RCU Review: Air Hogs Storm Launcher


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: January 2007 | Views: 209615 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Storm Launcher

    Review by: Greg Covey

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    Manufacturer

    Air Hogs R/C
    Storm Launcher
    Distributed exclusively by:

    Target, Walmart, Toys-R-Us, Best Buy, eToys, and on-line at SpinMaster



    Ratings
    Quality
    Performance
    Ease of Assembly
    Looks
    Price
    Manual


    Hits

    Everything is Included
    Good quality & looks
    Good Surface Performance
    Safe LiPo Charging
    Rugged and easy to repair



    Misses
    Poor Sustained Air Performance

    Storm Launcher

    The Air Hogs Storm Launcher is a Ready-To-Go All Terrain Vehicle that comes with the LIPO Battery, AC wall charger, advanced controller, removable propeller guards, spare propellers, and a mounting tool. It is available at local stores like Target, Walmart, Toys-R-Us, Best Buy, eToys, and on-line at SpinMaster.

    The eye-catching colorful box includes everything you need to get going.

    Specifications:

    • Width: 15"
    • Length: 19"
    • Weight: 10oz RTF
    • Battery: 2-cell LiPo 740mAh (included)
    • Controls: Differential motor thrust & elevator
    • Transmitter: Air Hogs 27mHz (included)
    • Charger: Air Hogs LiPo charger (included)


    Storm Launcher Setup

    The Storm Launcher and accessories come very well packed.

    The package includes everything you need to get started. Simply install the 6 AA batteries in the transmitter and screw on the antenna. The package comes with spare left and right props as well as a antenna ribbon to help detect wind conditions.

    The LiPo pack cannot be plugged in backwards and the charger has an LED to indicate when the pack is charged. Simply charge up the LiPo pack, and you're ready to go!


    Ready-To-Fly

    The Storm Launcher is Ready-To-Fly right out of the box! The battery pack plugs in a custom holder underneath the model.

    On my first "in house" test, I was surprised to find that it can go on carpet or tile and turn on a dime in small places like a kitchen area.



    Test Flying

    I 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 long.

    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.

    The 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.

    I 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 and dry.


    Storm Launcher Video 1 - Stock
    CLICK HERE (6meg)

    Simple Modifications

    I 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 enthusiast.

    Before 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 time.

    The 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

    We 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".


    Storm Launcher Video 2- Modified
    CLICK HERE (5meg)

    Summary

    The 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.

    When 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!

    The 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.

    The 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.

    Storm Launcher













    Manufacturer Info

    Air Hogs R/C
    Storm Launcher
    Distributed exclusively by:
    Target, Walmart, Toys-R-Us, Best Buy, eToys, and on-line at SpinMaster

    Comments on RCU Review: Air Hogs Storm Launcher

    Posted by: andretm on 06/25/2008
    Neat toy...fun for the kids (and Dad). Packing tape to the rescue. :) (Beware the poorly described product pages at sites such as eToys. Unlike as stated in this review, "all" is not always included, for example, the LiPo battery with its proprietary plug and the charger. Do shop around.)
    Posted by: os1111 on 07/23/2008
    I was wondering if you could tell me why my storm launcher has no scoop on top or cone on the back, when every other one I have seen does? does it have to do with the fact that mine is a pro? let me know if you can, thanks
    Posted by: rich22222222 on 02/27/2009
    you suck
    Posted by: rich22222222 on 02/27/2009
    you suck fuck heads
    Posted by: mnfly on 08/22/2009
    I did the mods and can easily do "loops" more like a quick back flip and have actually managed short inverted flight. I think it is a neat craft to play with.
    Posted by: mnfly on 08/22/2009
    I did the mods and can easily do "loops" more like a quick back flip and have actually managed short inverted flight. I think it is a neat craft to play with.
    Posted by: tommie! on 02/23/2010
    I have managed to fly this thing as far as the eye can see. Once the motors have broken in and you have removed the horizontal stabilizer and prop guards this thing is amazing. The brushed motors eventually wear out but you can replace them with 180 sized motors direct fit, the same as co axial helis. Takes skill to fly too.
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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