A few years ago the Volta Racer — a solar-powered electric toy car — helped educate kids about the virtues of harnessing the sun's energy. The Volta Flyer does the same thing, except that it's able to take to the skies after just 90 seconds of soaking up the sun's rays.
Arriving as an easy-to-build kit (even kids can put it together) the Volta Flyer includes a breakaway wing design that helps minimise damage in the event of a crash or a collision, but also a spare set of wings because the inevitable will undoubtedly happen.
You might worry that on a sunny day a solar powered toy plane would simply keep flying until dusk, and if on a straight course you'd never see it again. But that's not quite how the Volta Flyer works. It only charges when the propeller's turned off, so after 90 seconds in the sun you can turn it on and expect to get about 10 to 15 seconds of flight time before the onboard super capacitors are drained.
To help bring the Volta Flyer to consumers, ToyLabs has launched a $US39,000 Kickstarter campaign ahead of its March 2016 release. As with even the most successful of crowdfunding campaigns there's always the risk of delays, or the product simply not getting off the ground.
But the creators of the Volta Flyer have already successfully brought one product to market featuring the same solar technology, so there's probably not a lot of risk here. If you want to pre-order one, a donation of $US40 is all that's needed — well, $US40, and a sunny day for your maiden test flight. [Kickstarter - Volta Flyer]