COMMENTARY: Something in the Air, or, How I Do Drone On

Unmanned aircraft, or drones, have been in the news a lot recently. This past Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the authority to regulate drones, and can fine those who fly them recklessly.

DJI.InspireMeanwhile, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiled a Chinese company called SZ DJI Technology Co., which has created a new commercial drone armed with a high definition camera, among other bells and whistles. From the video footage I watched, what struck me was that the drone only weighs two pounds, and looks a lot like the R/C flyer toys that constantly make their way through The Toy Book offices.

According to the aforementioned NTSB ruling, drones are legally aircraft. So in the eyes of the federal government, they aren’t toys, despite the groundswell of drone hobbyists popping up in places like Chicago, and despite the fact that one can see a clear trail of evolution between these controversial machines and less notorious R/C toys. [Read more...]

The Toy Insider and Woman’s Day Magazine Launch New Video Series

WomansDayVideoThe first entry in The Toy Insider‘s newest Fun with Kids video series launched this week at Woman’s Day. The latest video can be found on the Woman’s Day site’s front page, and the series will run for the next five weeks leading up to the holidays, reaching the site’s 3.9 million unique monthly visitors (Note: The Toy Insider is published by Adventure Publishing Group, which also owns The Toy Book).

In “Toys in Motion,” Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht and Woman’s Day‘s Senior Editor Taryn Mohrman show off this season’s hottest toys that race, fly, and ride. Products shown in the video include: The Rockin’ Rider Patriot Rocking Horse, from Tek Nek Toys; the Air Storm Firetek Bow, from Zing; the Planes Fire and Rescue U-Command Dusty, from Thinkway Toys; the Hot Wheels Street Hawk, from Mattel; the Heli Beast, from Silverlit; the Sky Viper Camera Drone, from Skyrocket Toys; the Hot Wheels High Jump Frenzy, from Toy State; the Extreme Beast, from Maisto; the Y Flicker Lift, from Yvolution; and the PowerRider 360, from Razor.

COMMENTARY: Skyrocket Toys Lights Up R/C Aisle

As I wandered the R/C aisles at Toy Fair this year, I noticed the hobby-grade trends trickling down into mass market toys. R/Cs were starting to become more focused on flying, instead of only ground transportation. Toy companies were trying to discover how to make quality products, such as those found at the hobby grade level, at a price point that was affordable for toy shelves. And the result is tons of cool R/C products that are unlike anything we’ve seen in this category before.

One of the stand-out companies I saw, and then had the chance to meet with later, was Skyrocket Toys. Skyrocket has three new major R/Cs coming out for this holiday season, and I think they exemplify the movement to increase the quality of product at an affordable price point.

SkyViperQuadCopter_SkyrocketToysThe Sky Viper QuadCopter follows one of the hottest trends in R/C right now—four-blade copters. With hobby-grade precision and computer-controlled, six-axis gyro and accelerometer stabiliazation, the 16-inch Sky Viper is constructed for indoor and outdoor use. The Sky Viper features a foam body and carbon fiber frame that make it lightweight, but still sturdy as it performs stunts with one touch. The 2.4 GHz remote operates the copter with knob that has three different difficulties, so it can be used by flyers ages 12 and up at all skill levels. The rechargeable lithium plymer batter and fast-charging A/C adapter are included. [Read more...]