It’s not just a building

The building that housed the operation of Hobby Lobby International Inc. for decades was dismantled this week.

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The building saw the evolution of radio controlled flight in the US from mostly fueled to electric flight. It was witness to the development of a stunning array of aircraft; some so small they would fit in your hand all the way up to planes so big you would swear they could safely carry a person… Or as some folks joked, maybe a pet!

After trackhoe

Over the years, customers, employees, and friends of the hobby have come together on the site to innovate and problem solve together. To share the ideas and challenges of a build. Sharing particularly clever solutions and the joy of showing off craftsmanship and details that look as good as the real thing! This built a community that cheered the successful maiden flights and gave a respectful distance for the gut-punch of unfortunate crashes. The building even supported the business name change to Hobby Express in 2013.  When we became Hobby Express, the reactions we received were an interesting mix of “You’re THE Hobby Lobby to me.” and “Well it’s about time!”.

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“RC pilot pilgrims” came from far away states. They had devoured catalogs, shopped the online store, and finally had a reason, or made one up, to come press open the doors to this iconic hobby haven. The hobbyists’ joyful determination to “visit there someday” made them grin with the accomplishment. This nearly weekly experience was both joyful and humbling, seeing the kid inside each of them peeking out through the eyes of an adult. These are people who honed their building and flying skills many miles away from the now disassembled building, but still knew they were part of this special community.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 12.37.05 AMThey were here to look around, to pay attention to the new and the well proven products all around the shop, looking at all the amazing models hanging from the ceiling. Some even shared that they liked the fact that in the retail store they could pay part of their purchases in cash to keep their habit off the credit card bill at home.  Balance is important in aircraft and relationships, after all.

We continue to develop the brands and traditions through taking care of the customer and serving to support our flying community. Innovation and tradition, balanced so we can share the fun!


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Save on the 4th with 4 Great Kits


This 4th of July, take to the air with one of our RC model airplane kits that are made right here in America! We are offering four of our favorite models at 10% off now through the 12th. These models are perfect for everyone from beginners to experienced builders. Each of the kits below come with full size plans and photo-illustrated instructions, taking you through each and every step of the build. Check out our models for yourself to decide which one is right for you.

Telemaster 1100








Micro-Telemaster Kit V2 (TEL1100)

This affordable RC model airplane kit is perfect for beginners. The laser-cut wings offer incredible precision for assembly. This plane also comes with a crash friendly design! The rare earth magnets used to attached the trailing edge of the wing to the fuselage let the wings release in the event of a wing tip strike. Reduce your need to repair wings when trying out new flying tricks!

Length: 24”
Wingspan: 34 1/2”
Flying Weight: 6 – 9 oz
Controls: Rudder, Elevator, Throttle
Wing Area: 186 sq. in.

Normally $49.99 — Get Yours NOW For just $44.99 >> 











Mini Telemaster Kit V2 (TEL1200)

This RC model airplane is a step up from the 1100. Laser-cut balsa wood wings offer precision building without the need for any additional sanding. This model features easy battery access and bent wire main landing gear. Easy enough for beginners, the Mini Telemaster is also a fun project for experienced builders.

Length: 32”
Wingspan: 45”
Flying Weight: 23 oz
Controls: Rudder, Elevator, Throttle
Wing Area: 325 sq. in.

Normally $89.99 — Get Yours NOW For just $80.99>>










Telemaster 40 Kit V2 (TEL1450)

The most advanced of this sale, the 1450 is a kit that you will be excited to own. This versatile RC plane features the laser-cut precision you have come to appreciate but can be built with your choice of conventional gear or tricycle gear. Want to build a floatplane instead? Just add a float kit (TEL1425) and practice water landings.

Length: 53 1/2”
Wingspan: 73”
Flying Weight: 6 lbs
Controls: Ailerons, Elevator, Rudder, Throttle
Wing Area: 848 sq. in.

Normally $149.99 — Get Yours NOW For Just $139.99>>










Deluxe Telemaster 40 Kit (TEL1400)

After you have completed the 1100 or 1200, try your hand at the 1400. This Deluxe Telemaster 40 Kit is a favorite because it combines laser-cut wings with ailerons and flaps with a tab and notch design fuselage. This kit is a step up in price but it is reflected in performance. Even with limited building experience, you can appreciate the design and flight ability of this RC airplane.

Length: 53 1/2”
Wingspan: 73”
Flying Weight: 6 lbs
Controls: Ailerons, Elevator, Rudder, Throttle
Wing Area: 848 sq. in.

Normally $199.99 — Get Yours NOW For Just $179.99>>


Additional Accessories

While not officially part of our Independence Day sale, these accessories will help complete your build. Each of the accessories below will work with any of the RC planes above. These accessories are regularly priced.

DX5e DSMX 5-Channel Transmitter with AR610
This full-range 2.4GHz radio gives you all the control of DSMX technology with the simplest, easy-to-use design — all for just $89.99.
Don’t wait, Get Yours Today>>

eRC Electronic Programmer
Program your eRC speed controllers from anywhere with this eRC Electronic Programmer. At just $9.99 it will quickly become one of your favorite gadgets.
Purchase yours HERE>>

X2-400 2-Port Multicharger
Charge your high-amerage batteries with this microprocessor-controlled, 2-port battery charger. Two independent 400-watt power output ports provide 800 total watts of power.
Get yours HERE>>

50 Modeling Pins
These modeling pins were designed my model builders for superior performance. The long, tapered points were designed to prevent wood splitting while the metal shaft was specifically designed to never pull out of the plastic handle.
Get yours HERE>>

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TELEMASTER History Rescued From a Storage Unit – The Story of Dr. Fox and his Treasures…

This spring everyone is building a favorite balsa kit airplane. We often hear about someone dusting off a project they intended to start a long time ago, but this story is about discovery of a classic TELEMASTER kit that Leo Seicshnaydre thought enough about – to save.

Leo’s first e-mail was almost overlooked and we’re so glad our President, Kurt Cleveland jumped into the discussion. Here’s the email string:


Leo: “Dear Hobby Express

I found a rare “Deluxe Junior Telemaster” ARC in the box and I’d like to send you a few pictures to see if you guys are interested in having it for your archives.  See attached.”


Kurt: “Hey Leo, this is an intriguing item. One of my enthusiastic employees sent a message suggesting the company would not be interested. 
It is actually something worth discussing further with you.

I am relatively new to the business and did not realize that there was a Czech Republic version of the TELEMASTER in an ARC format.
 When was it purchased? Sometime in the 1980′s I guess –
Are you pilot too? I think the novelty of it is interesting. How would you like to arrange for us to have the opportunity to archive it here?”


Leo: “Thanks for your replies Scott and Kurt, I thought the Czech version would pique your interest!

Here’s the story: The late Dr. John A. Fox operated Creative Sources and later The Model Source from the late 1970s until 2012.  His store was the local hobby shop in Oxford, MS.  I met Dr. Fox in 1994 and we became fast friends and that’s when I began flying R/C.  He died in September 2013 and his family, who live in DC, asked me to clean out his house and liquidate the remaining stock.  From what I can tell, he did lots of business with Hobby Lobby International since the beginning, so when I come across items that I think are super old and rare, I’ll send you pictures.  I’ve got (2) 10×20 storage units full of planes, trains, and boats.

As for the “Deluxe Junior Telemaster”, I don’t know when it was purchased, but I speculate the 1980s since Almost Ready to Cover was popular then.

I would be happy to get the plane boxed up and shipped to you guys.  I won’t be heading over to the storage units until the end of the week, but I’ll shoot y’all an email when I get my hands on it.

Yes, I’m a pilot.  I actually maidened a modified ParkZone Super Cub at lunch today!  I also fly Tricopters, Quads, Helis, and a bunch of planes.”


Kurt: “I am very sorry to hear you lost your friend. Clearly his family chose well when they asked you to work through the details. 

I appreciate attention paid to the history of the hobby. We’re working out an agreement with the local library to hang many of the TELEMASTER family of planes as a static display of the history and art that is represented in model aviation.
 Today, we have ARF versions made in China, but in 2013 we brought the TELEMASTER back to Tennessee for KIT production. The newly reengineered kits are so advanced you can’t build one poorly. Laser cut, super high quality and easy to build kits that now come from the USA! We are rather proud of that little fact. 

Your maiden flight sounds like the best way to spend a lunch time!

 I will send you my contact information by text and then send you the FedEx account number you can use to send things back to us at your convenience. 

I am very grateful for your historical view. 
 Would it be welcome to have a note on any products that we display, thanking Dr. Fox?


Leo: “Another interesting fact about Dr. Fox was was that he was the head of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at Penn State in the late 1940s as well as chair of the Mechanical Engineering department at Ole Miss.  He drew up his own plans for planes that he wanted to build.  I think it would be fitting to have a note about Dr. Fox on the things I send.

I finally made it to the storage shed today and picked up the plane and another Telemaster 66.  I’ve attached pictures and you’ll find that the Deluxe Junior Telemaster has a plastic fuselage, COOL!  Let me know if you guys want me to also send the Telemaster 66.”


Kurt: “Yes, we want it. We hope others will find and build their oldkits, or capture the inspiration of this story and let us featurethem as hobby history.Our first act is to share this story. We want to recognize andthank Dr. Fox for all the business we did over the years andhis dedication to the craft. We are excited to get these kits inhand and then on display.”

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A Drone For Christmas

Hobby Express CEO, Mark Cleveland, discusses the topics of Drone regulation with Channel 2 WKRN before Christmas. The Hobby Express eRC™ Easy-ProMotion Multirotor Camera Platform is the star of the show but a quick view of the smallest member of the quad world, the Proto-X, gives scale to the new tools and toys.  A fun look at the large and tiny multirotor aircraft. Hobby Express success and growth with the exploding quatcopter market.

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Mark Cleveland Honored at 2014 NEAT Awards

Hobby Express CEO Named 2014 NEXT Award Winner

Mark Cleveland Is Entrepreneur of the Year



Mark Cleveland holds the NEXT Entrepreneur of the Year trophy. Presenters are John Stein–Bank of America, Michael Burcham–Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Ralph Schulz – Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

I don’t fear running out of life… I fear running out of passion.

Nashville, Tenn. (PRWEB) December 05, 2014

Mark Cleveland, CEO of Hobby Express, has earned the 2014 NEXT Award for Entrepreneur of the Year. The award ceremony took place on Nov. 20 at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. The event honored Nashville’s fast-growing, innovative companies and leading entrepreneurs.

“The applicants for this year’s NEXT Awards can be viewed as a cross-section of Nashville’s creative class,” said Ralph Schulz, president and CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “The energy and innovation these people and companies bring to our local economy is an important part of Nashville’s growth.”

“I’m truly impressed by the knowledge these NEXT Award winners have brought to their companies and the generosity with which they help other entrepreneurs to make the same journey,” said Michael Burcham, president and CEO, Nashville Entrepreneur Center. “Their ability to identify needs in the marketplace and build companies around solutions is truly impressive.”

The NEXT Awards cited Mark’s leadership of Swiftwick, a company he co-founded and served as CEO until mid October this year. At the same time, Mark has been guiding the future of Hobby Express, formerly Hobby Lobby International (the company sold the name in 2013). Hobby Express is a retailer of radio-control airplanes, helicopters, multi-rotor drones, boats and cars. Mark also made a name for himself with leadership success at SeaBridge Freight, a cross-gulf barge transportation company, and Truckload Management Inc., a transportation company.

“It’s gratifying to be recognized as one of the leaders in Nashville’s amazingly entrepreneurial environment,” says Mark. “But none of my business success could have happened without talented and hard-working associates. It’s been my great fortune to work with really good people.”

“Mark’s entrepreneurial vision gives Hobby Express an important advantage in our market,” says Kurt Cleveland, president of Hobby Express. “Our associates know personally why he was chosen to receive this award—he deserves it.”

“I don’t fear running out of life,” says Mark. “I fear running out of passion… What makes an entrepreneur successful, in my opinion, is a work ethic for pursuing your passion. I look for that same work ethic and passion in the people I associate with, like the people at Hobby Express. We inspire one another to be our best, and that drives success.”

A full list of 2014 NEXT Award winners can be found at For videos of the finalists and winners, visit

The 2014 NEXT Awards were hosted by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and presented by Bank of America. Additional sponsors include Pivotal Partners: Delek US Holdings, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Community Health Systems, First Tennessee and Ryan LLC; Friends of the Chamber: Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and MissionPoint Health Partners; Associate Sponsors: Bandit Lites, KraftCPAs and Lipscomb University Center for Entrepreneurship; Supporting Sponsors: c3/consulting, Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Southwest Airlines; Technology Partner: Atiba; and Media Partner: TN Media. For more information, visit

About Hobby Express. For 50 years, Hobby Express has delivered the best model hobby products, including radio control airplanes, helicopters, and multi-rotor drones to customers all over the world. Hobby Express is the inventor and manufacturer of the Telemaster, a line of radio controlled airplanes that fly beautifully and are built with the perfect precision of laser cutting. Hobby Express also designs and manufactures top selling brands such as eRC motors, controllers, servos and kit airplanes, and the Pilot 1 line of vintage model airplanes. The company operates a distribution center in Brentwood, Tenn., and sells its products via catalog and online store. Besides top quality products at competitive prices, Hobby Express excels in technical support for hobby enthusiasts. To know more, visit

Photo: Steven C. Knapp of knapptimecreative

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50 year old company is now 1 year as Hobby Express

Happy Birthday Hobby Express!

The longtime Brentwood-based Hobby Lobby International celebrates 50 years in operation this year, but only its year-long anniversary under its new name, Hobby Express. The brand change was a terrific challenge but a remarkable success.

Hobby Lobby International was founded in 1964. ”The company has been a fixture here in Middle Tennessee for a long time,” said Mark Cleveland, CEO of Hobby Express.

“It started out as a really, really small hobby shop in the lobby of a five-and-dime store. That’s why it was called Hobby Lobby. And it grew through the whole evolutionary experience of radio controlled technology.”

Cleveland said he and his brother, Kurt, who also serves as president of the company, always had an affinity for model planes; the two grew up flying remotes and building models in their Oregon hometown. So, in 2009 when the opportunity arose to buy Hobby Lobby, Mark Cleveland, a Middle Tennessee entrepreneur, jumped at the chance to own a store of his own.

Read the whole story from the Brentwood Home Page.

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Amazing Compliment for Hobby Express “Entrepreneur Of The Year”

Mark Cleveland is the CEO of Hobby Express. Thursday evening, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce selected  Mark Cleveland as the recipient of the 2014 NEXT award for Entrepreneur Of The Year!

NEXT Award Given To Mark Cleveland

NEXT Award Given To Mark Cleveland

His energy and drive have made amazing things possible for all the companies he leads. At the NEXT evening event, Mark took advantage of the moment on stage to publicly share his gratitude to the teams of people that are truly pivotal in making successful organizations thrive. He thanked all former and current employees. He celebrated the opportunity to work with new team members going forward.

“All the nominees for Entrepreneur Of The Year are titans of business and innovation. Being considered along side them for the award was a huge honor but being selected [Entrepreneur Of The Year] was humbling and thrilling!” Mark shared.

The future is bright for Hobby Express with this caliber of leadership, energy, and entrepreneurial drive on our side. Congratulations again to CEO Mark Cleveland!

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Taking Breast Cancer Awareness To New Heights

Have you built a Pink Mini Telemaster lately? Breast Cancer Awareness Month got my daughter Amelia excited enough to finish her Mini Telemaster to honor her aunt and grandma, both fighters, both survivors of breast cancer! Breast cancer affects the lives of almost all of us, some very directly and for others, someone near and dear to us. Amelia Telemaster2 Amelia had always planned on covering her Telemaster in PINK, but after she got the airframe complete, the project stalled. This special month lined up to make finishing it an even brighter idea. She focused hard and in one weekend she had completed the covering and final assembly. I keenly enjoyed helping and spending the one-on-one time with her on this project. When it was time for the first flight, we called family and friends to join us at the field. The sun was out, the sky was blue and Amelia’s pink, ribbon adorned Telemaster was a total success. We celebrated the successful build and flight of this very special airplane. At the same time, we celebrated the determined fight of all who battle breast cancer. Amelia and SheilaAmelia first flight grassLitUp

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It’s a Quad! It’s a Plane! It’s a WINDMILL??

Power generation from a tethered airplane with multiple motors that operate as generators too! Strong enough to handle incredible forces and speeds, yet light enough to fly, hovering on its props, like a multi-rotor craft. I had to go to the google site to understand how this actually made sense. Turned out, it really does.

This story and technology is not brand new, but the idea is very compelling. Good thing flight controllers don’t get motion sick! Here is the link to the YouTube video of the launch, operation, and recovery of this amazing system.

Would you want to build one of these? Enjoy the video!

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Summer is here, why are you not flying?

Here are some planes to get you started. Don’t forget to share the fun!!! The fun part is the journey….

Super Cub DSM RTF

1A Great Way to Learn Flying Now Comes with the Best 2.4GHz Technology
The HobbyZone Super Cub DSM® is the best way to learn how to fly. The Super Cub helps pilots learn the basics of throttle, steering and pitch control using the exclusive HobbyZone Anti-Crash Technology (ACT™). Check it out!

Champ RTF Ultra-Micro

2The Champ takes the stress out of teaching yourself to fly
Teach yourself to fly RC airplanes in style with this exciting recreation of Aeronca’s beloved tail wheel airplane. Its small size and lightweight, durable construction let you fly with confidence in spaces as small as your own backyard without having to worry too much about crash damage. See it in action!

Ember 2 Ready-To-Fly Micro RC Plane

3Tiny, slow and lots of fun – Ember 2 weighs less than 1 ounce!
Ready to fly with everything included: 2.4 GHz radio technology, motor/gearbox/prop, 3.7V 70 mAh LiPo battery with charger, fully proportional servo motors, and AA batteries. Throttle, rudder and elevator provide true 3-channel flight and maneuverability. Only $99.99!

Micro Stik RTF

4eRC’s Micro Stik flies mild or wild, indoors or out
Looking for a plane that is fun to fly, capable of both wild maneuvers and gentle cruising at an affordable price? eRC’s new Micro Stik is perfect for the pilot who is looking for the most versatile fun micro available today. See it in action!

Glasair Sportsman RTF

5Everything you need to get flying is included in the box.
Even if you’ve never been at the controls of an RC model before, smooth control and assistance provided by its sophisticated electronics makes RC flight simple and fun. Champion pilot Mike McConville designed the Sportsman to be beginner-friendly, which means its extra tough so that you can keep flying longer. Watch it fly before you buy!

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