Coast to Coast and back in Corvair powered KR-2S

Builders,

I received a quick Email from Joe Horton of PA, saying that he was back on the East Coast. This year the KR gathering was held in Chino CA instead of it’s usual central US location. Joe, who is nearing 1,000 hrs. on his 3,100cc KR-2S, decided to fly all the way out and back to see friends, demonstrate the capability of good homebuilts, and to have another good adventure. Read more about Joe and his plane at this link: KR-2S at 700 Hours – Joe Horton. The note below is from Joe:

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William- enclosed is a brief caption of my flight to Chino. The engine performed flawlessly for the entire flight, not that I didn’t worry a bit while over flying some of the wildest country that you can find. I will write up an article when I get a chance. Best

Joe Horton

“Alrighty Guys,I arrived home by air at 3 pm eastern time. A few of the statistics

are (not exact as I am just figuring them out now) About 5000 miles flown over a five

day period. 13 airports and 9 of them new to me. 36 hours in the air. longest leg about 4

hours or nearly 600 miles. About 170  gals of fuel burned. average fuel burn about 4.7

gal per hour.  average ground speed 139mph. I did not see a tail wind anywhere in all of

this flying.”

Above, Joe Horton, 3,100cc/ Weseman bearing –  KR-2S builder from PA, with Grace at Corvair College #21 . This was the 8th College that Joe had flow to. He has also flown to Sun ‘N Fun, the KR gathering and Oshkosh several times each. In 2010, we awarded him the Cherry Grove Trophy at CC#19 for his work promoting Corvair powered flight.

In the above photo stand the four pilots who have their names engraved on the Cherry Grove Trophy. Left to right are Joe Horton, 2010, Dan Weseman, 2009, P.F. Beck, 2011, and Mark Langford, 2008.

Blast from the past, Corvair College #20: Pilots of Corvair College #20, from left to right: Lynn Dingfelder, Joe Horton, Mark Langford, and Dr. Gary Ray.

Above,  Joe at CC#14. I have long listened to his counsel because he is truly a man In The Arena. His outgoing nature and his travels far and wide give him a valuable perspective on the movement. Many people new to Corvairs have the false expectation that the engine is another consumer product. Joe is living proof that you will get the most out of the Corvair movement when you regard it as an opportunity to learn, build and fly, in a movement which happens to have some very inexpensive hardware. His aviation focus on Self Reliance has a common thread that extends back through Lindbergh all the way to the Wright brothers.

Above, Joe Horton flew down to CC#16 in South Carolina. Many builders who have not yet met him in person still know something about his perspectives and values because they have read  his article in our flight operations manual.

Above, Joe’s plane at Sun n Fun 2007. He won the long distance award for Corvairs with a flight of nearly 1,000 miles in N357CJ, above. Joe’s KR is a stretched S model with the new airfoils. His 3,100cc Corvair turns a 54×60 Sensenich. This gives him a top speed of more than 170 mph.

Here’s a shot of Joe’s KR-2S at AirVenture 2007

Above  a warm but happy Joe Horton after his arrival at Sun ‘N Fun 2009 via KR/VAIR N357CJ. His KR-2S trip to Sun ‘N Fun was one leg of a 4,000 mile East Coast tour that he did in a few days of flying. He wrote a very nice summary of it upon his return home, pointing out he’d flown as high as 17,000′ on his way home to Pennsylvania. (He has O2) He noted that the plane would still climb several hundred feet per minute at that altitude and this is the definition of reserve power in a naturally aspirated airplane.

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Hats off to Joe Horton for the latest chapter in a long story of adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,000cc Corvair parts for sale in Canada

We received word today that these parts sold in 12 hours. For many years it was accepted that alternative engines had low resale value; and the parts for them even lower. Here is evidence that this does not apply to the Corvair parts we sell and the conversions we teach people to build. I thought Trevor was offering a very good deal, it sold fast enough to say it wasn’t just a good deal, but perhaps an excellent one.

Not all Corvair projects work like that. A few months ago a guy was selling a Corvair on Barnstormers; the guy had come to CC#18 with an engine with a planetary drive, 140 heads and a large car carb. He had big plans and a ‘Local expert’ he was working with. Evidently he had some type of awakening, and had the engine for sale for $7,500, maybe half of what he had in it. I hope no one bought it for that. At Oshkosh 2013 there was essentially the same engine in the flymart, and it sold for $900. I took it apart for the guy who bought it he later felt he might have paid $900 too much for it.

I genuinely hope that every single part we sell goes flying with the guy who bought it, but it doesn’t always work out that way. It is good to know that the parts bought from us hold value, and aircraft built using them carry value.

In early 2008 we sold our simple 601XL for $51,000; When Dan Weseman sold his ‘Wicked Cleanex’ four years ago, it brought $37,500. Chris Smith’s ‘Son of Cleanex sold to it’s second owner for $37,500 also. These are simple examples that well built planes powered with quality Corvair engines, built from good parts, hold their value. On the other side of the coin, there are plenty of pieces of trash floating around, particularly junk that came from now bankrupt LLC’s , that has no value today.

There will always be people who shop with trash peddlers and other building something ‘special’, guided by a ‘local expert’. People going those routes are often trying to ‘save money’, but in the end it is often the most expensive route possible.

 

Builders:

We got word from one of our Canadian builders in Northern Ontario that he is unable to continue with his airplane and 3 Liter Corvair project. He is selling the engine parts below, which is a very good start on a 3,000 cc engine.  It still needs the heads done, (but cores have already been shipped to Falcon), it needs an Oil system, a starter a distributor and some small items. The total spent below is about $6,500US, the builder is looking for a quick sale at equivalent of $5,000US. I have met the man in person and can verify that all the items below are from us and the Wesemans.
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This is a good opportunity for a Canadian builder to get a strong running start, because the parts are already past the point of import tax, but the sale offer is open to any builder on either side of the border.

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The owner of the project is Trevor Leslie he can be contacted directly at his email address:

trevorleslie@hotmail.com

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“Engine has been assembled to the short block stage.

The asking price DOES NOT include rebuilding of the heads!”

  • Original block which is from a 67’ (T0326RH) Machined to accept 3000CC cylinders

  • Original Crank GM 8409 prepped by Dan Weseman with Gen 2 5th bearing

  • New  Federal Mogul main bearings (0.10) and connecting rod bearings (0.10)

  • New OT-10 Cam with thrust washer, key and “fail-safe” cam gear.

  • New Sealed Power HT-817 hydraulic lifters

  • New Piston set with wrist pins, ring set and connecting rods

  • Flycorvair.com  3000CC kit,  pistons cyls.  rods

  • New powder coated pushrod tubes(flycorvair.com)

  • Short gold hub (flycorvair.com 2501(B))

  • Hybrid studs (2502)

  • Safety Shaft (2503)

  • Modified ring gear (2408)

  • Oil Cooler Block Off kit

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Adjustable Oil Pressure Regulator, #2010A

 Builders:

Below is a photo of a part I have developed for Corvair flight engines. I have long thought about making this, but it took a while to come up with something which could be made affordably, which would still do the task without any possibility of reducing the reliability of the oil system. Below is the end result, and in our numbering system, it’s designation is #2010A, it is part of the Group 2000, rear oil case components.

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Above is the 2010A installed on Phil Maxson’s 3,000cc Corvair. You can read the story of building this engine at this link: Phil Maxson goes to 3,000 cc for his 601XL.

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The normal running oil pressure on a stock Corvair car is 37 psi. Anytime the engine is above 1800 rpm or so, the engine will normally run at its regulated oil pressure, set by the spring working against the small piston in the rear oil cover.

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This pressure is slightly below what I prefer for aircraft engines. I would rather see 42-48 pounds on flight engines. More is not better, it is unnecessary stress on the drive system, and no one should be using number in flight like 60 pounds at warm cruise. The typical way to get a number in the range is to change the spring. The issue is that the aftermarket springs are far too strong these days, and often make motors run at 60 psi or more.  The best solution is the adjustable pressure regulator.

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This works by having a screw thread which preloads the pressure spring. On Phil’s engine, I noted on the first run the engine was regulating the pressure at 36-38 psi. Phil said this is how it normally ran. (The high volume oil pump has no effect on the regulated oil pressure, just the pressure spring and piston do.) If I had simply put in a high pressure spring, it would have likely seen 60 psi, too much. Instead, I put in the #2010A unit with the stock spring, and ran the engine again. With the engine warmed up and running, It took less than 30 seconds to dial in 46 psi right on the money.

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The guts of the unit are very simple, but the internal measurements are not. One of the critical issue that took a bit to figure out was how to make the unit so that even if it backed off entirely, the pressure would never drop below the stock 37 psi number. The other issue is the dimension of the plunger that applies the screw pressure to the spring. It can not hang up in the bore, but neither can it get into the spring ID. I worked this out over a lot of testing on the rig seen below. I would like to gather a bit more operational data, but eventually we will release part # 2010A to builders.

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Grace out in the shop. This is or rear oil test rig, if you would like to rear a longer story about how it works, check out this link: High Volume Oil Pump.

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Phil Maxson goes to 3,000 cc for his 601XL

Builders,

Well known Corvair/601XL builder and pilot Phil Maxson of NJ came to our place this last weekend to reconfigure his 2700c/GM 8409 crank engine to 3,000cc/Weseman Billet crank configuration. Phil has made a great number of contributions to the Corvair movement, and Grace and I were happy to provide the tools and assistance to help him reassemble the engine and test it in 1.5 days of work, and still drive. 1,000 miles home on Monday to be at work this morning. He flies out of Sky Manor airport in Western NJ, and after he reinstalls the engine and has a short test period, his next long cross country will be to fly to Corvair College #31 in Barnwell SC in November.

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Phil has been flying his plane since 2006. Since then he has flown it to numerous airshows and colleges up and down the East Coast.  He is currently working on his next aircraft, a Panther, also to be Corvair powered.

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Moving to 3,000 cc and changing the crank required a bit of advance planning to get everything to come together in one weekend. The Weseman billet crank, (#1001B), requires advance ordering, and Phil also elected to use a set of Billet Rods from the Wesemans. Phil mailed his case and heads down in advance and we machined them to accept one of our 3,000cc kits, (#3000cc). Phil did his homework with our checklist and made sure he had every nut bolt and gasket, and the assembly went smoothly.

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After we closed the Case, Dan Weseman stopped by to supervise the Gen 2 bearing installation, and Phil went the rest of the way through the assembly process himself. In his youth he wrenched on motorcycles for a living, but he has long worked in the world of corporate management. I have pointed out many times that our system is directly geared to teaching builders how to do things themselves and does not require previous experience in engine building. Phil is a good example that success is based on following our information and instructions, and not previous experience.

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Last year at Corvair College #27 in Barnwell we awarded Phil The Cherry Grove Trophy ( read: The Cherry Grove Trophy.) for his contributions to Corvair powered flight. The most outstanding of these is his creation and management of our Zenith information board, an on line discussion group where builders of the Corvair/Zenith Combination exchange detailed factual information on operation data in those airframes. To learn about our Zenvair discussion group click on this:‘Zenvair’ Information board formed and:‘Zenvair’ information board, part #2.

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Phil authored a motivational perspective for us that is well worth reading by any Corvair builder, you can find it at this link: Guest writer: Phil Maxson, flying a 3100cc Corvair in his 601XL . If you would like to see a YouTube film of Phil’s plane flying over Florida Atlantic coast, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mph4cd8R_zI . Because Phil is from West Virginia, his friends refer to the film as “the yee-haw heard around the world.” When I introduce Phil, I call him “The second best pilot from West Virginia.” (Chuck Yeager’s home state is WV) Phil is a good sport and goes along with all this with a smile.

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Phil during the first five minutes of the run, in our front yard by the side of the runway. The stand is chained down to a 700 pound concrete block cast in the ground. Look over Phil’s shoulder and you can see Dan Weseman landing the Panther on the centerline of the runway. When we started Phil’s new engine, the sky was already filled with the sound of Corvair power, as Dan was doing aerobatics overhead.

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 Phil and Grace check out the engine from all angles. It was a smooth run, and it didn’t leak a drop of oil. Pressed for time, little effort beyond a very good cleaning went into esthetics. Not the valve covers still say “100hp” instead of “120hp”. Just behind the engine is the red strobe light that I have fixed on the run stand. It eliminates fumbling with a timing light in the prop blast and allows one person to work the throttle and set the timing himself. Summer will still be here for a while in Florida, it was 90F outside. Most of the engine assembly was done in my workshop which is heated and cooled. After it was put together the engine was put on the test stand in the main hangar which is a plain metal building that is ambient temperature.
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After a first run, we brought the engine back inside for a few adjustments. Phil’s started needed a tiny ring gear clearance adjustment that took 5 minutes. The second item took about an hour. One of the primary items I want to see on a test run is the “Hot idling oil pressure.” We do not run oil coolers on test runs because I want to drive the oil temp above 260F (trust me a brand new engine is far better off being lubricated by 260F oil than 160F oil) for several reasons like cleaning out assembly lubricants and making sure that the oil is very thin and get to every spot in the engine. Oils protect metal parts simply by getting in between them and being there to allow an action akin to hydroplaning. Oil does not need to be cold nor thick to protect an engine, what is simply needs is to actually be “there”, at the potential point of contact, and it gets to these places on a new motor by being hot and thin, not cold and thick.

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After the oil and the engine are very warm, I pull the throttle back to low idle and look at the pressure. Phil’s engine had a high volume clarks pump on it since he installed his Weseman bearing at Corvair College #17.  (This predates the existence of our CNC high volume pump) Under our test, the oil pressure was down near 5 pounds. The engine will not seize like this, as an idling engine will get by on very low oil pressure, but it isn’t a condition to tolerate. What was driving this is the basic desin of the clarks pump, which has a multi piece cast housing held in alignment with hand drilled 1/16″ roll pins. This requires far more tip clearance on the gears not to jam, and when the oil is very hot and thin, it allows the pressure to drop off at idle ( it still works at cruise rpm)

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I didn’t change Phil’s oil housing to one of our #2000HV units on assembly, because I have seen some clarks pumps pass the hot idle oil test, and I didn’t want to spend Phil’s budget if it was not required. The variation in manufacturing produces the random success, whereas our one piece CNC high volume oil pumps always work because they are aligned on the extended shafts and not the roll pins.  We brought Phil’s engine back in the hangar and changed just the housing over the gears and the idler shaft. This didn’t even require pulling the engine off the run stand. We took it right back outside and ran it up again to full oil temp, and this time the hot idling oil pressure was 23 psi, a very large improvement. When the throttle was advanced even slightly, the oil pressure when right to the regulated limit pressure. This is how a high volume pump is supposed to work. If you would like to read more about the design of the part, look at this link: High Volume Oil Pump.

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Above, Phil Maxson with his Corvair powered 601 XL at Corvair College #24 in Barnwell SC. Although it was a number of years ago, I can remember the clear co0l skies and the day with builders and friends just as if it was yesterday. -ww.

 

Catching Up On Nosebowls ( p/n #4102 )

Builders,

Here is a production news update on Nosebowls, part number 4102.

Above a 2007 photo of  Lincoln Probst of Canada gives a visual representation of how it feels to complete your own ZenVair 601XL. This photo highlights our 4102 fiberglass Nosebowl, which is painted blue on Lincoln’s plane. The part of the cowl behind the Nosebowl is sheet metal. This plane is now based in Texas.

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Since we built our own 601XL in 2003, we have sold copies of our Nosebowl to builders. While it is most associated with Corvair powered Zenith aircraft, it is actually applicable to many different airframes.

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Over the years, we have had three different Composite guys make the part. The first two make only a dozen or so each, but the great majority of the production run of several hundred parts has been made between 2007 and this year by a friend of ours in Detroit. The were directly shipped from his shop to builders. In the last year, he landed a contract with Boeing and had a hard time keeping up with his existing work. After it because apparent that we were not going to get this to improve, Grace and I stopped by Michigan on our way back from Oshkosh and picked up our molds.

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I already knew where I was taking them. In Jacksonville, 30 miles from our airport is a well known production composite shop that we have worked with before. The key difference between them and our previous suppliers is they are not a small shop, they have about 12 guys working on the shop floor. They have enough production capacity that supplying our needs will not be an issue. The first week they had our molds they made six cowling sets, more than we have been able to get out of our previous supplier in 10 months. We will shortly have all the back orders on this part covered, and move to having them on the shelf in ready supply.

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Above, our Nosebowl molds and master plug on our side lawn last week. We made them more than 10 years ago, but they are in good shape. Our new shop refinished the inside of the molds and set them up for a zero porosity gel coat finish, greatly reducing the builder finish time. They can now simply be scuff sanded and painted with now filler work at all. You can read more about part number 4102 on our catalog page:  http://www.flycorvair.com/nosebowl.html

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Above is a 2007 shot of Rick Lindstrom’s 601XL, built in our Edgewater FL hangar. The Nosebowl shown here came from the same molds.

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Doug Stevenson’s CH-750 Stol in California. This is the same Nosebowl on a 750. the plane is powered by a 3,000 cc Corvair.

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Above a 2007 photo of Gordon Alexander’s Pegzair, powered by a large Corvair, also finished on our shop in Edgewater. If you look close, his plane has the same #4102 Nosebowl. Read the story at this link: 3,100cc Corvair in Pegzair

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Above, the flying 2850cc Zenith 750 built by Gary Burdett of Illinois.  It has our full complement of Zenith installation components and one of our production engines. This is a good photo of a 4102 Nosebowl on a 750. Read more at this link: Zenith 750 Flying on Corvair Power, Gary Burdett, Illinois

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The 4102 Nosebowl can be fitted to a broad array of Corvair powered planes. Above,a close-up of Jake Jaks’ Junior Ace on the flightline at Sun ‘N Fun 2009. It’s cowling is based on our Nosebowl

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Looking for Volmer VJ-22 plans

Note: I wrote the post below and was contacted by Ken Harris of Texas, who had a new unused set of Volmer  plans which I bought from him. Ken also asked that I mention he also has an unused set of Davis DA-2 plans for sale, if anyone is interested, contact me, I will share Ken’s contact info. -ww

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Builders,

I am looking for a set of Volmer plans to buy. I am not going to build the plane, I just would like to study the relationship between the CG range of the wing, the location of the step on the hull and the amount of dead rise at different stations.

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There are two different sources for plans on the net, and I can’t tell which one is the real source, or if both are, or maybe neither, thus this request. If any builder out there has a set of actual plans I could buy, please drop me an e-mail at WilliamTCA@aol.com

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Claude Delebruere ‘s Corvair powered Volmer in a photo taken about 10 years ago.

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Speaking of Paul Poberezny

Builders,

This week marks one year since the passing of the founder of the EAA, Paul Poberezny.

I stand next to EAA and SAA founder Paul Poberezny at the 2003 SAA Fly In. Paul passed away last August 22nd at age 91. The 25 years I have spent working in the field of Experimental Aviation could not have happened without this man’s tireless efforts to promote and protect our right to build and fly planes.

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At Oshkosh this year, 1,000 guests gathered in the Eagle hangar for the Lifetime member dinner. The subject of the evening was a remembrance of the life of Paul Poberezny. There were a number of very moving tributes from people who knew him well. The common thread through all the stories was that Paul was a regular guy, He was the ‘average’ EAA member.

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The Lifetime dinner is by and large, a gathering of long time members, but mixed in are a few new arrivals. Two of these were seated at our table were new to the EAA, but had opted to contribute the large sum to become a lifetime member. One of them was a Cirrus owner the other a corporate pilot. Each of them were making their first trip to Oshkosh. I listened to them because I was interested to understand their attachment to the EAA, strong enough to motivate becoming a lifetime member.

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Both of them cited the EAA style and Oshkosh as motivators. Neither of them had any exposure to Homebuilding. Although it was the Cirrus owners first trip to Oshkosh and his membership number was literally a 1,000,000 numbers higher than mine, He didn’t hesitate to say that he was OK with some homebuilders, referring to them as “Those people”  and “People who couldn’t afford a real plane.” I bit my tongue pretty hard. The icing on the cake was Mr. Cirrus offering that the current EAA president was a lot better at speaking with “those people” than the last one (Rod Hightower).

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Being polite, I told him that I actually agreed with him, but pointed out that neither man could vaguely hold a candle to Paul Poberezny when it came to speaking to “those people, “ and they never would because, Paul was one of ‘those people’, and he was very proud of it. 

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Had Paul not founded the EAA, his adventures would have been pretty good anyway, it is our lives that changed more than his because of the existence of the EAA. Yes, there were plenty of benefits to being the founder, but if I contrast what I have done in aviation to what my options would look like without the EAA, and it is a stark difference.

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I met him only a few times, Spending only a few hours in his company. However, I felt I knew something about him  because read almost all of the things he wrote over the years. He was opinionated, and I was from a different generation, but I spent more time listening to our common values than trying to find small points that illustrated that we were born 41 years apart.

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Grace and I were present at the SAA gatherings, Paul’s core group of people who he thought were the keepers of the original spirit that founded the EAA.At one of these meetings he took to the podium after dinner and gave an hour long speech. He spoke about the changes in aviation, and how newer aviators were not the same. I easily could have found it offensive, as his remarks were sharp, and about my era, but instead, I was awakened to the fact of how rare it is to see the founder of any organization, a major member of any party, any CEO, or head of any large organization stand up in public and say anything real at all. Paul was over 80, and I figured he had earned the right to speak his mind. Some people present were taken aback, but that was just because they wanted Paul to be a squeaky clean Santa Clause character. Not me, I was thankful for the real man, warts and all, a human with opinions and passions, one of “those people.”

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Grace was invited to be the first guest speaker at the first SAA Gathering. She spoke on carb ice. I also gave a Corvair presentation. The first year, the gathering was well attended. The second year terrible wet weather poured on the Midwest, and I was hesitant to drive the 1,000 miles each way in the old truck, a few weeks before Oshkosh to speak for what was sure to be a tiny group.  I was about to pick up the phone and bow out, when I went to the mailbox and found a small hand written card from Paul that contained the masterful phrase that precluded canceling. It simply said “I told my friends you are coming.”

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Our friend Jake Jaks built a Corvair powered Jr. Ace, one of Paul’s designs. I always told Jake that when he got it done, I would have Paul greet him personally at his first fly in. This was a joke between Jake and I, it was mentioned it nearly every time we spoke. When Jake finished it and flew it to sun n fun, by chance Paul was on the grounds. He was older, had many old friends to see and things to do, but it took exactly 1/2 a sentence to explain it to Paul before he got in the golf cart, drove over and warmly greeted Jake and his son. They spent 30 minutes speaking. I stood back out of earshot, but smiles, laughs hand gestures were all there, just two regular homebuilders on a sunny morning at a fly in.

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Paul’s tribute at the lifetime dinner was filled with such stories, of the head of a 150,000 member organization stopping to speak with the rank and file in the middle of a giant convention. It is very hard to imagine any of the recent heads of the EAA doing this simply because it is textbook poor use of managerial time. That is what any CEO or manager would tell you. But Paul was not from that mindset. Homebuilders and members who saw him in his element understood that this might have been bad management but it was certainly brilliant leadership, especially in an organization driven by volunteer efforts. This is the very core of what made him the right man to found the EAA.

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There are more than 300 million Americans, but I don’t need to feel brotherly love with all of them to be a proud American. I try to think about the things we have in common, but don’t always find a lot of bonds. In an era where it is popular to judge the ‘value’ of people by the thickness of their wallet, I still believe that people are to be judged by the content of their character. If a number of people in this country don’t see it that way, it doesn’t bother me, nor diminish my pride in being an American.

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In the same way, I am proud to be in the EAA, and this doesn’t change if there are members who don’t understand the values of the EAA the way I do. That’s ok, I was fortunate enough to have known the founder, and I can say with some confidence that he was at heart, a regular member, and he valued aviators by the content of their character. My continued attachment to the EAA through all its changes is based solely on my belief that homebuilding was the very heart of everything to Paul, and it attracted the very best of people, and I a proud to consider myself, first and foremost, a homebuilder, just like Paul.

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