We are packing the truck and trailer to leave at 6am for Leesburg and CC#25. We will be there from the 5-7th. We will have one day off, and on Tuesday the 9th, we will start my 25th consecutive year at Sun n Fun. We will have a full commercial display, in booth N-66, which is on the row in front of building “C”, the third of the four main display buildings. This is one row over from where we were last year. Sun n Fun is the second largest air show in the US, and it has been held every spring in Lakeland Florida for many decades. It is a big event, and it draws thousands of planes.
A fun internet story from 10 years ago, and then I will make the connection to the two events we are heading off to:
Here goes: Ten years ago, while we were away on an airshow road trip, away from the computer and unaware of this, a storm started up on the Corvair internet discussion group. A builder, who we knew pretty well, wrote an angry post where 400 other people could read it. The nature of his complaint was that I had done something very careless, that could even jeopardize his safety. He wrote this about the fact that I had sent his a conversion manual that had four pages missing. He had only caught the omission because he had closely looked at the page numbers. He speculated that there might be “critical” information on these pages that he would have never found out about, and my careless ways had left them out, directly putting him and his loved ones at risk.
Another guy wrote back and said that he was angry also, because his manual was also missing pages 122-125. He also agreed that ww was some kind of careless fool to be sending out ‘defective’ manuals.
A third guy wrote in and said his was missing the same pages. He had a good guess why also. It wasn’t ww being careless, he was definitely hiding something. Two others wrote in to say that theirs were also missing the same pages, and they both were sure that I was hiding something. The second guy said that he had been tolerant of my long hair to this point, but I was now exposed as the kind of person he had known I was all along.
Before it was done, ELEVEN people wrote in to say that I had left out the pages, and most of them used words like “Demand” and “get to the bottom of this.” I am sure that many others reading this also saw I had left the pages out of their book also, but there was little point in saying more, as ww was certainly done in aviation.
We came back a week later, turned on the computer and read all of this. Do you already know what the answer was? Of course, each one of these people including the people who were sure it was a cover up, had actually ripped the pages out of their manuals themselves. 122-123 was the manual registration page and 124-125 was their liability statement. All of these people had removed them themselves, and mailed them to me. In the middle of a very good conspiracy theory and big expose, they had forgotten that they had done this. I got on the group and pointed this out, and asked them politely if they were concerned about being PIC with this kind of memory issue.
Actually I forget stuff all the time, it is part of not sleeping enough. The part that I found disturbing was how quickly the lynch mob formed, and how quick people who I had met in person were willing to buy into the “he is hiding something” mentality. Out of 11 people, came a single apology, and it wasn’t in public like the man’s accusation was.
Here is the connection to today: This type of stuff goes on every time I go to an airshow or a college. I had a guy call twice in one day while we were at CC#24, and then go on a discussion group and ask the question “Is WW still in business?” Last year, I had a guy tell me that because I went to Oshkosh for two weeks, and he couldn’t get me on the phone, He was certain that I had some type of health issue. He had told his wife that he was sure I “had a stroke.” I weigh less than 170, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, I don’t drink, and my father is almost 88 and doing fine. Who think’s I am a candidate for a stroke?
There is nothing I can do to stop people from saying these things. I have resolved myself to accepting that the internet is a great facilitator of hysteria. The only thing I ask is that if anyone reads a post like this, please take a minute to point out that we are at CC#25 and SnF, and that I was not abducted by aliens, I have not had a stroke, and I didn’t leave pages out of anyone’s manuals.
*Lest anyone think I am making up the story above, I have the original posts in a file that I keep on a cabinent out in the hangar. When ever I feel too good about myself, and I start thinking that I have a good ability to communicate ideas with airplane builders, I go out and read it to keep my perspective in check.