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A Disturbing Trend

Old 04-18-2017, 09:29 AM
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topspin
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Default A Disturbing Trend

Maybe it's just me then again maybe it's not. It looks as if a lot of RC model companies are going out of business. We got used to seeing the brick and mortar stores going under from internet sales competition but now it looks like a lot of internet sellers are closing down as well. This is a disturbing trend in the hobby that doesn't seem to be reversing.

I used to leave the hobby every few years and do something else only to return and start building the latest stuff. Now it seems like the hobby is leaving me. Even some of the big long time outfits have begun to downsize and that is scary. Tower and Horizon don't seem to carry as much stuff as they used to and I read that Horizon was laying some people off. Is this glimpse of things to come? I hope not.
Old 04-19-2017, 01:54 PM
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I know of a couple of 'good guys' who have had to close their doors: JB Hobbies and now Redwing....not a good trend!
Old 04-20-2017, 04:07 AM
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The new blood has flocked to drones not planes, No surprise shops and Co.s that cater to planes are fading away.. A LHS near me mainly does cars/trucks and when the trend shifted they stated doing drones,, He's doing fine, just expanded his store., He's not bothering to have much airplane stuff even though there's 3 clubs within 5 miles of him. He's been in business for close to 20 years now, who am I to tell him he's wrong for not stocking airplane glow fuel and props, etc.??

Stores sell what sells and don't sell what doesn't sell.. it's a pretty simple concept.
Old 04-20-2017, 08:27 AM
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From what I have heard quad drone sales have crashed too so that took a bunch out. Aero-Works went under last October due to the fall in big pattern planes like the Edge and the Extra. Even the electric stuff hs waned in interest. What killed quads is they got too easy and all the newbies got bored and went on to something else. I was talking to the owner of my LHS and the only thing keeping him alive is the renewed interest in Control Line with the over 50 crowd. He said the only guys making any money are the guys building tracks to organize racing and then selling to R/C cars and trucks crowd using their track. Reminds me of the slotcar hobby shops of the sixties.

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Old 04-23-2017, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyerInOKC View Post
From what I have heard quad drone sales have crashed too so that took a bunch out. Aero-Works went under last October due to the fall in big pattern planes like the Edge and the Extra. Even the electric stuff hs waned in interest. What killed quads is they got too easy and all the newbies got bored and went on to something else. I was talking to the owner of my LHS and the only thing keeping him alive is the renewed interest in Control Line with the over 50 crowd. He said the only guys making any money are the guys building tracks to organize racing and then selling to R/C cars and trucks crowd using their track. Reminds me of the slotcar hobby shops of the sixties.
I remember I was really into slot cars in 62 and 63, we had a really nice track in Costa Mesa and the guys who worked there would help you build a car. Mabuchi was the motor of choice and we ran the 9 volt motors on 12 volt tracks.

My brother in law just retired and sold his hobby store after 31 years in business. His primary focus was on model trains and he said business was slowing down over the last couple of years but that it was much worse for RC airplanes. I also remember flying control line, my first CL plane was made by Cox, don't remember what it was called but it was blue and yellow and has an .049 on it with the spring starter. The spring fell off after a couple of crashes but the thing would start with one flip. I have a feeling that there is not much interest in RC with the younger crowd and flying propeller driven aircraft is just not appealing to them.
Old 04-23-2017, 01:18 PM
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My dad flew in the Navy,my wife's dad flew in the Army. My father would always be building a balsa stick and tissue model,I loved watching him build and fly them.I guess thats why I still look up at the sky at 59 to look at the stuff buzin around.I have been flying rubber,cl,and rc going back to 1971. The stories I could tell and the things i have seen! Things are changing,I'f i had kids i could only hope they would show some intrest in the hobby,but the trend of the future of the hobby has gone a different path from paper,plans,props,fuel in a cut and praying your radio dose't get hit!,to foamie,fly it, forget it!
Old 04-24-2017, 05:23 AM
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Topspin: You must be thinking of the Cox PT-19, a friend of mine started on one of those. It ended up being glue than airplane.
Old 04-24-2017, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyerInOKC View Post
Topspin: You must be thinking of the Cox PT-19, a friend of mine started on one of those. It ended up being glue than airplane.
Yes, that was it, the wing was held on by rubber bands. I has a blast with that little plane, kind of wish I still had it but at my age I would probably just get dizzy. At one time Had around ten of the little .049 engines including a couple of the baby bees, they were hot. My friends and I used to stick them on old balsa models and take them out to the desert where we would just toss them and see where they went. That was fun.
Old 04-24-2017, 08:17 AM
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I bought just the motors and built my own C/L airplanes they flew better than the Cox plastic jobs, cheaper too!
Old 04-24-2017, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyerInOKC View Post
I bought just the motors and built my own C/L airplanes they flew better than the Cox plastic jobs, cheaper too!
I was only nine or ten when my dad got it for me, I could not have built a flying model at that age. I suppose it would be cheaper if you knew what you were doing. There were some guys in their 20's and 30's where we flew who had some really cool home brew CL planes. Mine actually lasted for two years before It was beyond fixing.
Old 04-24-2017, 11:18 AM
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I admit I started at age 10. I found C/L worked provided it was light enough and then the "A barn door will fly with enough power." rule kicked in. I had some really ugly airplanes back then!
Old 05-02-2017, 06:07 AM
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With this trend now more than ever the AMA needs to expand programs and step up and offer more support to the local clubs to promote the hobby. With that said the local clubs need to take advantage of EVERY financial assistance programs the AMA offers and pressure the EC to do even more in this area. Two of those programs TAG ( Take Off And Grow) and the Flying Site Assistance Program both are available to all charted clubs. We can't sit back and expect people to find us and the hobby. Being proactive and reaching out to the local communities with open houses will help both the local clubs and the AMA grow. Just something to think about.

Take off and Grow | AMA Flight School

Academy of Model Aeronautics - Flying Site Assistance Program

Mike
Old 05-04-2017, 08:40 AM
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I agree with you Mike, I feel like we need to promote the hobby more than we do. I always take time to talk to people who see me flying and are interested, I answer questions and even direct them to the LHS for advice on how to get started if they want. A lot of guys just blow people off and get annoyed when someone asks questions, that is totally the wrong response. Our flying field has good visibility and so we always wind up with curious onlookers some of whom have become members in the club. I would like to see the AMA do more to promote the hobby to the general public than they currently do.
Old 05-04-2017, 09:01 AM
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Even worse there are a lot of large cities now where there isn't a decent hobby shop to be found, let alone one that can offer information on getting into the hobby. Back in my younger days I usually had a choice of more than one shop in my neighborhood. Now I have two woth visiting in the whole state.
Old 05-04-2017, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by FlyerInOKC View Post
Even worse there are a lot of large cities now where there isn't a decent hobby shop to be found, let alone one that can offer information on getting into the hobby. Back in my younger days I usually had a choice of more than one shop in my neighborhood. Now I have two woth visiting in the whole state.
That's not how people get information any longer,, just like the way most people shop,, they look for info online also. We get people asking about joining our club not by coming to meetings or stopping by the field like in the ole days,, but through our web site and or our facebook page. Times have changed
Old 05-05-2017, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by scale only 4 me View Post
That's not how people get information any longer,, just like the way most people shop,, they look for info online also. We get people asking about joining our club not by coming to meetings or stopping by the field like in the ole days,, but through our web site and or our facebook page. Times have changed
I don't know if the internet is a very good starting place for any hobby. Almost all of our new members got the bug by visiting our field and actually seeing RC aircraft being flown and talking directly to people at the field. We are fortunate to have a first class LHS here in the local area, Hobby Hangar - They are one of the best and have a knowledgeable staff ( they are all modelers) who love to help newcomers get into the hobby the right way. Times have changed but I still think most people are more inclined to want to do something when they can actually interact with others in the hobby on a face to face level.
Old 05-06-2017, 05:29 AM
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That's how I got started and most the people I encounter did the same way too.
Old 05-08-2017, 05:48 AM
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I see the LHS as providing access to the hobby. You get a chance to see and touch. I know online sales are the big thing for a lot of people but it doesn't replace the chance to hold something, look it over, and ask questions. If you have a problem just try and get technical help from a company like Hobby King.
Old 05-08-2017, 10:13 AM
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Being able to see and touch was extra important when I got into the hobby, buy building my own planes I learned what I needed and didn't need. Now when I go to an online retailer I know what I need and what to expect. Unless you are just buying RTF it is important to have that experience. Even some ARFs require modeling knowledge to make them really good as opposed to just so so. Lets face it, Hobby King is the last place on earth to get technical information, the LHS, at least in our vicinity, is one on one with an expert who can explain things far better than any internet chat ever could.
Old 05-08-2017, 10:29 AM
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You are discribing my LHS to a T.
Old 05-08-2017, 12:29 PM
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You're speaking true words topspin... . I think I just started wiht this hobby because i saw someone flying with his plane years ago and it fascinated me immediately.
Days later I bought my first plane in a local shop. And he became a good friend over the past years but now his business is no longer running and he may have to close it. Only because everyone is looking online for his planes...
Old 05-08-2017, 12:58 PM
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I will pay my LHS to order stuff for me just to contribute to keeping him going.
Old 05-09-2017, 08:14 AM
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When I was a kid of 10 or so we lived in Costa Mesa, it was around 1960 so there was still a lot of open space around us. I had a neighbor named Bob, he was my dads age (about 35) and Bob was the coolest old guy in the neighborhood, he had an RC airplane. The plane seemed big and had a glow motor on it. I have no idea what size it was or what brand it was, I just remember that it was about the coolest thing I had ever seen. Bob was also a ham and built all of the controls himself. The transmitter was built into one of those old cathedral top lunch boxes and the receiver was built with little tubes (yes, vacuum tubes) from an old hearing aid. It only had two channels, rudder and elevator, no throttle, it ran at a fixed speed. There was no such thing as proportional controls, it was all or nothing and he flew it by jittering the sticks which gave him a kind of quasi proportional control. There was a big open field at the end of our street and that was where he flew it, if we heard it we jumped on our bicycles to go watch.

I still remember being fascinated by that airplane. I still remember what it looked like inside. There were C batteries for the tube filaments and for the control solenoids, which seemed huge by the way, and there was a stripped Burgess 45 volt battery for the receivers plate supply. Right behind the motor was tin fuel tank, I don't remember how long it flew but it was magic to me. That airplane, every piece of it, and all of the controls were built by Bob. I have built a lot of planes but never to that extent, those days are long gone.

After bugging my dad for months he finally too me to hobby store in Anaheim and I got a Cox control line plane, it was sort of like an ARF since it was very easy to assemble and the wing was secured with rubber bands. So it wasn't as cool as Bobs but it was cool enough for me, I thought it was *****en. I don't think I could have ever become that enthusiastic about something from watching it on the internet, of course the internet didn't exist then.

No one builds airplanes like that anymore, they just buy RTF toy planes and that is why the hobby is going down in flames. A big part of the RC hobby, to me at least, is building your own airplanes.

Last edited by topspin; 05-09-2017 at 08:20 AM.
Old 05-09-2017, 08:50 AM
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There is a lot to be said for being able to take a stack of wood and misc. parts and turn it into something that will fly. I get a great sense of accomplishment and it soothes the soul.
Old 05-14-2017, 01:08 AM
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I agree with you FlyerInOKC. To put all those little parts together in hours of work to see at the end what have you made with your own hands...is one of the best part of this hobby. Okey the first time flying around with his brand new plane is stunning!

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