BladeRunner Interceptor RC helicopter
Street Price: $59.99 US
Manufacturer: Interactive Toy Concepts
Mfr's recommended min. age: 12
Our recommended age range: 12+
Primary use: Indoors
Top speed: n/a
- Spare tail propeller
- USB charging adapter
- 1x 9V battery
Ever since I first tested the legendary Syma S107-G I have been anxiously awaiting the day that the general public, with no knowledge of the whole high-end "hobby grade" RC world or even its lower-priced off-shoots, could walk into a common, major-name store and buy a reliable RC helicopter with a built-in gyro for stability. That day has arrived with 2011 releases, and the Interceptor by Interactive Toy Concepts is one of them. I've seen versions of this heli at both Toys R Us and Target stores. It's larger than the normal toy-grade heli, measuring about a foot from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Its construction is extraordinarily sturdy and it features some very nice materials. It really feels like it's a hobby-grade product. Even the controller, though basic, just feels good in the hands and the control sticks are smooth and free.
Because of the size of the BladeRunner Interceptor and its on-board rechargable battery, it would be impractical and expensive to use a controller-based charging system, so the manufacturer skipped that whole idea altogether and included a USB charging adapter. That means the bad news is, you'll need a computer or other device with a powered USB port to gas up the helicopter. Fortunately those are fairly prevalent these days. The good news is that because the controller doesn't need to do anything but transmit a radio signal, it only needs one 9V battery. Long-term this really helps offset the higher-than-normal up-front cost of the whole set.
I won't mince words here. My first take-off with the Interceptor was a raging success. I immediately flew for about 5 minutes without touching down. It just needed a little trim adjustment on the controller, and it was perfect. Gyro stabilization is a godsend. That, combined with the sturdy frame that doesn't let things wobble, a smooth controller, and well-balanced co-axial (twin counter-rotating main rotor) design, makes the Interceptor very easy to fly once you get the hang of flight in general. As long as you move the left (up/down throttle) stick slowly and find the zone where it's trying to hover, you can keep it within a small area of airspace with just subtle right stick movements.
If subtle isn't your thing, there's a switch on the controller to go from "Normal" to "Pro" mode. This increases the maximum speed of horizontal movement of the Interceptor for more experienced pilots. In Pro mode it will spin around pretty quickly in the air and quickly attain forward or reverse speed like I haven't ever seen from a toy-grade RC heli that's not in the process of crashing out of control. It's pretty exciting to give it a full forward command and watch the whole heli tilt forward in the air like the real thing, then when it just starts going, go to full reverse and watch it tilt just as far rearward and quickly stop, then back up. The more you push the limits, the more the basic laws of physics require that you adjust your throttle as you go in order to maintain a fairly constant altitude.
(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)
The Interactive Toy Concepts BladeRunner Interceptor heli is RC maniacs in the U.K. would call ace. It's top-quality in construction and delivers performance that's as good as I could ask for. It's even a truly excellent first helicopter for adults who just want to play around with something safe & simple, or who would like to gain practice to eventually move into more expensive and difficult hobby-grade 4- or 6-channel models. The price is higher than the average toy-grade heli, sure, but you do get what you pay for. My only words of warning with this product would be to take some care in selecting where you fly. It says that it can be flown outdoors, but no toy-grade or even lower-end hobby-grade helicopter can be flown in any amount of wind. If you can feel any breeze on your face when you are standing perfectly still, take it indoors. If there's no wind whatsoever, feel free to explore outdoor flight, but never fly over people, cars, or other things that can be damaged if you accidentally crash. Also avoid flying more than 10 feet or so up, just for safety's sake.