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Flying Aces by Mattel (1976)

Company: Mattel | Release date: 1976 | Ages: 5+ | Where to buy: eBay

“Fly ‘em high! Fly ‘em far!”

Released in 1976, Mattel’s Flying Aces line of toy airplanes were made of TUFLITE — a lightweight, flexible, quasi-foam/plastic material that allowed them to glide through the air.

The Flying Aces squadron comprised a variety of military aircraft, including:

  • #9312 – Freedom Fighter F-5 USAF
  • #9313 – Freedom Fighter F-5 RCAF
  • #9314 – Corsair F4U USN
  • #9315 – Corsair F4U USMC
  • #9316 – MIG-21 Red China
  • #9317 – Fishbed MIG-21 USSR
  • #9604 – Mustang P-51 USAAF
  • #9605 – Mustang P-51 US Volunteer Force

Individual planes were packaged with a Sky Shooter, a handheld device with a rubber band used to launch the airplane into the air.


Mattel released a series of coordinated playsets to complement the line, including an Attack Carrier, Flight Deck, Squadron Command, and Advanced Island Base Set.

The Flight Deck came with two Flying Aces, a plastic launch platform, and a pistol grip that gave junior pilots control over launch trajectory. Squadron Command was a variant on the same theme, allowing Flying Aces to be launched from behind a facsimile cockpit.

At 3-feet long, the Attack Carrier was the largest playset and came with a pair of WWII Corsairs. Planes could be launched from a built-in catapult or via a remote-control lever located in the rear of the carrier. Although its design resembled its larger sea-faring naval counterpart, the polystyrene foam Attack Carrier did not float in water.

The Advanced Island Base Set provided a 13-inch x 22-inch tabletop play area with an airstrip launch ramp and embedded trigger launcher, hanger, control tower, and operation HQ building.