In The Air
Let’s help those who have had the courage to turn their passion into their profession.
Recently, I received an interesting letter from a gentlemen by the name of Jim Ealy, who some of you may know by his nom-de-plume of AstroJeff. For those of you who don’t know Jim — I didn’t — he is the proprietor of the Vintage Sailplaner website (see Resources, below, for link). Jim describes himself as a “radio control soaring consultant”. Heck, if I had known that was a job, I could have avoided a couple of decades doing jobs which are way less interesting than that.
In any event, amongst Jim’s many accomplishments is the production of a wide range of beautiful vintage glider plans in a variety of scales. Amongst the types you’ll find in Jim’s collection are the Woodstock, Horten III, Rhonbussard and a Tandem Tudor amongst many others. His output is breathtaking, to say the least. At this point if not Jim, then maybe Jim’s work is ringing a bell — perhaps you have even built one of his designs. The drawings are beautiful. Certainly good enough to hang on the shop wall for purely aesthetic reasons. And the price? Seems like he’s practically giving them way — but not quite.
However, the reason Jim got in touch with our offices was, candidly, a little less pleasant. Turns out that Jim’s plans are out there for sale on websites other than his own. In a particularly brazen example I was able to research and confirm, Jim’s title block on his plans has been unceremoniously covered up with somebody else’s in what appears to be an attempt to pass off Jim’s work as their own. I found that shocking, I must admit.
Then there is the story our own James Hammond who, when he’s not writing great articles for this humble journal, runs Aeroic Composites. In a somewhat similar case, albeit at the other end of the technology spectrum, James has found that somebody is knocking off his designs and selling them at a steep discount. The unauthorised copies of James’ aircraft are sub-standard to put it mildly. Not only is this entirely unethical, the speed and weight of these aircraft makes their failure potentially lethal to those unfortunate enough to be standing below if they unexpectedly disintegrate when knifing through a zillion G turn.
What brings these two anecdotes together in my mind is that likely neither would have occurred if there wasn’t a ready market for cheap stuff.
There, I said it.
In other words, a market which doesn’t think too much about the impact of the sale not made from the real creator of the product. If, in fact, that market is even aware the firm from which they're buying is not actually said creator. Or care, that much, because it’s just such a good deal.
Like many bootlegs, it’s not their creation which forms a natural impediment to their proliferation. The opposite, in fact, as creating the knock-off is a piece of cake these days. Pretty darn good ones, in fact, at least superficially. However, if there is no one to sell them to — well, that’s a tougher nut to crack for the would be knocker-offer.
I’m not naïve: writing a few lines in the New RCSD is not going to put paid to the grey/black market for these kinds of products. But what I will say is that it only takes a small amount of effort on your part to ensure that when you put down your hard-earned money for your latest project, that then becomes the hard-earned money of the Jim or James with whom you are dealing. Simply take the time to ask — do the due diligence!— to ensure it’s a legitimate sale and the right people are being properly compensated.
If nothing else, think of it as lending a helping hand to those with the courage to give entrepreneurship a try. In such a small (actually it’s microscopic) and highly specialised market such as ours, these mavericks have chosen a pretty hard row to hoe. Let’s try making it just a little easier for them. After all, they are churning out some pretty great stuff for all of us.
Barring that, do it because — like my dear departed Dad often said to me — “it’s simply the right thing to do.”
And Without Further Ado
The reason that this issue was actually a day or two late is that we have an absolutely bumper crop of articles this month — the New RCSD’s biggest so far! We think there is truly something for everybody. So I had best just get out of the way, let you click the link at the bottom and have at it.
Until next month, fair winds and blue skies.
- The Vintage Sailplaner — This is where Jim Ealy’s exceptional designs can be obtained, completely on the up-and-up. Accept no substitutes!
- Aeroic Composites on Facebook — From their About page: “Aeroic is dedicated to designing, manufacture and supplying some of the best flying Model Sailplanes in the world…”
- SkyPark’s World RC Soaring Festival — A photo essay from this spectacularly successful event held this past weekend at SkyPark near Lake Arrowhead, California.
Cover photo: We have had a number of photographic contributors who have been ‘repeat offenders’, getting their photos featured on the RCSD cover more than once. Our friend Kevin Newton is now amongst that very exclusive club. In the unique photo which graces July, Kevin managed to get his drone to capture Peter Gunning hurling his Freestyler 6 into the wild blue at East Lomond, Scotland on May 14, 2022. The picture was taken with a Hasselblad L2D-20c. You are welcome to download the July cover in a resolution suitable for computer monitor wallpaper (2560x1440).
Disclaimer: While all reasonable care is taken in the preparation of the contents of the New RC Soaring Digest, the publishers are not legally responsible for errors in its contents or for any loss arising from such errors, including loss resulting from the negligence of our staff. Reliance placed upon the contents of the New RC Soaring Digest is solely at the readers’ own risk.
Here’s the first article in the July, 2022 issue. Or go to the table of contents for all the other great articles. A PDF version of this edition of In The Air, or the entire issue, is available upon request.