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Modern (1975-today): USA
Modern aircraft of the United States.
Why aren't General Aviation aircraft popular?
sweaver
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Kentucky, United States
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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 10:45 AM UTC
Hi all,

My first post here in quite a long time.....

I've had this question in the back of my head for quite a while now, and I thought I'd ask it.

Why are general aviation (including aerobatic) subjects not popular at all?

I mean, the Cessnas, Pipers, and Beechcrafts that we see every day flying over us. Personally, I have a weakness for them, but I seem to be alone in that regard. I already have a Minicraft Cessna 172, Hobbycraft Piper J3 Cub, and an AZ Model Pitts Special S2 waiting for me, besides the Minicraft Super Cub I've already built.

Thoughts?

—Samuel
TAFFY3
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New York, United States
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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 12:00 PM UTC
Hello Samuel, There is no accounting for taste. I've asked myself why I build the things I do, and haven't yet come up with a satisfactory answer. I imagine there are as many different reasons as there are modelers. My mother said that I wouldn't build anything that didn't have a gun on it. Not true, I have built some figures armed only with swords and/or spears. Military subjects have always just seemed 'sexier', in the same way that Hot Rods & Ferraris are 'sexier' than the family sedan. I grew up with "Flying Leathernecks", "Battleground", "Sands of Iwo Jima", "They were Expendable", and all the other movies of that era. I guess that also might have had some influence on my choice of subjects to build. Al
Tojo72
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 12:15 PM UTC
Well,to me they just don't look as cool as a jet or prop fighter
Keeperofsouls2099
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 12:18 PM UTC
Personally I like the Pitts haven't built one yet.mainly because it dosnt carry bombs or have sexy nose art.I like the mechanical side of it and most of the military collective have a more challenging build experience.most of the civi ac's would only take a weekend to complete just not enough to hold my interest
Jessie_C
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British Columbia, Canada
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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 01:13 PM UTC
I can think of a couple of reasons. First, they're all quite small in 1/72. I've done all the Arii 1/72 kits, and the Airfix Cherokee, and they can all sit under the wings of a B-29. Secondly the gloss white paint job is capable of scaring away even seasoned modellers. Third, civillian colour schemes often require multiple pinstripes, which is also intimidating if they're not provided for on the decal sheet.

Off the top of my head I can recall the following general aviation kits in 1/72:
Arii:
C-172 (also floatplane)
C-377/O2
Beech Bonanza
AeroSubaru
Airfix:
Piper Cherokee Arrow
C-377/O2
O1 Bird Dog which could become a C-170 with a lot of work
Beagle Basset
Scotish Aviation Bulldog
BN Islander
DHC-2 Beaver
HS-125
Short Skyvan (this one's kind of borderline with a small airliner)
Aurora:
C-310
Piper Cherokee
Klee Ha:
C-180/185 (vacuform)
KP:
Piper L4 Cub which could be converted to a J3
Matchbox
Hs-125-600
Dornier Do 28D Skyservant
DHC-6 Twin Otter
Noorduyn Norseman
AModel
SU 26
Hobbycraft
DHC-3 Otter

In 1/48 we have
Minicraft:
C-150
Piper Cherokee 140
Beech Bonanza
Piper Super Cub
Cessna 172 (former ESCI tooling), also floatplane version
Hasegawa:
Dassault Falcon 10
Lear 35
Cessna Citation
Monogram
Cessna 180 (box scale, but close to 1/48)
Heller
C-150 (actually 1/50)

In 1/32
Monogram
Piper Tri Pacer (actually box scale close to 1/33)
Revell
Piper Super Cub
ASW 21 glider
LS 8 glider
LS 8T glider
Duo Discus glider

For helicopters we have several variants of the Bell 47, Huey and Jet Ranger in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 which could become civvies with a new coat of paint. The H-19, H-21, H-34, H-54, Dauphin, Eurocopter, Bo 105 and several others can also do the same. The Vertol 107, Chinook and S-61 would need a bit of converting to produce their civvie counterparts. The Mi 4, 8 and 26 just need new markings.

I'm sure that there are others I've forgotten. Anyone else want to chime in?

Bink123
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 01:13 PM UTC


I too wish there was more interest in civil aviation. But, I enjoy reading about the Golden Age of aviation - the 1920's and 30's. - the racing planes, the bold experiments in design, the early airliners, and so on. As well the larger than life figures such as Wrong - Way Corrigan, Charles Lindberg, Ernst Udet, and Wiley Post.

I realize that this forum is post 1975 civil aviation, but I thought I'd jump in here and put in my 2 cents worth.

Regards, R.B.

Check out the website. Wings of Peace.
sweaver
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Kentucky, United States
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Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2012 - 01:45 PM UTC
Nice, Jessie! I hadn't realized there were that many GA planes. Those Hasegawa jets and the Revell C-180 sound pretty neat.

I agree that GA subjects are not as exciting as military stuff. I hadn't thought about the bright white paint....that would be pretty intimidating.

On a slightly different note...what about aerobatic subjects? You know, the Extra 300, MXS, Edge 540, CAP, Pitts, and others that dominate the airshow and air race circuit? I'm actually a little surprised that with the success of the Red Bull air race series, no manufacturer released a Red Bull race plane.
Keeperofsouls2099
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2012 - 02:20 PM UTC
Az models makes a pitts speacial in 1/48 Quick search shows them sold out.course I should probably leave this thread alone before my stash grows again
Jessie_C
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British Columbia, Canada
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Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2012 - 03:18 PM UTC
Back in the late 80s LS (later Arii) had a 1/72 Pitts S2 single seater. It was tiny. I think that AModel also did it in 1/72 about 10 years or so ago. That one was a typical AModel kit, quite rough, but accurate.

I'm also reminded that AModel have recently released a series of 1/48 DH Gypsy Moths.
armouredcharmer
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England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 01:35 AM UTC
Hi Gang,Do`nt forget Lockheed`s venerable Hercules - just remember to fill in the lower cockpit windows as the civvy version does`nt have these.
sweaver
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Kentucky, United States
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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 11:17 AM UTC
Thanks, Danny. I'd forgotten about that one.

Yeah, I've got the AZ Model Pitts S2 (two-seat w/ canopy). Looks like it'll build up nicely.

Now here's one that I really wonder about. I think that the two best looking GA airplanes are the Mooney M20J 205 and the Cirrus SR22. Agree? Wouldn't they make great models?

It's often occurred to me as a good business idea: short-run, high quality GA and aerobatic kits.

Mooney M20J


Cirrus SR22


JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Tennessee, United States
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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 01:27 PM UTC

Quoted Text

...I can recall the following general aviation kits ...

I'm sure that there are others I've forgotten. Anyone else want to chime in?



Hi Jessie,

Here's some obsure offerings:
Faller 1/100:
Do-27 DORNIER
Klemm-107 Sportmodell
VERTOL VT 107
hks-3
Convair 440
Noratlas 2501
VICKERS Viscount 814
WRIGHT 1903 WR-03
SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS LB
Burda Piper Sportmodell
Geiger Piper
Caravelle

Faller Aircraft

And let's not forget the late-great Huma, which made German civil aeroplanes c. 1930- VE.

JClapp
#259
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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 02:23 PM UTC
In 1/144th, AirAlex offers a few GA types
BEECH STAGGERWING
DEHAVILLAND BEAVER
DEHAVILLAND OTTER
BEECH A36 BONANZA
BEECH 35 [V-TAIL] BONANZA
BEECH BARON /COCHISE
BEECH 99
BEECH 200
CESSNA BOBCAT
DASSAULT FALCON 10 and 20

pic from Alex's web site: "THIS BEAUTIFUL BARON WAS BUILT BY EXPERT MODEL BUILDER RON SANCTUARY."

Miniwings also makes a DHC Otter kit.

The Anigrand C-124 set includes a Cessna Bobcat and a Cessna 195.



Siderius
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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 02:44 PM UTC
I just thought I would chime in Sam; I agree, as someone who builds civil aircraft as well as military, I wish there were more choices. More General Aviation aircraft would be great, but also more commuter style, smaller airliners would be great in injection molded kits. There are of course the Airfix line of 1/144 scale airliners such as the 737, 727, I don't know if the DC-9 is still available. Minicraft has some airliners in 1/144 scale as well from the Lockheed Constellation to the Douglas DC-6 to later model 737's and 757 and MD-80 aircraft. Take care, Russell



Here is the older Airfix 737-200 in Piedmont markings, had some problems with the older decals even though I painted decal preservative over them Gives you a look though.
Jessie_C
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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 02:58 PM UTC
I deliberately left airliners out of my kit listing given that we're discussing general aviation. For an incomplete listing of airliner kits in 1/144, one could do worse than to visit my profile and read the reviews I've written.

Welsh Models, Revell of Germany and Minicraft are the 3 big names in 1/144 airliners these days.

JClapp
#259
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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 04:22 PM UTC
1/144th Dameya resin kit of Piper Cub at HLJ
FightinIron
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Washington, United States
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Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 06:35 PM UTC
Hello.
I think that some of the reason that general aviation isn't as popular also has to do with the fact that for 100 years now man has flown into harms way in warbirds. Particularly in the 1940's a lot of men fought and died for their country in warbirds, a history that general aviation cant come close to competing with. Thanks you.
-Sean
CaptnTommy
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Connecticut, United States
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Posted: Monday, April 30, 2012 - 04:53 AM UTC
Notice if you will the lack in the previous lists of any aircraft of the 1990's save the Revell Germany Gliders. there are no Private new aircraft models just as there are no new (other than howebuilt) private aircraft. The Cessna 152/172 type has just surpassed the IL-2 as the most produced aircraft but it took fifty years (or is that sixty).

I last built a private plane back in the days of "Skyking". a private helicopter with "Airwolf". Aviation is adventure, the airplanes we see everyday are common and we modellers are a fickle lot. The Piper Seneca does not creat the same market as the Cub because it is not in movies, the good/bad guy does not use it as a key tool in his adventure.

Niche markets are very rarely served except for the Rodens or Special Hobbies of this world.

I would like to see an Airtractor Ag Plane AND a Diamond D-42, over a Prowler, or Global Hawk.

Captn Tommy
sweaver
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Kentucky, United States
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Posted: Monday, April 30, 2012 - 10:26 PM UTC
That is an amazing model, Jonathan! Thanks for sharing. I cannot imagine how he got those stripes so perfect at that infinitesimal scale!

Some interesting airliners there—not exactly GA, but interesting nonetheless. I didn't realize there are so many....

Tom, that's a very interesting point you make. Hadn't thought of that. Maybe we can all hope that with the newer airplanes coming out recently from Cirrus, Pipistrel, Cessna and others, that we'll see more kits. And I still want to see more aerobatic stuff...
Jessie_C
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Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM UTC
Airshow Models was a company that did 1/32 resin aerobatic kits. They're defunct now, but it may still be possible to find their kits at swap meets and the like. Here's a page showing much of their range (and a couple "whifers" at the bottom).
JPTRR
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RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 11:50 AM UTC

Quoted Text

...a lot of men fought and died for their country in warbirds, a history that general aviation cant come close to competing with.



Hi Sean,

I'm sure something got lost in the translation but...

Comparing military and civil aviation history is apples and oranges. The tragedy of death associated with military flying doesn't lend any credibility to a superiority of military aviation. No doubt, military purposes have lead to great advances in aviation, as it has in medicine, general transportation, science, etc. By the shear scale of military actions, more people have died -- and been saved -- through military use of aircraft than civil planes.

Let us not minimize the great service civil general aviation plays in saving lives, feeding people, and a host of other benefits to the world: bush pilots and missionary pilots providing medical services (and just general transport over areas lacking infrastructure) in the Third World, and the Developed World even! Is not the benefit of saving or enhancing lives at least as important as taking them?

Today groups like Angle Flight (private GA pilots devoting their time and gas to fly sick and special-needs people who can't afford airfare), Flying Doctors of America, even corporate aviation allowing business to prosper, these are laudable endeavors for which general aviation is the star in improving our society.
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Tennessee, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 12:00 PM UTC

Quoted Text

there [sic] are no Private new aircraft models just as there are no new (other than howebuilt [sic]) private aircraft.



Captn Tommy,

There are a fair number of new GA aircraft being built that are not homebuilts, i.e., Diamond Aircraft as you noted. The problem is not lack of demand, it is lack of resources in our economy and litigious society that is killing one's ability to afford to fly, let alone own one's own 21st century GA skysteed.
sweaver
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Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 02:43 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

there [sic] are no Private new aircraft models just as there are no new (other than howebuilt [sic]) private aircraft.



Captn Tommy,

There are a fair number of new GA aircraft being built that are not homebuilts, i.e., Diamond Aircraft as you noted. The problem is not lack of demand, it is lack of resources in our economy and litigious society that is killing one's ability to afford to fly, let alone own one's own 21st century GA skysteed.



For those last two comments......"Three cheers for Frederick!" Couldn't agree more.

A question if you don't mind: are you a pilot? You know the issues well, understand GA's impact on the economy, and are aware of GA organizations that I didn't think got mainstream press.
sweaver
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Kentucky, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 02:44 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Airshow Models was a company that did 1/32 resin aerobatic kits. They're defunct now, but it may still be possible to find their kits at swap meets and the like. Here's a page showing much of their range (and a couple "whifers" at the bottom).



Wow, thanks for sharing, Jessie. I'd love to get my hands on some of those!
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 03:04 PM UTC

Quoted Text

...are you a pilot?



Hi Samuel,

Guilty as charged. In fact, in 7 days it will be the 30th anniversary of my first flying lesson.