Top 10 Products of 2009

Going through some old papers, I found our list of best sellers from 2009. Now, it wasn't formulated on the 31st of December, but it's the best picture of what that year was like, and what products did well that year. ANd while it's not really relevant data for today, I found it to be an interesting time capsule and look into the world before it was dominated by electric R/C trucks and quadcopters.

As always, we devise this list by profit dollars, so it does skew the list toward more expensive items - this way, the list isn't all CA glue, glow plugs, and shock fluid. However, that doesn't mean we take liberties with the placement of the products on the list; the words are opinion, but the placing is stone-cold fact. So let's get to our Top 10 Products of 2009 countdown.

10. E-Flite Blade mSR BNF

Position in 2013: N/A

E-Flite's Blade mSR was a pretty big deal back in 2009. It was one of the first mainstream fixed-pitch micro helicopters on the market, and it flew pretty well. It hasn't held up over the years, as technology continues to improve at an incredibly fast pace, but in its heyday, the mSR was a great flying and well-selling little heli.

The version that makes this list is the Bind-N-Fly version, which also goes to show that Spektrum's popularity was high even back five years ago. And as more and more people were beginning to learn how to fly, they were progressing up to the intermediate difficulty of the mSR. So it makes sense then, that the E-Flite Blade mSR would land in the top ten.


9. Venom AC/DC Pro Charger

Position in 2013: N/A

In 2012 and 2013, the Hitec X1 Charger was the only charger to make our list. Way back in 2009, though, and it was the Venom Pro Charger that reigned supreme. Given that nitro-powered vehicles and aircraft were still popular back then, it's not really surprising that the Venom charger doesn't place as high as the Hitec X1s do now, but let me assure you: the Venom Pro Charger was the charger that got everything started. It was the first charger that was anywhere near as close to as mainstream as the Hitec X1 is today. Didn't matter what hobby shop you went to; the majority carried the Venom Pro.

At the time, the charger went for $139.99 - twice the price of the modern Hitec X1. But that was a steal back in the early days of LiPo batteries. And the features on the Pro Charger, while standard now, were amazing to us at the time. All in all, the Venom Pro Charger deserves a spot on this list, and in my opinion, should have been higher than ninth.


8. Venom 6-Cell 3000mAh NiMH Battery w/ Traxxas Connector

Position in 2013: N/A

Wanna know what trucks were popular back in the day? Look at what batteries were popular. And that means that we sold lots of Traxxas trucks back in 2009, because the Venom 3000mAh 6-Cell with a Traxxas connector is on the list. I remember boxes and boxes of these coming in during Christmas - similar to how we treat our most popular LiPo batteries today. But this was the cat's meow in 2009 - double the capacity of the "standard" battery packs, and pre-wired with a Traxxas connector (which would have been fairly new at the time). Almost every truck went out with one of these.

The Venom 3000mAh 6-cell pack was the staple of our R/C car and truck department. Whether it was for an electric truck or someone wanted extra use out of their EZ-Start for their T-Maxx, this battery was perfect for the job. And that's why it makes the list at number eight.


7. E-Flight Blade CX2 RTF

Position in 2013: N/A

The CX2 holds a very special place in my heart, as it was the first R/C helicopter I ever flew. I missed out on the original CX, and thus my journey began on the CX2. And it's a testament to how damn good this helicopter is that it is still being sold today, outlasting the newer CX3 and being sold concurrently with the CX4. Still, it was old even in 2009. The CX3 was also out back then, but it failed to place on this list because, well, it wasn't a good helicopter. Horizon and E-Flite nailed it with the CX2.

I still don't think there's a helicopter out there that can stand up to the CX2 in that size and class. It's about as perfect as it could be. Sure, there are better ways to learn to fly now, what with the smaller (and thus less prone to damage) micro coaxial helicopters (like the mCX further up the list), but for what it is, the CX2 is the best contender in its class, still to this day. And that's why it makes it to seventh on this list.


6. Traxxas Stampede 2WD

Position in 2013: N/A

I said in 2012 that the Traxxas Stampede has been on this list for as long as I could remember. Well, here's proof. The Stampede wasn't our highest placing R/C car back in 2009, but it was still one of the best. We still sell it to this day - we've never stopped. In 2009, the Stampede was still sold without a battery and charger - it's that fact that dropped it to sixth. Some of that money went toward other SKUs, keeping the Stampede's high sales numbers from being enough to top the Slash.

That said, the Stampede is still the monster truck to end all monster trucks. It's sold better, over the years, than all other monster trucks we've sold combined. And it's largely unchanged since it's introduction some twenty years ago - the electronics have been updated, and the bodies have changed, but the bones remain the same. And that's because it was a great vehicle from the get-go. And it's hard to improve on something that good. The Stampede deserves to be on this list, just as it always has been.


5. E-Flight Blade 400 RTF

Position in 2013: N/A

Of all this products on this list, this one was the most surprising. As in, "What the ^%&%@ is that doing on the list?" I didn't remember selling very many of these at all. And in fact, we didn't. So it's a testament to the folks over at E-Flite and Horizon for making this helicopter a high-margin product. In truth, this was the première Ready-to-Fly helicopter on the market in its day. While Align was getting loads of attention paid to its T-Rex line, the Blade 400 was fast becoming the casual heli pilot's favorite bird.

It had a more-than reasonable price (a T-Rex 450 would have cost about half again as much to build), it included the new DX6i radio system, and it came complete with a charger and battery. If someone was looking for a turnkey, collective-pitch helicopter, the Blade 400 was the best choice. And that gets it to fifth on this list.


4. Traxxas Slash 2WD

Position in 2013: 6th

What is there to say about the Slash that I haven't already? As the first truck in Traxxas' stable to come with waterproof electronics, it make a huge impact on the market. And when did it release? Way, way back in 2008. It had already been out for around 6 months when 2009 rolled around. And by then, it was all Slash, all the time. And it had plenty to make it worthwhile: was the only truck in the low-end family (Stampede, Rustler, Bandit) to come with ball bearings, adjustable turnbuckles, hex hardware, and a high-torque steering servo.

The durability of the Slash, combined with its upgrades and hop-ups parts, made the Slash the best-selling R/C car for 2009 - a title it would continue to hold until 2012, when the Slash 4x4 took over. That crown has been in the Slash family since 2009 - when it all began.


3. RealFlight G4.5

Position in 2013: N/A

The best way to learn to fly is to actually do it. But what if it's winter, and flying outside isn't likely to happen until spring? That's where the RealFlight R/C Simulator comes to the rescue. The ability to keep your skills sharp over the long Michigan winters really makes RealFlight a necessary tool in your arsenal. Back in 2009, it still boasted over 100 aircraft to fly, allowing pilots to test fly an airplane before they even bought it. And the physics were almost as good as the real thing.

RealFlight is great for any pilot, from a complete beginner to the seasoned veteran pilot. And it's that versatility that took it to third on our countdown. Sadly, with cheaper electric airplanes coming out in the following years, it wouldn't be long before RealFlight would drop off the Top Ten list. But we still carry it to this day, because a wonderful tool like RealFlight is not so easily forgotten.


2. Traxxas Top Fuel 20% Gallon

Position in 2013: N/A

Ah, 2009. When nitro was still popular. I mean, it had to be, for Traxxas' Top Fuel to make it to second! We sold an unbelievable amount of this blue liquid back then (a whopping 112 gallons). Compare that to nowadays, when we're averaging about half that amount. However, since no nitro-powered vehicles made the list, we know that 2009 was the beginning of nitro's downfall. In, fact, you'd have to get to 31st place before you found your first nitro-powered vehicle (which turns out to be an Associated MMGT).

So while, yes, nitro fuel made it into the top ten (and at an absurdly high place, no less), it was the final glory for the once-dominating power source. The following years would see nary a nitro vehicle within the top 65 places, and Top Fuel itself fall from the top ten (as it should be, in my opinion).


1. E-flite Blade mCX RTF

Position in 2013: N/A

The king. The champion. The micro-heli to rule them all. The E-Flite Blade mCX started a trend that would continue for four years - an mCX would be at the top of our Top Ten list. In 2010, it was the mCX2 (and that continued until being dethroned in 2013). But the mCX is the helicopter that started it all. It was such a joy to fly - as easy as it got, and durable too. There were a few weak spots (anyone that broke the main shaft time and again an attest to that), but it help hundreds of people learn to fly R/C helicopters. And it still does, as it continues to be sold along side its contemporary, the mCX2.

In a time before quadcopters and camera platforms, the mCX was the heli that dominated the competition. And so its number one spot is well-deserved.

And there you have it. A look back to a simpler (or more complex, depending on how you look at it) time. Nary a quadcopter to be seen, and brushless vehicles didn't make the list. Now many surprises, but interesting nonetheless.

Questions? Comments? Sound off in the comments below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!