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Unbelievable RC

Air Hogs Aero Ace

September 2007

Street Price: $29.99 US
Manufacturer: Spin Master
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8+
Our recommended age range: 5+
Primary use: Outdoor
Radio: 27mhz, 3 frequencies available
Includes:

  • Assembled airplane
  • Transmitter / charger
  • Decal sheet
  • Balancing tape
  • Instructions
Requires:
  • 6 AA batteries for the transmitter

Initial Impressions

We've had one or another Aero Ace around for quite awhile, but spent so much time having fun with them that we forgot to write a review! Oops!

 

The Air Hogs Aero Ace is a roughly 9" long micro-sized radio-controlled airplane that has full digital proportional control in every direction. It was the first really popular small plane that literally anyone could fly. The wings and fuselage are made entirely of a very durable foam called "EPP." It is flexible, but slightly more rubber-like than most types of foam. It has two tiny motors & propellers and an adjustable tail. It's not much to look at out of the box, but it comes with a set of stickers that you can install to really improve how it looks.

 
 

Preparing to Fly

The Aero Ace was one of the first popular RC aircraft that let you charge the onboard battery from your controller. With six fresh AA batteries you can charge and fly your plane many, many times. Charging takes about 40 minutes and depending upon conditions and how you fly, you can go almost 10 minutes in the air.

 

 

Testing

The Aero Ace should be hand-launched. You give it about 1/2 throttle and then just very gently toss it forward and slightly up to get it going. If it turns on its own, bring it to the ground and adjust the rudder to get it flying straight. Once you're trimmed up, though, you're going to be in for a real treat. The plane almost flies itself if you're inexperienced, but still gives enough control for a real RC Maniac to have a fun challenge. Increasing throttle makes it not only go faster, but up. You have to be careful not to stay at full throttle too long, though, or it will stall (come nearly to a stop, then dive down to pick up speed and regain lift). If you keep the throttle on high like this, it stalls & dives repeatedly in a rhythm called "porpoising" (named after the dolphin-like marine mammals that shoot in & out of the water). I found that staying around 1/2 to 2/3rds throttle worked best.

Steering is accomplished by making the motor on one side go faster than the other. This is a really, really simple way to go, because you don't have moving rudder or wing surfaces to get damaged or need trimming & maintenance. I found that if you turn too sharply at low speed, the plane loses altitude fast, so it's good to give it a little extra speed boost in a turn.

Because the Aero Ace is really small and lightweight, it's best to fly it when there's no wind, but it can handle a gentle, steady breeze, which just makes it slower when going against the wind. Don't try to fly the Aero Ace in a house or other small area, though. I'd recommend a space at least 50' square, and larger if you can.

How high up can it go? I've had an Aero Ace 50 feet up in the air, and I could have gone much further. It's really a capable little plane. Oh, do beware that it can't steer if the motors are off, so if you go up really high and cut the throttle off completely to come back down quickly, you'll need to give little spurts of throttle occasionally if you want to come down in a circle or zig-zag.

Video

(You can click on a video a second time to open it larger in a new window.)

Conclusion

The Air Hogs Aero Ace changed the world of RC aircraft, really starting an entirely new genre and bringing a hobby that used to be reserved for skilled pilots truly to the masses. For $30 plus the cost of six AA batteries, it's a deal that's difficult to beat. The plane is durable (I forgot to mention that I've crashed into all sorts of things and suffered no damage!), really easy to fly, and convenient. I highly recommend it!

A+

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