Weak Signals Show or Toledo 2010
Each year since I got into the hobby, I have gone to Toledo to the Weak Signals show. The first year I went it was very crowded and lots of vendors.
This year was different in many ways. Less vendors, fewer people and a few less models on display that were there for show in the main isle.
I have wondered about the less participation in the show and have come to a couple of conclusions. One is that all the companies now market their products on or via the net. Anything that your local hobby store would have, can be ordered on line, delivered to your door, shipping in some cases is free, or very inexpensive, less than a few gallons of gas to run to your local hobby shop. Companies also put a lot of money in print media in years past and do so today, yet we see fewer catalogs from the major companies and with the economy the way it is, more people are spending their money a bit more wisely. So since products are now being marketed via the net, orders can be done the same way and since many companies don't collect state sales tax if you are out of that state, you get a break on that portion of your order. I find it costs a bunch to do a show. You have motel rooms for all the people who come, you have to transport products and display stuff, you have the cost of the booth and all this is not cheap. So companies have to make some cuts here and there. It is not cheap to do a show, no matter where it is. If this were held in Champain-Urbana it would still be an expensive event. So people have to realize that every booth needs to make money.
The times are tough, so people are not traveling to the shows like the years gone bye. Gas is more expensive, parking, food, motel/ hotel rooms, all add up and so with modelers are spending their dollars with great discretion.
I also go to Toledo to see the ETOC. I have seen most of the the events and what started as a fun get together with great pilots to show their skills and maybe win some money, the event has turned into a world class event with pilots coming from all over to compete. The event is at times one that seems to be an endurance event on Friday for sure. It starts about 6 pm and runs to about Midnight or there about. It is hard to have so many great pilots fly two full sequences and then make a cut. There is no other way to do it and if there was, Tom would have thought of it by now. A big Thank you to Tom and his crew and the people of TNT Landing Gear and all the other people who help out, judges, score people and to the Sponsors who help foot the bills for the rent of the school and all the work that goes into running a first class event.
I found a few products that were really neat. I didn't take any pictures of them, since they are available on the web sites. Horizon has a new set of lights for airplanes that are really slick in my mind. I understand David Payne designed them. Both strobing and solid lights. What a neat set to put in an airplane. Glad I waited, now I have to get a few for my Taylorcraft that I have sitting waiting to be assembled. Horizon also has a Saber Jet, electric ducted fan, same fan as the Habu that will be out. Looks like a great plane. That is one to think about a lot.
Great Planes has a great little plane, the Albatross that is a indoor flier and can be flown outside. They also had a foam Cub that looks really nice. Their Playmate which has been out for a while is very nice, I just like the Albatross. Also I saw a new power system for receivers in planes, they are now making some cells that run rec and servos which will last longer than NiCad's and are much more powerful and weigh a lot less. The new Triton charger charges the new LiFe batteries. They also have an electric ducted fan Jet, small, yet fast, and a sail plane, well sort of, it is called Rocket and some say it will do 100+. It is small, and would disappear in an instant if I were flying it.
I walked around and shot pictures of the airplanes on display. There were some outstanding works or art. I call them that, since they are art to me. A Ford Tri-Motor was stunning. They even had a piece of the aluminum that came from the one that crashed somewhere in Northern Ohio. The skin was aluminum and the fellows who built it also built the corgiator to make the skin look like the real Ford Tri-Motor. The metal was made to scale of the full size Ford Tri-Motor. What a feat. I am not sure that the three people involved in the design and building of this plane are just plain crazy or have gone off the deep end and are destined for the "Rubber Room" at the local nut factory. It is really a work of art and some great skill.
I did notice that Hobby Lobby has a very nice looking plane. I didn't get a picture of it, my error, I goofed big time.
There was an A-10 that was great, some old planes that to me were just great. There were planes of every make and shape and some interesting uses of today's technology and old school rubber band planes. Joe Hass had a great display of this theme.
There were some great deals on the floor. I didn't take advantage of any of them, probably should have, just didn't have a lot of extra money to spend on things that I might use. I probably should have gotten a few more batteries, but I didn't really need any more. I did look at a new charger that will do the LiFe batteries, yet until I get some of those, I will wait to get the charger.
The ETOC had a raffle for Juvenile Diabetes and tickets were reasonable. I bout 30 of them and won an airplane and a Hacker Motor and ESC. Thanks a bunch to Budget RC and Hacker. Since my bride is a diabetic, I support that area with dollars in a raffle. The fact that I won something is really nice, but as I have said sometimes, were it not for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all. Nice to win now and then. Keeps me buying tickets.
I have read many of the threads on RC Groups. Some say the show needs a makeover. Well that is or could be true, but since this show has been going on for years, 50 or so, seems that minor changes are the only thing that will ever happen. While the Seagate is not ideal in many ways, it works in many ways. I doubt there is any other place that has the ability to host this show. Also the set up is basically the same. Usually the same dealers are in the same place, so that you can find them by going back to the same place they were the year before. The display aircraft and boats are in the middle, and some don't like that, I do. Yes it is hard to take pictures of the planes and boats, people are always walking in front of you.
For me Toledo or the Weak Signals Show is not only a social event, I get to see factory people, see new products, get information about products that I can't get on the net, but also time to so see people fly and watch the ETOC. I have to find a cow bell. Got to have a cow bell. I find it almost beyond me that in model aviation that pilots can talk and ask questions of some of the best pilots in the world and there is no other sport that is possible. The best part is that they are willing to help out all of us and are gracious and do so.
I watched the best fly, I wondered how they could do what they did, I saw things happen that I could hardly believe happen. I never saw a plane spin the the air, but it did. Not a roll, but a pinwheel. They back up, flip in less space than you can imagine and still stay in the air. If I tried that, well there would be a pile of foam or a bunch of balsa and covering and I would need a trash bag.
I tired to post photos on the thread of Weak Signals, but for some reason, I got them all messed up. Some went up, others didn't so I will post them here also and you all can view them.
Thanks for reading and viewing the images.
I will post photos tomorrow, they are on the other computer.
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Last edited by Conehead; Apr 20, 2010 at 07:55 AM. Reason: Added photos, changed a word
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