Horizon Hobby opened their doors to the UK aeromodelling trade and media yesterday. Held at North Weald aerodrome, HHUK Insight was designed to allow the company to discuss their future plans, seek feedback and to show and fly the models arriving in 2008.
Horizonís senior U.S. managers flew across for the day and included respected designer and TOC pilot Mike McConville, Hangar 9 and Evolution manager Peter Bergstrom and director of electric flight products David Eichstedt. Joining them were the UK team managers including George Land, John Norris and Ted Galbraith.
The morning session took the form of discussion around the Horizon brands (Hangar 9, E-flite, Parkzone, Evolution, Spektrum and HobbyZone to name a few) and after lunch Mike and Peter flew the models.
I chatted to the U.S. guys on and off throughout the day, the first time they'd visited the UK, they told me they were genuinely impressed with what they'd seen while visiting a club a few days earlier. "It's how things were in the U.S. 10-15 years ago - and I mean that in the best possible way" said Peter. "there's clearly still a good number of traditional builders here which is something we see less of back home"
It was good to see how Peter, Mike and David really valued feedback on their products from the attendees and a good number of topics were covered in discussion from the shiny film covering on the Hangar 9 warbirds (they're developing 'flat' film finishes) to those annoying imperial hex' bolts for which builders can never find an allen key (they weren't aware but will have a look at this).
Some members of the trade suggested a smaller range of .40 sized warbirds along with traditional kits and ARTC (cover) models although scepticism was voiced as to whether traditional kits would sell in sufficient volumes. Traders reported that a small but growing trend towards traditional building was noticeable and that traditional kits were still requested by customers.
The output from the company never ceases to amaze with new models being showcased yesterday that didn't make Nuremburg just two months ago. Mike McConville told me that the development time for new models is around 12-24 months from drawing board to shop shelf, 12 months being very quick.
So what's new? I'll let the pictures and captions do the talking - check back here tomorrow when I'll add more pictures showing more new models that'll have your wallet crying for mercy!
The new E-flite Sea Fury is a very nice 37" span rendition of the famous RN fighter. Fitted with retracts, it flew well in the windy conditions.
The Hangar 9 Pawnee was a favourite for many present, this one just needs a pilot!
It certainly looks like a crop duster in the air
The 46" span Taylorcraft is another model that points to the companies desire to offer subjects that are a little different - the market has responded 'very positively'
This 68" span Beaver joins the E-flite Platinum range
A model that'll be on many wish lists me thinks..
The scale touches are impressive
The big aerobats drew lots of attention in the flesh, more so in the air
The Carden Yak 54 is for 50cc petrol engines - Those present were treated to a show-stopping aerobatic routine from Mike McConville
Tango, a distinctive Sunday sportster.....
......it flew very well - pretty nippy too
This Hangar 9 B-25 was i.c. powered and simply gorgeous....
...the two motors sounded great on low passes
The 62" span E-flite Pawnee is another attractive character bird
More tomorrow......(see the link below)
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