It’s always a good time at the Expo!
When January rolls around, that always means it’s AMA Expo time! It’s hard to believe that’s it’s actually been a year already since the last show. Every year the expo is held at the Ontario Convention Center and features a bunch of vendors and manufacturers in the RC industry so it’s always an interesting show to head to. It’s more than that though. The RC community is like a family, so the show feels almost like a reunion as I get a chance to catch up with friends that I don’t get to see but just once or twice a year plus meeting new friends too.
This year, I was honored to be asked by the AMA to be one of the presenters for the show. Truth be told, when the AMA asked me to speak at the show, I was humbled by the opportunity. I’ve been coming to this show since I was a kid and as I mentioned in my article about this show last year, I even met my wife at this show 15 years ago if you can even believe that! But, to share the presenters stage with so many amazing people is something I never imagined truthfully. The AMA was cool enough to video and provide my presentation to post on my YouTube channel, so here it is in case you missed it!
What was cool too was that as a part being a presenter, the AMA provided a booth space which gave me the opportunity to visit with so many folks, it was really awesome! I brought my trusty Robo3D printer along with as many jets as I could fit in my van for a display. I was printing some fun placards to give away and having the printer running the whole show really garnered quite a bit of interest. I brought along my kit bashed Kfir (from the Freewing Mirage 2000) and so it was a great way to introduce some applications for 3D printing since many of the conversion parts were printed on the Robo.
Knowing that I’d be at the show the whole weekend, I hoped to get a good look at everything. As it turned out, I didn’t have as much time as I thought I would based on having a booth setup. That said, there was a good assortment of vendors again this year, though there appeared to be a few less this year than last. That didn’t keep it from being a good show though. What was interesting was that there was considerably less quadcopter swag at the show with only one vendor that I noticed there primarily featuring multi-rotors. Also, of the US big box hobby distributors, only Horizon Hobby was there. There was no Great Planes booth like there normally is, nor Hobby People. It was unfortunately at the show that I heard that Hobby People will be closing it’s doors permanently in February. 🙁 JB-Hobbies was there with some killer deals on the VQ Warbirds they sell to which I found out they are closing up shop too. It’s an unfortunate trend, but it’s no question the hobby industry can be tough at times. Interestingly, spectator attendance as a whole was up this year compared to last. So, hopefully next year we’ll see a return on some vendors and see some new ones as well.
One of the vendors I was very intrigued by was Graupner USA. Graupner has had a growing presence in the US and have a very nice line of telemetry radios and equipment (servos, esc’s, etc all with built in telemetry). With the absence of Airtronics now, I’ve been in the market for a good radio replacement and these certainly look good, especially for the price! I have their 12 channel MZ-24 Pro radio in my hands and so will be exploring what it can do.
STATIC MODEL COMPETITION
What I always gravitate to is of course the scale stuff. They have a static model competition, so I’ll always cruise the aisle to see what’s been entered and there’s always some nicely built aircraft. Here are just a few of the aircraft entered
Well, if you’ve never been to this show, it’s certainly one to put on the list if you’re in the Southern California area. Until next year AMA Expo West!