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Banana Hobby Visit

Old 07-16-2009, 05:24 PM
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xplaneguy
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Default Banana Hobby Visit

I just wanted to share with all of you, a few pictures and some highlights of our visit with Pete and his team at Banana Hobby in Monterey Park, CA.

For the record, I'm the kind of guy who likes to see things for myself and the visit yesterday was truly, time well spent.

My daughter, Evelyn (10 years old) and I arrived at 1:40pm after a 1½ hour drive from Edwards AFB, CA. We walked into the Main Office and were greeted by Amy. In the background, the sound of telephones constantly ringing and a team of young people, assisting customers. To my right, I immediately recognized Pete (from the videos) and he was on the phone helping a customer. I informed Amy that we were here to pick up the 70mm F-22 and to meet and talk with Pete, if possible. Everyone included the website designer, were very busy! Pete looked up and I think noticed us. Amy advised us that Pete was very busy but to go ahead and have a seat in the lobby. Within two minutes of waiting, Pete had walked out to the warehouse, retrieved the F-22 and personally brought it out to us. We exchanged introductions and I introduced Pete to Evelyn. We talked in the lobby for a few minutes about the business and I asked questions about the tough side of the business. In particular, I asked about the recent on-line bashings that he has/had to deal with. I gathered from Pete’s answers, that the personal attacks have been hard on him and no doubt that he is the easy target as the face of Banana Hobby. I saw that Pete is passionate about this hobby and learned that he has been a RC pilot since he was a kid. There is a spark there that carries Pete through the tough times and that's the love of the hobby.

Before we left, I asked Pete if it would be OK to take pictures of some of the planes, if they were in the building? I immediately mentioned the B-2 and he told me that it was at his home and he was hoping to get a video of it soon. The winds have been strong in So Cal lately. Like a proud father, Pete then said, "Come on, I’ll take you upstairs and show you the planes!" I wasn’t sure what we would see but Evelyn and I followed him up to what he explained would eventually be the showroom. Once at the top of the stairs, I immediately spotted a large room full of EDF jets, electric planes, helicopters and even a few gliders on the floor. It was an awesome sight. We walked in and Pete let Evelyn and I pick up the planes and basically drool for 30 minutes. Now remember, downstairs the phones are ringing and Pete was short on staff, he needed to be down there. Every time I said, we should let you go, Pete would say, "No, take your time and enjoy!" We were like three kids playing in the attic. It was cool! Three RC pilots surrounded by a lot of cool planes. I asked plenty of questions! We discussed our passion for the hobby and our model aviation background. While Evelyn was enjoying this incredible room, Pete mentioned that he saw pictures of Evelyn holding/flying her Wild Hawk on RC Groups. He asked how her flying was coming along. Evelyn thought it was so cool that Pete knew who she was and as her father, I did too! Pete mentioned his desire to support young RC pilots and explained that he has many kids emailing him daily and following his videos on You Tube. He told Evelyn that he would like to stay up on her progress. Needless to say, Evelyn is more focused and wants to practice landings tomorrow. I'm glad I took the week off!

Pete invited us to the AMA Convention in January 2010 and hang out in the Banana Hobby booth. We will definitely take him up on the wonderful invitation. By the way, if you haven't attended the AMA Convention which is held every January in Ontario, CA, try to make it some time. Great deals, lots of vendors and great demos!

Evelyn loved every minute of our visit and talked about it all the way home. We will definitely be making a return visit next month to pick up the 70mm F-117 with retract. Below, Evelyn is holding it.

In summary, Pete came on board Banana Hobby with the goal of improving the business. He brings a life time of RC experience with him. Pete has brought the company a long way in three years and connects with RC pilots, because, he is one. This is a very young, and might I add, modest company and they are continuing to improve and grow. For the record, no expensive cars in the parking lot, no air conditioning running in the office and it was hot in Los Angeles today. This is definitely not a huge corporation but a company that is trying to bring exciting new products to the RC community. Is it a tough business? Absolutely! Will they get better and grow? I truly believe they will and the issues that do occur will decrease. Pete can’t do it all by himself. He has to rely on people and sometimes there are employees that just don’t work out. So...fine tuning is a constant. As a matter of fact, Pete stated that they just recently implemented a new barcode tracking system to speed up the processing/tracking of orders.

By the way, here's something I didn't realize. Not only does Pete get hundreds of emails weekly through the Banana Hobby website but also hundreds of emails through You Tube, along with lots of PM's and posts from RC Groups and RC Universe. That probably not all of it either! Wow! Better him than me!

It was gracious of Pete to spend an hour of his busy day with us and well worth the drive in LA traffic!

All the best,
Tony
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Last edited by xplaneguy; 10-29-2009 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:03 PM
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Nitro Blast
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Awesome post, thanks for the review on Banana, huge insight.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:36 PM
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Banana hobby acually has great customer service. I called pete once and he helped me out with picking an EDF.
I don't know why people dont like them, they are great to talk to, and are willing to help out anyone that needs it.
--PvT
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:50 PM
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Default Banana hobby

Interesting post. I recently bought a plane from banana hobby a few weeks ago. The Blitzworks Pitts bipe. It actually is on the floor in one of your pictures. No bad experiences here. Everthing delivered as stated. More than pleased with the plane... Nothing else out on the market comes close to it...I fly it as much as I can. I like to fly it much more than my H-9 Pulse xt 60!! -which I find too stressful. The pitts I just grab and go.
People on these forums do a lot of bashing of this company. But in this economic and political environment , owning, starting and maintaining a business is an uphill battle..let alone doing it and bringing inovation to the hobby!
It won't get easier for Pete, especially in California, with their lousy government combined with the current tax and spend idiots in washington making running any business a nightmare. He won't be able to hire much additional help!
I hope it does get better for him though.
I like the products he offers more than anything else I see on the general market, which is mostly overpriced junk.
Like most that post to this and other forums, I am a little gun shy on ordering from banana hobby. Not because they have screwed me. But because I don't want to get disappointed by them...as so many apparently have been.
If you read this Pete.. my message to you is try to keep doing your best and listen to your customers and try to grow your business in spite of the politicians that see you as an evil rich business owner.
I probably will order again from banana hobby...but just have to get my nerve up to do so.
Truth be told...there areprobably lots of other satisfied customers out there in the silent majority..but the sad fact is most people only take the time to talk when the have a complaint and are mad enough to take the time.
The main thing is the aircraft that Pete offers are the of the quality and price we all want to see in our hobby but can't find do to the lack of competition in the business. IMHO they fly good, look good and if you crash and destroy them you don't have too much invested and you can just get another one and try again.
But then again, maybe I just expect something different from the hobby than most people on this forum do.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:06 PM
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tjm5837 - You're right! Running a business in California right now is tough! Pete definitely has the right attitude, focus and passion to succeed!

Regards,
Tony
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Nitro Blast View Post
Awesome post, thanks for the review on Banana, huge insight.
What he said!!
Makes me rethink my impression of his company due to other post's I've seen.
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by C130 Load View Post
What he said!!
Makes me rethink my impression of his company due to other post's I've seen.
Not me,, It took me an hour an a half to read though the HORROR stories, hundreds I'd read,,
One hour of PR don't impress me at all,
let's see some phones answered & E-Mails returned and the crap about Pete say'in his boss this and his boss that when HE OWNS THE PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!bubsteve
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:16 PM
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Tony welcome to WF, I do worry when someones first post is one like this, especially after the long history BH has with customer service. Hopefully it's legit and Tony will become active on the site.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:38 PM
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Tony's a new but active member over on RCG; I'd happily vouch for him.

I'm really glad you enjoyed your visit, Tony. That's quite a cool room full of planes.

However, I think until Pete really learns how to manage his business and stand by his guarantees, Banana Hobby's reputation is going to have a long way to go before I consider them "reputable." Too many faulty products and thousands of dollars lost amongst those I call friends. This "transition period" he keeps citing about turning the company around is over a year in the making. Eventually, something has to give.

Awesome to see your daughter is so involved with your hobby, too! As I sit here looking at my little darling 2-week old daughter, I can only hope she might take some sort of interest in aviation. R/C, full scale, history, or just aerodynamics ... heck, hang gliding or paragliding, even. Flight is just such an awesome concept, and it's great to see kids getting involved and parents nurturing those interests.

Welcome to WattFlyer!

- Dave
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by stevecooper View Post
Not me,, It took me an hour an a half to read though the HORROR stories, hundreds I'd read,,
One hour of PR don't impress me at all,
let's see some phones answered & E-Mails returned and the crap about Pete say'in his boss this and his boss that when HE OWNS THE PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!bubsteve

Steve (Bub),,, I said "rethink",, Didn't mean to imply I had changed my impression of the company,, not just yet.
I hope it is a step in the right direction,, we'll see.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:38 PM
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Default Thanks!

Thank you all for the welcome!

Here’s just a quick intro about me.

I've been involved in Model Aviation for 32 years and a member of RC Universe since 2002. I started at Age 7 with Cox & Testors Control Line, Guillows & Sterling Balsa Rubber Band kits and Model Rocketry. I still do all of them! I taught myself how to fly R/C aircraft in 1986 with the 2-channel, Cox .049 Cessna Centurion. Since that time, I've tackled almost everything that flies with nitro power. This year, I made the transition to EDF jets and they have been my focus.

On the Banana Hobby issue, I have dealt with many companies during the past 30+ years. Tower Hobbies being the best! Now, Banana Hobby gets a lot of negative posts but I have not personally experienced anything which would warrant discontinuing business with them or spending my time bashing them. During the past six months, I have purchased 14 jets and I have had either products or service issues with each company. If you would like the stories, I'll share via PM only. The most recent involves an overseas company.

The posts that I enjoy reading are positive, even when the situation isn't. I especially enjoy the ones that are helpful and enthusiastic. I know that people from around the world read what we write and I want to help promote the hobby and encourage everyone. It's easy for us to overlook the big picture and get caught up in our negative situations. I've read several negative posts that were eventually closed after they cooled down.

I'm constantly thinking about the folks just getting into the hobby and most importantly the kids who sit in their rooms reading the RC magazines and surf the web, dreaming of owning that gas turbine jet or helicopter. I'm one of them!

I hope to contribute helpful, informative and encouraging posts that will fuel a positive RC experience and ignites enthusiasm.

Sincerely,
Tony
"I love the sound of EDF jets in the morning!"

Last edited by xplaneguy; 10-29-2009 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:46 PM
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And that is a magnificent attitude to have Tony. The hobby needs more folks like you and your lovely little girl.

Welcome to WattFlyer. We are glad you are here.
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Old 07-18-2009, 12:19 AM
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Well between Dave vouching for you Tony and that informative third post I appreciate your trip and report!! Again, welcome to Wattflyer!!
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Old 07-18-2009, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Don Sims View Post
Well between Dave vouching for you Tony and that informative third post I appreciate your trip and report!! Again, welcome to Wattflyer!!
Thanks Don! Glad to be a part of Wattflyer!

Best,
Tony
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:30 AM
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Tony::welcome to the best RC'in site anywhere!!
My fond'ish wish is that BH turns into another Heads-Up RC!!!
I'll eat crow and write checks at the same time!!
They have some cool look'in stuff for sure,
Let's all "hope for the best here" and see what happens,your bubsteve
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:52 PM
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iscreamsunday
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Default Not satisfied at all

I posted on another thread which has been closed. I ordered an MX-2 on June 30 and it arrived on July 12. After assembly, I found that either the ESC or motor were bad. After much arguing (they didn't want to send me an ESC or motor) I was told to send the fuselage back, which I did. I paid the $12 to send it back, and they have had it since 7/14. I called on 8/11 and was told by a female operator it would be looked at that day and she would call me the next day. No call on the 12th or since. I called today (8/21) and talked to Ryan. He states it is still in the pile of rubbish and has not been looked at. He now tells me that he will call me back today (at their COB). I am quite disappointed at the lack of communication, and I ordered even despite some bad press. I am out $250 (at least for now), and winter is approaching. I just want this over so I can (maybe) enjoy the plane. I highly doubt I would order from them again, nor can I see suggesting their shop for others. Sucks to be me getting a bad unit out of the box, but they could have done much better. It seems as though unless you have some clought, CS is non-existent post-sale. I really wish I was somebody so I could get some satisfaction.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:38 PM
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That is really sad... To be out not only your money but now the product as well....

That's really too bad.
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Old 08-22-2009, 01:38 PM
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There's more going on with the BH drama under the surface. There is a vendor war going on, Vendor "E" gets schills to disrupt Vendor "B's" threads and harass anyone who has a bad experience with Vendor "E", it's nasty business practicces at it's finest. If service issues from either aren't bad enough, now there is political bickering that is destroying the usefulness of the board on RCG. Nothing worse than pawns hiding behind a keyboard and wreaking havoc because they were bought off via free stuff.

I sure can appreaciate good places like EJF and other vendors like Donsrc.
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe 1320 View Post
There's more going on with the BH drama under the surface. There is a vendor war going on, Vendor "E" gets schills to disrupt Vendor "B's" threads and harass anyone who has a bad experience with Vendor "E", it's nasty business practicces at it's finest. If service issues from either aren't bad enough, now there is political bickering that is destroying the usefulness of the board on RCG. Nothing worse than pawns hiding behind a keyboard and wreaking havoc because they were bought off via free stuff.

I sure can appreaciate good places like EJF and other vendors like Donsrc.
Be sure to watch out for all those black Blade 400 3D helicopters circling around the Bananas.
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:35 AM
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iscreamsunday
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Default got it back

I got my fuselage back from banana hobby today (9/4/09). The ESC has been replaced. I assembled it and flew it. It flew nicely, but when I landed I ran off the runway and into the grass. It nosed over, and bent the front gear under, damaging the fuselage. I have repaired it and increased the strength. I am quite disappointed with banana hobby, and will not darken their doorway (so to speak) again. The MX-2 is a great flying plane, but not having it for 1 1/2 months due to a poor quality control is unacceptable. Noting that Ryan at BH is doing the best he can, but the company is not responsible (IMO). Attached are pics of the plane and my mods for strengthening the main gear.
Troy
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by iscreamsunday View Post
I got my fuselage back from banana hobby today (9/4/09). The ESC has been replaced. I assembled it and flew it. It flew nicely, but when I landed I ran off the runway and into the grass. It nosed over, and bent the front gear under, damaging the fuselage. I have repaired it and increased the strength. I am quite disappointed with banana hobby, and will not darken their doorway (so to speak) again. The MX-2 is a great flying plane, but not having it for 1 1/2 months due to a poor quality control is unacceptable. Noting that Ryan at BH is doing the best he can, but the company is not responsible (IMO). Attached are pics of the plane and my mods for strengthening the main gear.
Troy
Nice mod on the Landing gear Troy, I feel your pain with BH, I think they sell more than they can service, and thats giving them a bad rap, they need more people to take care of customers, but, there is just not a lot of profit selling rc stuff to hire quality service personal, so I can see thats its a vicious circle, not making excuses for them, i just see the problems associated with that type of buisness, and the planes are not going to have quality parts in them, they are going to have the cheapest stuff just to make it work, if that, IMHO, its best to work with vendors like Hobby people, tower, horizon Hobby, you may spend a little more, but i feel you will get better customer service and Quality Take care, Chellie

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Old 09-04-2009, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe 1320 View Post
There's more going on with the BH drama under the surface. There is a vendor war going on, Vendor "E" gets schills to disrupt Vendor "B's" threads and harass anyone who has a bad experience with Vendor "E", it's nasty business practicces at it's finest. If service issues from either aren't bad enough, now there is political bickering that is destroying the usefulness of the board on RCG. Nothing worse than pawns hiding behind a keyboard and wreaking havoc because they were bought off via free stuff.

I sure can appreaciate good places like EJF and other vendors like Donsrc.
I have no info about BH but, I have tracked down posters on several forums who end up being employees for the company whose product they are "users" of. Sleazy business. I don't believe those who are a little too GungHo about any product. They are usually just blind in love "fanboys" but occassionaly "plants". I usually try and track down people who own every product from a single distributor and horror stories about everything else. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck...its usually a duck.
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:04 AM
  #23  
daawg1963
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Exclamation out $200

my loss is there gain

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Old 09-23-2009, 06:32 AM
  #24  
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Pete for President. Just look at what politicians promiss.
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:51 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by daawg1963 View Post
I just bought my first plane showed up with the fuselage busted in half waited 30 minutes for live help chatline-give me a BREAK-they suck PERIOD!!!!!Such bull, this whole post is freakin comical, what a pathetic setup from a lousy business.You rippoffs @ Banana should get a clue I"M DONE............. By the way Thanks Treating me like DIRT......
daawg1963 - You have a PM. A plane gets broken in shipping and you're going to bash Banana Hobby. When I visited Banana Hobby several weeks ago, you should see how many planes are returned do to shipping damage, which is out of Banana Hobby's control.

Please respect this thread and remove your post!

Thanks,
Tony
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