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  1. #1

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    Handwriting on the wall?

    To avoid another complaining thread, back out now... Or, is this thread unnecessarily whining about useless gloom and doom?

    Short version:

    Is the demise of the glow engine close at hand? Are glow plugs and methanol/nitro/castor fuels far behind? What about parts support? Will I be eventually be stuck with useless engines or expensive paperweights? Is anyone else concerned?

    Long version:

    Within the last ten years, I decided I needed to begin hoarding glow engines. Little by little, I noticed a decline in glow engine availability from usual sources. New .049~.061's., .10's, .15's, .20's from various mfg's had already disappeared when I really started to notice. I started collecting .25's when HP restocked their Magnum line. .40~.46's are what I desire most so I got some of those too. Now, panic is setting in as I peruse the big three vendors in search for possible large glow powerplants for various projects. Small and large two and four stroke engines are beginning to disappear. Electrics were slowly eating away the ground below me and now, gas is beginning to fall off the shelves above me... What's going on here? I remember once reading some modeling publication where the author considered the two stroke glow engine as something like: "the ultimate in simplicity and an engineering masterpiece". I have some electrics but find them unsatisfying. I'm about to try gas but I think my principal desire will always be glow. I like the ringing in my ears, the smell of burnt castor and methanol permeating my clothes, and cleaning the "chicken fat" off my airplane when I'm done flying. You don't get that pleasure with gas or electric. Would today's version of a Hanno Prettner flying to victory in a world class event with a glow engine bring back a resurgence of glow engine development? I know, I know, - probably not; they'd just do it with electric.


  2. #2
    MajorTomski's Avatar
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    For three years now I've been saying that within 10 years the two and four stroke glow engines will be oddity at the field and no longer the standard. They will be initially displaced by electrics followed by gasoline conversions of all the old glow engines.
    Spitfire Brotherhood #6
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  3. #3
    gboulton's Avatar
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    I just went flying with 4 others this weekend, at a field large enough to handle any size model you care to name, 4/5 experienced pilots, 1 with international competition experience at the highest levels.
    The group's mix : 16 airplanes. 3 gas, 13 electric.
    *shrug*
    Don't know if it's good or bad...but I think what you propose is soon to be reality.
    ‘ǝʌısuǝdxǝ sΔ± dn puɐ dn sΔ± uʍop \'\'\'\'pΗΚ‡ΙΉΗΚŒuΔ± puɐ ʍo1 uǝΙ₯ʍ

  4. #4
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    I've converted all of my large glow engines to gas and with the new Evolution GX engines I am be starting to convert my 40/60 and 90 size planes also as I am able. Eventually I plan on sidelining all of my 2-strokes but I will keep some of the smaller 4-stroke glow engines until the prices of 4-stroke gas engines come down. Just flying the EVO 10cc and getting 30 minutes at WOT on 8 ounces is a nice plus combined with $5-6.00 per gallon for gas&oil versus $20.00 for nitro/glow.
    As far as 2-stroke parts they will probably still discontinue certain emgies and stop making parts like they have been for decades but those parts will still be available on the used market for years. Who knows what compay will still be making new glow engines but with the sucess of these small gassers based on glow platforms there should be plenty of parts available that will interchage .

    Brian Ray

  5. #5

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    As long as California does not make glow fuel components illegal, I have enough engines to last longer than I will but maybe I'd better go buy that Saito after all.
    RC_Fanatic -- Club Saito member #807

  6. #6

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    Hey! Those plugs are mine!

  7. #7
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?


    ORIGINAL: H5606

    To avoid another complaining thread, back out now... Or, is this thread unnecessarily whining about useless gloom and doom?

    Short version:

    Is the demise of the glow engine close at hand? Are glow plugs and methanol/nitro/castor fuels far behind? What about parts support? Will I be eventually be stuck with useless engines or expensive paperweights? Is anyone else concerned?

    Long version:

    Within the last ten years, I decided I needed to begin hoarding glow engines. Little by little, I noticed a decline in glow engine availability from usual sources. New .049~.061's., .10's, .15's, .20's from various mfg's had already disappeared when I really started to notice. I started collecting .25's when HP restocked their Magnum line. .40~.46's are what I desire most so I got some of those too. Now, panic is setting in as I peruse the big three vendors in search for possible large glow powerplants for various projects. Small and large two and four stroke engines are beginning to disappear. Electrics were slowly eating away the ground below me and now, gas is beginning to fall off the shelves above me... What's going on here? I remember once reading some modeling publication where the author considered the two stroke glow engine as something like: "the ultimate in simplicity and an engineering masterpiece". I have some electrics but find them unsatisfying. I'm about to try gas but I think my principal desire will always be glow. I like the ringing in my ears, the smell of burnt castor and methanol permeating my clothes, and cleaning the "chicken fat" off my airplane when I'm done flying. You don't get that pleasure with gas or electric. Would today's version of a Hanno Prettner flying to victory in a world class event with a glow engine bring back a resurgence of glow engine development? I know, I know, - probably not; they'd just do it with electric.

    You make some excellent points.

    I loved my Glow engines as a teenager and for the next 20 years of flying.. they were fun to tune and experiment with.. and I had great satisfaction from tuning my OS45 FSR to absolute purring perfection..

    Since 2010 though I have only flown electric... why? Convenience.. no mess, no clean up and most of my electric planes have a far better power to weight ratio..

    I guess it depends entirely on what you enjoy in this hobby.. for me it is purely the flying aspect..

    I know others love building, some love the tinkering with glow motors etc..

    I hear what you say about loving the smell and cleaning the mess... but personallyi used to hate getting castor oil all over my radio during a flying day and spending an hour cleaning planes and my radios after each flying session..

    With electric there is no mess.

    There is no right or wrong, because we all like this hobby for different reasons.. I do agree that Glow has a "retro" appeal.. but after 20 years, just can't be bothered with it anymore..


    My biggest fear is when I die my wife will sell my planes for what I told her they cost.

  8. #8
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    It's like a kid with video games, no work, (building) no gradification(seeing your creation fly) - - just play(flying). The era of the millinium child, Instant gradification or nothing.

    When was the last time a kid came to your front door and ask to cut your grass? Never, they just want to play with their video games.

    I really get tired of hearing, "I don't build, I just like to fly. Used to be you had to work to earn your enjoyment. Everyone likes to fly, it's that just some of us that actually do the work first.

    Well, gotta run, gotta get an order off to HK!

    Frank
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  9. #9

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    Yes glow is on the way out and that means at some point glow fuel will become less and less available.
    Ira d

  10. #10
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?


    ORIGINAL: countilaw

    It's like a kid with video games, no work, (building) no gradification(seeing your creation fly) - - just play(flying). The era of the millinium child, Instant gradification or nothing.

    When was the last time a kid came to your front door and ask to cut your grass? Never, they just want to play with their video games.

    I really get tired of hearing, "I don't build, I just like to fly. Used to be you had to work to earn your enjoyment. Everyone likes to fly, it's that just some of us that actually do the work first.

    Well, gotta run, gotta get an order off to HK!

    Frank
    Frank what part of the 20 Years with Glow engines did you miss?

    RC is just a hobby.. these days I prefer spending more time with family..

    Your signature says "its a hobby not a job" so why are you contradicting your self and saying that we should "WORK" by building? And now we have to "work to earn enjoyment?" So is it a hobby or a job?

    If you enjoy building that is great... not everyone is the same.

    My biggest fear is when I die my wife will sell my planes for what I told her they cost.

  11. #11

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    I intend to fly glow as long as I can still buy it. Glow engines will be around for years at swap meets even if the manufacturers quit making them. The new crop of small gasoline engines look tempting and I may give that route a try but I have no intention of scrapping out my old Foxes. I enjoy the smell of caster and the satisfaction of flying a well tuned engine. That satisfaction is rooted in many years of tinkering, learning, and occasionally going home frustrated without even getting the engine to run. Swapping out to electrics takes some of the mystic and complexity out of the hobby. I think I would become very quickly bored if I flew electrics.

    Carl

  12. #12
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    With the exception of deans plugs and j plugs, our LHS has nothing for electric anything. No brushed can motors, no brushless motors, no lipo or nmh batteries, no ESC - nothing. Only nitro. They are fixed wing only; for heli I either drive 40 miles (may be the only LHS in west WA that has heli stuff) or order online for heli stuff.

    I haven't flown a fixed wing for many years - I'm building an eagle 2 so I can get back into it... and converting it to electric.
    Larry
    Mastering toilet bowl effect

  13. #13
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?


    ORIGINAL: carlgrover

    I intend to fly glow as long as I can still buy it. Glow engines will be around for years at swap meets even if the manufacturers quit making them. The new crop of small gasoline engines look tempting and I may give that route a try but I have no intention of scrapping out my old Foxes. I enjoy the smell of caster and the satisfaction of flying a well tuned engine. That satisfaction is rooted in many years of tinkering, learning, and occasionally going home frustrated without even getting the engine to run. Swapping out to electrics takes some of the mystic and complexity out of the hobby. I think I would become very quickly bored if I flew electrics.

    Carl
    LOL... I can actually relate to that.. Electrics are incredibly reliable..

    This video is a 45 FSR.. I had mine perfectly tuned and never had to change anything for many years... It idled perfectly, never failed in flight and had power to spare...

    This is not mine but it sure brings back memories...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF8oqI5A6bE

    Every time I go into Perth RC I am so tempted to buy this one.

    http://www.osengines.com/engines-air...548/index.html

    At the age of 15 I was so passionate about Glow engines that I could prime any engine so perfectly it would start first flick every time.

    My biggest fear is when I die my wife will sell my planes for what I told her they cost.

  14. #14
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    As the demand for glow engine decilnes, our local hobby shops will eventually stop carrying fuel.

    It probably will still be available online, but the hazmat charges could easily make glow financially prohibitive.
    Tom C

    Sig Brotherhood # 120

  15. #15
    Rob2160's Avatar
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?


    ORIGINAL: TomCrump

    As the demand for glow engine decilnes, our local hobby shops will eventually stop carrying fuel.

    It probably will still be available online, but the hazmat charges could easily make glow financially prohibitive.
    Thats a shame..

    Just wondering.. does anyone add petrol to their fuel these days?

    In the 80's I had a friend who was a refueller at Bankstown Airport and he'd give me a few liters of AVGAS every month to add to my Glow fuel..

    From memory it was 75% methanol, 20% castor oil and 5% AVGAS.. my engines ran perfectly and the AVGAS really improved the idle reliability

    My biggest fear is when I die my wife will sell my planes for what I told her they cost.

  16. #16
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    next thing we'll stop seeing actual kits and only arf's and foamies being produced.

    I've switched almost entirely to gas or electric... but I have to say I still LOVE my 4 stroke glow engines.
    Jim Buzzeo AMA 74894
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  17. #17

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?


    ORIGINAL: countilaw

    It's like aΒ* kid with video games,Β*Β*Β*Β*Β*Β* no work, (building)Β* no gradification(seeing your creation fly) - - justΒ*Β* playΒ*(flying). Β* Β* Β* Β* TheΒ* era of the millinium child, Β* Instant gradification orΒ* nothing. Β*

    Frank Β*
    I can certainly understand why you feel that way considering that 9 of 10 ads we see are pre-built electric planes. But electric isn't intrinsically ARF. It's just a propulsion system. A lot of people build their own planes and put electric systems in them.

    No matter what, nobody can stop anyone from building if that's what they want to do. I suspect that fuel and engines will be available for a very long time.

    Anyone who is concerned that glow is on the way out and won't be available and wants to use glow can stock up on fuel, glow plugs, fuel line and engines.

    Personally, I'll worry about it when I start seeing that fuel is harder to come by.
    Work is what I do for the love of it. A job is how I pay for it.
    Please visit AirfieldModels.com

  18. #18

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?


    ORIGINAL: ira d

    Yes glow is on the way out and that means at some point glow fuel will become less and less available.


    Glow fuel is more available than ever, in these parts.

    The prime component (methanol) is the feedstock for those people making bio-diesel. I buy it in bulk from those chaps and thus, it's quite cheap. The oil is expensive, though ... but, the resultant fuel is still reasonably priced ... cheaper than the commercial product, anyway.

    But, I can't help but agree with the general sentiments expressed here.

    Last week, I nearly talked myself into buying some electric-flight components. Managed to get a grip of myself; but, it was a close-run thing. The cleanliness and reliability are big attractions. Oh, and the comparative lack of vibration. The downside is the financial losses I will incur if I junk all my glow engines and associated gear ... and then have to buy electric. Besides, all my existing airframes will become obsolete, too. I have glow engines, sitting unrun in their boxes. (so sad).

    I expect that I'll have to bite the bullet, one day, though.

  19. #19

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    I agree they are on the way out, but I love them. At Top Gun this year, I was standing next to the flight line when a plane was started and I could smell the glow fuel and love it. I know it is messy and expensive, but I just love the sound and working with glow engines. I fly giant scale and have gas also and like them, but on smaller twins, the glow right now still works best. While I have not played with electric much, to be honest, those batteries are scary. I have seen two planes go up in flames because of faulty batteries. For now... I am sticking with gas or glow.

    Mike

  20. #20
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    Everything said here I am in agreement with except for the having to build part. For me in particular, I like the flying part. Have I built?...Yes, but just don't enjoy it as much as the flying part. And I am allergic to CA and balsa dust makes my sinuses close up. So I don't build anymore.

    Now to the Glow Fuel part.

    1. I too like glow fuel, but ...and for us here around Tulsa it is a big one. Most of the hobby shops that existed 10 years ago have now closed. One in particular used to custom mix glow fuel based on your needs, but he is gone now. My alternative is Hobby Town at $30.00 per gallon. I have nothing against Hobby Town, but their prices.

    2. I now have 7 planes that I can fly... here is the breakdown:
    5 Electrics....all 46 size or smaller
    1 Gas ...soon to be 2
    1 Glow...no more planned at this point.

    I have the same affection for the glow planes I used to fly as others on this thread, but won't pay $30 for a gallon of fuel..especially when I can get gas at $4.00 per gallon. And I like the electrics because I can walk out of my house and fly them right out front. For those safety guys, I live in the country and still have room, but development is slowly shutting that down.
    So all in all, I have just learned to accept where the hobby is going. If the price of glow becomes competitive again, then I will reconsider, but not until then.
    Will add something clever and witty if I ever come up with something.

  21. #21
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    It is like shift cars, in the past that was all there was, now automatic transmissions are the rule. Who complains about that?
    I have a real job, this is a hobby for me, so NO I don't build I just fly...........
    4 electrics, 2 glows, 1 gas
    Keep your wings level
    Club Saito Member #693

  22. #22
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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    Billy Joel said it best "The good old days were'nt always good, and tomorrow is not as bad as it seems". I like all aspects of the hobby, and to put down any one part of it because it does not appeal to me is just wrong in my book.With flying fields becoming harder to find because of space and noise electrics are here to stay, and many peoplehaveentered the hobby because of them, which has helped many a hobby shop from disapearing. I work enough making a living so I don't need to live up to someone elses expectaions of what I have to do to enjoy my portion of the hobby.
    If what you believed to be true was false would you want to know the truth?

    "You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free".

  23. #23

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    I have 5 planes on glow and 1 electric, i cant really afford to change to gas unless i sold all my glow engines. It is a little diffw to me because I only get to fly 1-2 times a month so a gallon of fuel lasts me awhile. If i got to fly 2-3 times a week i could definitely see the advantages of going to gas. On electrics, they have completely changed the hobby for all types of powerplants because the aircraft are all stronger and weigh less than previous models. This helps fuel economy across the board.

  24. #24

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?

    Methanol and castor oil have many industrial and commercial uses and will continue to be available. Nitromethane is unnecessary in most glow engines. It's pretty simple to mix FAI glow fuel up yourself. So, I think glow fuel will not be the issue. I can't see glow plugs being an issue either. I plan to continue flying glow. For me its part of the fun.

    As raptureboy said, the bigger issue in the future may be noise. Electric has the clear advantage there, with gasoline being the worst. There are already clubs in my area that can't accomodate gasoline engines and larger glow engines - too noisy.
    Glow Head #6, UltraSport #70

  25. #25

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    RE: Handwriting on the wall?


    ORIGINAL: Rob2160

    RC is just a hobby.. these days I prefer spending more time with family..

    Depends. Do you consider RC as a hobby, or an activity, or perhaps a sport? If an activity, the airframe, power plane, etc would be considered in the same light as a tennis racket, flyrod, or perhaps a motorcycle.

    If a hobby, then that implies a greater degree of involvement, such as building, operating engines etc.

    In any event every one should enjoy their leisure time as they see fit.

    jess


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