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Just getting back into it, wow what happened to R/C??

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Just getting back into it, wow what happened to R/C??

Old 11-14-2019, 08:51 AM
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gerard143
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Default Just getting back into it, wow what happened to R/C??

Just getting back into it. 39 years old now. I see tower hobbbies/hobbico went bankrupt. How the F does that happen? They were the industry powerhouse. Man I spent all my childhood pouring over their annual bible... and now they don't even print it anymore since horizon took over. Does anyone have a decent printed catalog anymore?

I see helis now seem to be dominated by electric. I see very few build kits for planes. Just ARF's and the selection seems slimmer than ever. Half the stuff I am interested in, says no longer available on the websites where you can buy the stuff. Furthermore, every website I have went to so far is pretty poorly designed, even Horizons.

Boy times have changed. Makes me sad and I am worried about the future and a further decline of R/C and great quality items being available. I know its not all doom and gloom with some nice electronics out now.... but just how bad is it out there from those who have been consistently into this over the last decade or two?

Last edited by gerard143; 11-14-2019 at 08:53 AM.
Old 11-14-2019, 09:29 AM
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Welcome back to the hobby. There are kits and other stuff available and some old standard outfits like DU-BRO, SIG, etc. still around. Best of luck!
Old 11-18-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by gerard143 View Post
Just getting back into it. 39 years old now. I see tower hobbbies/hobbico went bankrupt. How the F does that happen? They were the industry powerhouse. Man I spent all my childhood pouring over their annual bible... and now they don't even print it anymore since horizon took over. Does anyone have a decent printed catalog anymore?
Welcome back. You sound like me in the 90's as a kid. I'd also collect and read the R/C aviation magazines. Yes, the hobby is suffering thanks to drones but it's far from dead. You can find all sorts of great deals on Craigslist such as essentially brand new and complete glow trainers for a hundred bucks. I am lucky enough to have a brick and mortar hobby shop close by and try to give them as much business as possible even if I can get things cheaper online. They even stock glow fuel. I am still living the 90's dream with my glow powered planes and basic 72mhz equipment haha.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:13 AM
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RC isn't going away. It's just going through a cycle. Years 40 years or more ago there were a bunch of mom and pop operations that provided RC kits, radio equipment, engines, hardware, etc. to the modeling community. Those mom and pop outfits got big. Real big. And then a bunch of them got bought out until there were only a few major suppliers out there. While that was happening, the industry started going down with the advent of better, cheaper ARFs, electric motors, and RTF foam planes. So some of the large companies and major suppliers went out of business. To fill the void left in traditional modeling activities, the mom and pop shops started coming back. There are more than a few, less than a bunch, of kit producers out there. You can still buy several brands of radios, and thank God Dubro is still going. Glow powered engines are out there but not like they used to be. Gas engines for larger planes are more plentiful than ever.

I'm hoping that the mom and pop places of today will continue to grow along with the hobby. If not, maybe at least they will still be around for years to come.

So read those little ads in Model Aviation and beat the bushes for what you're looking for. It's out there, you just won't have that nice one-stop shopping we used to have at Tower Hobbies. For everything else, go to a swap meet. The old stuff is still there. Glow engines are available by the pound for cheap. Used on-line sales of RC equipment seem way overpriced to me.

carl
Old 11-20-2019, 08:06 PM
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It's a digital world, no catalogs. I'd say 90% of what I buy is from the classifieds, and always has been for 15 years that I have been back in the hobby. Midwest kits, old Top Flite kits, Pica, I'm not much of a Tower or SIG kit fan. I'm working on a Carl Goldberg Eagle 2 trainer now with my son, a kit I found on Craigslist for $60, local pick up with an old Futaba radio system, electric starter, a qt of fuel, and an OS FP 40 included. Hard to beat all of that for $60. I had to replace the nicads and found a much better nicad option off e-bay than Tower too. 1000mah

You don't show a location, but there are swap meets and clubs that have people trading, and certainly in FL, estate sales are generally a monthly event. One could make a living reselling estates and enjoy the hobby free for years to come. I did.

I still get CA glue, epoxy, Monokote, aileron extensions, and sheets of receiver foam from Tower/Horizon. I've also bought CA glue and epoxy from Ace Hardware and have similar results, for less money.
Old 11-21-2019, 08:09 PM
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I'm 40 and returned a few years ago to the hobby as well. I've got a few electric beer cooler planes, but my heart lies with wood and fuel.

RC here in the future isn't all bad though, as Facebook has several great RC groups and YouTube is full of neat stuff if you take the time to separate out the good from the garbage.

And Realflight is a great tool. I fly on my computer all the time and it has no doubt increased my skill. Level up!

Check out Old School Model Works. I bought a couple of their kits and hope to start the Comet soon. Working on a taildragger/flap mod Kadet Sr now.
Old 11-24-2019, 08:52 AM
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I agree with so much of what you said. I am 58 now and got back into things about ten years ago. It truly saddens me to see everything going electric and guys and gals.......... WE SHOULD HAVE NEVER ALLOWED DRONES TO INFILTRATE OUR CLUBS AND AMA. IT has been a disaster. Yes they are fun and I have a few. NO they are NOT the same as r/c planes and should have had to go make their own AMA and own hobby. It has cost us dearly in washington, with the FAA and more. our AMA spent millions of OUR dollars on this project even after we told them not to. IT cost us dearly again...
I can't go back and change things now. Top Flite went bankrupt and no more scratch build kits.. OMG what a sad thing.
However, Nick Zeroli is still going, many places sell kits now and you can get laser cut kits from small mom and pop places as well.... So I guess there is still goodness happening. I actually walked away when the AMA pulled their nonsense and when the FAA disobeyed congress about not messing with r/c planes and fliers... I am just now considering coming back.. I miss flying but .. dang folks.. When I cant get my grandkids a plane to fly without registering them with the government.... WTH?
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Old 11-28-2019, 12:52 AM
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welcome back.

I also took a 10-year break. Looks like Horizon owns everything except for traxxas... Exception is HPI, which went bankrupt and disappeared. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.... is assiciated and losi owned by horizon?
Old 11-28-2019, 04:21 AM
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scale only 4 me
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I'm not sure "owned" is the right word,, just because something is sold at Horizon,, doesn't mean Horizon owns that company
Losi has always be been sold/distributed by Horizon,,
Associated I think has always been an independent business,, now distributed through Horizon
Old 11-30-2019, 09:01 AM
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AllModesR/C, that`s a beautiful picture. If we all had a place like that to fly just a stones throw away. A dream come true for sure. Or maybe that`s what R/C heaven is like!
Old 12-06-2019, 07:26 PM
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Been flying R/C since 1972 at age of 12, Our hobby as we knew it is evolving but certainly not dead, it is now a latch key kid digital age dominated by FliteTest and foam hot glue and Youtube. Just watch how giant planes of everything imaginable are done as orgami foam and hot glue. I take my 3 grandkids to FLITEFEST annual flyin, 3000 people, I would guess atleast 40% women and girls most WILLING to primitive camp in tents, Never seen so many females at an RC venue in my life. Great times and hanging with these right brained kids for 4 days gives me great hope the Wilbur Wright and Chuck Yeagers are still being groomed.

I challenge any ole timer to just go down the rabbit hole and watch the Flite Fest YouTube channel some cold rainy snowy afternoon with a hot tottie........Very entertaining AND just may still learn a few things R/c related, I still do......................
Old 12-12-2019, 02:53 PM
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See http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/club...l#post12475592 .

I was out for about a decade, after two dozen very active years. Tried to go back last year, and found the fun was greatly diminished. Four nice fields in the area, used to be a couple hundred active members among the four clubs. Rarely had a day at the field when nobody had a new plane to maiden, and almost never didn't help somebody out. Most of us at least built kits.

Now there's three or four guys with foamies.
Old 12-13-2019, 05:24 AM
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scale only 4 me
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Yeah, since the invention of the wheel we humans have been building things to make work easier, I'm just as guilty as the next guy,, I have a small zero turn mower when a good push mower would do fine but take longer

Guys gravitate towards fast and easy vs.hard work,, thus ARFs and Foamies dominate the market place,, but that stops no one from building what they what,,, so build what you want and have fun
Old 12-13-2019, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by scale only 4 me View Post
Yeah, since the invention of the wheel we humans have been building things to make work easier, I'm just as guilty as the next guy,, I have a small zero turn mower when a good push mower would do fine but take longer

Guys gravitate towards fast and easy vs.hard work,, thus ARFs and Foamies dominate the market place,, but that stops no one from building what they what,,, so build what you want and have fun
Absolutely correct. Locally, scale builders used to represent a tiny fraction of the active R/C community, less than 1%. Those same two guys are now 25%.....
Old 12-13-2019, 09:06 AM
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Our hobby and the club I'm in is suffering. Kids have many more options for entertainment these days. There are some bright spots though. ARFs are getting better every day. Flex Innovations for example has some gas powered ARFs that are better than what most flyers of 30 years could build. Gas power has gotten cheaper and more reliable. And radios don't suffer from freq problems.
I hope it is a cycle and things come back.

David
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Old 12-13-2019, 03:06 PM
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Building a model (even from a kit) teaches both skills and character. I started in the early 1970's, first with a Sterling Ringmaster control-line, then a Goldberg Falcon 56 Mk II. Titebond glue, epoxy, tissue and dope on the Ringmaster, Monokote on the Falcon 56. The Ringmaster took several hours, the Falcon took MONTHS. I got a paper route to support my habit, learned about business and customer service, made enough to buy a brand new Kraft 7 channel for $435 after a 20% discount for cash. LHS had to order it, took a month to get it. No servo reversing, no dual rates, but was a very nice radio in it's day.
Kids had to be told to come in the house for dinner back then. Now they have to be forced outside. We'd spend all day exploring, creating, and just playing with stuff to figure it out. We mowed lawns, changed oil, dug holes, helped our neighbors, rode bicycles, skinned knees, and everything else we could find to experience life. We read for entertainment, could read a tape measure, and could count back change without a calculator. We knew the multiplication table, could add and subtract, multiply and divide, and even tell time. We knew where babies came from, as we raised animals. We learned because we wanted to know how to do things. I saw a demo of R/C planes at a stadium in Eugene, OR on the Fourth of July in about 1965. I'd just turned six.
Times have changed.
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:36 AM
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Greetings! I'm kind of 'back,' I guess... more out of curiosity than anything. I've always been interested in R/C (mostly Nitro cars), but always fascinated with planes and helos, too.

I recently completed restoration of a 1971 Mach 1, and have been forbidden to take on any new full scale projects (no more room to park 'em), so I guess it's time to dig out my scale models and R/C cars again. My only issue is that there is no R/C car scene in San Angelo, TX. It's almost no fun to just run 'em all alone. I got into road racing with some buddies back around 1998 and it was SO much fun... but like all military towns, buddies come and go, and most of my R/C buddies are long since gone.

I started out with a Kyosho Pegasus electric buggy when I was in high school, and quickly learned why I hate electrics (care and feeding of the batteries and motors, more than anything). I got into Nitro with a Kyosho SuperTen GP in 1998 and absolutely loved it! I ran it every weekend for almost a year, keeping everything happy, tuned, and running strong. I also inherited a Traxxas Nitro Hawk from one of my buddies when he left, and that thing's still a beast! I was always trying to keep it as inexpensive as I could, and never switched out my AM radio gear... and consequently had a couple of runaways as a result. Saw that as a challenge, repaired 'em, and got 'em back out there, good as new.

I got a bug a few years ago and picked up some leftovers on ebay. I found an HPI SNRS-4, and a couple of HPI NRS-4 1/10s (along with some Futaba radios and support parts) for wicked cheap. Those cars are a blast as well. Unfortunately, I only had a couple days of running fun, then life came back and I put 'em all away again.

Now, I'm poking around to see what's out there and hopefully I'll find some local interest again.
Old 12-23-2019, 12:51 PM
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IMO the hobby changed when glow fuel became too expensive and people switched over to gas. Electrics' came on the scene with the advent of LIPO batteries and new motor designs. Affordable balsa kits suffered when the balsa wood market was taken up by manufactures of aluminum pallets. Things change so go with the flow and who would of thought we needed a license to fly our models.
Old 12-26-2019, 02:50 PM
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Depends on what areas of the hobby you like.

If you like building kits, glow engines, glow planes, gliders launched with high starts or winches, then yes things are going downhill fast. On the other hand, if you hate to build planes and much prefer cheap stuff from China like electric motors, batteries, electric planes, electric powered “gliders”, drones, and giant scale planes with gasoline engines then times are good.

For many, the hobby has morphed from a craft like endeavor into more of an activity. More about what you buy not what you built.

Personally I like all the stuff that is going away. I never miss an opportunity to “stock up” when I encounter things that I like. I warehouse balsa wood, glow fuel, glow plugs, glow engines, glow propellers, special building tools and glow related hardware from Dubro. I have more balsa than most stores, over 60 glow engines, cases of fuel (some of which I mixed myself), almost 100 glow plugs, and drawers full of props and tanks in the sizes I use. I also have a good collection of kits, although I prefer building from plans available from outerzone.com for free.

Traditional “all in the box” Kits are nearly extinct, but laser cut “short kits” of many of the most popular planes from the last 50 years are still readily available.

The hobby is as enjoyable as it ever was, you just have to focus on what you like. Be sure to keep your eye open for things you want but can no longer buy. Online auction sites, swap meets, and the classified areas of websites like this one are where the shopping is these days!
Old 01-05-2020, 03:44 PM
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049Flyer - Do you by any chance have a manual for an OS Max 60 SR engine?? I've seen many requests, but no manual.
Basically what I need is how to set the fuel mixture screw. To factory setting. I just disassembled mine and cleaned it and need to know how to set the mixture screw.
My OS .61FX is: close throttle fully, close mixture valve, open 1/2 turn.
Need to know was it is for the .60 SR.
I've been out of the hobby about 10-12 years and getting back into it. You guys are right... everything is changing. Some of my equipment is older than the guys in the hobby shop!! I ask them questions and they are like... never heard of that or never seen anything like that before... Sheesh! LOL

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Old 01-05-2020, 04:28 PM
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flycatch
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Originally Posted by AkSlickster View Post
049Flyer - Do you by any chance have a manual for an OS Max 60 SR engine?? I've seen many requests, but no manual.
Basically what I need is how to set the fuel mixture screw. To factory setting. I just disassembled mine and cleaned it and need to know how to set the mixture screw.
My OS .61FX is: close throttle fully, close mixture valve, open 1/2 turn.
Need to know was it is for the .60 SR.
I've been out of the hobby about 10-12 years and getting back into it. You guys are right... everything is changing. Some of my equipment is older than the guys in the hobby shop!! I ask them questions and they are like... never heard of that or never seen anything like that before... Sheesh! LOL
YS60sr.pdf
Old 01-06-2020, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by flycatch View Post
Thanks, Flycatch, but I found this manual. This is for the YS 60SR which is a 4 stroke, not the OS Max .60 SR which is a 2 stroke and different brand.
Old 01-07-2020, 10:25 AM
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Electric is the way to go if you are getting back in. The evolution away from internal combustion is normal. With the lithium batteries, brushless motors and speed controllers, IC engines are dinosaurs compared to the new electrics. And the costs are comparable.
The quest for more power and better reliability has been the standard for model aviation for 100+ years.
I remember times when I would be out with my CL stunt plane and couldn't get the engine started (I think I was 8). That ruined the whole day. With e-power, I could have plugged in the battery and flown instead of trying to figure out if it was my glow battery, plug, bad fuel or whatever. And, the e-power would have been at least as powerful as the Enya 40 I was trying to start.

The thing that is brewing now is the FAA / DHS restrictions on airspace for RC models and drones. You can argue the need / reason / blame for these new restrictions, but they are here now, and we have to learn to work with or around them.

Like it or not, the LHS is now online. It may be hard to accept, but that is now the new normal for almost everything.

As for "Kids have many more options for entertainment these days", that has alway been the case. When I was in our local glider club in the late '70s, all we had were old white guys flying old gliders. And every meeting included some conversation about "How do we attract kids?". What's missing is the STEM courses in school. Remember the days when AMA and the US Navy sponsored all the public out-reach programs for aviation? Long gone now.

Embrace the change.

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Old 01-07-2020, 11:02 AM
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flycatch
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Originally Posted by ticedoff8 View Post
Electric is the way to go if you are getting back in. The evolution away from internal combustion is normal. With the lithium batteries, brushless motors and speed controllers, IC engines are dinosaurs compared to the new electrics. And the costs are comparable.
The quest for more power and better reliability has been the standard for model aviation for 100+ years.
I remember times when I would be out with my CL stunt plane and couldn't get the engine started (I think I was 8). That ruined the whole day. With e-power, I could have plugged in the battery and flown instead of trying to figure out if it was my glow battery, plug, bad fuel or whatever. And, the e-power would have been at least as powerful as the Enya 40 I was trying to start.

The thing that is brewing now is the FAA / DHS restrictions on airspace for RC models and drones. You can argue the need / reason / blame for these new restrictions, but they are here now, and we have to learn to work with or around them.

Like it or not, the LHS is now online. It may be hard to accept, but that is now the new normal for almost everything.

As for "Kids have many more options for entertainment these days", that has alway been the case. When I was in our local glider club in the late '70s, all we had were old white guys flying old gliders. And every meeting included some conversation about "How do we attract kids?". What's missing is the STEM courses in school. Remember the days when AMA and the US Navy sponsored all the public out-reach programs for aviation? Long gone now.

Embrace the change.
I left glow because of the cost of the fuel thanks to the EPA shutting down the nitro manufactures in the USA. The cost of electrics versus glow is not comparable in the short term. A 6S 5000mah lipo cost about $100 USD and you can buy six gallons of glow fuel for the same price. Electric power is the way to go if you can tolerate a flight duration of less than five to seven minutes. This is the biggest negative when going electric. When I flew glow powered helicopters 50 size I was getting a flight time of 12 minutes with reserve amount left in the 12 oz tank. You would get better flight times if it was a 30 size airframe. This is not the case with an electric helicopter. Now I have to fly with a countdown timer built into the transmitter or an external timing device.
I'm an advocate of electric flight however the operator must beware of its limitations in regards to flight time. I also fly electric gliders but in this situation you only require wattage to get airborne and seek out thermal activity.
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:44 PM
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7500 - Hijacking in progress.
The EPA didn't shut any "nitromethane" plants down. It was a cost to profit ratio that dried up the nitromethane manufacturing.
Low demand + High Cost of Manufacturing = Why Bother? That's Capitalism Baby!
In case anyone asks, any standard hobby 2-cycle glow engine will run on 0% nitro. I have run my YS 120SR-X on my Goblin 700 Black Nitro on 0%. It takes patience and there is not as much power, but if I really wanted to fly my nitro helis, I'd use 0% and not try to blame the government.

I paid almost $550 for my YS 96SR-X (plus pipe) and a little more for my YS 120SR-X (plus pipe). They will put out about 3000W at peak power ( <4 horsepower ).
I get 6 flights per gallon of Byron's Rotor Rage Competition blend (22.5% nitro, 21% lube and the rest is alcohol) and that costs about $30 per gal (I buy in bulk - 8 to 16 cases at a time) - that's $5 per flight. I get around 6 minutes per flight on a 660ml tank.
On my old Trex 600N, I used a YS 60SR and could get around 7 or 8 minutes of low headspeed flight
The funny thing is, that my Trex 600E Pro with a 3-bladed head would get 7 minutes with a low headspeed and fly the same as the Trex 600N at the same headspeed.

If I replaced them with an e-setup that puts out about 3000W, the total initial cost would in the ballpark of $500 to $600 (3000W motor, ESC and batteries).
Add $100 for a decent charger and 24v power supply (I use 2 Dell 750W 12V 40A server power supplies ($10 each) to run my iCharger). To extend the flight times, I'd buy batteries with higher capacity and use lower headspeeds (lower RPM).
But, buying a 6S 5000mAh battery to run on a 3000W motor is not even close to reality. It might be 5S or 6S, but maybe around 3500mAh.
If I wanted to convert my old Sig King Cobra to e-power, I'd use a motor / ESC combo that matched the .60 size motor it has now (I haven't flown it for decades - humm) and there would not be a 6S 5000mAh battery in it.

But, since I use telemetry, I monitor the mA consumed and set an alarm in the transmitter when I reach 20% remaining. Then I land. Castle Creations makes a Spektrum telemetry link to the Spektrum receivers that have the 4-pin X-Bus telemetry interface. So, that could be used on any fixed wing.
If I refitted my R&R Legend glider with a power pod, I'd definitely hook up the telemetry for the mA consumed. That way I'd know exactly when there isn't enough juice left for "one more climb out".

I still have to use a count down timer on all my nitro helis. There is no fuel gauge for telemetry.

Last edited by ticedoff8; 01-08-2020 at 09:24 AM.

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