The Tyco Jet Stream is a radio controlled airplane toy manufactured by Taiyo RC (Japan), and released into the US, UK, and other markets worldwide by Tyco RC in 1992, well before Air Hogs / Spinmaster made Toy RC aircraft a popular concept.
Features and Performance
Originally released by Taiyo RC in Japan in 1990, the Jet Stream is a simple foam airplane that uses twin motors for forward thrust and steering. Altitude is gained by increased throttle, and steering is controlled by reducing or increasing the speed of a single motor, causing the plane to turn in either direction (so-called ‘differential thrust steering’)
- Ready to Fly Electric Radio Controlled Airplane
- Twin Motors with Differential Thrust Steering
- Deluxe 2-Channel Transmitter with Digital Proportional Steering
- Takes Off From Ground
- Two Channels (Hobby Grade Removeable Crystal)
- Training VHS Tape Included
Hobby-Style Transmitter and Charger
8x AA batteries for the transmitter, highly unusual for Taiyo/Tyco controllers which typically used a single 9V battery. Likely this was due to the longer range, higher frequency transmitters which used replaceable 72.590 (Channel 40) and 72.790 (Channel 50) crystals.
Onboard the plane was a 6.0V battery made of 5xAA wrapped in a yellow shrink wrap, with a hobby-grade connector (pictured).
To charge that battery, a large and heavy field charger was included that required 8 x D cell batteries. The cost of fitting out the field charger with 8 rechargeable Nicd D-cell batteries would have been considerable, and substituting for non-rechargeable would have been even more expensive with the planes tiny 2-3 minute flight time, and limited number of charges per full charge pack.
Being released in 1990-1992 this is before we had the ultimate combination of lithium batteries and brushless motors that together provide near limitless speed and torque for both RC aircraft and RC vehicles. And so to create an RC aircraft at a low cost with brushed motors and heavy nickel-cadmium batteries would inevitably lead to severe limitations. In the case of the Jet Stream it’s a 2-3 minute flight time. Not long, but certainly enough to make you want to charge it up and go back for more!
Identified on the front of the box as Patent 5,087,000 “Toy Airplane” which I’ve looked up on the U.S. Patents website. Originally registered by Taiyo Kogyo Co Ltd (Japan), the patent expired in 2011.
One of the unique aspects to Taiyo R/C sourced models was that the Japanese company provided spare parts for their R/C toys, the same as any hobby grade model company would. Listed on eBay currently we can see replacement wings, fuselage, and landing gears. Given the initial investment, cost to run, and high likelihood of breakage during a crash landing, it’s not surprising they saw fit to stock these at the time.
Availability and Collectability
There are a handful of parts and spares from the Jet Stream available on eBay.com currently, however looking at the history there’s only been one sold in the last 12 months, making these quite rare.
As one of the first toy R/C aircraft ever introduced, years before the concept was popularized by leading brand Air Hogs in 1996, the Tyco Jet Stream was a pioneer and is no doubt of keen interest to toy collectors and toy historians across the world.