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The Flite Test Store. Buy something and be a show contributor. What have you bought?

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#1
*Warning, this post is a bit of a rant. The views of this post may not reflect the views of the crew of Flite Test or it's sponsors.*

This question/complaint came up not too long ago. It's a good question, even if it was not phrased as politely as I put it.

The gist of this person's complaint was that the price of the materials being used are much less than the cost that Flite Test is selling the finished product for.

He suggested that Flite Test should be selling their items at the price it cost them to buy the materials. Oddly enough the person making the observation didn't even include into the factor the cost of manufacturing (the price of the laser cutters, and other tools, the expenses of running the equipment, electricity, etc. As well as what time is being consumed by the staff working on making the products instead of filming the show, working their full time jobs, or heaven forbid, spending time with their families. None of this had a value to the person who thought the prices were too high.)

Admittedly, I think the prices listed for the items exceed these costs. A few pieces of laser cut foam, in a custom printed shipping box did not cost $29.95 to produce. But, duh!

I know for a fact that viewers have offered to send money to the guys running Flite Test to show their support of the show. Chad has mentioned, more than once that he wanted the show to be free to the viewers, and they were able to provide a professionally produced show at no cost to us. This wasn't yet another one man operation, talking into a point and shoot digital camera on a tripod in their spare bedroom/hobby room. It uses a full crew, professional video equipment, and expensive software to provide the finished product we get to enjoy. Chad, the Joshes, and the rest of the team have done this without asking for any donations from us, the viewers.

First they did it out of pocket. Then they were fortunate enough to get a sponsor, then another. But then...

Some people complained that Flite Test couldn't produce unbiased reviews while being sponsored by the people who sold the product they were reviewing. Some people just hated the cooperation between Flite Test and their sponsor(s). Maybe it wasn't for these reasons, but all of a sudden Flite Test parted ways with their sponsors and struck off on their own.

So, Flite Test provided the opportunity for us to put our money where our mouths were, (pardon the pun).

Sure these very well thought out, superbly cut, and securely packaged kits and supplies cost more than the sum of the parts, but it's not so that Flite Test can turn a profit at our expense. I for one have bought a few items from them, satisfied in the knowledge that not only am I getting a great product for the price, but that the "extra" fee that I'm paying, is going towards the production of this show, and the operations of this forum.

Maybe the actual costs per kit is only $20.00. Then awesome, I just got to give $9.95 to split between five or more guys, to help pay the hosting fees for the web site, to pay for the electricity that keeps the filming lights running, and to pay for David's airfare back and forth to Sweden. I think that's a good deal, for under $10.00 out of my pocket.

I intend to continue to show my support by buying things from the guys. Maybe it will just be a package of control horns. Or maybe I'll buy a combo kit, to gift to someone who is interested in learning to fly, but thinks it is too expensive, and doesn't know where to start.

Ok, rant over. Now I'm just waiting for the new tricopter parts to come available, so I can get my hands on that cool new tail design that Chad came up with.
 

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#3
I absolutely agree. I have no idea why one would complain. If you don't agree with the price, grab an exacto and cut a freebie.
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#5
Don't forget that they offer the plans for ALL of these kits for free along with a professionally produced video on building. Seems like a pretty poor marketing strategy to me. Well said, Fred. That just made me think of Right Said Fred. Google it if you don't know the reference.
 

CrashRecovery

I'm a care bear...Really?
Mentor
#7
Only benifit I see to the speed build kits is if you tried the plans yourself and it still didn't fly then the speed build might be the way to go for them
 
#10
I agree with the monkey, I woud gladley pay the price flite test asks. According to Chad it costs $14,000 a month to keep the show going. Not only do the cast members produce the show but also run the CNC, get the kits together, boxed and ship them. Their wives help out where they can also. Josh Scott lives some distance away so transportation need to be put into the equation.
Being one that has some trouble with an e-xacto knife and cutting curves and difficult cuts, the kits are a heaven sent. The build along videos make the buid process much eisier than having to read complicated paper instructions.

Baron
 

lobstermash

Propaganda machine
Mentor
#11
I look forward to seeing what happens if/when some of the other shipping companies get back to the guys with some better options. I'd love to support the show but the shipping companies are extortionists...
 
#12
Yes of course you cannot expect HK prices for these kits - and don't forget that they're probably hand-laser-made by Bixler himself. I prefer to cut myself, it's part of the fun and implied by "scratch", plus that the shipping would kill me. But were I to hold a build shop for a bunch of kids or something the kits would be very handy.

Maybe FT could set up a partner cut-shop somewhere in Europe (Australia et c) where good postage prices are available some time in the future? There must be quite a few laser cutters with idle time out there.
 
#13
Listened to a portion of the Crash Cast appearance the guys did this morning on my commute. Knowing that several of the guys are now doing this full time changes the calculation for me. This is their livelihood now and I support that, where I viewed it a little differently when it was more of a side effort.

The appearance on the crash cast should be better publicized here on FT, cross promotional, and the 40 minutes or so that I heard was very very good for getting behind the scenes information about the show. Plaster that link!

http://thecrashcast.com/an-evening-with-flitetest
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#14
Yes of course you cannot expect HK prices for these kits - and don't forget that they're probably hand-laser-made by Bixler himself. I prefer to cut myself, it's part of the fun and implied by "scratch",
While some accidents are bound to happen, Flite Test does not endorse self mutilation... ;)
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#15
Listened to a portion of the Crash Cast appearance the guys did this morning on my commute. Knowing that several of the guys are now doing this full time changes the calculation for me. This is their livelihood now and I support that, where I viewed it a little differently when it was more of a side effort.
Yeah. I've always tried to be supportive as a "behind the scenes" non monetary kind of guy. But now that they are offering a way to help out financially, I am more than happy to send them money in increments I can afford, AND get something physical back out of it.

The appearance on the crash cast should be better publicized here on FT, cross promotional, and the 40 minutes or so that I heard was very very good for getting behind the scenes information about the show. Plaster that link!

http://thecrashcast.com/an-evening-with-flitetest
Thanks for the link! They mentioned the interview on the last video update, but I couldn't find it. Since I had given up all of my rc related podcasts a while back, I had fallen quite behind on my crash casts and would not have caught that the crew had done another interview if it hadn't been mentioned.
 

OutcastZeroOne

Fly, yes... Land, no
#17
I have a very good understanding of cost to produce vs what you can expect people to pay. About 8-9 Years ago I used to make custom chassis for the Team Losi Mini-T under my own company, Outcast Horizon.



This was a tub chassis, pressed out of 0.050" 6061 T6 aluminum. It was also about 3/8" longer than stock. the first 25 I made I hand hammered around a form, the ones after I had a press form made by a local water jet shop. Cut my time from 30min of hammering to 3min on my Dads mechanic press. Each chassis took me 4 hours to make from the laser cut blank I had to order from a laser shop I worked with, pressing, cleaning up the edges, sanding smooth, assembling with all the parts, extra stainless steel screws, Custom cast antenna holder. I also offered powder coating in a rainbow of colors. All this for $75. To compare to what else was available at the time it would cost $95 and you would get a much heavier chassis (all others at the time where CNC and still thick metal).

At the end of the day I made a whopping $20 on each chassis. remember I said it took 4 hours to make, not including all the time I had to spend marketing it, getting my name out in the 1/18 scale community, etc. I had to stop after about making about 50 of these things. Just got tired of all the fighting for sales and how little I got for how much effort it took.

So the FT crew is charging $30 to $40 for their speed build kits, that come with EVERYTHING you need to get the plane into the air, except for electronics, and a nicely cut out kit. or give you the option of printing out your own plans for free, or going to Kinkos and spending $5 for full sized plan printing.

These guys go beyond to make this hobby fun for people. And I am greatfull for that and will support them along the way. Keep up the good work guys.
 
#18
I originally looked at it as they were charging a slight premium for the kits, but I've shifted a bit over time. They spent $9k on the laser, that thing needs to be paid off, so consider that there's basically a $5 laser payment in each kit until the machine is paid for. And like I said, when the focus of the show shifted slightly from a couple guys doing this on the side as a fun thing in their basement to several of them making this their livelihood to put food on the table for the family, I look at it differently. That may be just me, the product is the same, the love is the same, but I guess you don't begrudge a guy when that's what he's doing for his living rather than it being effectively a hobby on the side.

Anyway good on the Joshes and David and Chad. Just don't let Josh Scott fall prey to the Fonzie/Kramer effect. :)
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#19
I originally looked at it as they were charging a slight premium for the kits, but I've shifted a bit over time. They spent $9k on the laser, that thing needs to be paid off, so consider that there's basically a $5 laser payment in each kit until the machine is paid for. And like I said, when the focus of the show shifted slightly from a couple guys doing this on the side as a fun thing in their basement to several of them making this their livelihood to put food on the table for the family, I look at it differently. That may be just me, the product is the same, the love is the same, but I guess you don't begrudge a guy when that's what he's doing for his living rather than it being effectively a hobby on the side.

Anyway good on the Joshes and David and Chad. Just don't let Josh Scott fall prey to the Fonzie/Kramer effect. :)
Not only pay off the laser but there are consumable cost with it as well.

Thurmond