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Unbelievable RC

Fast Lane Cross Bow

September 2011
rc

Street Price: $19.99 US
Manufacturer: Fast Lane
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8+
Our recommended age range: none
Primary use: Indoors
Top speed: n/a
Radio: n/a - infrared
Includes:

  • Assembled craft
  • Controller
  • Instructions
Requires:
  • 6x AA batteries

Initial Impressions

The Fast Lane RC Cross Bow caught my eye the first time I saw it in stores as it's a very cool replica of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey VTOL (vertical take-off & landing) aircraft. It's small in size, but has a great fuselage shape and actually places the motors where the turbine engines of the real aircraft would be. Unlike the real one, this RC version doesn't rotate its twin rotors/propellers forward to fly like a plane. Instead, it's designed to just fly around slowly indoors like a helicopter. The controller doubles as a charger, and the plane has a built-in, non-removable rechargable battery.

Testing

The first Fast Lane RC Cross Bow I purchased had a problem with the controller. When I tried to charge the aircraft, a small part of the controller got extremely hot, like there was a bad electrical short inside. Very dangerous. I took it back for an exchange. Unfortunately, the replacement had a problem as well. It had a bad stutter in one of its two main motors, and as a result that side just had too little total power. The controller has a trim knob to adjust the relative speeds of the left & right motors, but when I would adjust it so that both had equal power with the stuttering going on, the good motor had to be slowed so much that the craft would no longer take off. Back to Toys R Us for another exchange.

The third try was not a charm. This one (the camo-print version seen in the video) had its main horizontal wing surface assembled at an odd angle. It seemed to operate as well as it could, but that wasn't very good at all. Once it gets up in the air, the Fast Lane RC Cross Bow likes to tilt or sway random directions, and it takes it awhile to correct itself. Most of the time in the normal-sized room I was flying in, it hit the wall before I could get it to turn the way I wanted. There is a small powered tail propeller used to turn the Cross Bow left & right, but that poor little thing actually has to fight against the self-stabilizing effects of the main rotors, which causes both a delay and some wavering that seems to put the whole thing into an unsteady state where it's slowly and uncontrollably headed to one of the walls in the room.

Video

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

Conclusion

To successfully fly the Fast Lane RC Cross Bow without crashing, you would need a very large open space with no obstructions so that it can spend as much time as it wants toggling in & out of your control. That is, of course, if you are so lucky as to get one that works in the first place. I am happy to allow for the possibility of purchasing a fluke that has a manufacturing defect. For only 1 out of 3 to even get in the air, with one presenting a fire hazard and the best one put together wrong, disappoints me greatly. I give this one the elusive "F+" because it seems to be a terrible product, but it looks kinda cool.

F+

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