The time of rubber-band powered paper airplanes is so yesterday. Nowadays, you can connect the plane over Bluetooth to your mobile phone and control it from an app on the phone. Yes, you read that right. PowerUp 3.0 from TailorToys offers just such a product.
PowerUp 3.0 started out as a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 where they eventually raised over $1 million from 21,000+ supporters. The product is now available from their web site and Amazon, and probably other places, too, if I had to guess.
What you get when you purchase the PowerUp 3.0 is a controller module, some templates for paper airplanes, and a microUSB cable to recharge. A couple spare parts, too, in case you crash and break something. You can buy additional spare parts separately if it really takes you a while to get the hang of things.
There are some templates in the box for known good designs for paper airplanes you can use with the controller. You can download more from online if you need. Your typical paper airplane is apt not to work as you need some place for the controller to sit properly. After the airplane is folded, throw the airplane to make sure it is balanced and flies straight. The controller won't miraculously fix a poorly folded plane. Once you have one flying straight, you attach the controller to the front. It just slides on.
Next, download the PowerUp 3.0 app from your favorite app store. And, it probably is a good idea to charge the controller, too. When plugged in the rapidness of the flashing indicates the level of charge still needed.
Then, go outside in a big open field to fly the thing. I tried to fly it indoors and there just wasn't the space. To fly the plane, go with the wind, though if the wind is too strong, the wind will just whip your plane around. To fly, startup the app and connect to your plane. There is a small on/off switch in the back of the controller. Your phone must support Bluetooth. If Bluetooth isn't enabled, the app will prompt you to start it. You do NOT pair the plane controller to the phone like a regular Bluetooth device. Instead, the app will pair to the airplane directly. You can do a test throw without the motor on to make sure it still flies straight.
To get started, rev up the motor with the red knob in the middle and throw. Pick it up and try again. The first throw will more than likely crash. Whenever it crashes, immediately remember to turn off the engine. Pick it up and throw again. If you get some good air, the plane will fly well and you can then control it with the app on the phone, banking right and left by twisting the phone to control the rudder. If you get a good flight, follow the plane. It only has a range of 180 feet / 55 meters. Yes, we had a great flight where it went out of range. Forgot all about that.
The controls take a little getting used to and if you crash hard enough the plane will rip and you have to fold up a new one. The controller has a rubber tip on the front which is to help it have softer crash landings but that fell off almost immediately. Haven't lost or damaged any other parts during the flights.
This is definitely one of the funnest toys I've played with in some time. A little frustrating at times if the initial throw of the plane doesn't go just right but once you get the hang of it and watch the wind, you'll have a great time with friends and family. Definitely better when trying it out with more than one person.
To help you get a feel for the play value, here is their video about the toy. To find out more about the PowerUp 3.0, visit http://goo.gl/9V3gdI.
*Read my Disclosure