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  #11  
Old 04-11-2009, 12:21 PM
shockwaveriderz shockwaveriderz is offline
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Carl, some responses inline to your questions.

All of these facts have answered my three unasked questions that are answered with questions:

Q. "Where was Estes-Cox when the BATFE threatened the industry with their illegal regulation?"
A. When you are a $150 million a year company, why get involved in a fight when you are not directly involved that could spill over and destroy your company just by coming to the competition's aid? No brainer. If I was smart, I would probably feel the same way.


Carl, I think you may have mis-spoke there. The BATFE never threatened the model rocketry industry in any way that I am aware. HPR is not model rocketry. Never has , never will. It irritates me greatly that people miss this semantic point when talking about rocketry.


If the BATFE were to ban HPR tomorrow, it would not effect model rocketry in way.

Model Rocketry is not a gateway drug to HPR fo 99.9% of the Estes market.



During the BATFE epsiode, I talked in private to various people who were in the model rocketry biz and asked why they didn't support the NAR-TRA BATFE lawsuit and their collective response was, "we don't have a dog in this fight".


Q. "Why does Estes-Cox avoid NAR events, advertising in LAUNCH magazine, and appearing regularly at public outings?"
A. When your market involves millions of individual customers, why waste time and resources on hundreds? Also, a no brainer. Fortunately, those hundreds are our customers!


My feeling on this is that Estes is well big enough to direct advertising and marketing resources towards their primary market, their mass market and their much smaller but vocal and fanatic hobbyist base. They just don't choose to do so.

Q. "Why did Estes-Cox shut down their forum and refuse (until lately) to participate on the public model rocketry forums?"
A. See the last answer. There are less than a thousand active participants on YORF and TRF of which just hundreds are Estes-Cox customers. Why care what they think? This is also a no brainer. You cannot reach the millions on a forum. The few on the forums want a diverse, niche product line with just hundreds of potential sales on any given product. Again, that is great for Semroc, but a waste of time for a giant.

Perhaps because it had degenerated into the kinds of forum BS that all these forums at some time tend to devolve into.


I used to be on a number of rocketry related forums: I now only post to two: YORF and RP because they seem to me to be the most mature. I do miss all the great rocketry info that was on TRF 1.0 before it was lost to future generations.

Now folks, I'm just saying what comes to mind. It might be right or wrong. YMMV

terry dean
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  #12  
Old 04-11-2009, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shockwaveriderz
The BATFE never threatened the model rocketry industry in any way that I am aware.
Now folks, I'm just saying what comes to mind. It might be right or wrong. YMMV

terry dean


You are right, MMDV. And you are wrong.

One of the regulatory changes unintentionally made model rocketry illegal. ATF issued a letter ruling that was not their intention and put 27 CFR 555.141-a-10 out for comment later as the corrective measure. So for a couple of years all of model rocketry was operating in a stated non-enforecement zone.

Jerry
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  #13  
Old 04-11-2009, 01:24 PM
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georgegassaway georgegassaway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shockwaveriderz
I do miss all the great rocketry info that was on TRF 1.0 before it was lost to future generations.

Well, if you had been on TRF recently, you would would have seen the announcement that the TRF 1.0 files have been salvaged successfully. They will be posted as an access-only archive forum in a month or two.

As for Barry's total dismissal of the NAR, I think that come far more from personal issues by Barry than what has been good for Estes for 50+ years.

The NAR and Estes used to work together, a LOT. It was mutually beneficial. By the time Barry came in, so much of the hobby was on "autopilot" that Barry did not either know the history, or have any appreciation. Many times when Estes had a program that they needed "nearly free manpower for", they could contact NAR sections to help with some demos, or to build display rockets, "paying" in Estes Gift Certificates (though sometimes it was done for free). Or to help with schools, back when Estes had an actual Education department.

The NAR did things that ticked off Barry. Those things that the NAR did, was to work on the hobby as a whole and give all manufacturers the same opportunities, instead of doing what was always best for Estes Industries. Including things like helping to legalize HPR, which was not good for Estes Industries.

- George Gassaway
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2009, 01:39 PM
shockwaveriderz shockwaveriderz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgegassaway
Well, if you had been on TRF recently would would have seen the announcement that the TRF 1.0 files have been salvaged successfully. They will be posted as an access-only archive forum in a month or two.

As for Barry's total dismissal of the NAR, I think that come far more from personal issues by Barry than what has been good for Estes for 50+ years.

The NAR and Estes used to work together, a LOT. It was mutually beneficial. By the time Barry came in, so much of the hobby was on "autopilot" that Barry did not either know the history, or have any appreciation. Many times when Estes had a program that they needed "nearly free manpower for", they could contact NAR sections to help with some demos, or to build display rockets, "paying" in Estes Gift Certificates (though sometimes it was done for free). Or to help with schools, back when Estes had an actual Education department.

The NAR did things that ticked off Barry. Those things that the NAR did, was to work on the hobby as a whole and give all manufacturers the same opportunities, instead of doing what was always best for Estes Industries. Including things like helping to legalize HPR, which was not good for Estes Industries.

- George Gassaway





George, yes I can remember when the NAR and Estes were more or less joined at the hip....

I also know that the NAR-Estes "kit-stuffer" program was a very good way to get junior members into the NAR.



But I'm curious as to your thoughts on why you think legalizing HPR was not a good thing, or a bad thing for Estes.

Are we talking overall safety here? I can see where HPR with their much larger sizes and velocities could end up being a "kinetic kill vehicle", not intentionally per se, but just because the ejection charge failed. I think that LONG before we see a death from MR, we will see some serious accidents in HPR; now that might "taint" Estes products.

At some point in HPR, somebody is going to be standing in the wrong place......the odds increase as more people come into HPR and more people launch HPR.

I personally can't see HPR going 50 years without either a serious accident or even a death.

I guess that's why they call them Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships huh?

terry dean
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  #15  
Old 04-11-2009, 01:58 PM
foose4string foose4string is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shockwaveriderz
George, yes I can remember when the NAR and Estes were more or less joined at the hip....

I also know that the NAR-Estes "kit-stuffer" program was a very good way to get junior members into the NAR.



But I'm curious as to your thoughts on why you think legalizing HPR was not a good thing, or a bad thing for Estes.

Are we talking overall safety here? I can see where HPR with their much larger sizes and velocities could end up being a "kinetic kill vehicle", not intentionally per se, but just because the ejection charge failed. I think that LONG before we see a death from MR, we will see some serious accidents in HPR; now that might "taint" Estes products.

At some point in HPR, somebody is going to be standing in the wrong place......the odds increase as more people come into HPR and more people launch HPR.

I personally can't see HPR going 50 years without either a serious accident or even a death.

I guess that's why they call them Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships huh?

terry dean



There are a ton of hobbies which include risk, yet they are completely legal. Hunting, skydiving, mountain climbing, car racing, boating, etc. Certain safety margins are put in place, hopefully observed, but accidents happen. You can't save everyone from themselves.

Now, this isn't too say rocketry( no matter what form it takes, be it LPR or HPR) isn't above being picked on by the gov't. We are an easy target for gov't involvement, no question about that.
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  #16  
Old 04-11-2009, 02:06 PM
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georgegassaway georgegassaway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shockwaveriderz
But I'm curious as to your thoughts on why you think legalizing HPR was not a good thing, or a bad thing for Estes.

What I said was, that legalizing HPR was not a good thing for Estes Industries. Or at least it was easy to see it as a threat to them at the time. It opened the door to an "alternative" market that would take away SOME of the Estes sales due to those who would either jump from M.R. to HPR, or at the least spend a good chunk of their "Estes money" on HPR.

I implied nothing about HPR safety. It is hard to tell to what extent someone in charge of a company like Estes would have had true 100% concern about the hobby of Model Rocketry if there was an HPR accident, versus an excuse made up to be against HPR so as to stifle competition.

Now in reality as it played out, HPR has led to more NAR sections, and more organized launches that do HPR. Which as a benefit means more model rocket flying too, whether by other family members flying models, or the fact that the more clubs and the more launches, the more new people you get to become involved... and some of those will stick around for years instead of the typical few months "fad" then move on.

So I am pretty darned sure that Estes has had more sales by riding the coat-tails of HPR for that reason alone, than if HPR had not become legalized and mainstream.

Also, even the Television shows that have shown HPR, have gotten more interest in the whole hobby, some with adults who flew models as kids who got into HPR, sometimes also getting their kids into flying models, and some who didnít get into HPR but did try the M.R. end of the hobby.

- George Gassaway

Last edited by georgegassaway : 04-11-2009 at 02:42 PM.
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  #17  
Old 04-11-2009, 02:44 PM
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Jerry Irvine Jerry Irvine is offline
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Estes Industries actively tried to kill HPR at every turn. Dane Boles personally told me that at a NFPA meeting in Houston. He was spearheading it.

Vern was also opposed to motors with visual effects.

The dissatisfaction by Estes of NAR was not so much regulatory as, it is of no consequence in the market, and its policies were not on a path to change that. I have been saying that too, for more than a decade. The fact that most people agree Bundick was a %^&* contributed to it and Barry is a hard nosed businessperson, some might call a $%^&&*.

HPR is on the path to a 50 year safety record. Even though TRA and NAR only got into it in 84-86, it has existed since about 1970. So in 2020 that will be 50 years. Most of the "incidents" I have personally seen or heard about were a direct result of the non-conventional range set-up TRA improperly mandates.

There is a certain tail wags the dog aspect to Carl's numbers so if you simply cut them in half you can't be too far off on the upside. For example he says 10:1 and I say from first hand Estes sources it is 7:1.

We have no idea how much "mis-information" Barry told us. I understand one of the posters here is in a position to know. I do know he said the right thing to give me comfort that Estes is here to stay.

Note well Barry's fixation on ORM-D Consumer Commodity approval.

Note my 1994 rmr posts about that:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec....cd325540024e892

Jerry
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Last edited by Jerry Irvine : 04-11-2009 at 03:29 PM.
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  #18  
Old 04-11-2009, 04:35 PM
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Carl,

Very nice analysis.

I was the one who asked Barry about the relative size difference between Estes today and the 1970s. I was hoping his answer would put to bed once and for all the nonsense on these forums that a return to 1970s product and marketing would somehow improve Estes business. His answer revealed a very different reality than that supposed by many on these forums. I am very grateful he took the time to answer that additional question.

That Estes hobby-market business tripled as a result of the Walmart offerings is also an amazing piece of information. Even if the Walmart sales generate very little net income (which I doubt is the case), using that "loss leader" to triple the size of the hobby market suggests Estes cares way more about the hobby market than many here give them credit for.

What is particularly interesting to me is that while Estes model rocket sales have grown substantially over the last 30 years, participation in the NAR hasn't. Many here have equated the tiny size and stagnant growth of the NAR with a failure to grow the hobby. Barry's answers suggest that that isn't the case and it's certainly changed my perception of where the hobby stands vis a vis the NAR. Participation in launching model rockets (from Estes alone) has apparently grown a lot since the 1970's. And the proliferation of small hobby market model rocket manufacturers has grown as well. But the NAR hasn't grown commensurately. Why? I suspect that has less to do with Estes lack of participation with the NAR than it does with what the NAR offers the public.

I personally like what the NAR offers, and I participate. But maybe it's time I let go of the notion that how the NAR is doing is somehow a reflection of how the hobby as a whole is doing.
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  #19  
Old 04-11-2009, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus
What is particularly interesting to me is that while Estes model rocket sales have grown substantially over the last 30 years, participation in the NAR hasn't. Many here have equated the tiny size and stagnant growth of the NAR with a failure to grow the hobby. Barry's answers suggest that that isn't the case and it's certainly changed my perception of where the hobby stands vis a vis the NAR. Participation in launching model rockets (from Estes alone) has apparently grown a lot since the 1970's. And the proliferation of small hobby market model rocket manufacturers has grown as well. But the NAR hasn't grown commensurately. Why? I suspect that has less to do with Estes lack of participation with the NAR than it does with what the NAR offers the public.

I personally like what the NAR offers, and I participate. But maybe it's time I let go of the notion that how the NAR is doing is somehow a reflection of how the hobby as a whole is doing.


The NAR does or seems to discourage "lone ranger rocketry". Definitely and for sure in the HPR arena. Estes is all about lone ranger rocketry.

Estes is willing to accept the reality that most users are new and short term. NAR fixates on products and services for long timers, mostly "armchair rocketeers".

I have suggested several initiatives over the years to put a dent in that and all of them were DOA. Not one was even tried.

Jerry
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U.S. Rockets instaship. http://bit.ly/1aca7mA Please buy some rockets.
The O administration believed in tax, spend, borrow, fine, mandate, monologue. D voters will soon be very happy with the election outcome!
Model rocketry is as safe as safe can be defined in human existence. Bow and pray: GH Stine, Orville, Vern, Lee, Lonnie, Carl, etc. No, really.
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  #20  
Old 04-11-2009, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl@Semroc
..... That would mean Estes-Cox is between about $150 million and $300 million in gross sales per year now....

Carl, you are dreaming.

Before layoffs, Estes had about 70 or so employees. Even at 250,000 in sales per employee, you would only be at about 17or so million a year in sales.

Even with your low number of 150, 70 employees would be doing over 2 million in sales per employee per year. (Not including overseas workers). Impossible. As a comparison, Hasbro (as per yahoo finance) did 5.92Billion with 29,000 employees. About $200,000 per employee.

Your logic fails because you assume they need to do 100,000 kits before it is worth while. First, no mention of how many years 100,000 kits need to be sold in. Second, you take his word for it.
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