Actually, I want them for my birthday in November, but Christmas is the season-appropriate title.
Why do we love RC helicopters so much? Maybe it’s the way they hang in the air, able to do more delicate manoeuvres than other flying craft. We like the way they can glide and pull back, unlike anything a mere airplane can do. And for some reason, the thrill seems to be greater seeing them fly than actually being behind the control inside the helicopter. At least that’s how I feel piloting inside a helicopter in a video game versus piloting it from outside. Here are a few of my favorites, some we have seen in action, others we can just dream about.
1. The AR. Drone 2.0 — Like most dads, I’ve been dreaming of one of these since the first Parrot came out. From the demos I’ve seen, this is the easiest helicopter to fly. Now, in the 2.0 version, it includes a high def camera that can beam back aerial footage from high above your house. This is a must have if you don’t have to worry about what you must be able to afford. $300 at ardrone2.parrot.com
2. Heli Replay — a helicopter that can record its tricks and stunts for replay later. The Heli Replay, which we saw at the Time To Play Holiday 2012 Preview, can record multiple flights of 20 minutes each so that you can relive each one not as a virtual experience but exactly the way it happened. $44.99 on Amazon.
3. Motorized Stunt Kite – This really shouldn’t be in this batch, but it’s just too cool. This is a stunt kite powered by a front propeller that helps it fly gracefully without a lot of practice. It’s made of ripstop nylon and can take a beating, though crashing into trees isn’t something you should do on a regular basis. $200 from hammacher.com.