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?

Reply to
Geoff Sanders
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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.

Reply to
Peter Stegemann

| 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.

Reply to
Doug McLaren

Oh shucks, it will all change with time, as will the hobby.


Doug McLaren wrote:

Reply to
Charle & Peggy Robinson

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

Reply to
Bill Sheppard

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" ;)


Reply to
Jennifer Smith


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.


Reply to
Abel Pranger

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.


Reply to
Jennifer Smith

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

Reply to
Ed Cregger

Completely agree.

Most young flyers wouldn't touch the AMA with a disinfected bargepole.

Reply to
The Natural Philosopher

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? :)


Reply to
Jennifer Smith

What does surprise me is the _requirement_ for AMA membership. If one

has proof of insurance, that ought to be enough in my opinion.


A mixed bag of members versus non-members is not permitted if a clu wants to maintain it's charter.

Roger aka GIFLYR


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So what is this "charter" and what does it offer the member clubs that they couldn't otherwise live without?


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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

Reply to
Bob Furr

Thanks for briefly describing life in Germany, Jenni. I've always been curious about living in other countries, particularly Germany. My last name is Cregger, but allegedly was Krieger at one time, many generations ago.

We have a cultural problem in the US that is tough to defeat. When I was growing up, it was fashionable to be competitive. Society rewarded those that competed and succeeded, even in every day, mundane tasks. Then the educational system decided that no one should fail and they began deemphasizing competition. In fact, they demonized those that enjoyed competing. Today it is not fashionable to be smart or competitive. As a result, our brightest minds, raised in less than a stellar family environment, are ashamed to admit to being bright. Technology is frowned upon (knowing it - not using it) and we have lost the edge in education that we once held. Is it any wonder that the jobs have moved offshore?

Also, the constant bombardment on television telling us how we are destroying the world has had a negative effect upon our younger generations. Why bother or try to excell when we all know the world is going to end anyway? I'm not against caring about the environment, quite the contrary. But you must tell those that do not know any better that we can most likely survive to clean it up eventually. Then they wonder why things like Colombine occur....

All of the above has to do with the shaping of young folks' attitudes. When we fly, we are competing with drag, gravity, etc. If our culture says that it is not cool to be smart, using our brains to outwit drag and gravity will make us not cool. Not fashionable, nor popular. To me, an elder citizen, I see this trend as squashing our younger generations' inquisitiveness before it ever has a chance to flourish.

Of course, we know that there are some young folks that will be driven to excell regardless of how uncool it may appear. But I feel that a lot of good talent is being diverted by social pressure.

Ed Cregger

Reply to
Ed Cregger

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

Reply to
Ed Cregger

I would contend that.. the main reason jobs have moved offshore is due to the cheap labour that is to be found in the currently popular manufacturing countries. I doubt that the American labour force is any less intelligent or less capable of learning new skills than it was in the past.

The demise of manufacturing in both USA and the UK is entirely due to companies seeking cheaper and cheaper labour. The labour is currently cheap because the standard of living is not very good. Would you want to work in an American factory and also live in America or would you prefer a sweatshop factory and a life in a country like China ?

Capitalism chases the lowest costs and thus the highest profits ! Major companies. many of them American, dumped the American worker and the factories in order to utilise sweatshop labour in countries with repressive human rights records. This way profits are increased and the directors get some more HUGE bonuses !

I have frequently seen Americans berate the Unions and high labour charges for the shifting of production to overseas countries. Just how low do these guys think the American production worker should have let his pay go ? If they did drop to such low levels of income what would the American way of life look like then ? Currently, in the UK, many people are coming in from the Eastern European countries... many of them are Polish. They come here and take low paid work because it is still 8 times higher than they could get in Poland. Meanwhile a whole slew of International Companies were setting up brand new factories in Poland to cash in on the very low wages. Unfortunately.... Poland joined the EU and it's workers were then eligible to work in other EU countries. The cheap, but intelligent, labour force voted with it's feet just as the new factories were about to open.

Next time you are flying a cheap ARTF or a cheap but high quality engine just pause to think what life is like for those who made the product and wether you want want life in America to come down to the same common denominator.

That bastion of anti- Unionism and hater of organised labour... Walmart, has reputedly jumped straight into bed with the Chinese Communist Party. Who would have thought it from a company with such strong views ? >:-)

Enough of that anyway, I had a good flying session today and just got down off my perch to have a little rant >:-))

Tomorrow may present another good flying opportunity looking at the weather forecast >:-))


Reply to

-- 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).

Reply to
Tim Wescott

| 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.

Of course, there was an article (or was it a letter to the editor?) about that very `popular fiction' in a recent Model Aviation issue.

They even gave an example of somebody who discovered that their homeowner's policy actually didn't cover them, and boy oh boy were they glad they had AMA!

(I guess I shouldn't be expected that the AMA's magazine was protecting the lifeblood of the AMA, even if some facts got in the way. Though it may not have been technically lying, it certainly distorted the truth ...)

Reply to
Doug McLaren

The requirement for AMA membership is only at fields which are AMA chartered


When a group of individuals decide to form a club and get a flying site, there is no _requirement_ that the AMA be in any way involved.

However, the AMA provides help to those who wish to form an AMA chartered field (advice, sample documents, insurance for the landowner, etc)

Many of the people who form clubs decide that doing it as an AMA chartered club provides them an advantage of some sort and is the best way for them to go about it.

One of the requirements for an AMA chartered club is that only AMA members may fly there. (Whether it's due to insurance requirements or not, and whether you feel it's fair or not, AMA can certainly make it one of the requirements for a club that _choses_ to charter with them)

So if those founding members form an AMA chartered club, the club will require AMA membership to fly there.

Groups of individuals are also free to form clubs which are not chartered through AMA, and they can and do set other membership and/or insurance requierments.


The fact that many of the fields you wish to fly at require AMA membership is merely a reflection of the fact that the founders of those fields found some benefit to forming an AMA chartered club instead of an unchartered club.

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