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Industry ethics?

Old 05-24-2007, 09:49 PM
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Lomcevak Duck
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Default Industry ethics?

Just has been getting to me in recent times that the model airplane industry (well, maybe only a few manufacturers, or maybe I've gone off the deep end here) has no ethics when selling to a beginner. I have for a while kept my mouth shut about H-9 selling the Mustang PTS as a primary trainer (yes, I know it can be done, and has been. I had one and I liked it, just not as a primary trainer, please this isn't a thread about is it or isn't it a trainer). Even worse is this 7.5 lbs abomination they call a trainer that vaguely resembles a raptor, and from most flight reports is (suprise!) not a great primary trainer either. The hobby had enough trouble with people wanting to learn how to fly on a jet or a mustang before this. But I can handle these, I really can. If your instructor is comfortable with the plane and that's all you can think of go for it. It can be done. But as I browsing through this forum reading all the threads by guys asking "Is it OK to train myself?" and the rest of us warning not to do so unless your pockets are deep and you have plenty of repair time, I see a flashing ad that says "Teach yourself to fly" !?!? It is one of the rotating ads at the top of this forum from Hobby Zone advertising their Super Cub. I have heard that it is a great plane and very easy to fly. I don't know, I've not seen one, but do none of the major manufacturers have moral decency anymore, or are they just waiting to spring the next big one on the unsuspecting student pilot market? I know. Stupid question. I've not seen a manufacturer who cared more about customer satisfaction than customer base size in a while now.

Forgive my irritaion guys, just seems that the hobby is turning more and more toward one time cheap profits every day and less of a respectable art form.
Old 05-24-2007, 10:00 PM
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superflea
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

I've wondered the same thing myself. A trainer is a class of airplane exactly the same way 'warbirds' and 'pattern ships' are. just because you CAN train on a quarter scale P51 doesnt mean it is a trainer. Calling a moose a duck doesn't make it quack even if they do both like water. Unfortunatly you are right in that a beginer may not be able to tell a moose from a duck by looking at it and this I am sure has led to the demise of more than one perfectly good sport plane. 'Sport plane' another classification.
Old 05-24-2007, 10:05 PM
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

I agree; it may have been an hour ago when I saw that same banner flashing at the top of the page and too felt the same way you do. This is why I chose to be an instructor (club designated and AMA intro pilot) I also informed my LHS of this and gave them my number to give to people interested in instruction. My current student told me he was about to just go to the local school and fly his Alpha 40 on his own. I invited him over to the house and we went over his plane and I helped him epoxy his wing halves together. I then brought him in the house and sat him down with my G3.5 simulator and turned him loose with the Nexstar... He soon thanked me for showing him the simulator and was grateful that he did not try to go it alone.
Old 05-24-2007, 10:43 PM
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tIANci
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

Duckie - its called CAPITALISM aka GREED ... the supplier will look at ways to bleed us the consumer. Look at the nonsense stuff that is sold by top manufacturers ... accessories are a good way of seeing what is happening. XXX Brand top class Zip Locks (industry standard that is put into nicer small packages) or XXX Brand top class Epoxy Stirrers (ice cream sticks). This then drips down to Scale Warbird Trainer ... in Malaysia its the same. LHS will sell a trainer as a 1st plane and then a scale P51 for a second plane. Why? Greed and money ... its the same everywhere.

At our local field we always warn beginners to be careful of the LHS. We tell them to always go slow, fly your trainer like a pro then move on. Do not move on when the plane is still flying you ... some people think that when they can land a trainer then it means they can now buy a nice P51 to fly.
Old 05-24-2007, 10:52 PM
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

Not only do I agree whole heartedly with this statement I find it completely ironic since I started writing a thread stating almost the exact same thing while at work today. I couldn't quite get the words right, and trashed the post right before I left for the day. This is actually my second start in this hobby. My first attempt was over 15 years ago with my father. We decided we wanted to learn to fly so we went to the local hobby shop. The "nice" gentleman there helped us pick out planes and all the accessories we would need to build, cover, and fly them. I walked out of there with either a Mustang or Corsair (I can't remember which), and my father had purchased a huge scale Cub. Thankfully we also picked up a couple of RC mags. It wasn't until we read through those that we realized how different classes of planes flew, and that we would never successfully fly the planes we bought. Since we didn't have internet ordering back then (I don't think I even knew about Tower yet), we headed back to the LHS. The same very "nice" gentleman proceeded to sell us two trainer kits. I have always resented that man for allowing us to leave the store with those first kits. We openly admitted we had never flown, and actively sought advice from him about what we needed to complete the models we were purchasing. Never once did he mention that we might have even the slightest difficulty flying the planes we bought. I honestly believe he did this knowingly. After all if we crashed the first planes, there is a very good chance we would be coming right back for another one.

Even after being away for so long when I called my LHS to get some price comparisons on a couple of planes I was looking to buy they tried to sell me on the H9 "trainers". If they hadn't been significantly more expensive than the Avistar I did buy, who knows what I might have ended up with.

I can only imagine that this is even worse with the advent of internet shopping. If you can't trust the salesperson at your LHS to point you in the right direction how can you expect a web site to do any better.

The part I can't understand is that with a little guidance the plane manufacturers and hobby shops might just find life long loyal customers. This is something far more valuable than a quick sale. When you take into account the danger involved in flying RC planes, this becomes even more important.

Maybe one day we will see the manufacturers, and resellers showing more concern for their customers, but I haven't seen any change in the 15+ years I have watched the hobby.

At least there are resources like RCU that help to throw some reality into the mix.

So in case I haven't said it before...Thank you to everyone that comes here to help us newbies, and keep us from making more mistakes than we have to.
Old 05-24-2007, 11:21 PM
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anonymouse
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

WOW!!! Interesting topic. Of course the model industry relies on the sale of "kits" /"planes" the more they sell the more profit. It is, perhaps going to bite them sooner or later. I have met a few people that have tried to learn on tier own with bad results. Some have just given up due to the cost of replacement airplanes, others finaly sought help form a RC'er with some experience. I have told many people they could learn on their own, if they have enough money to keep buying ill flying , low cost junk airplanes.. You wouldn't walk out to the local airport and jump into a Cub or Decathalon and take to the air without instruction nor should you do the same with a miniature aircraft. I would hope the local hobby shop people realize that a "happy customer" will return again and again, but a disatified customer is a one time shot....Maybe the people at Hobby Zone, for one, needs to be reminded of this... Just my two cents worth.
Old 05-24-2007, 11:49 PM
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tIANci
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

I have a rich friend, he started out with about 1 trainer/day ... you heard it right, 1 per day for like 14 days, he was stubborn and the LHS did not do anything to stop him. Its a fine line ... where is it drawn? Ihave pals who want to buy some planes from me when its over their heads, I always turn them down, maybe that is why I am not rich! Hehehehe ...
Old 05-25-2007, 12:47 AM
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

I actually believe that the Hobbyzone Super Cub could be used to teach yourself to fly, even with no help or no previous experience. I think the Parkzone Slo-V is also slow and stable enough to allow an uninitiated pilot the chance for success. I just think that it's much, much easier to learn to fly in a club setting, and that unknowing shoppers looking for their first planes aren't going to be drawn to the Super Cub or Slo-V.

The simple truth is that many folks interested in RC flying don't even know that flying clubs exist, and some other folks would rather just toss around an electric RTF at the park than go to a club because they feel ackward or uncomfortable asking strangers for help.

There is a legitamite market for a true beginner's teach-yourself-to-fly plane, and the Slo-V and Super Cub are as close as I've seen to this ideal. I think the safety considerations involving glow planes and larger electrics (Electristar, e.g.) prevent them from ever being well suited for teaching yourself to fly.

Don't judge your LHS too harshly. I was sold an Aerobird Challenger as my first plane, and it was not a pleasant experience. I later discovered that almost none of the staff at the LHS were pilots, they all ran RC buggies or trucks. They were told that the Aerobird Challenger was a great beginners' plane, and they believed it to be true. Experienced RC pilots often know volumes more about the aircraft-related products at the LHS than the staff does.
Old 05-25-2007, 06:15 AM
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rwright142
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

ORIGINAL: felixone
My first attempt was over 15 years ago with my father. We decided we wanted to learn to fly so we went to the local hobby shop. The "nice" gentleman there helped us pick out planes and all the accessories we would need to build, cover, and fly them. I walked out of there with either a Mustang or Corsair (I can't remember which), and my father had purchased a huge scale Cub. Thankfully we also picked up a couple of RC mags. It wasn't until we read through those that we realized how different classes of planes flew, and that we would never successfully fly the planes we bought.

I can relate to this. About 40 years ago dad bought a control line plane w/Cox engine. That was the first plane he had ever bought. I was only about 8 at the time but I clearly remember the experience. He had no prior experience flying small planes but he was a flight instructor for the Navy. Maybe that gave him a false sense of his abilities to fly the CL plane. Anyway, I remember him starting it up and taking off. The plane was fast. He was able to fly for about 8 - 10 circles then nosed her in. He never got back into the hobby and I think that is why it took me about 37 years to 'discover' RC planes. If he was successful then we would have spent more father/son time together flying. I truly feel that if he had a LHS that was supportive and provided guidance for a 'newby' then I would have been flying RC for a long time now.


Old 05-25-2007, 07:34 AM
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MadScientist
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

It's been a common advertizing ploy for years to state that whatever plane was being sold "flies just like a trainer" when in fact it didn't. What we are seeing now with the raptor and P51 'trainers' is just an extension of that advertizing idea. I get asked all the time about these planes, and if they are good for learning on. My answer is always,'You could, but why not learn to fly on something that's a little easier to fly?" I've flown both planes in question, by the way, and am not all that impressed.

These planes are a great way to sell planes, but not the very best way to learn how to fly. I've trained many people on trainers with great success. I've also trained them on Ultra Sticks (set up properly) with great success also.

I tried a few weeks ago flying the raptor just to set up the trims for a beginner. What a pig that plane was! With some modifications it could be an OK sport plane, but to try to teach on that thing, when a perfectly good trainer is available is counterproductive.
Old 05-25-2007, 07:49 AM
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

Ethics? In retail? Surely you jest!

But seriously, every store is as different as it's owner/employees.

Are there some hobby shops out there who just want to make a quick sale? You bet there are. The same goes for Electronic stores, Computer stores, hell, even grocery stores (They advertise "Fresh" Alaskan Salmon in Florida don't they?)

In the case of a hobby shop owner who willingly sold a Corsair to a beginner, all I can say is, "I would never spend another dime in his store"

As for the Kid who only knew cars and thought the aerobird was a good trainer because he was TOLD it was... Well, chalk that up to buying an encyclopedia at a toy store. But if you look around, there are some great hobby shops out there.

I feel very close to this discussion because I am caught in the middle. I'm the guy who has to listen to the manufacturer's hype, and then test the product and report back to YOU.

When the Mustang PTS came out, I was outraged. For years I have been right along with you telling newbies that they can NOT start out with a P-51. Then H-9 goes and says, "Sure you can!".

So I read up on it. Ok, it had Flaps, speed breaks, and "What's this?" Wing droops to improve lift. Ok, now I'm curious

Shortly after it was announced, it was on the list of planes we had available for review - I jumped at the chance. I wanted to see FIRST HAND if this thing was any good. I had a young man who had no prior airplane experience assemble it (I showed him points in the instructions when I wanted him to call me in to shoot pictures. Aside from shooting pictures, I was out of the room). He completed assembly in about an hour as I recall. So it passed the first test.

It comes with a Flight Simulator, which I gave him to take home and practice with (After I had given him some brief lessons)

A few weeks later (We don't live very close and getting together wasn't easy) we went out to the field and flew it.

Is it a basic trainer? NO

Can someone buy it and fly it? NO

Is it a good plane to start out with? In my opinion, YES* (*For MOST people). And I will explain why

Times have changed greatly over the years and today's generation of Nintendo kids have long ago mastered the hand/eye coordination that was one of this sport's biggest (early) stumbling blocks. Many years ago I discovered that I preferred teaching newbies with what would be considered an "intermediate" trainer because most of them pick it up so quickly that they get bored with a basic trainer (And I get bored watching them).

Now I realize that there are basic principles involved in flying. But I also recall learning drafting by hand in order to do CAD designs on a computer. Yes, I learned some basic principles - like drawing a straight line, how to avoid making the line too long, how to properly erase the line if it got too long, etc. NONE of these things apply to drafting on a computer! (Note: Before you jump on me and say,"Aerodynamic principles always apply blah blah blah" I know. I'm just making a point. If someone wanted me to teach them how to use Photoshop, I wouldn't require them to master Pen and Ink drawing first)

Ok, so now someone asks me to teach them how to fly and asks me what plane to get. Would I recommend the Mustang? Yes. I have seen first hand that it is a quality plane, it has a good engine, and a good radio that you can eventually use 5-channels with for the flaps.

IS it the ONLY plane I would recommend? No. My favorite trainer is the Tiger II, but you have to get all of the accessories with it (Engine/Radio)

And just for the record. I also stepped up to review the Raptor-22 PTS

It flies easier than the Mustang, and comes with a great engine and 6-channel computer radio for $450! I think it is a fabulous deal.

Should you buy it and fly it? NO

A final note: I have flown that Super Cub too. It is by far the easiest and if someone HAD to fly without instruction, that would be what I would recommend (But I would also recommend a sim)
Old 05-25-2007, 08:07 AM
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tIANci
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

Minn - what you say about being a reviewer and taking in the hype is most interesting. I was into RC cars a few years ago and I bought a lot of the car mags. In the car scene we do know if a particular car is good or not, its so obvious when you drive the car. However, mags would give 5* reviews for cars that we would not be keen to recommend to a mere beginner. In today's plane mags I still read reviews of cheap Vietnamese planes that are given top marks. I mean that are ok for the price (you get what you pay for) but the reviewers make it sound like a really good flying plane that is of great quality ...
Old 05-25-2007, 08:22 AM
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DadsToysBG
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

I own a LHS and will not sell those planes as "trainers". I sell only the Alpha. Why, when the new people ask about them ?. I have to fly with the same guys that teach and if i sell something that makes it harder to learn on, I hear about it real fast at the field. Much of my new business comes from the guys telling people to come to the store. It's better to keep a new person for a long time then to make a fast buck one time. These companies can make anything they want, it's up to the club members to stear the new people in the right direction. I always tell them to hang out at the field and ask questions before buying from me. Dennis
Old 05-25-2007, 08:24 AM
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garyo1954
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

All good points Mike. I am not the only one who attests to the game pad theory.

It seems the manufacturers and marketing brainiacs are always trying to break down long held beliefs and barriers to aid the consumer in entering any endeavor. In this case, it is more in keeping with the internal understanding that there are many people who would enjoy this hobby and would truly like to learn but do not live within driving distance of a club that offers instruction. And where these people may not have an instructor, they do have the internet.

Now, they may not be offering the easiest, but they are offering a plane that is easier than what was previously available. And in the end, they are all about selling products, even if they disguise it by claiming to 'promote the hobby.'



Old 05-25-2007, 08:41 AM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

Obviously I cannot speak for all reviewers, but again, let's take the Mustang PTS since it is such a debated topic.

As I said, I prefer the Tiger II as a trainer.

Will I say that in a review? No.

Why not? Because I am not reviewing a Tiger II, I am reviewing a Mustang PTS.

In MY opinion, The Tiger is a better flying plane. However, once the Mustang has had all of the training wheels taken off, it is faster and more agile than a Tiger. So it has the capability of becoming a more advanced plane. The Tiger does not. So it is an unfair comparison.

So which is better? In this, and many cases, the only thing that makes one plane better than another is the opinion of the person who is buying/flying it.

I'm not going to tell you that plane "A" is better than plane "B" just as I am not going to tell you to buy a motorcycle instead of an SUV because I like the gas mileage of a motorcycle. Or because I like the wind in my face. That is why *I* like it, but maybe YOU hate getting bugs in your face.

Here's another example. Let's look at the Ford/Chevy thing. If I was a Chevy man and had to review a Ford, would it be a fair review if I let my opinion get in the way?

"Don't but this car because they don't use the same rocker arm assembly that Chevy uses"

So if I didn't like evolution engines (Just for the record, I do like them -I have 3 and they run flawlessly) Would it be fair for me to rip on the PTS because it came with an engine that I personally don't like? (Even though it's a good engine)

So here is a plane that says "You can learn to fly with a P-51"

Personally, I think they should have an asterisk after that statement that says "*With a qualified instructor"

And I said so in the review.

BTW, in case anyone is wondering, here is the review:

http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/a...article_id=692

Dennis, You have the right idea. In fact, I think anyone getting involved should ask the LHS owner, "Do you fly?" and go to the field and ask others about him (I've seen fields where the members will flat-out tell you to "Avoid that SOB and his hobby shop" )

Gary, ANY company is going to promote their product in a good light. They are ALL in business to make money. Some do it ligit and others don't. The smart ones have good advertising and good products. But don't take any company's word at face value.

Look at Ron Popeil, He has made millions off of crap that people buy, use once and throw away. Does it do everything he claims? Yes. Does it work better than the way you've been doing it for years? No, but he made you BELIEVE it did.
Old 05-25-2007, 09:34 AM
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superflea
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

...But all that said, there is no shortage of planes that fly very well and could be used as a trainer. 4*, every cub I have ever flown, Stiks, tiger II, I owned a dynaflight fun scale P51 that flew very stable and docile (I miss that one any one know where I can find another kit.)

BUt in the end these are by and large not trainers, and to advertise them as such is what this thread is about. Its really not fair to the new guy/consumer. The free and well founded advice around here is to not try learning alone, so it seems odd that there are some companies that are marketing planes with that notion in mind when the true experts, us say its a silly, lonely way to kill balsa.

As for the question of what can be used as a trainer, the simple answer is anything right up to 200+ mph turbines. the only limiting factor here is how much money the student has and how much challenge the trainer wishes to take on. but again the question is really about the nomenclature. Is it is or is it aint a trainer in the true sense of the word. is my GP .60 cub? No, but I bet I could train anyone with average eye hand coordination and depth perception.
Old 05-25-2007, 10:14 AM
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

I read MinnFlyers review on the PTS and went out and bought one . Before I flew it I PM,ed him and asked him if I could fly without an instructor, No was his reply . Well he was right , long story short, lots of little piece`s. Everything in the review was right on the money.

I asked him about some mods on a GB Clipped wing Cub . I followed every thing except what he recommended for an engine and ended up changing it to what he recommended to begin with , lol.

Being a fairly new to the hobby and living out in God`s country , I depend on the reviews . As a consumer IMHO I feel the responsibility lands on me to make sure I spend wisely and do my research.

Corporations are driven buy share holders to make money for them. And it`s not just this industries , but most all corporations. These people push the product staff to make a product that sells. Is it a good product ? I don`t know. But the first thing I do is check to see if there`s a review done on it by someone that's been doing it a while. It has saved me money .

I guess the the best we can do is, If you run into a newbie , give him a hand . Steer him in the right direction.
Old 05-25-2007, 10:50 AM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

ORIGINAL: superflea

The free and well founded advice around here is to not try learning alone, so it seems odd that there are some companies that are marketing planes with that notion in mind when the true experts, us say its a silly, lonely way to kill balsa.
I totally agree, and as I said, personally, I think that there should be an Asterisk after Hangar-9's claim that "You can learn to fly with a P-51"

But we as consumers are never going to change the way products are marketed. "Let the buyer beware" is a common expression that has been around for over a century and is no less applicable today.

In 90% of all advertisments it's not what they say, it's what they don't say. I love to watch Infomercials to catch this stuff - Like the dinky little "Bullet" food processor that can make salsa in 3 seconds.... All you do is to add your tomatoes, Onions, Celantro, garlic, and a squeeze of lime juice to the "Wonder Machine" then ZIP ZAM ZOWIE! We have Salsa!

What they don't tell you is that while you were cutting up the tomatoes, onions, etc. so they would FIT in the stupid little thing (You DID notice that everything was already cut up didn't you?) You could have easily whacked the knife a few more times and had Salsa without having to get the machine out and clean it afterward!

There are also words that all advertisers rely on. Words like "Like" - Because there is no concrete definition of "Like". It means "Similar To"

So Blue Bonnet can't say, "It tastes the same as butter" But they CAN say "It tastes just like butter" Perfectly legal. Is it ethical? I don't think so, but no one cares (Nor do they care about the fact that the margerine their doctor has told them to replace butter with is 10 times worse for them than the damn butter was in the first place)

Did you know that "Light" beer can have more calories that regular beer as long as the color is lighter?

Here's one of the best (Or worst) ones I have ever seen: Remember, it's what they DON'T tell you. And I'm not going to tell you. I'm going to tell you about a product that i saw advertised and at first glance I thought, "What a great idea!" Then I saw what they DIDN'T say. See if you can figure out why this is not such a good product:

Many of you many have seen Fiberglass Poles that are sold in Army Surplus stores (Tank antennas) that some guys make fishing rods out of etc.

Well some enterprising individual was selling these things in a garden catalog as a "Revolutionary New Tomato Stake". You push it into the ground about 3 ft away from the plant, bend it over, and tie a string from the tip of the pole to the top of the plant. Now when the plant grows, the rod will pull it up and keep it off the ground so you no longer have to keep tying the plant ever higher on a wooden stake.

Can anybody see what's wrong with this picture?
Old 05-25-2007, 10:59 AM
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Default RE: Industry ethics?


ORIGINAL: MinnFlyer

Can anybody see what's wrong with this picture?
Other than the fact that they fiberglass pole is probably going to pull the entire plant out of the ground???


What Minn said it smack on correct. Just remember what PT Barnun said "There's a sucker born every minute". Unfortunately that's true. If people didn't fall for sales pitches we would never see those infomercials on every night on TV. Heck, if it weren't for suckers out there we wouldn't have spam in our email inbox everyday. Those emails get sent out because somewhere in the world somebody is actually buying the products they advertise, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it.

The companies that make planes are the same way, they are just doing business. They advertise that you "can" learn on a plane, but they don't guarantee that you will learn on it. Heck, with a good enough instructor you could probably learn on a 747!!! In this day and age the phase "Buyer Beware" is more true than ever. This is one thing that Minnflyer, Bruce, Myself and the other regular members of the Beginner's forum have set our mind to do. We hope to help educate new pilots about the goods and bads with any type of plane they are considering. We're just trying to help and make sure that new pilots don't fall for the sales pitch everytime

Ken
Old 05-25-2007, 11:08 AM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

ORIGINAL: RCKen

Other than the fact that they fiberglass pole is probably going to pull the entire plant out of the ground???
Good guess, but wrong. There is something less obvious that makes the product totally useless.

Anybody else?
Old 05-25-2007, 11:28 AM
  #21  
jeff1127
 
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Let's see. Pole is bent over and plant tied to it. Plant grows and gets heavier. How does the pole straighten?
Old 05-25-2007, 11:48 AM
  #22  
Lomcevak Duck
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Tomato plants are like pine trees. They grow upwards from the top, not the bottom. You will have to keep retying it higher and higher. As a neat project have a kid spray paint a line on the trunk of a young pine tree about the same height as his head. When he goes back in a year the tree will be much taller, as should he, but the line he painted will be in the same place.
Neat little fact I learned in high school.

I am also thinking that if the string was tight enough to hold onto the tomato plant instead of slipping off, when the plant grew thicker (at least doubling it's diameter in the summer months) the string would cut the plant in half, or at least impead its growth.
Old 05-25-2007, 11:52 AM
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bruce88123
 
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Since the pole base is 3 ft away it will pull the plant sideways as it straightens out.
Old 05-25-2007, 11:55 AM
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carrellh
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Typing while Bruce was typing........ he beat me to it.
Old 05-25-2007, 12:01 PM
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Default RE: Industry ethics?

The Duck got it right!

There are several problems with this system

Two have been mentioned:

Too much tension, you'll rip the plant out.

Too little tension and it won't hold the plant up as it gets heavier.

These seem rather obvious once you think a little, but the thing that makes it totally useless is, as Lomcevak Duck said, Plants grow from the TOP

But I'll bet this guy sold a BUNCH before anyone figured it out
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