got my first chance to test fly the Storm Launcher in about 5-10mph
wind. As you can see from the photos, it does fly, but not for
an R/Cer, it is rather low powered and has some crude control
steps. As a toy, where it is really marketed, it is a unique blast
of fun. I was using Pro Mode exclusively, which is essentially
high gain on the elevator stick. I don't believe it changes anything
else. It does take some good flying skills and practice to adapt
to the course resolution of the controls but I managed not to
break it and had fun giving it a try in windy conditions.
grass in the park where I first flew it had not been cut in a
while and it was wet from the rainy morning. It wouldn't move
in the long grass so my buddy hand launched it for me.
decided to video the Storm Launcher even though the wind was 5-10mph
and we only had a rough grass surface. Calm days are hard to find
in upstate NY in November. With this in mind, you can see the
limited air performance of the stock unmodified Storm Launcher
below. I have found that the Storm Launcher takes off easily from
pavement, dirt, or water, but not grass unless it is very short
Launcher Video 1 - Stock
have read up on the various mods tried by other owners for the
storm launcher and have selected a few that were suggested by
one of the Storm Launcher designers. The reason I selected these
two mods, over all the others that I have seen, is that I consider
them to be easily done by the non-hobbyist, requiring only a screwdriver
and scissors. Other, more extensive mods will be left to the R/C
I decided to stick with non-hobbyist modifications, I did compare
the 2-cell LiPo power pack to some others packs using an external
power connector. I found the stock Air Hogs LiPo Power Pack to
be quite good in performance and very well designed for safety.
The balanced charging technique will keep the pack lasting a long
modifications shown above were easily done. I removed the two
prop guards with a small screwdriver and cut away the top fin
while keeping the vertical fins. The combined weight of the parts
removed was about 0.3oz. My modified Storm Launcher was ready
to test fly again at 9.1oz.
Stock Storm Launcher = 7.6oz
Stock LiPo Power Pack = 1.8oz
Parts Removed = 0.03oz
tested the modified Storm Launcher on a calm day in the park using
a small paved basketball court area as our launch pad. Although
the modifications made a small improvement in performance, the
Storm Launcher is still most comfortable on the ground or water
performing extended leaps into the air. Our best description of
the Storm Launcher's flying capability is "controlled chaos".
Launcher Video 2- Modified
Storm Launcher is meant as a toy for kids to play with or adults
to experiment with. It is not a good choice for learning to fly
R/C planes. Further, the charger needs an AC wall outlet so the
battery pack could not be recharged at the field. The design is
really meant for at-home or near-home play.
put in context, I consider the Air Hogs Storm Launcher to be a
successful design for its intended market; this being the toy
market for younger kids. I have "kid tested" the Storm
Launcher at my local park where I could traverse the parking lot
and a grass field section. When the Storm Launcher lifted into
the air for short hops and landed back down on either the pavement
or grass, the kids absolutely loved it! My review was done with
the intention that the Storm Launcher is a great deal of fun for
younger non-hobbyists and would make a great gift!
Storm Launcher can traverse grass, carpet, water, and even pavement.
It is most agile and comfortable on the ground due to the thrust
vectoring steering technique. In the air, the thrust to weight
ratio is almost equal, so, the steering technique is detrimental
to staying in the air. Consequently, when turning or just trying
to stay level, the depleted thrust level makes it come back down
to earth. This is an asset to the intended market as it keeps
it in one piece by not going higher and higher. I have abused
my Storm Launcher and found it to be both rugged and easy to repair
with odorless CA, epoxy, and tape.
R/C airplane hobbyist will likely be disappointed in its flying
capability. Without modifications, it performs best on land. Overall,
this design appears to be a hit with the younger kids. For seasoned
R/Cers, it is more of a toy in need of extensive modification.