Another year, and another AMA West Expo show! Catching up with old friends and seeing what’s new is always the name of the game and there was certainly plenty of that! The big news this year was that the expo will be held in a new location next year (which will actually be this November), the Pomona Fair Grounds (promo vid at the end of this article). This should be a nice change for the show as it will allow significantly more outdoor activities including flying, racing and all that other good stuff that we can only get limited doses of in Ontario. For the show itself, there was a nice assortment of vendors as there always is, but there seems to be a bit of turnover in the hobby right now. Some of the old stand-by vendors and shops don’t seem to be standing by as much as they used to and newer vendors seem to come and go. Hopefully this new location will help re-invigorate things a bit and bring in some additional interest and vendors!
For me this year, I was only able to make it on the Saturday so I setup shop with a couple airplanes on display in the Scale Squadron booth. I didn’t think the bring Lady Alice last year, so I brought it along with our kit bashed Kfir which fit well within the booth. There was also on hand an absolutely gorgeously built F3D Skynight in work by Rob Han (his own design). I’ve known Rob for a long time and he has always done some really ingenious work. He actually plans to run the airplane with a geared glow engine driving two ducted fans. I of course told him EDF would be far simpler! 😉
Some of the “new stuff” highlights included getting a sneak peak at Horizon Hobbies’ new Hangar 9 20cc P-47 Thunderbolt and the new UMX Aerocommander. Seeing the P-47, I really liked the looks and size of it. The market has been missing some nicely built wood ARFs in this size range, so I hope that this is the start of some additional Hangar 9 airplanes coming to market in this size range. I was also quite excited to see the new Graupner 32 channel radio which really looks promising as a system (it was shown only on request but I wasn’t allowed to take pics of it).
One of the main features of this years show was a wonderful assortment of giant scale warbrids on display. Warbirds West was on hand as one of the featured presenters on the main stage and they brought with them a fantastic display. If you’re unaware, Warbirds West has been organizing the Biggest Little Airshow in Honolulu, HI for the last few years which is done to support the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island. It’s a great cause that helps preserve the diverse history surrounding Pearl Harbor and the museum (which includes some of the original Pearl Harbor hangars!). Saturday on the main stage was dedicated to Warbirds West and they had a great line up of speakers which included some well known military veterans and pilots.
In addition, there were some really great models in the static competition this year. The highlight was to see Brian Young’s giant Hawker Tempest (all the way down to the insane Moki radial). It was gorgeous and I hope to get some video of it in flight in the near-ish future. Brian is typically at the Warbirds & Classics event in June, so hopefully he’ll have it with him this year! It’s great to see this kind of stuff at the show.
As mentioned earlier, here’s a little promo video for the next show coming this fall at the new location. Should be fun!