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  • Houston and surrounding area

    I've sent out an email to nearly all the 20 or so Houston and surrounding area RC Clubs requesting anyone interested in scale soaring or aero tow to either contact me directly or check in here at the Scale Soaring forum. I had no idea there were so many clubs just in the Houston area. I'm working on compiling lists of RC clubs in the San Antonio/Austin and surrounding areas and the Fort Worth/Dallas surrounding areas as well to also send out notifications.

    If you're checking in from the Houston and surrounding area please check in here, send me a PM or make a new post and introduce yourself! All are welcome no matter your interest, experience or activity level.

    Thanks,
    BryanB

  • #2
    It will be interesting to see how many 'acquisitions' you make from a statistical standpoint.

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    • BryanB
      BryanB commented
      Editing a comment
      You would think with around 7-8 million people in the greater Houston area there would be a much larger group interested in this niche of the RC world. There are two large Heli groups in this area, a strong competition soaring group, lots of 3D and pattern flyers and a large scale gasser group. As usual the majority are sport flyers as that's the most affordable class of RC. But, like you said it will be interesting to see how many scale soaring/aero tow folks there are in this neck of the woods or at least ones I can get in these forums. I can't even get my local club guys that enjoy aero tow on here.....yet.

      I'm thinking we may have to stage some local demonstrations/events to peak peoples interest at the various clubs around town. Maybe get the HOTSS group to come over and help out. At least at the fields that are conducive to aero tow and soaring. Some club fields are in too crowded urban areas and/or with altitude restrictions being too close to airports.
      Time will tell. How many years has it taken for the current national efforts to grow this segment to this point? With Horizon helping to break down the high cost of large scale sailplanes we may see a quickened growth among those that have always had an interest. I would like to see Horizon continue offering sailplanes in their previous Blanik/ASW20 class as they were very nice looking larger scale models at very affordable prices, I think that was a huge factor in the present growth of scale aero tow.
      Last edited by BryanB; 06-30-2018, 03:06 AM.

  • #3
    Not to rain on the parade, but just some info. A few years ago, I attempted to shake the trees and see if any aerotow people would fall out. I sent emails to around 8-10 clubs and even offered to do a clinic with aerotowing demo and EZ Glider Pro set up for towing as a door prize. I didn't get a single response from club representatives so I couldn't reach their members. Maybe it's easier with facebook. Good luck bringing some pilots out of the shadows.

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    • BryanB
      BryanB commented
      Editing a comment
      I think people need to actually see and experience scale aero tow. Just the idea doesn't peak enough interest except for the very few. The more I think about it the more I'm thinking actually putting on demonstrations at the major RC fields will be the only way to get more people involved.

    • edfmaniac
      edfmaniac commented
      Editing a comment
      Aerotowing with aerobatics on the way down and turbine powered Foxes/Swifts should get a few people onboard.

  • #4
    Soaring in general takes a certain type of individual and is a niche within a niche, "how can it fly without a motor, boring, ETC.", until some of them start to learn about it. As a long time TD guy aerotow has an image problem, " too pricey and a closed hobby for retired doctors". When I started I found it not to be the case. However, there is a growth I've never seen before due to the advent of inexpensive foamies. Many of the smaller high end ships are in the same price range of our high end competition gliders and some are even less if one is willing to put in the sweat equity. But, then again one hear's, "bigger flys better", making newcomers feel that they have to buy big to fly.

    Even Gene told me many of the guys in his group think it's expensive, I did too. At the Mickey Sullivan last year I had a very discouraging first flight of the event, lesson learned. On Sunday after flying my 1/5 Fox, converted from a scary electric, for the rest of the event and having a great time, I asked Randy if he knew of a ship that I could get back in the air quickly. He has a less than $300 Ka-8 that he bought from Marc one of the tow pilots and suggested I talk with him for additional information about it. He too said it was a good airplane, just currently out of stock and not his type. I decided to place an order for one and for way less than the price of the discounted airframe of the Blanik I have a nice flying 3.5 meter Ka-8. I did do some modifications that improve it for aerotowing, but they weren't difficult for any modeler. Also, it's not as pretty as a German quality ARF, but at altitude who cares it thermals well and in the ten flights I have on it so far I find it handles well too.

    One of the guys, a tow pilot, that is in our group is a jet flyer from a local club. He told me he loves coming out to help when he can. He gets to shoot multiple landings and enjoys being around other RC fliers. Do I know how to get others involved, nope. The best way is as stated to continue to expose people to it and hope we catch a few. The way we found the new site here was a guy was driving by, saw us flying at the sod farm in Greenville, thought it was cool and asked us to come down to fly off his private grass airstrip. Hopefully we can foster a good lasting relationship with him and his family.
    Last edited by Mark9; 06-30-2018, 12:53 PM.
    Mark

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