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WTH? Long time coming back.. so confused

Old 10-19-2021, 10:04 AM
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talbert
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Angry WTH? Long time coming back.. so confused

Afternoon,

Turning to this board as I remembered it from a long time ago. I haven't flown RC in about 20 years. Thought about getting back in to..really throwing my hands up here. I visited my local shops (that was a bust) then I went to the usual suspects online. The hobby looks NOTHING like it used to.

- Shops dried up
- Clubs far and few between
- Online sites have seriously changed their inventory
- Planes are disappointing, everything seems plastic and foam
- Electric? Really? (ugh) .is glow and Gas even around? Seems like nothings available.
- Hardly any kits, building etc. (much less doping, seems extinct). Monokote at $24 a roll?!?

I finally move out of the city into the country on 400 acres with nothing around for miles and hoped to grab a few plans tor old time sake and I'm just left speechless. Then I read some FAA none sense that apparently is complicating things. Should I just move on? Just not what I thought I was coming back to. Don't mean to be a negative Nancy, just disappointment.

Any help appreciated (PS I'm looking to fly solo on my property in the middle of no where, clubs aren't really my thing anymore).



Old 10-19-2021, 05:38 PM
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Hydro Junkie
 
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You are right, things have changed, and not for the better.
To address your comments:
  • The local hobby shops have been gradually going under. As internet sales increases, the LHS couldn't match the prices and had to close
  • Clubs have been closing down due to losing their flying fields, lack of members or outside issues forcing the matter
  • The largest online retailer, Tower Hobbies, had its parent company go bankrupt. The company that bought what was left dropped several brands, Top Flight and Aquacraft being two that come to mind
  • The manufacturers that are left are catering to the "I WANT IT NOW!!!!!" crowd. Almost everything being sold now is a foam or ARF that is made in Asia.
  • Electric has become the power of choice since it's quiet and doesn't require any "tinkering", not to mention it's cleaner since you don't have to wipe "slime" off of your plane. With that said, YES, nitro and gas engines are still available. You can still order OS, Evolution and DLE engines through Tower, Dessert Aircraft and BH Hanson are still around so yes, you can still fly fuel powered planes
  • Yes, kits are hard to find but are still available. Sig has changed hands but is still in business, for starters. Balsa USA is also still around, if you're looking for larger or more complex builds. There are also several private "kit cutters" that are laser cutting kits for planes that are no longer sold or made by manufacturers that have gone out of business. Then again, there's also the option of building from plans. There are several places to buy or download plans from that you could get printed out.
Yes, the hobby has changed but it's not dead. You have to look a little more to find what you need and preplan more than you used to but it's still viable. The biggest things are to not get discouraged and to do what you used to do:
HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE HOBBY!!!!!
Welcome Back
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michaelgantt (10-20-2021)
Old 10-19-2021, 06:02 PM
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Outrider6
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^^ Good points. That "instant gratification thing" put a damper on this hobby, more than anything else did, in my opinion.

If enough of us stay active in traditional r/c modeling - building kits, using glow engines, etc., then I think we can keep it alive. It will never thrive again, but maybe we can kinda keep it alive, even if just a little bit.

I have other hobbies that currently take up more of my time, and an OV-10 has been on my bench since forever, and still has a ways to go, but at least I am trying to somewhat do my part to help keep the hobby alive. I do truly love building kits and flying, and want to keep doing it for another 20-30 years.

But unfortunately, I just don't see many, if any, new glow-powered kits coming out in the future. And other than possibly a Kougar and Smith Miniplane, I have already built all of the Sig kits I would care to have, and BUSA doesn't really offer anything that I want, since I am more into aerobatics than scale WWI birds. There just aren't that many kits that are both available and something that I want. I imagine if either of those two companies would come out with new kits, then people would definitely buy them, but probably not enough to give a return on the manufacturers investment.
Old 10-19-2021, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Outrider6 View Post
But unfortunately, I just don't see many, if any, new glow-powered kits coming out in the future. And other than possibly a Kougar and Smith Miniplane, I have already built all of the Sig kits I would care to have, and BUSA doesn't really offer anything that I want, since I am more into aerobatics than scale WWI birds. There just aren't that many kits that are both available and something that I want. I imagine if either of those two companies would come out with new kits, then people would definitely buy them, but probably not enough to give a return on the manufacturers investment.
Would a 68" span Pitts 12 work for you? There's a thread that has plans for one in it that you can download. In fact this thread talks all about the design and reworking AND should have an email address to LaserWorks(post 50), that is if you want to try and get a laser cut kit:
Pitts M12 26% plans available soon
Old 10-19-2021, 07:45 PM
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I agree with the direction the hobby is going. I think a big reason is in how our lives have changed in the last 40 years. We have so much less recreational time and father/son activities seem to declining as well. That father/son team is where I got my start as did many others. This not only meant trips to the flying field but many evenings and rainy weekends spending time together in the hobby room. The ARF and RTF models do allow many without the time for a full build to enjoy the hobby. Perhaps differently then we do but they are enjoying it none the less.

Yes, we haven’t a fraction of what we used to have but there us still a gold mine of old school kits and engines out there. In my own shop are a Webra Bully 35cc, a Webra Black head .61, an Enya .60X and a HB .40 PDP. All of those engines have kits or rebuilds waiting for them including a Pilot 1/3.5 Pitts, Spickler Quickie 500 and a Bridi Rearwin Speedster. With some patience I will eventually find a Miss Norway kit on either EBay or here. If not I can always scratch build one.

Point is there are plenty of options still available, they just take a little more effort to find then they used to. On the bright side, servos, batteries and radio gear in general is way better then what we had 30 years ago.
Old 10-20-2021, 12:00 AM
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I would disagree on one point, Speed. I don't think we have less recreational time, we just have many more things that we can do in that time. The problem is that the father/child time has pretty much gone the way of the cannon, that being most children would rather spend their time on Facebook, Twitter or playing video games than learning to build and fly airplanes. Then again, most fathers don't have to ability to build them either due to other "priorities. I see how little mechanical ability many have and it's another reason to see why our hobby, among many, is fading
Old 10-20-2021, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
I would disagree on one point, Speed. I don't think we have less recreational time, we just have many more things that we can do in that time. The problem is that the father/child time has pretty much gone the way of the cannon, that being most children would rather spend their time on Facebook, Twitter or playing video games than learning to build and fly airplanes. Then again, most fathers don't have to ability to build them either due to other "priorities. I see how little mechanical ability many have and it's another reason to see why our hobby, among many, is fading
everywhere you look, you see blank faces staring down at smart phones. plus people would rather paly games than build or fly rc. one fellow at work said i spend too much money, just to risk a crash. that comment came from conversation about a bird i have 500 in, which is not much when its compared to a graphics card he dropped 1800 on to play his video games....Electronics is the new Addiction sweeping across our lives.
Old 10-20-2021, 05:15 AM
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In them thar olden days, I would spend several hours each month reading and re-reading the 2-3 model airplane magazines I subscribed to. Now it is many, many times that scrolling around various forums about RC, with less knowledge gain per hour. No wonder things in my workshop seem to take forever....
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Old 10-20-2021, 06:26 AM
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talbert
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Thank you for the replies (especially Hydro). You covered it all man. Thanks for bringing me up to speed. I'm going to dig around some.
Old 10-20-2021, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by talbert View Post
Thank you for the replies (especially Hydro). You covered it all man. Thanks for bringing me up to speed. I'm going to dig around some.
No problem.
I try to help out others where and when I can and, as I see it, right now you Texans need all the help you can get. That said, I have friends that live in Arlington, roughly 50 miles away, that the wife and I are worried about as anyone that watches the legitimate news knows could be in danger very quickly. Stay safe and keep us updated on how you're doing with the planes
Old 10-21-2021, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
I would disagree on one point, Speed. I don't think we have less recreational time, we just have many more things that we can do in that time. The problem is that the father/child time has pretty much gone the way of the cannon, that being most children would rather spend their time on Facebook, Twitter or playing video games than learning to build and fly airplanes. Then again, most fathers don't have to ability to build them either due to other "priorities. I see how little mechanical ability many have and it's another reason to see why our hobby, among many, is fading

The lack of mechanical ability is no joke. I’m sure you see it in your professional life the same as I do. We currently have 3 open positions for assembly technicians and get maybe two interviewees a month. My 60 hour work weeks are not going to end any time soon, I’m sure I am not alone in that respect, many modelers are of the “ work with our hands “ kind of guys that are having to work longer hours because our jobs are viewed as undesirable to the newer generation.
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Old 10-21-2021, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by speedracerntrixie View Post
The lack of mechanical ability is no joke. I’m sure you see it in your professional life the same as I do.
All the time. It never ceases to amaze me on how many people get jobs that require mechanical ability that don't even know how to use a ratchet or read a mechanical drawing
Originally Posted by speedracerntrixie View Post
I’m sure I am not alone in that respect, many modelers are of the “ work with our hands “ kind of guys that are having to work longer hours because our jobs are viewed as undesirable to the newer generation.
My job is viewed as "Undesirable" due to the fact I have to be certified in over 200 processes to actually do my job. Most of the "youngsters" coming in to the work force don't want my job due to the amount of training, expertise and knowledge required to do it.
Old 10-22-2021, 06:14 PM
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Well since it’s Friday and some of us are wishing for some of the kits we wanted in years gone by, perhaps a little inspiration. My kit won’t be started until spring maybe summer but here is a picture of the kit and the full scale example located 50 miles away. If anyone else has a bucket list airplane by all means share with us.



Old 10-26-2021, 12:44 PM
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I'm not as pessimistic as some others about the current state of the hobby. Yes, the big vendors are all about electric and foam. That's what sells. They aren't bad planes, just different from the build/fly hobby that you remember.
The good news is that boutique vendors are making quality kits for pretty much anything you want. Sig is still around too. We have OS and Saito for glow engines along with a big used market.
On electric- E power pretty much matches glow now for power to weight, so the only downside now is flight time. It has a lot going for it, especially if you build and can save some weight by not beefing up for vibration.
Monokote, like nearly every other product made in China, is inflated for now. It's probably a good time to learn how to do painted finishes.

The upshot of all the change is that we still have 90% of what we used to have 40 years ago, but also high performance electric and the option of foam RTF planes. The radios are a lot better too- more reliable and a lot more features for the money.
Old 10-27-2021, 03:42 PM
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Hello. New member here. I too was totally surprised when I started lookin around. I have not flown for 30 years.I was wanting a glow trainer to entertain my grandchildren on Family night. I used to fly .10 powered gliders to Q40 powered giants. I see fuel is sky high and glow motors are very hard to get new. The radio kits I used to get came complete with everything.Batteries,chargers 3 servos. Not now where I am looking anyway. Not giving up yet. looking local for a good trainer and I can convert to the new gas engines I guess. And a new radio. I have 17 acres here to fly on. I will talk to an old friend I hope who is still in the hobby and get brought up to date I guess.Never to late to learn new tricks I guess.I am sure I still have plans around here up in the floor joist I could scratch.

Jack


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Old 10-30-2021, 09:06 AM
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Some of my birds from the late 80's. Gosh I miss some of them.

Old 12-11-2021, 05:18 PM
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I actually learned to adjust. It took a while but I do not have a problem with it anymore. Time moves on. We are not in our 20's anymore. I can buy plans. I can buy short kits. I can buy balsa. I can buy better radios and better engines. Life is good
Old 12-14-2021, 10:37 AM
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With regards to all the planes being plastic and foam, for beginners that’s a good thing! The likes of the E-Flite apprentice have made entry to the hobby far more accessible than it was when I was starting out!

Also, you can still buy balsa and ply, and build your own from plans, or buy a big box of wood (I think they’re still called “kits”) and build one of them.
Old 12-14-2021, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Smokeyr67 View Post
Also, you can still buy balsa and ply, and build your own from plans, or buy a big box of wood (I think they’re still called “kits”) and build one of them.
I recently bought a full size plan of a vintage model. I also bought a "short kit". So it is all still very do-able. The engines are improved and the radios are improved. What's not to like? Yes the industry has change significantly but that is just life.
Old 12-19-2021, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
.
  • Yes, kits are hard to find but are still available. Sig has changed hands but is still in business, for starters. Balsa USA is also still around, if you're looking for larger or more complex builds. There are also several private "kit cutters" that are laser cutting kits for planes that are no longer sold or made by manufacturers that have gone out of business. Then again, there's also the option of building from plans. There are several places to buy or download plans from that you could get printed out.
.
Don't forget about Bruce Tharpe kits.
Old 12-31-2021, 01:57 PM
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Life is about change and nothing ever stays the same.
Old 01-03-2022, 01:30 PM
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Talbert, you're actually near one of the more active RC areas in the country. I visit Wild Bill's and Roy's hobby shops when I'm in the area and like both. There are several RC clubs in the area. You might make contact with some of them to get the best current info on resources even if you have no desire to join a club. There are several swap meets in your area as well. There are numerous "short kit" manufacturers that have either new designs of their own or they've picked up some of the old designs and are laser cutting them. Plans for many are available on Aerofred and Outerzone.uk. Glow and gasoline are alive and well in Texas. At the fly-ins there is some electric but mostly gasoline and still a fair amount of glow. Glow fuel has gotten disproportionately more expensive to the point that larger airplanes are more economical in the long run. I just go to a local FBO and buy 100LL avgas for my gasoline powered planes. It has no alcohol and doesn't varnish up if it sits in the carburetor for weeks/months like pump gas will. It's about $4-$5/gallon plus oil vs $25+ for glow fuel. Balsa USA is still cranking our kits. A club in Weatherford has a huge swap meet once a year and it's a good place to find old kits and already built planes. If you aren't familiar with the AMA website, they publish all registered fly-ins and swap meets by month and by state. Much has changed but there are still plenty of us building with wood and continuing the tradition.

Radios have changed as well. If you still have good 72MHz radios, you can put LiFePO4 (or just LiFe) batteries in the transmitters. They require computerized chargers but the smaller ones are not expensive. NiCad batteries are few and far between now but you won't miss them. Some are using NiMH for receivers but most have gone to LiFe or Lithium Polymer (LiPo). Batteries will have a whole new learning curve but they're far better than when you last flew. There are more different types and qualities of servos than imaginable. The 2.4 GHz radios are much more interference resistant than the older radios in most areas. Lots to learn but you can still be a traditional modeler.
Old 05-25-2022, 04:59 PM
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Talbert,
I too notice the same trend when I came back. Fortunately, some of the better kits imho could be still found on eBay. Mind you, sometimes at ridiculous prices. Over the past five years I have been buying kits and or collecting plans and manuals for my favorites builds. OneNote is a great tool for collecting info and digitizing it. Almost everything needed for a build still can still be sourced. Just not as easy. With this said, once you have a bill of materials and a good plan almost any plane can be built. We just have to go a little old school and cut, sand, prep and paint our birds like we did a few decades ago. Skills I had to learn include canopy forming from plastic sheets. Making my own fiberglass cowlings etc. The good news is radios. About same prices and better abilities.
To wrap it up. If you can build a plane then. You can build them now.

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