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Is Hobbico going out of Business?

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Old 01-13-2018, 12:10 PM
  #26
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Don't Know yet what will happen but if we see Futaba and OS engines move to another dist that will be our cue.
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:32 PM
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Wilshere View Post
Drones have killed the hobby...Instant gratification. No skill needed to assemble or operate.......
Have to disagree on this one. I have a neighbor who's wife bought him a DJI phantom for a birthday present. He takes it out the box, sets it up according to instructions, charges batteries and takes it out to our cul-de-sac to test fly it. He gets it into a hover about 5 feet off the ground (the noise of it is what got me outside to see what was going on) as I walk out to see him hovering it suddenly tilts and heads right for him, he ducks and WHAMO he hits his garage door at about 20mph and destroys it. The point of this story is that drones haven't killed the hobby it's idiots like my neighbor who have killed the hobby. He has not and will not ever own anything else RC and neither will his son because of his bad experience and idiocy.

Patrick
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loopdeeloop View Post
Too wordy of a response to the "what's happening" in the hobby so I'll try to condense it:
1) Parents -- will not support kids that are interested in model aviation
2) Parents -- drop kids off at model aviation events set up specifically for them with the expectation that it is a baby sitting service.
3) Parents -- will not drive kids to a club field or meeting because they have too much other stuff to do.
4) Parents -- don't know which end of a screwdriver to hold themselves.
5) Parents -- allow kids to "be entertained" through mind numbing video games rather than encouraging them to "entertain themselves" though a hobby that requires building.
6) Competition -- Wonderful Taranis XD9+ for $200 or Futaba/JR/Spektrum/Graupner for hundreds more up to a couple thousand more.
7) Competition -- Global source of hobby stuff including bits and pieces (especially electronics related) that the local shops don't carry (or could not afford to carry due to lack of demand)
8) Education -- Clubs and hobby shops do not do enough in their communities to try and draw folks into the hobby. A once a year show is not enough. (My club does two fun flies, home & rec show, aviation day at the airport, AMA building program, Memorial Day Parade, city council meetings, talk to other civic groups, buddy box trials at any time.
9) Attitude -- Younger adults and their kids look for instant gratification. Buy on impulse, see if I can break it, and then beg for another one when they can't find parts at the local
hardware store.
Here are just two success stories of young folks who have their ticket for a great future in aviation because they were involved in Model Aviation.
1) Began buddy box work with me at age 10, got into heli's and became very proficient, private pilots licence before he got his drivers license. Junior at University of North Dakota in their aviation program. Paid to test fly for Northrup/Grumman Aviation/University program. Test fly for NASA. Now has his multi-engine, instrument and instructor ratings.
2) Foreign exchange student flew rc airplanes at our field and is now in the Norwegian Air Force (very likely flying drones) for NATO.
Opportunity is there but hobbyists need to do more than just fly to perpetuate the hobby.
I understand... but basically disagree with all of it.


1) As a kid... my folks had no interest in RC or models. I did it all on my own. (my brother didn't care either) As an adult... neither of my kids care about them.
2) I haven't seen a kid model aviation thing EVER. (even as a kid)
3) as a kid... I would ride my bike... but never really went to a club field until I was 16 and had a car.
4) Not an excuse. I could rip apart an engine as a kid... but my dad could care less. (but was an F4 aircraft tech in the air force)
5) I'm 45 and I just finish Mario Odyssey on MY Nintendo Switch. (Nothing wrong with games)
6) OK... yes... some of the import stuff is good. I fly Jeti for my big stuff, but I'm actually looking at a FrSky with a 4in1 for all my "Toys". Lets face it, they work, and have better value.
7) I agree here. When gas went to almost $5 gal a few years back... it cost more to drive 15 miles to the "Local" shop than to pay the shipping.
8) There's more than education needed... it takes interest. As a kid, a bunch of my buddies liked my RC stuff, and even started models themselves, but never finished because they lost interest. AND... with so much more available to kids these days... the interest is just not there.
9) Not true. It still takes desire. Besides... with the e-flight modes, you have the "Oh Crap" button now. (Safe feature) So... open the box and go. (that's instant gratification)


Anyway... I've worked in Hobby Shops most of my young life, and the last one I worked in was a perfect example of WHY they started to close. The old way to run a biz was to expect 40% on any product, and 100% on small stuff. (DuBro was the cash cow in the hobby shop) Well... the original demise started with Global Hobbies (Hobby shack) and Great Planes. (Tower) They got control of some of the original big names, and made the "Mom and Pop" shops pay more, so they had to work on smaller profits. Then... they would run sales at their mail-order stores at a lower price than they would sell to their dealers. (So a person could buy for less at a hobby shack store than the store up the street could buy from Global)

The next issue is that product is changing rapidly. I remember... between the late 70's, to the early 2000's... nothing changed !!!! So... we went 20 years with the same servos, radios, batteries, wood kits, Zap Glues, DuBro, and Monokote covering. It was easy to stock a store with things that never went out of date... and the prices didn't change much either. Oh, and remember dubro being a cash cow?? Well... we built kits, and had to buy all those little parts. But now... things change quick... and as production goes up... price goes down. Even when the last local shop closed... they had 12a speed controls with $70 price tags, but now... I can get then for under $10.

With Hobbico... great planes has done it to themselves. They tried to take the same cheap import products (for most of them) and get a prime amount... and wanted your local "Brick and Mortar" shop to live on a paper thin margin.


I think the hobby is alive and well... but the market now simply isn't the same, and the local brick and mortar shop just can't make enough, or keep up with the newest products.

******EDIT****
Last thing... Horizon Hobby is guilty of this too. To be an official dealer, you have to agree to a price lock. (At least for advertising) But, Horizon will sell us products directly, and give free shipping. Since I don't have to pay tax, and the fuel to go to the local store... anything big is cheaper to buy direct. AND... when I had my local shop order a Habu 32X for me... He offered me a 10% discount. But when it showed up... 10% is all that horizon sold it to him for !!!! So... he was only going to make $30 on a $300 kit ! Why would Horizon expect him to want to keep one on the shelf with that margin??


Anyway... everything changes. When I was a Kid... I went to an arcade daily. (none really around anymore) My Grandfather owned the local TV shop. But everyone buys from a big store, and NO ONE needs tubes, or to even worry about fixing a TV. (Times change. Nothing new here)

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Old 01-13-2018, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Wilshere View Post
Drones have killed the hobby...Instant gratification. No skill needed to assemble or operate...
Perfect for a 7 yr old kid to get interested in RC

My daughter now is putting together a helicopter that is would be way beyond my attention level at her age because she flew drones at a younger age, the tear up kind that would cost 20 bucks at a mall kiosk.

We have two new club members, father and son, who come to the club to fly their DJI FPV and they love the kid can't be older than 10
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:33 PM
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Like with JR it is a major drama mainly for the employees which may lose their jobs!.

And regarding reason for demise I think most of you really point to market conditions and strategies to fight such conditions but I fully agree with "dionysusbacchus" for the real main reason of them all: Aviation has lost his duster.

I personally got to airplane plastic kits, then to free flight models then transitioned to control line and finally to R/C just for my love to real airplanes and my vocation to become a real fighter pilot, which never happened. But it was this initial love for planes that introduced me to models and I didn´t stop with model planes as I also navigate R/S sail boats and submarines and launch model rockets as well as race slot cars as I was for ever fascinated with miniatures.

I didn´t get to be a fighter pilot as when a student -in fact, a very, very good student- in Spain was quite difficult to become a military pilot (65 available positions for a 35 million population in 1983), today it is just impossible (not more than 20 positions for a 42 million population). So only practical way to become a professional pilot is to go for a 3 years commercial pilot license with a cost of over 60.000€ (nearly $70.000) which does not warrant a contract from any flying company unless you pay another 20.000 - 30.000€ in post license courses and certifications just to earn, in the best case, 1.500€ for several years and never progress to above 4000€ in the distant future.

With such conditions, very far away of a commercial pilot earned during the 80´s and 90´s, young people has fled from aviation -and also from engineering, medical, architectural careers, etc- and have been attracted by sport and TV professionals as well as TV starlets who without a University career -or just a very easy one- become fabulous rich in a very short time. This is which has got the duster and got our children attention nowadays and I, unfortunately, think there is no an easy nor quick solution!

Also there is no easy solution for our hobby nor the related firms if we do not solve the lack of interest of new people trying it aside, of course, of the so long crisis we are suffering and that made so many thousands to go off the hobby and not trying it and who during these years have found new diversion activities even just being "whatsapp" relationship.

Related distributed brands, if HOBBICO disappears you all may be sure that new distributor for brands like FUTABA and OS will appear, but they will have to demonstrate if with such a reducing market they may keep up with the standard of quality and service HOBBICO has offered during so many years.

Best Regards and Best Luck to friends in HOBBICO.

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Old 01-14-2018, 03:53 PM
  #31
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I think for Futaba and OS to survive they will have to market their products direct over the internet, that's where the competition is.
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Old 01-14-2018, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by sidgates View Post
I think for Futaba and OS to survive they will have to market their products direct over the internet, that's where the competition is.
They will need someone to service their products and that is where a distributor come into play, also it will be cheaper for the customer to have product in stock in the various markets where they sell a lot again they need a distributor for that.
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:25 AM
  #33
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Originally Posted by ira d View Post
They will need someone to service their products and that is where a distributor come into play, also it will be cheaper for the customer to have product in stock in the various markets where they sell a lot again they need a distributor for that.
This is a very outdated concept, clearly you have not heard of 'just in time'. Holding product in stock in various markets is just a way of adding to the cost of the items sold and being unprofitable. We are now in the world of buying direct from the manufacturer, with no middleman in the manufacturing country and none in the country the sale is made. On a recent program on TV we saw a lorry driver that was delivering goods around Europe. He said the companies used to hold stocks in a warehouse but it is much more cost effective to treat for those goods in transit as being 'held in stock. Direct computer control of the delivery system makes this possible. I am not sure what 'servicing' a distributor does these days. Very little is repaired, if it does not work it is replaced. Not sure what 'servicing' is done at all except to our turbines and these can be sent back to the manufacturer.

John
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:58 AM
  #34
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Originally Posted by Jgwright View Post
I am not sure what 'servicing' a distributor does these days. Very little is repaired, if it does not work it is replaced. Not sure what 'servicing' is done at all except to our turbines and these can be sent back to the manufacturer.

John
I can assure you that a lot of service due to accidents, wear and many other reasons is done mainly to top level transmitters which are those we use for turbine planes.

It is easy to think that cheap radios do not care for so such service but then the economic situation strikes and many users prefers servicing their old radio outfits so as to continue using their owned receiver instead of switching to a cheaper radio brand and having to buy several new receivers. At least that is our experience in Spain.

Of course HK and other Chinese radios do not care any service as there is almost no repair services in Europe and USA and it is generally just more expensive to ship the radio back to be serviced in China that buying a new one but, again, that doesn´t apply to FUTABA, JR, MULTIPLEX, JETI and other top brands.

Best Regards.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:18 AM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erh7771 View Post
Perfect for a 7 yr old kid to get interested in RC

My daughter now is putting together a helicopter that is would be way beyond my attention level at her age because she flew drones at a younger age, the tear up kind that would cost 20 bucks at a mall kiosk.

We have two new club members, father and son, who come to the club to fly their DJI FPV and they love the kid can't be older than 10
Same here. Got my 8yr old hooked on an indoor drone.....now he likes R/C. You have to start somewhere right? Got him RF 8 for X'mas, and he was landing by noon on X'mas day.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:14 AM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jescardin View Post
I can assure you that a lot of service due to accidents, wear and many other reasons is done mainly to top level transmitters which are those we use for turbine planes.

It is easy to think that cheap radios do not care for so such service but then the economic situation strikes and many users prefers servicing their old radio outfits so as to continue using their owned receiver instead of switching to a cheaper radio brand and having to buy several new receivers. At least that is our experience in Spain.

Of course HK and other Chinese radios do not care any service as there is almost no repair services in Europe and USA and it is generally just more expensive to ship the radio back to be serviced in China that buying a new one but, again, that doesn´t apply to FUTABA, JR, MULTIPLEX, JETI and other top brands.

Best Regards.

Yes agreed with the Tx, they may need repair from time to time much like the turbine. Though if they were cheaper that would not apply! My Futaba 18FG Tx has not been back since it was bought and works as well as it did on day 1.

John
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:41 AM
  #37
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The frog has been cooking in the pot for a long time. It (we) just didn’t know it. There are a lot of reasons for the decline of the hobby and many people here have touched on it. I think one that needs to be unscored is how increasingly difficult it is to get to a place to fly a model airplane. It’s even more effort to find a field. In the old days you could go to a hobby shop and someone could tell you where to go. Now you have to have some dedication and do multiple Google searches. Which parent and child has that kind of patience when you can buy a drone and fly it in your living room? Both the parent and child have been satisfied... they are flying.

Another realm of RC that makes RC seem dated is FPV drone racing. Being “in the drone” uses much more of your senses and makes regular RC feel like control line for kids.

Finally, the regular camera drones have unlocked another hobby - aerial photography and videography that requires another dimension of skill and creativity that people overlook when they bash drones by saying they require no effort to fly. I personally do not care about the “flying” aspect of drones. I practice the technique of getting good shots. Perfecting various shots can be as difficult as 3D flying. I’m very much guilty of this... I recently purchased a DJI Inspire 2 to replace a s900 and my son and I hike parts of California coast to get some amazing views through our own eyes as well as the camera. When I get home I spend hours editing with Final Cut Pro and After Effects. It’s another creative outlet. Ultimately isn’t that what we are looking to get out of modeling?

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Old 01-15-2018, 08:06 AM
  #38
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who the F wants to fly a model airplane when you can fly your cat.

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Old 01-15-2018, 08:16 AM
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I bet PETA literally had a "cat" when they saw this!!! Hilarious!
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:52 PM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jgwright View Post
This is a very outdated concept, clearly you have not heard of 'just in time'. Holding product in stock in various markets is just a way of adding to the cost of the items sold and being unprofitable. We are now in the world of buying direct from the manufacturer, with no middleman in the manufacturing country and none in the country the sale is made. On a recent program on TV we saw a lorry driver that was delivering goods around Europe. He said the companies used to hold stocks in a warehouse but it is much more cost effective to treat for those goods in transit as being 'held in stock. Direct computer control of the delivery system makes this possible. I am not sure what 'servicing' a distributor does these days. Very little is repaired, if it does not work it is replaced. Not sure what 'servicing' is done at all except to our turbines and these can be sent back to the manufacturer.

John
To some degree I agree with you but the new concept does not seem to be working so well in the model airplane industry. Also sending products overseas for repair can be very costly and the manufacture that maintains
a dist in their larger markets will receive more business.
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:32 PM
  #41
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Well, 3D printing is starting to make real inroads into mass manufacturing; it's only a matter of time before we can do our "small scale" production of our higher end rc "toys", that otherwise don't have the production volume to attract larger scale manufacturers. At least for the bits and accessories. Then there's CNC, which is ubiquitous.

Problem going forward is attracting good CAD drafters that line up with machinists. I can only think of one or two that fits that description.

The loss of kids in our hobby around here has as much to do with the burying of the space program and de-emphasizing aerospace in favor of domestic careers as mentioned above. Still, my daughters best friend (girl) just got into Texas A&M engineering school for aerospace engineering. Life is fast for my kids and free time is very, very sparse by design of school and community; keep them engaged and they perform better, don't get into trouble, etc. like it or not, the drone stuff may actually be saving our side of the hobby, on its coat tails.

The world is changing, fast and at least in my neck of the woods the economy is in afterburner. We can't find qualified employees-we hope to just fill the slot with one that that might be able to be trained. Some positions don't ever get filled and we have to rearrange our busuness to cope. It's just bizarre, the healthcare field. And, it is making money, like it always has around here.

Back to our woes-thinking that, like SketchUp warehouses, we may need to resort to something similar for micro-production of certain low volume needs.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:42 AM
  #42
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It’s Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams fault! This I can tell you. So you want a nice jet model? Now it’s give me your money and we charge $500 for shipping and it’s 10 to 15 weeks for delivery. 2 months I have no jet. BVM same way, nothing in stock. Chief aircraft same way etc....started flying my 4 star 40.
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:43 AM
  #43
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I agree with a lot posted here. I think our hobby and local club is going to change quite a bit. Lots of things at play. Without the parents $ the options get pretty limited for kids. Not many 14 year olds can afford a 4K 35% or a 10k jet plus the high club dues, transportation, fuel for jets etc. Most kids working are paying for their car etc and don't have a lot of cash left over. My son learned how to fly young, he's 25 now. But now his time is working, paying insurance, house payment, etc. Spare time is playing with his dogs, relaxing around the house and playing play station online with his friends. The local club is 45 minutes away so... Some clubs aren't the most friendly as well. The small electric market has took a lot of the hobby out of the clubs. Kids can get a small park flier and go to the park, back roads or wherever and if they wreck they don't have as much invested. I think the 'middle class' is disappearing in our hobby. Cheap foamies, arfs or the high dollar stuff. I've seen a lot of people interested until they find out the price of what they like. No one wants to start with a trainer, we all want to go straight to the jet 😉
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:33 AM
  #44
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Every hobby's participants think their hobby is dying. Organizations from Moose lodge to VFW, and all in between think their groups are dying. Churches, small businesses, community groups, libraries, all think they are loosing participants. Older hobbyists in stamp collecting war gaming, and model trains can't understand why young people and kids aren't interested in their activities. They think their hobby must be dying.

Why do we older hobbyists need kids to validate our activity? In the 70's I was at best one out of 200 boys in school that played with model airplanes. I only had one other friend that did. I knew of no Fathers that did either. I was in a major metropolitan area too. Was that any indication of the hobby's health?

What real evidence is there that the RC model hobby is dying? Club membership numbers and hobby shop closings are not really valid indicators of hobby participation.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:43 AM
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Smith View Post
Every hobby's participants think their hobby is dying. Organizations from Moose lodge to VFW, and all in between think their groups are dying. Churches, small businesses, community groups, libraries, all think they are loosing participants. Older hobbyists in stamp collecting war gaming, and model trains can't understand why young people and kids aren't interested in their activities. They think their hobby must be dying.

Why do we older hobbyists need kids to validate our activity? In the 70's I was at best one out of 200 boys in school that played with model airplanes. I only had one other friend that did. I knew of no Fathers that did either. I was in a major metropolitan area too. Was that any indication of the hobby's health?

What real evidence is there that the RC model hobby is dying? Club membership numbers and hobby shop closings are not really valid indicators of hobby participation.
While I won't agree that all is fine with the hobby I think you bring up a good point. I started flying when I was 7. I was the only kid in the club. When I was a teen ager we belonged to a large club in Southern California. I only remember one other teen that flew there.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:50 AM
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Smith View Post
What real evidence is there that the RC model hobby is dying? Club membership numbers and hobby shop closings are not really valid indicators of hobby participation.
I was with you right up until the last sentence. I think those are VERY good indicators. That's also to say that club itself is part of the "hobby" for me and I think a lot of others too. Yes I like to fly RC, but if my only option were to fly by myself in an abandoned parking lot, I wouldn't bother. That's not enjoyable to me.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:27 AM
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Smith View Post
Every hobby's participants think their hobby is dying. Organizations from Moose lodge to VFW, and all in between think their groups are dying. Churches, small businesses, community groups, libraries, all think they are loosing participants. Older hobbyists in stamp collecting war gaming, and model trains can't understand why young people and kids aren't interested in their activities. They think their hobby must be dying.

Why do we older hobbyists need kids to validate our activity? In the 70's I was at best one out of 200 boys in school that played with model airplanes. I only had one other friend that did. I knew of no Fathers that did either. I was in a major metropolitan area too. Was that any indication of the hobby's health?

What real evidence is there that the RC model hobby is dying? Club membership numbers and hobby shop closings are not really valid indicators of hobby participation.
Mr. Smith, I’d say the quadcopter segment of the hobby is booming!

And for real evidence, I present to you exhibit A and B:

A: Hobbico/Futaba declare bankruptcy

B: JR declares bankruptcy
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:50 AM
  #48
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Futaba declared bankruptcy?? Where did you see that??
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:27 AM
  #49
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Futaba is probably going to take a huge hit on the $$ Hobbico owes them, Hobbico announced it has over 100 mil in debt and it is mostly unsecured. The problem with these collapses is it is just not one company that goes under, all the guys that Hobbico owes money to could have a very rough time.

Don't forget about the employees that probably had retirement and stock that will take a hit as well.

All not good

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Old 01-16-2018, 11:55 AM
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Ah, mere speculation, got it.
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