Those little elves who make RC toys have been hard at work this year. We have already covered tiny RC Cars that go 600 MPH, a RC plane with a camera, a RC helicopter controlled by your iPhone and a RC Lightning McQueen with realistic moving eyes and a mouth. You might think what else is left to be invented in the radio controlled vehicle department? How about an RC Helicopter with a retractable grappling hook?
Air Hogs Fly Crane Helicopter – Like Fishing from the Sky
For the 2011 holiday season Air Hogs has introduced the Air Hogs R/C Fly Crane Helicopter. At first glance the Fly Crane looks like your standard RC Helicopter…until you see the grappling hook on the bottom. Yes, you can use the remote control to lower and raise the grappling hook located on the bottom of the Fly Crane helicopter. Now when you fly around you can also try to hook baskets and transport them around…sort of like fishing for baskets from the sky!
Let’s take a look at our video review of the Air Hogs Fly Crane Helicopter -
Air Hogs Fly Crane Helicopter is A Real Forward Thinker
Controlling the Fly Crane does take a little practice and patience. The Fly Crane is designed to always move forward at a slow and steady pace. You control the altitude and direction of the helicopter with the remote. In order to avoid crashing, you need to get used to the idea of flying in circles and always being in motion.
Kids looking for a super simple to fly helicopter that is easily controlled right out of the box might be disappointed with the Fly Crane. In truth, these type of kids will be disappointed with any toy RC helicopters. No matter what the box or commercial says, all toy RC helicopters require some practice and experimenting to get comfortable with the controls.
In a strange way, we find the challenge of flying RC helicopters actually adds to the fun. It requires skills, which improve over time, to fly these helicopters and you feel pretty satisfied when you do navigate a great flight. The other possibility is we are just crazy, but I really think that older kids (10 and up) will get into the challenge of flying a clean flight.
The Grappling Hook is Fun, But Don’t Expect to Move Much
Having a grappling hook that extends and retracts with the push of a button on the remote does add a new dimension to R/C helicopters. The Fly Crane comes with the 4 baskets seen in the above video. Trying to hook on and pick up a basket is NO easy task. Remember, the helicopter never hovers in place, it is always moving forward. This means you need to fly back and forth and try to latch a basket. It can be done, and there is a tremendous feeling of success when you latch onto a basket, but it is very challenging.
We tried putting some small action figures in the basket and the weight was too much for the Fly Crane to pick up. So, you are not going to really transport anything in the baskets, however, it does make for a fun game to try to pickup a basket. We came up with a game where you try to grab a basket and move it to a certain spot in a fixed time. Again, the ability to create games like this add to the overall play factor of the Air Hogs Fly Crane.
Built to Be Stable…But Also Survive the Inevitable Crashes
The Fly Crane has something called “Steady Fly Technology” which is supposed to make for a…wait for it… steady flight. While the Fly Crane did have nice stability for such a small and lightweight helicopter, you of course are going to get into your share of crashes. Luckily the Fly Crane held up very well with our accidental crash testing. Still, it is probably best to fly the Fly Crane in an open space to minimize the chances of crashing and damage.
A Remote Any RC Fan Will Be Very Familiar With
The IR remote for the Air Hogs RC Fly Crane is just like the remote on most other RC toys. You have a plug in the remote which you connect to the helicopter to charge it (about 40 minutes for a full charge, this gets you about 9 minutes of flight time). Two sticks, one controls altitude and the other left and right turning. There is also a trim control knob which you will need to play with to get the helicopter to fly straight. Finally there is a button on top that is used to lower and raise the grappling hook.
Conclusion: Air Hogs Fly Crane Helicopter Adds A New Dimension to Flying
Back in the day (read two years ago), just getting an R/C helicopter in the air, and not crashing it for a few seconds was a major feat. Now the Air Hogs Fly Crane has added a new play dimension to flying R/C helicopters. While the hook on the Fly Crane is not going to move heavy loads, it does provide a new way for kids to have fun when flying the helicopter.
The problems with the Air Hogs Fly Crane are the same problems that plague any RC flying toy. It can be challenging to fly accurately, it takes a while to charge once the battery is depleted and there is always the risk of wrecking your toy in a crash. Fans of R/C flying toys understand these limitations and still get a kick out of flying. If you have kids who are 10 and up and like R/C toys, they will enjoy the Air Hogs Fly Crane and its ability to go fishing from the sky!
Air Hogs Fly Crane Helicopter by Spin Master. Price: $39.95, Ages: 10-14
Purchase the Air Hogs Fly Crane Helicopter at Amazon.Com