You scoured the internet for a certain model plane by Great Planes. But, you can’t find a single kit anywhere. Surely, they didn’t all sell out overnight.
So, what happened to great plane kits?
Well, sadly, the kits have been discontinued. Horizon Hobbies discontinued the brand shortly after purchasing it from Hobbico. Spare parts are available. This means you can still purchase second-hand models and make replacements. However, complete kits are no longer being manufactured.
We understand that this might not be enough information. You might be expecting possible ways of experiencing the magic of building model planes again.
Then just stick with us as we help you relive the excitement.
I Want Some Backstory
Just like the question- where did parkzone go, what happened to great plane kits also became a popular concern among RC plane enthusiasts. The short version is that the brand ended up on the chopping blocks when ownership changed. Here’s the longer version.
Hobbico filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2018. The company was liquidated. After that, Horizon purchased Hobbico and all 150 brands under it.
Shortly after the purchase a number of models were discontinued. Unfortunately, for the Great Planes’ fans, the entire brand got scrapped.
As for the why, it’s all speculation as Horizon did not make any official statement. The most logical assumption is that it wasn’t profitable enough.
I Still Want a Great Planes Kit
There is only one thing to do if you still want one. Find someone with the kit you’re looking for. And try to buy it from them. Marketplaces are rife with secondhand kits. If you’re especially lucky you can even find an unassembled one.
If you haven’t built a model plane in a while, you might be questioning your skills. Don’t fret about it. There are plenty of easy-to-follow guides on how to build a model plane.
I Got My Hands on a Broken Great Planes Kit
Getting your hands on a Great Planes kit won’t be difficult. The chances of the kit being a fully functional one are slim. But even if it isn’t working right away you don’t have to worry.
Horizon still sells spare parts. Therefore, you can easily replace any broken part and fly your plane to the moon. But before that, you need to diagnose what the problem is.
What’s Wrong with My Kit
We’ll list the most common problems you can face with your model plane. That should be enough to cover your troubleshooting needs.
Issues with the Controller
The first part to suspect would be your controller. Try changing the batteries. If that doesn’t work, try checking if the plane and controller are on the same frequency.
Another aspect of transmission that often gets neglected is traffic. Other planes around you on the same frequency could be picking up your transmission.
Issues with the Wings
Once you’re done troubleshooting the remote, look for damage on the wings. The slightest dents could keep the plane from flying. If the wings have visible signs of damage, replace them.
Seeing as the Great Planes kits are no longer made, replacing the wings might be tough. But there is a DIY fix. You’ll need a sharp hobby knife, sandpaper, glue, thin wooden planks, and some pieces of plastic.
Take the hobby knife and cut around the dent. Take the pieces of plastic, and cut and sand them to shape. Glue the thin wooden planks inside the wing to provide support for the spare plastic. Then glue the plastic pieces to the wing.
You’ll need the right kind of glue. You’d want to select the glue that works best with your foam RC plane. Selecting an adhesive for fixing your plastic model should be no different.
Issues with Other Parts
If it’s not the remote or the wings, it could be the propeller or the motors. Examine the propeller first. If you see no signs of damage, check if it spins. In case it doesn’t, buy replacements for the propeller adapter and drive set.
The motor could also be damaged. Luckily Horizon still sells motors for Great Planes models. Both inrunner and outrunner motors are still sold. Don’t get sucked into the inrunner vs outrunner debate. Buy a model similar to the one in your kit.
That’s everything you can do to fix a broken kit. But be wary of water damage or damage to the nose. If there are signs of either, that plane won’t fly again.
What if I Just Want a Good Kit?
Then you’re in luck, my friend. Great Planes might have met its demise, but there are still plenty of kits out there. Your choice will depend on two things. Your level of expertise and how soon you want to fly the plane.
If you want to fly it out of the box, then you’d go for an RTF model. Here are our suggestions for a good RTF model.
Let’s say you want the experience of building your RC airplane too. Then you would go for an ARF model. We would suggest you try one of these if you haven’t already.
An additional tip would be to consider float planes if you live near the water. Landing those beauties in the water is another exciting experience. If you haven’t tried one before, then you’ll have to look at floatplane suggestions.
That about wraps it for our suggestions.
Question: Does Great Planes still make kits?
Answer: No. Great Planes was purchased by Horizon along with other Hobbico brands. Shortly thereafter it was discontinued.
Question: Have all Hobbico brands been discontinued?
Answer: No. Some Hobbico brands are still manufactured by Horizon. These include Top-Flite, Axial, Arma, and Dromida.
Question: Is Great Planes likely to make a return?
Answer: Unfortunately, no. It’s already been 2 years since Horizon scrapped the brand. And, regardless of its popularity in its niche, it didn’t sell enough to make a profit.
Now you know what happened to great planes kits. We know how painful it is to see a part of your childhood fade away. But, hopefully, we could provide you with enough hope to get over the pain.
Great planes might’ve gone away, but there are still great brands out there. So, go out and get your hands on a kit of your liking. Fly it around and enjoy yourself.