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Jun 02, 2009, 10:49 PM
Zak
Zak
Serial plane killer
Thread OP
Discussion

Once upon a time... when there was build threads


Wow,

Is it just me or 5 years ago there was a new build thread almost every day...

Now, look what we have, people assembling instead of building.

Hey! I have nothing against ARFs, really, but I do miss the time when I could almost smell the balsa and CA fumes when reading all the build threads here.

Oh well, times change I guess

Sylvain

---

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas A. Edison (1847 - 1931)
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Jun 02, 2009, 11:02 PM
Suspended Account
willhaney's Avatar
The Times They Are A-Changin'
Bob Dylan
Jun 02, 2009, 11:18 PM
Registered User
cultural issues IMO
Instant gratification seems the order of the day.
Although it is amusing to read about issues with the arf's flying errr.. poorly.
Free flight is still Alive an well and a tribute to both exquisite building AND flying (trimming) skills.
Jun 03, 2009, 12:13 AM
Zak
Zak
Serial plane killer
Thread OP
What amazes me the most is that the people buying ARFs will tell you that they don't have the time to 'build' a plane (or the skills, or patience etc.), but the ARF threads are 3000 pages long and everybody is trying to redesign/modify/fix those ARFs to make them flying OK. Go figure!

I really got a reality check last week when I went to my LHS to buy Ultracote Lite covering. They don't stock ANY covering anymore, no plastic sheets to vacuum form canopies, nothing builders used to buy other than a small selection of balsa and piano wire, because builders, well, vaporized.

The owner told me he used to operate a hobby shop, now he operates a toy store, because that's what people want to buy now.

The largest hobby shop in my area now sell almost exclusively ARFs and RTFs. No Sig kits in sight and less and less raw materials.

At some point I really tried to convince myself that I should buy an ARF or RTF just to see what the excitement is all about but I just can't convince myself to buy a 84oz flying tomb with a wing span of 31" and a custom battery pack that will only fit in that particular plane or else the CG will be off by 6 inches.

At this weight you would think those things are indestructible, but in reality they just crash more violently and the kid must re-shrink the covering with a lighter after he 'fixed' it because he doesn't have the basic 'builders' tools like a heat gun or iron.

I have to admit that today more and more ARFs are of very good quality, so I guess my fear is that model kitters will just disappear. For me, half the fun is building.

I just hope Mountain Models, Steven's Aero etc. will sell enough motors/servos/accessories to justify development of new kits!

Is anybody interested in a 32 ounces Mountain Models Switchback ARF ?

I really miss Todd Long's designs too.

Can you feel the nostalgia tonight

Sylvain
Last edited by Zak; Jun 03, 2009 at 01:03 AM.
Jun 03, 2009, 04:44 AM
Yes the hobby is changing however I do not think the idea of scratch/kit building is dead. Yes the local LHS no longer carries the kits instead they stock RTF and ARF however these people need to run a business so I can understand their hesitancy to stock things that no longer sell but ask yourself if you would do it any differently. Looking over the better ARF/RTF market it is clear that the quality is improving in leaps and bounds. I have friends who spent months building their first trainers and then crashed them on the maiden, this is frustrating when one considers the effort involved in building such a machine. it is also a reason where many people who otherwise would continue in the hobby either quit or are very hesitant to get involved again. However the advent of good quality ARF/RTF allows these potential customers to gain entrance to a technically challenging hobby.

Not everyone is really into or capable of building from scratch or assembling complex kits, but that does not prevent the enthusiasm from being there, RTF/ARF is a way for the hobby to expand and be successful. It brings new pilots to the hobby and who knows, after a few years of foam and RTF they may get the taste for a self-built creation after all. Manufacturers of ARF/RTF etc. have seen the potential in this market and like any industry are looking to make a profit.

I have several ARF/RTF planes, all of what I needed except a few batteries was in the box. No hassles with radio installs or long months in the dark winter spent in dusty workshops, instead order the thing open the box, read directions, assemble, balance it, range check it, and have fun. I do build from scratch as well from kits and will continue to do so but with an ever increasing number of RTF/ARF planes on the market of really good quality I also know that these are in no way banned from the shopping list.

Jens
Jun 03, 2009, 06:10 AM
Suspended Account
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zak

At some point I really tried to convince myself that I should buy an ARF or RTF just to see what the excitement is all about but I just can't convince myself to buy a 84oz flying tomb with a wing span of 31" and a custom battery pack that will only fit in that particular plane or else the CG will be off by 6 inches.
Hi Zak,

I agree with you 100%

Instead of buying that 84 ounce flying brick ARF, you can instead try one of those delightful GWS Pico Tiger Moths with an AUW of 6 ounces. Almost the slowest flying plane I own.

Or you can purchase a 15 ounce GWS E-Starter, or even the 15 ounce Tiger Moth 400 for great flying from some truly honest flying planes.

Another good one to try would be a 13 ounce GWS Formosa F3A. Flies fantastic throughout the flight envelope.

If electric powered gliders are more your style, then a ParkZone Radian, or MultiPlex Easy Glider aileron plane will fit the bill very nicely.

I agree though, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that some of these foam ARFs will fly every bit as nicely as any balsa kit out there...

Take care,

Chuck
Jun 03, 2009, 08:20 AM
Registered User
Though I'm a newb, I agree. But then again, I'm an engineer, and I thrive on details. I love building things that work. I have to know how and why things work. The planes that delight me the most are the ones that embody my own decisions and handiwork. And yes, they're the same planes that infuriate me when they fall apart or crash.

Over on the EasyStar forum, we seem to have these periodic flame-fests involving the correct orientation of a propeller. I don't really understand how a newb is supposed to learn this. There's precious little info on it. But I suspect that those who fly RTFs and ARFs exclusively are the last to learn this lesson, because they've never had to think the problem through, from "first principles."

Ditto with CG issues; the most popular RTF in the industry has a user manual that nowhere mentions CG. Inexcusable, IMO.
Jun 03, 2009, 09:46 AM
Obviously I'm a "Minus Member"
buzzltyr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zak
I just hope Mountain Models, Steven's Aero etc. will sell enough motors/servos/accessories to justify development of new kits!
Sylvain

Sylvain, if we don't support them with our hobby dollars, they will indeed disappear, and quickly. Even though both MM and SA have owners who really love the hobby, and are devoted to it. But they also both have families to support and care for. And yes, they do need to sell all their products. The margin on kits is not large enough to fully support their operations, so selling motors, esc's, servos, etc. is also important to them.

Mark
Jun 03, 2009, 10:15 AM
Registered User
i would rather hack a platform than build from scratch. Just me as i don't have time/space to spread out plans and wait for glue to dry.

My two cents is that things that are very complicated tend to evolve into hacking rather than building. Much like Linux. Not many people could actually program a full OS from the ground up, but they can mod here, mod there and come up with something cool. Good example of this is the Xbox Media Center. Amazing what hackers can come up with.
Jun 03, 2009, 10:29 AM
Registered User
crucial's Avatar
I just built my first plane. The Trainer 1 from gpw's plans. It flies great and I had a lot of fun building it. Gives you a great sense of accomplishment to launch your creation out and have it fly.

This was only my second plane. My first was a second hand Red Hawk that flew like crap.

Scratch building is not dead!
Jun 03, 2009, 10:45 AM
Rsetiegerd Uesr
CyberJay's Avatar
Guy in my club spent well over two years (off and on obviously) building a large 50cc Yak kit. Cost him well over $1000 for the airframe by the time he was done. It flew really well, looked nice and he was thrilled with it.

The day he got back from Joe Nall he went out to the field for a quick flight. Accidentally reversed his ailerons and destroyed the plane.

He now (2 weeks later?) has a 3d hobby shop 87" Edge for $629 that flies better than his yak.

He does plan to rebuild the yak. Got the short fuse kit for it already. But it won't be back in the air until next season at the earliest.

-Jay

PS: No building supplies at the LHS is stupid though.. You still need materials to repair/modify your ARFs. My LHS still has most building supplies and they can order anything and everything and have it in by the end of the week.
Jun 03, 2009, 12:49 PM
Travelling into the future
Xoltri's Avatar
Actually I think we can be thankful for the mass-marketing of the hobby. I've been out of it for a few years but everything is MUCH cheaper now than when I was heavily into it.

I would say that building is a related but separate hobby from flying. For me, both are fun and I have built a few planes with plans printed from the internet and several dollars worth of balsa and CA. But I've also enjoyed the no time invested cheap GWS foamies to bash around with.

But as has been said there is something different about throwing a plane into the air that you spent so many hours building yourself. The Python was nerve racking on it's first flight. Unfortunately it was tail heavy and did a spiral into the ground on it's maiden, but it was easily fixed (I did built it after all).

Python:


Tiny:


Jellybean: (build thread: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132532)
Jun 03, 2009, 01:27 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by joker402
i would rather hack a platform than build from scratch. Just me as i don't have time/space to spread out plans and wait for glue to dry.

My two cents is that things that are very complicated tend to evolve into hacking rather than building. Much like Linux. Not many people could actually program a full OS from the ground up, but they can mod here, mod there and come up with something cool. Good example of this is the Xbox Media Center. Amazing what hackers can come up with.
There are lots of intermediate levels... case in point being the Steelhead Blitz. It's neither kit nor ARF, but something in between. A Blitz "kit" consists of three pieces of blue foam. Two of those pieces are wing blanks; they have an airfoil cross-section and a slot for a reinforcing spar. The third foam chunk is the "fuselage." The rest is up to you. The kit costs $20.

Jun 03, 2009, 03:02 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by rafe_b
There are lots of intermediate levels... case in point being the Steelhead Blitz. It's neither kit nor ARF, but something in between. A Blitz "kit" consists of three pieces of blue foam. Two of those pieces are wing blanks; they have an airfoil cross-section and a slot for a reinforcing spar. The third foam chunk is the "fuselage." The rest is up to you.
looks like a good fit for my left over parkzone electronics
Jun 03, 2009, 04:31 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by joker402
looks like a good fit for my left over parkzone electronics
It's rather a do-it-yourself kinda plane. The one above is my 2nd Blitz, the first looks very different. On both planes, the wings are "too long" -- the instructions call for trimming them down to 36" wingspan. B-1 is 22 oz all-up, B-2 skipped a some covering/reinforcement stuff and is about 15 oz. all-up. B-2 is a lot more fun to fly! Here's B-1 about to do its maiden flight:



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