Remote control flying machines are now easier and simpler to use. Peter Jenkinson selects six of the best helicopters which will see you staying airborne for longer
The recent and rapid evolution of remote control (RC) flying machines means they're easier to fly than ever - and simpler to manoeuvre.
Not only have most new models been fitted with a gyroscope to enable steady flight - before these, a mere flicker of a finger would send your craft hurtling to the terra firma) - but they now also come equipped with gadgetry to add extra dimensions to your flight.
This is our pick of the hottest helicopters around...
Have A Blast - Silverlit I/R Heli Blaster - £36.99 from www.firebox.com
This remote control flyer comes with two fire buttons on each side of the handset allowing you to unleash six missiles at your airborne opponent. Delivering precision speed control and excellent flying stability, it includes a three-channel remote control transmitter which allows flying up and down, forward, and left and right. It also contains a couple of targets for you to hone your skills and special light effects when shooting.
Wind Speed - G-Bladez Pro Outdoors - £99.99 from www.bladeztoys.co.uk
Ideally most choppers in the sub-£100 price bracket are suited to indoor spaces or when there's little more than a breeze outside. But this model aimed at the intermediate flyer can take on the elements, offering fast flight speeds in any direction. It's certainly a unit that'll impress and features a radio control transmitter rather than infra-red so it can be controlled from farther away.
Easy Elevation - G-Bladez Gyro - £39.99 from www.bladeztoys.co.uk
This helicopter is one of the favourites among first-time flyers. Despite being a touch more expensive than other starter machines, this one is built to last. The aluminium frame and foldable blades mean that even when you do hit the deck, you'll be up and away in no time. The addition of LED lights on the front of the craft also make for entertaining night-time excursions.
Eye In The Sky - Air Hogs R/C Hawkeye Helicopter - £64.99 from www.thetoyshop.com
It may only offer two-channel control but this is the first RC chopper to market with a built-in camera, so take to the air to record both still snaps and moving footage. Once your craft is back on the ground it plugs into your computer for you to download the action. There's plenty of fun to be had, and this hard-wearing flying machine is suitable for indoor or outdoor play.
Twice The fun - PicooZ Heli Mission - £49.99 from www.wonderlandmodels.com
Prepare yourself for a jaw-dropper of a toy. The PicooZ took us by storm, combining the excitement of driving an RC truck together with the thrill of helicopter command. Drive your ride into place and at the press of a button your aircraft appears, ready for you to take to the air. Adding to the fun is a selection of lights and sirens that add to the build-up of the grand opening of the truck's trapdoor. It's truly show-stopping stuff.
Trickster - Gyro Flyer 4 Channel R/C Helicopter - £41.99 from www.firebox.com
This is the only four-channel chopper on show, which means in addition to the internal gyroscope, it can pull off extremely tricky manoeuvres. It comes with up and down, left and right, forwards and backwards control, and with practice you'll be able to land it in the tightest of spots. The additional side motors also mean you can hover with little effort.