Decline of Estes, again.

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plugger

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The hardcore leftist mentality is a bit sickening here. It's a bit lighter, with every CA poster on ignore, but it still ruins what is an otherwise decent forum.
Wow, talk about a difference of perspective. You see a hardcore leftist mentality, I see a forum full of ageing, grumpy 'get off my lawn' right-wing conservative Americans. Which, in fairness, is pretty much the predominant demographic of the rocketry hobby. But Father Time is coming for us all, so there is still hope for the future.

It also makes the entire hobby less approachable. If I go to a nice group launch, am I going to have to shield my kids from sicko's?
I don't know what launches are like in Ohio and the surrounding area but I've never once felt the need to shield my boy from "sicko's" at ANY rocket launch. I find it sad you feel that way.
 

Exactimator

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The hardcore leftist mentality is a bit sickening here. It's a bit lighter, with every CA poster on ignore, but it still ruins what is an otherwise decent forum.

It also makes the entire hobby less approachable. If I go to a nice group launch, am I going to have to shield my kids from sicko's?

----
What is it you think we're doing at our CA launches that you'd have to shield your kids from?
 
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smstachwick

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What is it you think we're doing at our CA launches that you'd have to shield your kids from?
Running with scissors, playing with matches, eating yellow snow, listening to satanic metal music, summoning demons from ouija boards….you know, classic lefty stuff!
 

gldknght

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Based on what I am experiencing on some of the other forums, there are many who look down on those of us that build and fly Estes rockets, as opposed to Medium Powered and High Powered rockets. As I have told them, my love of Estes rockets is out of nostalgia building and flying them with my late father. For me, this is not a "hot rod" hobby, and I am not looking to move up into larger, more powerful rockets. I am not sure what, if anything, is wrong with this. I love Estes as a brand, and I love their products.
I'm working on my level 3 cert rocket. As I mentioned earlier, I've been flying Estes rockets for more than 40 years. I still build and fly them. The small rockets are just as much fun as the big ones, they are WAY cheaper to fly and you normally don't have to chase them into the next county to get them back.

Do what makes you happy! This is a hobby, after all...
 

Exactimator

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No answer from MidOH. That's a shame because I'm genuinely curious what he thinks we do out here.

He's probably right. I don't consider our launches successful until at least two kids have left the field crying because of (insert MidOH's issue here).
 

dr wogz

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You're afraid of hardcore leftists at a rocket launch? What is it that you're in fear of, exactly?
that he'll be mobbed, and his motor stash distributed [equally] to the kids watching.. and/or among the other flyers.. all while implementing excessive rules & forms and a massive vote to ensure it was all 'wanted'.... (and an additional fee added / requested to pay for the processes)


Sorry, I couldn't resist! :D just poking a bit of fun at you MidOH! :D
 

dbrent

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I know this thread has kind of gone in many directions, but to reply to the OP and his original point, I wouldn't say we are anywhere near the 1999-2009 lowpoint of Estes. Remember the "Pop-Fly" and "Port-Pot-Shot"...UGH! Those were the truly "lean" years in my opinion. In contrast, I like what Estes has been producing lately and their last 2 catalogs have been over 100 pages in length. I do agree there are a TON more RTF, ARF and E2X kits and launch sets than there were in the golden years of the 70s and 80s but it's not a zero sum game. I see plenty of "builders" kits in the new catalogs as well. I have not done a census yet (but plan to soon) with regard to the total number of kits in prouhduction, but it would appear there there are more total kits being offered in the past few catalogs than there were in the catalogs from the 70s and 80s.

And for the record, I don't think you are a troll and I didn't take your post as "bashing" Estes. You are just longing for more of a certain type of model rocket that I happen to also share a fondness for. I spend a lot of time cloning kits from those older catalogs than I do building newer stuff, but there is plenty of newer kits I want to build as well. All of the Designer Signature Kits, The Skylab Saturn V and Saturn 1B, Super Mars Snooper, Cosmic Interceptor, Black Star Voyager, Doorknob, Little Joes I & II, etc.

There is also a petition to bring back the Gemini Titan and Mercury Atlas kits (or they might be new kits - I'm not 100% sure).

Best of luck to all and happy building!
Don
 
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smstachwick

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I know this thread has kind of gone in many directions, but to reply to the OP and his original point, I wouldn't say we are anywhere near the 1999-2009 lowpoint of Estes. Remember the "Pop-Fly" and "Port-Pot-Shot"...UGH! Those were the truly "lean" years in my opinion. In contrast, I like what Estes has been producing lately and their last 2 catalogs have been over 100 pages in length. I do agree there are a TON more RTF, ARF and E2X kits and launch sets than there were in the golden years of the 70s and 80s but it's not a zero sum game. I see plenty of "builders" kits in the new catalogs as well. I have not done a census yet (but plan to soon) with regard to the total number of kits in production, but it would appear there there are more total kits being offered in the past few catalogs than there were in the catalogs from the 70s and 80s.

And for the record, I don't think you are a troll and I didn't take your post as "bashing" Estes. You are just longing for more of a certain type of model rocket that I happen to also share a fondness for. I spend a lot of time cloning kits from those older catalogs than I do building newer stuff, but there is plenty of newer kits I want to build as well. All of the Designer Signature Kits, The Skylab Saturn V and Saturn 1B, Super Mars Snooper, Cosmic Interceptor, Black Star Voyager, Doorknob, Little Joes I & II, etc.

There is also a petition to bring back the Gemini Titan and Mercury Atlas kits (or they might be new kits - I'm not 100% sure).

Best of luck to all and happy building!
Don
I have signed the Mercury-Atlas form and sent an email emphasizing my interest. I’d encourage anyone who knows they’d buy this kit to do this.

Regarding the original posting, it is a sad reality that genuinely-held opinions are sometimes indistinguishable from satire, tomfoolery, and trolling if they’re strongly-worded, sufficiently devoid of context, and flat-out ridiculous. I don’t think I expressed in this thread an evaluation of the author’s intent, although I certainly had some questions at times.

Regardless, it appears that the premise of Estes being in overall decline has been rejected, with complaints being confined to specific product lines that are subject to user error as often as manufacturing defects.

The RTF and Beginner rockets are solid. In my experience they set up easily, look nice, fly well enough to encourage more motor purchases ($), and are sufficiently differentiated from each other to avoid feeling like cookie cutter designs. Every time I look at the instructions for one, I’m glad I did. In terms of construction, I’ve never had two be exactly the same.

Intermediate and Advanced rockets are easy enough to assemble if you’ve developed some hand skills and rocketry know-how already, but they introduce new challenges in measuring, marking, cutting, glueing, priming, sanding, painting, and finishing. Sure, you can probably get them into the air OK, but how nice can you make them look?

Some in the Intermediate and Advanced range also have enough performance potential to pose a challenge of selecting a suitable launch site if flown at full rated power. The Goblin, Hi-Flier XL, and Star Orbiter are such hot rods. Perhaps a few standard-sized birds are as well.

There have been a few eccentricities in categorization by difficulty, especially coinciding with the recent price increases and corresponding website updates, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out through consumer and focus group feedback.

P.S. I actually kinda liked the Port-a-Pot Shot. I believe that there is at least one aspect of each individual’s personality that never advanced beyond age 7. I will always find a portable toilet rocket funny.
 
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SecondRow

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P.S. I actually kinda liked the Port-a-Pot Shot. I believe that there is at least one aspect of each individual’s personality that never advanced beyond age 7. I will always find a portable toilet rocket funny.
This is the only part of dbrent’s post I can’t agree with. If i saw the Port-a-Pot Shot hanging on the racks in a hobby shop, I would grab it in a second.* Poop jokes are almost always funny.

*The same goes for a Dude. I would buy all the Dudes in the store.
 

Stewman

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This thread has been pretty interesting, to say the least. I would have to say that, in my opinion, Estes is back on the way up. They are owned and run by people that actually fly rockets, they are catering to a lot of different areas. And they are bringing the Orbital Transport back! Good times. As has been mentioned, people should attend the NAR's virtual NARCON the end of this month. Both Bill Stine and John Langford will be giving presentations.

My only wish is that we had part numbers again......LOL.
 

Grant_Edwards

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I know this thread has kind of gone in many directions, but to reply to the OP and his original point, I wouldn't say we are anywhere near the 1999-2009 lowpoint of Estes. Remember the "Pop-Fly" and "Port-Pot-Shot"...UGH!
:)

It does seem like Estes was casting about a bit at that time. I had never seen either of those, so I googled them. The porta-pot-shot made me shake my head in wonder, but I thought the pop-fly was sort of a fun idea. Did the baseball come down on its own so you could catch it like a regular ball?
 

CalebJ

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:)

It does seem like Estes was casting about a bit at that time. I had never seen either of those, so I googled them. The porta-pot-shot made me shake my head in wonder, but I thought the pop-fly was sort of a fun idea. Did the baseball come down on its own so you could catch it like a regular ball?
There's a pop fly on the shelf in a hobby shop near here. I've been tempted to grab it just out of curiosity.
 

smstachwick

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lo que note es que la mayoria de modelos usan motores debajo de D o con D en este último catálogo
Inglés, por favor. We don’t all speak that.

HOWEVER. Google gives me this:

“What I noticed is that most models use engines below D or with D in this latest catalog”

That’s the way it’s been for as long as I can remember. I mainly fly Standard 18mm size, followed by Mini 13mm and then by progressively larger motors (namely 24mm and 29mm). I imagine this reflects the general trend with hobby rocketeers. The Standard size is a good compromise between power/size and affordability, while a D is a common every-now-and-then treat and larger motors really turn heads. Mini motors are good for wind-checkers, sacrifices to the rocket gods, quickie builds, or experimenting with new concepts. For example, they allowed me to practice multi-staging without breaking the bank or presenting a severe hazard if something went wrong.

There’s also the fact that black powder motors in the E and F range tend to CATO with some frequency, which Estes has taken steps to rectify in the last few years but still remains well-known to regular flyers. I think composite motors are seen as a thing for older and more advanced flyers.
 
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mustcomedown

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Looks like the new owner of Estes will be speaking at the virtual NARCON in a couple weeks.


29 Jan
8.30 PM
(EST)
KEYNOTE—Building Back Better in Penrose: Making Estes Great Again
8:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Main Stage Session
90 Minutes

Description
Pretty much everyone in the NAR knows the hobby’s origin story of G. Harry Stine, Orville Carlyle, and Vern and Gleda Estes. But did you know that Estes has changed hands five times since its founding, most recently in a bankruptcy sale? The story of Estes is the story of model rocketry, and its successes and struggles tell a lot about the future of “the educational space age hobby”. In this keynote, long-time NAR member John Langford will describe his family’s purchase of Estes in 2018: what they found, what they have done so far, and what they hope to do in the future. The talk will highlight the key roles played by (among others) Mary Roberts, Bill Stine, Trip Barber, and Vern Estes himself in making this turnaround story possible. John will discuss the complexities of the supply chain, the impact of COVID, and how Estes came to be on multiple late-night TV shows last summer. At the core of the story is STEM Education, and the audacious goal of having every student in America fly an Estes rocket by the time they graduate from high school.

Speakers

John Langford
Owner at Estes Industries
 

dr wogz

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Someone on FB just made an interesting comment in regards to 'shipping to Canada':

"Estes is pretty much the only company that refuses to ship to Canada, due to an agreement with a third party middle-man for some odd reason."

I always thought it was due to the "shipping internationally" headache .. but this is curious.. thoughts?

edit:

Got a reply that there are 3 hobby wholesalers that seem to have an exclusive agreement with Estes, so they get the biz, not Estes.. Pitty they 'insist' on not honoring any of Estes' sales or freebies (ornaments or catalogs)

And yes, looked them up, all seem legit, with many overlapping product lines..
 
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dbrent

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Just to reiterate my point about it not being a "zero-sum-game"...

In the 1977 Estes catalog there were 82 unique rocket kits listed (all skill levels and including the cold power kits of that year, not including non-flying rockets and starter sets).
In the 2014 Estes catalog there were 171 unique rocket kits listed (all skill levels, not including non-flying rockets, air rockets and starter sets).

Between 1999 and 2009, the lean years I referred to, the census of unique rocket kits varied between 51 and 65 kits available. You have to go back to 1971 and prior (basically Estes first 10 years) to find lower census numbers.

I'm working on an Excel spreadsheet of all Estes releases by year throughout the company's history. I'm currently working on 2015, so I don't have census numbers beyond that, but when I get current I will post the census for all years in a separate thread. So far 2014 is the high water mark for number of kits available.
 
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smstachwick

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Someone on FB just made an interesting comment in regards to 'shipping to Canada':

"Estes is pretty much the only company that refuses to ship to Canada, due to an agreement with a third party middle-man for some odd reason."

I always thought it was due to the "shipping internationally" headache .. but this is curious.. thoughts?

edit:

Got a reply that there are 3 hobby wholesalers that seem to have an exclusive agreement with Estes, so they get the biz, not Estes.. Pitty they 'insist' on not honoring any of Estes' sales or freebies (ornaments or catalogs)

And yes, looked them up, all seem legit, with many overlapping product lines..
Makes sense. A niche hobby company probably wouldn’t have the resources to distribute organically on an international or global scale. They’d have to partner with a wholesaler, another manufacturer, or some other kind of third party.
 
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