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this hobby needs more young blood

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john melia 118/06/2015 22:08:30
1770 forum posts
24 photos

dunno about anyone elses opinions , but i think this hobby is stagnating , too many oldies and not enough youngies if you get my drift.

Over the past year and a bit i have been a member of four different clubs , and each one seems to be the same , ie , turn up at the field and more times than not its old timers setting up deck chairs and wind breaks , bringing a model that rarely sees any airtime , while they congregate and basically moan , about club politics , and shake their heads at anyone who can fly more than a flat circuit.

No wonder the young ones steer clear , and no wonder a lot of clubs are struggling to keep/find members .

just my basic observations , from a personal standpoint , be interesting to hear what others opinions and observations are 

what say you ???

Edited By john melia 1 on 18/06/2015 22:10:32

Cliff Bastow18/06/2015 22:10:44
933 forum posts
469 photos

I dont think its the clubs fault John,

Most youngsters today are not interested in any of the traditional hobbies. Its the Ipad generation.

GONZO18/06/2015 22:20:50
1411 forum posts
14 photos

We live in an instant gratification, short attention span and image concious society. This hobby has the wrong image for the young. Plus, their always looking for something new to fire up their interest and what a lot of other things there are now! The facilitiesfrownthat we enjoysad and our climate are hardly a pull, quite the opposite.

I've said in other posts that I think this hobby will be all but dead in 20 - 30 years time once the post war demographic bulge and its first echo have gone.

extra slim18/06/2015 22:39:15
521 forum posts
49 photos

I can agree with all the points made. From my experience at 42, it isn't a new thing. I recall at 10yrs old calling in at another club on the way home to fly as guests, hurtling round my 1/2a mustang, to be met with " when you grow up you will be able to fly a proper model like this"....I got us barred, by asking for the transmitter and offering to show the gent what his model was capable of!. Much to my dad's horror!.

returning to the hobby at 28 after Uni and marriage, I joined a local club, where I was told " we don't like two strokes here, especially in profile planes which don't even look like planes!".. I shrugged it off, was the first to fly brushless, first FPV, first electric heli, first foam, first top end four strokes (YS) etc, and was always met with tuts and raised eyebrows...but then gradually I got very tired of the endless questions from the same political tire kicking know it alls, and so sought another club.

the average age of where I fly now is well above 60, but boy are they a rum bunch who love to have a laugh, embrace change and most of all, really enjoy themselves....they are bunch of mavericks who indeed had had enough of the political direction their clubs were moving in, and setup a "let's have fun" is my "special place"..I learn a lot from them, not just aero modelling, and I think they learn a bit from's all good.

there are lots of young at heart oldies who are great fun.....if they were in every club....youngsters interest could be held. My 6yr old accompanies me regularly and they let him race them on the tractor mowers, play in the shed, throw rocks in the pond and generally be a typical little boy...just like my dad did!.

hopefully the hobby won't die but I can see what you mean, I don't think it will die, but will undoubtedly look very different.

GONZO18/06/2015 22:41:20
1411 forum posts
14 photos

Don't know how old you are John but in my younger day I'd spend hours sitting on the top of hills in low cloud and drizzle in the hope of a flight on my hang glider (see pic). I'm now in my late 60's and the prospect of standing in the middle of a muddy field under cloudy skies being tuged at by a cold wind with rain in it does not appeal. Wind breaks and chairs are good. My knees ache in the cold, caused by carrying over 1cwt gear up 1000' hills and I feel the cold more. Us old timers (me) grew up with rationing, without central heating, no hot running water, no bathrooms and outside loo's. My first home with an insde loo and a bathroom was April 1969 when I was 21 1/2 and married with a young child.

The point of this is that people growing up now are used to their creature comforts and I would think that they would consider the cons far out weigh the pros when participating in this hobby.

john stones 1 Moderator18/06/2015 23:11:44
11908 forum posts
1531 photos

Sounds to me like you need a new interest John, yes it's a real shame there's not more young uns doing it, our clubs had some good youngsters, then they get caught up in real life, jobs, familys, mortages and the like and we can't compete with thatsad


Fredrum18/06/2015 23:22:33
136 forum posts
194 photos

I belong to an indoor group. It's not a club as such, just a bunch of guys who get together in a church hall. The age range is from mid 30's up and a very diverse group. They vary from multiple FF nats winners, indoor aerobatics champs right down to complete newbies. We have people experimenting with rubber-powered hellies, RC ornithopters, FPV multis, duration rubber and just about anything else you could imagine doing indoors. Some just come along for a very little flying and a lot of socialising.

They are a vibrant, energetic bunch & most of them are also members of various RC & FF clubs. We also occasionally have visits from teens who I suspect will probably think about getting into something like this when their lives settle down a bit. I don't think model flying has ever been more diverse than it is now. There shouldn't be any reason to stagnate. It's all about choices.

Dave Hopkin18/06/2015 23:24:05
3672 forum posts
294 photos

I dont think the hobby will die, far from it the whole drone and FPV thing has created a whole new branch of it which is incredibly vibrant and moving forwards technologically at a bewildering rate

Will Clubs die...... thats another issue, and I fear for the long term future of many of the clubs based on their preoccupation with traditionally built fixed wing flying, those clubs that can shake off the shackles of tradition and embrace and foster the new technologies will probably survive, those that dont will probably wither

Edited By Dave Hopkin on 18/06/2015 23:24:32

PatMc18/06/2015 23:35:39
4517 forum posts
550 photos

John, I live in the same part of the world as you, I'm a member of 2 local clubs, slope soar at non-club sites (with whoever else turns up) & I'm a regular at the local monthly indoor events. I agree there are few youngsters to be seen interested in model flying but I don't recognize the rest of your comments.

Concorde Speedbird18/06/2015 23:47:53
2735 forum posts
650 photos
At 18 I am one of the younger ones. My Dad and Grandad are part of the hobby, so it was natural that I followed suit due to my interest in aeroplanes.

There are a lot of derogatory statements about younger people these days (not on here often), and I actually agree with a fair few of them. But it is not all easy, especially when trying to secure a place to start of a career. Especially for apprenticeships. And most people who say that have not grown up in this time anyway.

It is a very different world than it was however many years ago, so things change. It is easier to do the hobby once settled with a secure job (and no exams to prepare for!). I still do the hobby anyway because I prefer to use my time and money to design, build and fly these contraptions because I enjoy it. Most younger people prefer to do other things, but that doesn't mean they won't become interested in the future. It is people in their 30s and 40s that are more likely to do it, because it becomes easier.

In the future things will change again. I think, thanks to the rise of multi rotor and all the impressive technology that accompanies that, that RC activities are more popular than 10 years ago with younger people. And nobody will want to copy their computer gaming Dads when they can break out the balsa!


Ben Kelly19/06/2015 00:02:06
167 forum posts
35 photos

I have to agree with CS above.

When i started flying i was about 12/13 because my dad was flying and i had always had an interest in Aeroplanes and flight. When i got to 15/16 i stopped flying because of school exams and when i left school, getting a job. This meant that at the time i couldn't afford to keep up the hobby.

Now i am 26, One of the youngest at the club, i have a job i actually enjoy with decent pay, I have a fiancee who supports and encourages my interests and i have a beautiful 5 month old daughter and it is only now that i have got myself back into the hobby after this 10 year break, all because i can afford it and i find more pleasure spending a few hours at the flying field than out with my friends drinking the night away.

I do believe that the clubs that go with the times and adapt to the new types and styles of RC flying are the ones that will attract the younger generation and they will survive the longest. I do with my club would allow multi-rotor aircraft but it is FW only and i think that restricts them in a lot of ways.


Stuart C19/06/2015 00:05:42
147 forum posts
4 photos

It seems that there are other, easier, distractions available these days. My youngest son would spare a few minutes from his mass on-line shoot-up game to help the "Old Man" run up a pulse jet in the garden; but to spend a whole day at the air strip - no way. My eldest son was quite the opposite and went on to fly with the RAF. The difference between them, 22 years. Its all "virtual" stuff now.

Like many others, I am one of the grey club members, and it is quite sad not to see youngsters venturing out to the flying field full of energy and enthusiastic anticipation. In days of yore, we would have groups of children gather from nowhere to watch. They would run off and proudly retrieve your model for you - "Fetchermites", we called them. After a few years they too took up the hobby.

Cuban819/06/2015 07:59:19
3162 forum posts
1 photos

True enough, certain aspects of the hobby are stagnating, but it's not all bad. Take a look at clubs that specialise in helicopters for instance, most that I'm aware of are thriving with a broad spread of ages taking part. Multi-rotor racing is an up and coming activity that's sure to attract interest from a wider group of people. I think that conventional F/W models flown by FPV will become very popular, particularly as the technology is attractive to the computer savvy - it's something that clubs should perhaps be considering.

The number of teenagers joining clubs is clearly down (I'm membership sec of my club so have seen this first hand over the years), however this has been balanced to a degree by the appearance of the new flyers (with their foamies) in their thirties or early forties. Just as the widespread appearance of ARTF models twenty or so years ago was looked on as a bit of a gimmick, we dismiss the new at our peril.

Dave Bran19/06/2015 08:05:32
1896 forum posts
5 photos

Here we go, the playstation excuses all over again....................

I have positive proof that there is PLENTY of interest from the young in RC. What there is NOT is sufficient interest from parents to take kids to fields and then sit there, let alone help them. So it needs a little effort to get the certification, policies in place, etc, no big deals.

I run a twice weekly RC club inside a school from 15:00 - 17:30. Have done for eight years.

Cars, Quads, Heli's, Planes. It's well attended, always has been, usually forced to turn some away on a rota basis as max numbers reached. Apart from the sport aspect its helped quite a few boys towards engineering careers.

Yesterday a former member from year 7, then later helper, arrived back from Uni break (engineering degree) to get involved again in HIS time. IT CAN BE DONE.

I don't harp on about the lack of youth in the sport, I DO something. Many of you "greys" COULD do likewise if you were not so busy sat on backsides moaning!!

Owdlad19/06/2015 08:06:12
222 forum posts
140 photos

Here's a scenario that often happens.

  • Dad takes enthusiastic young son flying for the first time with the promise of leaning son to fly
  • In Dads quest to fly, sons promise becomes secondary and son his left hanging about waiting to fly while dad goes about flying,
  • Son is lucky if he gets more than one fly per visit,
  • Son eventually becomes bored and drifts away.

What really should happen.

  1. Dad takes enthusiastic young son flying for the first time
  2. Dads flying takes a back seat and concentrates all his efforts in learning his son to fly
  3. Dad learning son to fly increases the bond between them
  4. Dad can sit back in the pits and takes enormous pride in watching his son become a proficient pilot
  5. Dad can start flying again.

Sadly this very rarely happens.


ben goodfellow 119/06/2015 08:30:29
1069 forum posts
41 photos

at our training night on monday . i took my son ( 9) and my work mate (25) my son was flying two planes neither of them mine ,solo .one not on a buddy lead ,,, and my work mate flew the club trainer solo (on a buddy lead)on his second attempt ... what a great nights flying it was . it also brought the average age that night down to the mid 60swink

ben goodfellow 119/06/2015 08:46:46
1069 forum posts
41 photos

john you really need to join our club CADMAC great bunch , it will renew your passion ,,,,,100%

Jack Banner19/06/2015 08:48:18
332 forum posts
43 photos

i think it depends on what aspect of the hobby you are looking at. Fixed wing generally (and self built, balsa, IC planes especially) is on the down turn as a youth pursuit and largely flown by the older guys. However, go to any Heli club and a large percentage of the flyers are much, much younger.

All the things mentioned in this thread do have an effect of course, but the bottom line is that fashions change and per-built toys (be in RC planes, die-cast models or computers) are just much much cheaper than they once were. Children are becoming a short attention span, throw away bunch because for the majority of them, everything is accessible. It is also far less 'hassle' (and great fun!) to fly a plane, drive a car or hold up a bank on the PS3 than it is to go out and do it for real.

I am 38 and not immune to this. My building time has suffered since I bought GTA5....


Peter Miller19/06/2015 08:57:08
11758 forum posts
1416 photos
10 articles

Our small club has no members under 50. Yes, we do sit around and talk BUT we enjoy flying aerobatics, we have helicopters, jets (well one) giant scale, electric powered gliders, tiny foamies. Even a full size Pitts although that doesn't fly from the club field. In fact just about anything that anyone wants to fly.

We have builders and those who just fly ARTFs. No one ever looks down or disparages anyone else for whet they fly or how they fly.

WE don't have any youngsters. WE had a family turn up once. They said that their son was a very good pilot and would like to fly with us. WE never saw them again.

We have had members bring their sons along, they spent the whole time with their heads under a blanket playing a computer game.

Even back in the 70s we tried to encourage youngsters in the control line club. They never lasted. Back in the 50s the great majority of club members were teenagers or at least young.(We are still the ones flying now!!)

What the hobby will be like in 30 years I would not like to guess but I expect that it will survive in some form.


Edited By Peter Miller on 19/06/2015 08:58:10

kc19/06/2015 09:29:32
6914 forum posts
175 photos

The lack of young members is entirely due to the BMFA attitude and instructions about Child Protection. Clubs now don't want to instruct youngsters without their parents being present. Clubs won't try to attract youngsters for the same reasons.

Actually my club has had 3 new youngsters turn up ( with parent) this year. All show an aptitude for flying.

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