ORIGINAL: LGM Graphix
So with all the FEJ threads going on, I started going back through some old posts on different manufactures and here's what I've concluded.
Modelers have become much less concerned with what they receive in an airplane, vs, what they could potentially have. Fancy paint jobs and attractive prices now outweigh the more important factor, success in the airframe.
Here's what I mean....
Lets for one minute, forget about FEJ as a single entity and lets even forget about the catastrophic failures of some of these jets.
As I read back through multiple threads, from primarily Chinese manufactures (although there are European ones as well, and American), you know what I see a huge huge amount of? ''Well I had this problem, but it was easily fixed''. And, ''This this and this was missing but XXXX sent it out to me quickly''.
Why has that become acceptable? Why are we willing to spend money, regardless of the amount, for a product that is supposed to be install equipment and fly, and accept that we have to FIX something, or wait for parts that were supposed to be in there?
We, the consumer do not set the prices of the model. That is set by the manufacture, when they set that price, and sell that airplane, it is supposed to be for a complete, and functional model. Not a model that requires fixes to be airworthy, or parts to be sent after the fact. When you buy a car, they don't tell you ''we forgot to install the glove box door, we'll send it in the mail to you''. You wouldn't buy that car and you sure as hell wouldn't install your glove box door yourself.
In my 15 years flying jets, with 13 1/2 of those being turbines, I have bought jets from the following manufactures (read manufactures, not counting kits I bought used), BVM, JMP, Skymaster, FEJ, Comp Arf, Aviation Design, Fiberclassics, Trim Aircraft, Yellow Aircraft, Jet Hangar Hobbies.
Of those companies, all except for Trim Aircraft, Comp Arf, Skymaster, and FEJ had everything in the box that was supposed to be. Now, in all fairness, every single one of those airplanes except the Skymaster and FEJ were kits, I had to build them. BUT!!!!!! Nothing will piss me off more than building a kit and having to wait because something wasn't included in the kit. Usually it's just small stuff, but it's stuff that quite often I can't get locally and have to order from somewhere or wait for the manufacture to send it to me.
So ok, that's a minor issue, BUT, I still spent money to receive a product, I expect it to all be there.
Lets move onto the bigger issue. Fixes...... I have read I don't know how many times in the past weeks about how wonderful an airplane is and how problem free it's been ''ever since I had the flutter and fixed it'' or ''ever since I replaced the landing gear cylinders'' or, or, or.........
How does having to do repairs on an airplane that is SUPPOSED to be designed and tested make it a wonderful airplane? I'm sorry but an airplane that flutters within it's flight envelope and requires a modification to fix it is a POS!!!!! Why does it become acceptable that the $6000 you just paid out was NOT correct but since it was an easy fix it's ok? Why does it become acceptable that after you had a problem and the manufacture sent you a new part is it acceptable? Would it still have been acceptable if that flutter cost you the airplane instead of you having the opportunity to fix it? That is good luck more than good management.
Why has mediocrity in the modeling world BECOME ACCEPTABLE????
I know some of you will say I'm on rah rah train for certain manufactures, but here is what I appreciate and EXPECT when I'm dropping money on these MODEL AIRCRAFT.
JMP - With my Firebird, I received a complete parts list, down to the nuts and bolts, that was checked off AS THE AIRPLANE WAS PACKED with each part inpspected. EVERY SINGLE PIECE was in that kit.
BVM - With the Super Bandit, While there was no checked off parts list, the manual listed all the parts and the accessory packs, every single bag of hardware was labeled for its use in the airplane, every part was in there, as with JMP, nothing was damaged.
Aviation Design - My exocet had a parts list in the manual and every single part was in there, it was somewhat more frustrating as nothing in the hardware packs was labeled, but still everything was there
Etc etc etc.....
This is what a model should be, whether it's a KIT, or an ARF. Every jet I have flown, I have flown hard, and I have never had flutter on a jet, I have never had a gear failure, any issue I have ever had, was because of something I did wrong myself. (it is worth noting that of all those jets, I sold the chinese ones before I ever flew them)
We are paying a large sum of money for these airplanes, I do not believe that one should settle for mediocrity. Sometimes I agree you will not know about an issue with an airplane until it happens, BUT, what boggles my mind, is people will still read about issues that ''were easy fixes'' and buy the same airplane after they KNOW the problems and take it upon themselves to fix them.
At one time I thought to myself, some of these jets are far less expensive so I'm willing to do some extra work. WHY? Why are we willing to say ''I'm willing to spend money foolishly on a product that is supposed to be one thing, but I'll expect it to be less and still send my money''??????? How f'in stupid is that? It's like saying ''I know this stock is failing, but I'll buy into it because although history has proven it to do nothing but go down, there is still a 0.00000001% chance it might go up........ ''
There ARE some very reputable manufactures out there, and yes, their airplanes might cost more, and you might have to do more work, but they take a certain risk out of flying. Between radio links, flameouts, and our own dumb thumbs, there are enough risks taken with RC flight already. Do you really need to add questionable airframes that work fine AFTER you fix them?
The modeler keeps demanding bigger airplanes, but where is the better? Where is the logic to say that a jet that comes out that is 10 feet long and is an ARF, costs the same as the KIT that is 7 feet long from another manufacture, but the quality is far less. Where is the logic to say, has this manufacture proven themselves? Where is the logic that says ''Am I really willing to spend thousands of dollars on an airframe where structural integrity MUST be designed and thought much differently than our old 90 size ducted fan days, and this manufacture doesn't really have the knowledge to do this?''
I am not pointing fingers at any one manufacture, but there are smart(er) places to spend your money.
I will say it again, airplanes that REQUIRE FIXES are NOT wonderful models, they are crap. If your skill set is enough to repair and modify some POS ARF so that it is safe, then buy a kit and build it, or scratch build something.
The sad part is, these manufactures can continue to make claims that they are listening and changing things, but at the end of the day, the problems are getting worse and the average modeler is allowing it to happen by continuing to buy this crap and accept that the will have to FIX something.
To be blunt, you are allowing yourselves to get screwed by buying this crap. You are buying an ARF model, ARF means almost ready to FLY, not ALWAYS REQUIRES a FIX!!!
The writing is on the wall guys, continuing to buy airplanes that have a more attractive price point and continuing to demand that manufactures sell at the lowest possible price is going to devestate this hobby. Spend your money wisely. Remember that even the biggest jet manufactures are basically a cottage industry. Everyone talks about how expensive these airplanes are and asks why they aren't priced more in line with say something from Hangar 9. Simple, quantity. If you sell 10,000 Extra 300's at $1000 each, that is $10,000,000, it is pretty conceivable that a manufacture could sell 10,000 models that any modeler is capable of outfitting with a gas engine and servo's and fly. But move to jets where the number of modelers is but a tiny percentage of the RC fraternity, So when you consider that no manufacture is likely to ever sell 10,000 of any one particular model, the prices are going to be higher. The typical jet manufacture isn't set up with tons of automation, they aren't selling tens of thousands of kits per year, and they aren't selling an airplane that has an 11oz wing loading and will never exceed 80mph. Stop telling the manufactures to produce better for less. You can have cheap, or you can have good, you don't get both, it's that simple.
Ok, rant over, guys, seriously, it's foolish to continue this hobby with the attitude that ''yes, it will have problems, but I can fix them''. It's time to have the attitude that ''this is MY money that I worked for, and these jets are a product that I have earned, I expect it to be right the first time''. BUT, at the same time, remember, the people manufacturing these jets are doing so to support THEIR families. Why should they work for any less than you do just so you can have a toy? Be willing to pay for a properly done model.
I highly doubt that there are many of you that would give up your current hourly wage to manufacture jet kits for the same price you want to pay for them.