It was 1981, the interlude between intermediate exams and university admissions, when I found myself at the Panorama Centre, impatiently waiting for someone to open the ‘new’ aeromodelling shop I had heard about.
After an agonisingly long time, someone appeared, preoccupied with his thoughts, had a quick look at me and asked if I had been waiting for him. Before I could reply, the shutters were lifted and I was lost among the treasures that were displayed in that tiny premises.
This was my introduction to Mr Mohammed Adeem and Hobby Lobby.
As a 6 yr old I got my first flying ‘toy’ airplane and would fly it round and round trying to make perfect landings by blipping the electric motor at just the right height above the ground, which was the sole means of control. I’m not sure if this had any bearing on my later decision to quit corporate life and adopt a career in aviation but it certainly kindled a lifelong interest in all things that fly.
While in school, double edged Treet and 7o’clock shaving blades became my modelling knives and Durofix my balsa cement. A few Guillows kits became the training grounds for my self taught building skills. Soon confidence grew to the extent that Solarbo and Kiel Kraft balsa sheets were acquired and Cox 049 powered control liners were scratch built and flown.
Pocket money never stretched very far, but the latest issue of Model Airplane News and Aeromodeller were eagerly awaited each month, and flipped through at the book shop.
As I stood before Adeem Sahib that day and expressed my desire to build an R/C model. He gave me the copied parts of a Bridi T10 trainer, a photo copy of the plans, some red solarfilm, a Fuji 10 engine asked doubtfully “bana lo gay?”
At MASK, I learned the ropes of R/C and progressed to flying in competitions. By that time Hobby Lobby had shifted to Tariq Road Karachi, and became a venue to visit at least once a month, to purchase bits and bobs , but mainly to see the racks of out of budget Pilot kits or OS engines.
Adeem Sahib was endeavouring even in those days to not just limit himself to being a retailer. The result was the introduction of the Scalex brand of affordable locally produced accessories and kits.
When Jamshed Sahib moved to Islamabad and took the helm of affairs at IAC, I became his deputy in organising a tight knit club and holding fun fly events and competitions. Hobby Lobby always eagerly sponsored our events and had great success selling rubber powered models and chuck gliders during our public days, which were always well attended.
To graduate with a business degree and then opt to make ones living from aeromodelling seems an odd choice of career. But that is exactly what Adeem Sahib did. He has proven that with commitment, belief and hard work, one can achieve success in the unlikeliest of fields.
Hobby Lobby thrives today as a testament to his efforts.
But Hobby Lobby was not the end goal. As soon as it became a sustainable stable business enterprise, he began planning for going beyond the domestic market. This ultimately bore fruit in the acquisition of DPR Models, the UK’s leading manufacturer of traditional wood gliders and rubber powered models.
After more than four decades in the field, he continues to plan for future endeavours with unwavering passion, for which I wish him continued success.
Kamal Parvez Butt