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Unbelievable RC

Air Hogs PowerHawk

December 2008

Street Price: $24.99 US
Manufacturer: Spin Master
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8+
Our recommended age range: 8+
Primary use: Indoor
Radio: n/a - infrared
Includes:

  • Aircraft
  • Transmitter / charger
  • Stickers for the upper wing & tail
  • Instructions
Requires:
  • 6 AA batteries for the transmitter

Initial Impressions

At first glance, it looks like the PowerHawk is a single-motor plane with a propeller up front. At second glance, you realize there are actually three motors, one up front and two on the wings like the original Aero Ace biplane.

 

The truth is, neither is exactly right. The propeller on the front is unpowered -- no motor. It can spin freely, but it's just for looks! Feels like they tricked me, but it will be interesting to see if that fake prop looks real when the plane flies, making the flying experience more enjoyable.

It's worth noting that while there have been many micro planes in the Aero Ace series, this is the first one since the very first to use a double-wing, "biplane" arrangement. Unlike the first Aero Ace, though, the PowerHawk has the top wing farther forward than the rear for a more aggressive look.

Preparing to Fly

Like nearly all lightweight remote-controlled aircraft these days, the PowerHawk has a built-in battery that you charge from the controller. You can get many flights from one set of batteries, and it's almost effortless.

Like many other basic Air Hogs planes, the PowerHawk comes with a separate sticker sheet, so you can put detailing decals on the top wing as well as both sides of the tail.

Testing

Unfortunately there was a very mild breeze when I went out to test the PowerHawk, but that didn't stop me from getting a good feel for the plane. First of all, that fake propeller up front really doesn't look that great in the air. The movement of the plane through the air causes the prop to spin, but it's really slow and looks even more obviously like a decorative ornament than when it's on the ground.

The PowerHawk suffers some of the "porpoising," or repeated up & down bobbing, that the original Aero Ace had as well. To avoid this, you have to keep the throttle (speed) as low as possible without the plane gliding don to the ground. The PowerHawk turns faster & more sharply than some of the other Air Hogs planes, but it also tends to dart forward a bit faster and more suddenly, too. In all, it feels heavier, but more agile. It's very controllable once you get the hang of it, and it's built pretty sturdy, too.

 

Conclusion

This is not a bad plane. I wouldn't call it the best, by any means, but it's durable, pretty easy to fly and stable in the air. The front propeller might be fake and older kids and adults will find it gimmicky, but younger kids might get a kick out of it. Since the PowerHawk has been available for awhile, you can sometimes find it for a bargain price at some stores. I would sooner get a single-wing Aero Ace or the jet-like Starscream, but if you can find a PowerHawk for cheap, don't hesitate to pick it up!

B

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