Patrick Hoyt, new Zenith 601XL, now flying, N-63PZ
We heard last night that one of the best liked and most respected builders in the Corvair movement, Patrick Hoyt, changed his status from ‘builder’ to ‘builder & flyer’. Patrick has been hard at building for a number of years, but has always rounded out his aviation seasons by heading to events like Brodhead, Oshkosh and a College. His easy-going nature and travels made has made him one of the movements better known builders, and many people were glad to spread the news that Patrick had passed the milestone of his first flight.
Above is a picture of Patrick’s aircraft. It has a 650 canopy arrangement, but the airframe is a 601XLB. The photo is from an article written for the experimenter by Corvair/Wagabond builder John Schmidt. The whole article can be seen at this link: http://www.eaa.org/experimenter/articles/2012-05_learning.asp John and Patrick are good friends and the story is written with the benefit of this perspective. It also recognizes the positive support Patrick enjoys from his wife Mary. Patrick’s plane has a 2700cc Corvair with a Dan bearing and all of our Gold system parts and installation components.
We are now entering our 9th year of Corvair powered Zeniths. Patrick’s plane is the 61st 601/650 to fly on Corvair power. After our personal 601 was the first in may 2004, It took 3 more years to get another four of them flying. Builders have their own pace, commitments and priorities and to see a large positive impact, you have to be in this for the long run. Patrick’s plane follows Jim Ballew’s 601 by only 3 weeks. Lately we have had new Corvair powered Zeniths taking to the sky at 15-20 day intervals. I regard builders as friends, not just customers, and it is very rewarding to play a role in the achievement of an ever-increasing number of builders.
We received this note from Patrick last night:
“Hi William. I took N63PZ up for the first time today, shortly after sunrise. Other than being the experience of a lifetime, the actual flight was uneventful. Wonderful that we live in a country and in a time in history when this is even imaginable. To think that I built this airplane and the engine with my own two hands, along with the generosity and inspiration of so many others. Sure it took a few years, but I did it, and today I flew it. I really appreciate everything that you’ve shared over the years. I’ve learned a lot from you.
Thanks,Patrick Hoyt N63PZ 601XL/Corvair”
Above, Gary Boothe on the left and Patrick Hoyt on the right point to their hometowns on a map at Brodhead in 2009. The golden rule of homebuilding is persistence pays. Both of these men just started flying their Corvair powered planes, Gary his Pietenpol and Patrick his Zenith. In the experimental aircraft industry as a whole, the completion rate is a pathetic 20%. Salesmen, promoters and many journalists try to bury this statistic, because they belive it is bad publicity. If pushed, the three groups above are very quick to lay the blame on builders themselves.
Our builders have a completion rate at least twice as high as the industry average. Why? because I know that the ‘blame the builder’ line is BS. The real reason why the rate is low is because our industry is focused on getting you to sign a check and buy something. That is their measure of success. Conversely, I am focused on getting people flying. These are two very different goals, and the first is never going to improve the completion rate, in fact it hurts it because neither a salesmen in search of a buyer of a journalist in search of an exciting story are likely to accurately describe the long term commitment that is the only path to success.
Both Gary and Patrick in the above photo spent many years building their planes. The strongest indictment of ‘blame the builder’ mentality is a simple one: The average life span on a new LLC formed in our industry, often positively reviewed in our press is 36-48 months to bankruptcy. If the average successful homebuilder takes longer than this to complete his plane, it is plain to see that the majority of our industry is focused on selling things, not supporting them. What builders are slow to learn is that these LLC’s are designed to have this short lifespan. They are not forced into it by troubled times. The goal of the people who started them was to get all the easy money of kit sales without ever having to follow through with far less profitable long-term support. the LLC format allows them to walk away without any financial responsiblity. Often they will be back with another LLC in a year or less, and journalists who are oblivious or playing along with the system don’t make the connections for new builders.
Being a successful builder like Patrick and Gary requires you to avoid the pitfalls of our industry. Deciding to only work with people who are committed to long-term success, support, and the goal of your aircraft flying. We have been working with Corvair flight engines since 1989. I have had the privilege of playing a supporting role in the successful completion and flight of several hundred homebuilts. If you have dreams and persistence, we will be glad to play a long-term supporting role in your personal aviation sucess story.-ww