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Jan 01, 2008, 07:56 PM
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My letter to "Model Aviation"


In an earlier entry, I mentioned how I was going to write to Model Aviation regarding a comment by some guy who claims that ARF and RTF pilots are "lazy." Worse, the January issue has a poem, of all things, by a woman who flies free flight and disdains radio control. That was the last straw. You'll find it on page 146, by the way.

In the meantime, feel free to enjoy the letter I just sent MA's editor:

"When I read the letter from Norman Weiler in the November '07 'Aero Mail' section, I saw red. Mr. Weiler, it seems, is of the opinion that those who purchase ARF and RTF models would 'rather bore holes in the sky than put any effort into the hobby.' He concludes: 'Most are just lazy.' Especially ironic was Bob Hunt's 'Modeling Spoken Here' column on the preceding page which sang the praises of such models.

"Mr. Weiler, while your geographic location of Lansing, Michigan likely precludes you from doing any flying during the winter months, let me assure you that those of us who got started on the models you so disdain have increased their flying skills logarithmically thanks to planes such as these and insulting a vast number of modelers with your elitism is uncalled for. I've gone from a two-channel HobbyZone Firebird Commander to three glow-powered planes (a large .25 warbird, a .25 combat plane and a .46 warbird), two high-performance electric park flyers (a scale foam warbird and a balsa/ply 3D stunt plane), two relatively docile foam park flyers and a highly modified E-flite Blade CP in a span of roughly four years. All but one of those planes were either ARF or RTF; the .25 combat plane was scratchbuilt by a friend some years ago and given to me early last year. In fact, I do enjoy the important modeling aspect and I have a kit awaiting assembly as I write, my very first. As Mr. Hunt so succinctly put it, others would rather just fly and may not have the time, space, budget or skills to assemble a scratchbuilt or a kit.

"If that weren't enough, consider the letter on page 146 of the January '08 issue by Glenna Jenkins of Anderson, Indiana who wrote in prose and which in turn prompted me to write this letter: 'Now, Model Aviation comes and rarely do I find/A mention of free flight. Ho-hums of radio unwind/The challenge of free flight is what makes modeling a good sport/To have complete control is not a thrilling flight report.'

"Excuse me? 'Ho-hums of radio?' Madam, since when did you become the arbitor of what makes this hobby challenging, boring or otherwise? If you wish to fly free flight, you will likely encounter no antipathy from the vast majority of us who would prefer to control a model like the real thing instead of tossing it into the sky and hoping for the best. Have fun, but please don't insult the rest of us while you do. Have you ever even tried RC?

"Snobbery and elitism such as these examples from so-called 'old timers' has no place in this or any other hobby."

Here's hoping they publish this!
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Jan 04, 2008 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Proper quotation marks added
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Jan 01, 2008, 10:54 PM
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airpower's Avatar
Brilliant!!!!!!!!
Jan 01, 2008, 11:10 PM
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Thank you very much. Honestly, that second letter just steamed my fleckmans. I was considering just letting that first one go until I read it. The editor's e-mail program sent me an automated message stating that he was gone for the holidays, but I'm sure hoping he e-mails me in person. The only point I may have failed to make was in regards to the first guy living in Lansing; he probably has lots of time to build since he can't fly year-round. No wonder he doesn't like ARFs!

I should also mention that I was recently given two cast-off models, both built from kits. Of the two, the Great Planes 40-sized J-3 Cub is going to need the most work and will obviously require some modeling skills. Thankfully, I have the plans should I need to build anything else other than a couple of wing struts.
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Jan 01, 2008 at 11:16 PM.
Jan 02, 2008, 05:50 AM
Mini Electric Planes
TTT1111's Avatar

a lil something here


I wish to put in a lil something here hopefully to enlighten some about learning to fly planes.
I dont want to offend any one.

Most free flight people know what the plane is going to do before they launch it.
(After they have tested & tuned it with short & long flites.)

If you REALLY want to learn what makes a plane fly & how to adjust everthing,
You should learn to fly free flight planes. You caint readjust anything after it takes off.
Engine up-down - side thrust, Wing incidence - washout, center of gravity are a few of the things to set for free flight. You learn a lot more from free flight experience.
I still enjoy tuning free flight planes although, I always flew mostly RC .
I mostly design & build most of my planes, but still use Kits & ARF s occasionaly.

If you dont like above , please delete it. Its your blog.
Jan 02, 2008, 01:49 PM
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tioli's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PMDrive1061
that second letter just steamed my fleckmans.
It checked my spleen, too. Chapped my hide.

I'm admittedly more than a little prejudiced against Model Aviation though. I really am not fair. I get my copy and spend 15 minutes perusing the one interesting article and five minutes scanning the photos for anyone under 65, or with skin darker than mine, or for an RC helicopter, then chuck it all in the rubbish.

Thanks for letter, PM. You spoke for me as well.
Jan 02, 2008, 02:27 PM
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DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by TTT1111
I wish to put in a lil something here hopefully to enlighten some about learning to fly planes.
I dont want to offend any one.

Most free flight people know what the plane is going to do before they launch it.
(After they have tested & tuned it with short & long flites.)

If you REALLY want to learn what makes a plane fly & how to adjust everthing,
You should learn to fly free flight planes. You caint readjust anything after it takes off.
Engine up-down - side thrust, Wing incidence - washout, center of gravity are a few of the things to set for free flight. You learn a lot more from free flight experience.
I still enjoy tuning free flight planes although, I always flew mostly RC .
I mostly design & build most of my planes, but still use Kits & ARF s occasionaly.

If you dont like above , please delete it. Its your blog.
Wouldn't dream of deleting it. You're absolutely right; there's no better way to learn how to set up an airframe and I greatly admire the depth of your commitment. My beef was with her attitude. Personally, I've never flown free flight, but that doesn't mean I feel it's inferior. Our club actually has a couple of guys who fly CL and nothing else. One of them can't fly R/C at all. It looks like a fascinating and demanding discipline, but boy, does that same non-R/C guy go through a lot of planes. One wrong move and blammo! Balsa bits. Both local hobby shops always have one or two CL ARFs on hand for them.

Tioli, please say hi to Harold. My offer of hinging control surfaces at your club still stands.
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Jan 02, 2008 at 02:32 PM.


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