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Which was the best decade for the hobby?

As in costs,weather,and radio reliability!

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SONNY MONKS07/02/2019 08:44:33
269 forum posts

Just curious,ive only been in the hobby two years,but it feels much longer,regards sonny.

Geoff Parkes07/02/2019 09:08:45
127 forum posts

For me it has to be the 60,s I as many users of this forum are of a certain age it might just be nostalgia but things seemed to be more easy going, you had to put into the hobby to get anything out, there were no ARTF,s radio control was there but only for the well heeled, so control line and free flight were popular , you had to build from kits or plans and it was your expertese in doing this that depended on if the plane flew or not, but a few lessons learnt the hard way stop with you for a lifetime.

Gary Murphy 107/02/2019 09:49:50
484 forum posts
22 photos

I am middle aged. for me it seems the 80`s.

Also the music was the best!

Edited By Gary Murphy 1 on 07/02/2019 09:50:27

Ray Wood 407/02/2019 09:59:45
256 forum posts
44 photos

Must be the eighties, kits still plentiful 35mhz came in and we stopped getting shot down be passing CB users on 27mhz

Must agree about the music Live Aid etc

Regards Ray

eflightray07/02/2019 10:08:35
626 forum posts
132 photos

I was 'hooked' in the mid 50's, every decade was slightly different, usually with some improvements.

I do miss going to model shops, there used to be plenty, but the Infernalnet has made a difference and gives a greater choice.

Best decade ?, probably the previous one, the 2000's. This decade I find I have got older, (it no onger creeps up, but races up), the weather seems to have got worse, (I can even remember calm summers and flyable winters, when I was a lad wink .

Good job I still like building, that doesn't go away no matter what decade.


ken anderson.07/02/2019 10:14:27
8791 forum posts
814 photos

for me-- I would say the 90's we had decent continuous weather and tech was kicking in to our hobby ….. also maybe the 60's when I first started out with bits of wood,a knife and a few rubber bands...and a tube of balsa cement.....

ken's to 2019 dept.

Cuban807/02/2019 10:15:21
3098 forum posts
1 photos

Surely it depends on what one means as 'best'.

For carefree flying almost anywhere, few regulations and simplicity then anything pre 1960s

For an explosion of interest because of reliable gear & increasingly good model designs, plenty of well stocked model shops and some huge and well attended model shows, then I suppose, the 1980s

For accessibility, i.e go online from the comfort of your living room, buy a big box, take delivery and open the big box, then go out and fly its contents within the same day, then now is the best time. (?).

Dickw07/02/2019 10:16:54
784 forum posts
103 photos

Started in the1960s with control line and free flight, moved on to RC in the1980s so I could try electric power.

Best decade? - the next one yes


Nigel R07/02/2019 10:38:50
4278 forum posts
711 photos

Never had it so good.

Bob Cotsford07/02/2019 10:42:50
8844 forum posts
496 photos

Toss up between the 70s and 80s. The 70s were more free and easy, ie we were younger and took life less seriously which was just as well if you were flying home made gear. Radio became more reliable in the 80s but also life became more serious with 'responsibilities' hoving into view. The 70s easily pips the 80s for music though!

Bob Cotsford07/02/2019 10:47:05
8844 forum posts
496 photos
Posted by Nigel R on 07/02/2019 10:38:50:

Never had it so good.

Makes me think you must live next door to an Al's Hobbies or Steve Webb's, or maybe you have your own airdrome to fly from?face 1

Too much regulation, no LHS to waste time in, NIMBY's complaining about noise, fuel costs, old age - nah, I'll take the 70s thanks.

Peter Miller07/02/2019 10:58:22
11593 forum posts
1393 photos
10 articles

It is a toss up between the 60s and 70s. Control line and free flight. Very few people ever complained about noise. Everybody built their own models. There was much less of an "Us and Them" attitude. The KK handbook had about three pages of accessories so you made your own bits and pieces, a skill which is still with modellers of that era.

gangster07/02/2019 11:02:26
1062 forum posts
29 photos

Wow Sonny what a great subject for debate so many variables there, I guess looking at a recent survey many of us are of a certain age and can remember the last 5 or 6 decades, however probably with dewy eyed nostalgia.

Weather, nah it was no better or worse its just that many of us would fly in any weather, age has brought wisdom or softness,

Radio reliability? Well by the late 70s most radios were pretty reliable the rubbish fell by the wayside. Until the beginning of the 80s we only had 6 channels to share, and although the newer radios had better selectivity you could still only really 6 as there might be someone with you who could not cope with the intermediate channels. The big bogey man was CB but to be honest I really dont believe CB interference could cause poor installations , duff or flat batterys, black lead corrossion or the linkage coming off.. We are still blaming interference today.

The 80s saw FM, more selective receivers and 20 channels to use, the kit was probably as reliable as anything today, in fact the 80s and 90s probably gave us the best radio we have had, now even the premium makes are tacky comp[red to them. But we must, having said that think of cost, a servo cost a working man nearly a weeks net pay, I smile when I hear someone describe a super duper digital servo as expensive, er no its not. Its way less in real terms than say a Futaba 16 or Skyleader SRC1 was. Same with the radio. we conside a £1000 radio ad expensive, yet a set of Futaba M series was well over £200 when the cover price of the RCME was 45p

An OS or HP 40 was well over £40 and until the fiasco of 2008 we could still buy a good 40 for the same price, still only doubled yet RPI has gone up many times more.

In the 80s there was fabulous range of kits to go at , albeit of crap quality, I recal being shown the first Pilot kit and comparing it with the stuff we bought roughly hacked out of unsuitable wood but every town had a well stocked LMS.

As someone also said there are far more rule regulations now and flying sites harder to find.

So its been a good hobby one way or another for the last half century.

Great question I look forward to the varied answers. What do I miss? building my own radio from Micron Kits or RCME articles.

Jon - Laser Engines07/02/2019 11:02:38
5672 forum posts
272 photos

I agree with cuban. It all depends on your criteria but certainly we are now in the era where it has never been cheaper to get in the air and we have such a variety of model types available now that there is pretty much something for everyone.

The downsides to the modern era as i see it is that certain traditional methods/kits/accessories etc are being lost. Solarfilm have gone, many of the old kit manufacturers have gone, model shops in decline, and so on.

I also feel that in many respects the social aspect of the hobby has declined with many clubs reporting that club nights/events are poorly attended with many giving up on them all together. Its hardly a surprise as many of these events were related to traditional building which was the only option in days gone by.

Nigel R07/02/2019 11:16:15
4278 forum posts
711 photos

Ah, the good old days. Out with the rose tinted glasses! wink

Shops? I don't live next door to any shops but I have a postal address. Fields to fly in? I don't live next door to my own aerodrome but there is a nice local club with a good patch. I don't get an "us and them" from the club, see more of that on here. If I want to walk 5 minutes up the road, I can fly a 100W parkflyer around on the common.

Kit and clobber is dirt cheap by comparison to pre 2000. It is also reliable, if you avoid the obviously fake and too-cheap-to-be-true. Building materials are all out there if you want them. If you don't there are loads of ARTFs.

Regulations affecting us? Which ones, the 400ft thing? The registration thing? There's always something to fight off. Noise, drone induced regulatory headaches, CB users, the black plague.

2 stroke glows are dead and buried, and we chose that remember, but the cheap electric drivetrains work just as well for club size utility power. Bigger and fancier engines are still about (more power to everyone at Laser).

Petrol is viable. Giant models are viable. Tiny parkflyers are proper viable models not just twitchy overweight rockets without enough power. Jets, ye gods, actual jet turbines with their incredible manufacturing tolerances, are viable. If you want.

Fuel cost, non-issue - I had 200 flights logged last year, if that were all on average club sized glows I'd have spent about £200 on fuel. Except because everything is electric, I bought 8 new batteries and a charger all of which cost me more than £200 - despite all coming from a popular large cheap online retailer.

Richard Ashworth07/02/2019 11:16:36
109 forum posts
70 photos

The 60s. All those who participated then are still participating now but in stead of balsa, tissue, dope and rubber or tow line ( 049 powered free flight or control line if you could afford it) we now are flying computer TX multi channel RC. Plus we have the time to do it seven days a week. Without the 60s how many would be flying now?

Ray Wood 407/02/2019 11:44:27
256 forum posts
44 photos

The generation of noise over the years 1950's to the 1990's has been a unifying force making us join clubs to fly in relatively remote locations, with the advent of practical electric flight in the mid 90's . I having been a regular club sunday morning flyer for 30 years, I now find myself a lone hand flyer with BMFA membership for the last 10 years, I still keep my hand/eye in with 30 minutes flying a week, not good for the clubs is the down side

Regards Ray

Nightflyer07/02/2019 13:05:05
207 forum posts

I think personally there was a proliferation in aerpmodelling in general in the 60's and as a boy in the 70's I felt there was a lot of choice available of the 50's and 60's designs and kits.

However if we are talking about rc flying I think that it has to be the 80's as Ray Wood 4 said in his post, kits were plentiful (and not many ARTF), rc choice and reliability was good and developed during the era, also engines became more reliable and electric powered flight started to evolve to become more practical. Even the weather seemed good.

Last but not least there was a good range of model mags, model shops, and model shows, fly ins and model clubs.

I did enjoy the 90's as technically I think RC gave you far more scope at reasonable prices and I seemed to have more models in the workshop, and I probably maxed out on flying hours too.

SONNY MONKS07/02/2019 13:08:42
269 forum posts

agreed gary murphy,and so far on the rest of the replys,it was what i expected,many thanks gents.

SONNY MONKS07/02/2019 13:24:18
269 forum posts

In 1982 ish,i used to fly control line,not for long,due to lack of bugs bunny,as in money haha,i used to watch the modellers fly there rc planes,over at fearnvilles fields,in leeds 8,and they were forever getting"shotdown" apparently form the cb radio band,27 meg,it seemed quite commom back then.

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