Originally Posted by Mode One
Pretty near impossible to quantify how many people are building model airplanes in any type of building material! All you can do is have a feeling, one way or the other. In the end, maybe it doesn't matter, maybe the only important thing is doing what you like to do! You like foam, I like balsa!
I agree we really can't quantify, but my "feeling" comes from watching the members and visitor count on the scratchbuilt foamies forum (a forum dedicated 100% to builders (yeah, yeah, in foam...
.) compared to all the other forums on RCG (always the highest or within the top two or three), the number of planes that have been designed and built from scratch and then replicated from just the plans by others, and the incredible number of folk posting from all over the world in that forum. There's also a goodly number of youngsters in high school and college posting and building on that forum, as well as lots of guys in their middle years, not just old greyhairs like me
My first build on getting back into the hobby after retiring in '04 was a balsa/monokote Gentle Lady that I still fly once in a while, but once I found foam, I pretty much switched. Now for most of my soaring, I fly my OneSheetGlider, my own design and build in foam. Won't win any contests, but it's been built and enjoyed by a couple dozen guys, and inspired a High School student to built 10 and 20 foot span versions that he flew to prove he could, learning a good bit about aerodynamics and the structural issues involved.
incidently, I helped a recently retired friend build a BluBaby derived Beaver that we are now using as a trainer for him. He's already doinked it several times without damage, and the two times it did recieve some damage, he was able to repair the same day and make flight ready. He's getting the hang of the sticks and motoring around the patch pretty well now.