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Old Apr 20, 2001, 11:45 AM
Registered User
Tullahoma, TN
Joined Jul 2000
986 Posts
Flying $$$'s

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't have it any other way, but a couple of days ago I was telling a friend about my brushless F-16 and he asked the dreaded "So how much did it cost?" I started to add up the "components" in my head and was a little surprised to find out that every time I flew my F-16, I was chucking over $600 worth of equipment skyward! That doesn't include the transmitters and chargers that stay on the ground.

So I did some rough calculations on the rest of my squadron (below) and found out quickly that because we assemble our airplanes a component at a time, it's easy to lose track of the total investment. Also, extra battery packs and the never-ending quest for more power and duration take an even bigger toll on our credit cards.

I know that many of you have even more $$$'s poured into your airplanes. These are pretty expensive "toys" we're playing with but we sure are having fun!

F-16 $140 $0 $105 $100 $65 $80 $48 $32 $46 $616
P-38 $75 $32 $24 $75 $65 $75 $52 $34 $18 $450
Estreak $60 $24 $50 $75 $65 $70 $55 $8 $12 $419
X-250 $70 $16 $45 $50 $65 $75 $60 $18 $8 $407
Twister $130 $5 $14 $45 $65 $40 $38 $8 $6 $351
Zagi $120 $5 $0 $0 $65 $40 $30 $0 $0 $260
T-Watt $25 $0 $12 $40 $45 $45 $28 $1 $6 $202

$2,705 Airborne Total

Even my Tumblewatt topped $200! This has all "happened" to me in 14 months in the hobby. I'm adding an Embat with a 1409/3y to the insanity and I wouldn't have it any other way!


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Old Apr 20, 2001, 12:50 PM
Andy W's Avatar
Marietta, GA
Joined Jun 1999
43,312 Posts
I refuse to participate in this discussion! My wife would kill me!
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Old Apr 20, 2001, 12:55 PM
Flying electric since 1986
Mark Wolf's Avatar
USA, IN, Brownsburg
Joined Oct 2000
1,765 Posts
And to think that your entire R/C investment wouldn't buy a single R/C turbine engine.

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Old Apr 20, 2001, 02:08 PM
Andy W's Avatar
Marietta, GA
Joined Jun 1999
43,312 Posts
Originally posted by Mark Wolf:
.. your entire R/C investment wouldn't buy a single R/C turbine engine.
Mine would - several - that's my problem!
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Old Apr 20, 2001, 02:17 PM
Don't cut the Yellow Wire
dr.E's Avatar
Ridgewood ,NJ
Joined Jan 2000
3,592 Posts
What Planes? Motors? Brushless? Radios? Who put all of that stuff in my basement!!! I'll get to the bottom of this!!!

Man!! Aint Denial Great!!!

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Old Apr 20, 2001, 02:20 PM
Registered User
Wilmington Oh 45177
Joined Nov 1999
885 Posts
It's better than pissing your money away on the weekends
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Old Apr 20, 2001, 02:25 PM
Visitor from Reality
United States, VA, Arlington
Joined Dec 1996
12,788 Posts
My Sue doesn't mind what I spend on my models, she never bothers to ask (I suspect that she's about as interested in models as our dog, but doesn't mind me going out to play with the other kids Sundays ).

This idylic situation supports (if I can find time to keep them all fettled) two 20 cell brushless 60" aerobatics, a ten cell brushless aerobatic, an Astro 035 powered flying boat and a knockabout 8 cell (soon to be upped to ten) Astro 035G aerobatic. They'll be joined by a sort of more laid back model for an Astro 25G rig I couldn't resist at a recent sale. There's also a Mouse and a Kolibri in the fleet for indoors.

By the time I had the Mouse flying, I'd sent about $300 in Long Todd's direction, plus the RX and nicads I had already. The MaxCims run around $420 by the time you add the 'box, spare gears and stuff, with a 20-pack of matched 2400s from Mr B&T at around 140 clams by the time they land on my stoop. Astros - 2 035, an 05G and a 15G. One of those 035s spent three years at 10 cells and 30A, and is still going great - that's a cheap motor.

If you want to work out the total cost, go ahead. The models are all pretty cheap woodwork though, I'll buy BARFs when I'm convinced they are better than what I can run up.

There's always a few other projects kicking around. I've quit flying ferrites as they inevitably get too hot and sweaty the way I treat things. To me, they are "Cheap", which is a long ways from 'cost effective' or 'economical' - this is, to assuage the PC Police, a personal thing.

If there's one thing I count seriously, its hobby hours being "spent" for effect. I just sold off a bunch of models I built and couldn't see why. All of them kits. My LS kit, you might get for a raffle ticket at the Spring Sizzle (26 / 27 May, Rockville MD, in case you didn't know ). It doesn't do enough for me to take a week to assemble it.

How do I do this and remain married to a woman with a financial mind that makes Alan Greenspan look sloppy?

Easy - I have a part-time job. If I want some really way cool new toy, I put in time and earn it. Okay, I slipped a new cordless Dremel into the cart in WallyMart this weekend, but no grocery money was harmed in the collection above.

There are lines I'd draw in a heartbeat. A toy aircraft that cost over $15,000, I'd be sitting in and flying - standing in the dirt watching that much fly past while holding a tranny is definitely wierd behaviour.

I like the sign in Hobby City, Burtonsville - it reads "A Hobby is cheaper than a Shrink". Says a lot


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Old Apr 20, 2001, 02:32 PM
Old Guy
Ron Cichowski's Avatar
Carver, MA USA
Joined Jun 2000
553 Posts
Seems most of the competitive glass gliders (no motor, controller, huge battery pack) end up putting about $800 into the air each. And always have 2 on hand for any event. It's cheaper than full scale.
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Old Apr 20, 2001, 02:49 PM
aka: A.Roger Wilfong
gnofliwr's Avatar
Novi, Michigan, United States
Joined Jan 2001
2,563 Posts
You can go the denial route.

You can compare your modeling expense to others in the hobby who spend a lot more.

If you want to look at an expensive pass time, you can compare your expense to the the cost of golf.

But ultimately, if you're only spending discressionary money and not the rent, food, heat, etc. money then what's the problem. As for putting big bucks at risk by flying, proportionally, that $7 1/2A U/C I flew as a 12 year old was more of my total worth than anything I've flown since (well except for the R/C motor glider I flew in college when, due to student loans, my net worth was negative).

The cost of the kit/ARF is always a fraction of the real cost of putting a plane in the air. I usually sit down before hand and try to figure out exactly what a particular plane will cost me. Then I decide if I'm want it THAT much. Invariably, it winds up costing more .

I have to agree with Dereck about the K buck models. For what some of the IMAC models out at the club field cost, you could buy, if not a complete 'real' plane, at least a 1/3-1/2 interest in one.

- Roger
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Old Apr 20, 2001, 03:04 PM
tic's Avatar
New Cumberland, PA. US
Joined Dec 2000
10,936 Posts
Don't rag on me for flying a skyscooter. The entire outfit was 175 dollars.. Sure, I've bought 2 chargers, a bunch of battery packs, props, gearboxes etc. etc.. But having recently gone through divorce and it's associated financial disaster, I'm doing the most I can while still keeping up w/ the bills.. The cost of this hobby is staggering, for now, I have to keep it simple, the brushless motors and 500 dollar transmitters my ex might be able to afford if she wanted to, but I can't.
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Old Apr 20, 2001, 03:17 PM
characters welcome!
Mark Wood's Avatar
United States, CA, Bear Valley Springs
Joined Feb 2000
26,807 Posts
First of all, Derek...

That said, my other hobby, USPSA/IPSC is one where a single competetive handgun will go for ~$3,000. Add to that the cost of custom ammunition, gunbelts, diagnostic electronics(timers, chronographs, etc.), $20 match fees each weekend plus lunch, gas and other peripheral stuff and my wifey realizes that this flyin' stuff ain't so bad. "Now, if I could just get him to quit shooting too..." I'm not EVEN going to go into the salmon and steelhead fishing or deer, elk, duck, pheasant and grouse hunting habits. Yoiks!

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Old Apr 20, 2001, 03:39 PM
Visitor from Reality
United States, VA, Arlington
Joined Dec 1996
12,788 Posts
mw - don't have to tell me there's more monied hobbies than flying toy aircraft Not sure it would top your 'practical' shooting (whatinell would 'impractical' shooting be? Sorry, couldn't help that ), but I used to cycle race and that sucked up cast like crazy. Now, I wander into bike shops and look at what the racers ride in comparison to when I raced and wince.

If money was a hobby issue, I'd quit electric, buy an Irvine 25, nail in on the front of a cheap-o design like I used to fly and tear the sky open. At 4 or 6 oz of glow juice per flight, in a cheap model running standard RC gear and with minimal support equipment, it gets seriously affordable. I still don't have an electric that could live with any of my old 25 designs, I just do electric because I am so bloody-minded that I need the challenge. If I was really in need of challenge, I'd sell the techno-toys and try indoor rubber powered scale. So durn cheap its almost unbelievable, but the challenge factor makes anything outdoors RC look like child's play. Don'tkid myself - I'll never be that good

Life is never very level or fair - go over to the Free State Aeromodelers site at Burtonsville, MD- or your local equivalent - and watch guys who buy turnkey IMAC models just to sport-fly. Some of them ain't even that good at that.

I think I'd still find a way. To (sort-of) quote Richard Bach "If a man is standing in a bar smoking, drinking and telling you he wants to be a pilot but can't afford it - he doesn't want to bad enough."

tic - work out the cost of a balsa parky vice that SS. As to the other, been there, done that, couldn't afford the T shirt afterwards. Don't look back, never say "If Only" and remember that living well is the best revenge


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Old Apr 20, 2001, 04:17 PM
Motors beat engines!
Milwaukee Wisconsin, United States
Joined Feb 2001
4,564 Posts
RC is like any other hobby or sport grown men get into. There'll always be the guys who have to spend every available cent to be happy. The point is though, you don't have to. It's possible to put a very nice plane in the air for less than $200. This is the route I personally prefer, but to each his own.

Dean in Milwaukee
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Old Apr 20, 2001, 04:52 PM
Ready for a Vacation!
AndrewK's Avatar
Atlanta, GA
Joined Dec 2000
383 Posts
Lets see...
Zagi - $110+$50+$60+$50+$30+$20+$40 - $360
Flash E-74 EDF - $260+$50+$50+$50+$15 - $425
Hitec 335 - $80
+ all of my old slimers & wonderful 6XA ($800).

$865 on E-flight, $1665 total. hmmm.... I told my mom I would only have to spend $150 to start in electrics. So $865 and I'm only 14. I got a problem. And worse (actually better) I have to pay for it all!!!!
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Old Apr 20, 2001, 05:13 PM
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Doc Watson's Avatar
Joined Mar 2000
1,197 Posts
I'm writing this quickly so the wife cant see it
so to have a good crack at a VTOL EDF you need...

Motors x 3 540
ESC's x 3 645
fans x 3 165
cells 125
gyros x 3 100
retracts 124
servos 60
balsa/carbon fibre/sundries 200

Total 1959 or about $3000.00.....

Thats why I'm taking my time to get it right first time......

(cheers Eric I'm even more nervous now..... )


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