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Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA

Battle Over Model War Planes

RESTON, Va. , Sept. 27, 2005


"Now why should I pass additional costs on to the taxpayer for this product when he's already paid the price?"
John Long
model company owner

(CBS) What's happening down in this suburban Washington basement could be a threat to the Military Industrial Complex.

CBS News correspondent Rich Schlesinger reports that the threat warning comes from defense companies that build the real planes and say thousands of model lovers, such as 14-year-old Matt Jackson, are freeloading off their hard work.

Matt's working on an EA-6B Prowler – a Navy jet. Schlesinger asks Matt if he thinks he's ripping off the Navy in his basement.

"That's what I'm trying to do, yeah," says Matt.

The defense giants do hold trademarks on planes like the F-15, F-16 and the B-17, and they say if a model company uses their planes to build replicas, it should pay royalties.

John Long, who owns a model company, says the defense contractors don't deserve a penny, because these airplanes were developed with tax dollars.

"It could be as high as 10 percent of the product cost," Long says. "Now why should I pass additional costs on to the taxpayer for this product when he's already paid the price?"

It's a nasty little battle that has reached Capitol Hill, where the model companies are pushing a law to defend themselves from the defense industry. And even though the money involved is pocket change in the deep-pocketed mega corporations — they still want it.

"Cash is king," Long says.

The aerospace companies are very camera shy when it comes to this issue. But in a written statement, they say this is not about money, it's about protecting trademark rights.

"No, I don't believe them," Matt says. "I think it's mostly to do with the money."

There are thousands of model enthusiasts who have a stake in this war over warplanes. As the battle lines have been drawn between two of this nation's favorite pastimes — making models — and making money.
on what side are you?
wiht those egomaniacs, hungry for cash?( and freeloaders at our expenses)
or with us, the taxpayer peoples?
Some of the planes in question have been out of production for decades too. The developers of the computer game Pacific Fighters have recently been through this hassle. Grumman wants royalties for the use of their WWII birds in the game.
These corporations want every penny they can get their hands on. I'm surprised they don't try to charge people a fee every time someone has a thought related to the company in some way. Remember, they need this money so the executives can get even bigger bonuses. You just can't give an executive a big enough bonus.
Having worked for Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop, Sikorsky, McDonnell Douglas either as a direct employee or consultant you are very correct in your statement that there are those "bean counters" after every penny they could get. What disillusioned me with some of these companies is many of the managers and directors running these companies know little or nothing about aircraft and the only passion they have about aviation was money. Sure you're in business to make money, but at the same time you should understand your product line and be able to talk intelligently about what you produce. When I worked in Mojave and got to fly in flight test, I had one boss that was so jealous I could swear he turned green every time he saw me in a flight suit. This guy got to his position by kissing ass and being a ruthless jerk - but that's typical of what you find in major aerospace companies.

I've had a very rewarding career but at times was very frustrated with some of my bosses as the only thing they knew about aircraft is how to make the seat recline or turn on the light as they sat in a civilian airliner!!!!
There's another thread on this very subject right now, it's called "Real vs Models"!

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