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Author Topic: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon  (Read 1846 times)

Offline Jim Catevenis

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Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« on: January 30, 2021, 12:41:48 PM »
                                               Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021

     “Stunt” – Control Line Precision Aerobatics – has had a creative, competitive, and commercial history for as long as I have been alive, about 73 years.  The first real aerobatic contests of any consequence began about 1948, both in the U.S.A. and other countries, especially England.
     
     The first F2B World Control Line Aerobatic Championship was held in 1960, only 12 years later.  The first official flight in that meet was flown by U.S.A.’s Bob Palmer, and the plane he used, a Thunderbird from the ”new version” VECO kit, is in the AMA museum in Muncie.
   
     For at least the last thirty years many people, including some prominent control line flyers/writers, have said “control line is dead”.  So far, that hasn’t been true.  However, we are facing some prominent “ailments” in our hobby/sport.  I want to touch on some of these.  I don’t pretend to have “cures”, but I want to never the less call these to your attention.
   
     Balsa Wood – In the last couple of years the availability of choice contest balsa has plummeted.  As a consequence, the price has risen tremendously.  The last balsa I purchased in December 2020, had a 150% “surcharge”.  That means a piece of wood that cost $5.00 a year or two back is now $12.50(!)… and that is at the wholesale, manufacturer cost level.  That means any kit manufacturer, or supplier, must raise prices proportionately.  It is classic supply and demand.  Why is this happening?  I am told there are two primary factors: (1) A lot of balsa of all grades, is going into wind turbine blades, those “green energy producers” our government has subsidized, which blight the landscape in many places and (2) China – The Chinese dominate ARF model kit manufacturing…that is where your ARF Nobler, or Ugly Stick, or 1/4 scale RC aerobatic plane comes from.  You might want to consider what you purchase which comes from China, in light of our Covid pandemic too.
   
     And speaking of China – “Nitro” (Nitro Methane) has been a staple component of model engine fuel all the way back the beginning of control line stunt.  Searching for more power in early glow engines, such as Ohlsson’s, and early Foxes, it was easier to add nitro to fuel than to re-tool and re-design engines for greater output.  Nearly all nitro today comes from China. Period. Our laws virtually prohibit its manufacture in the U.S.A. in any sort of economically viable way.



   Most engines can run well on zero nitro fuel with an increase in compression and a very hot glow plug, typically one that works well in a four-stroke model engine.  Nitro is not a requirement for operation.  Think about that too, as to where your money goes when you buy commercially produced glow fuel.  Methanol is readily available, and is U.S.A. sourced, so is oil, synthetic and castor.  Consider making your own fuel, or at least buying “FAI” commercial fuel with zero nitro.

     Electric Power – Many people have gone to electric power for stunt.  World Championships and U.S.A. NATS have been won with electric power.  Electric systems have become very sophisticated and “tunable”.  But again, where does the electric equipment, especially the batteries and motors, come from?  You guessed it, China.  While I don’t fly electric, I have never heard of any U.S.A. fully sourced system.

     Engines – With one cottage operation as the exception (RO-Jett), there are zero glow engines produced in the U.S.A.  There are very, very few produced anywhere!  Stalker and Discovery Retro are produced in the Ukraine.  Enya’s can be had from Japan. OS no longer makes control line useable engines, and all of the “OS-clones”, Thunder Tiger, Magnum, etc., from Taiwan are gone too.  Brodak engines are made sporadically in Moldova.  All engines currently available are incredibly well made in materials and tolerances.  There are just Damn few of them!  Finding good glow plugs is a problem too.

     Age – Very few people under 60 are interested in models of any sort.  Aviation in our society has moved from glamorous (pre-WWII), to heroic and patriotic (post WWII), to a status of commodity.  When the average person thinks of flying, their association is to being crammed into something from Boeing or Airbus, after having to take off their belt and shoes in “security”.  “Flying as fun”?  You must be kidding!

     Communication – We all used to look forward to each month’s model plane magazines.  We could learn stuff from them.  They presented construction articles to build or copy from. They mattered.

     Flying Models is gone.  Model Builder is gone.  American Modeler morphed into AMA’s Model Aviation, and it no longer publishes any construction articles.  There is scant coverage of control line, or competition-oriented material of any type.  Lots of plastic (foam), ready-to-fly models from…CHINA…are “reviewed” as if product reviews are the job of a non-profit “educational organization”.  Model Airplane News is all radio.  Radio Control Modeler and R/C Report are gone.



   There are various forums and such on the internet.  However, many traditional modelers, including me, are either not fluent, or not interested in looking at a screen.  It is not the same as having something in your hands.  Even if you are web-savvy, the articles, designs, plans, etc. of “NEW STUFF” aren’t on the web. It is mostly typed “chatter”.  Little is actually being created.  Without constant new creation in any sphere, everything dies off.

     And that is where we are.  There are still contests and get togethers.  Savor them.  Support them.  They are the family reunions of a dwindling family.  They too are gradually becoming fewer for all of the reasons cited above.  In 25 years, or less, there will probably be no modeling, control line or otherwise, in existence.  It, like it’s practitioners, will have lived out its lifespan.  Cherish it, and its people, while you can.

                                                                                                            Tom Dixon
                                                                                                            01/06/2021





   Note: For those of you who don't know, I type items for Tom Dixon on Stunt Hangar. I am stating this because if you have comments, good or bad about this article, you should call or write to Tom.

Tom's address: Tom Dixon
                       315 Santa Anita Ave
                       Woodstock GA 30189

Tom's phone: 770 592-3279

Thanks-Jim Catevenis


 
JCAT

Online Brett Buck

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2021, 03:21:50 PM »
quote]   Note: For those of you who don't know, I type items for Tom Dixon on Stunt Hangar. I am stating this because if you have comments, good or bad about this article, you should call or write to Tom.

Tom's address: Tom Dixon
                       315 Santa Anita Ave
                       Woodstock GA 30189

Tom's phone: 770 592-3279


   No. If Tom wants to come out of his bunker and learn what is actually going on, rather than pontificate about "lack of information/communication", and how "little is being created", then he has to stop going out of his way to *ignore* what it going on.

    It's really easy to make grand pronouncements via proxies, and in the process, crap on the entire event, when you never have to (or deign to) engage with anyone. More information, both quality and quantity, is available now than ever before. The only way you fail to notice this is if you intentionally ignore it, which is exactly what Tom has been doing.

    If Tom want to know about stunt, it's no longer 1975, this is how he can bring himself up to speed:

https://stunthanger.com/smf/register/

    Otherwise, *he has chosen not to participate*. Too bad for him, I suppose, but the event is moving on regardless.

      Brett

   



   

Offline AirClassix

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2021, 04:38:15 PM »

No. If Tom wants to come out of his bunker and learn what is actually going on, rather than pontificate about "lack of information/communication", and how "little is being created", then he has to stop going out of his way to *ignore* what it going on.

It's really easy to make grand pronouncements via proxies, and in the process, crap on the entire event, when you never have to (or deign to) engage with anyone. More information, both quality and quantity, is available now than ever before. The only way you fail to notice this is if you intentionally ignore it, which is exactly what Tom has been doing.

If Tom want to know about stunt, it's no longer 1975, this is how he can bring himself up to speed:

https://stunthanger.com/smf/register/

Otherwise, *he has chosen not to participate*. Too bad for him, I suppose, but the event is moving on regardless.

Brett


Amen Brent!    y1

Anyone who chooses to not use the communication available to us today looks pretty silly to me when telling us "how it is today."  Your own mileage may vary ...

Dennis
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Offline Motorman

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2021, 04:51:54 PM »
Thanks for the gloom and doom report.


Motorman 8)
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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2021, 08:07:39 PM »
Control line will die if let it die.  Like the use of internal combustion engines.  If I not been so ignorant years ago I would have been flying more at home and helping those that needed help.  I did enjoy going to contests and flying and made/met a lot of friends.  Now my knees are painful and lock up once in a while.  Doctors won't do any thing because of chance of inflammation and blood clots.  I can still do the pit work on planes, but getting together with someone is iffy.   But, like model rail roading,  model boats, model cars and other hobbies they are still out there.  The computer games is what is keeping the interest of todays people.   But as some on this great floating piece of space rock has shown there other materials for making model planes.  It just takes thought and ingenuity to do it. D>K
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Offline Scott Richlen

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2021, 06:34:29 AM »
When I watch the fakenews these days I can only think: "these people need a hobby!"  Many people have bought into the virtual reality of computer games and such.  In contrast to participating in a hobby, you really don't learn much in the way of creative skills living in a virtual universe - mostly you just get better at manipulating your personal virtual reality.  The people engaged in this are being robbed: they'll end up living a virtual life in their virtual reality and in the end have virtually nothing.

If you watched The Twilight Zone years ago, there was an episode all about this.

Consider how lucky most of us are: we are living a real life, doing real things, in a real hobby!

The world would be a better place if everyone had a hobby.  Real people live in a real world, not a virtual one.

Online Mike Griffin

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2021, 08:30:21 AM »
To Scott's point above:

For years I taught courses at the Civil Air Patrol academy in Lafayette, LA.  When Covid19 hit, they went virtual and I refused to teach the courses.  Everyone wants to talk about the "new normal".  I despise that term.  Anything that is not normal is abnormal. 

Mike

Offline Dave Harmon

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2021, 10:30:14 AM »
Reading the OP's crap....I might as well just throw in the jock, shove over the side all this junk, jump to the chase and get it over with right effing NOW!!   ''

Am I finally pissed off??

Damn straight....and I am sick and tired of reading some jokers doom and gloom about the entire "hobby"....way of life really.
Dixon needs to step up, grab ahold of hisself and DO something!
Brett....I totally  agree with you.....and Mike....I really dislike almost all clichés and "new normal" is just about at the top of the list.

Rant off....I think!!
Snarl..... :X

Online RC Storick

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2021, 11:08:03 AM »
There is no new normal because it's abnormal. Wake up and watch this video for an explanation https://steverotter.com/the-fall-of-the-cabal-video-a-janet-ossebaard-documentary-full-video/
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Online John Carrodus

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2021, 11:17:44 AM »
Price / supply of balsa, fuel, engines, drones and off the shelf RC Foamies. All contributing factors to our dwindling numbers. Covid has, from what I gather created an enormous disruption in many parts of the world.( Not so bad so far in NZ - but it's a comin!) It would appear this smart bug ( man made ?) has literally killed off many aspects of our world as we knew it. Personally, I am grasping every inch of life and savoring every last drop by really appreciating all the things that make us who we are - especially my flying mates, on and off the field. Grab every opportunity to fly control line in both hands and run like hell! Where/when possible, take a kid from next door or the guy down the road, introduce CL to as many folk as you can. Be an enthusiastic CL salesman. My thoughts go out to any of you or your family touched by this deadly virus. Kia Kaha!

Online kevin king

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2021, 11:24:14 AM »

Offline Peter Nevai

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Re: Control Line Stunt - The Way It Is In 2021 Tom Dixon
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2021, 12:25:38 AM »

   No. If Tom wants to come out of his bunker and learn what is actually going on, rather than pontificate about "lack of information/communication", and how "little is being created", then he has to stop going out of his way to *ignore* what it going on.

    It's really easy to make grand pronouncements via proxies, and in the process, crap on the entire event, when you never have to (or deign to) engage with anyone. More information, both quality and quantity, is available now than ever before. The only way you fail to notice this is if you intentionally ignore it, which is exactly what Tom has been doing.

    If Tom want to know about stunt, it's no longer 1975, this is how he can bring himself up to speed:

https://stunthanger.com/smf/register/

Otherwise, *he has chosen not to participate*. Too bad for him, I suppose, but the event is moving on regardless.

      Brett

While I have nothing but respect for Tom, I concur with Buck. Information today is far more plentiful, easier to access, and less expensive than ever before. We could easily say it is not difficult to have information overload. No longer do you have to wait months for say a multi part article to arrive in the mail.  While it is true that the cost of materials has gone up but then that has always been the case, it is just the plain law of economics. CL IC engines new from manufacturers are scarce, but that has to do again with market demands, but there are many excellent engines out in the previously owned market. Many NIB and these days you don't even have to leave the comfort of your own home.

The biggest obstacle to our hobby boils down to only two elements, time and money. Used to be a child could start and support the hobby with the proceeds of a paper route or mowing lawns etc. This sadly is no longer the case, which leads us to the second obstacle time. The time demands to assemble a model these days are mostly available to kids who mostly do not have the money, and retiree's who have the time and the money. Parents these days are working harder and longer hours than in the past, time and skills required to assist their children in the pursuit of modeling are more limited.

Also Tom missed a relevant point that competition for kids attention and amusement is that technology is a prime factor. We compete with video games, social media, and a host of other technology driven past times that exacerbate the time and money obstacles. Video games are cheaper, ARF park fliers consume no time etc. But with things as they are, I do not see the demise of our hobby, only just that  the main participant demographic has mostly shifted at least in the USA. If you have ever visited the Facebook groups like Control line enthusiasts and Control line fliers and you would see people of all ages interested and especially outside of the United States. In countries where mostly cannot afford use airports near as frequently as we do, flying is still a wonder and embraced. All I can say to Tom and people like him is get online, get involved and have your eyes and mind opened.



   
Words Spoken by the first human to set foot on Mars... "Now What?"


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