TobyRich claims its SmartPlane is the world’s first smartphone controlled RC plane. While we’ve already seen quadrocopters like the AR Drone 2.0 from Parrot, this is a first for aircraft.
You’ve been able to buy kit planes that can be controlled from a smartphone, like the PowerUp kit, but this is the first complete set-up.
The SmartPlane is made from expanded polypropelene making it light and durable, with the engine and propeller inside the plane’s nose to reduce the chance of damage in a crash. It even comes with a spare propeller just in case.
The lithium polymer battery is also light at just 1g. But despite its size it can still manage up to half an hour of flight on a single charge. At full throttle that equates to about five minutes before you’re out of juice. But recharging via microUSB only takes 15 minutes so you can be airborne again quickly.
The SmartPlane currently only works with iOS. This is because it uses Bluetooth which changes from handset to handset in Android. It also means you’re limited to a range of 200ft. And this means that, unlike the Wi-Fi-controlled AR Drone, you won’t be able to feed back video to your smartphone.
When controlling the plane you’re given a virtual horizon on the iPhone which allows you to use the 256-level proportional rudder of the plane by tilting the phone. This also shows gauges to measure battery life and uses a slider for throttle power. If you’re struggling you can turn on FlightAssist mode which automatically makes corrections to stabilise the flight.
The best part is that unlike the £320 AR Drone 2.0, this will cost only €69 (£58). ToyRich is based in Germany, so you will have to pay €12 (£10) to get it shipped to the UK. A small price to pay for the world’s first smartphone-controlled SmartPlane.