Air Hogs: Disposable Flying Fun

Geek Culture

Being the parent of a trio of young kids, I often find myself looking for cool things for them to play with that take into account an unfortunate reality: there’s a good chance any toy they really enjoy and play with is at high risk of being broken. So our toys tend to fall into the categories of expensive and interesting (but requiring fairly intensive parental supervision to avoid destruction), or mildly amusing but cheap things that can be played with until they’re smashed or lost. There don’t seem to be many toys that fall between these categories, but one I’ve come to rely on is the Spinmaster Air Hogs plane series. No assembly required, no complex instructions, instant gratification, hours of amusement, a touch of geek fun – minimal cash outlay.


Air Hogs come in all varieties and complexities, some of them venturing into the realm of R/C aircraft, but the ones I’m talking about are the cheap glider or helicopter launchers. I’ve gotten into the habit of picking these things up whenever I find them on sale at Toys-R-Us (the last round was in a bin for $6 Cdn each). Some of the launchers are battery powered, some employ a rip-cord that requires a little more coordination, but nothing the four year old twins can’t manage. Good for the park, the back yard, the beach- even the rec room in a pinch if the weather’s not cooperating (they’re mostly foam, weigh maybe an ounce and are utterly devoid of sharp edges). They’re funky and high tech-looking, fly for fifty or sixty feet on a good shot, can do rolls and loops and running after the things gives the kids (and me) much-needed exercise.

And when the kids break the gliders –as they always do- there’s a period where they sit down and think about ways to repair them; sometimes they’re even successful.

I’m looking forward to the day when we graduate to something more challenging like an R/C plane, but in the meantime the kids are in training with some of the basics, and if they crash, lose, step on or otherwise total the plane- no biggie…


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