Old Farts in USA, but not Europe?

A friend recently returned from France with a copy of MRA, a French aeromodelling magazine similar in general layout to Model Airplane
News. I noticed therein that the photos showed WAAAAY more youngsters and young adults than do US publications. I then looked at some British aeromodelling mags, and while not as pronounced as the French one, the average age was considerably less than in the USA. AMA has declared that the average age of AMA membrs in 57.5. So what's different on the other side of the pond?
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Just watch the AMA-related discussions here. From the outsiders perspective, the AMA seems to be the home of old arrogant brickheads. Sorry folks, but that's the impression I got.
--
Hubba Balu...


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Peter Stegemann wrote:

Completely agree.
Most young flyers wouldn't touch the AMA with a disinfected bargepole.
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| Probably the same group of cretins who don't vote in national or local | elections because they are dissatisfied with the system.
Irrelevant. Though it does seem to be a good example of the `poisoning the well' logical fallacy -- http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/poisoning-the-well.html
| If it weren't for the AMA we would not have any dedicated | frequencies.
We don't have dedicated frequencies *now*.
Oh sure, part of the 72 MHz and 75 MHz bands are allocated to R/C usage, but being unlicensed users, we really have zero recourse for any sort of interference that shows up. And with pager towers showing up in-between our frequencies with hundreds of watts of power and things like wireless mikes, small paging systems (like used by restraunts) and other similar things in there as well, it's amazing that it works as well as it does.
Those pager towers are licensed. What that means is that if we interfere with them, we have to stop, even if we're following all the FCC regulations. If they're interfering with us, and they're following all the FCC regulations, then we have no recourse. You lost your plane? Too bad. It crashed into somebody's house and the whole thing burned down? So sad ... hope you're insured.
If it wasn't for the AMA's meddling in the FCC's business, we might have all been flying with spread spectrum gear for years now !$^#$!@ (For the humor impaired, that's meant as somewhat of a joke, but it's somewhat true too.)
| Fields would be virtually impossible to obtain without the AMA | insurance.
Of course. They'd just get insurance somewhere else. There might be more paperwork, and it might cost more (as it wouldn't be subsidized by AMA membership dues) but it's certainly not *virtually impossible*. Not even close.
| A safe hobby would become a disaster because of the idiots who'd | like to demonstrate their questionable skills by buzzing the | spectators, fellow pilots, and parking areas.
The AMA has magically made people not-stupid? Wow -- I had no idea!
How did the human race ever survive before the AMA arrived to save us? Oh yeah, I remember now ... people can think, and can generally figure out the difference between safe and dangerous and govern themselves even without the AMA.
Strangely enough, even with the AMA around, I've still encountered people like that. Even at AMA clubs.
| Of course the AMA is not perfect but name an organization/group that | is.
Well, once they achieve perfection, we will stop pointing out their flaws.
Though just in case you get the wrong idea ... I don't really consider myself to be an `AMA bashers'. But then again, I also realize that many of the things they're bashed for are generally true, at least to a degree.
| AFAIK, *every* aero-modeler who has made *any* significant | contribution to the hobby has been an AMA member.
`Confusing Cause and Effect' http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/confusing-cause-and-effect.html
While this statement may be technically accurate (or have only a few exceptions), this really doesn't mean anything. It ranks right up there with `dihydrogen monoxide has been found in excised tumors of termincal cancer patients!')
Ultimately, the way things have turned out (and this is no accident), if you want to fly at an AMA chartered club field, or compete in almost any national modelling event, or break any world records and be recognized for it, you have to be an AMA member (if in the US.) What this means is that if you're serious about modelling, you tend to be an AMA member. Not because you want to support the AMA or agree with their goals or because they push you to excel or anything like that -- it's just that if you're not an AMA member, what you can do is very limited.
The people who have made very signifigant contributions to the hobby as a whole tend to be serious modelers, and serious modelers generally tend to be members of the AMA. It's not the AMA that causes them to provide signifigant contributions -- it's more the other way around. (Though really it's more that being a `serious' modeler tends to 1) require an AMA membership and 2) make people provide `signifigant contributions' to the hobby.)
| If you don't like the AMA for whatever the reason, fine, that's your | prerogative but why continue this constant barrage of fruitless, | irrational, and usually unsubstantiated negative comments? Classic | error - feeding trolls - my bad ;-)
At least it's on-topic.
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzied.us
Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you
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He just likes to argue. He isn't picky, he'll argue with anyone, about anything. <G>
Ed Cregger
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| AMA has declared that the average age of AMA membrs in 57.5. So | what's different on the other side of the pond?
I don't know about things over there, but over here, there's a big difference in age between the different variations of R/C flying ...
For example, the people flying glow/gas models tend to be older, especially if they're doing scale models or warbirds.
People flying electrics tend to be younger. Same goes for people who fly park fliers, gliders and especially slope planes and helicopters.
Of course, the former group has higher AMA membership percentages than the latter groups, so I'd guess that the average age of US R/C modelers to be somewhat younger than that of the average AMA member.
Also older people tend to be more into joining clubs and organizations than younger people. It's just the way of things.
And then there's things like free flight and control line, which aren't nearly as popular as R/C, but they are still given considerable space in the AMA magazine. And the people who do these things tend to be older than average as well, as they often got into it back when R/C wasn't even really a viable option.
Note that these are all averages and tendencies -- they are certainly young people flying glow powered scale warbirds, and old people flying slope planes.
So, overall, I'd say that the average modeler that you see in the AMA magazine is a good deal older than the average modeler that you'd see out flying his plane somewhere.
If you get a magazine like `Backyard Flier' or `SE Modeler' and compare the people you see in it, they're a good deal younger than what you see in the AMA magazine.
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzied.us Aren't you glad that cows don't fly?

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Oh shucks, it will all change with time, as will the hobby.
CR
Doug McLaren wrote:

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Old farts?! I resemble that remark. :-) oc
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Doug McLaren wrote:

-- snip --

I second that. Based on what I see at the flying field and the hobby shop, people get interested in it young, get heavily involved from late high school (when you can drive to the field) to early professional, then drop out when the kids are born.
Then when the kids get old enough that you can bring them to the field without worrying about them stepping on aircraft you get involved again, and fly part time until you retire.
Which is why the flying field always seems to be populated with 50% retired folks, which was the case before my kids came around, is the case now, and will probably be the case when I'm retired and flying every weekend (I hope).
--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Geoff Sanders wrote:

Originally hailing from Europe (Germany) myself and looking back at "the days" when I flew there, the main difference is pretty much the organization - or lack thereof - of R/C pilots.
In Germany at least there is no more-or-less-mandatory membership in any nationwide organization. You need proof of insurance and that's about all you need for flying at any of the fields. Sometimes clubs require membership, but often enough it's sufficient to have a member of the club there. And since practically all insurance agencies offer some kind of R/C insurance, sometimes even with their normal household insurances, it's quite easy to just go out, buy a plane and fly.
However: it's also true that there ARE a lot of older pilots, except that they often enough don't have the time to fly during weekdays. Young pilots on the other hand often fly after school's out, so you'd see them a lot more often at the field than the older "farts" ;)
Jenni
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On Sun, 27 Aug 2006 17:25:03 -0600, Jennifer Smith

Jenni-
That's true in the USA too, but a lot of folks pretend otherwise as a rationalization for demanding AMA's liability insurance to fly at their site. Fact: most insurers that sell HO insurance comply with ISO (an insurance trade organization) guidelines. Fact: HO policies that conform to ISO guidelines cover liability while flying model airplanes. Popular Fiction: most HO policies don't cover model airplane flying.
Abel
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Abel Pranger wrote:

I know - that's how I am covered. No AMA membership, but I do have insurance. And as a result there's only one field I can fly at, because it's not owned by a club.
Jenni
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wrote:

Has anyone played golf on a regular basis at a country club where they lack a membership? If you want to play, you have to pay. I see nothing unusual about this.
Of course, as a child I used to fly control line models in the adjacent country club's rough. We were always prepared to grab all of our stuff and run at a moment's notice. It added an extra dimension of excitement to flying.
Has Europe lost its industrial base as we have in the US? This was once a country of well paid blue collar workers. Those days have long since gone. Without good pay, model flying isn't possible for most folks.
I used to build my first models from toothpicks, popsickle (sp?) sticks, tongue depressors (used), Duco cement (scrounged from local trash cans) and covered them with facial tissue. I "painted" them with Mom's fingernail polish, which might explain my persistent fondness for red models even to this date. I had a lot to learn about weight management and balance point, but you could tell they were supposed to be airplanes. Fortunately, Mom thought they were cute.
Ed Cregger
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Ed Cregger wrote:

I'm not talking club membership, and I don't know much about golf. :) The one field I was talking about DOES require a fee to fly there (either per visit or a flat fee per year). Which is okay, after all it does cost to keep the whole area clean and in reasonably good repair.
Not to mislead anyone, there are other big issues which keep me off airfields in general, AMA requirement or not. I prefer to be alone, and thus also prefer to fly alone.
What does surprise me is the _requirement_ for AMA membership. If one has proof of insurance, that ought to be enough in my opinion.

I don't know about the industrial base. Unemployment is and has always been higher in Germany than in the US, but there's also minimum wages and social support systems in place there which don't exist here. Theoretically, that means no one is supposed to be really poor, and no one should end up begging on the streets for any reason. Practically there are still reasons people do end up on the streets in Germany at least. Germany has the same problem than the US though: The rich get richer, the "middle class" gets poorer - to a lesser degree than in the US maybe, but same problem nonetheless. It's not easy to compare Germany with the US though, since there are too many issues involved (most of this is just personal perception, i.e. not gathered from any official sources): - average wages in Germany AFTER taxes and such are lower than in the US - cost of health care is covered by mandatory healthcare in Germany - retirement funds seem to be about par on both sides of the pond, with a minimum income covered by social care if need be in Germany
In other words... I think it's a wash where you live. If you're healthy, you end up richer in the US and can afford more things. If you're having serious health issues requiring constant medical care you're better off in Germany. If you're not well educated you're completely screwed in both countries. Well, you'll still have a roof over your head and food in the fridge in Germany even if your bank account is deep in the red and you haven't had a job in 10 years. Wonder why I am still a German citizen and have no intention of ever giving that up? :)
Jenni
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What does surprise me is the _requirement_ for AMA membership. If one
has proof of insurance, that ought to be enough in my opinion.
AMA CHARTER CLUBS / REQUIRE MEMBERSHIP IN AM
A mixed bag of members versus non-members is not permitted if a clu wants to maintain it's charter.
Roger aka GIFLYR
-- ROGER GANT ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ROGER GANTZ's Profile: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?ud4 View this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?tV201
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So what is this "charter" and what does it offer the member clubs that they couldn't otherwise live without?
Steve
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Steve wrote:

The club charter with the AMA affords additional insurance to cover the club officers during the preformance of their duties. Without it, I nor anyone I know would take a club officer position without it.
We formed a club specifically for the purpose of buying a small boat for aircraft retrieval during float flying. Initially, we were not chartered because we fly at public lakes and do not have a designated flying field. I was concerned about liability as an officer and was relieved to find that we would be covered by AMA if we chartered.
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 14:47:14 +0100, "Steve"

Well the simple answer to that question is - the owners of the land from whom we have a lease, demand the AMA coverage to the owner, thus the club must be a "chartered" member. I don't know how widespread this requirement may be, but over the past 20+ years, it certainly has been one for our club. UNLESS we have enough affluent members to go out and buy equivalent Liability Insurance for the property owner from some independent insurance company. When I say "equivalent", most owners don't accept some piddling level of coverage.
Something to consider, since it seems to be largely ignored!
Olin McDaniel, AMA 30932, also W4PFZ Amateur Radio
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This note is actually in reply to the whole string... in marketing there is something called branding. It is a term that decribes what people see an item as, not what it really is. Unfortunately branding of model planes is seen as something that old people do here in the States So younger folks look at things like skate boarding (12 million kids own good skate boards) instead of CL or RC Combat... same thrill but only my grandpa or maybe my not so cool dad would fly model planes. It would take considerable time and advertising to rebrand modeling so younger folks see it as cool. A national ad campaign in the skateboard magazines might be a start... but it would cost most of the AMA budget and would have to go on for years. Bob Furr AMA 93014
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Most folks do not have sufficient reading skills to decode whether any given policy will cover a particular activity under typical conditions.
I sold insurance for a while and believe me, some of our sales folks (with BS or higher degrees) could not adequately read an insurance policy to determine whether their customers were covered under particular circumstances.
If the township, park commission, etc., has to refer every single individual's insurance policy to a lawyer simply to discover if that particular policy meets the field owning organization's criteria, you can well imagine the end result - which is precisely what we have today in the AMA insurance requirement. It is unreasonable to expect the powers-that-be to keep a full time lawyer on staff just so a few folks can fly models on their property without utilizing the AMA's insurance policy covering site owners.
Ed Cregger
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