Nick Maxwell - Futaba USA Interview

Read Nick's responses to the questions asked by our RCGroups users.

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The Futaba USA Interview

We have all been wondering and speculating on how Futaba would land on its feet. I want to give a big thanks to Nick Maxwell, Futaba's North and South America hobby radio control manager, for taking time out to answer our questions. I know they are insanely busy getting everything up and ready.

The Interview

JT - When will the site be live?

NM - The site is just now opened today for some of the information like manuals and software updates, and a sneak peek of some of the features. The Service Center also opens today, get on www.futabausa.com and register and learn how to get your items repaired NOW! The rest of the site including products and Team announcements, etc. will open middle of next week.

JT - When can we order product, like receivers?

NM - We should have our public sales outlet open and shipping mid week of the 16th. This will include all radio control product. Dealer account set-up will begin next week and start shipping mid week of the 16th.

JT - Will Futaba sell direct or through distributors?

NM - We will sell direct on www.futabausa.com as well as be open to dealer inquiries as long as the dealer can show proof of e-commerce site and/or brick and mortar shop. We would like to support the shops the best we can with promotional information and material, as well as, create availability to the most popular products much more easily than ever before!

JT - Will Tower be one of Futaba’s retail outlets?

NM - There is a good chance that TowerHobbies will still sell Futaba product. We are talking with them, and are still working through some negotiations.

JT - Will the US finally get the full line of Futaba equipment?

NM – YES! ALL RC product and accessories will be available. We are considering importing the SkyLeaf line of airplanes but are questioning the interest… who is interested in the Futaba airplane ARF Line??!!

JT - Are new products coming?

NM - Generally speaking, all new Futaba products released in the time frame of the bankruptcy and selling of Hobbico will be brought in and sold at FutabaUSA.com immediately. In terms of future new product, absolutely. Futaba is always at an ever-evolving state and capacity at which we can develop and produce new designs. I will be the first to admit, we are slower at applying new technology overall, but the original and unique ways we execute the use of new technology always rivals our competitors which makes Futaba one of the most reliable and best brands out there… for sure, look for plenty of new and original product in the end of 2018 and 2019.

JT - What is happening with the team pilots?

NM - At the moment I am still preparing the team roster and offers. We will offer any current (past) Hobbico team member a spot on the team again. At this moment I have NOT felt comfortable sending the contracts and asking pilots to commit to using Futaba until we have product in-house and ready to support them. It just seemed highly disrespectful in my mind to ask someone to sign a contract saying “fly Futaba exclusively and represent our brand” but then not be able to supply them with any product. This has been a tough situation, but now that product is almost all received and the e-commerce side of selling/placing orders is complete I can focus and arrange the team next week and they will be able to then start to order product at a similar time as the customers. At the moment, out of respect for our past loyal team members, we are not accepting new requests, I need to get these guys set-up and operational before we take on new members. In one month or so, we will be open to accepting applications. PS- We are actively looking for Surface and Air Team Coordinators. These positions take the role of team management and also in our daily marketing activity. If this is something you are interested in, please email nmaxwell@futaba.com with a resume.

JT - If someone has a backorder at Tower Hobbies what should they do?

NM - At this point, I am not sure what to suggest. It does seem promising that Tower will be selling Futaba product as an online dealer, but I am not sure their stocking timeline at this time. FutabaUSA is not taking Tower’s back orders, if you have an order with Tower, that is the consumers choice to purchase from Tower pending stock, or place an order with FutabaUSA.com’s e-commerce outlet available soon.

JT - If someone bought a Futaba TX in 2017 from Tower will they need to provide proof of purchase for warranty service or will Futaba have access to this information given that they are the manufacturer?

NM - Sadly, we will not have any proof, so yes, please keep your receipts or proof of purchase from Tower or local retailer so we can honor and offer the same 1-year warranty.

JT - Will the new Futaba USA give dealer discounts so we can continue to carry their product?

NM - Yes, we will have a complete dealer/shop program. To apply and start to get set-up as a dealer, email: contactus@futaba.com and you will be contacted mid to late next week about getting an account set-up.

JT - When will the CGY760 be available?

NM - Late July/early August.

JT - Is the NEW site, the best place for future Futaba purchases.

NM - This depends on the person. For those who like to order their Futaba product lying in bed on a mobile device, knowing what they already want, yes. For those who like to see product and get modeler interaction during the purchasing process, I suggest you visit your local hobby store and talk to them about ordering and stocking your favorite Futaba product.

JT - If someone has an order through a LHS (through Tower), what should they do? OR is that a placeholder for a radio through Futaba USA?

NM – Tower will not be a wholesaler to local hobby shops through GPDealer any longer. If you have an order through a local hobby store, that shop will need to set-up an account with Futaba direct and we will gladly fill the order.

JT - Any power safe RX's in the pipeline?

NM – After the R7018SB servo limit confusion, yes. Futaba recognizes that giant scale airplanes need a Powerbus/RX combo of sorts. This is in the works but not realized yet, so, for now, it is best to use the R7014SB or R7018SB with-in its limits.

JT - Will Futaba USA have the full range of Futaba hardware available here, that is available overseas?

NM – If Futaba makes it for radio control, we will have access to it. We do still need to test the market a bit and decide how much stock we keep of the less popular or demanded items, but as Futaba Corporation of America (Futaba USA is just a Hobby term, not the name of the company) is 100% Futaba Japan owned and managed, we will have access to all items made by Futaba, EXCEPT some European versions of TXs in which are not FCC compliant. FutabaUSA.com will absolutely respect our distribution territory which is North and South America only.

JT - Is Futaba USA a wholly owned subsidiary of Futaba JP, or is Futaba USA a private company that is simply a factory authorized repair house and distributor of Futab a JP.

NM – Futaba USA is actually not a company, it is just a catchy easy to remember term for Hobbyist. The company is Futaba Corporation of America and a long time contract manufacturing and VFD/OLED sales outlet for the USA market with 4 locations in the USA. Hobby Radio Control is now a growing group that will operate internally to sell Hobby Radio Control product, service it, and market it in the USA. It is 100% Japan owned and managed.

JT - Any new products being worked on?

NM – Always… none of which are ready to be revealed just yet. Right now our main focus in the Hobby Radio Control group is to get product back in the hands of all the pilots and drivers out there in North and South America.

JT - When are you going to set up a dealer network

NM - We will start taking applications and setting up dealers next week.

Some side notes:

A huge thank you to all our great customers who are being patient with us through this. Forcing our customers to deal with delays and not having product available are not at all what we wanted to put our customers through. I am so sorry for the delays and inconveniences this has caused our hobby friends and customers who just want to use and fly/drive with our product. Our sole intentions of this is to take back our brand to in-house, make it the best we can and service our customers the best we can, to make sure that every modeler out there (just like most of us in the Hobby Division, incl Futaba Japan members) can enjoy and use the product to its fullest. Ever here in the USA, we are striving to hire experienced and longtime modelers and know that it takes a modeler to understand what the pilots and drivers using our product need, so we are assembling this group to do just that.

Best Regards,

Nick Maxwell - North and South Am

Thread Tools
Jul 10, 2018, 12:22 PM
Garfield is my Pilot
acdii's Avatar
This is good news. Now if OS can do the same.
Jul 10, 2018, 12:51 PM
Did I make the A Main?
bill_delong's Avatar
I wonder if Graupner is in the same position as Futaba?

Any chance of doing an interview with Graupner too???
Jul 10, 2018, 01:02 PM
Oxford Panic
AndyOne's Avatar
I heard a rumour years ago that Futaba had bought OS, can someone confirm??
Jul 10, 2018, 02:41 PM
3D Addict
alfabeast's Avatar
Thanks for the info.
Jul 10, 2018, 04:42 PM
★★★★★★★★
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill_delong
I wonder if Graupner is in the same position as Futaba?
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...t-of-business-!
Jul 10, 2018, 05:11 PM
Team Futaba
Silent-AV8R's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyOne
I heard a rumour years ago that Futaba had bought OS, can someone confirm??
Futaba does in fact own the O.S. brand. I have not heard what specific plans they have relative to O.S. distribution in the US, but it seems to make sense that this would also be done out of Futaba USA in Hunstville, AL.
Jul 10, 2018, 05:45 PM
Registered User

Time for a change


I have already decided to switch to FrSky. I have been using their module and receivers in my Futaba 9C for years with no problem. In fact the last glitch I had was flying with my Futaba receivers. That's speaking only for myself, of course, as I'm sure there are many out there that have complaints with FrSky.

However, It's much cheaper for me to just get the whole system, Transmitter/receiver from FrSky.
No big complaints about Futaba. I have been using Futaba exclusively for over 30 years. I just feel the change would be better for me right now. Reliability in the new radios has improved considerably and the prices are good.
Jul 10, 2018, 10:03 PM
Theoretical balsa dust maker
plane_tech's Avatar
I think it will be interesting to see if Futaba will go open source as well.
They have to see that FrSky is a major competitor and took a fair portion of the market. Having a much higher level of customization is now becoming a standard feature that people want.
Jul 11, 2018, 02:34 AM
Fly low and slow
TrueBuld's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RRFlyer
I have already decided to switch to FrSky. I have been using their module and receivers in my Futaba 9C for years with no problem. In fact the last glitch I had was flying with my Futaba receivers. That's speaking only for myself, of course, as I'm sure there are many out there that have complaints with FrSky.

However, It's much cheaper for me to just get the whole system, Transmitter/receiver from FrSky.
No big complaints about Futaba. I have been using Futaba exclusively for over 30 years. I just feel the change would be better for me right now. Reliability in the new radios has improved considerably and the prices are good.
I would be safer to get the whole system. Mixing systems may work one day and fail the next, for example if there is an update applied to the Futaba TX.
Jul 11, 2018, 03:22 AM
most exalted one
No updates to a 9C though.
Jul 11, 2018, 09:16 AM
★★★★★★★★
Quote:
Originally Posted by plane_tech
I think it will be interesting to see if Futaba will go open source as well.
Never https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...5&postcount=15

Quote:
Originally Posted by plane_tech
They have to see that FrSky is a major competitor and took a fair portion of the market.
Right https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-System-To-Buy

.
Last edited by reverse; Jul 11, 2018 at 09:26 AM.
Jul 11, 2018, 10:02 AM
Sagitta Fanboy
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill_delong
I wonder if Graupner is in the same position as Futaba?

Any chance of doing an interview with Graupner too???
Graupner USA has been doing its own distribution and sales for several years, although they're an independent distributor rather than a subsidiary of Graupner SJ.

They're less affected by the Hobbico bankruptcy as Tower was just a dealer for them, not a distributor.
Jul 11, 2018, 10:03 AM
Sagitta Fanboy
Quote:
Originally Posted by reverse
That's about 5 years out of date.
Jul 11, 2018, 10:29 AM
Did I make the A Main?
bill_delong's Avatar
Thanks mawz, I knew that Graupner was sold to a Korean company, just wasn't sure about the relationship with Hobbico/Tower.

I found it odd that Graupner would have low inventory with most of their product out of stock around the time of Hobbico bankruptcy which implied that Graupner might be in trouble too.

I saw that Futaba was the hardest hit with the highest in unpaid debt, but never researched all the other companies to see where Graupner was at.


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