Chutes Away

Chutes Away

The lives of the survivors are in your hands. Do you have what it takes – the ability to line up your crosshairs successfully and the timing necessary to drop your paratroopers at precisely the right moment and save the day – the pressure to keep your cool when lives are resting on your piloting skills? Chutes Away gave you a chance to be a hero – actually ten chances if you want to get technical about it – and see if you had the intestinal fortitude to emerge victorious.

Chutes Away is a game that most any kid who ever experienced it will remember fondly. For one thing, it just looked so darn cool. In a world devoid of video games, this was about as hands-on an experience as you could find. A revolving disk (approximately the same size as a phonograph record) spun slowly underneath a plastic plane. Perpendicular to the board was a control panel that allowed you a flight stick to move the plane from left to right and a lever that would drop plastic paratroopers one at a time from the tail of the plane.

An eyepiece provided you with a view of the rugged terrain below, as well as the designated drop locations, in the form of little plastic buckets scattered about. Simply guide the plane into position, time your shot, and pull the lever. Easy, right? Not really, at least until you mastered the timing necessary. The ever-moving targets weren’t as easy to hit as you might imagine – as any veteran of the game can attest. You might even recall that the trick was that you had to let the bucket pass and then release, if you wanted any chance at success.

And once you mastered Chutes Away, you were ready to up the ante and meet the challenge of Night Rescue Chutes Away. Under the stealth of darkness, you had to rely on a small spotlight attached to the plane that offered a much smaller view of the target area.

Unfortunately, even this technological innovation wasn’t enough to keep Chutes Away on the store shelves. Both games, manufactured by Gabriel Toys in the late 70s enjoyed a run of a mere two years. Surprising when you consider how many fond memories people still have of this unique and quirky game. Once you experienced it, you were left with a playtime experience that would last a lifetime. Luckily, the accompanying frustration that inevitably came with playing Chutes Away faded over time and what remains are pleasant wisps of sentimental reflection.

If you spent some time trying to master Chutes Away in your youth, or even if it was the game you wanted for Christmas and never got, share your memories of this unique toy with all of us in our comments section.

9 Responses to “Chutes Away”

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  1. jennifer harris says:

    I never got this game.

  2. Kathy says:

    Do you know where I can purchase Chutes Away?

    • eric says:

      Hi Kathy,
      Unfortunately, the only thing I can suggest is doing a search on Ebay. I don’t think the toy has been made for many years. Sorry, I can’t be of more help.

      Best regards,

  3. Randy Harris says:

    This was one of the most favorite toys I got for Christmas. It was the only toy I can remeber that my father actually sat down and played with me. That is why this game has so many fond memeories. My 2 brothers and I played with this so much we wore it out and yes I was so dissapointed when you could no longer purchase it. But I did get real lucky and purchased one on Ebay yesterday and can’t wait for it to get here. I think it can go down as one of the top 10 toys ever sold in the 70’s

  4. Kristian A says:

    Dreamed of this game since I was 7. I have been searching for the name of this game of at least 10 years now. I finally found it tonight with the search terms “paratrooper toy vintage 1970’s rotation.” My brain is relieved and I am very happy to be here and say hello to other fans. Chutes Away!

  5. Sean says:

    I just got this game for my birthday this year (2014) and I remember it fondly. I had the Night Rescue version as a preschooler in 1980, but those are nearly impossible to find now. My son just played it with me for an hour :)

  6. jamie says:

    This is the game I wanted so much when I was a boy and I was convinced I was getting it for christmas. I didn’t and threw a huge tantrum.

  7. David says:

    I loved this game. My friends and I would turn out the lights at night and shine a flashlight through the view finder. It made a perfect target on the board. What fun memories.

  8. Dudley says:

    HaHa! I was just digging through my closet at my parents house and found my Chutes Away still in the box. Along with my Hit and Missle still in the box. Crazy!!! But they are still fun. Myself, my wife and my Dad have been having contest all morning. I have the high score with 43! (On Hit and Missle)

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