As I stumbled through my attic to retrieve Christmas decorations, I came across an unmarked box that seemed out of place. I opened it up to find a stash of old RC gear that I had packed away years ago. There were a few odds and ends, but my attention was immediately drawn to a hovercraft that was hiding at the bottom of the box. Score!
This hovercraft is at least 10 years old (an eternity for electro-widgets). I think I paid $20 for it at a surplus electronics store. As RC models go, this one is definitely toy-grade. But that doesn't mean that it can't be fun. I've owned tons of really cool toy-grade RC gadgets. Their only real drawback is that you usually can't buy spare parts or upgrades like you can with hobby-grade equipment. I brought the hovercraft down the attic ladder along with the next load of ornaments and decided to get reacquainted with this long-forgotten toy.
Aside from being thoroughly dusty, the hovercraft appeared to be in good shape. My biggest concern was the rubber skirt that forms the perimeter of the vehicle. Any punctures or dry rot on that vital part would have been an immediate deal-breaker. I was pleased to find no discernable damage whatsoever. Press on!
The hovercraft's proprietary transmitter was also stashed in the box. Thankfully, I had removed the 9-volt battery from this unit before packing it away. So I didn't have any leaky alkaline battery issues to deal with…another potential deal-breaker.
I gave the hovercraft and radio a quick wipe down to remove most of the grime. It appeared that all of the necessary parts were accounted for and there was no obvious damage to be found anywhere. It looked like I would only have to tackle two minor issues. First, one of the two control sticks on the transmitter didn't move freely. Secondly, the onboard battery had problems that would need to be addressed.