Air Hogs Dominator R/C Airplane, retail $39.95 (
Manufactured by Spinmaster (
Last updated 07-16-10

This isn't a flashlight, household lamp, Christmas light set, or other thing that glows,but what the hey. I have only evaluated remote controlled (RC) toys several times before, so please bear with me here.

I love things that fly; that's why I took the bate (I've seen the Air Hogs brand advertised on United States TV over the last year or maybe a little more {as of early-October 2008}) and also why I added a seperate section titled "PRODUCTS DESIGNED TO FLY" on my website.

This is a fairly small, lightweight, easy-to-fly remote controlled airplane. Although significantly larger than the palm of your hand, it is very light in weight and you should have no trouble whatsoever in holding it in the palm of your hand. It is designed exclusively to be flown outdoors.

It uses two propellers, not just one. And it is steered by varying the power to each prop instead of being steered by a horizontal stabiliser (an adjustable flap on the tail) like all single-engine airplanes have.

(Update 01-16-09): The following is from an email sent by a pilot; this person knows more about aircraft than I do.

I read a few of your RC aircraft reviews, and you have a pretty serious misconception stated at least twice in discussions of models with 2 motors: In full-sized aircraft or in RC, the horizontal stabilizer is NOT primarily involved in turning the aircraft. It does have a secondary role in turning, which I'll return to later. I have dabbled in RC aircraft a couple of times in my life (I'm essentially your age) and I also have a private pilot's license for full-sized aircraft, although I have not exercised that privilege since moving out of Colorado.

The first part of your misconception seems to be that the horizontal stabilizer controls horizontal movement. Not so.

There are three rotational movements: yaw, pitch and roll. Yaw is the horizontal displacement of the nose and tail about the vertical axis. Pitch is vertical displacement about a horizontal axis roughly aligned with the wing, and roll is vertical displacement of the wing tips about a horizontal axis roughly aligned with the propeller shaft.

The fixed horizontal stabilizers (the little wings usually at the back of the aircraft that stick out horizontally) and movable elevator attached to them (or the "stabilator" or "all-flying stabilizer" in the case of a single piece which moves in its entirety) control PITCH. Although this points the nose up or down, and so generally increases or decreases lift, it really controls airspeed: nose-up leads to slower airspeed and nose-down leads to higher airspeed. The aircraft's "state of trim," which depends more or less on the position of the elevator or stabilator, tends to maintain a constant airspeed, although the varying airflow with changing engine power off the propeller does affect trim speed somewhat. POWER translates into climb or descent: at a constant airspeed, more power means climb and less power means decent, and at a constant power more speed means descent and less speed means climb (until you reach the "region of reverse command," when induced drag increases so much that lower speed means MORE power is needed to maintain level flight, or in the most extreme case: when the wing stalls and a small decrease in speed leads to a loss of lift and RAPID descent). This is a common-sense situation: it takes more power to go uphill at a constant speed than downhill, whether in an airplane, car, bicycle or scooter. The lack of a solid hill doesn't really matter.

So, you probably really meant that the VERTICAL stabilizer (the fin sticking up at the back of the fuselage), which affects yaw, controls turning. This is also wrong, although not completely in the case of some RC aircraft. However, unlike in a surface vehicle, YAW, although it does slew the nose sideways, does not turn the aircraft in the sense of causing it to travel in a circular horizontal course. That is actually the result of ROLL, or banking. Rolling into a modest bank angle causes the lift vector of the wing to point sideways as well as up. The sideways force becomes a centripetal force that moves the aircraft in a horizontal circle. The only centripetal force provided by yaw directly is the vector of the engine's thrust resulting from the yaw angle, and except for military jets, the engine's thrust is WAY less than the force of the wing's lift, and is not enough to turn the airplane through a decent arc. (Other exceptions exist in 3D aerobatics, but I'm ignoring that.)

In fact, in a really well-designed airplane, the rudder is hardly needed to turn, and in RC aircraft, low performance planes with 2 channel control have rudder and elevator, but high performance 2 channel planes have aileron and elevator control. (Assumes either glider or constant-power engine/motor. Read as "3-channel" if you want a throttle control, too.) Low-performance models use yaw-roll coupling to let the rudder CAUSE the roll needed to turn the plane, usually via excess dihedral in the wing, but ideally, roll is controlled directly by ailerons. The problem is that ailerons cause roll by increasing lift on one wing, which raises that wing but also induces drag (lift is not free of cost) and slows it down. The wing going up needs to go faster, not slower, to go around the outside of the turn, so this causes "adverse yaw:" the plane tends to turn the opposite of the intended direction, at least while the roll is occurring (the effect becomes less, but not zero, while maintaining a constant bank angle). The rudder is primarily needed to provide a yaw force to offset this adverse yaw and lead to a "coordinated turn" in which there are no net yaw forces, also described as lack of slip or skid. (Deliberate slip is a another use of the rudder to increase drag on the aircraft, and skid can cause the fun/dangerous spin or snap-roll when combined with stall. Brief rolling motions with proper rudder use leads to a "Dutch roll" in which the heading of the airplane doesn't change while the wings rock back and forth. Look them all up if desired!) Older airplanes had lots of adverse yaw, and needed active footwork on the rudder control pedals to make a nice turn or good Dutch rolls, but more recent and more clever designs can make almost-coordinated turns with your feet off the rudder pedals, at least at average airspeed.

There IS an important roll of the horizontal stabilizer in turning: If you want to turn and simultaneously maintain constant altitude, you need to pull back on the stick (pitch the nose up) to increase lift, since as you roll the lift vector would otherwise be the same force. With part of the force directed horizontally, the aircraft would begin to descend unless lift increased, so total lift must increase by either more power (and more airspeed) or more pitch (and slightly reduced airspeed). The latter is usually chosen, so to turn an airplane properly, you use aileron to roll and simulanteously rudder to control adverse yaw, then as the bank angle increases, back stick to increase lift and maintain constant altitude. It's all much easier when you are in the aircraft and can FEEL the results vs. an RC model or flight simulator program, except the consequences of mistakes are worse.


This toy is remarkably easy to use for an R/C's how to make it fly:

As with any rechargeable product, charge it first (see directly below), and then you can pretend to fly a dragonfly (well, that's what the kitty cats would think it is if it were designed to be flown in a smallish room indoors. Otherwise fly it outdoors in a fairly large space relatively free of obstructions like trees or utility poles - a public park is a good place to start here.

Pull up on the antenna on the remote control to extend it.

1: Be certain the battery in the airplane is fully charged first.

2: On the underside of the airplane's body near the front, there's a tiny on/off switch.
    Use a fingernail to slide this switch to the "on" position.

3: Hold the airplane so that the nose points straight ahead; you should hold it with most of your fingers gently grasping the "rib" on the underside (bottom) of the Dominator's fuselage (body).

4: On the remote control, slide the switch to the left of the stick toward the front of the remote (toward the antenna); a green LED will come on. Extend the antenna if you have not already done so.

5: Direct the antenna on the remote control as vertically as you can. Gently throw the airplane forward as soon as you can after the motors fire up - if you followed these instructions even slightly, your Dominator should now be flying.

Congratulations, you are now a pilot!!!

For additional instructions & tips on how to fly, please read the instructional material that comes with the product.

It's actually quite simple...there is one joystick on the remote control; it is spring loaded to automatically return to center. Pushing it forward gives you more "hammer" (increases propeller speed), pulling it back toward you gives less propeller speed, pushing it left makes the airplane turn left, and pushing it right makes the airplane guessed it...right.

Turn the Dominator and remote control off when finished using them.
Same switches as before, but slide them in the opposite direction this time.

The battery in the Dominator itself is rechargeable and is not designed to be changed; however the batteries in the remote will need to be changed from time to time.

To do this, unscrew & remove the phillips screw from the battery door on the underside of the unit, using a phillips screwdriver that you furnish yourself. Set the screw aside if it comes out; otherwise just leave it in the hole.

Remove the battery door, very gently place it on the ground, and kick it into the garden so the hungry, hungry praying mantids will think it's something yummy to eat and strike at it...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead.

Remove the six used AA cells from the compartment, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.

Insert six new AA cells into the compartment, orienting each cell so its flat-end (-) negative faces a spring for it in each chamber.

Finally, place the battery door back on, and screw the screw back in.
Aren't you glad you didn't kick that battery door into the garden with all those hungry, hungry praying mantids now?

Here is what a praying mantis looks like.
I found this guy on the morning of 09-08-06 clinging to the basket of my scooter.

To charge the battery in the Dominator, swing the door on the left side of the remote control up so it's open.
In the compartment you just exposed to atmosphere , you'll see a thin cord with a small plug on the end.

With the Dominator turned off, plug this into the small receptacle for it on the underside of the Dominator's body.

A red LED on the remote should now come on and start blinking. At this point, double-check to be absolutely, positively, 100% certain that the switches on the Dominator airplane and on the remote control are set to the "OFF" position (the remote's switch has "CHARGER ON" embossed where you would otherwise see "OFF") - the unit will not charge if either of these switches are in the "ON" position.

After a maximum of 4 minutes, the blinking red light will turn green and operate continuously. When this occurs, gently unplug the cord from the Dominator, stow the cord in the remote control's compartment, and swing the door back closed.

Fully charging the Dominator's battery should give you ~10-12 minutes of flying time.

According to the instructional materials furnished with the product, you should "double charge" it before you make your first flight after taking the Dominator out of the box and when making your first flight on any given day; charge it just once (on an "as needed" basis) at all other times.

The controller turns itself off after 15 minutes of disuse; move the joystick or press & release the "CHARGE" button to turn the R/C back on if this has occurred and you still want to fly.

This RC airplane is meant to be used as a toy in a dry area outdoors, not as a flashlight meant to be carried around, thrashed, trashed, and abused, so I won't try to drown it in the toliet tank, bash it against a steel rod or against the concrete floor of a patio, let my mother's dog's ghost take a leak on it, run over it with a 450lb Celebrity motorised wheelchair, stomp on it, use a medium ball peen hammer in order to bash it open to check it for candiosity, fire it from the cannoņata, drop it down the top of Mt. Erupto (I guess I've been watching the TV program "Viva Piņata" too much again (yes, I watched four episodes of this program just two days ago!!!) - candiosity is usually checked with a laser-type device on a platform with a large readout (located at Piņata Central aka Party Central), with a handheld wand that Langston Lickatoad uses, or with a pack-of-cards-sized device that Fergy Fudgehog uses; the cannoņata (also located at Piņata Central) is only used to shoot piņatas to piņata parties away from picturesque Piņata Island, and Mt. Erupto is an active volcano on Piņata Island), send it to the Daystrom Institute for additional analysis, or perform other indecencies on it that a flashlight might have to have performed on it. So this section of the web page will be ***SIGNIFICANTLY*** more bare than this section of the web page on a page about a flashlight.

The maximum range of the remote control to the Dominator R/C Airplane is 300 feet (91 meters).
The remote control uses radio waves; not infrared radiation like R/C aircraft designed specifically to be flown indoors.

The body of the Dominator is made of a very lightweight foam (known by most people as StyrofoamŪ), so it can withstand crashes that a heavier aircraft might be damaged or even destroyed in.

This product is recommended for children of 8 years of age or older; younger children can injure themselves on moving parts or by swallowing something they should not (like an AA cell).

The airplane's motors will continue to operate for ~1 second after contact is lost with the remote control - but they *WILL* stop after this time has elapsed. So your Dominator will not continue with powered flight for too long after it has gone beyond sensor the range of its remote.

The transmitter in this particular model operates at a frequency of 26.9950MHz.
I believe that there is at least one, possibly two additional frequencies available, so that more than one Dominator can be flown in the same airspace simultaneously.

If the wings on the Dominator become damaged (such as if you graze a tree or something), repairs may rather easily be performed with nothing more than a bit of transparent household tape.

Photograph of its remote control.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the red LED in the remote control.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the yellow-green LED in the remote control.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of the red joystick for the R/C of this product when irradiated with the Yellow DPSS Laser Module.

USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

Aerial view of Riverview Park, where I'll make all flights of this airplane.

And here are two photographs of the park.
The first one is the paved area I can launch from (the Dominator does not have wheels; it is hand-launched).
The second shows the wide open, treeless space I can fly in after launch.

WMP movie (.avi extension) showing the Dominator flying in a park (see directly above).
This clip is approximately 2.824 megabytes (2,873,104 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than fourteen minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

In this clip, you can hear me say "I mean...flight number one" in the same manner as the speech synthesizer in the coin-op arcade video game ''Looping'', followed by the jet flying offscreen.

I cannot provide this clip in other formats, so please do not ask.

Screen dump (yes, that's really what it's called!) from the above video clip.

WMP movie (.avi extension) showing the Dominator flying in a baseball field in Federal Way WA. USA.
This flight was made late on the morning of 06-13-09.

This clip is approximately 3.0123 megabytes (3,033,296 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than fifteen minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

I cannot provide this video in other formats, so please do not ask.

In this clip, you can hear me say "Flight number eleven", in the same manner as the speech synthesizer in the coin-op arcade video game ''Looping'', followed by the airplane buzzing around for awhile.

The airplane flies out of the frame fairly quickly; however, you can judge how long it was in the air by the duration of this video (~18 seconds).

This is a screen dump of the video showing the airplane in flight.

This is another screen dump of the same video.

And this is the baseball field I made the above flight in.

This is the best of the flights I made video of; after I had put the camera away, I had a ***TRULY FANTASTIC*** flight - the Dominator flew high, and I even had some problems getting it lower - not the kind of "problem" you usually associate with an R/C aircraft.

Video on YourTube showing the Dominator being hand-launched and buzzing around a baseball field in Federal Way WA. USA.
This flight was made late on the morning of 06-23-09.

This clip is approximately 7.65430 megabytes (7,738,266 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than thirty eight minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

In this clip, you can hear me say "Entering sector one point five" in the same manner as the speech synthesizer in the coin-op arcade video game ''Star Trek'' {it's supposed to be Mr. Spock saying this}, then say "I mean...flight number fifteen", in the same manner as the speech synthesizer in the coin-op arcade video game ''Looping'', followed by the Dominator being hand-launched and buzzing around a baseball field.

I cannot provide this clip in other formats, so please do not ask.

And this is how the last flight ended - but never fear, because I was able to rather easily retrieve it with the antenna on the remote control.

Test unit was ordered from Spinmaster on 10-05-08, and was received on the evening of 11-03-08.

Product was made in China.
A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.

UPDATE: 07-04-09
Made some flights on 07-01-09 and 07-02-09; the Dominator actually flies very well if it is launched with sufficient forward velocity (e.g. you throw it hard) and if it isn't too windy in the flying area.

It actually flies quite well if launched with sufficient forward velocity
Uses batteries that are common and relatively inexpen$ive

No landing gear for takeoffs or landings on hard surfaces - you have to throw it

    MANUFACTURER: Spinmaster
    PRODUCT TYPE: R/C airplane
    No. OF LAMPS: 0
    SWITCH TYPE: Slide on/off on underside of product
    CASE MATERIAL: Styrofoam & plastic
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: 6xAA cells (remote), unknown voltage NiMH rechargeable (airplane itself)
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER- AND PEE-RESISTANT: Very light splatter-resistance at maximum
    SUBMERSIBLE: For Christ sakes NOOOOO!!!!!
    ACCESSORIES: Small set of decals
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Because this product is not intended to emit light, the standard "star" rating will not be used.

Air Hogs Dominator R/C Airplane *

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