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Unbelievable RC

Air Hogs Jet Set UAV

November 2011
rc

Street Price: $29.99 US
Manufacturer: Spinmaster
Mfr's recommended min. age: 8-10
Our recommended age range: none
Primary use: Outdoors
Top speed: n/a
Runtime per charge: ~5 mins.
Controller: 27mhz
Includes:

  • Assembled airplane
  • Controller/charger
  • Spare propellers
  • Instructions
Requires:
  • 6x AA batteries

Initial Impressions

First impression? The Air Hogs Jet Set UAV looks less like a recognizable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle than a small Starfleet ship from Star Trek lore. Not that I'm complaining at all. It's a visually interesting plane, though its construction seems incredibly basic. Everything is made from just a few pieces of flexible foam, and it's small and very lightweight. There are no moving control surfaces on the plane -- it steers by just slowing down one of the twin propulsion motors.

Like with most Air Hogs aircraft, this one charges from the controller. Unlike most, though, this one has no charging wire with a plug on the end of it. Instead, there's a protrusion in the center of the controller, and you simply plug the entire plane right into that. It's very convenient as it fits together nicely and keeps everything together & tidy. Useful for storage, too. A full charge will take about 1/2 hour to complete.

Testing

There are a lot of things I enjoy about living in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, USA. The regular wind is not one of them. It was weeks after I bought this plane before I attempted to fly it for the first time. Anything this small and light, with this much wing surface, will get blown around by even the slightest bit of wind with frustrating ease. The first time I flew it was actually the same day I did most of my flights of the Air Hogs Hawk Eye Blue Sky. The Blue Sky flew great on that day. This one did so poorly that I didn't even keep the video footage. Literally months went by as I waited for a truly windless morning to give the plane its best chance to succeed, but such ideal conditions never came to fruition, and I had to settle for a day with a very gentle breeze (2-3mph I'd say) and just a little bit of gustiness.

We got one good flight in with the Jet Set UAV, that lasted about 45 seconds. At the end, it inexplicably just fell out of the sky, a trick that ended most of the other flight attempts as well. Even when successfully aloft, this plane exhibited really slow and inconsistent responses to turning commands. Sometimes it would begin the requested turn within a second or so. Sometimes it would take about four seconds. When it was acting like it was supposed to, it flew quite nicely, even handling little wind gusts better than I expected. The only problem is, most of the time it didn't act like it was supposed to. Things I would do on the radio seemed to be taken as suggestions, not commands. The plane would respond when & if it felt like it, and somewhere between 40 & 75 feet away it would usually lose radio signal altogether and plummet to the ground, even though I was using brand new high-quality controller batteries with a fresh charge on the plane.

We tried indoor flight in a small gymnasium, too, figuring being completely sheltered from the wind would allow us to get the most out of the Jet Set UAV. Again, when it did what we asked, it was great. Most of the time, it would delay, and we'd run into a wall by the time it decided to turn.

Video

(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)

Conclusion

Argh! I tried so hard to get a good result from this test, to no avail. The Air Hogs Jet Set UAV just did not want to impress us in any way. Based on what I observed, I'm willing to bet it would fly okay in an area with absolutely no wind whatsoever, not even the slightest breeze, and for that reason I'm not going to give this one the F that its performance in the video warrants. If you live in an area where you can drop a feather and it will land at your feet, you may be lucky enough to be able to actually play with this plane. Otherwise, I wouldn't suggest you gamble your 30 bucks on it.

D-

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