View Full Version : Miniature Aircraft: American designed & built?

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Todd Marsh
04-23-2004, 03:33 PM
On the box my Miniature Aircraft 'Tempest FAI' was delivered in was written " Proudly Made In The USA"- right next to a USA flag on the lower right corner of the box label.

I don't doubt this fact, but I really want to know: Are ALL of the parts in the Tempest kit - designed, manufactured, assembled, packaged, etc., in the USA? I am simply curious, as alot of American companies who use oversea vendors to decrease the manufacture costs of their products while still maintaining a product that is equal in quality to what they could have manufactured here them-selfs here in the US, but at a higher cost. I don't mind where the parts in the M.A. Tempest kit come from, as I feel the kit is made up of superior & excellent quality parts. It does interest me to know, is the entire M.A. Tempest kit derived/built from & on US soil?

04-23-2004, 05:56 PM
Are ALL of the parts in the Tempest kit - designed, manufactured, assembled, packaged, etc., in the USA?

There is a few parts that are manufactured outside the USA. The majority of the parts come from shops here in the USA. Everything else is done at MA in Sorrento, FL. The packaging, assembling and designing is done at MA. There use to be a small label or small print on the kit label that states where parts of the kit are manufactered. I don't get to see any kit boxes.


04-23-2004, 06:05 PM
Interesting sidebar: I was flying my Fury at my local field http://www.rseahawks.org/ a few months ago and a chap walked up to me and asked if I was flying a MA helicopter. I said that I was and he told me that he was a machinist in the Orlando area and although he did not work for MA he machined parts for their helicopters for a living. So what's so interesting about that? My Fury was the first model helicopter he had ever seen.


Todd Marsh
04-23-2004, 09:54 PM
capebob, yea that is kinda cool. I used to work building blood transfusion machines and while I was at a local hospital visiting a sick friend of mine, they just happen to have been using a Electromedics/Medtronic AT1000 (blood transfusion machine I used to build) to do a blood transfusion on him. The quality control on medical equipment is quite intensive to say the least, & at this company I had to personally sign each sub-assembly before it went to Quality Control to be tested, & once verified as 'good', then it would come back to me to put on the next part, until I had a complete, ready to ship, quality controlled to death, machine. I took a gander inside the AT1000 machine they were using on my friend, & saw all those little 'ID' tags with my old employee # on them that I used to have to do before each Q/C inspection on the electronics panel! Was pretty cool to see almost 7 years later, the machine I made, was saving my buddies life. Small, small, world, it really is.

04-24-2004, 03:37 AM
I've heard that the plastic parts was/are made in Sweden, is that true?

Todd Marsh
04-24-2004, 12:27 PM
I applaud M.A. for both obtaining, & manufacturing as much material for their helis as they possibly can, from right here in the USA.

04-24-2004, 06:14 PM
I'm a MA fan as I've been running my gasser since '96.

However I'm starting to get concerned. My local hobby shop just stopped carring MinAir parts. He used to be a big dealer for them and had two walls devoted to MinAir parts.

He claims that their prices have gone way up, their discounts for dealers have gone away and only the 'elite' fly them now. He also says that family infighting at MinAir has split the company up into a new company that is nothing like the past.

I don't know if any of this is true or not. I'm sad to see my local shop (who is has quite a large shop here in NH) stop carrying MinAir. Now I'm going to be forced to do mailorder for MinAir parts (thanks to Ricks for keeping their parts in stock).

I did visit their new location in Fl recently. They weren't too cordial, I guess they don't get many pilots visiting them too often.

04-24-2004, 10:00 PM
Interesting Todd, It is truly a very small world, I used to work for Electromedics back before they had a blood trans machine...all they made were digital thermometers....that would have been about '82 or '83. That's like two lifetimes ago for me.

We do get as much of our stuff made right here as we possibly can. Some does come from across the pond, but Europe, not Asia.

ALL the design work is done right here, in Florida.


Todd Marsh
04-25-2004, 04:33 AM
On a side note Chris, I hired on @ Electromedics (say maybe early 96'), as a electronics technician when they opened a new plastics manufacturing/blood transfusion division in Parker, Colorado. Some time in say 97' their was a electromedics/hemotec company merger. HemoTec made a machine that could check a patients blood coagulation quickly in a surgery setting & was a great new product, still the standard tool today as a matter of fact, although it was obvious it was underfunded when it arrived at Electromedics, which was able to iron everything out of the HemoTec product & also quickly got proper medical & ISO9001 approval for the both the AT1000 Blood transfusion machine & the Hemotec product. About a month after getting the final approval some old guy has the entire company at some 'all hands on deck' meeting, & told us his company "medtronic" ( THE largest medical manufacture @ the time) had just purchased the whole electromedics/Hemotec conglomerate & that was it was all going to change...For the "better". Claimed he was going to produce a new & better machine to super cede the AT1000, & take us ALL to the next level. We believed him knowing he personally owned & ran the largest medical manufacture at the time (4-BILLION in sales by 1999 :shock: ) in the world. Then the WHOLE company started laying off people, and was CLOSED for all intensive purposes less than a year later. The building still stands and must be a HUGE liability money wise to just continue owning. Its probably more money to run the building than a small country. Maybe they still test the old machines there for the FDA...I don't know. It is so large, you could nearly house 2-3 football fields inside it....EASY. I bet its soo expensive, they cannot even sell it if they wanted to. Time & age will deteriorate it until nobody wants it. Medtronic still is at the top, and I imagine a similar operation in a foriegn country does the same things we did in that building everyday, all year long, for 1/60th the pay we did. Probably saved Medtronic so much money to move the facility, they can now afford to let the building sit un-used. Kinda sad really, if you ask me.

Read what you want into this scenario that played out on the largest $ scale you can imagine, and look what happened. I think the straight line to run a continually profitable business, is to never to lose sight of the end user, who IS driving the market.

Thats unfortunate you felt treated that way at M.A. in Florida, Rich. I really hope to see the M.A. products go farther than they allready have, because I love the products. I think the moral off the story is growth is TOUGH for a business. If you don't keep a eye on the end guy who uses your products & 10THOUSAND other things.... he/they might wander away. Anyways, I certainly hope M.A. prospers, and passes on their end-profits to the end users also, with reasonably priced kits, for us end consumers. :wink:

04-25-2004, 07:43 AM
Hi Todd,

They weren't rude or anything to me. I just happened to pop in to say hi and visit them when I was in the area on business.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was left with the feeling that I was intruding on them, even though they took the time to talk with me. I do have to admit that I was intruding on them as I stopped by unannounced and without an appointment. I suppose I was expecting a warmer reception when a disttant end user shows up (I live in NH).

This doesn't concernt me very much, but I am concerned if their practices are causing local hobby shops to stop carrying their equipment. At one time, this shop was one of their largest supporters. This is not a small shop and may be the largest in New England.

I know it must be tough to compete with the mass produced foreign built products. The best way a company can do this is with great products at reasonable prices backed up by great customer service (which will include the local hobby shops).

04-25-2004, 09:17 AM

Why put all this Iraq bullshit in the MA section?
And who cares what kind of gun you own?

Just take that part to OFF Topics or flames and gripes like I did.
In that way you won't be offending anybody that might not agree with your view as they came to this part to read about MA products.

04-25-2004, 09:26 AM
Hi Rich

I'm not sure what happened the day you showed up at the shop or even if I was there or not. Sometimes we can get really focused on what we're doing (like getting a shipment of kits out the door) to the extent of putting everything else on the back burner...even lunch.

It is a small group of people, like 10 and we all have a lot to do, which is good. But, it can be difficult at times to stop and greet the customer in the way he deserves. Let me personally apologize for any alienation you felt in the shop. If you ever have the chance again, call ahead and ask for me. If we can get something set up ahead of time I'll know to look for you and can take you around and introduce you properly.


04-25-2004, 10:24 AM
I won't get into the price debate but since the Fury has come out, the X-Cell range has become very popular again in Australia.

This is helped by our Importer/Distributor who except for the very few and rare hickups looks after us very well with excellent support.

I am looking forward to get my Fury Expert60 up in the air soon.

If you guys can keep the spare parts prices in a reasonable price range then your product range should have a long and succsessful life over, here as the support is already good.

04-25-2004, 02:45 PM
Lucky Australia!
If I didn't have my US supplier I wouldn't be able to keep my Furies flying at all!

Todd Marsh
04-25-2004, 02:46 PM
Rich, I gather from the post about your LHS minimizing their selection of MinAir parts, was possibly in part, to their inability to profit as they had in the past, at a competitive profit margin, when compared to other products they currently sell, and therefore decided to downsize the space for MA products. I don't want to read too far into this situation, but it might seem this particular LHS had reached a point where devoting a fairly large area of store floorspace to MinAir, wasn't as profitable as it once might have been, due to MA's increased cost of parts/kits to the dealer? If this was the case and the increase seemed reasonable it would seem sensible to simply continue carrying the MA parts at a slightly increased price. I guess my point is that perhaps the space was changed over for other reasons (owner felt disrespected possibly, etc, etc) in addition to the cost increase, but who knows.

I know from my own experience in buying automotive paint supplies in large bulk- Generally, it is always in the best interest of the supplier to keep the buyer happy, because its easy to change a supplier- no matter how great the product. When companies either have a firm grip on the market, either due to superior products, or whatever reason, sometimes it is easy for them to lose sight of the original intention, especially when cash is being made hand over fist. I know I have dropped suppliers for MANY reasons. Sometimes its because they outgrew the relationship that started us doing business. Little things like stopping by unannounced just to see if I needed anything, or if there was even the smallest issue- they wanted to help and be involved. Then after giving them 5K a week, every week, for a extended period of time, the service got worse-not better. I guess my point is staying hungry is important for a business.

It does sound as though MinAir is run by a family who truly does care about the end user. I myself can attest to the fact their technical support is first rate, I was very impressed that I was always able to contact a knowledgeable person by simply a telephone call.

04-26-2004, 05:44 AM

That is amazing that there is no German Importer for the MA range.
Or is it that he is just way too expensive?
You will get everything you need from Ricks and Cyberheli in a couple of days and they would be cheaper then a German importer could ever offer it.

So how come that you fly MA if it is that hard to get onto?
Did you see a model fly at a show?
How are you doing with the YS engines? I know that they need at least 20% Nitro to work and I still can remember the price of Nitro when I lived there, 10% was the highest that was reasonably affordable.

04-26-2004, 06:20 AM
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the note. I appreciate it. If I do have spare time to visit again I'll call first and setup an appointment. I do get to the Orlando area a lot. Luckily I have to be in the area in a week, so somehow I'll be able to visit Top Gun. I wonder how that happend? :D

Todd, my LHS mentioned pricing changes, loss of discounts, trouble getting kits (he would order one and it wouldn't show up for weeks causing customers to wait) and a lack of popularity in our area losing to less costly to repair ships such as the Raptor and Shuttle series. He says that MinAir has prices themselves into a 'flown only by the elite' status beacuse of many of these factors.

I understand that from MinAir's point of view they would prefer to be the best of the best, that's where the most profitable profit margins are.

It's just sad to see the support gone from my LHS. I now have to resort to mail order.

04-26-2004, 06:44 AM
You are lucky to have a hobby shop that sells Heli parts at all. We have to drive 1.5 hours each way to get to one. :(

04-26-2004, 07:02 AM
Lucky yes.. and I'm trying to keep them in business, I can never get out of there for less than $100! :D

04-26-2004, 07:07 AM
I know the dealer ImRich is referring to and I also know the other hobbystore that sells
MA (and Rap & Shuttle).

The dealer is ALWAYS the one to get squeezed. It's up to them to stock a boatload of
parts (partic. in the MA case), dedicate lots of wall space to it and then the mfgr decides
to cut discounts, etc. I know one dealer that took most of the MA parts off the wall and simply
put them in a bunch of boxes. No need to take up valuable floor/wall space w/ parts that
realistically rarely move and can be used to make more profit via Rap parts or car parts or

Same situation w/ Robbe. It got to the point where there was barely enough discount
for the dealers and lets face it, profit is the name of the game, no one is doing this
cause they're just plain good guys.

And the other truth is that w/ the advent of the 'Net, people have access to many many
more parts faster than ever before. That helps the mfgr and the global
economy and hurts the LHS for the most part.

04-26-2004, 07:11 AM
Someone else in the area stocks MinAir? Please tell!

And Z11355, have we met? I'm not sure who you are! :glasses2:

04-26-2004, 07:20 AM
Hi Alfred,
yes we do have an MA importer and I am willing to pay for good service and parts availability but he often doesn't have the parts I need and sometimes you cannot get in touch with him for days because he obviously has other(more important) business to do. Some parts take ages to get by.
I have the impression that he's always months behind in introducing the latest models.
His website hasn't been updated for ages; nothing about Extreme, Tempest or Ion, no dealerlist,
no films to download. Poor, poor, poor!
I came to the Fury because I knew it from MA's website and then I saw it fly in the US.
It was love at first sight and I am still impressed; this heli I can still rescue in most critical situations. Since I fly the Fury(1,5 years now) I crashed twice only because of technical problems.(1 OS got stuck, one battery had a bad contact)
Found a shop in California with good service and they are nice guys too.(zoomshobbies)
Yes, flying nitro is expensive ( 3,82 = US$ 4,52 per flight) but the YS is really foolproof if you follow the instructions. Very smooth, very powerfull, very easy to set up, very short breaking in.

04-26-2004, 01:45 PM
I was referring to Alex's RC Hobbyworks in Belmont, MA

Not as big a stock as RCB has/had.

We may have met. Did you go to SMIRCHA or LazyLoopers last year?

04-26-2004, 02:40 PM
I haven't been to Alex's in Belmont. I'll have to find where it is for emergencies.

I was at the Wrentham FF last year.

05-06-2004, 01:49 PM
New to this forum. I've been a loyal MA flyer since mid 90's. I was told the original MA Xcell head design was from Schluter helis in Germany. I don't know how much of that has trickled down to the modern Fury/Tempest/Ion/etc.

As far as parts being made here and Europe. Who manufacturers the bearings in these kits?

But they sure fly nice though!