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As a pensioner, an old one at that, I have seen many changes in the economy, technology, also in retail, and much more.

 

My involvement in aeromodelling has been varied, due to family involvement, finance and the dominant demands of work. In short I am a retuned modeller due to these  many factors. 

 

I was aware that generally in the 70s and to a lesser extent 80s, that RC equipment was incredibly expensive, also kits were also significant, for a family man (most modellers were and remain male). In recent times RC equipment have been much lower (in real terms), and models pretty much prebuilt have been pocket money terms.

 

Yet I sense all is not well today, in aeromodelling. The number of mags is now few, retail model shops near to extinction. This appears to be the era of the on-line home based enthusiastic retailer. What appears to be an unwanted trend is the high priced models, at a guess, +£300-500 for an ordinary model. Given that the medium age for modellers is now probably in the mid 60s, the income for many is pretty much fixed, no promotions in the offering, where fuel, food costs and more are increasing.

 

I do wonder how  the majority of modellers are responding. I know that there will always be those who will continue spending on modelling, even if it means living in a tent. It is the majority that interests me, and how it will in both the short and longer term change the modelling scene.

 

All of the factors affecting the UK are also impacting in the rest of Europe (pretty much identically the same), irrespective of politics, this could be a big picture story.

 

 

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hello Erfolg,the hobby which is now classed as a sport has changed...yes we still fly toy aircraft,but how we do and how we are allowed to do it has changed.the equipment we use is readily available and the choice is immense,the shops that were known as model shops hardly exist,probably because of the internet. Everyone wants instant gratification, buy it today, fly it tomorrow...no sitting around for weeks building, and trying to find the bits we need. 

 

we think a few £100 is a lot of money,but money isnt worth what it was,and there are plenty who are happy spending it on the RC hobby...the world is changing and so is RC modelling, I don't think that this generation and the ones that follow are bothered about the "traditional " modelling world we evolved from......they look at it all different.....like it or not we are fast becoming dinosaurs...... 

 

ken anderson...ne...1........Jurassic dept.

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Ken, I agree in general in your view. I recognised that from my youth, to my early thirties, ther had been changes. Free flight, control line were already a peice of history. That pretty reliable of the shelf RC was available at a price. My return to modelling corresponded with the rise od the ARTF model, that Lipos along with the brushless motor was becoming the norm.

 

I have observed that the IC engine in all of its forms has now reduced very near to being a niche, extinction all but beckons, with determined conservationists determined to save the breeds.

 

I am not convinced that the numbers of aeromodellers will even remain stable (hence the BMFA pursuit of drone flyers). 

 

I suspect that the long time viability of ARTF models at the apparent higher prices is sustainable. There could be a number of reasons, disposable income that is uncommitted to food and transport may not be there very shortly (I think this is by and large independent of any UK government, although could be made much worse by various issues or believes).

 

Times do change, my previous hobby (cycling) went from oblivion to mass market, where unbelievable sums of money are spent on a excellent one, by people who are born again evangelists, with a hatred of motorist, contempt for traffic light and pedestrians. I would never have believed it was possible. 

 

On that basis I am no Nostradamus. Now can I still fit into my Lycra? 

 

Will Aeromodelling last long enough to enter a new Golden Age?

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I’m responding by ignoring pointless speculation, pessimists, doom mongers and those that look to the past with rose tinted spectacles.

 

Rather I rejoice at still being able to partake in this wonderful pastime & enjoy the ever increasing quantity & quality of products that are available from all around the globe.

 

…and I look forward to my next flying session and the sheer joy I experience when flying my models.

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Times change and people along with it, sometime the former driven by the latter.

There will be people who pass on the love of building to one or two youngsters who will continue with it, much the same as i.c., of which I am still a user, along with the electric stuff. Indeed i.c. may well become a part of future history events. (future history don't you love that). Pricing is and always will be driven by two things, availability and the amount people are prepared to pay, forget about reasonable pricing we are already witnessing that argument going out the window on a global scale.

Like all things its cyclic, whether or not I m here to see the hobby/sport become more popular i cannot say, however I have little doubt it will, as one day someone will build something and the dormant seed will germinate.

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You don't see many people building pyramids these days, but there are still one or two.

However, they are nothing like the originals and serve different purposes.

Such is the nature of evolution

:classic_smile:

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4 hours ago, Erfolg said:

£300-500 for an ordinary model.

I'm on record on this forum as stating that most folk massively underestimate what they spend on an ordinary model.

 

Artf in particular have been living on borrowed time, surviving only with low labour cost and tax loopholes to import them through. 

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All we can be sure of, is nothing stays the same. The internet has made sharing information (and misinformation) so easy, as well as online shopping. And Moore's law seems to be as relevant now as it ever was.

 

I really don't know what the most meaningful measurements are that indicate the health of the hobby. I suppose if pressed, it'd be how many youngsters are taking it up - or perhaps the financial value of modelling purchases. Anyway, in my opinion anybody who flies toy aeroplanes are part of the aeromodelling community, whichever technologies they choose, so it must be very hard to come up with an aggregate number.   I have the Impala I built in my 20's. I just  just took delivery of a 700 series flight controller for the quad I originally built with a KK2.1, and am 80% through building my first 3D printed model.

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I tend to agree with Nigel R.

The 90s and 00s were almost a golden age for many modellers when Chine in particular could make complex mechanical, electrical and electronic items, which included shipping, at 'pocket money' prices due to both the sales volume involved and relatively cheap labour. It is not surprising that ART and RTF became so popular as they were available at prices clearly below that of a kit. 

Several world events have rather altered the equation so I fear there will a significant reduction in conventional aeromodelling to a point that is actually below what it was before the Golden age due to not only from the normal aging losses but also many of the ARTF and RTF devotees will 'drop our' rather than accept the higher costs or be willing to change to any form of cheaper home construction. 

An aeromodelling hard core will of course continue but 'new blood' will be just as scarce as it has always been.

I could be wrong. 

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48 minutes ago, David Davis 2 said:

My club is organising an open day for beginners tomorrow. All of the local colleges have been canvassed. It'll be interesting to see if anybody turns up!

Maybe a few "media studies" students, considering the press coverage that our hobby has had (good and bad) over the last few years.

?

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I began flying R/C when I was a kid and have been into the hobby for 60 years.  It seems I just forgot to grow out of it.  

 

Yes, the hobby/sport has changed, but I prefer to call it "evolved".   The advances in technology have been fabulous to behold. 

Personally, I simply look forward to my next flying session rather than lament the so-called "good old days". 

The equipment we have now surpasses anything we could have imagined 60 years ago, and it just becomes more fun as time goes by. 

 

I have been involved in introducing the game to youngsters. .  Their enthusiasm to have a go remains the same, BUT in the past many were keen enough to take up the hobby. 

Today's youngsters can't be bothered to invest the time to learn the skills required to fly a model.  They would rather keep their noses pointed at a mobile phone. 

 

I stop at red lights and also have respect for pedestrians. Plus, I laugh at the sight of people dressed in lycra, so I probably wouldn't be allowed to get involved in cycling.  ?

 

That means I shall carry on being a model flyer. . . . Could be a title for a film, eh. ?

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With respect to recruitment of new modellers or fliers, I have tried with my family, in recent times with my three granddaughters.

  • With the first it was scene of a prehistoric site with cave, lots of pappy mashie, painting with spray brush.
  • Then a weather system model, using polystyrene, plaster, other mixed materials, again with spray brush and airbrush (foam on waves, speckled grass rocks and water fall.
  • Then an "X" type fighter, from a foam type board, which i hoped would glide after a fashion.
  • Finally just a week back a moving railway engine (the option was a moving vehicle). The picture of this cardboard and printed model is below. All the others there are no longer any images.

The last, involved some maths Pi, scaling from internet pictures of a DRG class 80, 3d modelling, slicing, 3d printing. In all cases project done, I need to get back to my X box games, with all three girls.

 

I tried introducing them to the cheap 27, £20 quid type models. I briefly though I had hooked one, who loved her multiplex foam chucky. All to no avail, beyond a transient interest. Every day here light aircraft pass overhead, the occasional Typhoon is seen, mostly heard, nothing magical with aircraft for many today. My model flight simulator, is just boring. There is nothing to blast. It is me that has failed, although I guess I am not alone.

 

As for these +£300 models, I am not interested in paying so much for something I will crash. Then again my ARTF models have been somewhat lacking in build quality (must be the low price I paid).

 

Like a previous contributor I now tend to live for the moment, and more often than not, with my increasingly imperfect self builds. Although if I spend £100, it tends to be over some time.

 

 

WP_20220604_11_54_35_Pro.jpg

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4 hours ago, Zflyer said:

Indeed i.c. may well become a part of future history events

 

Miniature jets still have wow factor. 

Electric is the new normal.

 

I love ic but I recognise I'm a minority. It pretty much is history, right now. Or on the cusp of becoming so, perhaps.

 

What learner would want to fight against a recalcitrant glow engine on a cold day? Meanwhile electric, for all its lack of soul, offers plug and go.

 

Anyway. I agree with Brian. Roll on the next flying session. 

Edited by Nigel R
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5 hours ago, Erfolg said:

born again evangelists, with a hatred of motorist, contempt for traffic light and pedestrians.

I don't know any cyclists like that. I'm confused as to where your stereotype is coming from.

 

I have met far more drivers that display intolerance to other road users than vice versa.

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Whilst I have embraced electric power, I draw the line at 4s. 

Beyond 4s it just becomes stupidly expensive..... and a single Lipo can easily cost more than a case of Prosynth. ?

 

Therefore, I.C. power is very much alive and well in my hangar. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Nigel

 

I see and  encounter them pretty much most times i drive or am a passenger.

 

Back in the day, when i was part of the club (Seamons) runs (normally 60-70 miles round trip) or perhaps undertake a100 mile ride (was it 9 hrs), club outings to the Velodrome, there was respect and a knowledge of the Highway code and many of the regulations and laws governing road usage. 

 

It is very different today. 

 

Yesterday on the way to the field, I encountered a cyclist coming towards me. There was a parked car on his side of the road. He pulled onto my side of the road gesticulated that i should move out of his way. In many respects not untypical (of both cyclists and some drivers today).

 

I will confess I desire an electronic groupset (I get by with a Shimano Indexed  Ulterga of veteran vintage).

 

I do prefer modelling now.

Edited by Erfolg
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I'm not convinced IC is on its way out. I'm newish to the hobby, about 2 years in and all my models are IC apart from a small foam spitfire that is yet to fly due to my skills.

 

I really don't mean to offend anyone but how many models do people actually need? Yes the cost is quite high but divided by the number of years you may use it, I don't think it is that bad really. Seeing some of the things people buy these days, I think something for a hobby that lasts is a good purchase.

 

Eating out, coffees and takeaways are becoming so normal now. Everyone has a new car, posh phone, monthly subscriptions. There is money to be saved and spent if people want to.

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7 hours ago, Erfolg said:

 

 

Will Aeromodelling last long enough to enter a new Golden Age?

Sure NOT!

 

Any other friend tells about "the ever increasing quantity & quality of products that are available from all around the globe" but that, simply, is not true at this moment. It is since some years, starting in 2008, that model hobby is in decline and a good clue is how many large producers and distributors have gone out of bussiness all around the world: Graupner, Robbe, Kavan, Great Planes (with all the brands associated!), A2Pro, TopModel,.....

 

It is true other brands have emerged but their customer sum does not come close to 50% of that of the old brands, and we all know what happens when a market gets smaller and it is things do not go better but worse as demand becomes smaller.

 

When there is fewer modelers, remaining brands give up design and production of new products and then we have not only the new legar requirements to fly but also that as we become fewer and fewer at the clubs, quotes to keep the flying sites will rise to levels when club members will have to give up and number of clubs will become lower as, probably, members from different ones will join so as to keep flying but probably having to travel quite farther and spending even more money on gas.

 

Although I didn´t think to have seen it in my life, my view is that in less than 10 years all types of airplane modelling will be a small and elitist hobby as today is model trains.

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Despite our best efforts in that regard I've long thought that expectations of a mass influx of youngsters taking up the hobby was bound to be doomed to disappointment.  The lone youngster coming into the hobby is met with a fundamental issue, given the relocation of the remaining model flying fields to out of town locations, which makes transport of one's gear to the field a bit difficult if one doesn't drive or have ready access to transport. If there's a better lad and dad hobby I haven't seen it and that is a way of attracting new blood, but for the lone youngster it's hard. The days of biking a couple of miles with a wee glider on the back of your bike are almost over.

 

The immediate future of the hobby, if there is one, is more likely to be in attracting retirees who dabbled a bit in their youth, often with very little success, then discovered beer, girls and motor vehicles. A lifetime of busy work and family makes it tricky to spare the time and cost for modelling. In retirement though, the vastly improved kit which is available across the board gives these chaps a much better chance of success and, for the silver surfer, there has never been such a wealth of help and information at their fingertips.

 

My own clubs have seen a steady stream of returners and new recruits to the hobby, to replace some of those friends and fellow modellers that we have sadly lost. I think that is marvellous and the chances of success for those returners and new flyers are hugely improved by the technology, with vastly more efficient use of their limited time than was available 30 years ago. The traditional methods of spending three months building a trainer, then crashing and repairing it on a weekly basis whilst getting to grips with the flying side never were a golden age and they have been replaced, or supplemented, with other, better, options.

 

Personally I'm hugely enjoying my hobby at the moment, have made lots of new pals since moving to Scotland a decade ago. I'm still a bit time limited, due to working full time, and my daily commute, replacing what was a weekly commute, does eat into the possibilities for evening flying, which I used to love. However the opportunities for the weekends are much better, the kit mountain awaits my retirement and I'm optimistic for the future.

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I have no idea what the long term future holds for our hobby/pastime/sport/craft. However, all my local flying clubs seem to have steady or growing membership levels and one or two even have waiting lists so, by that measure the hobby is in good health at present. In most cases pensioners make up the majority of the membership so, in theory, the current round of inflation might be expected to have a detrimental effect. However, the model flying bug is tenacious and I don’t ever recall anybody ever citing affordability as the reason for giving up!

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14 hours ago, Brian Cooper said:

 

I have been involved in introducing the game to youngsters. .  Their enthusiasm to have a go remains the same, BUT in the past many were keen enough to take up the hobby. 

Today's youngsters can't be bothered to invest the time to learn the skills required to fly a model.  They would rather keep their noses pointed at a mobile phone. 

Maybe they (and posdibly their parents) simply don't want to engage with a cantankerous old man who is willing to write them all off so readily, like much of the over-indulged, blinkered boomer generation is wont to do. 

 

Honey and flies, pressures of modern life, things change etc, etc. 

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15 hours ago, Brian Cooper said:

I began flying R/C when I was a kid and have been into the hobby for 60 years.  It seems I just forgot to grow out of it.  

 

I have been involved in introducing the game to youngsters. .  Their enthusiasm to have a go remains the same, BUT in the past many were keen enough to take up the hobby. 

Today's youngsters can't be bothered to invest the time to learn the skills required to fly a model.  They would rather keep their noses pointed at a mobile phone. 

 

If you'd now been in the hobby for 70 years & commenting 60 years ago the last sentence would have been the same except "television" would have replaced "mobile phone".

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