updated 04:35 pm EDT, Wed August 17, 2011
Control via virtual joystick, accelerometer
Griffin has introduced an R/C helicopter, the Helo TC, that is controlled by an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Like many ultra-micro size helicopters, the Helo uses a coaxial rotor design with counter-rotating blades to improve stability and eliminate the need for a complex control system. Users can choose to tilt the iOS device or use a virtual joystick to move the helicopter forward, backward and side to side.
The Helo TC app works in conjunction with a "Flight Deck" accessory that clips onto the iOS device and plugs into the headphone port. Commands are communicated via infrared signals, requiring users to maintain a clear line-of-sight between the controller and the helicopter.
Users can store up to three flight plans to repeat flight routes, while an auto-land mode is designed to bring the helicopter down safely using a single button. The app supports three channels when multiple helicopters are used in the same area.
The Helo TC system is now available directly from the company for $50, before heading to retailers in time for the holiday shopping season. The companion app is available as a free download from the App Store.