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Old Aug 28, 2009, 06:28 PM
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I started with kits and went ARF and now I'm back to kits. I've found that a kit built model will just "out last" an ARF. It's a better value in the long run...Just my opinion.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 06:41 PM
yyz
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Thank your instructor for making you do that exercise!

There are so many little "implementation details" that you can't experience by doing more math and physics problem sets or theorizing on optimal airfoil designs.

There's also something to be said for the TLAR (That Looks About Right) "feel" you acquire by designing, building, crashing, repairing, failing, succeeding, repeat that you'll never ever get without hands-on experience.

Search the threads for "Mark Drela" and see what it reveals. He has a PhD in aero engineering and loves to design and build. Hopefully he'll read this thread and comment.

I guarantee you'll use some little skill, one that you learned building, in your first job out of college.

CAF, let me ask you this: What got you to this point in building models? Obviously, you were exposed to this in some way that helped chart your course toward "building planes" professionally. There is probably something to be learned from your story, something that has skipped a generation.

Congratulations on being one of the three,

Mike


Quote:
Originally Posted by CAFplanekid
In my senior design class this semester, we have to design, build, and attempt to fly a model for a specific set of mission goals. Out of 42 students, when the class was asked who had actually built a model aircraft, 3 people raised hands. Other than myself, I think the other two probably have only put together ARFs. And this is a senior class in AeroE, when I first got to school my Freshmen year I thought there would be many other people who loved to build airplanes. Not the case. Anyways, it does not look good for model building.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 06:59 PM
yyz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garry s

But it's only a hobby, there is nothing deeply or innately meaningful - or socially valuable - about it, and if people don't want to do it I don't see that we should worry too much.
Thanks for agreeing with my earlier comment but I have to disagree with this one. There IS something meaningful that comes from modeling: it teaches you patience, persistence and yields a sense of satisfaction and self confidence that kids can't get from the X Box.

Take the "X Box kid" and have him try to improvise on some task like fixing something around the house. Then take the kid that has and enjoys building Legos, rockets, planes, whatever and give him the same task.

My money is with the second kid. He'll fix that ceiling fan that is wobbling or automatic garage door that won't close. X Box boy will shrug his shoulders and punt, probably immediately.

It's not about getting those specific tasks done, it's about the skill set that kids will take into adulthood. Being "good at the computer" (because he has logged 9,000 hours surfing the web or playing video games) is not going get it done when X Box kid enters the working world.

I hope I don't sound like I'm on a soap box or trying to be the grumpy old man that starts every conversation with, "In my day.....". That's not it at all. I work with both of these kids every day (doing things that you would hope video game players and web surfers would be good at) and it's obvious which is "the model builder" and which is not.

Which kid do you want as your son? Your friend? Your teammate on a project at work?

Mike
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Last edited by yyz; Aug 28, 2009 at 07:07 PM.
Old Aug 28, 2009, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yyz

Which kid do you want as your son?
I want the one whom doesn't think he has to live up to my expectations of myself in order for him to be loved, and to love others.

Gluing balsa sticks into an airplane doesn't teach you anything valuable in life. Life is not about how many skill sets you take to the grave with you.

Come on guys, any moron can build a model plane. Some morons can make better joints than others. Put down that you're an expert model airplane builder on a resume you submit to me, and I'll peg you as a loner, and then look for someone with social skills whom can work with others as a team.

I swear, balsa kit builders has more than it's fair share of people whom certainly seem to know what other people "should" be doing with their time.

Chuck
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 07:45 PM
yyz
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Holy crap... How did you go there from what anyone on this thread has written? This has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with gluing sticks of balsa together and no one in this thread has said anything about being an "expert", model builder or otherwise.

You're input is as valuable as anyone else's but, from my experience, you're 180 degrees off-base with the "loner" comment. The kid behind the computer/video game is more often the loner and non-team player.

Interview an Eagle Scout sometime. They're required to do these kinds of things (similar to model building) and they make a huge difference in the working world.

You might want to ask some better questions in your next interview of one of these kids rather than writing them off for something on their resume that should actually make them stand out,

Mike




Quote:
Originally Posted by NoFlyZone
I want the one whom doesn't think he has to live up to my expectations of myself in order for him to be loved, and to love others.

Gluing balsa sticks into an airplane doesn't teach you anything valuable in life. Life is not about how many skill sets you take to the grave with you.

Come on guys, any moron can build a model plane. Some morons can make better joints than others. Put down that you're an expert model airplane builder on a resume you submit to me, and I'll peg you as a loner, and then look for someone with social skills whom can work with others as a team.

I swear, balsa kit builders has more than it's fair share of people whom certainly seem to know what other people "should" be doing with their time.

Chuck
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 07:56 PM
Imagine That!
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Tularosa, New Mexico, United States
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Interesting discussion. I design and produce scale model aircraft kits for electric power: www.warbirdkits.com.

I am 61 years old and my first airplanes, way back in the late 1950s/early 1960s, were ARFs! Yes, dime store chuck gliders were ARF - you just had to plug in the wings and empennage. Then I progressed to an RTF WenMac .049 powered plastic control-line Dauntless that flew - sort of...

My pal and I were well and truly hooked on model airplanes, but we couldn't afford kits. So, we designed our own models - copying liberally from magazines such as American Modeler and Model Airplane News. Everything was control-line in those days as radio was beyond the economic reach of middle class kids. We built C/L autogiros, amphibians, you name it. It was always a blast to fly something that we designed and built.

But, remembering back to high school and college in the sixties, there weren't that many guys building model airplanes then. In my lifetime, it seems model aviation has not had the mass appeal that it had in the twenties, thirties and forties when every day brought news of some great aerial adventure and another hero - Lindberg flying the Atlantic, for example.

I guess the eighties were the swan song of kit-building model aviation in the USA, where interest peaked. There's probably just as many guys building kits now as there were then, but that number doesn't seem to be growing in proportion to the total population of R/C flyers. I find the greatest evidence of this in the model aviation magazine trade. Want to read articles about model design and scratch building? Want to get a copy of Peter Rake's latest plan? Buy a UK magazine such as "Flying Scale Models".

It's easy to believe that we (the US) are evolving toward a purely off-the-shelf culture. If it's cheap and easy and promises immediate gratification, we'll buy it. Guess what: it was that way back in the sixties, too - we just couldn't afford much!

I am convinced that the creative spark is still alive - young folks in the US and abroad are still innovating and inventing. So maybe model aviation won't ever again be what it once was. Here's a news flash: nothing ever is! Yes, we old guys will still hang on to our traditions - our culture needs that for stability - but young folks will always be inventing stuff, leveraging knowledge that we gained from our fathers and created in our day. The future is theirs.

But in the meantime, buy my kits!

Tom
www.warbirdkits.com
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yyz

Holy crap... How did you go there from what anyone on this thread has written?
Easy actually. I recognize the same thought pattern that rears it's ugly head every time this 'building from balsa' vs ARF topic comes up. Just like the original poster exclaimed when he stated that he won't even entertain the notion of people not having the time to build. It riles him, and irks him. Why? Because he has projected his own sense of what is worthwhile onto everyone whom doesn't agree with his manner of getting 'personal satisfaction'.

Tell me the difference between the building from balsa scenario, and the following one.

I am a fairly decent calligrapher. It took me years to develop my skills. I can't stand the lazy people in this world whom think that 'writing' is merely picking up a ballpoint pen and scribbling hash marks on a piece of paper. Everyone whom doesn't take the time to learn how to use flat nibbed pens is a lazy person seeking "instant gratification". Lazy people can't write their own name so that it's legible. Their chicken scratchings look like the epitome of sheer laziness, and something they can not take pride in.

Are you a member of the instant gratification crowd, perfectly happy to just grab a ballpoint pen and start writing what looks like a foreign language?

I say you can only know what true inner satisfaction is by spending a few minutes to an hour a day practicing your written communication skills. And if you'd rather peck away at a computer keyboard than take pen and ink to paper, you're just looking for instant gratification.

Tell me, Mike, Mode One, and everyone else.... what's the difference?

Chuck
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipstick
...and the home car mechanic adjusting his cable brakes and tweaking his carburettor
Not so fast, Steve. One of the neighbor kids is very much into car mechanics and brought over a computer that "talks" to the computers aboard later model cars. He also talked about after-market IC boards that "tweak" ignition and fuel computers. Fiddling with computers, chips and IC boards is the "tweaking" of today, and when these kids get to our age, they'll be telling kids about the good old days of IC boards.

How do we bring back modeling? I've more thinking to do on this one. But, the hobby is there and should not be gauged by the way things used to be, or how we remember it from days of yore...

EJWash
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 10:20 PM
I'm a pilot... 100 yrs to late
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Joined Jan 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJWash1
Not so fast, Steve. One of the neighbor kids is very much into car mechanics and brought over a computer that "talks" to the computers aboard later model cars. He also talked about after-market IC boards that "tweak" ignition and fuel computers. Fiddling with computers, chips and IC boards is the "tweaking" of today, and when these kids get to our age, they'll be telling kids about the good old days of IC boards.

How do we bring back modeling? I've more thinking to do on this one. But, the hobby is there and should not be gauged by the way things used to be, or how we remember it from days of yore...

EJWash
I agree... it's all relative based on where your point of view is from. My only fear is that over time we slowly lose the fuel aspect of the hobby.. that would be a shame. (I love the smell of glow fuel in the morning....)
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mode One
I would just as soon not here the "I don't have time to build, answer"! We all make time to do the things we want to do and we all have 24 hours in every day!
I'm 61 and have been building and flying since I was 10. I've flown chuck gliders, stick and tissue rubber power, controlline from log models to full buildups, freeflight gas and RC starting with rubber escapements and vacuum tube transmitters thru electric foamys. Ninty percent of what I've flown was scratched either from my plans or commercial, with a few kits tossed in.

Recently, my son expressed an interest in flying. I had nothing that he would be comfortable flying, so I bought an ARF. Never thought I would do it, but, I did not have the time to get a plane together in a reasonable timeframe. The ARF was one for which I had a set of plans and I thought it would be a decent trainer. For our needs, it was a good decision.

Building and tinkering with engines has always represented a large portion of my enjoyment of the hobby. However my workweek has stretched into 60 to 70 hours. Many days, by the time I get home, I'm simply run out. Contrary to Mode One's comment, I don't have the time (or perhaps stamina) to build as much as I would like, fly a little and take care of all the other things that need to be done and be on the move at 6 a.m. the next day.

EJWash: But, the hobby is there and should not be gauged by the way things used to be, or how we remember it from days of yore...

I agree. If someone scratches, kit builds, assembles or buys and it gets them in the air, then I'm all for it. I think they miss some things I enjoy, but that's not for me to decide.

From my perspective, I suppose I could argue that unless you're flying spark and condenser ignition; tissue and stick; dope and banana oil; rubber escapements and tube type transmitters, you're missing the best part of the hobby. But I would be wrong.

andrew
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 02:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJWash1
Not so fast, Steve. One of the neighbor kids is very much into car mechanics and brought over a computer that "talks" to the computers aboard later model cars. He also talked about after-market IC boards that "tweak" ignition and fuel computers. Fiddling with computers, chips and IC boards is the "tweaking" of today, and when these kids get to our age, they'll be telling kids about the good old days of IC boards.
What's with the "Not so fast" ? You're making my point for me. The creative part of the hobby today isn't taking bits of trees and turning them into aeroplanes, it's taking ARF/RTF planes and sorting out the complex Tx mixes required to make them do impossible tricks in the air, or writing microcontroller programs to make quad and tri-rotors stay up or working out how to make a vectored thrust EDF stable etc.

I.e. there is still a fair amount of creativity about, it just doesn't look like "proper building" to some of us old fogeys .

It's like NoFlyZone says (almost). You can sit round bemoaning the loss of copperplate handwriting and calligraphic skills or you can realise that computer printed documents are easier to produce and much more legible...so the skills you need now are layout and font choice. Still skills, just not the same skills .

Steve
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 06:43 AM
Will fly for food
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IMO< you can't bring it back, for several reasons.

1) It isn't gone, there are still lots of people building. Yes, lots of people buy/fly ARF/RTFs. But still people building.

2) Modern life doesn't have the time to build. I love building. I have 4 kits (true kits, as in pieces of wood to assemble) and they have all been in the building stage for over a year (one for more than 2). Between job, home life, commuting, and even flying, I just don't have time to build as much as I would like. Not like when I was in school, with a 6 hour day and a 15 minute commute, and no other things to get in the way.

3) People are different. People don't do things themselves as much. They don't work on their cars, they don't fix things around the house. School shop classes are gone in many areas. Many people just don't have the skills to start building sucessfully. And not having been exposed to the skills, they are afraid of the unknown, and afraid that they can't do it, and afraid their efforts will be looked down by others they fly with.

4) Modern world is about NOW. Building is about later, when looked from a flying perspective. It is like sailing versus power boating. Old joke, the power boater sees the sailor loafing along. He asks the sailor, "How long does it take that thing to get where you are going?" The sailor replies, "I'm already there." Building IS the thing for those of us who like to build. We are not just building to fly, we are building to build. And that just isn't for many people.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 06:50 AM
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This seems to be turning into an argument about how it is so much better, to do one over the other! ARFs are here, they are very popular, fine by me! I use ARFs and I still like building! What is wrong with promoting building models? That was the intent of my posting this thread!
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 08:00 AM
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I have been designing, building and flying model airplanes since July 1950 without missing a single year.
There are many bemoaning the increase in ready to fly and ARF modelling.
Relax! It is all a logical development of the hobby.
I am still actively developing my electric photoplanes and UAVs using my own designs, but am not too snobbish to ignore a well designed and produced ready to fly model and they are often built to a far superior standard to my own building skills.

It is precisely because of the blossoming of the hobby through the new breed of "buy-em-and-fly-em" modellers that we have reliable and low price R/C equipment available. Just check the price of a simple 4 channel radio 35 years ago.

Each person approaches the hobby from his own individual perspective and as long as it satisfies his personal needs we all benefit.

I build an occasional foamie, but still have the underlying philosophy that the best place for foam is on the head of a pint.

A couple of friends and I have taught 10 week Free Flight indoor classes at a local school for the past 15 years. This year was the first that we did not meet the minimum quota for the course. I believe the preponderance of WalMart ready R/C models to fly models was the reason. Whatever, we have more people putting models into the air now than ever before. That's a good thing.

Forget about moulding the new breed into your personal conception of model flying and let them develop new and innovative ideas.

I personally regret the demise of skilled "from-the-basics" modelling, but then how many of you have hand wrought a horse shoe in a forge, like i did in my youth. Do you miss the horse shoe? Time moves on and we make the best use of the time we are given.
The good old days of model flying are Right Now!

John
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 08:56 AM
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Western KY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mode One
What is wrong with promoting building models? That was the intent of my posting this thread!
Nothing at all --- but it's very difficult to implement in today's environment. For those of us 50 and older, building was the only avenue to flying and it became just part of the hobby for us. The younger folks today are just like we were, they want to fly, but they don't have to spend a month of evenings at the building table to get there.

Quite honestly, if someone comes to the field today and expresses an interest in learning to fly, I feel I would be doing a disservice if I suggested that they build a plane before coming back. I don't necessarily like it, but I recognize that they can reach their ultimate goal more quickly with an ARF.

Slipstick: there is still a fair amount of creativity about, it just doesn't look like "proper building" to some of us old fogeys

That's true --- most of the ARF guys in our club fly rings around the builders. Maybe it's because they spent a 100 hours in the air instead of at the table; maybe it's because they can fly with their hair on fire and not worry about sticking it since they have nothing more than a credit card swipe invested in the plane. For whatever reason, I don't think I could ever convince them they would have much more fun if they built the plane.

andrew
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