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Air Hogs X-Twin R/C Airplane, retail $40.74*
Manufactured by Spinmaster (www.spinmaster.com)
Last updated 09-10-12

This isn't a flashlight, household lamp, Christmas light set, or other thing that glows,but what the hey. I have only evaluated remote controlled (RC) toys several times before, so please bear with me here.

I love things that fly; that's why I took the bate (I've seen the Air Hogs brand advertised on United States TV over the last six or seven months {as of late-June 2008}) and also why I added a seperate section titled "PRODUCTS DESIGNED TO FLY" on my website.

This is a very small, lightweight, easy-to-fly remote controlled airplane. It fits in the palm of your hand, and is designed almost exclusively to be flown outdoors - though it can be flown indoors if a sufficiently large space is available.

It uses two propellers, not just one. And it is steered by varying the power to each prop instead of being steered by a horizontal stabiliser (an adjustable flap on the tail) like all single-engine airplanes have.

(Update 01-16-09): The following is from an email sent by a pilot; this person knows more about aircraft than I do.

I read a few of your RC aircraft reviews, and you have a pretty serious misconception stated at least twice in discussions of models with 2 motors: In full-sized aircraft or in RC, the horizontal stabilizer is NOT primarily involved in turning the aircraft. It does have a secondary role in turning, which I'll return to later. I have dabbled in RC aircraft a couple of times in my life (I'm essentially your age) and I also have a private pilot's license for full-sized aircraft, although I have not exercised that privilege since moving out of Colorado.

The first part of your misconception seems to be that the horizontal stabilizer controls horizontal movement. Not so.

There are three rotational movements: yaw, pitch and roll. Yaw is the horizontal displacement of the nose and tail about the vertical axis. Pitch is vertical displacement about a horizontal axis roughly aligned with the wing, and roll is vertical displacement of the wing tips about a horizontal axis roughly aligned with the propeller shaft.

The fixed horizontal stabilizers (the little wings usually at the back of the aircraft that stick out horizontally) and movable elevator attached to them (or the "stabilator" or "all-flying stabilizer" in the case of a single piece which moves in its entirety) control PITCH. Although this points the nose up or down, and so generally increases or decreases lift, it really controls airspeed: nose-up leads to slower airspeed and nose-down leads to higher airspeed. The aircraft's "state of trim," which depends more or less on the position of the elevator or stabilator, tends to maintain a constant airspeed, although the varying airflow with changing engine power off the propeller does affect trim speed somewhat. POWER translates into climb or descent: at a constant airspeed, more power means climb and less power means decent, and at a constant power more speed means descent and less speed means climb (until you reach the "region of reverse command," when induced drag increases so much that lower speed means MORE power is needed to maintain level flight, or in the most extreme case: when the wing stalls and a small decrease in speed leads to a loss of lift and RAPID descent). This is a common-sense situation: it takes more power to go uphill at a constant speed than downhill, whether in an airplane, car, bicycle or scooter. The lack of a solid hill doesn't really matter.

So, you probably really meant that the VERTICAL stabilizer (the fin sticking up at the back of the fuselage), which affects yaw, controls turning. This is also wrong, although not completely in the case of some RC aircraft. However, unlike in a surface vehicle, YAW, although it does slew the nose sideways, does not turn the aircraft in the sense of causing it to travel in a circular horizontal course. That is actually the result of ROLL, or banking. Rolling into a modest bank angle causes the lift vector of the wing to point sideways as well as up. The sideways force becomes a centripetal force that moves the aircraft in a horizontal circle. The only centripetal force provided by yaw directly is the vector of the engine's thrust resulting from the yaw angle, and except for military jets, the engine's thrust is WAY less than the force of the wing's lift, and is not enough to turn the airplane through a decent arc. (Other exceptions exist in 3D aerobatics, but I'm ignoring that.)

In fact, in a really well-designed airplane, the rudder is hardly needed to turn, and in RC aircraft, low performance planes with 2 channel control have rudder and elevator, but high performance 2 channel planes have aileron and elevator control. (Assumes either glider or constant-power engine/motor. Read as "3-channel" if you want a throttle control, too.) Low-performance models use yaw-roll coupling to let the rudder CAUSE the roll needed to turn the plane, usually via excess dihedral in the wing, but ideally, roll is controlled directly by ailerons. The problem is that ailerons cause roll by increasing lift on one wing, which raises that wing but also induces drag (lift is not free of cost) and slows it down. The wing going up needs to go faster, not slower, to go around the outside of the turn, so this causes "adverse yaw:" the plane tends to turn the opposite of the intended direction, at least while the roll is occurring (the effect becomes less, but not zero, while maintaining a constant bank angle). The rudder is primarily needed to provide a yaw force to offset this adverse yaw and lead to a "coordinated turn" in which there are no net yaw forces, also described as lack of slip or skid. (Deliberate slip is a another use of the rudder to increase drag on the aircraft, and skid can cause the fun/dangerous spin or snap-roll when combined with stall. Brief rolling motions with proper rudder use leads to a "Dutch roll" in which the heading of the airplane doesn't change while the wings rock back and forth. Look them all up if desired!) Older airplanes had lots of adverse yaw, and needed active footwork on the rudder control pedals to make a nice turn or good Dutch rolls, but more recent and more clever designs can make almost-coordinated turns with your feet off the rudder pedals, at least at average airspeed.

There IS an important roll of the horizontal stabilizer in turning: If you want to turn and simultaneously maintain constant altitude, you need to pull back on the stick (pitch the nose up) to increase lift, since as you roll the lift vector would otherwise be the same force. With part of the force directed horizontally, the aircraft would begin to descend unless lift increased, so total lift must increase by either more power (and more airspeed) or more pitch (and slightly reduced airspeed). The latter is usually chosen, so to turn an airplane properly, you use aileron to roll and simulanteously rudder to control adverse yaw, then as the bank angle increases, back stick to increase lift and maintain constant altitude. It's all much easier when you are in the aircraft and can FEEL the results vs. an RC model or flight simulator program, except the consequences of mistakes are worse.

* This is what I paid for it on Ebay on 06-23-08; you may encounter a lower or higher price depending on where you purchase one.


This toy is remarkably easy to use for an R/C airplane...here's how to make it fly:

As with any rechargeable product, charge it first (see directly below), and then you can pretend to fly a dragonfly (well, that's what the kitty cat would think it is if it were designed to be flown in a smallish room indoors - it can be flown indoors if you have a large space - an empty 2-car garage, unused basement, or larger space is suggested here). Otherwise fly it outdoors in a fairly large space relatively free of obstructions like trees or utility poles - a public park is a good place to start here.

Pull up on the antenna on the remote control to extend it.

1: Be certain the battery in the airplane is fully charged first.

2: On the underside of the airplane's body near the front, there's a tiny on/off switch.
    Use a fingernail to slide this switch to the "on" position.

3: On the remote control, slide the switch below the right-hand control stick toward the front of the remote (toward the antenna); a red LED will come on. Extend the antenna if you have not already done so.

4: Make certain the TRIM knob on the controller is set so the line on it is aimed straight ahead.

5: Hold the airplane so that the nose points straight ahead; you may hold it with most of your fingers on the fuselage (body) and your index finger (forefinger) is behind the tail wings.

6: Push the left hand stick on the controller forward; the airplane's motors should now rapidly throttle up. Be certain your fingers are away from the propellers at this point.

7: Direct the antenna on the remote control as vertically as you can. Gently throw the airplane forward - it should now be flying.

Congratulations, you are now a pilot!!!

For additional instructions & tips on how to fly, please read the instructional material that comes with the product.

Turn the X-Twin and remote control off when finished using them.
Same switches as before, but slide them in the opposite direction this time.

The battery in the X-Twin itself is rechargeable and is not designed to be changed; however the batteries in the remote will need to be changed from time to time.

To do this, unscrew & remove the phillips screw from the battery door on the underside of the unit, using a phillips screwdriver that you furnish yourself. Set the screw aside if it comes out; otherwise just leave it in the hole.

Remove the battery door, very gently place it on the ground, and kick it into the garden so the hungry, hungry praying mantids will think it's something yummy to eat and strike at it...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead.

Remove the six used AA cells from the compartment, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.

Insert six new AA cells into the compartment, orienting each cell so its flat-end (-) negative faces a spring for it in each chamber.

Finally, place the battery door back on, and screw the screw back in.
Aren't you glad you didn't kick that battery door into the garden with all those hungry, hungry praying mantids now?

Here is what a praying mantis looks like.
I found this guy on the morning of 09-08-06 clinging to the basket of my scooter.

To charge the battery in the X-Twin, swing the door on the upper portion of the top of the remote control up so it's open.
In the compartment you just exposed to atmosphere , you'll see a thin cord with a small plug on the end.

With the X-Twin turned off, plug this into the small receptacle for it on the underside of the X-Twin's body.
This connector is keyed to fit the receptacle on the X-Twin only one way; please do not force it or you may irreversibly damage the X-Twin and it might not fly for you again.

A green LED on the remote should now come on. At this point, double-check to be absolutely, positively, 100% certain that the switches on the X-Twin airplane and on the remote control are set to the "OFF" position - the unit will not charge if either of these switches are in the "ON" position.

After a maximum of 30 minutes, the green light will turn off. When the green light turns off, gently unplug the cord from the X-Twin, stow the cord in the remote control's compartment, and swing the door back closed.

Fully charging the X-Twin's battery should give you ~10-12 minutes of flying time.

According to the instructional materials furnished with the product, you should wait 15 to 20 minutes before recharging the battery after you've run it down in order to allow it to cool.

This RC airplane is meant to be used as a toy in a dry area outdoors, not as a flashlight meant to be carried around, thrashed, trashed, and abused, so I won't try to drown it in the toliet tank, bash it against a steel rod or against the concrete floor of a patio, let my housemate's citty kats go to the litterbox on it, run over it with a 450lb Celebrity motorised wheelchair, stomp on it, use a medium ball peen hammer in order to bash it open to check it for candiosity, fire it from the cannoñata, drop it down the top of Mt. Erupto (I guess I've been watching the TV program "Viva Piñata" too much again (yes, I watched four episodes of this program just two days ago!!!) - candiosity is usually checked with a laser-type device on a platform with a large readout (located at Piñata Central), with a handheld wand that Langston Lickatoad uses, or with a pack-of-cards-sized device that Fergy Fudgehog uses; the cannoñata (also located at Piñata Central) is only used to shoot piñatas to piñata parties away from picturesque Piñata Island, and Mt. Erupto is an active volcano on Piñata Island), send it to the Daystrom Institute for additional analysis, or perform other indecencies on it that a flashlight might have to have performed on it. So this section of the web page will be ***SIGNIFICANTLY*** more bare than this section of the web page on a page about a flashlight.

The maximum range of the remote control to the X-Twin R/C Airplane is 300 feet (91 meters).
The remote control uses radio waves; not infrared radiation like R/C aircraft designed specifically to be flown indoors.

The body of the X-Twin is made of a very lightweight foam (known by most people as Styrofoam®), so it can withstand crashes that a heavier aircraft might be damaged or even destroyed in.

This product is recommended for children of 8 years of age or older; younger children can injure themselves on moving parts or by swallowing something they should not (like an AA cell or one of the spare propellers).

Speaking of spare propellers, the packaging indicated that they would be present, but none were found even when the packaging materials were thoroughly checked three times.

The airplane's motors will continue to operate for ~3 seconds after contact is lost with the remote control - but they *WILL* stop after this time has elapsed.

The transmitter in this particular model operates at a frequency of 27.0MHz. I believe that there is at least one, possibly two additional frequencies available, so that more than one X-Twin can be flown in the same airspace simultaneously.

If the wings on the jet become damaged (such as if you graze a tree or something), repairs may rather easily be performed with nothing more than a bit of transparent household tape.

Photograph of its remote control.

Another photograph of its remote control.

This is the park I will attempt the test flight in.
This park is at the intersection of Pocket Rd. and Windbridge Dr. in Sacramento CA. USA.

WMP video (.avi extension) showing the X-Twin flying in a park (see directly above).
This clip is approximately 8.45 megabytes (8,644,564 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than 43 minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

In this clip, you can hear me say "Flight number two" in the same manner as the speech
synthesizer in the coin-op arcade video game ''Looping'', followed by the jet flying offscreen.

The flight was ***ENTIRELY, 100% SUCCESSFUL*** - the plane flew and even glided (unpowered flight where the motors are turned completely off) extremely well. The visible portion of the flight was just a small percentage of the actual flight time - the camera was kept "rolling" for the entire duration - 26 seconds in this case.
I allowed it to land when I did simply because it was getting too close to the street - and subsequently to moving vehicles...ouch!!!

I cannot provide this clip in other formats, so please do not ask.

There will *NOT* be a picture of the X-Twin in a toliet because it flies so well!!!

Screen dump (yes, it's really called that) from the above video clip showing the airplane flying shortly after launch.

Aerial view of the park I made the test flights in, courtesy of Google Earth.
This is Garcia Bend Park; I did not know the name of it prior to today (07-07-08).

WMP movie (.avi extension) showing the airplane being hand-launched and buzzing around. Shot in a baseball field in Federal Way WA. USA.
This flight was made late on the morning of 06-15-09.

This clip is approximately 9.4444 megabytes (9,549,708 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than forty seven minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

In this clip, you can hear me say "Flight number seven", in the same manner as the speech synthesizer in the
coin-op arcade video game ''Looping'', followed by the airplane buzzing around the park.

WMP movie (.avi extension) showing the airplane being hand-launched and buzzing around. Shot in a baseball field in Federal Way WA. USA.
This flight was made late on the morning of 06-15-09.

This clip is approximately 14.6412 megabytes (14,915,672 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than sixty eight (!!!) minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

In this clip, you can hear me say "Flight number eight", in the same manner as the speech synthesizer in the
coin-op arcade video game ''Looping'', followed by the airplane buzzing around the park.
You don't see the airplane shortly after launch, but you can judge how long it was in the air by the video's duration; which is approximately 52 seconds.

This is a screen dump of the above video.

This is the baseball park in Federal Way WA. USA that I flew the aircraft in late on the morning of 06-15-09.


Test unit was ordered via an Ebay listing on the morning of 06-23-08, and was received at 2:31pm PDT on 06-27-08.

I was going to take it for a test flight (with movie clip(s)) on 06-29-08, but that was my mother's birthday and I had to be across town for her birthday party, so the test flight will experience a brief delay.

UPDATE: 07-01-08
I shot a movie clip of it being flown in a nearby park; please see above.

UPDATE: 07-28-08
The unit was slightly damaged during my move; the tail section now tilts upward to a noticeable degree.
As far as I'm able to determine, this is repairable; though I have not yet figured out how I'm going to conduct the repair.

I'll add a photgraph when the main computer is back online - possibly as early as this evening, but probably later this week.

UPDATE: 07-29-08
Here is that photograph of the damaged X-Twin; see how the tail section is bent up?

UPDATE: 08-16-08
Here is a photograph (see directly below) of the repair job I attempted.
The aircraft is propped upside-down between books and stacks of laser pointer boxes, and the tail section is weighted down with a diode laser bar array (that brass object in this photograph); the diode laser array is long enough to distribute its weight (approximately one pound {~16 ounces, ~454.0 grams}) over a good percentage of the airplane's fuselage (body) without concentrating it in one place - the fuselage would quite readily snap if that were done. The airplane was left like this for a couple of days.

The repair *LOOKS* good, but I have no way of knowing if it was successful or not until I take it for a test flight in the park.
Actually, I made that flight yesterday morning. I did not bring the camera, so no movie clip - but I used my own eyeballs to verify its flight characteristics. Although still slightly deformed, it flew surprisingly well -- then it got stuck in a tree. But after shaking the urine out of the main branch it landed in (intermittently) for a minute or two, it came out (and I actually caught it rather than it falling to the concrete), so I still have it for future tests, analyses, and fun.

I have resumed a variation of the same "repair" I performed on it earlier; though this time with the main portion of the airplane's body out so that the tail end of the fuselage gets bent down a little more...expect another test flight soon.

UPDATE: 08-18-08
Looks like I "overcorrected" a bit on my latest repair; however, since this repair is so simple, I've already begun the procedure to reverse that.

I'll be making another test flight within a day or so.

UPDATE: 08-19-08
I took it out for another test flight yesterday morning; and while it looks like I slightly "overcorrected" again (in the opposite way this time), it flew remarkably well. It was in the air for close to one minute - the wind was blowing it out of the park so I had to let up on the hammer (accelerator) and allow it to glide to a landing...it gently landed on the next street over. I had to hightail it in my electric wheelchair to retrieve the cute and loveable little airplane before a car or truck ran over and killed the poor, helpless thing.
Needless to say, I was successful - if I weren't, then that dreadful "" icon would now be displayed to its listings on this website. But it isn't, so I still have it to fly again.

Looks like I'll be making yet another test flight sometime this week.

UPDATE: 08-24-08
The repair has been 100% successful!!!
I took it out for a flight on Friday morning, and it flew (and glided!) beautifully!!!
All in all, I am *** EXTREMELY SATISFIED *** with how this airplane flew on Friday morning!!!

UPDATE: 09-28-08
Flew this aircraft just for the H-E-Double-Bendy-Straws of it on the morning of 09-26-08.

UPDATE: 06-16-09
Took it to a baseball field in Federal Way WA. USA on the morning of 06-15-09 for a test flight (its first flight in Washington state); please see the video clip above to see how that went.

UPDATE: 06-26-09
I took this airplane for a flight yesterday; adjusting the trim so that it could make right-hand turns was easily accomplished. That upward curvature in the tail that causes the X-Twin to fly funny needs to be adjusted downward a bit though.

UPDATE: 07-06-09
I flew the X-Twin late on the morning of 07-04-09; it flew extremely well - almost ***TOO*** well in fact. It stayed in the air for several minutes, reaching altitudes of several hundred feet, and steered correctly. I was able to guide it in for a semi-unpowered landing in a place where I could easily retrieve it. I say "semi-unpowered" here because you do have to apply power to one propeller or the other in order to steer it while it is gliding in otherwise unpowered flight.

UPDATE: 06-17-12
I have transplanted the landing gear from my Transformers StarScream Micro Flyer R/C Airplane to the X-Twin in an attempt to allow it to lift off on its own from a paved surface...to wit:

Flies so very well!!!
Lightweight construction makes it highly crash breakage-resistant
Easy as pie to fly -- just accelerator + left & right
Long flight time per battery charge
Flight battery easily charges directly from the Tx

Motors do not instantaneously stop -- there is a time delay of ~3 seconds if the signal from the Tx is lost. That's what lobbed ½ a remote from its rating
Easily deformed; that's what nocked off the other ½ remote

    MANUFACTURER: Spinmaster
    PRODUCT TYPE: R/C airplane
    No. OF LAMPS: 0
    SWITCH TYPE: Slide on/off on underside of product
    CASE MATERIAL: Styrofoam & plastic
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: 6xAA cells (remote), 3.7 volt Li-Poly rechargeable (airplane itself)
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER- AND PEE-RESISTANT: Very light splatter-resistance at maximum
    ACCESSORIES: Spare propellers (see above)
    WEIGHT: 21.0g (0.740 oz. )
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    R/C ratingR/C ratingR/C ratingR/C rating

Air Hogs X-Twin R/C Airplane *

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