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Unbelievable RC

Sky Force

September 2007

Street Price: $39.99 US
Manufacturer: Tyco RC
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8+
Our recommended age range: 8+
Primary use: Outdoors
Radio: 27mhz
Includes:

  • Parts for two airplanes
  • Separate RC components
  • Glider counterweight
  • Transmitter / charger
  • Instructions
Requires:
  • 6 AA batteries for the transmitter

Initial Impressions

When I first got my Sky Force set and opened the box, I was really disappointed by what I found inside. It's a bunch of parts and some flat styrofoam pieces that are supposed to look like plane parts!

 

Fortunately, once you follow the instructions to build the planes, the result is pretty satisfying. You can see the biplane at the top of the page, and here's the single-wing plane that came with it:

 
 

Yep, that's right, both planes came in the same package. I guess I got lucky, huh? Well, it's not so much luck as it is design. You see, the Sky Force system is built around cheap, simple free-flight gliders. They're just made to accept simple RC components as well, to make them fully functioning and controllable. I started out installing the RC parts (two motors and one electronics box with the rechargable battery inside) in the red biplane, and put the glider weight, which snaps into the electronics slot, in the gray-colored fighter above. It only takes a couple minutes to swap them when you want.

 

Preparing to Fly

The usual micro RC plane fare is involved here -- plug the jack on the controller into the plane, wait for it to charge, then head out to the field!

Testing

I started with the biplane setup because I've had such good luck with the biplane version of the Aero Ace in the past. The Sky Force plane didn't disappoint! If anything, it flew more smoothly and consistently than any of the Air Hogs planes! It seemed to have the perfect combination of speed, lift, and turning agility. I could climb pretty quickly, and glide down easily. There was no "porpoising" or stalling at all. It was, quite simply, perfect.

Next I tried the RC components in the single-wing fighter, styled to look like a WWII ME-262 jet. Much to my surprise, this one flew just as well, if not even more smoothly. The plane really leans in turns like a real warbird, and has really good speed. I think the single-wing version doesn't turn as sharply as the biplane, but it looks better doing it.

Video

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

Conclusion

The Sky Force system is a brilliant idea. I think the only drawback is that the thin styrofoam wings & fuselage can be bent easily if you crash hard or don't store them out of harm's way, and once they bend, they're pretty much ruined. The flip side to this is that Tyco made just the fuselage & wing sets available in $9.99 two-packs -- very cheap replacements! Also great is that if you have two kids wanting to fly at the same time, perhaps one younger than the other, one can fly the RC while the other plays with the glider. The planes fly very nicely as gliders, too, so it's a win-win situation. I think the Sky Force planes are a really great deal and can be fun for all ages.

A+

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