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Editorial from the April 1965 issue of RC Modeler Magazine


At a time when radio control is attracting more and more adult members of our society to its ranks - a great majority of them non-modelers - when this hobby is growing by leaps and bounds, it is time for a reevaluation of the directions we are taking and the goals we hope to attain. In a current issue of one of the national model magazines, the Builder of the Model Rule is upheld and defended - a ruling which has not only served as a tremendous deterrent to this hobby, but one which has severely discouraged many would-be contestants from entering active local or national competition. We had hoped that this ruling would have died by its own inherent decadence.

It is not expected of a general model publication to keep its finger continually on the pulse of any one specialized phase of model aviation - but to champion a cause such as this not only insults the intelligence and integrity of the adult modeler, but provides a disservice to this largest single segment of model aviation. It is all right to be nostalgically reminiscent of the "good old days," but to actively campaign for a return to the gas tube era does little good for anyone concerned. In order that this recent flailing of a rubber sword in defense of a dying dragon may not be construed as representative of the thinking of the entire RC fraternity, we present the following editorial, "Whither The Sport," written for RCM by this month's guest editorialist and active RC'er, Robert C. Lien, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery at Tulane University. – Don Dewey, RCM, April 1965

Whither the Sport
Robert C. Lein, M.D.

The art and sport of RC has advanced at a tremendous rate during the past several years. The reasons for this growth are not difficult to discern. Reliable equipment and prefabrication have played major roles in this development. The difference between a Sunday afternoon at the field now and five years ago is so striking as to he almost unbelievable. Think back, and we think you will agree. We can only speculate as to what lies five years in the future, but if growth of the sport is only main­tained at its present rate, it is conceivable that well over half a million individuals will be actively engaging in flying RC by 1970.

It is inevitable and natural that any growing sport or hobby will develop a set of problems peculiar to itself. At the present time this is all too true of our mutual pastime. Possibly one detrimental aspect of our present-day system of living is that we feel strongly about all too few things. We are so numbed by the bombardment of world events besetting us, and the conflicting opinions resulting therefrom, that it becomes a virtual impossibility to attain, or maintain a strong opinion towards any one thing. In this area of our private and mutual hobby, it is possibly easier to develop opinions, and therefore we seize on these fields of contention with a relatively force­ful grasp, giving vent to feelings and opinions on subjects where we feel there is some chance of being heard, if not heeded. Listen at any gathering of ardent RCers and we think you will understand what we mean. Is anyone more vociferous in his damnation or praise of Democrat or Republican than the RCer with an opinion on the merits or shortcomings of a particular brand of radio? Where else in this country can we find such pleasure in expression of opinion as in a discussion of Taurus vs. Beachcomber, or the merits of Class I as a contest event? It is possible the outcome of such discussions will not shake our foreign policy, or aid in the war on poverty (RC has a way of inaugurating some degree of poverty anyway), hut the important thing remains - the in­dividual is participating. Whenever an individual participates, he gives of himself, knowingly or unwittingly. It also follows closely that a participating, giving person is beneficial in any endeavor, whether it be vocation or avocation.

There are precious few things left in this century of ours where a man can gain satisfaction by the craftsmanship of his hands, the coordination of mind, eye and hand. The major reason that RC is going to continue to grow is because it satisfies just this type of basic human urge. Tuning the family car, or neatly edging the sidewalk are pale by comparison.

During the past five years, the direction of RC has become firmly established. This is an adult pastime. It is likely that it will not only remain so, but become increasingly adult in character. This is not to say that juveniles or young people will be ex­cluded; on the contrary, we welcome them with open arms and hope to see more of them. We will help them, in some cases subsidize them, and in every way possible, encourage them. However, the fact remains that in the foreseeable future at least., cost alone will make this a continuing adult sport.

All right, a sport of-adults; not of kings necessarily, but definitely a sport of adults. Why then operate under a constrictive and shortsighted set of rules based on modeling phases which are less thickly populated with adults? Why the need for builder of the model controversies, when one is dealing with people who couldn't care less who built it? I personally had never built an absolutely true multi fuselage or wing until fiberglass fuses and foam wings came into being. These two items alone nave made me a better flier. Presumably, they have done the same for others, or they wouldn't he as popular as they presently are.

Like most people in this hobby, I must make a living for myself and family. Building time is in extremely short supply, and is a very precious commodity. The pressures of the present day have robbed most of us in a similar fashion, or I am indeed misinformed. Frankly, if I can fly at a savings in building time, I will do so, and I am no millionaire.

I don't build my own golf clubs; I don't hack out my own fishing pole anymore, nor knit my own bathing suit, yet I am allowed to participate and compete in these activities unhampered by any such archaic or restrictive rules as those under which we must fly an RC ship [Note: Refers to the “Builder of the Model Rule”.].

American adults are a very fractious and independent group of people. They choose hobbies and pursue them in a relentless and ferocious manner. When they are presented with rules which have no relation to the actual situation, they merely continue their hobby outside the rules in question. In the case of RC, this means decreased contest attendance, decreased Academy membership and an absolute burgeoning of sport and non-sanctioned contest activity. In our own area this past year, non-sanctioned meets outnumbered sanctioned ones three to one. At a time when we should be increasing AMA prestige and respect for the coming frequency and flying site battles, we are seeing the reverse take place.

Please, let us support our national organization to the fullest extent possible, but at the same time, let us reassert our identity and request work­able, knowledgeable rules to govern us.
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