Improving communications……a little reading goes a long way.


We have recently had a number of new builders get started, and I am going to take a few moments to share a few basic things that go a long way to improving communications and having builders make best use to the information and parts we offer to build and fly their aircraft.

First: Reality Check: we are a mom and pop company that offers products that are noted for being affordable and proven. We are also known for meeting builders in person at several major airshows, several colleges and numerous house calls each year. All of these things take time and cost money. Nearly every week someone who hasn’t bothered to read our website will do three things at once: He will tell me that I should hire one or two more people for the front office, That I need to give him a price for making him a “180hp Corvair flight engine, turbo normalized of course”, and he will send me an “invitation to join Linkedin, the on-line network of professionals.” This will usually come from a guy who ID’s himself as “Flyboy26” and it will all say “sent from my verizon blackberry.” Experience has shown me that this guy stands a 1% chance of ever building a plane.

Below is an actual series of emails from a guy. I am sure he is a nice person, probably a better human than me, but it illustrates that a lot of our mail comes from people who have not taken the time to understand that our mission is supporting builders who want to learn, build and fly. We do much better with people who understand that we are small and we support a specific goal. We have a long track record of helping people who are willing to learn and get their hands dirty.

“William,I’m thinking of building a LSA Buttercup and want to buy a used Covair 100 hp engine for it. Where can I buy one, how much is the Covair Collage fees and how long is it? What is the fule burn at cruse? “

Does this sound like a person whose goal is Learn-build-fly? Note that the first thing is looking for a deal on a used engine. Reading a half hour on our webpage will find 20 places that explain that the college is free and there are several articles on fuel burn. People fixated on fuel burn and finding deals on things to avoid expense and having to learn are very rarely happy in experimental aviation. Note also the attraction to a challenging aircraft to build, one that will only be completed by a person who is really interested in learning and craftsmanship.

“William, Craigslist produced a guy with a 1964 110 hp Corvair engine with 75,000 mi on it for $350. This is not listed so there must be good reason not to consider it. What do you say? “

My manual specifically list this as a good engine for aircraft conversion. Maybe $59 is a good place to start. I do not like thinking that jumps to conclusions, “so there must be some good reason…” Maybe just reading  the information would be better. 

“What is the price for me to redo an engine including the cost of the collage vs. buying one you have rebuilt to fit a Buttercup? “

Again, 30 minutes on the site has all the information that says the colleges are free and also covers the costs of building engines and what we charge for fully rebuilt ones. Engines we build come with manuals and information, they are the “owner/operators manual” for them. Honestly, I am reluctant so sell anything, especially a complete engine to a person who has a hard time getting basic information from our webpage or from our books.

“I’m looking for a fast and very fuel efficient combination and I like the looks of the Pulsar. With the Rotax 80 hp it delivers 150 mph burning 4.8 gph. Do you think the Corvair 100 hp would deliver 180-190 mph at 5.6 . More importantly will it fit and will the weight and balance work out? Here is a spec page for the Pulsar:, What would the engine,and firewall forward, with starter total cost look like?”

OK, the basics here. Pulsar is out of business, and has effectively been for a long time. Drag doesn’t work like that, it is a squared function, meaning twice as fast is four times the drag. If this persons assumption was true, then all you would have to do is put a 240 hp engine on a pulsar and it would cruise at 450 mph. If he read our webpage, he would find out that we have built stuff for Pulsars, it was only to fit the ‘super’ model, it has flown, it isn’t a great across the board combination, and we were careful who we promoted it to.

At the end of this series I have received 6 automated emails from “Linkedin” telling me that I have to respond to this man’s invitation to join that online ‘network.’ If linkedin works for anyone, I am happy for them, personally my world view is that we need more people who have mastery of a specific skill or have developed craftsmanship. To me business networking is about “who you know” being more valuable that what you know, a mind set I detest. I find it very odd that people who believe in business networking often never put their address nor phone number on any email they send. Maybe a good old returned phone call isn’t new-age enough for them.

I am not picking on this guy in particular, I get 30-40 emails a day just like this. I am only suggesting that a little reading goes a long way, and anything builders can do to get a little background is much appreciated.-ww


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