There is an app for most things, but flying a helicopter has been (perhaps understandably) absent from the list. Sure, you can pilot a virtual helicopter or play a game involving a helicopter on-screen, but how about flying an actual helicopter in the actual sky using an actual iPhone?

Griffin Technology Inc, best known for a whole load of innovative hardware accessories for the original iPod, has today been demonstrating how to fly a real helicopter using an iPhone, or an iPad for that matter. OK, so it's a small helicopter, a remote controlled one in fact, but it's real and it does fly and you do control it using an iPhone app.

Helo TC is a functional touch controlled helicopter operated via an iPhone or iPad, effectively turning your iOS device into an indoor helicopter remote control unit. The helicopter itself charges from any USB power source, including your computer, and then you just slide your iPhone into the flight deck module and away you go: up, up and away.

The flight deck handles the infrared signal transmission, while the iPhone app handles the multi-touch display to control the Helo TC's throttle and flight control joystick. You can, if you are feeling brave and don't mind crashing a lot, even go into 'Tilt-to-Fly' mode and use the iOS accelerometers to handle flight: tilting forwards, backwards and side-to-side in an attempt to control flight.

With an average flight time of around eight minutes per charge, the lightweight metal and polycarbonate boded helicopter has a twin-rotor design which makes it relatively easy and stable to fly. Just in case you crash a bit too often, it comes complete with a replaceable main and tail rotor system. Oh, and some super-bright LEDs to illuminate the way if you fancy some night flying. The Helo TC app even allows for the storing of 'flight plans' to automate the flying process.

Expect to pay around UK £34.99 when the Helo TC becomes available 'sometime before Christmas' with the iPhone app being free of charge.

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

happygeek 2,411

Can I just say, in a very loud voice, IWOOT! :)


Nice app. but want to fly real helicopter. ;)

happygeek 2,411

It is real, just very small :)

Fortinbra 37

If we could have fine tuned control over the internal wifi antenna, we could build an app to control any radio controlled item. In theory that is, I don't understand the full mechanics of the radios.

skilly 23

it is cool as far as an app for the iphone, but i know we'd all probably rather have an ipad drone


Cool app!

OblibSystems 12

Hey guys.

I was at loughborough university (england) looking round their computer science course. They had a few displays on one of which was a self built helicopter which they had programmed to be controlled by an iphone. It was really cool. It used a camera mounted in the helicopter which was sent to the iphone in order for the user to control the movement. The coolest thing ive seen in ages. just felt like sharing :p

WaltP 2,905

What's the difference between an Airplane and a Helicopter?
An airplane is designed to supply thrust and works with the air using the science of aerodynamics to create lift.
A helicopter simply beats the air into submission.

Fortinbra 37

So Helicopters are the Chuck Norris' of aviation?


That helicopter looks rad. I'm a huge fan of model airplanes.

harinath_2007 56

Very nice article.(looks like marketing to me)

It will be useful if the OP could have post about "How it is made" or any "technical implementation details or softwares used etc" so that we can learn few technical stuff(since this website is about learning tech implementations) and the readers will get to know "HOW TO MAKE THINGS" instead of "BUYING THINGS"