Fun Holiday Gifts They’ll Love!
Get your son, brother or significant other a gift they’ll really enjoy this holiday season: whether you’re shopping for a 14-year-old who plays video games or a 44-year-old who used to build models as a kid, radio-control airplanes and helicopters are guaranteed home runs! Each of these top picks has the seal of approval from the editors of Model Airplane News, so you know it’s high-quality and a great value.
Learn to fly the no-crash way!
RealFlight Basic provides everything your RC pilot needs for an ultra-realistic RC experience. Just install the program on a PC and he’ll be ready for takeoff! The features include 47 aircraft and six PhotoField flying sites to choose from, super-realistic flight physics and a controller that’s based on a real transmitter. With RealFlight Basic, pilots control wind speed and direction, turn picture-in-picture views of the transmitter and the zoomed-in aircraft on or off and much more. The program and controller costs just $100, but being able to hit “reset” after a crash is priceless.
Organization made easy
This Hangar 9 Flight Pack Field Box is just what every RC pilot needs to keep all those tools and accessories in one place. It has durable wood construction, so this field box will last for years! The best part is that it requires some assembly, so it will keep your RC pilot busy for at least an hour or so. It costs just $20.
Two planes for the price of one
Your pilot-to-be can hone his piloting skills with the FlyZone Switch assembled as high-wing trainer, then as his flying improves, convert it to a low-wing sport plane for aerobatics. Either way he builds it, the Switch is a durable performer. It comes with everything he’ll need, including a brushless power system, radio and even batteries for the transmitter! The 45-inch-span model costs $330.
High-end features, low-end price
The Airtronics SD-6G transmitter has all of the bells and whistles a sport pilot needs to fly up to 6-channel planes and helicopters. Because it has 2.4GHz technology, it eliminates signal interference, and it has features like three-axis dual rates and expo, a servo monitor, throttle-kill switch, 10-model memory and much more. And with a price tag of just $200, it’s just the ticket for a new pilot.
With the HobbyZone Aeronca Champ, it’s easy to learn to fly in a backyard or local park—no instructor needed! The gentle flight characteristics of this model take the stress out of learning to fly. Everything your new pilot will need is included—even the batteries! The detailed instruction manual has flight tips to ensure success, and its durable foam construction means that it can survive even those not-so-perfect landings. The Aeronca Champ costs just $90.
Fly anywhere, anytime!
What could be more fun than flying touch-and-go’s on top of the refrigerator or coffee table? This micro helicopter is extremely stable, so even first-time pilots can easily maneuver it, and it weighs less than an ounce, so even if it does crash, it won’t hurt anything (even itself!). It comes with everything a pilot needs to fly and is guaranteed to put a smile on his face. It costs just $80.
The Hangar 9 P-51 Mustang Mk II PTS sets a new standard in trainer aircraft. Forget about learning to fly with a traditional boxy, high-wing airplane; now your wanna-be flier can get into RC with the most popular warbird in the world! This great-looking model comes with removable “training gear” and with an installed engine that’s already broken-in. And when he has earned his wings, he’ll have an all-American fighter to bring to the field. It costs $400 and comes with a 6-channel radio.
Keep ‘em charged!
Why buy an expensive, hard-to-program charger when the ElectriFly Triton Jr. can be used with all types of batteries and has all the features you need for just $75? This small, lightweight unit can handle up to 14 Ni-Cd or NiMH cells or 4 LiPo packs and has a simple programming menu. It’s ideal for small or large electric plane and helicopter batteries and even transmitter and receiver packs!
Fly like a pro!
This high-definition, one-hour DVD shares everything a rookie needs to know to become a hotshot aerobatic pilot! All of the exciting flight sequences are piloted and narrated by national champion John Glezellis, who demonstrates everything from straight and level flight, loops and rolls to more advanced maneuvers such as knife-edge flight spins, snap rolls and avalanches. It costs $25.
Light up the night!
The ParkZone Night Vapor is really an amazing slow flyer: it comes out of the box ready to fly—no assembly required!—and is so stable that even first-time fliers can maneuver it. It can be flown in very small spaces indoors and, when the lights go out, it has bright LEDs that let you fly in the dark! The Night Vapor costs $130 and comes with everything needed to fly.
Looking for RC plane & helicopter gift ideas for someone who’s more involved in the hobby? Check out these top choices for: