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Just getting back into it, wow what happened to R/C??

Old 11-14-2019, 08:51 AM
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gerard143
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Default Just getting back into it, wow what happened to R/C??

Just getting back into it. 39 years old now. I see tower hobbbies/hobbico went bankrupt. How the F does that happen? They were the industry powerhouse. Man I spent all my childhood pouring over their annual bible... and now they don't even print it anymore since horizon took over. Does anyone have a decent printed catalog anymore?

I see helis now seem to be dominated by electric. I see very few build kits for planes. Just ARF's and the selection seems slimmer than ever. Half the stuff I am interested in, says no longer available on the websites where you can buy the stuff. Furthermore, every website I have went to so far is pretty poorly designed, even Horizons.

Boy times have changed. Makes me sad and I am worried about the future and a further decline of R/C and great quality items being available. I know its not all doom and gloom with some nice electronics out now.... but just how bad is it out there from those who have been consistently into this over the last decade or two?

Last edited by gerard143; 11-14-2019 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:29 AM
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Welcome back to the hobby. There are kits and other stuff available and some old standard outfits like DU-BRO, SIG, etc. still around. Best of luck!
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by gerard143 View Post
Just getting back into it. 39 years old now. I see tower hobbbies/hobbico went bankrupt. How the F does that happen? They were the industry powerhouse. Man I spent all my childhood pouring over their annual bible... and now they don't even print it anymore since horizon took over. Does anyone have a decent printed catalog anymore?
Welcome back. You sound like me in the 90's as a kid. I'd also collect and read the R/C aviation magazines. Yes, the hobby is suffering thanks to drones but it's far from dead. You can find all sorts of great deals on Craigslist such as essentially brand new and complete glow trainers for a hundred bucks. I am lucky enough to have a brick and mortar hobby shop close by and try to give them as much business as possible even if I can get things cheaper online. They even stock glow fuel. I am still living the 90's dream with my glow powered planes and basic 72mhz equipment haha.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:13 AM
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RC isn't going away. It's just going through a cycle. Years 40 years or more ago there were a bunch of mom and pop operations that provided RC kits, radio equipment, engines, hardware, etc. to the modeling community. Those mom and pop outfits got big. Real big. And then a bunch of them got bought out until there were only a few major suppliers out there. While that was happening, the industry started going down with the advent of better, cheaper ARFs, electric motors, and RTF foam planes. So some of the large companies and major suppliers went out of business. To fill the void left in traditional modeling activities, the mom and pop shops started coming back. There are more than a few, less than a bunch, of kit producers out there. You can still buy several brands of radios, and thank God Dubro is still going. Glow powered engines are out there but not like they used to be. Gas engines for larger planes are more plentiful than ever.

I'm hoping that the mom and pop places of today will continue to grow along with the hobby. If not, maybe at least they will still be around for years to come.

So read those little ads in Model Aviation and beat the bushes for what you're looking for. It's out there, you just won't have that nice one-stop shopping we used to have at Tower Hobbies. For everything else, go to a swap meet. The old stuff is still there. Glow engines are available by the pound for cheap. Used on-line sales of RC equipment seem way overpriced to me.

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Old 11-20-2019, 08:06 PM
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It's a digital world, no catalogs. I'd say 90% of what I buy is from the classifieds, and always has been for 15 years that I have been back in the hobby. Midwest kits, old Top Flite kits, Pica, I'm not much of a Tower or SIG kit fan. I'm working on a Carl Goldberg Eagle 2 trainer now with my son, a kit I found on Craigslist for $60, local pick up with an old Futaba radio system, electric starter, a qt of fuel, and an OS FP 40 included. Hard to beat all of that for $60. I had to replace the nicads and found a much better nicad option off e-bay than Tower too. 1000mah

You don't show a location, but there are swap meets and clubs that have people trading, and certainly in FL, estate sales are generally a monthly event. One could make a living reselling estates and enjoy the hobby free for years to come. I did.

I still get CA glue, epoxy, Monokote, aileron extensions, and sheets of receiver foam from Tower/Horizon. I've also bought CA glue and epoxy from Ace Hardware and have similar results, for less money.
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Old 11-21-2019, 08:09 PM
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I'm 40 and returned a few years ago to the hobby as well. I've got a few electric beer cooler planes, but my heart lies with wood and fuel.

RC here in the future isn't all bad though, as Facebook has several great RC groups and YouTube is full of neat stuff if you take the time to separate out the good from the garbage.

And Realflight is a great tool. I fly on my computer all the time and it has no doubt increased my skill. Level up!

Check out Old School Model Works. I bought a couple of their kits and hope to start the Comet soon. Working on a taildragger/flap mod Kadet Sr now.
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:52 AM
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I agree with so much of what you said. I am 58 now and got back into things about ten years ago. It truly saddens me to see everything going electric and guys and gals.......... WE SHOULD HAVE NEVER ALLOWED DRONES TO INFILTRATE OUR CLUBS AND AMA. IT has been a disaster. Yes they are fun and I have a few. NO they are NOT the same as r/c planes and should have had to go make their own AMA and own hobby. It has cost us dearly in washington, with the FAA and more. our AMA spent millions of OUR dollars on this project even after we told them not to. IT cost us dearly again...
I can't go back and change things now. Top Flite went bankrupt and no more scratch build kits.. OMG what a sad thing.
However, Nick Zeroli is still going, many places sell kits now and you can get laser cut kits from small mom and pop places as well.... So I guess there is still goodness happening. I actually walked away when the AMA pulled their nonsense and when the FAA disobeyed congress about not messing with r/c planes and fliers... I am just now considering coming back.. I miss flying but .. dang folks.. When I cant get my grandkids a plane to fly without registering them with the government.... WTH?
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Old 11-28-2019, 12:52 AM
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welcome back.

I also took a 10-year break. Looks like Horizon owns everything except for traxxas... Exception is HPI, which went bankrupt and disappeared. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.... is assiciated and losi owned by horizon?
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:21 AM
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I'm not sure "owned" is the right word,, just because something is sold at Horizon,, doesn't mean Horizon owns that company
Losi has always be been sold/distributed by Horizon,,
Associated I think has always been an independent business,, now distributed through Horizon
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:01 AM
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AllModesR/C, that`s a beautiful picture. If we all had a place like that to fly just a stones throw away. A dream come true for sure. Or maybe that`s what R/C heaven is like!
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:26 PM
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Been flying R/C since 1972 at age of 12, Our hobby as we knew it is evolving but certainly not dead, it is now a latch key kid digital age dominated by FliteTest and foam hot glue and Youtube. Just watch how giant planes of everything imaginable are done as orgami foam and hot glue. I take my 3 grandkids to FLITEFEST annual flyin, 3000 people, I would guess atleast 40% women and girls most WILLING to primitive camp in tents, Never seen so many females at an RC venue in my life. Great times and hanging with these right brained kids for 4 days gives me great hope the Wilbur Wright and Chuck Yeagers are still being groomed.

I challenge any ole timer to just go down the rabbit hole and watch the Flite Fest YouTube channel some cold rainy snowy afternoon with a hot tottie........Very entertaining AND just may still learn a few things R/c related, I still do......................
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