Just like in model railroading, one of the things that I am lamenting about the current state of the model airplane hobby is the lack of people who are actually building models as compared to years ago when I first entered the hobby.
This summer, I rejoined the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics). Membership in the AMA is required to be able to fly at model airplane clubs and competitions and it brings with it many advantages…not the least of which is flight insurance. One of the advantages it brings with it is a subscription to the monthly AMA magazine ‘Model Aviation‘. A few days ago, I received the October 2013 issue of the magazine and it is entirely devoted to…building model airplanes! The introductory editorial, titled ‘Nobody builds anymore!‘, states: ‘Building model airplanes is not currently employed by a vast number of modelers as was the case in the 1970s and 1980s…’. It also states: ‘In a recent poll of a portion of the AMA membership, 39.4% stated they were interested in building‘. That statistic indicates that a majority of current AMA members are NOT interested in building. But what I found most interesting about it is that while those 39.4% may be interested in building, it doesn’t mean that they actually do build. So, I would suspect that the actual percentage of AMA members who actually do build models is lower.
The remainder of the editorial, and several articles in the magazine, give many valid reasons for the current lower rate of modelers who actually build. The editorial and articles also point out the many positive reasons for building model airplanes. Thus, the theme of this magazine issue is to encourage those who don’t build to give it a try and experience for themselves the many joys and satisfactions that actually building the models you fly (or display) can bring to you.
I applaud the theme of this issue of ‘Model Aviation‘. I have always maintained that my interest in model airplanes (and model railroads) was predicated as much or more on actually building the models than flying (or running) them. While I am very far from being the worlds best model builder, I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of the building process and I take a lot of pride in the final outcome of my building efforts. One of the things that I am enjoying about my re-entry into the model building hobby is trying to learn about all the new materials and techniques that are available now that I did not have at my disposal all those years ago. And it is challenging to try and employ some of those old building materials and techniques in a day and age that has left them behind.
So, if you have a chance to grab a copy of ‘Model Aviation‘ (www.ModelAviation.com), give the October 2013 issue a read to get a better idea of what building model airplanes is all about. But better yet, grab yourself a kit (I have a dozen suggestions!) and give model building a try. You may discover a great hobby and gain much personal enjoyment and satisfaction in the process!