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Dec 13, 2012, 10:42 AM
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Convenience store choppers!

I don't know how widespread the Circle K chain of convenience stores is across the US, but I know they're all over the place out my way.

Tucson sometimes has two at the same intersection, at least they did the last time I was there. Today, they probably have three per corner.

They are now selling a rather interesting impulse buy at the registers.

Syma 3.5-channel IR controlled coaxial helicopters.

Thirty bucks.

Of course, they have to go through such hype as "originally $99.99" which is actually printed on the box and "professional quality" on the signs.

I asked my buddy behind the counter how they were selling. As of this morning, they were on their fourth case of fifteen units.

I'm somewhat glad to hear that since a decent-flying little helicopter such as this one might well spark an interest in more advanced models. It's a far better machine than the $20 random example I reviewed, a review which asked whether or not a toy helicopter was a good introduction.

In the case of my dearly departed Picoo-Z clone, no. In the case of these little Syma specials, yes. They're even gyro stabilized. I wouldn't hand one of these to a small child, but an older child will probably forego the Xbox 360 for quite a while in order to fly his or her Syma.

However, I can't help but wonder how many parts requests are going to come into the local hobby shops.

It looks as if some Nine Eagles Draco or Solo Pro parts will fit if necessary, but that's a maybe. Helizone RC, for whom I just reviewed their V911-based Lightning Bird probably has parts; it looks to be the same as their Firebird.

Anyway, it would be interesting to revisit one of the sixty lucky owners at some future point to see how many have graduated to an SAB Goblin, a T-Rex 600 or some similar machine.

Gotta start somewhere!
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