December 2011 | Vol. X - No. 12
Top-10 Most-Wanted Aircraft and Flying Toys
With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
When TDmonthly interviewed retailers in November of 2011 about their top selling flying toys and aircraft, the answers varied from simple balsa wood gliders to the explosive Stomp Rocket from D & L COMPANY. Look below to see all of the Top-10 toys most likely to fly off your shelves.
No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.
This plane can go from charger to flying in just 10 seconds with the easy-to-use, all in one hand-held charger/launcher. The plane is designed to fly for 30 seconds or more, and stand up to many back yard landings. It features a single-pull trigger, requires three AA batteries, and can fly up to 100 feet.
— The owner of Kid’s Center in Tucson, Ariz., told TDmonthly they ordered from ASTRA 2010 a Kid Galaxy “back yard flyer that we had not seen operational before” — one of their favorite products of the show.
— In a November 2011 survey Lisa LeStrange, owner of Lucky Duck Toys in Wayne, Pa., told TDmonthly that their "Top selling flying toy is Backyard Flyer by Kid Galaxy...Depends on the season, but in warm weather we sell maybe 10 per month."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29544 (added 7/15/2010)
When kids stomp on the launch pad, a blast of air propels the Stomp Rocket over 100 feet into the air. This kit comes with four glow-in-the-dark foam rockets.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 291 reviews on Amazon.com. PROS: Simple to use, no assembly, rockets fly high, and foam construction of rockets doesn't damage people or property. CONS: Could use a sturdier base and wingnut/screw connection.
— In an August 2010 TDmonthly survey of 43 retailers, three cited Stomp Rockets as an overall top seller.
— Stephanie Dupuy of Playville in Covington, La., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 survey that their best selling flying toy is Stomp Rocket. They sell between 12 and 18 each month, depending on the weather.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29750 (added 7/26/2010)
For high flying fun. Super flight performance with 7” wingspan. Soft foam with weighted nose for long glides. Hand or rubber band launched.
— Kim Emigh, manager of e-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 survey that Hot Wingz are one of her top-2 best selling flying toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33141 (added 11/9/2011)
Everything kids need to fly like a pro, indoors or out. Our three only-from-Klutz, rubber band powered airplanes have been carefully engineered for coolness, from the extra-large Firebird (an impressive 19-inch wingspan), to the acrobatic Lightning Looper (it really loops), to the Shooting Star (which makes such tight turns kids can fly it in the living room). Simple directions explain how to assemble the planes from the included parts and, just as importantly, how to fly them for maximum performance. And by experimenting with the variations in the book, junior aviators will learn basic principles of aerodynamics and physics.
— Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 survey that Klutz flying books are her best selling flying toy.
— In a November 2013 survey, Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly that they sell several of these books each month.
— In a December 2013 survey three out of 10 retailers said that Klutz made their best-selling books.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33142 (added 11/9/2011)
Six jet planes that look terrific and fly like no other gliders.
— “Whitewings from A G Industries is a classic flyer for ages 7 and up. I think it’s because it’s more realistic looking than other products and kids get to build it themselves,” Jordan Walden, manager of Finnegan's Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore., told TDmonthly.
— Syd Clarke, owner of Ali-Cat in Carrboro, N.C., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 survey that they sell about a dozen of these each month, as long as the weather's nice.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8892 (added 8/4/2006)
BeamOs are 30” in diameter, 1½” thick with a 15” center opening and weigh 13 oz. They are made of a soft spandex fabric that covers a foam and fiberglass hoop. The washable sleeve may be hosed off when dirty and should be cleaned after pool or salt water use.
— In a November 2011 survey Mike McCollum, owner of Learning Express in Hoover, Ala., told TDmonthly that he sells 6 BeamOs each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33143 (added 11/9/2011)
These helium-filled shark balloons are remote controlled to "swim" through the air. The infrared remote functions include climb, descend, and tail fin control. Up to a 40 ft range. 57 inches long, 36 inches high.
— As of 10/14/2011 this product had 2.8 out of 5 stars from 19 reviews on ToysRUs.com. Pros: Visually striking. Cons: Difficult to assemble; flimsy; does not stay inflated very long.
— Mike McCollum, owner of Learning Express in Hoover, Ala., told TDmonthly in November 2011 that Air Swimmers are becoming one of his best selling flying toys. He said that since September 2011, he has sold 16 of the sharks and 7 of the clown fish.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33041 (added 10/14/2011)
Launch like a Copter - Fly like a Plane. This uniquely styled cutting edge airplane shoots up like a helicopter with a simple pull of the launcherﾒs rip cord. One quick pull of the cord and watch this lightweight bird-like plane fly straight up reaching peaks of 25 feet. Featuring a unique centrally mounted rotor then watch as it re-directs and glides forward for another 30 feet. Two high flying experiences in one utterly original airplane. No batteries required.
— In a November 2011 survey Chris Lowe, owner of Beanhead Toys in Sandy Springs, Ga., told TDmonthly that she sells 10 of this item each month. “It's simple. Kids enjoy it, and parents buy it for birthday presents," she said.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33144 (added 11/9/2011)
Made of genuine balsa wood. Rubber band powered. Easy to fly.
— Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 that Balsa airplanes are among her best selling flying toys.
— Geoff Pendexter, owner of Whirlygigs in Brentwood, N.H., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that they sell about 15 of these planes each month, making them a best selling aircraft toy in the store.
— Gregory Faith, owner of Hobby Town USA in Nashua, N.H., told TDmonthly in a February 2013 survey that these gliders were their best selling wooden toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33145 (added 11/9/2011)
Johnny is an airplane with friction-powered, rotating propellers, and a cargo hold with 3 secret compartments.
— Gladys Griffin, owner of Main Street Toy Shop in Columbus, Ga., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 survey that the Johnny Jungle Plane is her best selling aircraft/flying toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33146 (added 11/9/2011)
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Writer's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author
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