Swann RC helicopters get good gyrations

RC indoor helicopters have been annoying cats and crashing into expensive home electronics for years, but Swann's new line of radio-controlled choppers uses a souped-up gyro technology for better stability.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Swann Military Thunder RC helicopter
My RC helicopter has more blades than yours. Swann

Once upon a time, manufacturers of disposable razors engaged in an arms race to see who could fit the most blades onto a Bic. A similar battle is now being played out in the world of radio-controlled indoor helicopters.

It's going to be tough to top Swann's Military Thunder, a Chinook-style, double-rotor machine with a total of four chopper blades and two stability arms.

The Military Thunder is part of a new line of RC helicopters from a company that's better known for making surveillance equipment like security cameras. Why not combine the two? RC copters with video surveillance would be a lot more fun than a regular baby monitor.

RC indoor helicopters have been annoying cats and crashing into expensive home electronics for years, but there's always been room for improvement. Swann's contribution to the genre is its take on a coaxial gyro technology that increases the stability of the toys. That explains the stack-o-rotors design.

You don't have to go the military route, however. The Micro Lightning chopper would feel at home on the set of "Magnum P.I." The Emergency Strike model is all decked out in EMS garb. It's big enough to rescue large insects or very small mice, provided you can find EMTs microscopic enough to fit inside.

Swann RC choppers
The Swann chopper line shows off the gyros. Mmm, gyros. (Click to enlarge.) Swann

Swann says the Micro Hornet model is the smallest and lightest fully controllable mini-helicopter on the market. At 5.5 inches long, it's certainly a tiny little thing. Charging it for 20 to 30 minutes will get you five minutes of flying time. That's just long enough to buzz your significant other awake from a nap.

Each copter runs $70 and comes with an extra set of rotors. You're going to need those after you crash your RC chopper into your flat-screen TV.

Check out the promo video below. It makes it look like helicopters have finally arrived in the Land of the Lost.