Source: Sherman Publications

Hobby shop specializes in planes

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

September 21, 2011

It may be an increasingly rare sight, but Lake Orion has a hobby shop.

Flightline Hobbies, located at 1192 S. Lapeer Road, deals in the typical beginner hobbies, but the reason people keep coming back is their specialization in radio-controlled aircraft.

“My husband (Co-Owner John Hoover) has been in the RC modeling business and aviation since he was 10- years-old,” said Co-Owner Tracie Hoover. “He worked for a chain for 25 years, and when some of those stores started closing he just thought of how he had always thought of owning his own shop.

“There was a need in this area and when John opened this store it just turned out the timing was good.”

While customers may not find much in the way of cars, trains and other RC models, the store is stocked to the brim with aeronautical supplies, from motors to individual parts. Planes are not the only things for sale, however, with helicopters ranging from palm-sized to football-sized aircraft. Kits range from snap-together planes to basic materials and guidelines on how to make your own aircraft. While this can seem daunting, the Hoovers know the hobby inside and out and provide advice to avid flyers and novices alike.

“We specialize here, and it’s not our goal to grow, but to provide inventory and knowledge on what we have,” said Tracie. “We have one of the largest supplies of RC airplanes in Michigan. A lot of stores have tried to do everything and it can hurt because it’s pretty hard to stock like that. When you specialize you can focus and excel on one aspect.”

In addition to the store, the two also participate in area aircraft clubs, including the Pontiac Miniature Aircraft Club on White Lake Road and Skymasters RC Club of Michigan in the Bald Mountain Recreation Area on Scripps Road. John has worked as an instructor there for more than 17 years.

“We’ll talk people out of the harder stuff because if you start with a jet aircraft, you have to understand - you’re beginning, you will crash, and when you smash that into the ground you’re out a lot of money,” said Tracie. “The hobby is a lot less expensive than it used to be with electric prop planes starting at around $100. If you decide you like the hobby, we’re here to help you expand, and the top end planes cap out at around $2,000.

Tracie said Flightline Hobbies carries inventory one cannot find in a big box store and their customers recognize and appreciate this.

Flightline’s hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; 12-5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on Monday. Call 248- 814-8359, or visit online at