This is a neat crowdfunded project I backed a few months ago that delivered!Powerup Toys has been making kits that add a battery powered propeller to paper airplanes. In this new 3.0 version, they have added the ability to control the plane with a smartphone.Just about any regular paper will work - I followed some instructional videos on Powerup's YouTube page and built myself the 'invader' from standard copy paper. The engine clips on to the paper airplane and very quickly paired with my phone via bluetooth.Powerup included a 1200 mah lithium ion battery pack that can charge the plane's motor in the field in my kit, but I don't think that's part of the retail package now. So you'll need to bring a USB power source along in the field. It'll also plug directly into a computer for charging.Controlling the plane takes some practice but I was able to keep my plane aloft for a significant amount of time. The Bluetooth range is limited but this isn't something you're going to fly for long distances. I do recommend flying in fairly large open spaces with minimal wind.What I like most about this is the experimentation that can come from the very open nature of the product. Tweaking different paper airplane designs will result in different flight behaviors. The fast charge time makes it possible to do a lot of trial and error to find the perfect design. Great for kids to learn about the physics of flight.
November 13, 2014
Awesome tech gadget that works incredibly well!The PowerUp 3.0 is the real deal. I admit I was skeptical at first, but with persistence and determination, this turned out to be a ton of fun.I talked this up to my boy for days before it arrived. After watching the video, he would ask each morning, “Can we fly the red plane today, Dad?” Finally the perfect Saturday morning arrived: it was warm outside with a very slight breeze, and the local park was empty. I had made sure I watched the tutorial videos beforehand and had it all charged up (took only 15-20 minutes). We cleared the table and went to work. The templates provided with the kit were fantastic. As I am not a perfectionist by nature, I was very careful to fold exactly where the lines indicated. We finished creating the beginner plane (called the Invader, which I would recommend starting with) and attached the PowerUp 3.0. I decided to add a very small piece of tape to the backend just to keep it connected well to the plane (which I would recommend doing). I had also previously downloaded the app on my Samsung S4 and synced it with the PowerUp (which was a synch).Then it was finally time for the first launch. We practiced throwing the plane several times without the motor (as recommended), made slight adjustments as needed, then powered it up. I wasn’t expecting perfection from the first flight (nor should you!), so I wasn’t at all disappointed when it didn’t go far the first time. The throttle, tilt of the phone, the angle of the wings, and the small flaps on the plane (pardon my ignorance of aeronautical terms!) all needed to be just right. It was actually incredibly fulfilling launching and adjusting, launching and adjusting, launching and adjusting some more until we finally got that first long flight.Read more ›
November 3, 2014
The paper airplane design the creator of this recommends you start with sucks honestly. I couldn't make one that had enough lift to get the machine any higher than my initial throw, but I worked at it until I got 2 or 3 good flights, and even those were not very controllable as it required maxing the power and ridiculous elevators to get any lift. Nearly lost it on top of a tall bush, almost lost it flying over someone's house. Took the motor and put it on one of MY designs that focus on low-speed lift generation, and voila! Highly controllable, gets massive altitude on EVERY throw, if I let it, and can glide back down to me whenever I want it to. The product itself is solid. I crashed it at least 50 times trying to make the recommended design work, and the unit took no damage. A solid buy for anyone who ever wanted an RC plane but was too afraid to spend $300 on something that is just going to crash and shatter on the first inexperienced flight.
September 22, 2015
This is very fun.It is actually very hard to get it flying for more than few seconds, and it requires much work in perfecting your paper planes in order to make them fly, but this is kind of what makes it fun.Very hard to fly with even the slightest wind. Ideally you should try to fly it in an indoor basketball court, or some place similar - no wind, but much space.
August 2, 2015
I was really excited to get this for Christmas but I have struggled to fold an airplane that would work well. I consider myself a fairly good at these kind of projects and even though I'm not a pilot, I have a fair amount of aeronautics understanding. That said, I can only get a plane to fly about 1 out of 10 launches and then for only roughly 30 seconds before I can't keep it up in the air. Most of the times the plane stalls and then crash to the ground before being able to recover. I had several pilot relatives with me at Christmas and they couldn't figure out how to trim the supplied airplane design to fly. I'm excited enough about this idea that I'm not giving up but buyers should know it's not as easy as all the YouTube videos make it out to be. "Some practice" should be read as lots of trial and error with occasional bursts of satisfaction between bouts of despair. It appears that a working plane is very dependent on how well the plane is folded. What I haven't figured out yet is what tiny little thing I'm doing when I fold a supplied airplane template that is messing it up. Paper is cheap. And fortunately the PowerUp 3.0 module is quite durable. I've had to epoxy the rubber tip a couple of times but otherwise the PowerUp module is in good condition for all the crashes it's gone through.
January 5, 2015