E-flite UMX Yak 54 3D BNF Basic With AS3X

Written by Geoff Barber
Push your 3-D skills with this aerobat
Product review
As seen in the Summer 2017 issue of
Park Pilot.

Bonus video


• Type: Semiscale BNF
• Skill level: Intermediate
• Wingspan: 16.9 inches
• Length: 19.6 inches
• Weight: 1.3 ounces
• Price: $99.99
• Info: horizonhobby.com


• No assembly required
• Multiple flight modes that make flying 3-D easy
• SFGs for improved knife-edge flight
• Feather-light, carbon-reinforced foam airframe
• Carbon-fiber landing gear with simulated wheel pants

Product review

It’s easy to see the foam and carbon-fiber structure on the bottom of the wing and profile fuselage. It feels like a stiffer airframe compared with the older E-flite UMX AS3Xtra BNF Basic.

E-flite and Horizon Hobby have long been involved in the indoor and micro flight industry and have pioneered much of what we now label as standards. The company’s acronyms, AS3X and UMX, are synonymous with great-flying micro-size aircraft. The business has successfully branded these icons and brought great aircraft to the market for RC pilots to enjoy!

E-flite had major success with its UMX AS3Xtra. Its carbon-fiber and foam airframe provided a great combination of strength and light weight, giving it excellent 3-D capabilities in small flying spaces. The company has taken the AS3Xtra’s flight characteristics and given us a new version of its iconic indoor 3-D aerobat in the form of a Yak 54!

Getting the UMX Yak 54 3D ready to fly is about as simple as it gets. I removed the airframe from its durable box (which can be used to safely transport the Yak 54). The BNF (Bind-N-Fly) nature of the airplane means no assembly is required!

For this review, Horizon Hobby included an E-flite 150 mAh 1S 3.7-volt 45C LiPo battery. I used my E-flite Celectra charger to charge the flight battery.

While the battery was charging, I read the Yak’s manual. Although it looks lengthy, the manual is split into different languages—the first of which is English. It took me roughly 10 to 15 minutes of leisurely reading to get through all of it!

After the flight battery had charged, I connected it to the Yak 54’s wiring. With the red LED flashing on the receiver, I bound it to my Spektrum DX8 transmitter. At this point, I checked all of the control surfaces and they were moving in the correct direction, so no reversing was needed! With the AS3X stabilization switch programmed, the UMX Yak 54 3D was ready to fly.

The UMX Yak 54 3D was designed to satisfy a large group of pilots. Thanks to the AS3X stabilization technology and dual rates (or triple control throw rates depending on your transmitter), any pilot from early intermediate up to expert will have a ball flying the Yak!

The AS3X Hover mode will assist even the newest of 3-D pilots!

I set the control throws to the lowest setting for the maiden flight. Approximately 40 seconds into the flight, I went straight to high throws and the switch hasn’t moved since. The low control throws made the airplane a docile sport flyer. It was next to impossible to overcontrol the Yak and get into trouble!

I preferred the high rates. Although it’s easier to fly beyond my skill level (also known as “hitting the floor”), the control authority allowed me to perform any maneuver I had in mind! The SFGs (Side-Force Generators) helped greatly in knife-edge flight and high-alpha maneuvers!

I’m not a professional 3-D pilot by any means, but I love the Yak 54 3D because I’ve pushed my personal boundaries with every flight. Sure, the airplane has hit the gym floor a few times, but I have yet to break anything. There were a couple of hits that I thought would have ended my flying for the day, but the lightweight foam and carbon-fiber airframe just kept bouncing back!

To film my flight video (check it out on the Park Pilot website, theparkpilot.org), I handed off my Spektrum DX8 transmitter to a fellow club member, Dennis. He has been an RC pilot longer than I have, but his 3-D skills are on par with mine.

Before I let him fly my aircraft, he expressed interest in the Yak and was on the verge of purchasing his own. Roughly two minutes into his first flight, he wildly exclaimed, “I’ll have one here next week for indoor flying!”

The geared, brushed system develops plenty of power by using a potent 8.5 x 23mm motor.

Horizon Hobby included one of its 1S 150 mAh 45C LiPo batteries for my review. The Yak flew nicely on this battery, but I also wanted to see how it flew on a standard 1S 25C to 30C LiPo pack. Performance suffered slightly, but the motor still had plenty of power for indoor 3-D maneuvers. Flight times seemed to be equal between the different battery C ratings—providing four to five minutes per battery.

The one item that I wasn’t pleased with was kind of a double-edged sword. The “fuzzy” Velcro strip on the side of the fuselage doesn’t stick well to the hook strip on the battery. This is both good and bad. It’s good because if it stuck really well, the fuselage could be damaged when switching batteries. It’s bad because I had a couple of maneuvers (hard snap rolls) that shook the battery loose in flight. Sport flying and most 3-D maneuvers were fine, though, and presented no problems.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the airplane’s flight characteristics. From takeoff to landing, the UMX Yak 54 3D is a stellar performer!

Geoff Barber


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