In terms of toys for adults few have intrigued me more than radio-control vehicles.
Whether the thought of flying a World War II fighter, skimming the waves of a local lake with a speed boat, or mudding it up with a fat-tired monster truck, the hobby is one I have long looked at with interest.
That said with the exception of a cheap department store truck or two when my son was little, I have never taken the plunge.
Of course things change sometimes, and I recently got my hands on an r/c helicopter.
I’ll admit I had never really thought much about helicopters, but will say they are actually a great place to start investigating the world of r/c.
While cars and trucks all operate best on rather specific surfaces. You can’t race a Formula I-style r/c car through grass and mud as an example.
And while r/c airplanes are intriguing any miscue can mean a bad wreck.
Even a boat if it ends up too far out can mean finding a real craft to go out and retrieve it.
Which all of a sudden made me recognize the allure of the helicopter.
The smallest of r/c ‘copters can be flown indoors, although big screen televisions and knickknack shelves might make you want to be a bit past beginner for such flights.
Other r/c helicopters are large and must be flown outdoors exclusively.
The Golden Jet model I have from Golden Eagle Toys out of Winnipeg, MB. (www.goldeneagletoys.com) is a dual purpose flier, small enough for indoors, but capable outside too.
This is a starter level r/c helicopter coming out of the box already in one piece, no building required.
The helicopter motor itself recharges with a supplied charger you plug in. A full charge gives you 15/20-minutes of flying which is the one drawback. Its fine for the backyard, not so good for an across town park.
As the website states, “the Golden Jet is an indoor/outdoor R/C helicopter with perfect precision movements. It comes with breakaway wings, bendable blades, shock absorbing landing gear, and a durable aluminum-alloy frame. It has a gyroscopic system (self-stabilizing design).”
The control unit operates on four ‘A’ batteries.
The left stick on the control unit is for altitude, from take off to landing.
The right control is all about turns, straight ahead speed, and of course reverse.
The two sticks work pretty intuitively, albeit as a neophyte flier you can adjust too far easily, and that can have the helicopter dropping faster than you might like. Thankfully the little bird takes a few knocks and is still ready to go again.
In terms of the controls they are quite sensitive, at least for me, although I suspect video game players will take to the controls more smoothly.
The initial fun with an r/c is just getting the hang of using it. Flying a ‘copter, even a small r/c model is fun.
But in time you’ll want a bit more.
Head to the department store and grab a few cheap hula hoops, and maybe a few of those foam-style sticks used as pool toys. With these it would be rather easy to create a reasonable obstacle course. The foam sticks making a sort of ‘pole bending’ run to through, and the hoola hoops stationed on poles of different lengths would be ideal to fly through.
From there add a stop watch and you have something to challenge every time out in terms of speed, and with some buds, you have races.
It would be ideal as a winter activity too, with a facility like the Nexera Flexihall in Yorkton ideal for a club event on a regular basis (although I do suspect the rental would be sadly prohibitive for something like r/c sports).
That said an r/c ‘copter is a load of fun, Check them out.
If anyone is interested feel free to contact calmar...@sasktel.net