Milan Reindl

The history of Technic, part 2 of 3: Aircrafts

June 03
Did you read our first “Technic History of” post about cranes? This time we FLY back in time!

In this second post in our “Technic History of” series, we take a look at planes and helicopters. By now you have probably already seen the Cargo Plane (42025) that came out in January. It’s the largest aircraft we have designed in Technic so far. That doesn’t mean we don’t love the aircrafts that came before the Cargo Plane. We have quite a few in the archives that we’re really proud of. Maybe you (or your parents) remember some of them?

The 70s
852 – Helicopter 
Year: 1977 

Claim to fame: This was our first Technic helicopter, built with a combination of Technic elements and system bricks. The building instructions came with a 1:1 size grid blueprint of the main model. For a model this size, however, it’s interesting that the instructions were only broken down into 13 steps! And the Technic catalogue that came in the box was titled “Precision construction for young men of 9 and over”. It’s safe to say we’ve made a few changes along the way! Re-released in 1978 as 954 Sky Copter.
Functions: Rotating propeller blades which could be motorized with a separate motor set.

The 80’s
The 80’s were really cool. So cool we want to highlight both aircrafts that were released:

Model: 8640 – Polar Copter
Year: 1986

Claim to fame: So far the only arctic aircraft we have created. And it came with a Technic figure pilot with a helmet (safety first!) and a set of skis and poles. Most of the elements were white to fit the arctic theme. White beams are a rare sight in Technic models.

Functions: Three-blade rotor and tail rotors.

Model: 8855 – Prop Plane
Year: 1988

Claim to fame: The first Technic airplane. And not just any little old yellow aeroplane -- it’s huge! 72 studs wide. It was a popular set when it came out and continues to excite avid collectors.

Functions:Piston engine, cockpit control stick for ailerons and elevators.

The 90’s
Technic really took to the skies – and even space – in the 90’s. We had helicopters in all shapes and sizes, planes with 2-bladed propellers, and new elements and functions like pneumatic tubes and retractable landing gears. And we feel it’s only right to highlight two models from this period:

Model: 8856 – Whirlwind Rescue

Claim to fame: Our first four-bladed helicopter and the first Technic helicopter with a cyclic system controlled from the cockpit.

Functions: Rotating main and tail rotors, new flex system parts tilt the main rotor. Retractable tricycle landing gear, rescue winch.

Model: 8480 – Space Shuttle
Year: 1996

Claim to fame: It’s the only “real life” space model we have designed. Sure, we have had Star Wars Technic, and LEGO has had lots of space related themes, but this is by far our most advanced space set.

Functions: Solar panels and bay doors open and close, robot arm and satellite can move, landing gear and flaps on the shuttle, and best of all, fiber optic system lights up the engines.

Link to fan created stuff:

The 00’s
This decade was very close to becoming a no fly zone for Technic. We only released a helicopter in 2002 (8429), and a fairly big plane in 2004. The following years, the number of elements in our assortment was cut dramatically. We turned our focus towards big vehicles. It would be another 8 years before we sent the next the next plane down the Technic airport runway.

Model: 8434 – Aircraft
Year: 2004

Claim to fame: Only plane released in the 00’s. Unique technical elements allow you to control undercarriage and engine functions from the top of the model – and the cool colors will make your aircraft look awesome!

Functions: Undercarriage and engine functions, controlled from the top of the model.

The 10’s
We kicked off this decade with a couple of helicopters, and man, was it good to be back in the air. Four helicopters, a jet plane, and a cargo plane later, we rule the sky! Aside from the Cargo Plane (which almost deserves a category of its own), we picked this:

Model: 42020 – Twin-Rotor Helicopter
Year: 2014

Claim to fame: With a relatively modest amount of elements (145), it’s a perfect experience for a first-time Technic builder, and even if you’re a master builder, you still get a very cool, collectible model with all the functions you would expect from a twin-rotor.

Functions: Spinning rotors, opening cargo doors, rescue features, turning front wheel – and it rebuilds into a single-rotor helicopter.

Join us next time, when we warm up to the release of the VOLVO Wheel Loader L350F with our history of wheel loaders!