This past Christmas, I ordered up a cheap remote control quadcopter ($54) at the last minute to put under the tree. My thought was that it would be for my kids to share, but I've wound up being the primary pilot. Dunno how that happened!
This thing isn't very impressive as these sorts of contraptions go, but it's pretty amazing compared to what you could buy in years past. It's almost always windy where I live, but on a calm day, this little flyer can reach considerable altitudes for something so inexpensive. There's even a built-in camera for capturing video, although the quality isn't awesome.
Last night during a quick flight, the quadcopter made it up pretty high in calm skies before getting caught in a current. Here's a bit of video of the struggle to get it to return to base. Didn't work out, and we had a little crash in the woods behind the neighbors' house.
Still, for the most part, flying this thing is dead simple once you understand a few basics and get a little practice. In terms of value for money, it's a great diversion. The flight time with the stock battery is about seven minutes, but I bought a second battery for six bucks to double that.
I expect some of you have played around with these things, perhaps with nicer ones than my entry-level model. Any stories to share?