I am Worried About Estes

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RickGr4

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I am concerned about the financial health of Estes. They ran out of big E-F motors and they don't appear ready to produce any. Their parent company filed for bankruptcy. New model introductions have slowed down to a boring crawl. Now I noticed their "Specials" page has been reduced to almost nothing.

Something is really wrong...
 

rharshberger

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I am concerned about the financial health of Estes. They ran out of big E-F motors and they don't appear ready to produce any. Their parent company filed for bankruptcy. New model introductions have slowed down to a boring crawl. Now I noticed their "Specials" page has been reduced to almost nothing.

Something is really wrong...
And yet John Boren their designer has just hinted at a new sci-fi styled model and a classic type re-release.
 

afadeev

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I am concerned about the financial health of Estes. They ran out of big E-F motors and they don't appear ready to produce any.

Estes E/F black powder motors are now always in stock at my local Hobby Lobby. It has been spotty over the years, but all types (18/24/29mm) have been well stocked over the past 12 months.
I do realize the inventory varies by store location, but I now always grab a pair of one or the larger motor packs with 40% off coupon every time I go in.

Both Wildman and Sirius also have them in stock as well:
https://www.siriusrocketry.biz/isho...et-engines-95/estes-24mm-e-engines-hazmat-99/
https://wildmanrocketry.com/collections/motors-estes-e-engine

The reports of the shortage might just be a bit exaggerated.
:confused2:

Their parent company filed for bankruptcy. New model introductions have slowed down to a boring crawl.

And yet John Boren their designer has just hinted at a new sci-fi styled model and a classic type re-release.

Exactly.
Estes only has one (1) kit designer on staff, and he hangs out on TRF, occasionally.
If you don't think he is working hard enough, feel free to tell him that yourself.
:smile:

Now I noticed their "Specials" page has been reduced to almost nothing.
Something is really wrong...

I had never ordered anything directly from Estes, thus can't comment on the quality of the "specials" offerings.

Overall, Estes is the largest rocket supplier company in the amateur rocketry industry segment. The industry seams to be going through a bit of a renascence, judging by the excitement generated by SpaceX activities, the good economy lifting disposable incomes, and the number of people coming out to local rocket club launches. It would be strange if the rising tides were not lifting Estes boat. Alas, any company can be mismanaged into oblivion, with an adequate application of incompetence. I just don't see any data to suggest that is happening to Estes at this time...

The parent company (Hobbico) is going through chapter 11 restructuring, and Estes may, or may not be, up for sale.
But Estes itself should not be immediately effected, beyond restricted access to capital for major new projects (of which there may not be any in the pipeline).

a
 
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nsmith

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I would posit a guess that Estes is one of the healthier organizations operating under the Hobbico umbrella.
 

RickGr4

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My thoughts in red.


Estes E/F black powder motors are now always in stock at my local Hobby Lobby. It has been spotty over the years, but all types (18/24/29mm) have been well stocked over the past 12 months.
I do realize the inventory varies by store location, but I now always grab a pair of one or the larger motor packs with 40% off coupon every time I go in.

Both Wildman and Sirius also have them in stock as well:
https://www.siriusrocketry.biz/isho...et-engines-95/estes-24mm-e-engines-hazmat-99/
https://wildmanrocketry.com/collections/motors-estes-e-engine

The reports of the shortage might just be a bit exaggerated. SORRY but I just don't agree. I live in the Twin Cities and retailers here don't have E and F engines in desirable delays and their distribution network cannot tell them when they will get more. Last time I checked Estes own web site they were short on E and F engines and they have been since last summer.

:confused2:



Exactly.
Estes only has one (1) kit designer on staff, and he hangs out on TRF, occasionally.
If you don't think he is working hard enough, feel free to tell him that yourself. Only one designer? In my mind that verifies my concerns. I sure hope he is working hard...

:smile:



I had never ordered anything directly from Estes, thus can't comment on the quality of the "specials" offerings. Estes specials page is down to 5% of what it was just a couple months ago.

Overall, Estes is the largest rocket supplier company in the amateur rocketry industry segment. The industry seams to be going through a bit of a renascence, judging by the excitement generated by SpaceX activities, the good economy lifting disposable incomes, and the number of people coming out to local rocket club launches. It would be strange if the rising tides were not lifting Estes boat. Alas, any company can be mismanaged into oblivion, with an adequate application of incompetence. I just don't see any data to suggest that is happening to Estes at this time... Data is one thing. Signs and signals are another. I have been watching for a year now and I see plenty of negative signs. I appreciate your optimism but I think there is greatly different writing on the wall.

a
 

DavidMcCann

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Data is one thing. Signs and signals are another. I have been watching for a year now and I see plenty of negative signs. I appreciate your optimism but I think there is greatly different writing on the wall.


A whole year? wow. What year where you born, I'll go pull the Estes catalog from then out of my closet and we can pick our favorite models.


Estes is doing just fine.
 

RickGr4

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A whole year? wow. What year where you born, I'll go pull the Estes catalog from then out of my closet and we can pick our favorite models.


Estes is doing just fine.



Which catalog? The 2016 version? Many of the rockets depicted in that catalog are no longer available and haven't been replaced.... Once again, I wish I shared your optimism but I don't.
 

samb

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I am worried about RickGr4. He worries too much. Worrying makes you sick or worse. Then he posts about his worries on my favorite rocketry forum. I know better than to click on posts like this but I'm weak sometimes. What to do, what to do ?!?

Wait a minute... I know something that always makes me feel better. I posted something a few weeks back that relates somewhat to this topic.

https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?144249-The-Road-Goes-on-Forever&highlight=road+forever

Ahhh... I feel better now.

Heck, man you might be 100% right, who knows. I sure don't. If you are right you can come back and say "I told you so!" Otherwise, don't worry ! THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER AND THE PARTY NEVER ENDS !!! :)
 

RickGr4

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Extremely vague and highly off topic. Try harder.


I am worried about RickGr4. He worries too much. Worrying makes you sick or worse. Then he posts about his worries on my favorite rocketry forum. I know better than to click on posts like this but I'm weak sometimes. What to do, what to do ?!?

Wait a minute... I know something that always makes me feel better. I posted something a few weeks back that relates somewhat to this topic.

https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?144249-The-Road-Goes-on-Forever&highlight=road+forever

Ahhh... I feel better now.

Heck, man you might be 100% right, who knows. I sure don't. If you are right you can come back and say "I told you so!" Otherwise, don't worry ! THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER AND THE PARTY NEVER ENDS !!! :)
 

RainierWolfcastle

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I am concerned about the financial health of Estes. They ran out of big E-F motors and they don't appear ready to produce any. Their parent company filed for bankruptcy. New model introductions have slowed down to a boring crawl. Now I noticed their "Specials" page has been reduced to almost nothing.

Something is really wrong...


From memory the big motors only had one press machine for manufacturing and so always had lower volumes than the 18mm range? If the big motors our out of stock the likely explanation is demand is outstripping supply, so not bad news for Estes. Unless you've been in the workshop itself and seen them actually not making any how do you know otherwise? They might also be dropping the effort on that range to focus on A-D motors if those sell better or have a better profit margin. Also not bad news for the company.

They don't need massives teams of engineers and designers to spit out a new rocket. One person has been doing it for years as far as I am aware, has done a great job on a variety of models and continues to do so. Long term staffer, also not bad news.

They may use specials to clear out excess stock that is taking up room. High demands means no excess stock so no specials, also not bad news if that is the case.


Something is definitely wrong if you're taking vague data or 'signals and signs' and assuming a single conclusion must be correct. That is a terrible scientific method to have.
 

Cnorm

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I am not worried about Estes. At all.
 

samb

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Extremely vague and highly off topic. Try harder.

Ouch ! Ya didn't like the song ? At least a little ?

Ok tryin' harder:
For the sake of not-argument, I'll accept your observations if not your conclusions. The two Hobby Lobbies I visited last weekend had the same flavors of 29mm motors they've always had, E16-6 and F15-8. I don't recall exactly how many two-packs were hanging on the pegs. I haven't visited The RC Zone or Hobbytown in a few months so i can't speak to their inventory levels nor will I speculate on what other retailers are carrying around the greater DFW area or what the regional distributors are telling them. I have no data on the website Specials page content or new models count either. I have read recent posts about the "coming soon" product offerings from the Chief Designer on Facebook.
Hobbico's Chapter 11 filing is most definitely not a good thing. I wish all the best for the Estes employees during the transition. I have no idea what things will look like on the other side of this.
All that said, everyone has an opinion on the leading model rocket company in the world and the current state of affairs. I would characterize yours as rather gloomy. I choose not to worry or speculate about it because I can't think of one damn thing I can do to influence the outcome in a positive direction. I'd encourage everyone to do the same because... THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER AND ... :grin:
 

Tobor

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Ouch ! Ya didn't like the song ? At least a little ?

Ok tryin' harder:
For the sake of not-argument, I'll accept your observations if not your conclusions. The two Hobby Lobbies I visited last weekend had the same flavors of 29mm motors they've always had, E16-6 and F15-8. I don't recall exactly how many two-packs were hanging on the pegs. I haven't visited The RC Zone or Hobbytown in a few months so i can't speak to their inventory levels nor will I speculate on what other retailers are carrying around the greater DFW area or what the regional distributors are telling them. I have no data on the website Specials page content or new models count either. I have read recent posts about the "coming soon" product offerings from the Chief Designer on Facebook.
Hobbico's Chapter 11 filing is most definitely not a good thing. I wish all the best for the Estes employees during the transition. I have no idea what things will look like on the other side of this.
All that said, everyone has an opinion on the leading model rocket company in the world and the current state of affairs. I would characterize yours as rather gloomy. I choose not to worry or speculate about it because I can't think of one damn thing I can do to influence the outcome in a positive direction. I'd encourage everyone to do the same because... THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER AND ... :grin:

Well stated. And....... I like your attitude! :D
 

rstaff3

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Well, the Estes website shows F15-0,4 and E16-0 in stock now. They weren't last time I looked. However, the C11-3 is not even listed anymore! Too bad, that's the one I used in the rockets that fly on D12-5's. :(
 

RickGr4

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Poor availability of Estes big E and F engines with 4 or 6 second delays is not new. It's been discussed here since late last summer. I can think of at least two threads on the topic (I started one of them). I emailed Estes Customer service about it and received a very vague response.



Well, the Estes website shows F15-0,4 and E16-0 in stock now. They weren't last time I looked. However, the C11-3 is not even listed anymore! Too bad, that's the one I used in the rockets that fly on D12-5's. :(
 

rstaff3

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Poor availability of Estes big E and F engines with four or 6 second delays is not new. It's been discussed here since late last summer. I can think of at least two threads on the topic (I started one of them). I emailed Estes Customer service about it and received a very vague response.

Yup, and they have reappeared for a short time since the shortages were first discussed here (at least once). I'm wondering if something happened that has affected the rate that motors are being made. Probably will never know.
 

Bat-mite

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Call Christine at Estes HQ. She will probably answer any concerns you have. If Estes goes out of business, then you will see other designers like Fliskits pick up the slack.
 

EXPjawa

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Call Christine at Estes HQ. She will probably answer any concerns you have. If Estes goes out of business, then you will see other designers like Fliskits pick up the slack.
If Estes goes out of business, you might see a bump in Flis or Semroc sales. But where will the motors come from? Without affordable BP motors, the entry-level and lower power end of the hobby will die; reloadable and SU motors are not going to replace that aspect even remotely closely.

With that said, I am not worried either. Most of the OP's points are effectively non-issues, as has already been stated. Availability of some motors might be problematic at times (but hey, manufacturing has variability), but I really don't think that they'll be discontinuing the 29mm sizes at the same time they're introducing new kits that need them...
 

chrisudy

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If you enjoy boring documents, the bankruptcy docs are available online. Hobbico is working on a ‘going-concern’ sale of the businesses at auction. They have access to what looks like $72 million in debtor-in-possession financing to see them through the bankruptcy process while continuing to operate. It’s in the creditors best interests for Hobbico, Revell, Estes, and all the rest to continuing operating to get the best price at auction.

Chris


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Bat-mite

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If Estes goes out of business, you might see a bump in Flis or Semroc sales. But where will the motors come from? Without affordable BP motors, the entry-level and lower power end of the hobby will die; reloadable and SU motors are not going to replace that aspect even remotely closely.

With that said, I am not worried either. Most of the OP's points are effectively non-issues, as has already been stated. Availability of some motors might be problematic at times (but hey, manufacturing has variability), but I really don't think that they'll be discontinuing the 29mm sizes at the same time they're introducing new kits that need them...

Maybe Aerotech would revive the Quest motors?
 
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Maybe Aerotech would revive the Quest motors?
+

Quest has 18mm composite motors undergoing certification as we speak. Due to problems with the Chinese manufacturer, looks like the BP motors are history. The composites run A to D in impulse, as I understand. If Estes BP motors leave the marketplace, it would be a boon for Quest/Aerotech.
 

chrisudy

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Maybe Aerotech would revive the Quest motors?

Aerotech has submitted their 18mm quest composite (A-D) motors for certification. They should be price competitive with Estes BP motors.

Chris
 

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Estes kits and motors are the default gateway drug to this hobby. They’re cheap and ubiquitous. Estes is unlikely to die any time soon as long as the hobby itself stays healthy, but likewise, the death of Estes or failure to find a buyer, would be a very bad omen. I bought my 6 year old his first Estes kit today.... I doubt it will be his last.

And there are much better options out there than the large Estes bp motors if you can’t find them anyway... I do love the smell of burning black powder in the morning though. Reminds me of being a kid. Composite motors just aren’t the same.

Aerotech cases are likewise near impossible to get these lately. Hopefully, that’s also a matter of demand outstripping supply.




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RickGr4

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I have more rockets than I will ever be able to build or fly in the remainder of my lifetime.

My concern (and the reason I started this thread) is the availability and affordability of A through D motors. I fly on small a small field so E and F engines are only important when I attend Tripoli launches. I am fairly sure I have just enough big E-F engines to make it though next summer. But the FACT remains that E and F engines in preferred delays have become hard to come by.

Last year alone, I spent $2,500 with AC Supply. 90% of that was A through D motors.

If A through D motors become harder to come by or more expensive, that would greatly influence one of my favorite hobbies.

Personally, I think the people who are saying "everything is OK at Estes" are being highly naïve and have not been paying enough attention to some very clear writing on the wall.
 

RainierWolfcastle

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Personally, I think the people who are saying "everything is bad at Estes" are being highly obtuse and have not been paying enough attention to some very clear writing on why they are likely to be incorrect.
 

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E and F black powder motors are nothing to write home about, IMO. Too big, too heavy, too wimpy. I'll take an APCP motor in this range any day. Leave Estes black powder to the A-D range.

My local Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann, and Michaels don't carry rocket stuff at all. At least as of a couple years ago they didn't. I should look again.
 

Cnorm

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Personally, I think the people who are saying "everything is OK at Estes" are being highly naïve and have not been paying enough attention to some very clear writing on the wall.

Wrong.
 

mikec

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Personally, I think the people who are saying "everything is OK at Estes" are being highly naïve and have not been paying enough attention to some very clear writing on the wall.
Even if I accepted your premise (which I don't) what do you expect people to do about it?
 

JumpJet

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Boy, some of you sure worry about things you have No Control over. I work at Estes and I have No Control over what is happening since Hobbico went Chapter 11 and I bet I worry less then some of you. I just read a bunch of these posts. One post worried about there only being one designer at Estes. Well it's been that way for about 8 years now. I've created probably 70% of the stuff in the Estes Catalog and tons more stuff you will never see or haven't seen yet; so I wouldn't worry about there being only one designer. I'm quite sure Estes will be around for many years to come. It will most likely be under new ownership because of the Chapter 11 but it will still be here. Hopefully will all know more in the up coming weeks\months.

John Boren
The one and only Estes R&D guy.
 

Cnorm

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Boy, some of you sure worry about things you have No Control over. I work at Estes and I have No Control over what is happening since Hobbico went Chapter 11 and I bet I worry less then some of you. I just read a bunch of these posts. One post worried about there only being one designer at Estes. Well it's been that way for about 8 years now. I've created probably 80% of the stuff in the Estes Catalog and tons more stuff you will never see or haven't seen yet; so I wouldn't worry about there being only one designer. I'm quite sure Estes will be around for many years to come. It will most likely be under new ownership because of the Chapter 11 but it will still be here. Hopefully will all know more in the up coming weeks\months.

John Boren
The one and only Estes R&D guy.

Oh good, you're here. You ain't dancing fast enough for that RickGr4 fella, just so you know.
 
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