Why This iPhone Controlled Airplane Is The Coolest Toy Ever

In the words of Family Guy, are iPhone-controlled model planes “a thing” now?

It was only September when we reported on the PowerUp 3.0 iPhone-Controlled Paper Airplane — speculating that it may well be “the coolest toy ever“.

Well, what a difference a few months make, since our wannabe-pilot hearts have now gone out to another: in this case to the SmartPlane, a Bluetooth-controlled miniature plane which promises to stand out from the growing pack of iPhone-oriented RC copters and the like.

Apart from the childhood dream of, you know, actually owning a plane, the main advantage of the SmartPlane is how intuitive the whole thing looks — running on a neatly designed iOS app that requires little more than a simple tap to get started. Its Lithium-Polymer battery, meanwhile, offers half an hour of flying time on a single charge (albeit limited to soaring and gliding), or five minutes at full throttle.

In press materials, its creators note:

“The result of 2 years of aerodynamic optimisation: the SmartPlane flies sloooowly, and yes that’s an advantage! You no longer need laser-sharp reflexes and a football field sized area to enjoy flying – your office hallway is enough. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do fast maneuvers – use the wind and throttle lever to your advantage.”

It also promises to help out while flying, by “intelligently” analyzing the situation and making tiny adjustments and corrections to aid you. The manufacturers are calling it “crash-proof” and, while that remains to be seen, it does look pretty awesome.

Too early for a Christmas gift to ourselves?

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  • Market_Mayhem

    If I get hit with that flying thing, he’s looking at a hefty lawsuit. It’s rather irresponsible of him flying that thing in a crowded mall.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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