Mail Sack, 2/22/13, Cranks, Kitfoxes and Painting

Builders;  Some of the mail today:


 On the subject of Chinese crankshafts:

Zenith 65o Builder and industrial engineer Becky Shipman writes:

“The salesman to trust is one who has flown many hours behind the product he’s trying to sell.   Dan W has taken the appropriate approach – he even has a “decision tree” that helps you decide if you need a new crank shaft.  I am looking to buy a mill and a lathe for a home / hangar shop. 50 year old US made machine tools versus new stuff from China. Over the last 50 years, the ability to hold tight tolerances in machining hard materials has increased quite a bit. However, the desire seems to have faded. The People’s Republic has chosen to emulate the “what can I get away with” aspect of our business culture rather than craftsmanship. The “step up” in new stuff seems to be from Taiwan instead of the People’s Republic.”

Builder Roger Pepin writes:

“Hello William: I read your original expose on “Chinese cranks” with interest. What I took from it was the necessity of being vigilant as a builder needs to make himself / herself aware of the reputation of their suppliers and not be swayed by “bargains”.
Upon reading your post of Feb 17, 2013 I have a few thoughts / feelings:
1. Fear for the builders who build with unknown quality parts.
2. Anger at anyone who would knowingly advertise and sell substandard quality parts to homebuilders, easy prey as their expertise is seldom in metallurgy. If a seller is aware of the dangers and continues to market the product, it’s criminal.
3. Indignation, that in a country known for lawsuits ( McDonald’s coffee ) even a foreigner can set up a scam, apparently with impunity.
4. Indifference – I felt no embarrassment or shame that a fellow Canadian was the perpetrator of this scheme. I’m just pleased that someone can educate potential victims.

William, I commend you on your service. Thank you.”

Roger, I would like to say again that the cross border element in the story is just about how a fringe element abuses the world’s longest open border. I am quite sure that I have fellow countrymen behaving poorly on your side also. Individuals have no ability to seek fair treatment when a bad actor changes sides of the fence. I am well aware that Americans can be atrociously behaved abroad. I was cured of this as a kid growing up in Asia. My Father made it very clear that the slightest sign of disrespect for our hosts would not be tolerated. At age eight I once failed to stand perfectly still for the Thai national anthem. 42 years later I can tell you the exact words my Father used to express that I was an embarrassment to my family and Country. 

In 2006 Grace and I were in Matera Italy. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, considered a holy place. It is where The Passion of the Christ was filmed. I am not particularly religious, but the setting, which is said to very closely resemble the Holy Land 2,000 years ago, was arresting.

With a group of Americans we walked through the 10th century monastery, marked in English in several places as “No Photography.”  Ahead of us a couple who had a continuous stream of complaints had a video camera recording for several minutes. The Italian tour staff could say nothing, because they understood it could cost them a job. I walked over an told the man he had 3 seconds to put the camera away, or I would “make him very sorry.” He muttered something about ‘video not film,’ but his wife understood he was close to harm and put the camera away. Evidently the man and I had very different Fathers. The Italians thanked us later in private.-ww


On the subject of Dale Williams’s Cleanex:

Builder Marty Rezmer writes:

“William, Dale Williams paint job looks great. Can we get some details like the brand and type of paint he used and the application technique? Keep up the good work, see you at Oshkosh with my engine core. Marty”

Marty, I am inviting Dale to write us a piece on his paint technique and products, many people would enjoy reading it.-ww

Builder Dan Branstrom (half-jokingly) writes:

It could be said that the “local VW expert” suffers from Dunning–Kruger effect. (From Wikipedia:  ) The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.

Dan, I read the link, interesting and ironically funny at the same time. Makes me want to see the Peter Sellers film ‘Being there” again.-ww


On the topic of Kitfoxes:

Builder Craig Westedt writes:

“William, I only read your web page about once a week so imagine my surprise when I read about Thomas DeBusk’s Kitfox IV w/corvair 3000! I own a Kitfox II that I also am in the process of converting to corvair power.My conversion is rather extensive as I am not that happy with the flying qualities of the “fox” My aircraft has been flying for around twenty years. The fuselage has been lengthened behind the wing to correct for weight and balance and I added more fin area to improve yaw stability.I am building a new wing with “stanard” ailerons and a different airfoil because I like to experiment. This project has been quietly in the works for a while now but with Thomas’ project on the web I had to let you know that this corvair conversion seems to beg to be done. Great conversions seem to be everywhere. I look forward to more information as it becomes available. Craig”


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