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Flying Turtles: The Best Toys Ever?
The day I found Flying Turtles was a day that changed my life forever. That might seem like an extremely dramatic statement to make about a mere toy, but once you try one, you'll understand exactly what I mean.
It was the early 1980s and my brother and I were little kids. One day we went to an indoor "kids' zone" type place where they had smooth concrete floors as far as the eye could see, little stop lights, race tracks, and Flying Turtles. It was literally as if the heavens had opened and showed us the best toy ever. I'm pretty sure angels were singing.
Now I'm 34 and my brother's 32. We still have our original Flying Turtles (they only came in brown back then), and not too amazingly, we still play bumper cars with them (more like smash cars), tool around the garage, down the driveway, into the road, and back around again.
You might be thinking "Wow; why on Earth would an adult be acting like a fool on a kids' toy?" The simple answer is that it's not a kids' toy, but the best toy ever. Everyone loves Flying Turtles, young and old alike.
They are the world of toys' best kept secret. Every kid should have one of these. Every adult should buy their kids one of these so they can ride them themselves.
What They Are
Flying Turtles are a quality, American-made "sit-skate" ride-on toy that can glide and zip on a hard, smooth indoor or outdoor surface by swinging the handlebars from side to side. They have a polyethylene seat, powder-coated steel handlebars, and super fast wheels with sealed bearings.
When seated, you are two inches off the ground. It's such a smooth, easy ride, and you're so close to the ground, it feels like you're flying!
Flying Turtles work on tile, linoleum, wood, concrete, and other mostly smooth indoor floors; asphalt, sidewalks, cement, roadways, and other mostly smooth outdoor surfaces. Wheels will not leave scuffs on indoor surfaces and never wear down.
Speaking from experience, my Original Flying Turtle has lasted through 29 years of hard use and still works like new. By hard use I mean we would (and still do on occasion) go at full speed and bang into each other repeatedly, play chicken, do Turtle jousting, etc. Our Flying Turtles still work just as well as when we got them nearly three decades ago!
We never maintained them, never cleaned them, never oiled the wheels, and pretty much ignored the poor things. They've been through rain, sand, dirt, oil, and you name it. They're the ideal toy in that you can use them hard (as kids do) and they're so well made they're completely unaffected by the roughest use. I've never found another toy that stood up to this type of abuse for going on 30 years. They're insanely cool.
Video: Old And Young Love Flying Turtles
Awards For The Flying Turtle
- Dr. Toy Gold Seal Best Toy Award
- Dr. Toy Best Classic Toy of 2005
- Top 10 Toy by Parents Magazine
- Parents' Choice award winner
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio gave the Flying Turtle the Gold Award (its highest award)
- National Parenting Publications: Gold Winner
- Dallas/Fort Worth Child magazine: Publisher's Choice Award
Who Can Ride Them
- Kids, teens, adults, and grandparents all love Flying Turtles. I've never met anyone who didn't instantly get hooked and turn into a kid again. It's so fun that dignity, if there was any, becomes absolutely 100% meaningless.
- Recommended for kids aged 4-12. However, tons of teenagers and adults use them as well. There's really no "age limit" whatsoever. Everybody can ride a Flying Turtle, and I've never met anyone who didn't fall in love with the experience. After all, they're the best toys ever.
- Recommended for weights of 150 pounds or less. However, I've had plenty of heftier friends ride my 1982 model, and nothing bad has ever happened. I swear these things are made of steel (oh, wait, they are!) I see this as more of a liability thing on the part of the manufacturing company. Use your own judgment, but in 29 years I've never even heard of any issues.
Video: Kids Love Flying Turtles
How They Work
- Sit on the middle of the seat
- Place feet on the handlebars
- Grip the handlebars
- Swing the handlebars from side to side
"The front wheels of the machine are connected to the handlebars by a lever, in such a way that they are located behind the axis of rotation of the steering column. This means that a torque applied to the handlebars will cause a lateral friction force by the wheels on the ground, a force parallel to the axle and perpendicular to the direction the wheels are rolling. If a component of this force points to the back of the car, the reaction force of the ground on the car (by Newton's "action/reaction" law) points partly forward and accelerates the car. This is the force that drives the car forward and it ultimately comes from the force you exert on the handlebars (magnified by the lever advantage, which is 2 or 3 for the Flying Turtle®.)" -- Mason Corporation