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Go Airborne: Walkera #52 R/C Micro Helicopter

Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 6: Gifts For Geeks and Gamers

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What could as geeky - or as much fun - as flying a miniature helicopter? No longer a sport exclusively for hardcore aviation fans, the radio-controlled (R/C) helicopter is now quite accessible to the common folk: a good, reliable, ready-to-fly helicopter can be had today for under $200.

Today's micro R/C helicopters can fly about 10 to 15 minutes on a single charge, and only take about 45 minutes to recharge to full capacity. This means that if you have three batteries and two chargers, you can fly virtually non-stop for hours. Sure, it takes a lot of practice to fly a helicopter, but the beauty of the sport is that you can fly it anytime: outdoors if the weather is nice, indoors in the winter months.

There's something very satisfying about mastering a particular maneuver: it's a tangible accomplishment. Of course, as you learn, you'll face the real risk that if you mess up the controls badly enough you'll need to buy replacement rotors for your chopper (or worse). This might sound like a bad thing, but that risk is what makes the accomplishment so rewarding. And hey, who doesn't think it'd be a blast to fly a tiny version of Airwolf around the living room?

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