Pathetically, perhaps, I have always been a stickler for correct tech terminology. At school, when occasionally we would strafe an unfortunate teacher with paper aeroplanes, it would irritate me when the inevitable punishment was dispensed for throwing “a paper dart”. It’s not a dart, I wanted to say. It’s an aeroplane with aerodynamics and everything.
Well, paper aeroplanes have come on heaps since their Beano comic days with the introduction of this truly spiffing motorised and remotely controlled update of the genre from a startup called PowerUp Toys. Its 3.0 entry model (I will introduce a more advanced version in a later edition) will either fly planes made using the supplied cartridge paper, or you can take the electronics-packed flight unit, complete with carbon‑fibre spars, and fit it to your own paper air force.
PowerUp’s video instructions are superb – Shai Goitein, who shows you how to make the planes, is a great teacher. The PowerUp app is also absolutely brilliant – you steer your flying model by tilting your phone. The construction is satisfying, the technology excellent, the flying… tricky. You need to be outside on a calm day – and persistent. I managed a flight of over a minute. One user claims to have kept it aloft for 17 minutes. Respect. But even if you’re not that skilful, this is huge holiday fun.