My experience at Toledo this year

My experience at Toledo this year

LASS member and frequent Toledo attendee Brian Kopke has written in on his impressions from this year’s Weak Signals Toledo Hobby Show. Read on for a full report.

My experience at Toledo this year:

I missed friday but all of the vendors I spoke to said that was the money day. The general consensus was that the crowd was down though.

Saturday seemed packed in the morning, but after lunch the crowd seemed to thin out. The general answer to “how’s the show going?” was “nobody’s buying today”. A couple of older gentlemen who shared their table with me at lunch time were commenting about the show. They both agreed, after some lively discussion, that one day of “this s*#@” was plenty and that was the plan for next year. This kind of went along with the general consensus this year.

Talked to Gordy at the Kennedy Composites booth, along with the Blaster DLG and the AVA they were selling the Sombra Labs Shadow3. He said they were moving pretty good. Same story from the SL booth.

Looks like the wave of the future will be synthesized transmitters and receivers, just dial up your channel. I would expect all of the major players in RC equipment will be offering this technology before long.

While I’m on the RX subject, I talked to the guys from Castle Creations about the Berg Rx’s. They recently aquired the rights to Peter Berg’s line of SC full range DSP RX’s. They plan on giving full support to the existing product line as well as developing new stuff in the future.

In light of LASS’s recent interest in electric sailplanes, I was moved to talk to Don Stackhouse at DJ Aerotech‘s booth about the Chrysalis 2m electric sailplane they had on display. Although they have shifted their focus from composite constructed sailplanes to small electric models (a result of the dreaded epoxy allergy) they still have the laser cut wood Chrysalis 2M and 60″ HL. The 2m electric on diplay had a small geared brushless motor, LiPo battery, and a 14×9.5 folding prop, resulting in a mid 30 oz. AUW and according to Don, an impressive climb rate. He also mentioned that the design was recently revamped with a stronger wing structure, simpler spoiler linkage and revised building instructions. The 2m electric kit goes for $85. More details can be found here: Chrysalis 2meter @ DJAerotech.com

Northeast Sailplane Products was there and along with their usual offerings they had the Hyper (AKA Fireblade) DLG for $199, I couldn’t pass it up. This plane features a carbon d-box wing with carbon capped balsa ribs. I managed to finish mine already and it came out at 10.5 oz. I haven’t flown it much yet but launches are straight and high with little effort. More to come. Northeast Sailplanes also had a nice selection of electric gliders inculding the Hyper 1.8m a good choice for LMR class.

Even though I have only been a regular at this show for about 4-5 years, I have noticed a significant increase in the number of electric models available.

I saw models ranging from indoor slow flyers to large scale 3D pattern planes. Pretty much anything you could want has gone electric. With the latest technology, like brushless motors and LiPo batteries, these models are equal to or better than fuel powered models. It’s all good.

There were several Asian vendors there this year. Mostly selling power (gas and electric) stuff so I didn’t look too closely, but the quality seemed decent and I am sure the prices were low. I wonder if the sailplane crowd can expect the same in the future?

There were some very nice models in the display contest this year, I took a few pictures to represent what was there. Lots of scale planes and boats. One in particular was a GeeBee racer that was beautifully finished. The fuse was as big around as a 30 gal
trash can!

I went back on sunday to resolve an issue with my Hyper DLG and I was surprised that the crowd was practically nonexistent. Everybody I talked to said that nobody was buying, just a lot of “tire kicking” going on. I didn’t stick around for long so I missed the results of the model judging. If you are
interested the results are posted on the Weak Signals website here: www.toledoshow.com

All told this year wasn’t exactly disapointing, but it wasn’t as good as the last couple of years.

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