Mail Sack, 3/15/13, various topics

Builders, here is a sample from the mail box:


On the topic of a Pietenpol/Corvair notebook, Harold Bickford writes:

“William, The Pietenpol/Corvair notebook is certainly on my want list. Tech data in a handy, concise format would be a great reference tool for building and flying. Motivational aspects could include the fun of the hunt for parts, making of assemblies and just the pure satisfaction of seeing a project come together. Actually visiting with builders and fliers at events becomes part of that process. It is far more than numbers, nuts and bolts. It is a goal with a journey into learning. The reward is being able to share that experience with others.and even motivate them to pursue the path.

In my case that goes back to high school days in 1966 when the pages of Air Progress covered an event in Rockford, IL for an outfit known as EAA. An old style airplane called a Pietenpol Air Camper was one of those homebuilts pictured. It doesn’t really matter why it took so long; the point is that the vision endured. On to Brodhead and beyon…Harold”

On the topic of Real Goals, builder Lyle Fast writes:

“William, I wonder if you asked the same old aviator if he ever knew a dedicated, competent, knowledgable, experienced and with good judgement pilot that died in his aircraft? I believe he would have known some maybe many. I believe it is not humanly possible to control completely the outcome of activities influenced by the forces of nature. Some of us will die in our aircraft, denying this or looking for things to blame is a normal response. Deciding that the activity(flying) is good enough to die for is worth examining. If each act of aviation(engine building, preflight etc) is viewed as possibly your last dance on earth surely we should all be motivated to make it the best dance we can! -Lyle”

“Lyle, I agree with you 100%. There will always be risk, but it is our task to eliminate unnecessary risk. Because I have been in aviation for 25 years, and went at it ‘full throttle’, and my wife is also an aviator (and a lot more charming than me,) we have had more friends in this than any human deserves. With this abundance of adventure seeking friends and the passage of time, we have lost many of them. I only count people we knew well enough to have stayed with them or reverse. I stopped counting when we got to 12. These people were smart, skilled, and understood what they were doing. About 3/4 of the accidents were preventable. People with good judgement who couldn’t find it that day, something left undone, weather. 1/4 was unavoidable, ‘wrong place, wrong time’. This said, None of these people were harmed by knowing too much, being too skilled, or having excessive mastery of their craft and situation. Without a doubt, we could not possibly count the amount of times our friends have avoided harm or have been spared it by their understanding, knowledge, skills and judgement.-ww”

On the same topic, Builder Bruce Culver writes:

“William, here is a thought I left on Mac’s blog ‘Left Seat’ in SA. It is based on my 25 years in military defense logistics, and the general direction of the GA pilot/airplane population:

One thing that seems to have escaped a number of people in the business: as the number of active pilots and planes declines, there is increasing pressure on the support infrastructure for GA aircraft. When the number of customers and planes falls to a sufficiently low-level, you’ll see A&P mechanics going out of business, FBOs closing, engine and prop shops consolidating and/or closing, radio and instrument shops ditto. It will take time, but gradually the support structure for GA will slowly disappear, and at some point, even the doctors and bankers in their $750K fancy airplanes won’t be able to have them serviced – and what happens if you have an AD that requires immediate compliance, and no way to have the work done? Ask not for whom the bells tolls – it tolls for thee….. The real irony here is that the people who will be least affected by this possible turn of events are those who have built their airplanes themselves, possibly even built their engines themselves, and who have the aircraft repairman certificates to prove it.”

On the topic of the new numbering system, 750 builder Blaine Schwartz

“Thanks William, you speak the bold truth! Now that I have built my engine (at CC#22). I look forward to attending more Corvair Colleges so I can better my skills at timing distributors, learning how to use a differential compression tester, and understanding how to conduct a 100 hour inspection and helping other builders. Building is great, but when I have completed building and am flying, I surely want to be able to keep my plane in the air and completely safe! Blaine “

Also on the topic of the new numbering system,,  Zenith builder Marcus Wegmeyer Writes:

“William, I want to applaud you on the new numbering system and goal to develop a checklist to build the engine. I’m a new builder, my Zodiac CH 650 is a child in the womb being nourished, growing, and put together bit by bit. The Corvair is the engine of choice. Your check list will certainly help move that part of the project along in an orderly fashion. I’ll only have 1 day at Sun n Fun but it is my plan to stop to meet you and introduce myself as well. Marcus, Gaylord, MI”

Parting shot, follow-up on an earlier letter, Piet Builder Dave Aldrich shares:

“I wasn’t being serious either, ref the ice cream/Dockers/Polo shirts comments. I did buy one pair of Dockers new (Kohl’s, on sale, 30% off) for my (last) wedding which took place on a dock at a friends house down in Tavernier (mm 92, south of Largo). The color matched my shirt and sandals. Side story: The “best man” and I won the National Boatbuilding Challenge last summer in Belfast, Maine using the motto “Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.” Built a usable skiff to plans in 2 hours 45 minutes. Definitely NOT aviation or cabinet quality joinery but it floated well enough to race across the harbor. We both have seaplane ratings so it does have an aviation tie-in.- Dave”

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