Corvairs at Oshkosh 2015 – Colleges #34 and #35 sign up info – Unicorns for sale.

Oshkosh:

In the next 12 hours, Grace, the dog and myself will be getting on the road for Oshkosh. We will be out of the shop for 14 days. It is about 1,300 miles from our grass strip, this is my 22nd year of going to Airventure. It has changed a lot over the years, but to me this remains constant: I always like going to see friends, both old and new. That single factor more than makes up for all the annoyances, including always getting stuck in Atlanta road construction traffic, even if it is 3am.

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Above, myself, Grace and the legendary Chris Heintz, at Oshkosh 2014. One of the best things about Airventure is being able to speak in person with many of the most creative people in homebuilding, it is a great learning opportunity. While it has formal moments like the dinners, during the day it is casual.

( Note to the guy who told me I should “Make your wife dress conservatively,”  Oshkosh is America, not Saudi Arabia, and my marriage vows were about supporting my wife, not “Making” her do things.  )

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Some common Questions:

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Our booth is the same one every year, #616 in the north aircraft display area, across from Zenith aircraft.

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We have over 5,000 pounds of stuff packed in the truck and trailer; Yes, we have manuals and parts for sale

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I am giving several forums, you can check the EAA program for dates and times, or stop by the booth for info.

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I will always make time to inspect core engines and parts. Bring them, photos and questions, we are going to Oshkosh to share what we know, Helping builders is our #1 priority at the event, I am there to teach builder not entertain spectators.

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Colleges:

We have given  33 free colleges in the last 15 years, and builders have built hundreds of engines at them. This is the most unique aspect of Corvairs. There are plenty of engine options for people who don’t want to learn anything nor get their hands dirty. If you are in aviation to find out home much you can learn and build, not how little, you may be a Corvair builder Learn more about colleges here:

Corvair College reference page

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Sign up for College #34 At the Zenith factory in September has been open for almost 90 days: It is 80% full, and will undoubtedly fill by the first 2 or 3 days of Oshkosh. If you were planning on going, sign up here:

Corvair College #34 sign up – Open now

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Corvair College #35 will be at Barnwell South Carolina for the 6th time in November. The sign up is now open, Here is the link:

https://corviarcollegeregistration.wufoo.com/forms/cc35-registration/

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Please note that we do not work on unicorns at corvair colleges. I am an aircraft mechanic, not a magician, I can not turn a unicorn into a hard working pony in one weekend. If you want to build an engine, start with good information and a plan. I do not offer help to people who really wanted a unicorn.

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Unicorns for sale:

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To learn what a ‘Unicorn’ is read this story: Unicorns vs Ponies.

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To understand how potential builders waste their days looking for a unicorn, read this:

Waiting for the bus from Unicorntown to Cyberville

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There will be a number of Unicorn salesmen at Oshkosh this year, and some of them will be offering great tales of imaginary creatures you can buy. Unfortunately, some of these salesmen will be trying to work with potential Corvair builders. I would like to think that I have taught Corvair builders better, but experience has shown that a percentage of builders will always listen to a line of BS, just because they want it to be true. In years past, this bothered me, but today I am a much happier person because I accept that there are stupid people in the world, and I can’t change that fact, and these people will believe what the want regardless of what facts and tests you show them.

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Common Characteristics of Unicorn Salesmen:

They have a ‘New’ LLC: If a guy is there with a new LLC from the same town he was in with his last 2 LLC’s that went bankrupt, chances are, his new unicorn sales operation is going to fail also. Yet people will write them checks for unicorns without even Googling their name to learn anything about them. People who assume that just because a company has a booth at Oshkosh they are good people are fools. Jim Beede took 3,000 EAAers money in the 1970s, yet he almost always has a booth at Oshkosh. 80% of the companies displaying at Oshkosh 2005 are now bankrupt, and I am going to guess that 90% of the new LLCs debuting at Oshkosh 2015 will be bankrupt in 36 months.

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If a guy tells you that he has discovered a magic 25% HP gain with a special secret modification, He is a unicorn salesman.  If the same guy tells you the engine has a torque peak at 2500rpm, he is a unicorn salesman. If he tells you he can make a 2700cc engine make the same power as a 3000 or 3300, he is a unicorn salesman.  If he claims to build the best Corvairs is spite of having no A&P license, no pilots license and having never owned a Corvair powered plane, or any plane for that matter, he is a unicorn salesman. You can not advance your progress in aviation by listening to unicorn salesmen, but many people try every year. Don’t be one of them.

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Woody Harris and 601XL at Arlington Airshow

Builders:

For Corvair builders heading to the Arlington airshow, be advised that our “Man on the West Coast” Woody Harris, is on the airport with his green and yellow 601XL. Woody is our West Coast rep, and he has a full selection of manuals and DVDs with him.

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Woody Harris and Sebastien Heintz in front of Woody's 601 at QSP open house May 5, 2012

 Woody needs little excuse to fly places; Above he is speaking with Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft, at a West Coast Zenith fly in at Quality Sport Planes in Santa Rosa. This facility was the site of Corvair College #11.

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 Woody’s plane is sharing space with Quality Sport Planes, Zenith’s West Coast dealer based in Cloverdale CA. It has flown to more states than any other Corvair powered plane. He is a fountain of good experience, as he has nearly 500 hours on his plane. It has been flown from coast to cost, Oshkosh, and countless west coast trips with many appearances at Copper States in AZ, and Arlington in WA.

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Although Woody’s plane has been flying for seven years, we keep him supplied with the most up to date parts for his 2,850cc Corvair, such as our new 2400-L ultra light weight starter, so builders studying his installation are actually looking at a current, state of the art, Corvair installation. If you are headed to Arlington, stop in and introduce yourself, you will find Woody to be a fun, first class aviation and a great guy.

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For more reading on Woody’s adventures, check out these links:

Woody’s 2,850cc Corvair/601XL hits 400 hours.

Zenith 601XL-2,850cc, Woody Harris

16 Flying Corvair powered Zenith 601/ 650s

Zenith 601/650 – Corvair reference page November 2013

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-ww.

What the 4th of July means to me.

Builders,

July 4th 2004, found Grace and I living in a tiny cottage directly adjacent to the New Smyrna Beach FL airport.  On that day I walked outside with her and asked her to marry me. I chose this day because I hold it sacred.

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Many people are conflicted over their identity or ideals; I am not. My great grandparents, decided they were not Irish nor German, they, and all of us that would come from them, would now be Americans. I have friends from many other lands and cultures, and I respectfully appreciate them, but I personally feel no identity other than being an American.

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After Grace said yes, we had a small cookout that brought in a few neighbors. Our next door neighbor was a 90 year old man named Albie. He was difficult to understand because he had a very strong German accent combined with the effects of a stroke that stole the much of his fluid speech. In the middle of the gathering he made it clear that he wanted to share something very important.

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With great difficulty, he explained growing up in Berlin, and having cousins in Chicago he visited as a child; he wanted to be a chef, but was conscripted. On December 7th 1941, he asked to be sent to the Eastern Front, as he could never imagine fighting against the land where his cousins lived. In 1958, he came to America, and his ship entered New York harbor, passing the Statue of Liberty. It was the 4th of July.

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In our small cottage, in front of his neighbors, Albie raised a beer as a toast, and declared that this was one of the best days of his life, for living to 90 meant he had now been an American longer than he had ever been anything else, and it was his wish that all his neighbors understand his great pride in this, and that he chose to be an American, because of what our country meant in the world. Albile passed from this Earth the following year, but his slurred and struggled words remain a very eloquent tribute to the America which lives in my heart.

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Above, Grace and myself, the year we were married.

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A year later, on July 4th 2005, Grace and I were married on the beach, a few miles from Albie’s house. I had many thoughts that day, but with them was my great fortune of being born here, and the awareness that many immigrants, My great grandparents and Albie among them, have had a far stronger appreciation for this nation than others who simply found themselves born here. On this day, our 10th anniversary,  The date draws my thankfulness for having Grace, my parents, and being an American.

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Several years ago, I was present when a man was being publicly ridiculed for stating that “America should close its shores and allow no immigration of any kind.”  I came to his ‘defense’ by pointing out that in 1491, most ‘Americans’ were indifferent about immigrants, but in a few short decades the same Americans were largely unanimous in being against any further immigrants, based on issues with the new arrivals stealing things and lacking any kind of respect for long established social and religious customs and commonly spoken languages.

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Put aside any thoughts you may have on the late Mario Cuomo, and take one minute of your day on this July 4th to watch 60 seconds of his comments on the dreams of his mother, an immigrant from Italy:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aWqdLFbo5o

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Happy 4th of July, -ww.

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Emails and Phone machine are back up.

Builders,

As of 3:50 am today, we have an active shop phone and email service again. I just finished setting up the new phone and machine after repair crews worked on the lines all day.

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While we were in New Jersey, the power pole at the end of our driveway took a lightning strike, which didn’t hurt the house nor hangar, nor get anything related to AC power, but it did burn out everything related to the phone and internet service here. It took ATT several days to get all of it corrected, as it burned the box on the pole, the down lines, the connection at the house, the modem, the internal lines, 3 phones and the answering machine, which died with all the messages it took while we were away.

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We do all our internet work over the same lines, so it was not practical to get this message out in the last 48 hours, nor to cover much email.  If you left us a phone message in the last 14 days, please take a moment to  call back or send us the message by email.  Given a few days to catch up, I will be glad to answer all of them.

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When sending an email, please remember to include your phone number, and the latest hour it is OK to call you back. Many emails are better answered by phone calls, and I can answer in depth and at length in the evening when things slow down.

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Thanks, William

New 2850cc / 110hp Corvair in photos.

Builders,

Below is a look at a 2,850cc engine I built and test ran the first week of June. It is now in the hands of the owner, bolted on his Bearhawk LSA project.

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The engine was built around one of our 2,850 piston and cylinder kit. It features a Weseman billet Crank and rods, and a Gen II 5th bearing. It ran like a banshee. It was on the test stand for about 2 hours of break in runs.

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Every year I build a number of example engines like this, to demonstrate how “state of the art” Corvairs can be custom configured to a particular builders project and needs. The great majority of Corvair flight engines have always been, and will always be, made by the hands of the builders themselves, with our manuals, training and parts, building their own example of a proven engine, like the one above.

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These builders are not motivated by the money savings available, their primary motivation is the be in command of their own project, to learn, understand and know every part of their aircraft. The desire to be the master of your creation, rather than just it’s owner, is at the very core of homebuilding…..

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Many people know this, but the settle for far less, and for a variety of excuses they cede control and understanding of their power plant to a commercial provider, who essentially puts the “no user serviceable parts inside” sticker on their product, demoting the potential of the builder from “master motor head” to ‘consumer’. 95% of the people who put an engine on the front of their homebuilt this year will settle for that. Many people find comfort in doing what the masses do, they need to know that the ‘trend’ is. For the small minority who don’t concern themselves with the ‘choices’ of others, Only interested in what will advance their own mastery and control, we have the Corvair.

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If that sounds like you, welcome, we have your seat at the table ready, and you will join the company of the small group of builders who have chosen to discover how much they can learn and get out of homebuilding, not how little.

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Top view showing 2400-L starter arrangement.

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Back view, showing standard intake manifold, HV-2000 oil case, and E/P/X distributor.

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Front quarter view: The only used parts in this engine are the case halves, the head castings, the oil case casting, the distributor body and some misc. hardware. The rest, including the cylinders, pistons rods, crank, and all conversion parts are brand new.

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Rear quarter view: This engine has both electronic and points ignition.

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Front quarter view: The oil line feeds the 5th bearing directly.

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Side View: Corvair is only 16″ tall, the carb adds to this depth slightly, but this is not a ‘blunt’ motor.

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Close up showing Weseman Gen II billet 5th bearing.

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Rear view of 2400- L starter. It does not need a tail bracket. It is more powerful than standard starter while drawing less amps. It is 3 pounds lighter.

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Standard Gold oil Filter Housing. Large blue plug is for test run. In service, this is the oil temp location. Accommodate either electric or mechanical instruments.

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Opposite view of Gold Oil Filter Housing. Port on top is location of oil pressure sender on aircraft.

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Starter in place: The small gold bracket behind ring gear is the inboard section of the front alternator bracket.

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Rear quarter view.

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Engine running on the test stand in our front yard.

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New Jersey, June 2015 and 65 years ago …

Builders,

Last week, Grace and I drove from Florida to New Jersey, joining 60 other members of our family to celebrate my parents 65th wedding anniversary. It was a family reunion that extended over several days. On the 20th, we had a formal party at Mayfair Farms, in the exact location of the original reception in 1950.

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Above, my Parents are seated before their four children and our spouses. It is a complement to my parents that many people who encounter the family often cannot tell who was born into the family and who married into it, as my parents treat us all with the same kindness, respect and love.

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Lisa Craig Heuer's photo.

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Above, 4th and 5th from the left, My Father and Mother. The fireplace on the left in the photo is the same one we are standing in front of in the top photo. 

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My Parents met by chance at the Jersey shore the summer after WWII ended. They waited until my fathers graduation form the Naval Academy in 1949 to be married in the spring of 1950. Seventy years after they met, they remain the joy of each others lives.

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My parents wanted everyone on hand to understand how blessed they felt to have each other for all of these years. My mother and father both came from homes of great love, but their own parents only had 34 and 37 years respectively before their marriages ended when their spouse passed. My parents wanted to say that their years together were a gift, not earned, just bestowed by fate, and they accepted this with great humility in the presence of others not so fortunate.

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 Sunday night, with most of the family and friends on their way home, found my parents home suddenly quiet. While all of the afternoon’s conversations had been on family and good memories, my father, now almost 90 and somewhat frail, took the last hour of the evening to meet an obligation he finds very important;  I sit beside him and listen while he looks back through the decades to remember and speak the names and the stories of good men, who’s devotion to their Shipmates, the Navy and our Country cost them everything, including a chance to grow old with the families they loved. This spoken remembrance is central to my father’s gratitude for the great fortune of being married for 65 years.

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-ww.

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Any qualities of character I may have are directly attributable to my parents. When I encounter anyone my age in a terrible position in life, my first thought has always been, and will always remain “Without the fortune of being born to my parents, that could be me.”

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Dick Navratil Passes from this earth, June 4th, 2015.

Builders:

Greg Cardinal shared the terrible news that noted homebuilder Dick Navratil passed from this earth on June 4th. He was 66 years old.

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Dick made a great place in the world of Pietenpols, building more of them than any other person I ever met. I got to know him many years ago, long before he was a Corvair builder. In the Pietenpol community, there have been, and will continue to be many people who have worked to ‘put back’ far more than they have taken, but even in a distinguished and storied list of such men, Dick’s name would be near the top.

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He was a modest guy who would have cringed at anyone saying that publicly, but it doesn’t make it any less true. He was not only a prolific builder, he was a great resource of information, but most critically, he was the source of encouragement for countless builders, if he knew them well or not. In the final measure, he was just a simple easy going guy, a joy to spend time with on a sunny day at the airport.

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He always left me with the distinct feeling that all the hours building in the shop would be well worth it, simply because when you were done and flew your plane somewhere, there was a possibility that when you got there, Dick would be there to greet you and make you feel welcome. I am writting this at 4am in the middle of the night, and at this moment, such a reunion seems just a flight away. In a few hours the daylight will return and it will be Sunday morning here, and all the memories of Dick will seem much further away, harder to reach, washed out and muted by the sunlight of another day.

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But in the times ahead, there will be many quiet hours in the shop, alone, long after dark, where I will remember the hours spent in his company, the sound of his voice, his humor and stories, and he will not seem so far away. And in those times I will take out my collection of memories of Dick and give thanks for how much richer my life is to have known him.

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-ww.

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From the coverage of Corvair College #30 in 2014:

“Above, my favorite photo and story from #30. On the left, Allan Macklem, right, Dick Navratil. These two guys worked on Dick’s engine and had a great time together. I have known Dick for 10 years (He has built 7 or 8 Pietenpols) and just assumed that the fun they were having was because they must have known each other since high school…..It took until the end of the second day for me to learn that before the first day of the college, they had never met each other. This is the kind of friendship and fun that naturally happens when two builders have the same values in a fun productive setting. The friendship these two guys struck up makes me feel the Colleges are worth all the effort put in.”

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you can read the whole story at this link: Corvair College #30 Good Times

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Below is the note that Greg Cardinal shared with other builders:

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“Richard M. Navratil
Navratil, Richard M. Age 66, of Arden Hills. Died suddenly on June 4, 2015. Survived by wife, Joan; son, Jason (Sara) Gillet; daughter, Jen (Justin) Vojtech; grandchildren, Boone, Judah, Renley, Wyatt & Colton; siblings, Chuck Navratil, Neil Navratil, John Navratil, Mary Bergh and Anita Ziebarth; also many nieces and nephews. Mass of Christian Burial 11:00 AM Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at the CHURCH OF ST. STANISLAUS, 398 Superior Street, St. Paul. Visitation 4-8 PM Tuesday at Willwer-scheid Funeral Home, 1167 Grand Ave., St. Paul. Memorials preferred to the Wounded Warrior Project. Willwerscheid Funeral Home & Cremation Service 651-228-1006″

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Above, is Dick’s best known creation, his Rotec radial powered Pietenpol. It was one of many he built. The caption below is from our Brodhead 2011 notes, where Dick let us use his plane in our Pietenpol Weight and balance project.

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“For the second year in a row, we gathered data on weight and balance for a wide variety of Piets at Brodhead. The 14 aircraft that we measured last year were worked into a highly technical set of articles that ran all last year in the BPAN, This year we had a chance to pick up data on eight new aircraft that we will also publish in the newsletter. Above, Dick Navratil’s Piet sits on the electronic scales that I brought up from Florida to do this task. Special thanks to the crew of volunteers who assisted me in collecting the data. One of these people is John Schmidt of Minnesota, sitting at left above.”

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