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  1. I think that as a whole the hobby in the past was more or less exclusive… the guy with money enjoyed the flying. Cars and ground vehicles were more available to anyone. But with new technologies and materials it opened the market to the beginner pilots on a budget with ARFs. Many weren’t fond of ARFs (builders) but over time more and more people got into aviation. So we went from isolated fun to numbers and volume. The same has occurred with multirotor technology. Smaller, more stable and easier to master, there is a shift in the pilots focus but the issue is still the same as it was 20 years ago. Having fun in a safe manner that is responsible and enjoyable yet accountable. New pilots need to learn proper flight skills and safety; it’s up to us experienced pilots and builders to make pilot safety and responsibility a common focus. And priority as well as PRACTICE WHAT WE PREACH. Welcome new pilots to your fields. Allow them a chance to learn in a controlled environment. Or don’t complain when they make the news in a negative manner. Only together as a unifed body can we have a positive impact. And I am ready to do just that. -HD

  2. FPV Racing with 250 size quads.. That will be the hottest thing in 2015. Everybody I know who flies RC is extremely enthousiastic about this phenomenon and a lot of people I know (including myself) are building those quads.

  3. I don’t know about other locations but the economy sucks so bad here in NJ that two hobby stores have closed their doors and a third is contemplating the same thing.
    I see more business from the people that are building and flying having to move to mail order (on-line ) for planes and accessories.

  4. ARFs will continue to reign but there will be a moderate resurgence of building as more pilots that started with an ARF learn the art and joy of constructing and flying a creation of their own. “Buy & fly” models will continue to grow in intelligence and continue to get people to “dip their toes” into flying – some will become modelers. Irresponsible actions of others with these devices will continue to pose a problem for serious modelers. The ever-increasing cost of competitive model flying will continue to erode the number of pilots willing to compete.

  5. nodding in agreement with Jims’ crystal ball Will add a possible restrictions on super scale models in a reaction to profileration of commercial drones. Nature of the restictions, I will not offer my conjecture, but might include licensing at wingspans greatwr than “x”.

  6. Carl K.

    I think Roger could be rite, with the RC planes getting bigger and more powerful we could see some sort of licensing of the bigger models. Keeping in the 400 foot envelope is getting more difficult with the 100″ plus planes. I don’t think the upsurge in quads is going to last very long.

  7. I am pessimistic. Some idiot with a camera-equipped quadcopter will fly into the intake of a 737 engine and kill 200 people (while his buddy takes a video with his phone, of course) and the lawyers at FAA, seeing no options, will outlaw RC entirely. I think the entire scenario is inevitable. Idiots, a renewable resource, are never in short supply.
    I hope I am wrong.

    1. I agree with John. I think that multi rotor camera platforms (they are not models of any airplane) should have their own club or association so that AMA members can hold them at arms length and not have to suffer for their ignorance and lack of responsibility. If we keep them onboard our ship they will sink us and we will all go down together. Listen up AMA.

      1. +1, and not only relavant to the US. Some have allready been flying over restricted aerospace…

  8. More FPV because of it’s increasing accessibility (more plug and play systems), more kit building and fewer ARFs (as a percentage); slight growth overall. I think there will be growth in park flyers (as defined by AMA), but in the larger sizes (12-32 ounces). Hobby shops will have a more difficult time and mail order will increase. I hope John is wrong, but I’m fearful of the irresponsible “non-modelers” jeopardizing our hobby.

  9. I am a long-time AMA Member, # FW190D-9
    Have also been an IMAA Member long-time.
    I am interested in R/C Scale only
    This new “Drone flying” scares me–I fear that it will be only a very sort time before the FAA
    shuts our hobby completely down, simply because of the rampant, irresponsible use of
    these new ‘drones’.
    We have always been careful users of our privilege to fly, but not these ‘New Flyers’, who
    put their craft into the air whenever and where ever they chose.
    I am glad that I am 75 years old, and in poor health–my beloved hobby is just about finished.
    W Russell Haines
    1200 Lincoln Street, #256
    Bellingham, WA 982219-5757

  10. the skies the limit !

  11. 2015 will bring more craziness with quad copters and most likely regulations that will be an over response to what is a serious problem with untrained flyers.

  12. I think due to declining club memberships across the country and not a significant amount of R/C flying interest from the youth, the hobby and the AMA will eventually fall into trouble!

  13. I do not agree with Mr. R. Haines pessimistic outlook on the future of the hobby. The hobby is not finished, but at a new begining. I will side with him on the use of quads, and FPV as being used irresponsibly by a few individuals being ignorrant. We hear about them on the news, every once in a while. I would like to see membership enforced at parks and AMA sanctioned rc fields across the USA, for people who fly quads/FPV, to have their AMA cards. We all need to watch each other for safety, teamwork is the key. I am an airline maintenance professional, and an avid AMA member for approx. 20 years. Trust me, the FAA is watching for people flying quads/fpv irresponsibly. Do not use the term drones, in the rc industry, they are rc models. I beleive that all rc models should be flown line of sight with the naked eye. I have never seen or heard of someone flying an rc aircraft intentionally, into the path of full scale aircraft. Lets keep it that way, and all be safe. Happy new year everyone – 2015.

  14. Hello Debra
    First I would like you to take a reality check and ask how many of your top ten models of the year have any relevance to the mass of us out here in the real world . To be sure these monster planes have a great Wow factor but how many of us are really going down that road. Get a clue Maybe a poll to your membership is in order.
    Second Quads , drones or what ever you call them all have the negative connotation that the military uses have brought about. These are not model of any thing and do not belong as a part of our hobby. Keep these at arms length . It won’t be long before the industry will be offering these things at Kmart or Toys or us where any untrained yahoo can buy one. A few bad apples could potentially bring down onerous regulations on all of us.
    Lets get back to basics. Take a look back to the kind of articles that appeared in RCM in the 70’s and 80’s . Most of the articles had relevance and were affordable . Thanks for the opportunity to voice my humble opinion.

    1. I agree 100 % with you Bill .I think you are right on , relative to the top ten (or more ) models for the year not having much relevance to “most of the modelers ” because of the astronomical costs ,the talent to fly and maintain ,transport ,etc.,etc., . These are more big boys toys rather than everyday hobbyists serious interests .Wow factor for sure , but practicality for beginners ,young pilots ,and the everyday hobbyist ,no way .

      Your second point concerning Quads reflects my long held feelings concerning the AMA’s position.I feel , the same as you , that the AMA should distance itself from Quads .Quads are a distinct item of their own and for various reasons will bring more problems to the RC hobby than we need .Parents consider Quads as interesting “Toys” for their kids and them selves .The Quad flyers mean no harm ,but they just do their own thing as they see fit, and , I believe ,don’t consider them selves as having any connection to the RC aircraft hobby .The AMA should realize that they can not be everything to everybody .They do not need that many new members to help support their RC fliers agenda .

  15. Unfortunately, no one can see into the future but we should attempt to perceive it. The industry should put electronic limiters for altitude and distance thereby protecting the modeler from himself.
    I think the AMA should be in the forefront of this discussion to save radio control otherwise all we’ll have is control line. Just in case I think I’ll clean up my NOBLER!

  16. Cheaper planes, engines, radios, etc. Due to south asians countrys

  17. I think that we are at the dawn of a “Golden Age” for RC. Many will likely disagree as the hobby has evolved from where it was 25 years ago and will continue to evolve at an accelerated pace, and change is often uncomfortable. BUT, today our hobby enjoys more more options, better technology, and lower barriers to entry than it has at any time before.

    The commercialization of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles IS going to happen (despite the FAAs bungling of the rule making process) and that will pour millions of dollars into technology and innovation that will cross over into the hobby market. Hobbyists will find new and innovative ways to adapt this technology and this will feed back into the commercial market. This cycle is unstoppable and will continue just like it has with every disruptive technology since the wheel.

    Yes, there are growing pains that will need to be sorted through. The lower entry barriers means that irresponsible actors (both private and commercial) will end up causing problems that will likely lead to new regulations. But while those regulations may end up restricting certain elements of our hobby (and some will feel disenfranchised as a result), the core of the hobby/industry will thrive.

    I don’t know what the future will bring, but I am sure it will be bright. We need to keep an open mind about the future and the AMA and our clubs need to continue to adapt and evolve with the hobby and with the industry it will spawn.

    Be safe and have fun!!!

  18. FPV racing is going to be the newest game in town since paintball.

  19. After reading many of the posts, I thought that I too ought weigh in on the “drone” issue. I am in much agreement with those who voice their concerns about the new quad copter camera platforms. Responsibility of the “pilot” of any airborne platform is critical, and the full weight of existing laws should be enough to frighten the casual flyer into gasping their awesome exposure to devastating liability if some catastrophic episode should materialize that is directly related to their control, or out of control, flight. What I am going to say next may be perceived as a very shallow comment, but if we as a people do not square away the manner in which we address personal responsibility, at the governing level be it club, AMA, FAA, Congress add on infinitum, we are doomed to have the “politically correct” mindset forced upon us all as though we were children incapable of grasping and applying the discipline to exercise those freedoms we have so much enjoyed in the past. There is a prevailing attitude that the exercise of personal freedom somehow excuses people from complying with existing ordinances and laws if it is within their judgement to do otherwise. This of course is the definition of lawlessness. Today the future of RC depends upon many factors. Not surprisingly, the avid modeler who enjoys the hobby for fun, profit or research seems to be the last in having the pivotal weight of opinion because of the strident advancement in technologies that have made the RC products within reach of the average pumpkin, nut-job, neighborhood idiot, et-al, that the governing bodies must address because the the inherent dangers wrought by those who fail to see the consequences of their own actions to themselves and their neighbors. We must have a clear mind and think through these issues. However, I believe we have a foundational problem within our communities, nation and world that actually keeps us from grasping the fundamentals. These are expressed in loving your neighbor as yourself, and in doing to others what you would like done to yourself…and yes it has to do with who is seen as to where these fundamentals originate…man or God. Man’s attitudes change with the direction of the wind, God’s position is immutable and is the same yesterday, today and forever. I have enjoyed the RC hobby since 1970 when my father and I built a Heathkit GD-19. Back then it required a Class C FCC license to use the transmitter. Perhaps the reinstitution of licensing transmitters and AMA membership would be a means of controlling renegade operators. I know this is not a popular idea as I know many responsible flyers that would “kick” at that…me included, but maintaining our freedom to fly does require a “cost”. It would be preferable if all it took was the cost was personal discipline and concern for our neighbors. Who is our neighbor? Everyone, including those on that airliner or private plane on approach at your local airport.

  20. 1st – I think we all lost a great opportunity. We let the media get in front of our marketing. We fly Tri/Quad/Hex – COPTERS. We DO NOT FLY DRONES! Drones are for the military. Multi-copters are for hobbyist. 2015 will be a damage-control year for this hobby.
    2nd – The FAA is going to come down hard on multi-copters. The few have ruined the perception for all of us. We need to make sure the FAA knows the AMA guys obey the rules. They are going after the wrong guys. Technology has always been in front of regulations. We need to make sure we help the FAA keep a clear head on this — They have so far shown their heads are firmly planted elsewhere! 99% of the guys and gals out there understand flying R/C is a privilege, not a right. Our actions can take away that right if we aren’t careful. I think it’s going to get a lot worse for the multi-copter guys before it gets better.
    3rd – The quality of the ARF world will continue to expand and the builders will continue to shrink as those flyers pass on. We are not seeing an uptick in the build from scratch crowd. Flying continues to draw to this hobby. Building – not so much.
    4th – Youth are going to be a tough sell. R/C used to have a WOW factor. Not any longer. They can get all the thrills with an iPad or other gaming device. I don’t see them jumping on the war-bird bandwagon. We will continue to see advances in acrobatic planes. Scale and military – not so much. Entry-point airplanes are become more functional and the price is coming down. The barriers to entry into the hobby have never been lower.
    5th – I don’t see the hobby contracting in opportunities. We have wonderful technology in batteries and radio equipment. The diversity of the hobby will continue to expand, not contract with regards to the types of flight and how it’s accomplished.

    My $0.02 and worth every penny of it!

  21. I started flying models almost 60 years ago, at first it was control line and free flight, and I joined the AMA. Then I moved on to RC with a single channel radio called a galloping ghost. But as soon as I could I got my first 4 Ch fully proportional. Now flying a model was more like flying a real airplane. As time go on things change fast. Next I was drafted into the US Army, they asked me what I would like to do best, I answered “well I love Airplanes”. So, they made me an, Electronic Repair/Radar/Anti Aircraft, Ya! Anti-Aircraft. Well my warrant-officer saw that I flue RC and asked me if I would like to fly them for the army, and I said, Oh-Yaa! And I flue DRONES for the US ARMY. Well at least for about 5 minutes each before they were blown out of the sky. Now it’s 2015, and I have a lot of RC Planes, less than ½ are some level of scale, of a real aircraft. Most look like airplanes but are not a model of any real aircraft. I have at least 6 helicopters, 2 Gyro-copters,1 Para-Plane and a bunch of multi-rotor aircraft that have 3, 4 and 6 motors. I also have some First Person view equipment (that I do not use to look in next door neighbors windows). And please don’t think that I am trying to brag or be boastful, it did take over 60 years to collect this stuff. My point is, If it fly’s, crawls, or floats and is controlled by our radios its RC and its fun. I do not own a DRONE although I do have a flying model of one. 2015 will bring more change, more new technology, and even better than the galloping ghost of yester-year. We should embrace it all, and stick together as one. We Are the Ambassadors of or Hobby. There will be more new Laws and more new Regulations. At first, and most certainly, they’ll be reactionary and probably unrealistic for the most part. But there will be new laws, and, in a large part, thanks to the media. Let’s face it, if 250 flyers at a 4 day weekend evevt/meet pull it off in complete safety, with no mishaps, no injuries. No newspaper will print a word of it. However if a octo-copter that was filming the event, go astray and cuts the head off of some poor chicken in a field, well that is NEWS! They will tell you how, all alone the chicken was, minding its own business, and then, how easily it could have been a person or a small child! That NEWS!

  22. The future? One thing’s for certain. The skills of building will fade into oblivion as the 5 second attention span generation takes over. As your Web site shows, week after week, the beautiful scale models will be built by modelers in other countries while the US “modelers” continue to get their ARF’s from Asia. Foam will completely replace balsa and buzzing electric motors will do away with the wonderful sound of a four stroke engine. And the hobby will sadly continue it’s evolution to a sport.

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