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How dead is our industry?

Old 08-25-2018, 06:28 PM
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Lee Taylor
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Default How dead is our industry?

First off let me say that I derive no income from the model industry.
Second let me say that I have rekindled my interest in RC Modeling
Thirdly let me say I am overwhelmed at how literally everything has changed in my 30 year absence

I visited three local flying fields today. Each one was large and beautiful. The layouts were similar. Similar this. Similar that. It seems we know and understand what RC Modelers want at the flying field

Here is what struck me hard. Not a soul at any of the sites. Not a person. Not a prop. Not a car. Not a field box. Zero. Nothing. Dead as a nut. All three sites had no people and seemed to have not seen any action in a while
Here is what stuck me also. No fuel on the neatly stacked starter benches. It was eerie. Like a ghost town that had once been thriving but now it is quiet with that feeling that is was once a beehive.

I am not looking for a field... fields can be had. I was hoping to find a club of the like minded.

Reading about the bankruptcies is sad. Finding ghost towns where there use to be RC Modelers is confirming. It is not the same world we had in the past. Peoples interests are in different things now days.

I hope a revival comes. It may and it may not. In not to many years we will all be gone and the industry we once knew and loved may be gone also.

Things come and things go. They ramp up and they ramp down. We have our memories and there are others with similar memories.

May your glow fuel be inexpensive and your propellers not break! Onwards. Life awaits!

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Old 08-25-2018, 07:50 PM
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It's a greying hobby Lee. On a more positive note as more and more of us shuffle off this mortal coil there are plenty of second hand bargains available. For example, this 1/6 scale Roy Scott BE2e cost me just 90 ($115 US or €99) in an estate sale.

To misquote Madame de Pompador, "Apres nous le silence!"



Old 08-25-2018, 09:19 PM
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Hmmm... estate sale, you say. You have opened my eyes to something. I need to peel back my eyelids a bit. Don't cha wish that old bird of yours could talk?
Old 08-26-2018, 03:14 AM
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I just gave away 15 airplanes,and as many engines. These were from modelers who didn't get much help from there clubs and never learned how to fly. I still get calls from people who had tons of stuff but can't find buyers for anything they have.
I still have at least a dozen airplanes that were given to me that I can't even give away. We have two excellent flying fields that go unused.

Apparently, AMA is fully aware of the problem but is all but helpless in finding a solution.

Model Aviation - April 2017 - Page 8-9

Last edited by fliers1; 08-26-2018 at 03:19 AM.
Old 08-26-2018, 05:10 AM
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it is surely dying. a small local hobby shop about 25 mi. away from me told me that he is pretty much dropping the r/c flying niche at his shop,....can't compete with the internet. I hate internet shopping . next closest decent shop with r/c flying stuff is 2+ hrs. away. and another 1-1/2 hrs. to the next closest. just too far for small purchases. my local club has 7 members, all older fliers and luckily the field is owned by one of them, so at least that should remain open as long as he flies. I think it's decline originated with the introduction of ARF planes. it basically took away the core of the hobby and I refuse to cross that line. younger flyers have lost the craft of building what they fly. they buy an ARF because they never learned how to build, crash it and don't know what to do to rebuild it and can't afford to run out and buy another right away or decide that flying is harder than they thought so they go buy a car and the hobby takes another hit. unfortunately this hobby is simply not oriented towards the "instant gratification" generation. there are many issues that are killing the hobby. scarcity of flying fields due to liability, general intolerance of the noise despite mufflers, time to devote to the hobby is steadily decreasing in todays economy, the general lack of expendable funds amongst the middle income population, all add up to the steadily increasing cost of flying. allot of people don't like the fact that you have to register with the FAA as well. bottom line,....just like anything else now-a-days,... you have to pay to play. if there's a way to make a buck off something, someone is going to ruin it for everyone.
Old 08-26-2018, 05:36 AM
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[QUOTE=fliers1;12457804]I just gave away 15 airplanes,and as many engines. These were from modelers who didn't get much help from there clubs and never learned how to fly. I still get calls from people who had tons of stuff but can't find buyers for anything they have.
I still have at least a dozen airplanes that were given to me that I can't even give away. We have two excellent flying fields that go unused.

Apparently, AMA is fully aware of the problem but is all but helpless in finding a solution.

I hardly think they are helpless to do anything about it. they are the governing body, the only one who can initiate anything about the issue. there are quite a few large incomes dependently relying on those issues. just most governing associations, it's become a beast playing the never ending game of "steal from Peter to pay Paul". hopefully as it grows in size, it will consume itself and things will go back to normal and more people can enjoy the hobby again. every time a governing body pushes itself on an activity, participation takes a dive.
Old 08-26-2018, 06:02 AM
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I think it has more to do with the members interests and the club than anything else. Many of the clubs I am familiar with are thriving. The two clubs I belong to are doing quite well. One is filled to capacity and has a waiting list the other has and has averaged 80 members or so for many years. Remember when times are tough and money is tight our hobby doesn't have to be expensive compared to the family boat, cottage, race car, bike travel etc. All it takes is a little time to get things in order, membership in the organization and club dues and we have a half year or so of fun and companionship with like minded hobby people. On the other hand when times are good and money is available the bigger more expensive toys come out, projects that have been put off now become viable and the hobby takes a back seat. Its always been this way. A long time ago I noticed that club membership would swell during tight times and ebb during the good times.

For example the last two years a couple of very good friends and fellow modelers have been absent. They are busy working on their retirement cottages out of town and are putting every effort to get them finished before the next downturn in the economy. Three of the guys who used to fly regularly twice a week are busy with their boats and family they still work and any free time is spent on board with family and friends. Others are involved with their cars, bikes and travel plans and show up once in the blue moon. Myself I have been injured at work and am working through it for over a year now. Mean time I still kept my membership up in both clubs and MAAC but flying has been sporadic at best. Its slowly getting better just started back to work money has been tight so even building has been slower.

The hobby for most is just that, a hobby, something (one of many) that provides entertainment, challenge and enjoyment sometimes life just gets in the way. No big secret, no conspiracy and certainly no ones fault. There are so many hobbies out there that compete with each other for attention its unreal. As a youngster I had slot cars and competed at local tracks, tether fuel cars drag and circle, control line models, home made karts and mini bikes. Radio control was just a dream no way I could even thing about affording it. Well slot car tracks are all but gone as well as the tether cars and control line which have all been replaced by the advent of good and affordable rc equipment. Kids as a general rule just are not interested in these any more when they have the freedom of movement rc provides. As kids spending a year or so gathering parts to attempt to build a mini bike or kart doesn't happen much any more. Who wants a mini bike when everyone else is riding around on a real dirt bike and there are lots of inexpensive used one to be had.

The arf and foam movement were thought at one time to be a great boost to the hobby well in some ways it has but for the most part I don't see it producing any greater numbers of die hard modelers.

I am afraid we live in a world of instant gratification and short attention span neither of which is complimentary to any hobby that requires at some point dedication and effort. Fliers1 puts forth the fable that many leave the hobby because they can't learn to fly and become frustrated. I don't see that. At the clubs I belong to and visit there are enough instructors and the students are learning to fly well and safely. What I see happening is that they reach the level that they feel comfortable with be it economics, skill, time and effort they are willing to give then become bored and choose to move on to other things. There is not much to be done when the interest is lost for what ever reason. That and economics is why there is such a great ebb and flow at the club level with a solid core of dedicated modeler/flyers that hold the club together.

Both of the clubs I belong to have the early morning flyers that like to get the flying in before the wind and heat and humidity start. Those are usually gone by 11 to noon. You get the odd shift worker coming in during the day but many show up after the evening meal when winds tend to die down and the heat of the day starts to dwindle. Some clubs have certain days and times that get a few more members out. BBQ day is one for our club which is also a Wed night beginners night where beginners have priority but open flying is still encouraged. Saturdays are event days and Sundays are just good open flying days. The rest of the week most of us work and have other family duties. Its always best to contact a club you intend to visit and find out what days there are better chances to run into the members using the field. If the field is well maintained you can bet its most likely a very active club you just picked a slack day to visit.

Dennis
Old 08-26-2018, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
I just gave away 15 airplanes,and as many engines. These were from modelers who didn't get much help from there clubs and never learned how to fly. I still get calls from people who had tons of stuff but can't find buyers for anything they have.
I still have at least a dozen airplanes that were given to me that I can't even give away. We have two excellent flying fields that go unused.

Apparently, AMA is fully aware of the problem but is all but helpless in finding a solution.

Model Aviation - April 2017 - Page 8-9
The "problem" can not and will not be solved by Muncie. All they can do is encourage. What will solve the problem is active club participation. To include the clubs getting out into their local communities and participating. However, the trend being pushed by the technology makes runways unnecessary for most. Which in turn makes clubs and the AMA equally invalid.

But too many oldsters are no longer dragging out 3-4 traditional planes to the field every weekend. Instead they have their little ARFs they fly from their back yard or park. Now they go to the field 2-3 times a year for a little socialization. And the ones who do still make it out most weekends are usually rushed, have no time for questions, need to get a flight in before supper. And are basically your Grumpy Old Men so often mentioned in threads.

And the youngsters? No longer do they go to the hobby shop to get into this hobby. Now it's K-Mart, Wally World, Amazon and others who have no more knowledge about it than the kid. And often even less. Now they get pretty sophisticated aircraft for a couple of hundred bucks and fly from their front door or chase their sister around the house from the comfort of their I-Phone. If they crash or somehow lose it? It's only a couple of hundred bucks! Chicken feed to todays youth. Wonder who taught them that?

The hobby is changing. Those who build and fly traditional model planes are dwindling in numbers. The NATS already has so many categories and so few participants you can actually get a first place simply by registering and showing up.

Times are changing and the clubs have failed to keep up with the times. Who's to blame? Everyone!
Old 08-26-2018, 07:49 AM
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RC isn't dying, it has changed directions. No need for clubs when you have foamie park flyers and FPV "drones". A lot of it is the clubs are just too expensive. When a club was less than $50 per year it was affordable but when they cost hundreds per year and even hundreds more "initiation" they are pricing themselves into bankruptcy.
Old 08-26-2018, 09:16 AM
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Lee Taylor
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Originally Posted by rgburrill View Post
RC isn't dying, it has changed directions.
This is right on target in my opinion. Change is inevitable. We live with our memories and our memories are always the way things were. The way things are will not be the same tomorrow.
Old 08-26-2018, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Lee Taylor View Post
This is right on target in my opinion. Change is inevitable. We live with our memories and our memories are always the way things were. The way things are will not be the same tomorrow.

The doomsdayers and naysayers will always be there I heard it when helicopters first came out, when arfs came out, jets, drones you name it anything new is going to be the death of our hobby. Know what its still around only the faces change. I have enjoyed many facets of this hobby and after some 50 years I'm still enjoying what ever I choose on any given day. Pick up your transmitter and find a good safe place to fly be it private or a club and just enjoy yourself. Don't give yourself an ulcer listening to the doomsdayers and naysayers. Help where you can, fly safe be an Ambassador for the hobby and you've done more than your fair share. Most of all have fun.

Dennis
Old 08-26-2018, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Propworn View Post
Pick up your transmitter and find a good safe place to fly be it private or a club and just enjoy yourself.
Well I bought a Realflight 8 Simulator this week. I would guess I have put in 10 hours of stick time this week. I have significantly improved at flying straight at me and having to think in reverse. I am landing an Sbach (this plane flys fantastic) on a relatively small field strip. The real life landing field I visited yesterday is 10x larger than the one I am using on the sim. If the sim breaks I am buying another. That has always been my benchmark as to how much I like something

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Old 08-26-2018, 03:58 PM
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I fly what I like to fly,, ok lets be real,, what I like that I can afford to fly , been doing that for about 50 years,, don't see that changing any time soon
Old 08-26-2018, 09:10 PM
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10 years ago, the hobby was on a real high. The hobby figured out how to work in China and stuff was coming in cheap with lots of volume. Literally anyone could have a 40 size trainer ready to fly for $200. Small radios got cheap and LiPo batteries came on the scene. ARFs were cheaper than kits you had to build. High powered computer radios. There was the Tournament of Champions that was paying big money to win which was great advertising. Then China started making their own brands, electrics took over because you did not have to learn how to work an engine, big money was shrinking because of old guys dyeing, Department store toys that were more advanced than the hobby they came from. Tower was relying on the cheap and got over extended, JR radios folded, glow engines got expensive and rare, kits disappeared. The original old guys are gone, and many of the new old guys are beginners. The 30-40-50 year olds who were in it as kids are the new "old guys" It has distilled back to the hard core people. Our club is thriving. Another local is OK, but a third only has about 10 people and they are trying to keep people out. Drone racing is starting to be the "cool" thing. Once you find when everyone is at the field, it will get easier to figure how everyone is hanging out. Heat of the summer and "old" guys might have people staying away until the weather breaks.
Old 08-26-2018, 09:58 PM
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Curiously enough when I retired to La Creuse in the centre of France in 2015, I joined the local model flying club which then had a membership of only eighteen people. We lost two members at the end of 2015, both of them Dutchmen, one sold his house in France and moved permanently back to Holland. The other gave up the hobby completely claiming that his model, an E-Flite Apprentice wasn't very strong. They are built to fly not to crash!

In 2016 we were invited to fly at a village fete where we attracted three new members including two brothers, Jean-Luc and Pascal who both live with much younger women. Lucky buggers! When they first joined the club they turned up with some incredibly battered old models which they used to fly in the past but over the winter they both made an excellent job of renovating them, so what differentiates Jean-Luc and Pascal from other recently-joined members is that these two are builders not assemblers of ARTFs. Pascal's partner, Morganne, who is about thirty years younger than him,is learning to fly and coming on in leaps and bounds. He bought her an ARTF Decathlon for her birthday. She loved that model until in a bout of overconfidence, she crashed it! With the help of a similarly sized plan downloaded from The Outerzone, Pascal is repairing it.

Since then we've held a number of well-advertised special events including a static display in a local village hall, two glider weekends as model gliders are very popular in France, a Vintage Model Day and a Great War day featuring models from the 1914-1918 conflict, which included a model Farman 11, a replica of the aircraft in which the modeller's grandfather was killed in December 1915.

As a result of all of this activity, over the last three years, our membership has increased to thirty. These are mostly novices with ARTF trainers, though the club has some trainers which anyone can use and you never know at least some of the new members may start building. Some have more time to devote to flying than others but those who put in the hours are making progress. Some have already passed the national qualification, the Brevet A, which is a bit like passing your driving test. The general rule is that novices start to fly with Roger Aubard, the club's president who once competed in the French national chamionships and once they have reached a degree of competence they are handed over to me. I teach them how to take off, loop and roll before I hand them back to Roger who teaches them how to land. I'm not going to let them wreck my trainer! However, as a result of recent activity we have attracted three new Anglophones, two Englishmen and a South African, and I have been allotted all three of them to teach from the outset.

Are we bucking a trend at Berry Marche Modelisme or can other clubs learn from us?




Our catering is quite good too! Note the pale blue club polo shirts.




My BE2e. Note the working over-wing exhaust.


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Old 08-27-2018, 02:46 AM
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Lee Taylor
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It is so good to see postings from other parts of the world. I was born and raised in a 1960's, 1970's America. America is not the same my friend. Currently we have mobs of the younger generation in the streets chanting "socialism" and I am sure half of them don't know the meaning or the history. Someone once said if you can get the perimeter of the circle to move, the rest will follow. Oh well, life marches on.

The model industry has me thinking lately about "supply and demand" and how they rely on each other. There must be both and ideally they need to be equal. (i think)

The industry has changed but then we changed also. The world has changed. When I was a child we had little concept of "life" in other countries.
.
Regardless of all that, I grew up a kit builder with a little foray into scratch building. Now days my personal direction is building a kit (if I can find one), or scratch, and also a "ready to fly". I need a ready to fly to bang around and break and re-build and toss back into the sky. Not crazy these days about spending a lot of time and money just to go out and crash. And you will crash (sooner or later)

ps: My latest observation on the simulator is that some planes fly "way too fast". (yes you can reduce the throttle). I seem to go in for realism

Photo of the entrance to the Flying Club closest to my home.
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:15 AM
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  1. I know what you mean about ready-to-fly models and crashing Lee. I'm doing a fair bit of instructing these days and failed to take back control quickly enough when my trainee became disorientated. Picture of the result below. Fortunately my beloved Enya 50 was unscathed by the incident. The trainee is going to repair it. I wish him the best of luck! I've just taken delivery of something called a We-Can-Fly, typical Cessna lookalike, electric foamy. If I can't fly this I need shooting!
  2. Though I have some ARTFs, I prefer to build from a kit. If I build from a plan these days I get the a laser cutter to cut out all the difficult bits for me. I haven't always been in a position where I could afford to pay for this service but in retirement I find that I can. I plan to build a replica of Dr Walt Good's Big Guff over the (northern hemisphere) winter. This was one of the very first radio controlled models which first flew in the late 1930s.
  3. There appears to be one corner of the hobby which isn't dying. In June I participated La Coupe Des Barons. This is an event for the iconic French Baron trainer. After a concours d'elegance, there are four flying tests: baguettes where you have to knock over 1 metre-high balsa sticks; a pylon race; renard where you have to cut a streamer towed by a trainer and limbo where you have to fly between an two posts and below a rope. Eighty entrants were accepted and sixty-eight turned up on the day. Check out the picture before the event started, not many Ready-To Flys there! For those that are interested there is a video of the event and some still photos here. http://saffiotipatrick.wixsite.com/vl38/les-barons Just scroll down to "Video Coupe 2018" or "Photos Coupe 2018."

Old 08-27-2018, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Telemaster Sales UK View Post
I'm doing a fair bit of instructing these days and failed to take back control quickly enough when my trainee became disorientated.
Even though it was 38 yrs ago ... I remember my instructors exact words. He said... "When I say give me the transmitter I do not want any hesitation. Do not try anything, do not do anything, do not try to fix anything. If you cannot agree to that then we cannot go any further". And I did just that. When he said give it to me, I let it go immediately. I still remember him saying "level the wings". And he said it continuously. When it went dead-stick I handed him the transmitter before he could get the words out of his mouth. He liked that
Old 08-27-2018, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Telemaster Sales UK View Post
Fortunately my beloved Enya 50 was unscathed by the incident.
I currently have an Enya 45 and an Enya 15. Enya's were very popular in America 1975-1985. Currently I am admiring the four stroke glow engines. I know zero about gas engines. My personal problem with gasoline is that it just seems too dangerous. I will research it before I go glow. I am fairly certain my next engine purchase will not be a 2 stroke. I am learning from the simulator that speed is not something I am interested in.

I like this field but the distance from my home may prove to be too much (75 minute drive)
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Old 08-27-2018, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Telemaster Sales UK View Post
The trainee is going to repair it. I wish him the best of luck!
Hardwood spars may provide the structural integrity he will need.
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:09 AM
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A man after my own heart!

At the risk of being accused of being excessively patriotic may I suggest that you consider a Laser if you are in the market for a new engine. They are priced competitively with the competition, they are a little heavier but they are beautifully made and sound fantastic. With the silencer immediately behind the cylinder they are easily cowled. Besides if you buy a new one you'll have your initials stamped into the crankcase mounting lugs! Laser engines is part of a bigger general engineering business which has recently moved to larger premises. Only the single cylinder engines are currently available. The word on the streets is that the V twins will be produced as petrol (gas) engines when production re-starts. They have already released a few prototype single cylinder petrol engines to a small group of customers to see how they go. Welcome To Laser Engines

Here are some pictures of some of mine which I bought second hand, on the test bench.

Must get on with the gardening and painting the outside of the house!



Laser 150 V Twin


Laser 90
Old 08-28-2018, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rgburrill View Post
RC isn't dying, it has changed directions. No need for clubs when you have foamie park flyers and FPV "drones". A lot of it is the clubs are just too expensive. When a club was less than $50 per year it was affordable but when they cost hundreds per year and even hundreds more "initiation" they are pricing themselves into bankruptcy.
Perhaps lots of reasons...foam planes, quick results, self guided drones, kids who get entertainment using their thumbs etc and etc. My occupation required moving all over the country (& world) for about 30 years and there were sensational clubs and unfortunately, lousy ones too. A common thread of the lousy clubs over the years was the transition from thinking to feeling and the loss of focus. Some clubs who, rather than lowering excessive dues, actually looked for ways to give money away for non-club (or RC) related activities. Honestly, it made some of them feel good. "Let's give to the animal shelter, no, let's give to......whatever." Losing focus about why we are there in the first place. Imagine visiting a club with your child and being greeted with a very curt, "Here fill out this application, so and so is in charge and your turn to cut grass is next Saturday!" Think that is not real? Actually, just like an economy, cyclic expansion and shrinkage is healthy. I think we will come back stronger if clubs and members really evaluate their mission: Safely fly RC, camaraderie, assistance & sharing and most importantly, introducing our children into the wonderful world of RC. Just my two cents.
Old 08-30-2018, 05:20 AM
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someone above mentioned ..." pick up your transmitter, find a good safe place to fly and go fly"",..........there-in lies the problem. there are no "good safe places to fly" around me and my local club of 7 members is not going to be able to support a designated piece of land big enough to fly from. if it weren't for one of the local club members donating a farm field, there would be no flying in the area. the changes are also coming from outside the hobby. insurance companies cringe when you mention the idea of using your personal land for a flying field and will do everything in their book of tricks to stop it from happening. IOW,.... the main problems don't lie with your neighbor not liking the noise,..... a mere group of flying enthusiasts don't have the meddle to rise up against an insurance company's threat to drop a guy if he lets a club use his property to fly on. the reason for the club member's donating land is because the previously designated farm was sold and the new owner's insurance would not tolerate the field to be used any more despite the AMA's coverage and the club's requirement of AMA membership.......insurance doesn't always solve all problems in this issue of where to fly and the AMA won't cover someone's whole farm because it contains a flying field.
some might call me one of those "nay-sayers",...but I think i'm not,....I am merely exposing the factual side of procuring some flying turf.
Old 08-30-2018, 05:44 AM
  #24  
Lee Taylor
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Originally Posted by JGalt View Post
"Here fill out this application, so and so is in charge and your turn to cut grass is next Saturday!" Think that is not real?
I have unintentionally avoided clubs all my life. Your posting seems accurate. Typically who provides the lawn machines and fuel?

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Last edited by Lee Taylor; 08-30-2018 at 06:01 AM.
Old 08-30-2018, 05:51 AM
  #25  
Lee Taylor
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Originally Posted by JGalt View Post
Here fill out this application, so and so is in charge and ......
....... and pay up my friend. U gotta pay if you wanna play!

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