Flying Skybot – remote-controlled robot helicopter

The Flying Skybot is a 15 cm lightweight foam robot with two helicopter-like blades that, under the command of a separate infra-red controller, propel and direct it through the air so that you can annoy pets, parents and birds.

The remote control requires six AA batteries, has an extension aerial and two joysticks for maneuvering the Skybot up /down and left/right. Responsiveness was a bit sluggish and the line-of-sight range indoors is around 15 metres. Because the remote control is infra red, sunlight can impact the performance, indeed, we often had trouble getting it off the ground during our outdoor trials.

Inside, we managed sustained flight for an average of up to 2 metres high for about 10 seconds, after which the whole rig generally came crashing to the ground. So prepare to retrieve and relaunch your Skybot. A lot. The good news is that Skybot takes the knocks and bumps well – almost like it was designed more to crash, than it was to fly – but sometimes it’s hard to get the propellers aligned correctly before attempting another flight.

The Skybot is certainly a fun diversion for any 8-12 year old, but the fiddly controls and slow responsiveness may mean frustration for younger kids. For maximum fun, though, any Flying Skybot ($49.95) should be accompanied by the purchase of another Flying Skybot, to “zap” other robots down with buttons on the front of the remote, or just to engage in a little robot demolition action.