Local Hobby Stores and Flying Organisations, any future?

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Local Hobby Stores and Flying Organisations, any future?

Postby Hal9000 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:17 am

Posted this on RC-help.com forums tonight. Thought it should be on here too.

You know I do fear for the lhs. On the one hand the Internet has exposed them to competitive pricing, both from Asian low labour cost suppliers and margin cutting "out of back room or garage" suppliers  

On the other hand consumer are now exposed to a wider range to choose from, and not limited to what the lhs deigns to make available.

I wander into any hobby shop I pass just to see what's what. Today I stepped into what was really a static model shop for diorama makers and model train enthusiasts. They had a few awful looking RC planes and toy helis. Was in and out in 2 min. 

My lhs to whom I go to when I really want something in a hurry, I paid $NZD12 for 5 servo connectors, which I could get from HobbyKing for $1 (actually about $NZD2 for 10 plus shipping.) $11 premium for convenience!

Back to choice. 25 years ago the only source for model gear was what the lhs had or if you were lucky, mail orders. My grandfather had a thriving business shipping stuff from "tax free" Norfolk Island to Australia and New Zealand in the late 70s and early 80s. He was able to undercut lhs even with shipping at the time sales tax and import duties made the lhs the domain of relatively wealthy enthusiast.

I look at what the lhs has for sale. Large areas dedicated to balsa and oily planes and a tiny corner dedicated to foamies and electrics. Sweet FA choice of lipos, and those they do have are 3 or more times the price I can get from HobbyKing, including shipping. What's worse they are the same brand!

I have spent about $400-500 getting kitted out to a point where I am ready to fly. This includes an AXN, Turnigy 9x with mods, batteries, charger and other bits and pieces. Chump change to the equivalent at the lhs where my tx choices are Specktrum or Futaba or JR and some gas powered front engined balsa trainer.

This segue-ways in to another area of concern I share with others.  

There is a shift in the RC world from oily wooden planes to electrics with FPV, GPS, RTL, 3D and so on.  I hope the old fogies who run lhs, local clubs and national associations are familiar with the adage "Adapt, or die" because they are rapidly becoming as irrelevant as dinosaurs.

I feel no desire to join MFNZ because everything I have read about or written by them might as well have been written 20 years ago. They do not seem to have grasped the concept of park flyers for a start. They seem to think that all FPV craft must be flown with in the confines of a club field, with buddy boxes compulsory. Huh! Seriously! (cue Jeff Dunham and Peanut) Neeeoowwww!

Now my ultimate aim in this hobby is to have a UAV style craft, be that predator or multirotor and combo waypoint and FPV with RTL etc. Sure as hell not going to get any of the kit required from lhs! And MFNZ rules don't even begin to cover such craft other than "in sight" rules. But I am not a member so what can they do about it!
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

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