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Possible cause of lack of newcomers

Old 04-11-2018, 04:33 AM
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fliers1
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Default Possible cause of lack of newcomers

Many reasons have been rendered as to why there is a shortage of newcomers to the hobby. Here is probably the main cause.
Attached Thumbnails THE INSTRUCTOR.pdf  
Old 04-11-2018, 11:20 AM
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Thanks, F1

I'm the student on Page 1.
I started my training in November last year. I'm hoping to be allowed to take off and land sometime soon.
But I will not give up. (At this stage).

Cheers
Max
Old 04-12-2018, 02:21 AM
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There is so much truth to that article but, with all that said, it still misses the biggest problem of all:
THE NEED FOR INSTANT GRATIFICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today's kids, for lack of a better word, either haven't learned or even tried to learn how to do anything that requires patience. To build something is to waste time as it can probably be ordered off the internet, ready to go. For example, I was working of redesigning a scale hydroplane at work one night when there was nothing going on. A guy, in his mid to late 20s, comes into the area and asked what I was doing. When I said I was redesigning a boat so that I could build it to fit my needs, he looked at me like I was crazy and asked "Why don't you just order one online that will work?" When I told him the boat I was working on wasn't available online, he looked at me as said "if it's not available, it can't be done" and walked away. The way I see it, the only way to prove the guy wrong is the build the boat and then take it to work and display it.
Old 04-12-2018, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
There is so much truth to that article but, with all that said, it still misses the biggest problem of all:
THE NEED FOR INSTANT GRATIFICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today's kids, for lack of a better word, either haven't learned or even tried to learn how to do anything that requires patience. To build something is to waste time as it can probably be ordered off the internet, ready to go. For example, I was working of redesigning a scale hydroplane at work one night when there was nothing going on. A guy, in his mid to late 20s, comes into the area and asked what I was doing. When I said I was redesigning a boat so that I could build it to fit my needs, he looked at me like I was crazy and asked "Why don't you just order one online that will work?" When I told him the boat I was working on wasn't available online, he looked at me as said "if it's not available, it can't be done" and walked away. The way I see it, the only way to prove the guy wrong is the build the boat and then take it to work and display it.
If that is the case, and apparently it's not just the kids, unfortunately, there is not a thing to be done for the need for instant gratification. The industry tried with the in essence, self flying airplanes, but it didn't seem to help much. I guess all we can do is sit back and watch this great hobby/sport go down the drain.How many manufacturers, distributors and hobby shops have shut down in recent years?
Old 04-12-2018, 11:51 AM
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I think the WOW!!!!!!!!!! factor has left the hobby as well. Many just don't see the thrill, skill or anything else watching someone fly a pattern at the local flying field. Society has pretty much gotten so hooked on media and FPS games that watching a plane cruise by at 60 or so MPH is just boring. The outsider, looking in, only sees a plane chugging by, not the hours of practice it takes to make the flying look effortless or the endless tinkering and compromises it takes to build, repair and fine tune an R/C aircraft. The way I see it, what will bring back the hobby to prominence is the total collapse of the internet since everything people are hooked on will no longer be available to them
Old 04-13-2018, 12:29 AM
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I agree with Hydro Junkie. Several years ago I used to have 5 or 6 students I was helping during the summer, last year I had 1. And he was a guy that used to fly and just needed practice to get back into it. Kids these days get some little RTF foam plane or quad-copter and buzz around in their back yard. When they break it or just get bored they move on to the next new toy. Nobody wants to make a commitment to build and learn to fly. I have no idea about how to change that though.
Old 04-13-2018, 04:08 AM
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I have a tendency to agree with you, in a way.
AMA gave it their best shot with Take off and Grow AMA Flight School
Suppose those industry members who are still with us, financially supported doing something like this on a regular basis?
Since it's not reasonable to expect the "instant gratification society" to see the light and change their way of thinking. Unless someone can come up with miracle, as I said there is literally nothing anyone can do but to sit back and watch our hobby slowly die out.
Old 04-13-2018, 04:49 AM
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A great story that I can relate to very well. It is why I only do jet and advance gas training now. Truly burned out as a primary instructor. Some of it is funny, some of the story is the sad truth, and I am glad that the author pointed out that the "bench flyers" don't need to be there intruding upon the instructor's/student time of working out issues.
Old 04-13-2018, 07:30 AM
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We are raising two attractive teen age girls. I have a shop full of airplanes, cars and boats in various stages of completion. When a teen age boy comes over to see one of the girls if for some reason he comes into the shop, I have yet to have one show the slightest interest in any of the projects. If you can't send messages to your peers, they are not interested in it.

True story: I once had reason to pick up and haul one of the girls along with three of her friends someplace. I noticed almost dead silence in the car at some point and looked around. All four girls had their cell phones out and were communicating with someone via text messages. I don't know if they were texting each other or had four different conversations going or some combination of the two. From that point, I banned the use of cell phones in my vehicles except in the case of emergency. If folks wanted to communicate in my vehicle, they were forced to do it face to face verbally.
Old 04-13-2018, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RCFlyerDan View Post
A great story that I can relate to very well. It is why I only do jet and advance gas training now. Truly burned out as a primary instructor. Some of it is funny, some of the story is the sad truth, and I am glad that the author pointed out that the "bench flyers" don't need to be there intruding upon the instructor's/student time of working out issues.
Over a period of 40 years, I've belonged to 8 different clubs. In each and everyone of those clubs, beginners had a problem finding someone to train them. I spent most of my time training and usually I would be the only instructor there. Instructor burnout soon raised it ugly head.
It seemed that any other club I visited had the same problem helping beginners get in the air and on their own. Most of these clubs only offered instruction one day a week or offered no instruction at all. One club only had instruction one day a month.
In one of those clubs I belonged to had a youngster who couldn't get a ride to the field because his parents only had one vehicle and both worked. Sooo, the kid would show up at the field with his 40 size airplane and all his equipment strapped down on a trailer attached to his bicycle.
Even though I had burned out from teaching and swore I would never teach again, I had no trouble at all spending time teaching that kid. He earned his wings on his 3rd lesson.

Last edited by fliers1; 04-13-2018 at 11:50 AM.
Old 04-13-2018, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
In one of those clubs I belonged to had a youngster who couldn't get a ride to the field because his parents only had one vehicle and both worked. Sooo, the kid would show up at the field with his 40 size airplane and all his equipment strapped down on a trailer attached to his bicycle.
Even though I had burned out from teaching and swore I would never teach again, I had no trouble at all spending time teaching that kid. He earned his wings on his 3rd lesson.
And that is the kind of person you want to teach. If he's willing to come up with a way to get to the field under those conditions, he'd be the person I'd be willing to work with since he's shown he has the desire to succeed.
As a side note, the wife and I belong to a square dance club. The club started a lesson series in January. Since the beginning of class, not one person has shown the willingness to make every lesson and yet, even though they haven't learned every move yet(there's only 65 to 70), they expect to be graduated and turned loose to dance when and where they want. Some think that what they learned will get them through as others will help them with what they don't know. WHAT WILL HAPPEN is they will soon be avoided because others won't want to have to drag them through just so they can dance as well. Does this sound familiar, kind of what happens at the field with the new people wanting to learn to fly?
Old 04-13-2018, 04:00 PM
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I have long believed that almost nobody can be brought into the hobby by air shows and public days.. People that become involved with it are the people that can't be pushed away by the heart break and pains of the hobby.. They just have it in them and can't shake it !

There is no doubt its hard on people that will teach.......however most of the people that train have a few students that look up to them for the rest of their lives...
So many times my friends and I have laughed at ourselves and said "Whats wrong with us? why can't we stop building/flying...its an addiction" The truly addicted can survive on endless building and almost never going to the field (guilty)

Old 04-14-2018, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by foodstick View Post
I have long believed that almost nobody can be brought into the hobby by air shows and public days.. People that become involved with it are the people that can't be pushed away by the heart break and pains of the hobby.. They just have it in them and can't shake it !
You hit the nail squarely on the head.

When I ran a hobby shop a few years ago, I definitely could not count on 2 local clubs to stay in business. Most customers who came in the store did not have any interest in RC aircraft, but were simply curious to see what I was selling.
I asked everyone who came in if they would like to fly, but not necessarily buy RC airplanes. 99% claimed that if they did fly, they would most certainly crash. So I suggested they come out to our flying field, which was a couple of miles away, just to watch. If I offered to let them fly my trainer, most would totally reject the idea. Once I got the plane in the air, I would ask them to stand next to me so I could explain how easy it is to fly RC airplanes. Then I would hand them the tx (no buddy-box), and tell them to put their thumb on the aileron/elevator stick and not move it at all. My LT-40 was trimmed out to fly in a large circle by itself. With a simple small left or right stick movement command, my new unknowing "student" would be able to fly for at least 20 minutes.

That is how I was able to keep my doors open for several years.
I tried to share this promotion/training method with other club members and many related businesses, they showed no interest what-so-ever.

Even though the industry and AMA has spent millions over the years with their promotions and ads, but so many RC related businesses has been going under, like Hobbico, JR, etc. Your point has been proven many times over. You have to provide a very positive RC flying experience, much like an auto dealer.
Imagine if one auto dealer didn't allow customers to take a test drive and another dealer went out their way to let customers do so, even take a vehicle over night. Which one would sell more vehicles?

Last edited by fliers1; 04-14-2018 at 03:02 AM.
Old 04-14-2018, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
In one of those clubs I belonged to had a youngster who couldn't get a ride to the field because his parents only had one vehicle and both worked. Sooo, the kid would show up at the field with his 40 size airplane and all his equipment strapped down on a trailer attached to his bicycle.
Even though I had burned out from teaching and swore I would never teach again, I had no trouble at all spending time teaching that kid. He earned his wings on his 3rd lesson.
That young man is probably a full scale jet captain. I started at 11 with my Jr. High School metal shop teacher as my rc teacher. I can still remember him, due to his influences in my life with aviation. So, you did a good thing there too. It was kind of funny, when I was 14-18, I used to teach all of the "old guys" , 40+ at the field. Always felt funny teaching older, then did it too as a CFII/MEI. Then went on to become a full scale jet captain too. All of my long time friends, most of ten years or more, come from the hobby. They were all my student at one time. I have always received gratification to take someone who has no idea of how a plane works, and being able to take them to solo. Nice feeling and accomplishment for me and them too. All of my time has always been paid back by them in some fashion or another. Not with money, but through friendship and comradery with camping with their campers, help to take me to the Dr's, one guy owned a limo company and used to take us to Top Gun and other Tiano events in a stretch limo, help around my house, dinners, etc. A couple of them would do anything in the world for me now. I have a talent to share, and they share their talents in return.
Old 04-16-2018, 12:38 AM
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Read this on a club website.

This is considered the norm.
"We have approximately 6 instructors at any given time during the season and we are happy to provide free flight instruction to all club members.
Some students learn quickly (a few weeks), but most will take a couple months to solo depending on how much training they are able to put in.
Although it's REALLY hard to estimate how much flight time it will take before you are able to solo, you should count on 50 fifteen minute flights to start. You can expect 2 to 6 flights a day on an average Saturday or Sunday."
I can't imagine very many parents would have the time or patience to haul their kids to the flying field knowing they will have do so on such a regular basis.
Some clubs only offer instruction once a month, which in some areas the flying season is only 4 or 5 months, that is if the weather cooperates

Last edited by fliers1; 04-16-2018 at 12:42 AM.
Old 04-16-2018, 01:03 AM
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Not only that; but there is nowhere to practice.

The club won't let you fly until you have passed.

All you have is the Simulator.
Old 04-16-2018, 06:13 PM
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I think the mainstream of our hobby is dead wrong when it comes to why we aren't drawing new young people info the hobby.

Willing to work- Some people are wired for mechanical type things and have the itch. They hasn't chsnged. The growth of maker spaces all across the country is evidence of that.

Parents not willing to devote the time- Did you ever attend a select baseball or soccer game? How about varsity football? Parents will devote immense resources to activities if they see value in it.

Kids can't afford it- PS4 systems were $600 when they came out, and 15 year olds bought them faster than they could make them. Games are $60 a pop, plus the Iphone and data plan most of them have isn't cheap either.

Instant gratification- Yes, kids go for it. They always have. But I teach middle school and know plenty of kids who plan and work for what they want.

So what is the problem? I see two. First, planes aren't new and cool. They were in the 50's, even the 79's, but not now. Second, clubs have become increasingly unwelcoming to young people. Older pilots are impatient and want to see a full lifetime commitment before training even starts. Some won't let new guys who show an interest just enjoy it.
The good news is that kids still like this stuff. I teach middle achool tech ed and engineering, and have decorated my room with some old planes. Kids ask me about them all the time and want to fly them. If we welcome those few and let them have a good time with it, our hobby will grow.
Old 04-17-2018, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
Many reasons have been rendered as to why there is a shortage of newcomers to the hobby. Here is probably the main cause.
Or it could be done this way. Give the student a 3 minute ground school, get the trainer in the air, hand her or him the tx, give them 5 minutes of hands-on instruction and let them have full control (more or less) for at least 20 minutes.
I have them fly the pattern, teach them how to fly figure 8s, help them set up approach and assist them into landings. This is all done within their first ever RC flight.
That is what I've been doing for the last 40 years or so.
Attached Files
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THE INSTRUCTOR.pdf (268.1 KB, 25 views)

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Old 04-17-2018, 04:45 AM
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I guess that I had extremely good Parents. They always made sure that my Brother and I were able to chase our dreams and desires growing up. Did we get everything we wanted? No. But, they made sure that I was able to get to the flying field from the time I was 11-17. I wasn't allowed to have my DL and drive on my own until 17. Both of them worked a lot too. Dad owning his own business put in at least 70+ hours per week and Mom was up around 50+. But, they always made sure that I got to the flying field, and my Brother got to whatever sports practice and games that he was involved. At one place that we lived, a neighborhood boy my age started flying planes too. Both of our parents would car pool us. One would drop us off, the other would pick us up. As we all know, there are definitely people out there that shouldn't have had kids and don't dedicate the time to them. But, I still think that there are good parents out there that will do what it takes to get their kids to their desires. And, yes, sport parents are dedicated too.

Jester; I am glad to hear that kids still do work for what they want to buy. Most of us older folks on here started with paper routes on bicycles, mowing the neighbors lawn, which here in Florida isn't ever done by kids, I even painted a neighbor's house at 16!! So, I always worked for my hobby. Not saying that I didn't get kits, or engines, etc at Christmas or BDay. Some of the issues with kids getting into the hobby too, is the over protective parents! I started to fly CL at around 8-9 years old. How many parents would let their 8-9 year old start a Cox engine unsupervised? Yet, willing to give them a more dangerous electric motor with an APC prop. I also think that due to some smaller, cheaper flying stuff under a $100 is all done at home in the back yard or at the ball field, if you can get onto one. I have done a lot of primary training over the years. I even started to teach the older guys at the field when I was a teenager. I learned, as most of us older guys, without the assistance of buddy boxes and simulators. So, it did take 40-50 flights to solo. Jester, my rc instructor was my shop teacher. I will always remember his help and influence with aviation. So, you have more impact then you might think. Now a days learning r/c is mostly learned on the sim and followed up at the field. If they are young, then soloing in less then 10 hours is very achievable. I even soloed one 22 year old in 2 flights. For the older men, 50+, even with the sim, may still take the 50+ hours. I have found that when I am working with older, well, guys my age now......lol.....that they aren't real diligent about getting their eyes checked. So, if a guy is just not getting it, I always ask them when they had their last eye check up. Most of the time it is years. After the student gets new glasses or cataracts removed, they will solo in just a couple flights. Another thing that I see is that amazes me, is how many men have NO mechanical skills at all. I guess our society and technology is to blame. But, some of the men that I have worked with truly have no idea on how to fix their planes or ARF's. I've always made my primary students build at least one kit to flying stage. Most everyone did it too. I told them that it taught them how to fix their ARF's now.

Flier, I also looked to see where you are located. Trying to promote a hobby shop in a town of 20-30K population out in the middle of no where is going to be difficult. Especially with online mail order. I visit a hobby shop about twice a year. Since I only fly turbines, the local hobby shop doesn't have what I need. I see in another forum thread that you are even giving free flying lessons. Maybe as a suggestion on trying to get younger kids flying are different outings for them from school. Different Clubs that I have belong to over the years will sponsor The Civil Air Patrol, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and members would volunteer their time, trainers, fuel, etc for a day with them. Provide a cook out with hamburgers and hot dogs. With Civil Air Patrol, the kid already has an interest in aviation. Another idea is to go to the local VA and work with the Veterans. Have a sponsored Veterans' Day. If I see any kids at our field, it is because their Dad is flying r/c. One kid that comes out, doesn't even fly. Not sure why, but maybe his Dad.

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Old 04-17-2018, 06:05 AM
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It almost seems like it`s getting bred out of kids as the generations progress. I don`t know if has anything to do with being "new and cool". I thought for sure that my sons friends that came around would see me flying in the back yard might at least come over and ask about it, but not a peep.
A brief flare of interest from my son, but no more. Kind of sad too, cause with a little more stick time, he would have been flying circles around me.
I only know that for me, the first time I saw these guys out in a vacant lot flying off a big concrete slab when I was in the 4th grade, I was hooked.
Old 04-17-2018, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by RCFlyerDan View Post
Flier, I also looked to see where you are located. Trying to promote a hobby shop in a town of 20-30K population out in the middle of no where is going to be difficult. Especially with online mail order. I visit a hobby shop about twice a year. Since I only fly turbines, the local hobby shop doesn't have what I need. I see in another forum thread that you are even giving free flying lessons. Maybe as a suggestion on trying to get younger kids flying are different outings for them from school. Different Clubs that I have belong to over the years will sponsor The Civil Air Patrol, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and members would volunteer their time, trainers, fuel, etc for a day with them. Provide a cook out with hamburgers and hot dogs. With Civil Air Patrol, the kid already has an interest in aviation. Another idea is to go to the local VA and work with the Veterans. Have a sponsored Veterans' Day. If I see any kids at our field, it is because their Dad is flying r/c. One kid that comes out, doesn't even fly. Not sure why, but maybe his Dad.

I closed my hobby shop many years ago, but I did prove that the old adage, location, location, location didn't mean much concerning marketing RC aircraft. There was a Hobby Town USA in Buffalo, NY Population 256,902, that didn't do well at all and couldn't sell RC aircraft, in fact didn't really care to carry airplanes and helicopters because he felt there was no market for them. Of course if I were to have a shop in a large populated area, I could definitely do very well.
The advantage of being in "the middle of no where" is that there are many large open areas for flying fields. Many of my customers lived on many acres of land in which they didn't even have to join a club to fly.

There is only one shop that's been around for over 60 years that is doing well, but although they do carry RC aircraft, but their biggest sales are RC car, trucks and quad copters. When my shop was open, although there were 6 flying clubs in the area,I didn't wait for club members to come in my shop, I offered anyone and everyone the opportunity to fly my trainer. That's how I kept my shop open for 6 years. Those who I sold airplanes to became repeat customers who quickly bought more advanced aircraft kits and ARFs.

2004-09%20Column.pdf

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Old 04-17-2018, 09:19 AM
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Kids have no reason to be interested in model aviation. The local airports have disappeared. Most kids have never seen an airplane other than perhaps a commercial airliner. They have never met a pilot. They don't want to pursue a career in aviation. Today's youth have no connection to aviation. To them, RC aviation is a hobby from a bygone era - similar to model model railroad and ham radio.
Old 04-19-2018, 04:48 AM
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The idea of attracting kids to the hobby is a great idea, but when I had my shop, most of my customers were adults. Many were disillusioned beginners from local clubs. Once I taught them how to fly, I asked them if they had any kids. Many said they had kids who were indeed interested in what their dad was doing but didn't want to get involved until their dad or mom learned to fly. That's when I helped many fathers and sons get into the hobby and flying together. Some at club fields (1 was 2 miles from my shop) and some I trained on their 50 plus acre farm fields. Many started informal clubs with only those they knew.
Old 04-19-2018, 08:05 AM
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The problem with kids isn't getting them into the hobby. The problem is they are so "action dependent" that they need things going at "warp 5" or better to keep them interested. To chug around a grass strip at 40-60 mph isn't enough to keep them from getting bored and walking away. I see this as a result of most being "babysat" with game systems that stressed the high speed FPS or role playing games that got them into fantasy environments where they were immersed in action from log in to log out. If they died, they just restarted the level or reset their character to start over. R/C doesn't give them a "reset" button so it's not normally something they will get into.
Old 04-21-2018, 04:39 AM
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most of the e games kids play now a days are reactive to the individual players habits,....the games read what the kid does and change slightly to avoid defeat. kids expect that and rc flying doesn't necessarily have that element. kids expect their game activities to not be predictable and so RC boarders that predictable line and kids get bored with it quickly. they also don't want to be bothered with the drudgery of building a plane in order to fly it. look at the introduction and popularity of ARF's today. amongst their younger users,... they even get talked about as "being built". ie. most amount of entertainment with least amount of effort,....that's what it's all about today.

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