The German company TobyRich has launched a smartphone-controlled "smartplane" designed specifically for people who couldn't fly a plane if their lives depended on it. Aptly dubbed "SmartPlane", this gadget-and-app combo automatically adjusts the plane's trajectory and speed to stay in the air no matter how new you may be to the world of radio-controlled model fixed-wings. Its body is even designed to protect the propeller if you manage to end up smacking it into the ground anyway.
The SmartPlane pairs with an iOS app via Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Smart) with a touch. As such, the Li-Po battery can prioritize more power to the flight mechanisms instead of to radio communication with your iOS device. The battery lasts between 5 and 30 minutes, depending on how hard you're flying ("hint: soar and glide!" suggests the SmartPlane website), and charging takes about 15 minutes via the included microUSB cable.
The app controls are dead simple to use, with just an up-down thumb control onscreen, and left-right tilt via your device's accelerometer. The app also displays a few gauges to let you know how much "fuel" (battery power) you have left, which way you're headed (via your device's internal compass), and what air traffic control is saying -- a simulated bit of realistic fun.
But where the real uniqueness lies is in its FlightAssist technology. That's the auto-stabilizing element mentioned above. Through the app itself, the SmartPlane automatically adjusts flight to minimize the possibility that your high-flying acrobatic tricks (with or without naturally occurring wind) don't end up destroying your $94 USD investment in this innovative little RC airplane.
Check out the demo-promo video below, in which a SmartPlane is flown around the inside of the real-life Bremen airport arrivals terminal.