As we looked through all of the planes, helicopters and gear we reviewed this past year, narrowing them down to our top picks wasn’t easy. The products we recognize tonight scored the highest in this basic test: we said “wow!” when we first saw them, we couldn’t wait to test them out, and they exceeded our high expectations for quality and performance.
The company who won this year’s “innovation of the year” is always pushing the performance envelope, with aircraft that are easier to assemble and fly and that always ensure consumer success. This impressive product is ready to fly out of the box, weighs less than 2 ounces, and offers the latest in helicopter technology: flybarless performance. Congratulations to Blade for their mCP X ultra micro helicopter.
Without a doubt, a transmitter is the item that pilots spend the most time with and that has the greatest influence on how well their aircraft fly. A top radio needs to be easy to program and have enough memory for all of our planes and helicopters. Add real-time telemetry that lets you monitor your plane’s battery voltage and you have a winner. Our radio of the year is a great value: congratulations to Spektrum for their DX8.
Our helicopter of the year is an increasingly popular machine that just keeps getting better. This heli can take you from your first hover to 3D aerobatics and is even available with a flybarless rotor heard. It has G-10 side frames, most of its components are factory assembled, and it has a CNC machined engine block, a belt-driven tail rotor and more. And the icing on the cake? Its price tag of just $150—now that’s a deal! Congratulations to AMain Hobbies for their JS Models Frenzy 50, our editors’ choice.
Our plane of the year has it all: it’s a great-looking warbird, in a nice 50cc size, can accept optional retracts and has outstanding scale details. Assembly is straightforward, with many item already completed at the factory, so you can easily finish it in a weekend. At the field, it’s a star performer that will have you flying majestic loops and crisp rolls like an ace. Congratulations to Top Flite, for their Gold Edition P-40 Giant-Scale ARF.