• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Future build, information, review and podcasts

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#1
I have been watching FT since September 2016 and have just about watched all the videos they have now. Back a while ago they touched on building balsa airplanes and the art of doing so, then nothing since.

After building and scratch building 5 Flight Test planes in the past few months, my appetite for building has grown and I am getting back into balsa building next fall. The FT plane building was a gateway for me to get started back into the hobby cheaply and also learn new building skills and I think the natural evolution of this is to step up to building balsa kits, then scratch building balsa.

I know people are doing some very cool foam building designs and they are awesome, but I have learned from working with foam board, that is tends to crush from flight stress and hard landings and eventually the airframe fails. Like Josh Bixler said in one of his videos, these planes are not family heirlooms like a balsa plane that can last half a century (he didn't add the century part, I am just stating a fact).

So, I think that since FT has given me this gateway drug into the hobby, they should step up and work on the balsa side of the hobby with kit reviews, build videos, instructionals, ect. It just seems like the evolution that FT should maintain. I like GA stuff, but I am a private pilot and unless you are rich, it is a hard hobby to maintain (that is why I am not current anymore, too poor). It is fun to see the FT guys enjoying this, but maybe they should focus on the RC hobby since that is what they started with? I realize that balsa is complicated and much more difficult to work with, but I think there is a lot of potential here that FT can tap into, especially since so many enjoy building the foam board stuff, just imagine how many might like the balsa side of things.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#2
Yeah, I'm also jonesing for some Balsa content - flight test style. I love the content the community has been creating over the last few months with multiple well documented builds in the fall balsa build along, but it would be great to get some more attention to the sticks and dust side of the hobby from the video/podcast sides too.
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#3
I agree with you 100%. I would very much like to see FT offer balsa kits and to expand the repertoire of build techniques and have had the same conversation with several people in the community. I believe this is a large market area for them to tap. Not doing so will see people "moving on" from FT products to new things. They may always have a market with "entry level" people, but I have my doubts that it is possible to maintain sales growth without expanding their offerings.

Flite Test would have to grow in size for this to happen, though. They are offering more and more content on the video side of things, expanding Flite Fests to different regions, and still have to design and develop new airplane and multirotors for the store. They are doing this without increasing their very small group. It seems like Josh B is the only person who is creating airplane designs in-house. I'm not sure if he or TJ is driving multi-rotor product development. Plus, they are looking at building a destination location and possibly franchising in the future.

Josh certainly has the skills to develop balsa and balsa/foam hybrid designs. But, I don't see how he would have the time with everything that is happening. We all know what they say about opinions, and this one is mine... FT should bring on a couple of people to develop new products. Josh will eventually have to spend most of his time in a managerial capacity, overseeing things, but less hands on with product development. He needs to remain the face of FT, so he would still be spending a lot of time conceptualizing and creating content, or at least being on camera.

It seems to me that FT is at a very difficult stage for a company. They are a company with a small staff on the verge of expansion. Expanding means that a certain degree of control is given up by those who, up to this point, have had hands in every aspect of the company. That is terrifying. Expanding means bringing in new, unproven people who will have to be relied upon for the growth to work. Expanding means investing money in the hopes of growth paying off. That is really terrifying for a small company.

Like I said, this is only my opinion from the outside looking in and from having worked for a small company swimming with big fish. But, this is a good problem for FT to have.
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#4
Yes, I totally agree, the FT company is at a great point in their evolution and there lies many untapped avenues for expansion. A one stop shopping and information hub could be their future. This hobby has so many venues and opportunities to generate revenue, but I can imagine baby steps are what FT is making as it is scary when venturing into the unknown territory of growth and development. I wish they were here in the Seattle area, I would love to get in on the ground floor.