Over 100 years ago, two guys accomplished what countless others had only failed to do many times before. Taking flight in their fixed-wing aircraft, the Wright brothers would make aviation history and set the standard for all aircraft to come – including biplanes, fighter jets and, yes, remote-controlled airplanes. To celebrate Aviation History Month in November, here is a list of fun, innovative and educational gliding, flying and hovering toys.
Before going all out and buying the most expensive remote-control model airplane for your budding aviator, try an equally entertaining glider. With optimal conditions, this glider will cruise across your entire backyard – and probably farther. Perform loops or straight flights with just a slight adjustment to the stabilizer. It's big, too, with a 54-inch wingspan! Get yours on Guillow's for $13.69.
How many times have you constructed an awesome paper airplane only to have her nosedive straight into the ground immediately after takeoff? Now, you can guarantee your paper creation will maintain cruising altitude with this electric paper airplane conversion kit! Battery-charged, it propels your paper airplane for up to 30 seconds of flight. After trips, it recharges in just 20 seconds. Buy one at Think Geek for $19.99.
Flying a helicopter is easer than it sounds. This Viefly Gyro R/C helicopter is small (fits in the palm of your hand) and easy to maneuver, making it a great R/C choice for beginners. The remote lets you move the chopper up and down, forward and back and 180 degrees while hovering midair. Fly for a full eight to 12 minutes on one charge. Get one on Amazon for $21.50.
An ornithopter is an aircraft that flies by mimicking the flapping wing motion of birds or insects. While large-scale ones never took off, models are very popular – and a blast to fly. This colorful ornithopter is easy to use and, with its bright colors, simple to spot (in case it goes too far). Just wind up the rubber band mechanism and watch it soar. Get one on Edmund Scientifics for $14.95.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see through the eyes of the neighborhood birds? With the Hawk Eye Blue Sky by Spin Master, you can take hundreds of still pictures or up to five minutes of video footage of your high-flying stunts. Comes with online video editing software so you can clip together footage from different flights into your own action-packed montage reel! Purchase on toywiz.com for $89.99.
Flying saucers – talk about something the Wright brothers probably never even fathomed. Now you can take command of your own alien craft with this easy-to-maneuver micro remote-controlled UFO from FeiLun. The UFO stays level as you float up, down and side-to-side. If you go too low or if you place your hand under the flying disc, it will automatically rise up, using its "brainpower reaction." Buy one at Focalprice for $19.09.
Reach for the stars with these flying missiles that soar unbelievably high and cruise insanely far. The launch pad is connected to an air bag that, when stomped on, shoots the rocket flying over 400 feet up or through the air, depending on the angle you set the launch tube. It's a fun and educational toy for learning and observing flight and trajectory physics. Get your Stomp Rocket Super High Performance set at yoyo.com for $16.71.