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Model Aviation, Model Airplane News... disappointed

Old 07-26-2015, 11:36 AM
  #101  
strtnlevel
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Your post really struck a nerve with me. Like you, I tend to not publicly criticize, however, as a retired full scale flight instructor and a long time r/c competitor, I cringe at some of the articles published recently. The "Pro Pilot" turning tips was the most recent. He wrote an article a few issues back on crosswind landings....I was appalled. Problem is the average rc guy does not know a slip from a crab. Further, is it really important to the average rc guy who is just out there having a good time flying his latest pride and joy........I think not.
But, at the very least, the content of the articles should be accurate and presented in a manner to be instructive and helpful to those interested. I wonder if he has any full scale experience......I doubt it because I don't recognize much of his techniques that I have ever learned or taught in 37 years as a CFI. I do agree with you on the quality of the mags compared to what we used to get but the market changes with the hobby and it has changed in a direction that I do not care for. Where are the builders and competitors? Years ago you had to build something if you wanted to fly.......today, you charge the battery and go fly. Now we're being invaded by quad copters.....you can't turn a page without seeing one. Sorry to rant.......but, your post is very accurate.
Old 07-26-2015, 12:14 PM
  #102  
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Presume you are speaking of the OP.

When I see folks saying "years ago...." I want to say, right...years ago! You don't have to be a builder nor competitor to enjoy and participate in this hobby, as if that somehow matters. And is someone less a hobbyist if they "charge and fly". I find comments like promote divisiveness in this hobby, not inclusion.

Also...fwiw, scale pilots generally make the worst RC pilots, at least in my experience. Ultimately they may be the same or no worse than others, but the 4 or 5 I've met take longer to get acclimated to RC. They bring preconceived notions to RC, and usually the thought that they will do fine with RC since they flew a XYZ for such and such company. While many of the principles still apply, they are no longer yanking back on a yolk, rather it's a tiny stick. They crash more than others, especially the guy who bought a large size Cub because after all, it's the plane he learned how to fly in. Two flights and it was a pile of wood.
Old 07-26-2015, 12:19 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by strtnlevel


Years ago you had to build something if you wanted to fly.......today, you charge the battery and go fly.

And yet there are those who would consider this progress rather than devolution .I personally appreciate the choice I have available , to either build or buy already built , truly a plane for every purpose .....


Now we're being invaded by quad copters.....you can't turn a page without seeing one

And as long as they fly those Quad copters following AMA guidelines , how , exactly , does this keep you from enjoying the planes you build ? So they want to fly something different from what you and I fly , does that make AMA legal quad flyers some sort of "persona non grata" ? In my view of the hobby , do it safe (AMA rules) and do it for just that , a hobby , with no commercial interest , and I'll consider that just as legitimate a subset of our hobby as any other . But then again , I'm not here looking for an "Us VS them" fight about folk's choice of RC entertainment .....

.

My thoughts in red ......
Old 07-26-2015, 01:26 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by porcia83

Can you honestly say you've looked for a new quad copter owner and asked him about AMA? .
Yes, I have, many times. I have asked many people I work with if they have joined AMA since they have taken up quads, and NONE of them have, or have any intent to. I am not trying to exclude anyone in the RC hobby, I am just saying that it seems the crowd that they may be catering to may not care about the AMA.
Old 07-26-2015, 02:31 PM
  #105  
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Used to do a column every month for Gordon Bank's magazine. You could pretty much depend on what you read in RC Report. We wrote nothing that wasn't true. When Gordon stepped down, and the format changed to the Internet, I hung on for a couple of months. The management of the publication really suffered when Gordon left. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think Dick Pettit was about the last to leave. Dick Watz and I bailed as soon as the pay checks stopped coming.

Bill, Waco Brother #1
Old 07-26-2015, 03:54 PM
  #106  
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And advertisers please change your ads! Boring!


Steve
Old 07-26-2015, 04:04 PM
  #107  
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The word "boring" is being kind , moronic , with few exceptions may be a more apt description . What's next , you buy this crap and they send you a video of someone flying it for you ?
Old 07-26-2015, 07:29 PM
  #108  
RichardGee
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Originally Posted by porcia83
If you're only reading the magazine for reviews of products they advertise, then ya, I guess you might come away the conclusion that it might be a "cheering section" for products.

But..have you actually read through the magazine, lately at least? If you're talking about some of the other mags out there, they might be closer to that characterization, but I don't see that with MA. Lots more than just product reviews.

But even so...does anyone really base their purchasing decision on the views of ONE person? Do people have that much faith in a singular point of view? I guess so, but I'd rather read reviews from here, RCG, and then hopefully get my hands on something at the local hobby shop or even see if at the field. I look at the reviews of products like I do a Yelp or Trip Advisor review...it's one persons view, typically of one instance.

If all the mags you mentioned were so great, and the information they provided was so valuable, ya gotta wonder why none of them are around anymore. So many sources of information now with the web. MA has a "captive" audience for the most part, and appeals to the broadest spread of users. Shouldn't stop anyone who is a great builder/writer/techy person from starting and maintaining their own blog, or even site. Pretty cheap and easy to do that now, and it's a great way to preserve something for anyone looking for that type of information. It's amazing how many sites are out there that exist for a very targeted purpose.

"If all the mags you mentioned were so great, and the information they provided was so valuable, ya gotta wonder why none of them are around anymore."
They aren't around anymore because they told the truth. Manufacturers give their advertising dollars (and free products) to the magazines that avoid harsh truths and gush over their products. Period.
Old 07-27-2015, 03:14 AM
  #109  
porcia83
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Originally Posted by RichardGee
"If all the mags you mentioned were so great, and the information they provided was so valuable, ya gotta wonder why none of them are around anymore."
They aren't around anymore because they told the truth. Manufacturers give their advertising dollars (and free products) to the magazines that avoid harsh truths and gush over their products. Period.
All of those other magazines failed because they told the truth? Sorry, I don't buy that.

So where are all these writers now? Given that "blogging" is basically free now, how many have continued to write true and honest articles without the threat of advertising backlash?
Old 07-27-2015, 04:53 AM
  #110  
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I did not renew MAN and will not renew Fly RC when my subscription expires. I fly big gassers and there is little of interest to me in these mags. When I was flying 40 and 60 size ARFs, I found them useful. Now, their coverage of electrics, helicopters, and quads leaves me cold. The mags are no longer worth the time and money for my type of flying. Just my opinion.
Old 07-27-2015, 06:45 AM
  #111  
mattnew
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Originally Posted by strtnlevel
Your post really struck a nerve with me. Like you, I tend to not publicly criticize, however, as a retired full scale flight instructor and a long time r/c competitor, I cringe at some of the articles published recently. The "Pro Pilot" turning tips was the most recent. He wrote an article a few issues back on crosswind landings....I was appalled. Problem is the average rc guy does not know a slip from a crab. Further, is it really important to the average rc guy who is just out there having a good time flying his latest pride and joy........I think not.
But, at the very least, the content of the articles should be accurate and presented in a manner to be instructive and helpful to those interested. I wonder if he has any full scale experience......I doubt it because I don't recognize much of his techniques that I have ever learned or taught in 37 years as a CFI. I do agree with you on the quality of the mags compared to what we used to get but the market changes with the hobby and it has changed in a direction that I do not care for. Where are the builders and competitors? Years ago you had to build something if you wanted to fly.......today, you charge the battery and go fly. Now we're being invaded by quad copters.....you can't turn a page without seeing one. Sorry to rant.......but, your post is very accurate.



I'm thankful that I'm not the only one whose nerve was tweaked by that article.

to get us back on track....
I view the choice in subject matter as... well.. for lack of a better word, subjective. I might not be interested in quads, or heli's or gliders, but I welcome accurate informative magazine articles on those. This is a big hobby and it needs to be an inclusive hobby. I'm not going to love every article's subject matter, and I'm ok with that. I'm a builder and a fixed wing pilot. I am not the main target audience of most of the magazine. That is OK... Would I like more building articles and more honest plane reviews?... sure... but for that part I get that that is my opinion and if you ask someone else they would have an entirely different opinion. The magazines try to cover everyone in some way and everyone is going to have something they wished for more of...

My main issue is with the rash of pro elite expert "this man has 50 years in the hobby" advice that usually falls into 1 of 2 categories for me:
1. It is ok advice, there are better ways to do it though and I wish the article went into those better ways. There are always multiple ways to do things, but if it is going to be pro advice, it needs to be comprehensive and a discussion of alternatives and why the pro method leads to better results is in order.
2. The advice is more wrong than right and it is leading people that hope to learn from the articles down the wrong path. For these ... I don't know... people use these magazines as a reference, they learn from them, they take what they read as gospel. it is just not acceptable...

I could be wrong, but it is starting to feel like they don't necessarily care what they are putting out there in terms of quality.

btw, strtnlevel, the crosswind landing article raised my eyebrow as well. Mainly b/c I felt the techniques taught might work ok for a highly aerobatic plane like an extra 300... but I'm pretty sure if you tried the same with a j-3 cub or ww2 bomber you'd be picking up the pieces afterwards..



It is interesting.. I've noticed the magazines have started milking the forums for article ideas... You'll see a thread "What is your opinion on ... x y or z" and then 2 months later you'll get "pro advice on x y and z!!!" in one of the magazines...





Old 07-27-2015, 07:02 AM
  #112  
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How about an article on why AMA hasn't posted a financial report since 2013?
Old 07-27-2015, 07:21 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by franklin_m
How about an article on why AMA hasn't posted a financial report since 2013?
Why don't you ask AMA?
Old 07-27-2015, 08:06 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by warningshot
Why don't you ask AMA?
I have...
Old 07-27-2015, 11:39 AM
  #115  
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After my answer to scale 4 me about looking at the pictures. One of our beginners had some comments about the magazine thing. I asked others in the club that are what we would call new people, a year or so. They enjoy all the magazines. Thinking about it. I can see why. It is all new to them and they can't get enough information on all things model aviation. We all have made a effort to leave our back issues in the club house. One fellow even asked why there wasn't some of the other books. Feel sure they were talking MAN and others publications. Looking at it from their angle, there is some worth to the publications. Another view to the subject,
Old 07-27-2015, 02:31 PM
  #116  
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[QUOTE=porcia83;12075753]All of those other magazines failed because they told the truth? Sorry, I don't buy that.

So where are all these writers now? <snip>

Oh we are still around
Old 07-27-2015, 03:08 PM
  #117  
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send your magazines back to ama i do then u cant say anything
Old 07-27-2015, 04:54 PM
  #118  
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I'd rather read them, and after a couple of months, take them with me when I visit a doctor, dentist or whatever and leave them in the lobby.
Old 07-27-2015, 05:37 PM
  #119  
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yeah I don't buy the "if you don't like it don't read it argument"

I want to read it and I want to like it...
Old 07-27-2015, 06:00 PM
  #120  
porcia83
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[QUOTE=tailskid;12076084]
Originally Posted by porcia83
All of those other magazines failed because they told the truth? Sorry, I don't buy that.

So where are all these writers now? <snip>

Oh we are still around
That is great to hear. I know two folks that live in CT that write for mags, and I can appreciate (somewhat) the time and effort that goes into doing a build, flight tests, and then a write up.


Honest questions if you would indulge me. I presume that any product being reviewed has been given to the author free of charge. I can see the inherent problem with that, but I would think that the writers integrity would override the desire to write a puff piece and not bring up any inherent issues. If you did that type of review, did you ever feel torn between laying it all out there if there were major issues, or did you just let the chips fall where they did. Did you editor ever get involved and pressure you to change things (other than normal editing suggestions).

I'm guessing on build issues, or technical issues those were more factual and/or opinion based, ie "how to plane a piece of wood", or "how to cover a wing" etc, so not much to get into issues with from an advertising perspective.

Do you still write for a mag? Where do the writers of yesterday go now to share their thoughts etc, and avoid the conundrum of advertising backlash. Is it somewhere like here, or are there blogs/websites out there devoted to whatever specialty or interest you wrote about? Final presumption is that you, or your peers didn't write for the money....so difficult to earn a living doing that. The guy I know that writes does it because he truly enjoys it and wants to share his thoughts on the hobby. Thanks ahead of time if you get a chance to respond.
Old 07-27-2015, 07:06 PM
  #121  
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I've been writing for over 30 years so getting a 'free' this or that means very little to me. I know the guys at the field get all boogie-eyed when I bring another plane out there to test fly and I hear the 'Must be nice' comment more than I care to count - BUT like you said, it takes a lot of time to review a model and the guys don't really know all that goes into a 'review'. For example, here at RCU you actually write the CODE, not just the words! Other places like RCG make it a bit easier to write but there are challenges there also. I've written for glossies (RCM, Fly R/C and once for Model Aviation). The problem with 'glossies' is the word count limit....Try to say all they want you to say and just to do that often limits where you discuss problems that arise. When I wrote for RCReport there was a MINIMUM word count or you got docked in pay! I remember once turning in a Product Review of a plane and Gordon yelled and screamed that there wasn't anything wrong with the plane (according to my review)! So I had to go back and find something bad or wrong about it - he said there has never been a perfect kit and I have to agree with him.

The ARF I'm currently reviewing has racked up 4 or 5 'bad' things and only 3 positive comments so far and yes, they will be published just as written. The only time a manufacturer has changed anything I wrote was because of a technical error on my part. One company withdrew their ad in the magazine because I gave the a plane a 'It's O.K." but not the best thing since sliced bread! Too bad for them as I won't make it all fuzzy if it isn't....

I've also turned in reviews that never were published because of what I said - no big deal to me - and if anyone asked about that plane, I told them what I thought of it. Again, no biggie either way.

Now I've "heard" rumors some mags will change a review but have never personally witnessed it. I can see where a mag like MAN or FLY/RC has to limit what can be said due to word count and the writer has no control over it. With that being said, I still prefer reading a 'glossy' to something on the internet because I can STUDY the pictures better (and there is a limit on that also). It is the educator in me that cannot understand why some people will not read a mag (say Model Aviation) - are they so all knowing they can't learn something? For example, I learned how to paint from reading a Pylon Racing section - they KNOW how to put a finish on a plane. I also learned about using magic markers to make scale detail from a Scale FREE FLIGHT column and the list goes on. I'm always learning from others and being an old fart, I like magazines

I have my personal 'things' that are solely mine - for example, I will NOT test fly a plane once or twice and write up how it flies - in fact I frequently have two or more pilots also fly the plane and give me feedback. Sometimes I lucky enough to have them flying on video and you can hear what they have to say. One currently plane being tested for a review has three other pilots flying it and it has over two dozen flights (and how is it in one piece you might add??? <g>). Just today I've decided how to write up 'how it lands' because it IS different from other planes and on the first flight I greased in one landing (on video) and that was PURE LUCK because it has taken me over two weeks to be able to land that bird smoothly and not bounce 3-4 times (and 3 props).

So now that you are asleep I put it in simple words - I let the chips fall where they may! There will be other opportunities in the future. And no, we (authors) don't write for the money - just to fun of building or flying something new

Jerry

PS check 'My Models' and almost all of them were review and yes, most of them are still in my garage/bedroom/hallway/living room, etc.
Old 07-28-2015, 02:57 AM
  #122  
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Tailskid, you are right about a lot of work. I have test hopped more than my share of new aircraft for folks. That includes reviews. The most awful of them all. We go over the new aircraft. Double check all the things we could think of. Fire that baby up and off I go. Flew like a dream. I recall thinking I would love to get one of these. Land in the middle of the runway and the engines was purring along. The builder say let me have a go at it. He was doing great and before we knew it. There was some real creative flying going on. A servo failed and the aircraft was a total lost. Never did see that review. Dog gone shame. That thing did really fly great. Because of my memory is like everything else. Can't recall the type of aircraft. One of those mid wings I think. Damn it was pretty and flew better than it looked.
Old 07-28-2015, 05:39 AM
  #123  
porcia83
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Tailskid thanks for your response. I always love hearing the behind the scenes stuff. Loved the comment about the editor asking you for the "wrong stuff" about the plane, who woulda thought. I' wrote one smaller article for MA and was up against the word/character limit. Between the revisions, and editing, and then having to rework the pictures it was a tiresome process.

Love your collection, nice and varied.

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