I read the ''boring airplane'' thread and became very depressed.
Lots of people lamenting that very few people build, or even have the skill to build anything anymore, and lots of others explaining, accurately, why building is impractical, uneconomical and unnecessary. The tragedy is that both sides are right and it is a phenomenon that permeates American culture. Writer Michael Pollan addressed the same topic in the New York Times today, explaining how the preparation of good food has mutated from something every family did for itself, to something done by corporations and their minimum wage workers, or by superstar chefs on television shows, but not by normal people.
We have number crunched everything that takes effort, patience, practice, knowlege, and skill, turned it into drudgework and delegated it to others.
Now things like building model airplanes, cooking good meals, making heirloom quality furniture, and crocheting baby quilts, along with all of the character building skills, qualities, and values that go with those things have become relics.
I am firmly on the side of the scratch builder, the hand quilter, the home gardener and chef. The fact that we are too bloody lazy to build our own model planes or cook our own scampi is a national disaster. The rise of ARF culture is symptomatic of America's moral decline, and to pass it off with the platitude ''to each his own'' is a cop out, an apathetic acceptance of an American nation in decline, forfeiting its role as a beacon of freedom, a crucible of innovation, and the undisputed leader in technical skill and industrial quality.
An ARF nation is a nation on the ropes, unable to educate it's children, feed itself, manage it's ports, appropriately regulate it's economy, fabricate it's own semi-conductors, provide its own customer service centers or maintain it's own industries. An ARF nation is a dying nation.
Scary thoughts but OH so true. One thing you forgot is that the tests given kids in school for determining the worth of a school are all that the school system focuses on. I know several good teacher. They despise what these politicians are doing to our children. Unfortunately most of the teachers also despise the programs.
As you so state, the do-it-yourself culture is gone, but I wonder if it really is. Having 10 grand-kids from 3 to 25, I find a lot of good ol' pioneer spirit in several of them. They work hard to stay abreast of things but they also value their freedoms and I keep pushing so.
ctdahle, I graduated from High School in 1954. I was the only kid in that class that had a desire to be a pilot and did fly model airplanes (CL at the time) I had 3 friends in a much larger school, some 20 miles away, that I flew with when we could get together. Even then I did not let modeling interfere much with my hunting, fishing, and sometimes going to school. :) In summers I usually worked 6- to 84 hours per week to be able to have living money. Even back then I could build a 19-60 size CL model in 3 days. Now, maybe 3 months. [sm=confused_smile.gif]
IMO, today aeromodeling is an action sport, however if one reads the magazines, especially Flying Models
and visits with the FF/CL fliers, I think one will find that aeromodeling is very much alive along with the scratch build crowd. Back in the 1970 '76 period when I owned a Hobby Shop in the Chicago area, building was still the almost only way to go. As the ARFs came on line, certainly they became the way to go. People could go fly, if they crashed, they could go fly again very quickly. That is same for today.
Here in the south, few people can afford homes with basements and/or air conditioned areas to build. Houses for most middle class do not have good workshop areas. I have the area but not air-conditioned. Cold in winter and hot in summer. Unless one grew up crazy about airplanes, that doesn't work well when an ARF can get one in the air quickly. My ''first life'' lasted at least 3 years longer that it should have because I hated to give up that comfy basement workshop up close to Chi-town.
While our society leaves much to be desired, there are changes that we all do. My first car had 4 wheels, one engine two doors, a radio and a heater. About all. My truck now has a lot more creature comforts. My wife's mini-van seats 7, has TV and DVD stations, sirrus radio, navigation mapping and all sorts of stuff I have not yet figured out. Yep, the times they are a'changing, but it is because we demand so.