Poking around YouTube one day, I accidentally stumbled on this amazing 1959 toy. The 1950s represented a time in American consciousness when jet aviation and the space race were mingled into an overall sense that the future was happening right then. It was the age of NORAD and the Century Series of interceptors, keeping watch for Soviet Bear bombers carrying nuclear loads over the pole.
During this period the early scale model industry gave children a way to imagine themselves in stratosphere, in the thick of the action, swooshing their (recently invented) injection molded airplane kits around their bedrooms.
But of course, home computers and video game consoles would not exist for another 20 years, so these kids were limited to imagining what it was like to fly these planes.
It is impressive to say the least. In a world before cheap consumer electronics, all of the effects were achieved with simple circuits and clever mechanical engineering. Here is a clear view of the console:
And what flight sim would be complete without a good set of instructions:
Here is a modern review of the toy, showing it in action. It is quite amazing how much careful thought and invention went into it. Not surprising, considering Ideal was the toy company that invented the Teddy bear and the Magic 8 Ball:
Must have made for an awesome Christmas morning unboxing this thing – looking at that old timey commercial makes me want one even now. Could this be the first flight sim entertainment product?