AMA Expo 2016

AMA EXPO 2016 — The place to geek out on the latest in RC!

Ah, the AMA Expo.  Heralded at the Ontario Convention center, it’s a great show to geek out on everything RC while scoring deals you wouldn’t normally get on RC products.  Though not always known as the AMA show, nor held at the Ontario Convention Center, this show has been ongoing in Southern California for a long time.  I remember attending a different incarnation of the show as a kid with my dad.  In fact, I even met my wife at this show when it was still held in Pasadena…wrap your heads around that one, haha!  It’s really hard to believe just how much the hobby has changed and I’ve watched it change each year through this show!  Even in just the last 10 years things have changed so much.


Now, an RC trade show means many things to many people.  For most however, it means three things — scoring deals while seeing what’s new and exciting and catching up with friends you only get to see occasionally at these shows.  In terms of exhibitors, there is a nice assortment of the big box hobby retailers (Global Hobby/Hobby People, Horizon Hobby, and Hobbico) in addition to a number of local (and sometimes not so local) hobby manufacturers and retailers.  Also, there’s an indoor flying area, a make and take area for kids (this year was sponsored by Flite Test and they had a cool foam glider design they built with the kids) as well as a number of clubs and a static model competition.  In the end, it’s all about one thing — promoting our awesome hobby!

I was only able to make it one day this year but I made sure I opened that place and closed it down as I always do.  The floor itself had a great selection of all things RC; there truly is something for everyone.  “Drone” has been the big buzzword these days in the industry, but I was surprised by the fact that the quads were much less prevalent than I expected.

Here are a few of the highlights I geeked out over walking the convention floor.  I’m sure that there is much that I missed, so consider these as “post game highlights” as it were.  If you’re ever in the area during the weekend of this show, it’s always worth a visit!


First of all, RADIAL ENGINES!  These were exhibited in the Horizon Hobby booth.  I was surprised by the selection available, especially in the smaller glow sizes.  These engines look killer and having seen (and video’d a few) they sound awesome.  One day, I will have a radial powered warbird!

Desert Aircraft was in attendance with a huge selection of gas motors.  They had a new flat 6 that was pretty much insane.

Hacker Motor USA was on hand also with some fun stuff.  The company is under new ownership and was showing a new all composite Spitfire kit that is beautifully made and extremely light weight.  Seeing it really made me want one and the price was quite excellent for what it was.  Lee Estingoy (new owner) when I saw him was beaming from a ride had taken in “Lady Alice” the day before.  The trade was a ride for the composite spitfire kit Lee was showing…that was certainly a no-brainer!


Hobby People distributes the VQ Warbirds brand which have been putting out some nice looking warbird ARFs.  Here are a few I noticed at the show.  They also have a nice “Betty Jo” P-82 Twin Mustang which I will be reviewing here in the future once I can clear off the bench a little bit.


Horizon Hobby debuted their new EPO foam warbird at the show — the 1200mm wingspan F4U-4 Corsair.  Also, they had a few Skip Stewart biplanes they were showing as well. were showing their line of pilots.  If you’re in the market for a 1/7 scale and larger full body pilot, these are certainly a good option.  Following are a few other things that caught my eye while walking the floor.



One of the highlights for me on this one is the static model competition.  I’m always eager to see what is there as there’s always some nicely built stuff that is displayed.  This year was no exception of course!


The great thing about this hobby is that it is available to anyone and everyone at all different levels.  So many full size pilots of all sorts (military, aerobatic, etc.) have gotten their start here in RC aviation.  This year Horizon Hobby had a couple RC Heros in their booth signing autographs and visiting with folks — Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and professional aerobatic pilot Skip Stewart.  Juan Pablo Montoya is an avid RC modeler when he’s not on the track and Skip inspired his aviation career flying RC as a kid.

I’m sure there’s much that I missed in the day that I was there.  Just means, I’ll have to catch it all next year!  See you at the 2017 show!

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