Pros: easy to use, educational, flies far
Cons: need to replace wings and tail rather often
My youngest son is 8 years-old and for as long as I can remember he has loved anything that could fly. He likes any kind of plane, helicopter or rocket. When one of his friends got an Air Hog for his birthday, I knew that I would be hounded about it incessantly until he had his own.
Air Hogs are hard plastic airplanes that are about 1 1/2 feet long. They have a wingspan of just under 2 feet and they require no motors or batteries to fly a distance of 100 yards because they run on pressurized air that you pump into the body. It is easy enough for a child to do alone.
There are several different models of Air Hogs but they all follow the same basic concept. The body of the plane is hard plastic and has a propeller. The wings and tail are made from a foam type of material. The Air Hog comes with a pump that is similar to a bicycle pump. You just hook the nose of the plane onto the pump and pump air into the plane. Then you hold it, give the propeller a tap and let go. The plane soars!
My son gets his love of flying objects from my husband. As soon as my son happened to mention his friend's Air Hog, my husband's eyes lit up and he was off to search the internet to find out more about this thing. He absolutely could not believe that something could be that simple yet fly so far. He found out that he was wrong and indeed it was that simple.
As chance would have it, my son had a birthday coming up. This was a lucky break for me because birthday or not, my husband was adamant that my son could not possibly live much longer if he didn't have an Air Hog.
Of the many available models, we chose the V-Wing Avenger. This particular Air Hog doesn't just fly for over 100 yards - oh no that isn't nearly good enough for my husband <ahem> I mean my son. The V-Wing Avenger also does loops and deep banks if you let it go at the proper angle.
The V-Wing Avenger has a body that is part shiny black plastic and part see through blue plastic. The decals are bright red, yellow and blue. It also has a streamlined, aerodynamic body shape. In other words, it is slick looking.
Now luckily we found out a few things we should expect when my husband did his internet research. Air Hogs are comparable to planes that run with motors and cost hundreds of dollars, yet they only cost $25. However, it is important to know that you will have to replace the wings and tail pretty often. We average 20 to 30 flights that don't end in major crashes and then the wings have bent enough that they are too flimsy to work and must be replaced. I have heard numerous people complain about this and bad mouth the product. I don't think this is really fair because the company is very open about the fact that the wings aren't meant to last forever. This toy is not meant to take a beating and remain in perfect condition. It is meant to be equal to an expensive motorized plane but easy enough for a child to use and it definitely lives up to that.
You also have to remember that Air Hogs are meant to fly for 100 yards. If your child attempts to play with it in the backyard, there will be some serious disappointment when it invariably lands in a tree or on a roof down the road. You need to take it to a field with a large open space. We usually take ours up to one of the area schools and play with it on their sports field.
The bottom line is that if you have a child between the ages of 5 and 100 that loves things that fly, an Air Hog is a great gift at a very reasonable price. Just remember that you will have to keep buying wings and tails.