It doesn’t have a gyroscope or ailerons, can’t perform loops or barrel rolls, and generally isn’t a jaw-dropping flier.
To its credit, the Night Vapor is a great plane if you’re still learning to fly. Despite having large flight surfaces that react quickly to nudges on the control sticks, it lumbers through the air. As easy as it is to accidentally overcompensate your controls and send it spiraling out of control, it moves slowly enough that you can usually pull out of those same dives. Should you crash, that slow speed minimizes impact damage, and it’s already one of the most rugged RC airplanes we tested – it’s light and flexible, and should the cellophane wings tear, they’re easily repaired with tape.
The Night Vapor is nowhere near as fun as its competition. Its slow flight speed makes for leisurely flights that can quickly turn uninteresting. Since the receiver on the plane itself is underpowered, it doesn’t capture signals from its transmitter beyond about 200 feet – easily the shortest range of any RC airplane kit we reviewed. Without gyroscopes, the aircraft is at the mercy of the wind; even a slight breeze can buffet the 0.6-ounce Vapor around.
The plane’s biggest saving grace is its battery. Since there’s very little weight for the onboard motor to pull along, the Night Vapor’s battery is barely taxed and lasted longer than any other airplane in our tests: nine minutes and 51 seconds, just a few seconds shy of a full 10 minutes of flight. When it comes time to recharge, the tiny 70mAh cell refills in just 23 minutes.
The ParkZone Night Vapor is a curiosity. Its high durability and low speed make it a solid RC plane for beginners, so if you’re still learning to fly, it might be worth consideration. For the exact same price, though, you could get our #1 pick, which offers superb gyroscopic stabilization and SAFE flight assistance. By comparison, the Night Vapor is little more than a stick with wings. Consider it if you’re planning on a lot of indoor flights; otherwise, you will likely benefit going for something a little higher on our lineup.