I can’t tell you how happy I am to see this toy once again, even if it is a simulator. Growing up in the heyday of the Apollo space program, any toy that gave you your very own CM (Command Module) to recover from the carpet sea was instant gold. I don’t know what I miss more, the Vertibird or the safety orange reminder of the space race. Who would have known that a toy that just flew in a big circle and hooked things off the floor would be so much fun. If your like me, you played with it on a carpeted floor. I think the instructions said that you should never use it on anything but a smooth non-carpeted floor because the drive shaft will get gummed up with fluff and will ground your Vertibird until your Dad comes home and takes the tweezers to it. That is unless you did it yourself and as a result gained and intimate working knowledge of how flex shafts worked. 🙂
I suppose that is you could build the power transmission in the base you could build your own. Everything was cable controlled. The direction of the Virtibird was done by applying a twist to the long support arm that pitched the nose either up or down. I’m not too sure how the power was varied, that might have been done with a potentiometer in the control unit. Might be worth it, it did take a bit of skill to pick things up, especially if you had an oscillating fan in the room to simulate gusting winds. If you would like to know more about building your very own Vertibird, take a look at the build your own project page. Or if your lucky you might be able to find one that has been retired by a science museum.