As kids, we probably all tried our hand at crafting paper planes when the teacher wasn’t looking, or perhaps just in the backyard with mom or dad. Often these attempts were sad flops, either nosediving into the ground or spinning out of control in a rebellious death spiral.
The POWERUP FPV is here to change your idea of the paper plane forever. Each plane boasts a carbon-fiber and nylon reinforced frame to help it live a long life, so don’t worry — it’s very different from the paper plane you remember throwing in the schoolyard. The company even gives you a set of templates to help you fold exactly the type of plane you want.
The POWERUP experts recommend trying the “Invader” model first, which is folded from a piece of 11″ x 17″ paper: “It is the most robust model we have. With average speed and maneuverability and high stability, it is the plane to start with!”
The magic really happens when you attach a “conversion kit” to the plane, giving you access to live-streaming video that you can enjoy as it happens and share with your friends afterwards. “The fully rotating wide-view camera lets pilots capture their flight while looking forward from the cockpit, off the wings, or even a dramatic rear-view shot as they launch their planes into flight,” the company says. “They can then share video and images immediately via Wi-Fi to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another social media platform.”
The FPV is capable of reaching speeds of up to 20 mph, and it can stay in the sky for about 10 minutes of continuous flight time. All you have to do is keep the plane within a 300-foot range. After that, the onboard camera will start livestreaming video straight to your smartphone via Wi-Fi. If you want to go back and watch this footage later, you’ll just need to save it to a handy MicroSD card.
As far as actually flying the plane is concerned, you’re supposed to control it using your head movements and a smartphone-powered headworn display. Of course, you can always just switch to the on-screen gamepad in the POWERUP app. If you’re an absolute beginner, you’ll be happy to know that the FPV’s “autopilot” mode makes flying incredibly easy, especially in windy conditions. There’s even automatic self-navigation so the plane can find its way back to you with “return home” mode.
Each POWERUP FPV kit comes with a twin motor Wi-Fi camera module, two spare propellers (left and right), a carbon-fiber and polypropylene stabilizer crossbar, four printed template sheets for the easy-flying A3 Invader design, and one Lipo battery 550mAh. The Google Cardboard FPV viewer, however, is sold separately.
Once you’re really sure you’ve caught the paper plane bug, check out the POWERUP DART, a clever little plane that can do all kinds of stunts. Just attach the DART to your paper plane and and use the accompanying smartphone app to control it. “Tilt your wrist for simple turns then sequence a few tilts, flicks, and speed boosts to pull off a variety of mind-bending aerobatic tricks,” explains the design team. “Attaching the wheels turns any flat surface into your personal runway, so you can take-off and land anywhere.”