[I tried to use fewer words and more pictures. Not sure how many pictures you can use. Most important I wanted to capture the younger generation modelers in action. Somewhat the theme of my column.]
How many times have you heard these complaints? Nobody builds anymore. There are no young people getting into the hobby. FPV and multirotors are ruining the hobby?
I have been guilty myself of making these statements. Well, I am here to tell you that our hobby is alive and well and is growing, however, it’s in areas that old-school modelers such I are not accustomed to seeing.
I recently had an eye-opening experience when I attended a new event practically in my own backyard. The event was Flite Fest 2014 put on by the Flite Test group from Ohio. Never heard of them? Frankly I hadn’t either until an outsider to our hobby was telling me about the group’s cool online videos and inexpensive airplanes that help get people into the hobby. I checked out a couple of the webcasts and videos and decided I needed to go to the event and see what was happening.
I arrived Saturday at the event location, a private airport in Malvern, Ohio, that was lined from one end to the other with cars, trucks, campers, motor homes, tents, bicycles, motor scooters—you get the picture. I signed in at the registration area and asked how many pilots were registered and was told more than 500. Amazing!
I got there in time for the pilots’ meeting and met the creators of the event, Josh and Josh. These two Generation Y modelers have captured a large group of people across the nation through their educational and entertaining webcasts and have a worldwide following. I met modelers from Australia, Mexico, Switzerland, Hawaii, California, Kansas, Kentucky, and more.
Here was what I consider the most amazing sight at this event. Young people were actually building models! There were several large tents set up to welcome newcomers to build airplanes. Yes, they were mostly built from foam and hot glue, but these young people were actually building something.
I saw all kinds of great electric models and many creative flying machines. The flightline and event tents were alive with people having a great time sharing our common interest of flying. This is just a glimpse of where our hobby is headed. There is a new generation of modelers who are very different from mine.
Check out the Flite Test website at www.flitetest.com and watch some of the webcasts. The Flite Test people are very supportive of AMA and are promoting our hobby in a positive manor. Thank you Josh and Josh for your hard work and I am looking forward to attending Flite Fest 2015.
Until next month, fly safely, responsibly, and have fun![dingbat]